Monday, May 4, 2009

Achievement Philosophy, or "You Do It Your Way, Blizzard Will Do It Theirs"

I believe that achievements should exist to enhance gameplay and I think Blizzard shares this vision. They obviously want achievements to make players happy and not miserable because happy players pay money.

When evaluating a new achievement, it's important for players to ask the following questions:

Who is this for?

Most achievements are targeted toward a particular player group: raiders, pvp'ers, collectors, roleplayers, holiday fanatics, or even "All of the above."

How hard was this intended to be?

Some achievements are meant to be challenging. Some are meant to be easy. It's unreasonable to expect the hard ones to be made easy just because people want them.

How hard is this in reality?

Some easy achievements come out a lot harder than intended and must be nerfed. Others may potentially be too easy and must be buffed.

What are player expectations?

I think where players get really frustrated is when Blizzard decides to give casuals and solo players a run for their money by making supposedly "casual" pastimes challenging, or when hardcore achievements are too easy to satisfy the truly psychotic.

For example, the intention behind the hardcore raiding proto-drakes was to offer a difficult prize to elite players, but these mounts were offered during a period when people were freaking out about the impossible 100 mount achievement. This bred dissatisfaction among the player base when those mounts were removed.


I think Blizzard fails when they focus so much on the challenge of the achievement that they forget about enhancing gameplay. The best achievements have a purpose and meld with the game to make it more enjoyable. The worst achievements actually interfere with gameplay and provide nothing but frustration for the player base.

Great Achievements
Lousy Achievements
  • All the ones I don't have yet. ^_~
That last is a joke, but it's also true. People hate the achievements they can't get.

Which ones are your favorites?


  1. Some very valid points there Birdfall, I for one have enjoyed the introduction of Achievements and am both excited and frustrated as I attempt to get as many as possible.

    As far as favourites go, for me the first one I can think of is the Loremaster achievement.

    To me, it was both challenging and fun, particularly in some instances where I had to go scouring the low level areas for quests I hadn't done.

    I still laugh at the fact that I lived in Icecrown for about two weeks before FINALLY running to the back of the "inn" to find that ONE quest that unlocked the final few I had to do there.

    Also, this one led to the attainment of a number of other achievements "by accident" while I was being a lore loon.

    As a non-PvP'er, I did also enjoy the rush of racing through Orgrimmar to fish up Old Crafty. I took the beatings and finally got the fish, and that was a big deal for me.

    I hope you're achieving everything you're after!

  2. I hate achievements that are based on luck but I love achievements that are based on skill.

    For this reason my favourite that I have attained is 'The Undying' from Naxxramas. The one that I hate the most is the bag of candy one from the Love Fool meta achievement. It is the only holiday achievement I have missed :(

    When you have a girlfriend to go to dinner with and spend time with around Valentine's Day making the event just a couple of days long really made it near impossible for me to get :( Good going Blizzard. Seriously sometimes I wonder whether they are trying to pull people away from their loved ones around special days on purpose.

    The most fun I have had in achieving something would be killing the Alliance faction leaders.

    40 Crazy Horde clearing Darnassus, Exodar, Stormwind and then Ironforge in that order is a sight to behold. The funniest thing is that I was Main Tank for each boss and managed to survive all the way to the final boss in Ironforge. It was the last boss everybody needed for the achievement and we came under attack from not only the NPC's but random alliance as well as a large group of the Alliances top raiding guild on our realm. They had obviously just finished a raid or something. We split our raid in half with half of us guarding the doorway to Magni's room and half of us on the boss. We got the boss down and then the icing on the cake was some lovely mage managed to quickly get a portal to Dalaran up and we all jumped for it.

    I think probably the most hilarious moment was when we were in the Deeprun Tram forming up to go into Ironforge. Alliance kept coming through the portal and getting slaughtered before they even zoned in. There were some clever Alliance however, because they sent some people on the tram from Stormwind and we were pretty much surrounded so we just charged the portal and went for Magni :)

  3. The various holiday achievements have, by far, been the most fun. They encourage social play, they're almost always appropriately on theme, there's a mix of challenging and easily attainable achievements.

    Getting the Long, Strange Trip award is . . . well, I guess I can't say it's the most challenging because there's a bunch I haven't tried . . . but it has been the most challenging I have undertaken. When the achievement system was introduced, my highest level character was in the high 30s range. Maybe level 40? And for various reasons, I don't level very quickly. Simply due to level requirements on many of the achievments, it will take me 2 years, probably a little over 2 years to accomplish.

    That will be something I'm proud of. And extremely disappointed if the achievement were to get dumbed down. It would trivialize the sacrifice of time and effort that I've made progressing towards it.

  4. I think for the most part the achievements have been really well done, with only a handful sticking out as problematic (mainly the ones high on RNG components).

    One downside I've started to encounter though is the fact that they are displayed for all to see, weird as it may sound. Personally, I thought the achievement system was more for me than for the rest of the world. I keep hearing more and more stories on my server about someone wanting to join a group, only to hear "I see from your achievements you've never done X so we don't want you." I haven't had this happen to me yet but it's disheartening to find that in a game the old paradox of "Needing experience to get experience" shows up.

  5. When it comes to achievements, I like to decide what would be most appropriate for my characters and go for those. My main is kind of a drunk so I quickly got "It's Happy Hour Somewhere" for her and she's a hunter so I've been working on the "Bloody Rare" achievement for her, and also want to finish the Nesingwary achievements.

    My shaman seems to attract both pets and reputation points like a magnet so she's going to be the pet collector and go for the reputation achievements.

    I like the achievements because they mesh with the developing characters of my toons and create goals for me to go after in the game. Since I mostly play solo due to my erratic schedule, that helps keep it fun for me.

  6. Lamora is, and will always be, a lady who is after pretty/shiny/sparkly things.

    Achievements make her giddy with joy.

    Except for those crazy ones... You know what I'm talking about...

    The ones that take *forever*.

    Which reminds me... I should go get a flag in EotS and a tower in Alterac Valley....


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