- The act of accomplishing or finishing.
- Something accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill, practice, or perseverance.
Achievements can either be mundane — the simple act of completing a task — or so much more — a courageous act or just recognition for a task performed well, faithfully, and correctly. It seems the developers of Blizzard thought that both types of achievements should be rewarded and forever logged in the annals of our personal histories, the Achievement System.
Personally, I like the achievement system. Every time that little brown box appears on my screen I feel like I’ve gotten a gold star on my personal report. However, I always feel that I’m not living up to my full potential. Part of the problem is my propensity to create alts.
Whenever you create an alt, you are suddenly faced with the road to 1000 achievements again (ok, not quite — more like 986, but still). While some you will gain in the course of leveling — every 10 levels, basic profession work, a stray dungeon or two with a random pug or with a friendly run-through — the biggies, the ones that garner the best rewards, Titles!, take a ton of time, money or both.
Generally, I just can’t garner the enthusiasm to work total achievement domination on more than one character. Even then, the grind, the drudge, the sheer time-sink that is achievement whoring doesn’t fit in well with how I view my playtime. Dungeon & raid achievements I enjoy — I like raiding, I like killing things without anyone dying or by making the boss do aerial acrobatics, but completing every quest in the game — on multiple characters — is just more than I can manage.
That being said, sometimes I think achievements are just a waste of my screen real estate. Oh, wow, I got an achievement for level 30. Do you know how many level 30 characters I have? Level 30 isn’t an achievement or a landmark in any sense of the word in my view of myself or of my character’s progress. Ditto for basic profession achievements — like Professional Grandmaster. Of course I have that — everyone should have that! Shouldn’t they?
Which brings me to my last question — what is the role of the achievement system in how we view, not only ourselves (ego boost anyone), but more importantly, other characters?
It is becoming common occurrence for players to ask for links of certain achievements in order to invite on raids. Granted they’re generally pugs, but it makes achievements serve the same purpose as gear score — a simple evaluation of your character based on one set of factors that you either pass or fail.
In some ways, this is a good thing (hold the tomatoes please). I know when my guild was recruiting prior to Ulduar’s release, we were attempting to build a very strong raiding group that could clear Ulduar quickly — a progression guild. We had a multitude of applicants, and I was a little shocked and dismayed at the number of people who claimed they had cleared content, on that character, and it was not reflected in their achievements. Granted, you can know your role to take down a boss perfectly and still be with a team that cannot execute the skill — but a kill is a kill, and a dead group and living boss does not equal cleared content.
Going back a bit further to my first raiding guild — I was a class officer, and part of the screening process was to meet the applicant toon to toon to evaluate their gear and determine if they were raid ready. Obviously this was way before armory, but the point is, when tools are available to evaluate a character, they are used — and to many people, achievements has become another way to evaluate a person’s toon.
While I wouldn’t withhold a raid invite to kill Hodir if that player hadn’t already killed Hodir (asinine) I might withhold a guild invite if I was looking for a raider for top-end content, and I could not find a lick of raid experience in their background.
In the end, I think the achievement situation has morphed from more than it was originally designed to be. I personally love the feeling of *woot-eh* when I finally tackle a long sought after achievement — whether it be getting another vanity pet for my rather small collection, or downing a raid boss without deaths. However, there are implications to the achievement system beyond the personal satisfaction that achievements can bring. Whether they are any better or worse than current “quick survey” type options of evaluation, such as gearscore, only the community at large can say.