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 pastimes 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?"
Welcome back to our series on evil achievements, which has encompassed the following articles:
- Evil achievements: Spotlight on Justicar/Conqueror, The Immortal, and Accomplished Angler
- Evil achievements: The 25 most evil achievements, #25-16
- Evil achievements: The 25 most evil achievements, #15-5
5. Bane of the Fallen King/The Light of Dawn
This would be the other Wrath encounter we've referenced that raiders think equals the Yogg + 0 level of difficulty. I'll admit to debating whether to switch the position of this achievement with Yogg + 0 on the list. The Icecrown Citadel raid buff will make heroic Arthas easier in a way that Yogg will never see, because so much of the latter's difficulty lies in mechanics unaffected by gear. But then I thought -- there are a few other achievements on our top 25 list that are going to get the hell of a lot easier in future expansions, and the list is really nothing more than a record of its time anyway. Why not include what's undeniably the hardest fight in the game as of May 2010?
And it's a very hard fight indeed. I'm not sure how to put this apart from stating it as baldly as possible: heroic Arthas is a fight of unmatched brutality. Apart from his ability to two-shot a tank in full heroic Icecrown gear, he's got a whopping 103 million health on the heroic 25-man version. To give you some perspective on just how jaw-dropping that number is, heroic Blood Queen Lana'thel -- a largely stationary encounter with huge damage buffs -- has 71 million health.
Granted, you "only" have to DPS through 90% of Arthas' health, but you'll spend most of the fight trying to survive some of the ugliest boss abilities known to man. The Shamblers from phase 1? They gain an enormous damage buff once their health hits 20%. Those pesky val'kyr? They've got 3 million health each this time around, and even though they'll drop players once they hit 50%, it still means you have to do 1.5 million damage to them in a matter of seconds. Afterwards, they'll just hang around up top, blithely casting Drain Life on whoever's got the most threat on them. Infest? Any healer will do for that damage, as long as that healer's a disc priest. And you shoved as many paladins into the raid as you could to Aura Mastery your butts through the worst AoE, right? Right?
Heroic Arthas feels like the result of a threesome between the fabled guild-killers M'uru, Illidan and Felmyst. Your raid, as with Yogg + 0, must play perfectly. You can't afford bad latency, framerates, disconnects or players with suboptimal anything. You can't afford to have a single player botch positioning or their rotation. Even assuming you manage to survive all of Arthas' little tricks both inside and out of Frostmourne, there's still the specter of that nightmarishly huge pile of HP, taunting you with just how slowly it drops.
Paragon first made the kill with only five healers (all of them, I imagine, miserable), because they simply could not lose the damage brought by an additional DPS -- and that was with the 5% zone buff. We're now at 15%, and only 25 guilds worldwide have managed even a single kill. Keep that in mind, all you future players reading this aged historical web page and snickering to yourselves over the thought of a "difficult" heroic Arthas.
4. All raiding "realm-first" achievements
Many of the "Realm First!" titles for raid content are amazingly cool, but I've never been entirely comfortable with them. They're restricted to 25-man raiders and restricted still further to the 25 people you have in raid at the time. It's a problem to which I suspect most raiders who've worked for these achievements can relate; the people who are in the raid when you get the kill aren't necessarily the people who've put the most work into the encounter, or even a fair representation of the players who are normally on your roster.
How so? Realm-first kills on truly difficult content usually meant you customized the raid to the demands of the fight. That's great if you were a warlock for Yogg + 0. It wasn't so great if you were, say, an enhancement shaman. It's great if you were a shield tank on heroic Anub'arak or Algalon. It wasn't so great if you were a death knight or a bear. Did you drop everything you were doing to level as fast as you could for things like Conqueror of Naxxramas or Obsidian Slayer? Or did you -- crazy person that you were -- actually want to enjoy Northrend rather than speeding through the content at a breakneck pace?
No malice was intended by the existence of these achievements -- I don't think there's any way to code for an achievement to go to a player who put a ton of work into an encounter, only to lose out if they couldn't be there the night the raid finally managed it -- but frankly, it sucks. Having to pick and choose who got into a raid for things like Celestial Defender or Grand Crusader was a terrible, demoralizing and potentially guild-breaking thing to do, and I have yet to meet a raid leader who didn't feel unhappy and guilty about the people who were left out.
No matter the achievement, someone in the guild probably got screwed.
3. Alterac Valley All-Star/Arathi Basin All-Star/Not Even a Scratch/Isle of Conquest All-Star/Save The Day
Rather than clog up the top 25 list with nothing but horrific battleground achievements (of which there appears to be a disturbing parade), I decided to plug a sample of the worst into the top five and knock We Had It All Along down a few pegs.
Now, I'll freely admit to resenting these achievements perhaps a bit more because I'm a healer, and if the opposing team has half a brain in their collective head, they will target and annihilate me first. But even beyond that, most battleground achievements just aren't suited to healers anyway, and particularly not the following:
- Alterac Valley All-Star This is the kind of achievement that would have been perfectly suited to the time when AV matches could stretch on for days. Right now, it's a teamwork-phobic joke. Regardless of whatever offensive or defensive push your faction's scrambling to make in order to win the match, you're going to be off doing whatever objective you've got left for the achievement, which not infrequently involves capping or defending graveyards that your team prefers not to have.
- Arathi Basin All-Star I would rank this one as slightly more forgiving than its AV cousin, but the principle is still the same: "Would you guys mind if I absented myself from whatever fight you're involved in, so I can sneak in here and cap or defend a flag? My achievement is more important than whatever I might have contributed to your survival. Thanks, you're a pal!"
- Not Even a Scratch Anyone who has played a single PUG Strand of the Ancients game will instantly understand the difficulty of not losing a single siege vehicle. When the strategies being bandied about for this include: a.) driving the vehicles into the sea and leaving them there for the duration of the match, and b.) praying the opposing team is AFK, something is very wrong.
- Isle of Conquest All-Star At first, this may seem somewhat easier than its AV and AB cousins, but what the achievement doesn't tell you is that you need the killing blow in order to get credit for destroying a vehicle. Oh, and that that portion of the achievement is not infrequently bugged. Have fun struggling through the other three objectives only to reach that point!
- Save the Day This has happened to me exactly twice in three years of playing. Unhappily for yours truly, both occurred before the achievement system went live.