Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WoW achievements: Less rewarding, but funnier names

I'm still enjoying the WoW achievements and using them as an excuse to hunt down hard to find quests. When I get tired of footing it through the less populated portions of Azeroth I take a break and do some leveling in Warhammer. Switching back and forth between the two games keeps things interesting though it also makes some things stick out. In particular. the Tome of Knowledge seems a bit more rewarding then the achievement system in World of Warcraft. There's no doubt that Mythic put more effort into their system, just look at all the unlockable journal entries. If you want that kind of detailed lore about World of Warcraft then you have to visit the nerds at WoWInsider. However, even if you exclude the lack of lore tracking it seems like that there is just less achievement in the WoW achievement system.

I guess it makes sense if you look at some of the differences between the two games. As Rohan was talking about earlier the unlocks for the Tome of Knowledge are largely hidden from the player. There are some hints in there, but it doesn't just come right out and give you a list of all available titles, tactics, and trophies. I guess it makes sense that Warhammer has more fluff rewards in their achievement system since it's slightly harder to earn them. Not that all the rewards are cosmetic since apparently there are some tactics and ability rewards which make you more powerful against other races. World of Warcraft on the other hand just seems to have titles and a few other rewards. And a lot of those can only be partly earned until Wrath of the Lich King come out.

Over all it seems that the WoW achievement system was an idea that was implemented half way. You can kind of tell just by the fact that achievements give points. Why give points if there's no rewards you can buy with them? There's already a tracking counter for how many achievements you have completed overall. I find the point system suspicious and think it hints that the original intention was to have purchasable rewards. Whether the idea was changed because of design constraints or lack of developer hours, I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if developers were yanked off the achievement system to finish the expansion on time. I mean who knew that achievements would be so popular that they would cause the instance servers to crash?

If you want my conspiracy theory the achievement points were probably planned for the character customization feature. Maybe instead of paying gold at the barbershop you would be charge achievement points or required to have earned a certain amount of them. The other darker thought was that the future paid character customization feature was going to run on achievement points until Blizzard decided to go micro-transaction. Either way the blues are coming across strong that achievement points are just for tracking purposes. It's too bad since it really detracts from the overall value of the achievement systeml. If there was a system for spending the points then maybe it could maintain it's popularity with the players. As it is now I can't help but think that most players will forget about them once the expansion comes out.


minabelle of earthenring said...

I quit WoW 2 years ago and I never thought I'd go back... until I saw the achievements. It's exactly what I wanted; credit for stuff I was gonna do anyhow. It's like boyscout badges. The pleasure is in the collecting and comparing. The best thing is that many of the achievements can easily fit your own play style. You can do it with a group or solo it. You can get world exploration achievements at level 70 or level 7 (if you're willing to die for it). And you don't have to kill 1500 furblogs just for faction rep. So Wrath of the Lich King? I could care less. Long live the WoW scouts!