Last week we took a look at some of the Battlegrounds Achievements that can be unlocked in Wrath of the Lich King and examined how they could change the game for the better. Goal-oriented Battlegrounds PvP is certainly something to look forward to in this age of mindless fighting in the mid-field or roads. Having Achievements certainly make it prone to the glory hounds, but it also helps to keep everyone's eyes on the prize.
Eye of the Storm
Because it's a new Battleground not associated with any faction (which makes me feel like I'm not fighting for anything worthy), there's no reputation to be gained and no associated gear to be obtained. This means that there are virtually no retroactive Achievements for the Eye of the Storm. There is the basic Achievement of Eye of the Storm Victory, which all but the most hapless and luckless of combatants will get. There is the Eye of the Storm Veteran iteration, which requires 100 wins in the Battleground. Not quite as easy to get, but most of us will get there eventually.
Then there are the fun personal Achievements, like the Bloodthirsty Berserker which will have many players going after the Berserker buff in the Battleground. The reverse Achievement is Take a Chill Pill, which can be unlocked by killing a player with the Berserker buff on. The trouble is, too many players already get the Berserker buff without knowing what it is or being able to use it properly. I've seen players get the buff while guarding a node in Arathi Basin or Eye of the Storm and do... absolutely nothing -- until the buff runs out. The buff lasts a mere one minute, so don't waste it by taking it when there are no enemies in sight. Furthermore, having the buff also means increased damage so please, for the love of the Light, try not to take the Berserker buff when you're carrying the flag.
As far as flags are concerned, there are a lot of flag-related Achievements for EotS. The most basic one is Storm Capper, which requires capturing the flag and should be easy enough for anyone to do. If you get to do that three times in a single match -- without dying -- then you're Bound For Glory. Not as easy anymore, specially considering your opponents are also gunning for Stormtrooper, which is unlocked by killing five flag carriers in one match. The ultimate flag Achievement is Storm Glory, or capping the flag while controlling four towers. To make things interesting, there's an Achievement called Thanks for Keeping it Warm -- kill a flag carrier, take the flag, and capture it. Fun times.
Some Achievements will be impossibly hard to obtain without a pre-formed group, such as the Battlegrounds standard Flurry, which unlocks when you win the match in under 6 minutes. This is usally done by controlling all four towers, which puts you well on your way to Eye of the Storm Domination, which is done through winning via 4-cap 10 times. If you're truly dominating, then The Perfect Storm -- or winning 2000 to 0 -- should be a reasonable goal. While you're at it, you might as well go for That's Gotta Hurt to add insult to injury by killing an opponent still on the starting rock. My personal favorite is the Stormy Assassin, which can be done solo. Simply get five Honorable Kills at each of the towers and you've got a shiny new Achievement to show off.
My only real concern here is the focus on flag-related Achievements. This will result in more morons running for the flag even with only one tower controlled. To get a decent match, there need to be Achievements focused on capturing or converting the towers. Anyone who truly knows how to play Eye of the Storm knows that tower capture is equally -- if not more -- important than capturing the flag because flag captures scale with the number of towers you control. Furthermore, the point gain of the faction controlling three towers will outpace constant capping with only one tower.
Ah, my favorite, sickly Battleground. If there's any Battleground that will greatly benefit from Achievements, it's Warsong Gulch. While the changes have gone a long way towards eliminating ludicrous 4-hour games, it still needs an extra push in the right direction. Here's one instance where I don't mind the number of flag-related Achievements at all. Before anything, however, it'd be good to note that you can pursue one retroactive Achievement in Warsong Gulch right now by becoming Exalted with the Silverwing Sentinels or Warsong Outriders.
Let's go over the basic stuff that most players will get at some point without even trying. A Warsong Gulch Victory is a win, Warsong Gulch Veteran is a hundred wins, and Warsong Gulch Perfection is a win of 3-0. Pretty much everyone will get all three Achievements, it's only a matter of when. If you're extremely lucky or with a good pre-made group, you can even get Warsong Expedience, which unlocks through winning in 7 minutes. If you're the flag runner in these pre-mades, you might even get Quick Cap if you grab and capture the flag within 75 seconds. Stock up on those Swiftness Potions!
Alright. Now the fun stuff that I think will really help Warsong Gulch revolve more around the Capture-the-Flag concept rather than Kill-at-Midfield. The most simple Achievement related to this goal is appropriately named Capture The Flag, and its hardcore mode Ironman, which is unlocked when you capture the flag three times during a single match without dying. I think we can safely say that those silly little Druids will have that Achievement locked up for quite some time.
On the other end of the spectrum, we've got Frenzied Defenders, those who are able to click fast enough to return the flag five times in a single match. I think I'll have a bit of trouble with that one with my Southeast Asian ping, but I think it'll be a lot of fun to try. Capturing the flag won't be as easy with the Not In My House incentive, which is obtained by killing ten flag carriers in your flag room. I think it lends itself too well to turtling, which has always been a Warsong Gulch problem, but it could probably work out.
Persistent Defender awards consistent performance over a period of time, unlocked after returning 50 flags in the Battleground and Supreme Defender is the über version at 100 flag returns. An interesting one with a small window of opportunity is Not So Fast, which requires killing a flag carrier under the effects of the speed power-up. And finally there's Save The Day for those on offense, unlocked by killing the enemy flag carrier.
These Achievements look pretty good, although there just seem to be a lot focused on flag and base defense. One of the toughest things in Warsong Gulch is breaking a team turtle with over half of the opposing team just sitting in their flag room swatting would-be flag captors. Several Achievements reward that mentality, so I'd like to see more Achievements focused towards getting the flag. I know the basics have been covered, but a few more creative ones could probably tilt the game towards a faster pace, such as picking up the enemy flag after it's been dropped or kiling X players near the enemy flag carrier -- essentially more incentives for going on the offensive. Matches break down when both teams buckle down on defense, slowing the pace considerably. Warsong Gulch is such a small Battleground that games need to be fast and furious.
Tiny reservations aside, I'm extremely excited at the prospect of PvP and Battlegrounds Achievements. Even though some concerns include a return to the status quo when everyone has gotten their Achievements, I am inclinded to think otherwise. First of all, there are just too many players for everyone to get all the Achievements in a short time. It will take months and months before enough players unlock most of those Achievements, and there are always new players and alts of old players to consider.
More importantly -- and this is my ultimate hope for Battlegrounds Achievements -- I am hopeful that these personal goals that contribute towards the betterment of the game will educate players about what is important in a match. By pursuing these Achievements, I'm hoping that players will see results and find that staying focused on the Battlegrounds' objectives are the best way to go. We'll have to wait and see.
<-- Read Part I
Zach is an optimistic PvP devotee who writes the weekly Battlegrounds column The Art of War(craft) between fixing his key bindings, eating his gorgeous wife's baked goodies, and chasing his hyperactive daughter all over the room.