WoW's Incoming Account Wide Achievements

Posted Tue, May 08, 2012 by Xerin

Account wide achievements have finally made it into World of Warcraft with the latest update to the Mists of Pandaria beta. Achievements are a mostly non-tangible prestige reward in the form of a badge for accomplishing various goals in the game. Added at the end of The Burning Crusade’s life cycle, achievements have been a way for players to record major boss kills, PvP milestones, or other various tasks. They have, up until now, been character specific, including the few rewards like mounts that you can receive. That’s all about to change, though.

Rage against the Machine

First let’s talk controversy, like a pair of gossip happy Gnomes. Because we’re games, we can’t be happy with most of the things given to us as a whole. If Blizzard or whatever developer adds a feature, then we instantly lash out saying that they’re not fixing this that’s broken or ignoring that or why are they adding this into a game when we obviously want that? The achievement system has been a dart board for the longest time as players scream that achievements aren’t cool, hip, or posh and that it does nothing at all but inflate playtime without adding new content.

Of course, most of the whiners never realize that they don’t have to open the achievement window nor are achievement points displayed under character’s names and achievements have greatly improved raiding. For instance, it’s much easier for guilds to recruit members based on past experience whenever the achievements exist for raid content. It’s also a lot easier to show your friends that you did indeed down x boss on y day and you are, truly, the savior of Azeroth.

One of the biggest complaints from those happy to have achievements (about 90% of the game’s population) is that your achievements are bound to one character. If you get all of these super awesome amazing rare achievements then start a new character, then you go from being the lord of WoW to a peasant. If you apply to a guild, you have to explain that your other character completed all of TBC and WoTLK on hard mode and that while your character looks like a begger, it’s obviously an all-star reborn.

Then there are the rewards. Yes, my fellow azerothians, I, the venerable Xerin, completed What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been… on a Druid. Yes, indeed, I have the mount on the class that doesn’t need one. Woe is to me as I played my Druid through Cataclysm on the basic principle that I have all of the achievements on that one character, so why should I start over again? Yes, I’m a victim to the achievement manipulation machine.

Spreading the Love

Of course, Ghostcrawler posted just recently their plans for account-wide achievements. We’ll be able to track our critter snuggling adventures through Azeroth across our account, removing the need to grind each achievement on every one of our alts and making having more than one character more satisfying. Your titles will transfer over, at least, so that you’ll be recognized for your accomplishments no matter if you’re a Priest or a Warrior, Orc or Human.

Rewards may also come to each character. In my example, I’ll be able to utilize the mount on a character other than my Druid, which will make me not only happier but also make getting that achievement a lot more satisfying. The same with the various boss kills and all of the small achievements I’ve got scattered around. I did all of TBC on a Hunter, vanilla on a Paladin, WotLK on my Druid and Priest, and Cata on my Druid, so it’ll be nice to have everything organized and condensed.

I would ramble about how this cheapens achievements, but then again I don’t see how. If you did Flame Warden on character a and then did Noble Gardener on character b, you still did both activities. So what’s the big deal? I’ve already read people screaming that they want to opt-out and how horrible this is, but come on really? Who cares if you did it on a Rogue or a Shaman or if you did half a year as a Night Elf and the other half as a Goblin.

On the other hand, I do hope we can boil down what achievements is character specific and what achievements is account specific. It’d be nice to see what we accomplished one each of our characters and as an account. I also hope that we will get the rewards account-wide, so those who got the super rare mounts can enjoy them on more than one character.

All in all, I can’t wait for account wide achievements. It’s a positive change coming to the game and will make ditching one character and moving to another a lot easier for players who are currently dissatisfied with their main but don’t want to leave it because they’ve put so much into achievements.

I do hope that the transition is smooth and that achievement credits make sense. That’s the only bad thing I can really see with this. What do you think though? Do you feel that achievements are as evil as the prime-evils in Diablo and should be stripped from the game or are you bouncing with glee at the ability to share your achievements across your account? Let us know in the comments section below.

I really like this and hope it makes its way into the game. I have been wishing I could have my achievments be on all of my chracters for a long time. I have 12 85s some with achievments that are no longer available. I run my main two characters with my guild. When I see people post in trade they are looking for one player for a raid and ask you post your achievments. How do you post your achievments on a character that doesnt have them yet. Isnt that why you are running the alt in a pug group? Cerrently there is no way to show someone you know how to run a raid on an alt that doesnt already have the achievment.

Spot on. One of WoW's biggest problems has been that you need multiple characters to be successful.

You need a:

PvE main for one of the trinity roles (healer, tank, dps)
PvP main for one of the trinity roles (healer, tank, dps)
PvE farmer if your main isn't dps

My first MMO was CoH, so I get the meta game and love achievements for exploring, etc. I totally agree, achievements in WoW being tied to specific chars and not accounts was always kinda silly to me. My main in vanilla was a lock. My main in TBC was a druid. If I rolled a new toon in LK, people would look at it, see no previous achievements and assume I was a noob even thought I completed three tiers of raiding.

The problem is, these are all issues from 4+ years ago that are just being solved in the new xpac? Really?

That's always been my biggest complaint about WoW. I get that software development doesn't happen over night, but I believe my CoH achievements were account wide. I also believe that Cryptic nailed z-axis combat, which Blizzard didn't do correctly until Cata with the underwater zones.

It's good that Blizzard is adding account wide achievements, but shouldn't this have been done a while ago? Same goes for vertical combat. I wonder if this was a technology issue or if it was a hold over of the design philosophy from the EQ developers who Blizzard hired for WoW ... let's make everything as time consuming and difficult as possible when there are better solutions.

edit: I like challenging content. I just don't like arbitrary time sinks based on bad game design.

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