The OverAchiever: The 25 most evil achievements, part 1

Allison Robert
A. Robert|04.16.10

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The OverAchiever: The 25 most evil achievements, part 1
What are evil achievements? They're the soul-killing rep grinds, the raiding milestones that required sacrificing a farm animal to get, and even fun pasttimes like battlegrounds into which a sizable dose of misery has been added. Eventually you just want to grab the nearest developer and shake him back and forth, screaming, "What the hell were you thinking?"

Last week I previewed three of the most evil achievements in the game, both to collect my own thoughts and to canvass commenters' opinions for a larger article. This week, I'd like to present the first set of evil achievements for your reading, wincing and antacid-chugging pleasure.

A note on judging the "evil value" of achievements
: I've been adding to this list for a while, and it's drawn from both the achievements we've covered in this column and some I've seen players complain about frequently in game. Obviously, there's no real way to quantify exactly how difficult or excruciating achievements are, so I'm going with the definition I gave above. Any incredibly difficult or RNG-saturated achievement made the short list, but I also tried to keep some unusual picks in mind. In this vein, there's an achievement in today's column that, while extremely easy by today's standards, was a screaming horror when it first debuted. I may wind up doing a list of honorable mentions as well.

So, in no particular order, I am pleased to present World of Warcraft's 25 most evil achievements, starting with #25-16 this week.

We Had It All Along *cough*

In three years of playing, a 10-point Arathi Basin win has happened to me exactly once. I was fortunate in that it occurred shortly after the achievement system went live, but I haven't had an AB match since when I haven't wondered just how long I would have had to wait for lightning to strike again.

The real problem is that, even if you're trying to get Arathi Basin achievements done through a pre-made, there's no way to control how the opposing team plays -- and it's how they play that dictates whether or not you get the achievement.

"Hey, would you guys mind losing in the most time-consuming and demoralizing way possible so I can get my achievement?"

"Sure, we'd love to help!"

24. The Cake Is Not A Lie

Baking the cake in itself isn't hard -- it's getting the recipe that's the RNG ordeal. The Delicious Chocolate Cake recipe is a random drop from cooking daily rewards, and not a particularly common one at that; the drop rate is thought to be around 1%. In marked contrast to the fishing meta-achievement Accomplished Angler, Hail to the Chef is almost all about hard work and persistence -- until you hit this. A buddy of mine went the better part of a year with this one infuriating drop standing between her and her Chef title, and there was literally nothing she could do about it but continue the cooking dailies that steadfastly refused to drop the recipe.

It left me wondering which was worse: having a meta so full of RNG like Accomplished Angler that you just throw your hands up and figure you'll get the achievements when you get them, or having a meta with that one little bit of RNG like Hail To the Chef that nonetheless refuses to drop.

23. BB King (Alliance) or BB King (Horde)

Things that make this achievement a nightmare:
  • The Red Rider Air Rifle has a cast time.
  • The cast time is interrupted by damage.
  • If you are in an enemy city, there is a small chance that thousands of guards and opportunistic enemy players on your ass may, at some point, do some damage to you. Just possibly.
  • If that weren't enough, the &%*ing rifle can miss.
  • And when it doesn't, it will aggro the boss you just shot, so --
  • Either way, you will die horribly.
What's not to love?

22. A Mask for All Occasions

In one of Blizzard's more sadistic moments, this achievement was actually linked to the meta Hallowed Be Thy Name. Mercifully, someone realized that getting all 20 masks in any given year realistically required you to camp at your computer, "trick-or-treating" every hour on the dot for two weeks. For the average player (or anyone who just enjoys sleeping, eating or holding down a job), it was more likely to be a five- to six-year commitment if you were reasonably lucky.

The RNG on this achievement is so hideous that a fight among crackerjack statisticians broke out on just how hideous it is.

21. King of the Fire Festival/Elders of the Alliance/Elders of the Horde

Many of the holiday achievements require you to venture into (or around) enemy cities, and it's never a fun experience. These are the worst of the bunch. Because it's so easy for the enemy faction to camp the objectives, it's common to die multiple times trying to get them done.

For additional agony, note that even on a PvP server, enemy players chilling in their respective capitals drop their flags and can only be attacked once they've decided to attack you. Given the number of city guards likely to be swarming your pathetic butt, even the most PvP-phobic enemy can size up the situation and realize that you're a free HK.

20. The Immortal

To summarize our description from last week:

Every Immortal attempt turned an otherwise relaxed Naxx clear into an edgy, nervous affair for everyone, with raiders irritated with each other over the smallest mistake or connection issues and horrible silences in Vent after the almost inevitable first death. Past a certain point, our raiders simply refused to do it anymore. It wasn't worth what it was doing to the guild, and being unable to control the endless number of ways you could lose it without anyone actually being at fault could drive you to drink

Never again.

19. 40 Exalted Reputations

I expect this will get easier in Cataclysm, but right now there's no way to get 40 exalted reputations without setting yourself to more than a few long-term grinds. I would even argue that, for a new player, 40 exalted reputations is a taller order than it was in Burning Crusade, because it's virtually impossible to find anyone willing to keep running the old 70 heroics these days. Unless you want to avoid the BC dungeon reps entirely, you're setting yourself up for a long, lonely grind in such trash-infested places as Magisters' Terrace, Shattered Halls and Shadow Lab -- and that's assuming your character's capable of soloing them in the first place.

Unenthusiastic about spending your life grinding out BC dungeon reps? You can always try grinding other reps, but there are far more horrible possibilities out there (as we'll see next week).

All You Can Eat

If you've done Sindragosa, you probably hate her. If you've done her on heroic, you hate her even more. And if you've done this achievement, there isn't enough /spit in the world to express your thoughts in the most direct and efficient manner possible.

Sindragosa is already irritating -- the nails-on-a-chalkboard voice acting, the Unchained Magic and Permeating Chill debuffs leaving sections of the raid quite literally doing nothing for huge portions of the fight -- but the achievement raises the irritation factor to an unbelievable degree. Phase 3 will be spent running like a headless chicken between Ice Tombs ("Ha ha, melee! Did you think you were actually going to hit this boss?"), juggling the debuffs she will blithely continue slapping on you, rotating tanks in and out, hoping none of them get tombed at a bad time, and praying that three-quarters of your heal team is not tombed or otherwise saddled with Unchained Magic while she's swinging for 30k a pop on your least-geared off tank.

The achievement turns phase 3 from an otherwise unremarkable burn phase into an agonizing endurance battle where a single person hitting six stacks of Mystic Buffet means you wipe the encounter and try again (I've been that person; it's not fun). Incredibly enough, this achievement used to be even worse -- the number of stacks you could have was capped at four.

Gotta Go!

Gotta Go! is something that people can get even without trying these days, but if you did it back when the time limit was two minutes and people were in tier 7, it was no joke. Healer? You couldn't afford to have one. Tank? You couldn't really afford to have one of those either. What you could do was take a vaguely tank-like class, an elemental or enhancement shaman, at least one mage (and ideally two, if you were running a caster group), and a warlock or rogue. You'd get everyone to the ramp before pulling Anub'arak, and then -- if you had a caster group -- the mage/s would port out and head for Storm Peaks. Back in Azjol-Nerub, the warlock would start summoning the mage/s as soon as possible after the latter Spellstole a buff called Metanoia off Valkyrion Aspirants in Storm Peaks, and then you'd pull Anub as quickly as possible. One more thing -- everyone was flasked, right?

Anub was really only above ground for about 35-45 seconds' worth of the two-minute window allotted, so you had to have a Curse of Tongues, Slow or Mind-Numbing Poison on Anub'arak at all times to eke out a few more seconds of precious DPS. Thus, what would appear to be a relatively relaxing fight (512,278 HP over two minutes) turned into a nightmarish sprint requiring 11,000-12,000 group DPS. Not uncommonly, Anub didn't stop to cast "enough" or the tank lost aggro to the group's enormous damage. Suffice it to say that, like Less-rabi (which will make an appearance next week), this was the kind of deal where you could theoretically one-shot it, or still be there hours later hoping the stars would align, your hits would crit and Anub's various casts were all convenient.

Taleron, one of the Wowhead commenters, described this as an "unbashedly murderous" achievement, and I can't put it any better than that. Thankfully, in the following patch the developers upped the time required to the present four minutes.

A Tribute to Immortality (Alliance) or A Tribute to Immortality (Horde)

All of the lighthearted fun of Immortal, shoved into a much more difficult raid!

Completing Trial of the Grand Crusader is still a reasonable challenge even if you're not out to do any achievements, but unfortunately for anyone who wanted to get through it sans ugly death, it comes complete with a little fight called Faction Champions. An arena-style outing featuring no real aggro table, its primary amusement lies in the ability to get focused by enemies and die in less than a second.

If that's not enough for you masochists out there, ToGC also provides a fiendishly difficult final boss requiring off tanks in specialized +block gear (no bears or death knights, please!) and virtually no margin for error in phase 3. Healers had to figure out a way to keep the raid alive versus Leeching Swarm (that sucked 30% of your present health each second and healed Anub), Penetrating Cold and massive tank damage, all at the same time. In tier 9 content, this was only possible by keeping the entire raid hovering around 1K life each for the entirety of phase 3 (barring the Penetrating Cold targets and your tanks) to prevent Anub from outhealing your DPS.

Getting through the rest of ToGC without a single death was an amazing accomplishment. Surviving phase 3 of Anub'arak without a single death was a freaking miracle. There's something ridiculously ... words fail me, evil about programming an Immortal-style achievement for an encounter that was only doable with the raid as close to death as possible.

Working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! We've covered everything from Glory of the Hero and Insane in the Membrane to Master of Alterac Valley and Lil' Game Hunter, and you can count on us to guide you through holidays and Azeroth's special events.

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