The OverAchiever: The good, the bad, the ugly, and the weird

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we reminisce on that auld lang syne ... that nobody really misses.

It occurred to me recently that we've never really done a retrospective piece on achievements. Sure, we've rounded up stuff like entertaining achievements and evil achievements, but we've never really looked at their impact on the game as a whole. There's an article in that, but it won't be this one. New Year's Eve is tomorrow, and I'm in the mood for some brainless fun.

While I was writing this article, a number of the achievements that came to mind were the product of tier 7 raids, and I think I know why. Wrath raiding achievements were the first time Blizzard had experimented with their inclusion in raid content, and the implementation occasionally had some bizarre results. There was also the pressure cooker of having to finish Glory of the Raider before the rewards disappeared (a very belated announcement), and there was never that sense of urgency with Ulduar or Icecrown achievements. Anyway, let me know what you think.

Meta most in need of a good kick in the ass

Accomplished Angler Is there any other meta more stuffed with more pointless, maddening RNG? Or functionally capped at 104 people per server per year -- and that's assuming there's never a repeat winner of either fishing contest?

I've fished up well in excess of 40,000 fish since the beginning of Wrath and have yet to see a single rare needed for One That Didn't Get Away, and that's on top of the year it took to get Mr. Pinchy's Magical Crawdad Box.

Best contribution of a mad genius on the development team

The Coin Master Yes, there's a really irritating element of RNG to the meta-achievement, but I maintain that the underlying idea behind the Dalaran fountain was utter genius. Every city's got a fountain, right? Wouldn't it make sense for a magic city to have a magic fountain that remembers wishes? With the number of lore figures who have passed through Dalaran, its fountain coins are a brilliant little peek at their personalities.

You could even argue that archaeology is the fountain's ideological successor, except instead of being confined to a fountain, little lore moments are all over the world. In tiny pieces, yes, and maybe those tiny pieces are a bit of a hassle to put together, but give it time. Archaeology's still new. We'll run an OverAchiever soon on its achievements.

Why we owe the Russians everything

The Twilight Zone (10-player)
This was universally considered one of the most difficult raiding achievements in the game as Wrath launched, and for a few months afterward, it was most raiders' consensus that it wasn't doable without 25-man raiding gear. An "Of the Nightfall" title in this period was arguably the hardest and rarest achievement in the game outside Immortal.

Then a Russian PUG on the Gordunni (EU) server downed him in 76 seconds by completely ignoring the drakes until it became necessary to kite a berserk Tenebron away.

Yeah. Only hours before we first got a tip on this on March 31 of 2009, an email thread on the team line here at WoW Insider had been discussing ideal raid composition for more traditional Sarth-10 3D strategy. We got the tip later that day, and then dozens more as the technique spread like wildfire. Before long, "Nightfall" became one of the more common raiding titles, and the zerg strategy was the default means of getting it. I'm not sure that Blizzard knew what to make of it.

Most unintentionally maddening for tanks

All You Can Eat You were most likely to lose this achievement because of tanks who got stacks running back and forth from ice blocks, which had to be preserved long enough for a tank to LOS Sindragosa. When this didn't happen -- because the person iceblocked was a crucial healer, or if your off tank was slow picking up Sindragosa so you could LOS her or had trouble dropping his/her own stacks -- you'd blow the achievement for everyone, and there was literally nothing you could do about it.

Most unintentionally maddening for healers

Denyin' the Scion Back when Malygos was progression content, the only way to do this (for both the 10- and 25-man version of the encounter) was to have a healer solo a mob down from around 5%, to be assured of getting the killing blow. The amount of time it took to do this -- and the necessity of having a certain number of healers grounded to keep the raid itself from dying -- usually meant wiping the raid and doing it all over again for however many people needed the achievement.

In truth, you could probably stick most battleground achievements in this category too. Oh, and Once Bitten, Twice Shy, given that healers were among the last to be bitten (if they ever were at all).

Biggest /headdesk moment

I think this picture about sums up guilds' reactions to Blizzard's decision to tinker with guild experience from achievements in the early days of Cataclysm. Yes, that's a sizable chunk of the now-worthless 5,000 Fish Feasts farmed by <The Remnant> on Aggramar (US-H).

Least likely to get in a PUG

Emerald Void and Ruby Void These were typically done at the same time with a party using five amber drakes to kill Ley-Guardian Eregos before he killed the group. With a good group that knew what it was doing, this was actually among the easiest and fastest ways to do the encounter, even if you didn't need the achievement. With a PUG, you'd spend ages explaining or clarifying what to do with the amber drake vehicles, only to have players who weren't paying attention mess it up attempt after attempt after attempt. It got to the point where I actually macroed instructions on who had to hit Stop Time and when. Why on earth did I spend more than an hour doing this with a PUG back in March? I don't know. I must have been crazy.

PUG raid leaders would likely nominate Shocking! for this distinction as well, although I don't think anyone ever seriously expected to get that with a random group. Heroics introduced later in Wrath also featured I've Had Worse in Trial of the Champion and then Doesn't Go to Eleven in Pit of Saron. I was unaware the latter achievement existed until I was on a guild run a week or so before Cataclysm hit.

Fortunately for us, Ready for Raiding is an individual achievement and not a group one.

Most likely to get in a PUG

Momma Said Knock You Out To this day, I can't tell you the exact mechanics behind Grand Widow Faerlina's Frenzy or even what the hell she does on that encounter apart from hitting the tank really hard. All I know is that every Naxx PUG I ever tanked invariably got this achievement for multiple players.

You could also make an argument for Upper Back Pain here. Not that most Trial of the Crusader PUGs actually got this on purpose, but it's sort of a side benefit of no one hitting the damn snobolds.

The "AFK your way to greatness" award

Gonna Go When the Volcano Blows Once players figured out that you could get this achievement while dead (doubtless a discovery made by an experienced floor tank on one of the first Sartharion kills), this became one of the more laughable achievements in the game.

  1. Get naked.

  2. Stand in front of Sartharion while he's cleaving, breathing, and doing all manner of unpleasant things to your tank.

  3. Die.

  4. Leave computer, make sandwich.

  5. Ponder ratio of mayonnaise to tuna on sandwich.

  6. Boss dies.

  7. Achievement.

  8. Congratulate yourself on being a skilled player.

Most likely to drive PUGs crazy for the next several months

There are a number of Cataclysm heroic achievements I've already gotten requests to do in PUGs, and they generally don't seem as frustrating to do as their Wrath counterparts. However, the difficult ones are real doozies at current levels of gear.

Of the Cataclysm heroic dungeon achievements, I can see Pardon Denied, Arrested Development, To the Ground!, and Headed South as being the achievements I would least want to do with a PUG for the following reasons:

  • Pardon Denied The split-second heal timing needed for this should scare anyone back into a guild run. It's not that the achievement's particularly difficult -- it's more that even a minor mistake means you'll have to restart the encounter.

  • Arrested Development This is another one that isn't particularly difficult, assuming your group executes it well, but ... I have had so many PUG failures on the Twilight Zealots that I'm hesitant to do it in anything but a guild group. All it takes is one person zoning out and not watching his/her Evolution stacks.

  • To the Ground! Springvale can be a touchy fight even in a guild group with predominately melee DPS, although I may have to revisit my opinion of the achievement's difficulty. Apparently, you can kite Springvale all the way to the dungeon entrance without his leashing at any point. Assuming you rooted or crowd-controlled the initial adds in or around Springvale's room, it's absurdly simple to kill Springvale during the kite and just forget the adds even exist.

  • Headed South This will become significantly easier with better gear, but even then it'll require a certain amount of coordination a bit difficult for most PUGs to pull off. I tend to agree with commenters singling this out as the most difficult achievement required for the Glory of the Cataclysm Hero meta.

The one where Ghostcrawler exacts revenge on us all

The Limnologist and The Oceanographer If these don't drive you crazy -- you must not be doing them. Remember how we've talked about the teeth-grinding, hair-pulling, scream-inducing RNG agony of One That Didn't Get Away? Congratulations! There are at least 6 "bloated" fish you'll need to get between the two of these that are just as bad, if not worse!

Working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on Azeroth's holidays and special events, including new achievements, how to get 310% flight speed with achievement mounts, and Cataclysm reputation factions and achievements.