MMORPG Info Logo New Achievement System

I have been thinking about this topic for a while, the idea of having Xbox Live style achievements in WoW. Blizzard appear to be thinking about the same thing, according to rumors of a new achievement system in Wrath of the Lich King, but how they are implemented is possibly the most important factor.

When I thought about achievements in WoW, I was hoping for a medal that would show to people: “I achieved that!” Currently I know very little about the level 70 standing next to me bar his title and a few details. I can see if he does much PvP, I can see if he does Arena and what rank he is, I can see who he ground rep for and if I look at his epics I can tell what raids he has been in.

That is about it though, for all I know the player could have been created a few weeks ago and power-leveled, he could be from the start of the game. I don’t know; that is the problem.

Now imagine for a second if you could see information such as “Downed Onyxia” or “Opened the gates of Ahn’Qiraj”. This would be something completely individual, I could see who this player was. I could see how long a player has been around, what he achieved and what he skipped. This could start conversations, cause crowds in cities, allow people to feel jealous of another player even though they had better kit.

There are bad points to this though, as have been seen in other games such as Guild Wars. People ended up simply grinding for titles, the equivalent system in GW, just so they had them. The game became focused around this endeavor and boring. It also caused people to require certain titles for entry into groups leaving those without titles to feel left out. It almost caused segregation of people who played to enjoy and people who played to have everything in the game. That could happen in WoW if achievements have an effect on the character.

The Kokatu write-up has an image which shows points for the achievements a la Xbox Live again, but as we all know – in WoW points mean prizes. If they make certain kit only available to people who grind achievements you will end up with yet another class of players who are overpowered down to having more time than someone else.

This could work if the rewards didn’t give a player advantages, but more token rewards, new mounts, new pets, reusable fireworks. Yes I know, I stole those from the WoW TCG rewards, but that system works, it gives people an incentive without it being used to advance their characters.

To give an overall impression, Blizzard need to think how to manage achievements if they intend to use them. They could work and give a whole new reason to play for those who are bored, but they must also ensure that by completing achievements people don’t get any tangible boost by having more time than the next guy. Though you could say, that having more time than the next guy sums up what makes MMO an MMO.



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