I have noticed a disturbing new trend in WoW. Achievements, something which to me signified a more fun, flippant side of the game, have become serious business. People are running around like mad grinding useless rep, farming totally bizarre items, and collecting very expensive mounts in order to gain as many achievements and titles as possible. Some of the titles are not especially exciting to begin with!
When achievements were first announced, I viewed them as a way for people to enjoy the lighter side of the game. "Sure, I may not have raided Sunwell… I wasn’t playing when Naxx came out – but I sure as heck managed to /love every critter in Azeroth!" There were achievements that people of all progression levels could look forward to attaining, as well as some which rewarded the people who completed the more difficult things, that sometimes can’t be attained anymore.
Unfortunately, the WoW player base seems to be forever determined to take a relatively fun idea and then suck every ounce of enjoyment out of it. I don’t know what it is about us, but we manage to do that all the time. The friends I have who have been grinding TOTALLY useless rep for silly titles aren’t enjoying the process as a rule. Who does enjoy doing the same old quests over and over, or farming immense amounts of runecloth? What for? An achievement and an unexciting title. Yay… all those hours of work to become Saresa the Diplomat. Too bad most everyone else and his dog has that title as well! How suddenly unexciting.
Then we have other achievements, which serve to demonstrate how much spare gold you happen to have lying around. Got 50 mounts! Good for you! What did that little achievement there set you back at, about 3 or 4k gold? Or the one that I myself am currently undertaking, which is collecting non combat pets (or companions). Not quite as huge a gold sink yet, but I’m running out of pets to get that aren’t in the 500-1000g range. All to get an achievement for other people to gawk at.
I will admit, there are some achievements which I am excited about. The Feats of Strength excite me simply because I can get something which demonstrates the rank that I had achieved under the old PvP system. Sure, it wasn’t a great rank, but it’s more than what some people I know got to. I think these might be a bit unfortunate for people who are new to the game and don’t get to ever achieve them, but there is little that can be done about that I guess.
Most of them though are just a way for Blizzard to create gold sinks. I guess it’s a plus that most people seem to be spending their gold on them before the expansion, which means we may see a healthier economy with everyone on a level footing (*fingers crossed*), but they demonstrate very little to me. I foresee a nasty future where people will be using achievements, not only as a point of pride, but also as a point of ridicule for other players. I am not looking forward to hearing people yelling ‘Noob you haven’t even got achievement x yet!’
Perhaps it is merely that achievements represent more senseless grinding added into the game… but I very suddenly do not like them at all. So much so that I may very well aim for ‘Achieving at Not Achieving – has not completed one achievement that required grinding something useless or unfun’. Wish me luck!