If you've been paying close attention to the Wrath of the Lich King Beta -- and let's be honest, how could you not? We've been covering it like crazy over here are WoW Insider -- then you might have noticed that Blizzard will be implementing a nifty little feature called Achievements. Of course, the first thing that jumped out at me (and probably you, too, since you're reading this column) were the PvP Achievements.
I didn't plan to pursue Achievements actively. Not before I heard about the PvP Achievements, anyway. Now, it's one of the things I can't stop thinking about... more accurately, I can't stop thinking of how to complete them. There are quite a bunch of PvP Achievements to pursue, and most of them will only be tracked once the expansion goes live. But there are also some achievements that you can start working on right now because they'll be tracked retroactively (as far as I can tell). Let's take a look at those Achievements so you can get them out of the way before Wrath.
One word of caution: all these Achievements are in beta and can change at any time before (and possibly after) the Wrath launch. So proceed at your own risk.
An Honorable Kill
This is a fairly simple PvP objective, and one that pretty much every player is bound to get. It has a retroactively measurable objective, the Honorable Kill, which is already monitored in the current game. Even if it doesn't unlock as soon as you log in to Wrath of the Lich King, it's certain to pop up once you get a kill in, say, the Battlegrounds. This is the first of a chain of Achievements that track everything from 100 to 100,000 Honorable Kills. If you want to rack up those Honorable Kills, you should probably hit up Alterac Valley right now. With any luck, you might get a few thousand HKs before Wrath hits the shelves.
Is 100,000 HKs an achievable goal? Mathematically? Sure. Realistically? Not as easily, no. The most logical place to farm HKs by the numbers is in Alterac Valley, where there are up to 40 opponents per side. Staying close to the action and dying less will help you get more Honorable Kills. With a bit of perseverance and being in the thick of things, it's possible to get about 100 HKs per game of Alterac Valley provided each side doesn't completely ignore the other and race towards the end -- which tends to happen (and you end up with a whopping 0 HKs). Do ten games of 100 Honorable Kills, and you've got 1,000 HKs in one day. Still completely doable. Now do this for the next 100 days and you're golden. The Honorable Kills Achievements are mostly a time investment more than anything. If you've been playing -- and PvPing -- for years, you should have a good head start.
Call in the Cavalry
Another easy Achievement that can be tracked retroactively, this Achievement requires possession or purchase of any one of the PvP war mounts. Old school players might have gotten this by attaining the obsolete Lieutenant General rank, which makes the current way of purchasing it -- with 30 Marks of Honor each from Alterac Valley, Arathi Basin, and Warsong Gulch -- a real walk in the park.
Gurubashi Arena Master / Grand Master
Ah, Stranglethorn Vale, the hotbed of PvP (or gankage, depending on how you look at it). These are two Achievements that you can work on while Wrath of the Lich King is still in the oven (freezer?). All it takes is participation in the Arena event in Stranglethorn Vale which happens every three hours. A chest drops in the middle of the Arena and is lootable by anyone as long as they're not in combat, and you can get a trinket that's required for one Achievement -- and 11 more of the same for the other.You'll have to fend for yourself while you're doing the event, but there are a couple of things that can help.
First, do it in the off-hours such as 3am and 6am server time. This will normally mean less competition. Even more deviously, you can transfer to a brand new server to ensure minimal competition and transfer back to your old server after a month. Since you'll need to loot the chest twelve times, it'll take some time for you to complete this, anyway. You can also bring friends to help as the spells and attacks of players in your party will not affect you. Just make sure you've arranged to loot the chest yourself. When you've finally collected all twelve Arena Master trinkets, don't turn them in just yet. You can wait until Wrath rolls around so you can get credit for both the Arena Master and Grand Master Achievements in one go.
The Conqueror / The Justicar
Older players will have an easier time with these Achievements as the pressure of playing or grinding the Battlegrounds has been spread out over the years. Even with the revised Reputations, grinding to Exalted with Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin can still be a painful process, so it's best to start now. This is pretty self-explanatory as the titles are eponymous; all it requires a time investment. Fortunately, Alterac Valley reputation gains are pretty rapid, so the most important thing is to focus on Warsong Gulch. Make sure to play during the Battleground weekend, as Reputation gains during this period are much better.
Hero of the Stormpike Guard / Frostwolf Clan
This is an Achievement that you will acquire on the way to earning the Conqueror or Justicar titles and Achievements. Getting to Exalted with the Alterac Valley factions is the easiest of all Battleground reputations to grind, specially during Alterac Valley weekend, so you shouldn't worry too much about this one. Many players will get to Exalted with Frostwolf or Stormpike effortlessly as Alterac Valley is the most efficient place to farm Honor in the game.
Knight of Arathor / The Defiler
Similar to the previous Achievement, this is something you pick up on your quest to become a Conqueror or Justicar. On normal days, accumulating 200 Resources will garner 10 Reputation with the related Arathi Basin faction, or 100 Reputation for every win. During Arathi Basin Holidays, the Reputation ticks are at every 150 Resources, or 130 Reputation for winning. There are also Arathi Basin-related quests obtainable in the Arathi Highlands that give Reputation, so don't forget to pick those up.
Silverwing Sentinel / Warsong Outrider
Arguably the most difficult of all the Battleground reputations to grind, this achievement is the last big hurdle to obtaining Conqueror or Justicar. Each flag capture awards 35 Reputation, with a bonus of 10 during the Holidays, so it sometimes happens that you can play an entire (long) game of Warsong Gulch without gaining any Reputation. If you're determined to obtain The Conqueror or The Justicar Achievements, Warsong Gulch is the place to start... or quit.
Frostwolf Howler / Stormpike Battle Charger
Worth an affordable 30 50 Alterac Valley Marks of Honor, these faction mounts used to be purchaseable with Gold upon hitting Exalted with the respective faction. Newer players no longer have to worry about the Reputation requirement so this should be one of the easier PvP Achievements to attain.
To the Looter Go the Spoils
Unless it actively requires you to loot the item yourself in the Battleground, here's another Achievement that you can work on right now. Simply obtain this rare gray item either by looting it within Alterac Valley or lucking out at the Auction House. The way Achievements work, you should get credit simply by having an Autographed Picture of Foror & Tigule in your inventory.
Freedom of the Alliance / Horde
If you are a hardcore PvP'er, this Achievement isn't just easy, it's a requirement. No self-respecting PvP player will be caught dead without a Medallion of the Alliance or the Horde, or one of their predecessors. This is another easily managed Achievement, and probably one that every PvP'er would be embarrassed not to unlock.
There you have it. As far as I can tell, these are primarily the PvP Achievements that you can concentrate on in the game right now. Most of the objectives of the other PvP Achievements -- the particularly fun ones such as Wrecking Ball or That Takes Class -- don't seem to be among the variables tracked by the current game. Don't worry, though, when the time comes, I'll talk about those fun Achievements, too. Right now, anyway, there are enough goals for players to busy themselves with before Wrath of the Lich King finally unleashes itself upon us. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to grind my way to a hundred thousand kills...
Zach Yonzon writes the PvP column The Art of War(craft) while desperately trying to find players to kill in Alterac Valley, where nobody seems to be interested in PvP anymore. He would also like to teach his daughter the meaning of 'instagib'.