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The OverAchiever: Q&A on account-wide achievements

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Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, things are about to get a little easier.

Between Ghostcrawler's blog post and Zarhym's additional notes on the forums yesterday, we now know a lot more about how account-wide achievements are going to work. No preamble this week, folks -- let's get right to it. A lot of questions were answered, but there are still a few unknowns.

Question: Will all of my achievement titles be accessible from every toon?

Answer: Probably, but there may be restrictions on their use.

I've been looking to farm some nice titles out to alts that have done absolutely nothing to deserve them (who isn't?), and what we do know is that Blizzard's looking for a way to do this. From how GC's written about it, I'm wondering if this might actualy go live after Mists of Pandaria has already shipped, because Blizzard's talked about the technical limitations previously, and it's apparently still at work on it.

We also don't know when these titles will become universally accessible. For example, your level 1 monk may not get access to Kingslayer until level 80 or Defender of a Shattered World until level 85, which is sensible insofar as my level 1 monk was not in much of a position to save anyone with Jab as the full extent of her repertoire.

For now, put this firmly in the category of "Probably going to happen, but don't expect a firm date."

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Question: What about stuff that isn't level-restricted, like tabards and pets?

Answer: Same deal.

While this is just a guess, I expect it'll work in the same fashion that creating a new character with account-bound pets like Deathy and the Core Hound Pup. Anything that rightfully belongs to a character on your account (for example, Loremaster's Colors, the Celestial Dragon, or Tabard of the Achiever) will either turn up in the mail as a character is created or (much more likely) be accessible from within the user interface.

The proposed system might also neatly solve a problem that players have been asking about for years now -- namely, getting a tabard UI. If Blizzard's able to successfully program account-bound tabards and pets, there's no reason I can see why that same centralized UI program can't remove tabard clutter from our bags.

Question: What's the deal with account-only achievements?

Answer: They're designed to reflect what you've done on your account, and not on a specific character.

The two categories for account-only achievements that Ghostcrawler references are:
  • Achievements that are impossible for a single character to do (for example, level all the game's classes to 90).
  • Really time-consuming or work-intensive achievements that become more reasonable when all the characters on your account can contribute to them.
It probably helps to think of the latter as somewhat akin to the requirements for guild achievements, I think. Guild achievements are designed to be the product of a lot of characters, not just one. Account-only achievements are likely to be a somewhat less onerous version of them, because there's still just one player involved, albeit on multiple characters.

Question: What about pets and mounts that aren't specifically linked to achievements? Do I get those from every character?

Answer: Yes, with a few exceptions.

This system is already partially active on the beta. However, GC's pointed out that faction-restricted mounts (for example, the Frostwolf Howler, Crusader's White Warhorse) will not be universally accessible; you'll only be able to ride the mounts to which your character's faction would ordinarily have access.

Unknown right now is whether you'll get the equivalents of faction mounts, that is, if you automatically have the Venomhide Ravasaur on Horde characters if you have the Winterspring Frostsaber on an Alliance character. I think you will, because you can't possibly have access to both at the same time. However, they're still separate achievements. People who have paid to switch factions have found that they keep the mount itself but not the associated achievement.

So -- again, just guessing here, and it's entirely possible that I'm wrong -- if you bop from your level 85 Horde warrior with the Ravasaur to your level 73 Alliance hunter, your hunter will have access to the Frostsaber in his UI, but you will have to do the Winterspring quest series in order to get the associated Feat of Strength.

Question: Why won't reputation be account-wide?

Answer: Who cares? You can already get the most important stuff with one character at exalted.

I would argue that reputation stopped being a major problem around the time that head and shoulder enchants (such as Arcanum of Hyjal, Greater Inscription of the Storm) became account-bound. (Granted, the shoulder enchants from Therazane still aren't.) In addition, the most valuable rewards typically available at exalted -- pets, mounts, and titles -- will become account-wide anyway.

Other unheralded benefits of account-wide achievements?
  • Not having to go insane over getting We Had It All Along (cough) on an alt you almost never play. (One of my guildies got this completely by accident on an otherwise unexceptional alt. At the time, it was one of only three achievements that stood between his main and Battlemaster. It would not shock me if real, live tears were shed at the computer.)
  • Not having to repeat School of Hard Knocks on every single alt. (What's that sound I hear?)
  • Not having to sob in endless despair over getting One That Didn't Get Away on a bored alt killing time at the lake in Mulgore.
  • Rocking a mount like Invincible on a level 20 hunter. Incongruity is funny. ("Yeah, I killed Arthas and took his horse. What of it?" "You're AFK in the middle of Westfall and you just died to a pig.")

Enjoy working on achievements? The Overachiever is here to help! Count on us for advice on patch 4.3 achievements, our guide to Mountain O' Mounts, and a good, hard look at what's wrong with archaeology and how Blizzard could fix it.

Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

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