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Ask the Devs round 5 achievement questions answered

Ask the Devs, Blizzard's developer community question and answer feature, continues with round 5, an in-depth look at achievements detailing the difficulty of changing achievement, making certain rewards account-wide, and whether removed content is ever going to be a part of the game again. Check out the full question and answer session after the break.


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Q: When will achievements finally be awarded account-wide? – Larosh (Europe [German]), Eneia & Payasos (Europe [Spanish]), Rageudder & Kellgros (Europe [English]), ??????? (Europe [Russian]), Nyn (North America/ANZ), ?????? (Korea)


A: Making achievements Battle.net account-wide is something we'd like to do, but it's not a goal we could provide a current timetable for. All of the original World of Warcraft coding was done with the expectation that the data on every realm would always be independent. Now that we are trying to make as many things as possible account-wide, we're having to rebuild all of those systems. It is absolutely something we want to do, but it will take a lot of time away from other features.



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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.


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Q: Do you plan to implement more achievements directly linked to professions or classes? – Cith (Europe [French]), Tsuteymanga (Europe [English]), Sergan (Latin America)

A: Until we can do Battle.net account-wide achievements it would be pretty cruel of us to offer achievements for say Illustrious Grand Master Alchemy, Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting on the same character. The same is true of classes. The best we could to today would be to have something like "Land a Pyroblast for X damage" and have an equivalent one for all 10 classes, since you could get only one. We do have more room with the guild achievements, since not every task needs to be completed by one player. We'll continue to look for fun achievements for Cooking, Fishing, First Aid and Archaeology until then.


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Q: Will we ever see a change to the Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin exalted achievement /reputation grinds? While normally a fan of time consuming achievements, these two seem to be a tad excessive. Warsong moreso as you can go entire games without gaining any reputation at all. You could in theory lose every AB you ever do, and eventually get exalted at a "reasonable" pace. Perhaps award rep for Flag returns, killing efcs, capping bases, HKs similar to Alteracy Valley, etc. – Idkmybffyata (North America/ANZ), Lunaticheart (Korea)

A: We think those are fine as achievements. They definitely take a huge time commitment, but so do some of the other achievements. And you don't need to get them for the meta achievements.


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Q: As some achievements like The Keymaster and the Shen'dralar reputations have been removed, have you considered creating a Feat of Strength for those achievements or is it possible that we get them back in the future like normal achievements? – Enarhion (Europe [Spanish]), ??????? (Europe [Russian])

A: We added a Feat for Exalted Shen'dralar rep in 4.1. We're unlikely to add a Keymaster feat.

We added the Keymaster achievement and then almost immediately decided to deemphasize the existence of keys in the game, and thus removed the achievement. Unfortunately it probably isn't even possible to track who had the older keys now.


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Q: Guild Achievements related with professions are much more difficult than other Guild Achievements. Is there any plan to give a chance for small guilds to get those Achievement rewards? –???? (Korea), Joq (North America/ANZ)


A: We think some of these are way too high and we plan on lowering them to more sane numbers for 4.1. The Pen is Mightier glyph achievement for example would have been reasonable with the old glyph model but is ridiculous today. We were waiting to collect some additional data from guilds currently working on those achievements, but we feel like we have enough information now to lower them. Pen is Mightier for example will go from 25,000 glyphs to 2,500 in 4.1.


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Q: I'd like to see the achievement system become more active and dynamic, will we ever see achievements that unlock quest lines, dungeons, or other Easter egg content as a reward for dedicating so much time in Azeroth? – Grandevil (North America/ANZ)

A: Probably not. As we said above, we want Achievements to feel optional. Some players don't care for the game of collecting pets or mounts, so they still feel like they can opt out of achievements. If there was a cool quest line involved, then players who felt like they could safely ignore achievements in the past would now have to go back and play catch up. If you are doing achievements today, it should be because you like to do them, not because you're hoping for some additional reward to materialize in the future.


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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 a fun for a silly achievement, considering its history, but too much of that sort of thing would get tedious pretty quickly.



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Q: Will we ever see a "search" feature in the achievement window? That's a lot of achievements to search through if you're looking for something specific. – Grandevil (North America/ANZ), Lonik (Europe [Spanish])


A: Yes, this is something we plan on doing. The current UI makes it hard to find specific achievements. There are several places in the current UI that could benefit from a smarter search.


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Q: Will you ever bring back the mounts for achievements that were removed (Naxx Glory runs) as you didn't remove the later mounts? – Joyia (North America/ANZ)


A: This is a tough one. On the one hand, we know there are a lot of players who would still like to get their hands on these mounts. On the other hand, we were pretty clear that they would only be available for a limited time, and we hate to go back on our word because we know some groups went through heroic efforts to get them before the door closed. This is the kind of thing that is not set in stone and player feedback might eventually convince us to change our minds.


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Q: The Achievement reward for "What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been" still remains as a purple proto-drake, which is a WotLK model. How about coordinating the color of the reward upon each expansion theme? – Shory (Korea)

A: The issue with meta-achievements like this is deciding how to structure them for the future. Do current players with the achievement just get a new mount every expansion? Do the old mounts go away and the new mount replaces it? Do we require you to just do one additional holiday and now you can get a second mount? We added Long Strange Trip when achievements first went in the game, and we didn't always do a great job of designing some achievements with expandability in mind. If we had made the Long Strange Trip reward a protodrake at level 80 and then had a new achievement for doing the holidays again at level 85 that rewarded a different drake, then we might have some easily expandable content. We didn't do that though, and it's hard to go back and mess with existing achievements, especially ones that were hard to complete.


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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.


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Q: Are we going to see more PvP achievements that reward mounts? Currently most of the cool mounts are awarded for PvE achievements. – Demodras (Europe [English])

A: PvP achievements are even trickier to design than PvE achievements because it's harder to come up with something cool to do that doesn't make the experience worse for everyone else. You don't want to see the one dude who is trying to engineer capturing and losing a flag twenty times in one BG just so he can get the achievement for capturing a lot of flags. As a result, many of the PvP achievements are just for winning a lot of Arenas or BGs, which we feel already come with a lot of rewards. On that note, we are adding unique ground mounts to winning Rated Battle Grounds similar to the flying mounts you get for excelling at Arenas.


This round of questioning felt a little more mundane than the last, impressive round of questions and answers, mostly because achievements are not a super-exciting topic, in my opinion. However, it was interesting to see Blizzard talk about the removal of certain mounts from achievements, most notably the Naxxramas meta-drakes and how it's loath to bring those back. When the Ulduar meta-drakes were introduced, Blizzard said very specifically that it would give us a 2- to 3-month window before it removed the mounts. They never were removed. So, in my opinion, bring them back. They were some of the coolest proto-drakes, and I don't think anyone is really going to care about three-year-old complaints -- plus we get to keep some of the old content relevant and fun.

Check out our coverage of the previous Ask the Devs Q&A sessions:
WoW Patch 4.1 is on the PTR, and WoW Insider has all the latest news for you -- from previews of the revamped Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub to new valor point mechanics and new archaeology items.

Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

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