Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The reward of raiding achievements

Sydera @ World of Matticus wrote an interesting post about the tensions that Conquest – and probably many other raiding guilds as well – currently faces. The issue is about different approaches and interest in achievements. While some players see it as the natural next challenge to overcome, once the instances are beaten in the normal way, others can’t see the point of running wipe nights, with a reward that in best case will be 10 achievement points and eventually a vanity mount.

GM Matticus doesn’t hide his own point of view. In a comment he makes a comparison.

“Let’s say I got a Civic. I have the option of painting the car red with racing stripes at some cost to myself. The performance of the car doesn’t change. It doesn’t accelerate any faster. It doesn’t handle any better. It just looks different and it stands out amid the crowd of black and white Civics.

On the other hand, if there were some type of miracle paint on the market that some how causes less drag and improves my fuel efficiency by 5%, then it’s something I would consider.”

My position
So where do I stand in this? Well, as I wrote in a post the other week, I’ve been fighting myself a bit lately, not to get obsessed by chasing a goal that I don’t stand a chance to reach due to my limits in gaming time. I try to find other things to head for, things that challenge me and trigger my fighting spirit, but don’t demand that I raid four or five nights a week in prime time for socializing with my family.

But on the other hand I must say that I can completely understand those who insist on raiding in achievement mode rather than just clearing the content quickly and efficiently for a maximum quota of loot/invested gaming hour.

Raiding to me is not business. It’s not work. It’s not about getting a certain material (even though it’s in pixels) reward. Raiding is a performing art, where enjoying the beauty and the perfection in the performance is reward enough.

I don’t watch football a lot, but honestly, isn’t it much more fun to see – or participate – in a football match when you make that perfect goal, after dribbling around a few of the opponent players, tricking the goal keeper to the wrong corner and then just putting it in an angle, impossible to reach? In the records it won’t count as anything else but a sloppy, ugly, hazard goal. But the feeling, the memory of it, is entirely different.

It’s the same thing in a raid. I get quite a different feeling if we get Heigan down through a safety dance (done it twice now in heroic mode, yay!) than if half of the raid is dead and can go AFK while the rest slowly, slowly takes him down. The loot is the same. But not the experience.

Extra motivation
Lately the signups have dropped a bit – I guess it’s a sign of slight pre-patch-apathy that has infected us – so we were forced to do Naxx on 20 man last week. And how much more fun wasn’t that! Suddenly I got a real thrill again from the Thaddius fight! It took us a couple of tries, but at last we got him, with about 0.1 second to go before a raid wipe. And I knew that every single decision I had made in this fight had mattered for the outcome. It mattered when I did my evocation, how I managed my cooldowns and how I got another extra cast away while moving. It gave me the extra motivation I needed to stretch the limit of my ability, to give edge to my performance.

Naxx hasn’t got much more to give us now loot wise. Tons of equipment is being disenchanted. I’m still waiting for the turning tide, but apart from that, there are very few things to hope for. I can’t expect to get any kicks whatsoever from loot now until Ulduar hits. But as long as there are raiding achievements to go for, that isn’t any big problem. The reward of doing things in a more difficult mode and forcing yourself in the direction of perfection is enough to keep me happy.

An art form
Raiding achievements definitely have a value to me, which has nothing to do with dragon mounts. To be honest I can’t distinguish one dragon mount from the other myself, and I don’t expect anyone to be impressed by whatever mount I have – they probably don’t notice it. Raiding achievements is about the beauty of the perfection. It’s an art form.

Other kinds of achievements don’t give me that kick. That’s why I really can’t bother to cook a ton of different sorts of food that is useless to me, just to get my 10 points for doing so. It’s not art. It’s boring and feels like a time sink.

Now, Ulduar is only weeks away. Let’s hope that Conquest and other guilds that are facing the same discussions can stick together in this period. Soon enough we’ll have our hands learning the new boss encounters. And we’ll get loot reward again, yay! The achievement issue will be put on the shelf. I guess it’s likely that it will pop up once again, causing splits, once Ulduar is on farm. But I’ll leave those worries to the future.


Anonymous said...

I have a question for you:

Would you do Patchwerk... with the whole raid standing in the slime? Or Patchwerk while dragging him back and forth across the frogger slimes 10 times?

Is that a challenge worth pursuing, or does the fact that there are no achievement points devalue it?

Anonymous said...

Patchwerk, dragging him across frogger, with every shaman in the guild having dropped their totems in front of each line of slimes. Makes it so easy.

Kedge said...

If I had exhausted all other achievements then the frogger game with patchwerk sounds fun :o)

xabbott said...

The thing about the mount is...it's not just a vanity item. It's 310% speed mount. There are only a few ways to get those.

P said...

I would argue that 10% speed over your standard epic flyer is pretty much a cosmetic vanity item.

Larísa said...

@Pockie: I definitely don't chase achievement points. But I think it helps for motiviation that there is an offically defined achievment, an offical goal to aim for. it's hard to train high jumping with an invicible bar.

@Amarillon: it sounds like fun!

@Xabbott: I seriously doubt that people want it for the speed of it. I think it's a status thing. It's only that it's wasted on me since I can't tell one dragon from another. But I guess the majority can. I'm somwehat absent minded when it comes to those things.

Tessy said...

I think most raid and dungeon achievements are pretty boring and just a matter of brute-forcing down the boss, of simply being too op'd for the instance.

Some are just a matter of luck, like not being snake-wrapped.

A rare few are achievements that actually feels like achievements, like managing to get the whole raid through the Heigan Safety Dance (although luck and a good connection sure plays a role in this one too :-)

I just wish there were more achievements that felt worth doing.

Kromus said...

An excellent point as always-
very intresting.

Somedays i chase acheivements sometimes i dont, but when i dont and others do, i understand.

Can you imagine the TENSE SITUATION of the Undying achievement, my god- how exciting!

I think people should understand that different views; different perspectives can make something better or worse- such as modes, acheievements..

HP said...

I would like to have the heroic raiding achievements but you need 25 people on the same page and I guess this is when guild solidarity comes into play but the fact of the matter is, at the end of the day, people play WoW for themselves.

I love your blog, I nominated you!

Larísa said...

@Tessy: "brute force" still can mean that you really need to stay alive and handle aggro and cooldowns properly (Patchwerk in 3 min for instance). I still think that dungeon and raid achievements are great fun. But then I'm a pretty noobish player I guess, not overskilled and bored with the game.

@Kromus: oh, yes the undying... the pressure. You certainly don't want to be the one who died on KT in a void zone... I've been thinking about it - am I prepared to go for undying? Since I've managed the Heigan dance a number of times now I don't think I'm the one that guaranteed will break it. But the mental thing - yeah. It takes a hard skin and a cool mind to get through with it. (Not to talk about a stable internet connection)

@HP: thank you so much! I feel so honoured by this nomination!

Tessy said...

Larísa, I'm the epitome of noob and definitely not overskilled or bored with the game yet in any way :-)

I just see most of these achievements as some kind of strained artificial flavouring that don't add anything to my gaming experience at all.

It's like if I worked out hard and trained for a marathon and when I eventually managed to stumble across the finishing line someone said right, lets do this with your legs tied together next time.

Sure, after a lot of training jumping forward with my legs tied together and having developed explosive thigh muscles I guess I could get through another marathon with this self-inflicted constraint but it would not add anything to my joy and satisfaction of getting through it - my real goal would have been achieved in that first marathon.

An achievement for me in this situation could have been to choose the next marathon to go through much rougher terrain, with steep hills up and long winding paths down.

To me, there is a huge difference between these two situations.

But to each their own, if people want to try for achievements I usually tag along without too many protests :-)

Anonymous said...

310/270 = 1.148 is ~15% faster mount.