Most achievements are reasonably if not entirely equal in difficulty, regardless of the faction you play. (We could and probably should devote a column to the exceptions, but today let's restrict ourselves to the ones that will give you a cool black bear.) However, I think you can make a case that For the Alliance! is substantially more difficult than its Horde counterpart due to the changes made to Orgrimmar during the Cataclysm content patch.
Consider for a moment what each faction has to do for For the Alliance! or For the Horde!:
- If you're Horde, you'll face off against Tyrande and Velen in what are likely to be completely empty cities. (Darnassus and the Exodar are really only the haunts of low-level players and the occasional bank alt.) Ironforge has more people, but it's still rare (at least on the servers on which I play) to find a lot of high-level players there, and mounting a successful defense means travel time. Stormwind is by far the most crowded city and Varian is no bowl of chuckles, but it's still possible for a Horde raid to fly into the city from the northeast and start an attempt before Alliance players arrive from the central business district. The long hallway leading to Varian is also a good place to bottleneck the defenders.
- If you're Alliance, your two "freebies" arrive in the form of Baine Bloodhoof and Lor'themar Theron in the largely empty Thunder Bluff and Silvermoon, respectively. Like Ironforge, Undercity is more likely to have at least a few level 85 characters, but any other defenders will have to wait for zeppelins and/or flights. As for Orgrimmar ...
Here's the problem. In the run-up to Cataclysm
, Thrall got booted out into the world to bring shamany goodness to us like some kind of green-skinned Santa Claus, and Garrosh was promoted to warchief. The Horde's questionable hiring practices aside, this would ordinarily have meant just exchanging one unpleasant target for another, like the Cairne/Baine and Magni/Council swaps.
However, the redesign of Orgrimmar also put Garrosh smack dab in the middle of the city between the central Auction House and bank, where huge numbers of Horde players are guaranteed to be sitting around at any given time. Even if you're trying a raid in the wee hours of the morning, that's still likely to be the most crowded area of the most crowded Horde city. Garrosh's throne room is also quite small, and the tiny halls on either side that lead to it don't seem to be very effective chokepoints, if the Alliance raids I saw are any indication. If you can get through them, every single attacking player in the throne room will be within easy range.
For this reason, I would rank Death to the Warchief!
as the most consistently difficult among the achievements awarded for killing enemy faction leaders, perhaps too much so, and all because Orgrimmar's redesign has put Garrosh in a really unfortunate place for Alliance players to reach.
Having said all this, it's been a long, long time since I did these achievements, and I'm not sure if the Ironforge council is substantially harder than Magni used to be or if Baine's all that different from his dad. However, Malfurion
-- newly reunited with the love of his life
-- apparently does nothing as she's murdered in front of him, which I think ranks pretty high among the most unintentionally hilarious things in the game.
I'm curious. Has anyone out there done these achievements recently, and if so, what was your experience?
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