Friday, July 18, 2008

WoW Achievements: Whatever, Blizzard

Via Wrath of the Lich King Achievements will be added to World of Warcraft. While fan reception has ranged from "zomg awesome!" to "zomg stupid!" I'm left trying to best articulate how little I care.

My issue is twofold. First, Achievements are not new. Let's say that there is an Achievement of "Win 10 games of WSG in a row." If you win 10 games of WSG in a row you get that achievement. But one can already perform that task; one can already set a goal of "win 10 games of WSG". Achievements take content which already exists and adds a new database to record what a player does. Second, Blizzard has said that achievements may provide prizes such as "tabards and pets", which is Blizzard code for "aesthetic changes". So Achievements will not be a new path to a sword of +500 to awesome but rather Achievements will be a method by which players can get a green tabard as opposed to the presently available blue one. Yawn.

I'm not going to begrudge Blizzard for adding Achievements. But I will ask why anyone cares. When I asked my guild why anyone would care the first response was "E-Peen", which at first made me chuckle but now leaves me perplexed. E-Peen is about being better than other players, amassing more of a given thing. And while Achievements are, indeed, statistics to amass they have no impact on gameplay, on a player's abilities. Why should I care that you or I can win 10 games of WSG in a row if doing so does not improve our characters? If a player achieves 300 achievements their character has not changed, has not access new useful gear or currency. They just have a 300 next to their name in a database. Whoopty shit.

I can understand accumulating and taking pride in the acquisition of a means or a gameplay impacting end. Accumulating Gold is sensible. Accumulating Badges of Justice is sensible. Accumulating pvp points, arena points is sensible. Accumulating Honor is sensible. Accumulating better gear is sensible. But accumulating numbers in a database which have no impact on gameplay, which afford a character, at best, access to aesthetic modifications? Why would anyone care?

I won't go so far as to say that Achievements are a way for noobs to feel as if they are accomplishing something; that would be needlessly mean. I'm not going to say that Achievements distract players from meaningful, useful pursuits in the game; who am I do declare what is meaningful? But I will say that I do not care about Achievements at all. If someone wants to focus on Achievements and increase those numbers in that database? Awesome! Good for you. But as for myself? I'll be busy in Sunwell trying to get my Sunflare.


kylebrown said...

.. modern MMO's are already achievement oriented. Beating bosses begets gear only avaialable from said bosses, thus achievements.

_J_ said...

Yup. And a few other MMOs have added an Achievement system which is nigh-exactly what Blizzard is talking about.

I'm not angry at them for adding's just something else in the game for me to ignore.

I just don't understand why people are excited about it.

_J_ said...

The other part of this?

Let's say they add a "Clear ShadowFang Keep" achievement. Will level 72 characters be running SFK just to get the achievement?

It's a very interesting carrot and stick situation. Here's all this content in the game no one explores anymore. But when Blizzard says "We'll give you a number if you go do X" some people's dicks and tits perk right up with excitement.

_J_ said...

Past _J_ is a noob.

Future _J_ just passed 10,000 achievement points.