I love achievements, but sometimes you look at them and realize that somewhere on the development team lurks a sadist of the highest order -- and not just any sadist, but one with a business plan and an unwitting audience of 12 million players.
What are evil achievements? They're the soul-killing rep grinds, the raiding milestones that required sacrificing a farm animal to get, and even fun pasttimes like battlegrounds into which a sizable dose of misery has been added. Eventually you just want to grab the nearest developer and shake him back and forth, screaming, "What the hell were you thinking?"
Below are three of my top picks as the most evil achievements in the game, chosen via the scientific rationale of hating life and myself while doing them. They're selections from a lengthier OverAchiever I've been slowly assembling on the 25 most evil achievements in the game. While my main's a hair's breadth from the It's Over Nine Thousand! feat of strength, there are still quite a few achievements (many of them PvP-related) that she's missed, and I think it's pretty easy to underestimate the agony-value of achievements you haven't personally done. So, rather than simply ignore them, I'd love to get some commenting feedback on the worst, most annoying and most soul-destroying achievements of which you've been a part.
Some may disagree on the ultimate difficulty of the following three achievements, but I remain undeterred from my belief that every single one has been milked from the angry teat of Satan himself.
The Conqueror (Horde) or The Justicar (Alliance)
Once upon a time, getting exalted with all three battleground factions was -- while no cakewalk -- much easier than it is now, because you could turn in battleground tokens for rep. So what makes this such a nightmare nowadays?
While farming Stormpike/Frostwolf rep in Alterac Valley is pretty easy, any rep for the Arathi Basin or especially Warsong Gulch factions could charitably be described as "laborious." Arathi Basin is bad enough (we've all had an endless series of slow-bleed losses with three enemy nodes to our two and a relentless pack of zerging opponents, I trust?), but Warsong Gulch is just hell.
The Sentinels and the Outriders, the silliest and least pragmatic of all three BG factions, only cough up reputation for each successful flag dip. Not only does that mean that each reputation gain is zero-sum -- the enemy teams can't dip a flag at the same time -- but it also means that your ability to farm rep is entirely dependent on how well your faction tends to play WSG. If you have the bad luck to play on a battlegroup where your faction consistently loses -- or, much worse, when your opponents have mastered the art of the turtle -- it's going to be a long, horrible slog toward exalted.
Even if your side plays well and caps all three flags, the most reputation you can ever get per game is 105 rep (or a whopping 135 on a holiday weekend). Given that Warsong Gulch also bears the traditional distinction as WoW's most-hated battleground despite the improvements, have fun with that!
Mention this achievement to any tier 7 raider and that's when you'll pinpoint the origin of that troublesome facial tic. Or that pained press on an abdomen, and you realize -- that's when the ulcer started.
Immortal required you to do something deceptively simple: get 25 raiders through a full Naxx clear without a single death on a boss fight. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Keep in mind that, with the health pools and damage of even well-geared tier 7 raiders, this amounted to spending the entire evening in Naxx without anyone in the raid making even a single mistake or disconnecting. Tier 7 was also in the thick of the "Additional instances cannot be launched" plague, and on many battlegroups, instance servers were overcrowded and horribly laggy. On more populated servers, it wasn't uncommon to see players raiding in the wee hours of the morning in a desperate bid to avoid half the raid's disconnecting on Heigan.
Of course, you could lose Immortal to bugs too. On an attempt that nonetheless wound up being successful, we had a Shade of Naxxramas spawn on the raiders on the undead side of Gothik's room in the middle of the encounter and start AoE shadowbolting everyone. Cue screaming on Vent, and it was only through our healers' quick thinking and everyone blowing their cooldowns in unison that nobody died. Apart from that, my guild had four heartbreaking Immortal losses -- two to raiders who panicked on Thaddius, one to a Frost Blast on Kel'Thuzad, and the last on another Kel'Thuzad kill when two healers running to an off tank both got Frost Blasted at the same time.
Our sister guild lost Immortal when a priest stepped out from behind an ice tomb on Sapphiron's aerial phase half a second too soon, and then lost it again the following week when a warrior let Commanding Shout fall off immediately following Gluth's Decimate. Guilds pass these awful little stories around like talismans of collective misery, and my personal favorite was the (possibly apocryphal) story we heard about a guild starting to celebrate with Kel'Thuzad at 5% -- and then a paladin got Mind Controlled and cast Divine Intervention on one of KT's adds. If you didn't laugh, you'd cry.
Every Immortal attempt turned an otherwise relaxed Naxx clear into an edgy, nervous affair for everyone, with raiders irritated with each other over the smallest mistake or connection issues and horrible silences in Vent after the almost-inevitable first death. Past a certain point, our raiders simply refused to do it anymore. It wasn't worth what it was doing to the guild, and being unable to control the endless number of ways you could lose it without anyone actually being at fault could drive you to drink.
Oh, and here's the other kick to the teeth: just about every 25-man raiding guild worth its salt had a few people sitting on the bench each night, so if you did manage a successful Immortal and wanted to get all of your raiders their titles and drakes, you had to repeat Immortal.
That's right, folks; the reward for managing one Immortal was doing it all over again! Pass the Maalox.
We recently talked about this meta on the site, which was actually what spurred me to start a top 25 list of evil achievements. Accomplished Angler is so stuffed with RNG that you could theoretically get the whole meta-achievement in the space of a single day -- or, like me, you could be slogging away at it more than a year into Wrath (and that's leaving aside the year it took to get Mr. Pinchy's Magical Crawdad Box back in BC).
There are three huge RNG additions to the meta, and an extra one if you'd like the only mount attainable from fishing:
- Master Angler of Azeroth: Win the Booty Bay or Kalu'ak fishing contests. The problem with Master Angler of Azeroth is that, at most, this limits the potential supply of "Salty" titles to 104 characters on your server per year, and that's assuming that a separate person wins each contest once. Beyond that, there's a heavy dose of luck involved with both contests. You could argue that the Kal'uak version is nothing but luck, as it involves fishing up the first of a rare-drop fish only attainable during the event and hightailing it back to Dalaran to hand it in. You might nab the Blacktip Shark on your first catch, or you might be like me and still be there 30 minutes later wishing you'd padded the wall before you punched it.
- One That Didn't Get Away: Fish up one of the incredibly rare fish that, players estimate, have anywhere between a 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 10,000 drop rate. The kicker? Almost all of them come from low-level fishing areas with virtually no chance of dropping anything else worth a damn during your statistically long and lonely quest.
- The Coin Master: Fish up all of the coins tossed into the Dalaran fountain. Can you fish up the same coin multiple times? Yep. Is there any way to increase the odds of getting that one last infuriating coin you need? Nope!
- Bonus RNG: Turtles All the Way Down: Fish up a Sea Turtle from any Northrend pool. Like many dedicated fisherpeople, I've been emptying out the Fangtooth Herring schools in Howling Fjord in the hopes of condensing the hunt for both a Sea Turtle and the rare-drop Dark Herring. Unlike many dedicated fisherpeople, I've been that at this for well over a year now.