The OverAchiever: 3 things that should be achievements but aren't

Allison Robert
A. Robert|03.16.12

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The OverAchiever: 3 things that should be achievements but aren't
Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we wonder how to make more work for ourselves.

Not everything in the game is destined to be an achievement, but every so often you find yourself doing something and thinking, "Yes, I deserve 10 useless points for this." This feeling is most likely to occur while playing after a few beers and having one's sense of artificial outrage over the state of the world heightened for a bit, but sometimes you really find yourself wondering why demonstrable accomplishments in the game aren't actually achievements.

When I started writing this article, I toyed with the idea of including a list of (largely snarky) possibilities like the following:
  • Pugging an Outland dungeon that doesn't have a death knight in it. (Don't tell me that luck doesn't play a role in any achievements, because we all know it does.)
  • Successfully skipping Baine trash without anyone butt-pulling a mob pack and dying.
  • Participating in two hours of trade chat without the word anal appearing once.
  • Leading a raiding guild for one month or more without suffering a psychotic breakdown.
But these aren't achievements. They're myths, like unicorns and balanced budgets. Let us try to examine more reasonable suggestions.

Lashtail Hatchling

Debesun: (She's) done more to help me than most NPC's who tend to lazily stand around in the guest room of ICC until we've beaten the Lich King to near death for them to make their dramatic entrance and save the day.

This is one of Blizzard's best and yet quietest additions to Cataclysm, and it's certainly the most compelling way to get a noncombat pet. Hey! Don't sneak off, everyone out there who thinks pets are a waste of time. (All two of you.) You might change your mind about this one.

Without ruining the entire quest line for those who haven't done it, Alliance needs to start with this quest in Northern Stranglethorn, and Horde needs to start with this. You can get these as early as level 24, but here's the rub: You won't really be finishing them until level 85. In short, you'll be meeting a baby raptor whose lineage will be very well known to classic Zul'Gurub raiders, just as it's very well known to an aggressive NPC who plans to exploit your little buddy. Don't count on her being able to stick around for too long after her existence becomes known to another would-be owner.

When I finished the quest line on an Alliance character back during the beta, I sat back and was stunned at how much I'd started to care about this little pack of pixels running around with me and how disappointed I was that there didn't seem to be an answer to what happened to her. Turns out we just needed to wait until patch 4.1 and the reintroduction of Zul'Gurub to find out. For the length of the initial quest series, the storytelling pyrotechnics of the last one of the bunch, and having to return at 85 to a heroic dungeon to complete the story, I feel the Lashtail Hatchling merits its own achievement.

Oh, and there's a cute little bonus, too. Once you finally have your Hatchling, read the flavor text on her whenever she's summoned.

Hitting the gold limit

Yeah, I know. There's no way to make sure that someone earned this achievement by the sweat of their virtual brow, and Blizzard might well have a nightmare on its hands from people simply buying gold and maxing a character's gold limit with real-world money. There's no way to put this in the game and not have unscrupulous players doing exactly that. But for the dedicated and honest gold makers among us, it is a genuine achievement to reach the maximum amount of gold that an individual character can hold.

The limit used to be 214,748 gold, 36 silver, and 48 copper, but as of patch 4.0.1, it's 999,999 gold. However you choose to manage this -- whether it's farming (not likely), buying low and selling high on the Auction House (you capitalist scum, you), or simply posting goods for sale faithfully each day -- there's no denying that it took a lot of work and/or smarts to get there. And isn't that worth 10 points?

Doing content before a certain level of gear

Let's be frank, folks: Once you reach a certain threshold of gear, you don't need to play particularly well in order to clear content. People in ilevel 333 blues really need to know what they're doing in order to navigate, say, a heroic Grim Batol. (I wrote a Shifting in the very early days of Cataclysm to address what it was like to pugging in those days if you've successfully repressed those memories.) By contrast, people in ilevel 378 epics can afford to make a lot of mistakes. The same principle is at work behind the guilds trying to beat each other to world firsts on new raid content. They're not doing it with the benefit of gear from weeks of farming, which is a big part of why the raids are so difficult.

We've seen two examples of this appear within the game during Wrath of the Lich King (Herald of the Titans and A Tribute to Dedicated Insanity), but they were the only two of their kind and are now feats of strength. You couldn't fault the idea behind them, because 25-man and heroic gear made it so much easier for 25-man raiders to blow through 10-man raiding achievements. Herald of the Titans and Dedicated Insanity were tough (not least because they often meant farming "lower" gear to make sure everyone met the ilevel requirements), but they forced you to experience the content at its intended level of difficulty.

However, Blizzard's challenge modes in Mists of Pandaria sound as if they might be angling in this direction -- and I can't imagine that they won't reward achievements. This one might just be a matter of time.

Enjoy working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on patch 4.3 achievements, our guide to Mountain O' Mounts, and a good, hard look at what's wrong with archaeology and how Blizzard could fix it.
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