Chasing Achievements

Posted February 7th, 2010 by Kharin

I have often been amazed at what a dedicated WOW player …. no let’s be honest what I will do …. to gain a 10 point achievement.  A little over a year ago, my intrepid hunter almost gave up on her mad attempt to get through Corin’s Crossing, after dying for the fourth or fifth time with hardly any forward movement to show.  In her mid-40s, Eastern Plaguelands was a major challenge to her determination to complete Trick and Treats of Eastern Kingdoms.  She had already braved the Timbermaw tunnel for the equivalent achievement for Kalimdor but this was taking it to another level again.

DalaranSquirrel5 When, in mid-2008, Blizzard announced that they were introducing achievements, many players speculated about what rewards, upgrades or advantages these would bring.  After all, we werealready primed to grind or farm for higher levels, for gear upgrades and enhancements or for much coveted gold.  For the most part achievements have brought ephemeral, less tangible rewards – a flash of light, a distinctive sound and visible announcement of achievement to player, guild and nearby players; a probable “gratz “ (shorthand for congratulations) from fellow guildies and a warm feeling of accomplishment.  The more challenging meta-achievements can bring coveted titles, tabards, vanity pets or mounts.  Of course, not all players are as taken up with achievements.   I know several players who take little or no notice of them, who don’t get caught up in festival fever or are completely taken by suprise with various dungeon achievements flash up on their screens.   Yet for many players accumulating achievements continues to be very much part of the WOW experience.

Sometimes the flash of the achievement announcement catches us by surprise – as we go about our “normal” business of levelling, questing, venturing into new areas, improving our professions, fishing, cooking, eating, drinking, defeating instance and raid bosses or even falling over precipices.   Others require a lot more effort, research, planning and determination.   Before the arrival of achievements, I gave little notice the ubiquitous usually cute and always harmless critters – now, all my toons are on the lookout for squirrels, rabbits, frogs, fawns, skunks, penguins and marmots to “/love” and squirrels, snakes, spiders, beetles, mice and other designated pests to control.   Before, it never occurred to me that books might be readable, now I know which inns, libraries, and dungeons house the collection of Azerothian historical volumes or Dalaran mystical tomes.  My hunter main, like many others, has her eyes on the Violet Proto-drake (reward for fulfilling the various seasonal meta-achievements and which a number of players have had since last November) – hopefully in the next few weeks.  She can sport a variety of titles, including “Chef” and has “Salty” and “Loremaster” in her sights.  Yet that is nothing to the dedication by those who aspire to the recently introduced insane title, which requires an exalted reputation in some of the more obscure factions as well as the opposing Steamwheel Cartel and Bloodsail Buccaneers.

I have sometimes wondered what life would be like if our real life activities attracted similar acknowledgements – small but often and consistent celebrations of duties done, friendships made, new things tried.  What if there was an achievement for preparing a home cooked meal every day for five days (A simple repast), or for having cooked 25, 50, 100 meals (chef supreme) or an achievement for tidying one’s room, attending class, mowing the lawn, parenting children, mastering an new hobby, greeting the next door neighbours, helping someone in need, being good citizens, trying something new.  In reality, the rewards for these more mundane or more demanding activities bring more tangible,  less ephemeral though more long term rewards (happier and tidier households, academic and career advancement, happier neighbourhoods and communities, more interesting lives) yet they may attract little overt appreciation or celebration in the normal course of daily life.

In the meantime, my toons continue to chase those achievements across the continents of Azeroth and the remnants of Draenor.  My hunter did eventually give up on Cronin’s crossing – instead she rezzed at the graveyard and dashed across country to finally reach Light’s Hope Chapel (a case in point were sticking to the road was actually more dangerous than cross-country travel).   In a few short days she will be doing her best to complete a few remaining requirements of the Fool for love and Elder titles though at 80 the task will not be nearly so onerous.  And of course, there will be some real life tasks to complete as well.              :)


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2 Responses to “Chasing Achievements”

  1. CM

    Thought you might like to check out so that your links display the tool tips.

  2. Kharin

    Thank for this tip. It is now installed :) . Kharin