Warring perspectives on account-wide achievements

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Warring perspectives on account-wide achievements
2 warring perspectives on accountwide achievements
Yesterday, with a speculative post on twitter, I unwittingly started a bit of an argument between a few of my friends about the 5.0.4 changes to achievements. I didn't mean to, I had been reading the comments on The Queue and was not hugely surprised to note that I was not the only person who wasn't jubilant at the changes.

I am ever the partisan, and try to consider both sides of every argument when making a decision, but at this point I can't quite decide whether I like the new achievement system or not. Why? Well, let's see.

Making the meaningless less meaningful

I was kind of upset at the changeover from Wrath to Cataclysm at the disappearance of the Wrath and earlier talent trees. If you weren't around for those, they were gigantic behemoths of talent trees, far larger than the Cataclysm ones, and featuring far more talents that addes 1% damage onto something, or reduced a cast time or cooldown by some insignificant amount. I didn't miss them because I mourned the loss of any particular aspect of them, or felt they were more complicated or clever, but because getting a talent every level made going from 23 to 24 feel like something meaningful.

With the introduction of account wide achievements, I feel like the same has happened again. No, it's no big deal to get Giddy Up! on your 12th character, no more than it was on your second, but it marked a milestone, and on every character I've leveled I've anticipated the shiny bar streaking across my screen twice at level 20, and looking at my achievement log and seeing another little bit completed that was greyed out before. It's positive reinforcement, and provides a little motivation for me in the lower levels. I also have a sneaking suspicion that, psychologically, easy and reinforced progress may be a big motivator in this game, for me at least. Just to be clear, I do know you still get the toast!

And no, of course you're right, getting those easy low level achievements is no big deal. It really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. It's not that I'm taking them seriously, it's just that they were old friends who popped up every now and then and said "Hey! Nice work punching all those goats again. You're doing great! Have some points!"

Making the meaningful less meaningful

Another aspect of the new talent changes was what really heated up the twitter argument from last night. A friend of mine was, and still is, rather unhappy that the Bloodthirsty achievement is account wide. For her, it diminishes the impact and meaning of an achievement she worked for years to get. The fact the title which she felt was so important is now available to a level one alt makes it less meaningful to her. Of course that level one alt doesn't have 250,000 honorable kills, it's level one! This achievement comes under Ghostcrawler's blogged category of "achievements that are just brutal to complete on one character," and as such is account-only.

And I can see the sense in it, I really can. 250,000 honorable kills is a complete pig of an achievement to get on one character, and arguing to the contrary is probably the same as saying that only 0.1% of players should be able to beat heroic raids and that the Raid Finder should be closed down because it caters to casuals. But, while I completely disagree with the latter two statements, I can see where my friend is coming from. Perhaps modifying the titles to something along the lines of "the original Bloodthirsty" would help, so that there's a way to discern those who really did kill 250,000 people on one character from those who didn't.

And yes, I totally agree that it's the player who got the achievement. I really can see that perspective. But consider for a second that you're getting people for a rated battleground team, and there's a player with a mage. Their mage has the Bloodthirsty title. Before, you'd know for sure that that mage had done some serious PvP. You'd know that they likely knew their class inside-out and would be an asset to your team. Now, they could have got that title on their warrior and never played a mage in a battleground at all. Yes, it's still the player, but, in a PvP context, being a great warrior does not make you a great mage. And it meant that the old Bloodthirsty player had stuck by their class through all the ups and downs, not just picked whatever was the "flavor of the month" class and facerolled people in battlegrounds.

But, on the other hand, PvP experience on any character is a huge help, and furthermore, nobody would require the Bloodthirsty achievement for entry onto a rated battleground team. And I agree with Ghostcrawler that it's a seriously hard achievement, and that getting it done across several characters is as much of an achievement as getting it done on one. One forum commenter made the valid point that Bloodthirsty is an achievement that just takes time, while Gladiator is an achievement that takes skill on a certain character or class, which is why that isn't an account-wide title. And that makes sense. It is, of course, the player that gets the achievement.

My reputation, Iago, my reputation!

10 achievement points to anyone who gets that reference! Account-wide, of course. When thinking through the still-unresolved discussion above, I began to wonder why reputations weren't being made account-wide, when achievements were. At first, I thought they would be, which made me deliriously happy, but my happiness was quickly deflated when Zarhym clarified that they wouldn't be.

I still think it's a bit odd that your achievement screen shows that you have the exalted achievement for a given faction, but not the exalted reputation itself. My priest, who was rolled purely for PvP and therefore cares not a jot for reputation, has the 10 exalted reputations achievement, but only one exalted reputation. She has no benefit from my main's reputations apart from the achievement in her log, and the points on her tally. I'm hoping that this is something that will be rectified, somehow!

Mounting concern?

None of these are really big issues, more observations. As I've said, I really don't know how I feel about them! I have a sneaking suspicion that, just like every single time Facebook changes their layout, I'll get used to it, then eventually forget what it was ever like to be without all my mounts across every character. I don't know how I feel about that either, by the way. I remember how I got almost all my rarer mounts, and how I considered what I wanted to go where, and so on. Each more unsual mount has a little story.

But, on the other hand, it's really handy having the touring rocket on every character, and really cool having the pets, too, especially with pet battles impending. It means I can do pet battles while I'm waiting for dungeon queues on all my toons, not just the ones that actually have more than a core hound. I wonder if my core hound will level up on all my characters, or just the one that plays it ...

But anyway, with all these warring perspectives, I don't know what's right and what's wrong. I don't know whether one disadvantage outweighs one advantage, or where I stand on the whole thing. How about you?

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

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