Archive for the ‘Achievements’ Category

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A, No. 6

The sixth round of the Ask the Devs Q&A chats have finally been posted over at the official blog, and the answers are pretty interesting. If you didn’t know already, this round focuses around the topic of guild advancement. As always, I’ll highlight some questions I think are particularly interesting from the roundup – not everything. For the full transcript, head over to the blog and check it out!

Without any further ado:

Q: The guild perks system makes it unnaturally hard to start a new guild, since a guild without all perks is at an obvious disadvantage in recruitment. In addition, it rewards just recruiting random people (who might only care about the perks) to get guild XP. What are your thoughts on this? Will it be addressed? – Lolisa [Europe, English], Mith [North America]

A: We knew when we decided to add guild features for Cataclysm that this was one of the risks. If the guild perks and rewards aren’t interesting, then there is no motivation to join a guild or work to improve your guild. On the other hand if they are too powerful, then you feel shackled to your old guild, even if it’s not a healthy relationship for you. We were careful to only choose perks that didn’t contribute to player power, and we let you keep any rewards you earn if you ever have to leave your guild. The perks are nice, no doubt, but you’re going to have less fun in an established guild of jerks than you would starting your own guild with fewer perks.

We don’t think recruiting random people is healthy for a guild. Rewards are never going to be a substitute for strong social ties. We really encourage as many people as possible to seek out guilds (and we hope the new Guild Finder will help with that), but joining a guild at random will likely end in tears.

On the other hand, there may be some benefit to having less churn on starting guilds. Before Cataclysm, some guilds would get started halfheartedly and then crumble again after a few weeks or months. Maintaining an active guild asks a lot of the guild master and leading officers. If you join an established guild in Cataclysm, hopefully it will continue to be around for awhile. But because of reputation, even brand new guilds may seem like a more serious option than they were before Cataclysm, since the founders of the guild know that anyone interested is likely looking for a long-term home and are not just hopping from guild to guild.

This is a good one, and something that’s been on my mind for a while now – makes sense it’s the first question. Honestly, the questioner does have a good point – some people just won’t join a guild without the perks, but I have to agree with the devs that in most cases, people won’t stick to a cruddy guild because they have the perks, and people won’t skip over a great guild without perks for a bad guild that has them. Still, I could see this being tweaked a bit over time.

Q: Are you planning to address the issue of Guild Leaders mass kicking members, once the guild reaches level 25? – Bloodbliss [North America], Юхани [Europe, Russian]

A: We don’t really have any interest in controlling who a guild leader chooses to kick, or when. Guilds are fairly transparent and simple player-run groups, and we have to be extremely careful about what systems we implement that impact how people can operate their guilds. We could absolutely make it more difficult for guild leaders to kick their members, and that might help very slightly with these situations, but the result would actually be that guild leaders would just be much less likely to invite new members. We want people to be in guilds, as opposed to making guild masters afraid that if they invite someone they may never be able to kick them if they don’t work out.

Allowing players to keep some level of guild reputation is an option we can look into to help with this situation, though.

Wow – I suppose it’s just an indicator of how little time I’ve had to really get arms deep into the game lately, but I didn’t even know this was an issue. That’s a pretty cruddy thing for a Guild Leader to do, honestly. I see why Blizzard doesn’t want to get involved, but I can see how it would be a problem. Don’t expect Blizz to do too much until it gets to fever pitch, though.

Q: Are we going to see guild houses someday so we could finally get a special gather place for the guild, to meet and interact easily? – Ellidryl[Europe, French], Греланд[Europe, Russian], Ledieri [Europe, Spanish], Bodywreckér [North America]

A: Guild housing is something we have discussed many times. It would be neat to have a place for people to hang out, but every time it has come up as a possibility we don’t think that is worth the amount of time and resources it would take to implement (and do it right). This is one of those features where if we ever decided to do it, the benefit would have to outweigh other content we could be working on. Also, we don’t feel that we need any new ways for players to hide themselves away. If possible we at least like people to be hanging around in the cities, if not out in the world. We know that many guilds, despite lack of official guild housing, have designated meeting locations throughout the world, which we think is really cool. If you don’t have one yet it might be something to explore.

Ah, the old guild housing question. And, of course, the answer that Blizzard has given us many many times: they like the idea, they really really do like the idea, but they just don’t think it’s high enough on the priority list at this point to take development time away from other tasks. Interesting. I wonder if it’ll ever be high enough on the priority list – it’s been something people have wanted since Vanilla.

Q: Are there any plans to allow for easier alt access to the same guild rewards as someone’s main character? Perhaps some kind of +rep item that is BoA and can only be bought by an exalted character? – Serule [North America], Xheevas [Europe, French]

A: This is one of the main reasons 4.1 has new guild tabards with 50/100% bonus to rep. We made sure to place these at friendly and honored so they would be easy to obtain by alts. We are considering adding an even larger bonus to an exalted, BOA version as well. Great minds think alike!

Hah! Awesome – I was wondering when this was going to happen, and sure enough, we have it already. Well done!

And that does it for another round – we skipped a lot of questions this time, but they’re all pretty interesting. Make sure to read the full thread for the whole scoop!

Video :: How to Win at Achievements

The venerable WoWCrendor is at it again, this time with a video that’s pretty timely considering just last week the Blizzard developers answered all of your questions about achievements. Predictably, it’s called How to Win at Achievements, and it’s hilarious. …not to mention accurate.

I mean seriously, it can be pretty crazy sometimes.

That said, I love them.

Notes from the Blizzard Developer Q&A, No. 5

And we’re back to another Blizzard Developer Q&A – this time the questions and answers focused around achievements! As usual, you can find the full thread here, and we’ll take a look at some of the questions and answers that I found most interesting. Ready? Let’s go.

Q: Will we ever be able to spend our achievement points on something? Or will there be a feature where it will be required to have x amount of points? – Nordicberry (Europe [English]), Hogosha & Wulkuhr (Europe [German]), Neroth (Europe [French]), Kularia (Northa America/ANZ), Trafalgarlaw (Latin America)

A: We want Achievements to remain as an optional thing you can do as bragging rights, or to challenge yourself. As soon as we add any kind of player power, or use them to gate anything, then they feel mandatory for a lot of players. In fact, we think one of the reason achievements are fun is that the drive to complete them is totally up to you, which keeps them (hopefully!) from feeling like a chore. If you want to go after some achievements that’s a choice, and choosing not to care about achievements doesn’t mean you’re making your character less powerful.

We do offer pets, mounts and titles for specific achievements, and we’re unlikely to ever do anything much more “mandatory” than those.

So essentially, this translates to “Don’t hold your breath.” Which I don’t entirely mind, honestly. I think that there are enough must do things in the game without making achievements one of them – enough point systems and enough things that you do to earn other things to spend on more things. Achievements? I’m fine with achievement hunting being something you do to get titles, or something you do a lot of and get a special award. Sure that means achievement points aren’t terribly useful right now aside from being a status symbol, but you know – I’m okay with that.

Q: Currently, the achievement rewards are more focused to common tasks, such as raids, events, PvP. Have you considered creating achievements with rewards that ask to do crazy things around the world, like for example, soloing bosses or mobs, or more achievements like the “Jenkins” one, that are meant to do crazy things. – Thodyr (Europe [Spanish]), Khaelthas (Europe [French]), Assmira (Europe [German])

A: We like for achievements to be fun, but we don’t want for players working on achievements to have a huge negative impact on other players. At first glance, soloing a boss mob might sound like a decent achievement. But consider that if the achievement is very easy to do then hitting all those dungeons may just feel like a chore. On the other hand, if it’s challenging to do then we suddenly have to go back and worry about class balance in a way we never had to before. Blood DKs for example excel at soloing older bosses because of their self-healing mechanic, but the same isn’t true of most other classes and specs. We try not to have achievements that require you to ask your group to do something really bizarre or not fun. “Run a dungeon without picking up any loot,” would just be frustrating every time you had to debate with your group whether you were going for the achievement or not. “Jenkins” is fun for a silly achievement, considering its history, but too much of that sort of thing would get tedious pretty quickly.

Wow – that’s actually a really interesting answer to a question that a lot of players have had. It’s difficult to walk the line between giving people really fun and interesting achievements based on fun and interesting things to do, and then giving someone something to do that winds up being a bore or a pain in the neck for other people you may be playing with.

I think there’s more of a dividing line though – Blizzard could very easily make some solo achievements that reward really amazing feats – like many of the ones that already exist – without upsetting gameplay for other players, so there’s room to maneuver. I like to think they’ll take it, but we’ll see.

Q: There are still no Achievements beyond “Collect 75 unique companion pets”. Can I expect a reward for 100 companion pets in the future? – Whitewnd (Korea)

A: Patch 4.1 has achievements for 100 and 125 companions. Those particular achievements don’t reward pets, but we’ll probably do another reward at some tier in the future, perhaps 150 or 200 pets.

Oh crap. I know some pet collectors that are going to freak right out with this news.

Well then – that does it for this round! There were tons of great questions this time, although many of them seemed to expound on one another and essentially come down to limitations of how the game was designed. We’ll see how Blizzard adapts or changes those features in the future.

What about you? Any questions about achievements you would have asked the devs that weren’t included? Let me hear them in the comments!

World of Warcraft’s 6th Anniversary – November 23, 2010

Next week, it’ll be six years since World of Warcraft hit store shelves, launching an empire that’s expanded across three expansion packs and over 12 million subscribers and growing. The game is still the defining title in the MMO genre, and it’s easy to forget that when the game launched there were questions over whether a subscription game could ever be popular, even if it was from a game developer with other successful titles under its belt like Blizzard.

The debate over subscription versus free-to-play seems to be a long ago echo in the past now, and there’s no doubt that even today MMOs copy the most successful elements of World of Warcraft to power their own titles and draw in subscribers or free-to-play players looking for an alternative experience. Even so, our beloved WoW wasn’t entirely original in its own right – it relied on tried and true methods of gameplay and mechanics, visuals, and techniques borrowed from the MMOs that went before it in order to become popular.

To celebrate, everyone who logs in gets a feat of strength achievement to celebrate the birthday – but if you didn’t play last year, where we all got the Baby Blizzard Bear for logging on for the 5th anniversary, you’re out of luck – there’ll be no anniversary pet this year! According to a blue post on the forums, Blizzard wants to reserve the pets for the special, significantly numbered anniversaries and occasions.

Pre-4.0.1 Madness

With Blizzard officially announcing the release of Cataclysm, the question now becomes when does 4.0.1 drop? There has been much speculation based on the hidden patch notes, what has been live on the PTR, what’s available and tested on Beta, etc. So many rumors, but no concrete evidence. One Tuesday we’re all going to attempt to log in and see that we have on our hands a hefty wait time while the game patches.

So many changes are awaiting all of us when path 4.0.1 becomes live on the servers, but what does this mean to the players? First, the talent changes we’ve all been hearing about will finally be a reality. Which means all of the players will be learning how to play their characters all over again. Playing the game will suddenly be brand new for all of us, all over again.

We’re also going to see a new Launch Client (screen shots available at, Reforging goes live, Flexible Raid Lock System (this should have been implemented a LONG time ago, imho), the new Glyph system becomes active and the new currency changes also go live. (via PTR 4.0.1 Patch notes).

However, this means Zul’Gurub is officially going to go. As are weapon skills. What last minute achievements are you trying to get before they’re removed from the game?

Master of ArmsDid Somebody Order a Knuckle Sandwich

I’ve been working on [Master of Arms] on my Druid. She just recently got [Did Somebody Order a Knuckle Sandwich?] leaving her with only one more weapon skill left before completing [Master of Arms]. I’m also considering working on [Hero of the Zandalar Tribe] since they’re taking away Zul’Gurub.

What achievements are you trying to score before they become Feats of Strength? Anything you’re terribly sad to see go? Are there changes you’re glad to see happen? Or are you one of those who are not at all lured by achievements at all and thus are just ready for Cataclysm to release already?

Video: I’ve Been Everywhere

I can blame this one on as well, although I don’t particularly want to – this little I’ve Been Everywhere parody featuring locations in World of Warcraft is particularly interesting and heartwarming because after all, when Cataclysm hits, it’ll all be completely different from what we see in this video.

The best part is that – well, I don’t want to spoil the very end, but it’s particularly gratifying, and yes indeed – he has been everywhere. Head over to YouTube to watch in it’s full glory!

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Warcraft 2009 Year in Review


2009 was quite a year for the World of Warcraft – the launch of Wrath of the Lich King was late 2008, and most of us spent the holidays and wee months of 2009 exploring Northrend, the announcement of the next expansion, Cataclysm, a host of incredible changes to the game, from the Dungeon Finder most recently to the ability to change your character’s race to the announcement of a Warcraft movie (and it’s director).

Over at Blog Azeroth, an interesting shared topic came up for this week: to do a common retrospective against the previous year and some of our personal highlights. The questions are really thought provoking, so let’s give them a whirl:

  • What did you do in the World of Warcraft in 2009 that you’d never done before?
    * Leveled a second 80! This may surprise a lot of you, but I’m pretty casual. I love to run dungeons and raid, but I’m not on every night, and I’m not on for hours every time I’m on. The weekends I can find myself playing for hours on end, but I had only had one character at level cap since vanilla. I changed that this year by leveling my ret pally to 80. I still don’t play her as much as my main, but she’s there if I need her.
  • What was your favorite new place that you visited?
    * This is a toughy. I suppose I would have to say it was Howling Fjord – up until then I had pushed all of my characters through Borean Tundra, since that’s the zone I played in beta and I really liked it. Howling Fjord didn’t disappoint, either. A lot of the zones in Wrath are gorgeous and I’m glad I visited them – places like Grizzly Hills (which I really really like even though a lot of people seem to hate it), but Howling Fjord was probably my favorite new place.
  • What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
    * More raiding time! I’ve been so busy lately that even if I had an easy way to raid, I wouldn’t be able to. I don’t mean to imply that I want to join a hardcore raiding guild – I like the casual and laid-back attitude of my current guild and I don’t want to turn WoW into a second job, but I would like to experience a little more of the endgame. I’d also like to level some more classes and alts. Are those contradictory?
  • What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    * Completing the Argent Tournament, repping all cities, and earning not just Champion of the Alliance, but Exalted Champion of the Alliance and Exalted Argent Champion of the Alliance, complete with all of the titles and reps and everything. A close 2nd is my World Explorer title and achievement.
  • What was your biggest failure?
    * I really regret not finishing What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been. Stupid Children’s Week came at the worst possible time and I didn’t finish it. Now that Winter Veil is over, it’s literally the only thing between me and a Violet Proto-Drake.
  • What did you get really, really, really excited about?
    * Cataclysm, easily. In fact, I’m still excited about it. More so than Icecrown Citadel, more so than the Argent Tournament. I’m incredibly eager for it, for the new races, and everything about it sounds amazing and interesting.
  • What do you wish you’d done less of?
    * I wish I’d done less waiting around for things to happen. My guild, as I’ve mentioned previously, is super-casual, so I tended to just sit and wait for things to happen to me, for runs to form or people to take leadership roles. The dungeon finder changed all of that, but I was already on the path of making new friends, leveling more characters in different places, and positioning myself to get more out of the game than I felt I was, all without leaving my beloved friends in my current guild behind.
  • What was your favorite WoW blog or podcast?
    * The Azeroth Metblogs, of course! Okay, okay – when I’m not writing here, I’m usually reading or Aspect of the Hare. When it comes to podcasts, I loathe to miss an episode of the WoW Insider Show (the podcast of or RawrCast – since they’re back to back I tend to catch them live.
  • Tell us a valuable WoW lesson you learned in 2009.
    * I learned that the World of Warcraft is full -literally full- of players of all different types and personalities. There’s absolutely no excuse to stay in a situation you dislike, or play with people you hate, or be lonely in this game. There are guilds galore, all of them recruiting and all of them taking new players, and regardless of how you feel about the game, there’s bound to be a community somewhere, either in-game or out-of-game, that’s likeminded as you. WoW is a social game, so go make the best of the whole Massively Multiplayer part of MMO and meet people! I learned to!

There you have it! The week is winding down, so there are plenty of similar responses from elsewhere in the World of Warcraft blog community! Check out some of them here at Twisted Nether’s Shared Topic: Year in Review!

So what about you? What did you accomplish in 2009 that you’re really proud of? What are you looking forward to in 2010?

Do You Have Your Perky Pug Yet?


The pug is finally mine (as you can see above, that’s my screen cap), but I have to admit, that hundred random people came and went pretty quickly. Before the patch came out, I thought it would be pretty difficult to group with a hundred random people and get the Perky Pug, but once I got started using the Dungeon Finder, it was all downhill from there.

The same has been true across the realms too, I’ve seen more and more people flying the title “The Patient,” which comes with the achievement for grouping with 50 random people, called Looking for Many, and some people running about with their new pug pets after having completed Looking for Multitudes.

I’ve seen praises and horror stories about the Dungeon Finder so far, especially over at the World of Warcraft LiveJournal Community, where both the hate and the love is running wild and rampant.

If you’ve been running instances using the dungeon finder, whether you love it or you hate it, how are you coming towards your title or your Perky Pug? Are you running for badges and gear upgrades, or are you running for lack of anything better to do? Maybe you have your pug already? Let me know in the comments!

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