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Filed under: The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Guide to Hallow's End 2012

Headless Horseman comic.
Every week, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. Today, our yearly sugar rush.

Hallow's End 2012 begins on Thursday, Oct. 18 and runs through Wednesday, Oct. 31 this year. As with most of the game's holidays, Hallow's End is required for the yearlong meta What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been that grants the Violet Proto-Drake. Completing the required Hallow's End achievements will also award the title the Hallowed.

Last year, Blizzard added some major updates and improvements to the holiday, one of which completely eliminated the hassle behind one of WoW's most hideous RNG nightmares, and one of which left us with two very badass non-combat pets. In essence, Tricky Treats -- once a vomit-inducing item that dropped in spades from the holiday boss, the Headless Horseman -- are now a form of currency that players can use to buy pets, masks, wands, and other holiday items. 2011 also introduced a new set of quests associated with Hallow's End, one of which sends you into an enemy city without the fear of ugly death.

Bottom line: If you weren't around for last year's holiday, a lot of stuff may interest you this year. If you were around for last year, you'll still be interested, as the Headless Horseman's set of dropped epics are a lot more compelling at the beginning of an expansion. Hardcore achievement hunters will also be pleased to note an additional 10 points in the form of Tricks and Treats of Pandaria.

As with most of our holiday guides, I've arranged the achievements in the rough order they should be completed, noting which achievements are required for the meta and which aren't.

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Filed under: Events, Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: That Rabbit's Dynamite!

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, the shadow of a nameless, albeit cuddly, fear.

One of the problems with WoW's complexity is how difficult it is to write about anything that you haven't personally done. As a result, most OverAchiever columns are about achievements I've either finished or am actively working on, in the hopes of avoiding outdated or inaccurate information. However, this week's option cracked me up so much that, even though my guild's largely on break until Mists of Pandaria hits, I kind of have to write about it.

Today, dear readers, we are going to address a brand-new achievement, from what is currently the most dangerous raid boss in the game as of patch 5.0.4:

The killer rabbit of Darkmoon Island.

Stop laughing and get back here. That rabbit's dynamite.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: 3 achievements to stop slacking on and do right now

The OverAchiever The triumph of the slackers THURSDAY
Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, our laziness catches up with us.

There are a few achievements in every expansion that manage to get away from us. I'm not talking about stuff that we shouldn't reasonably expect to get (your completion percentage on dungeon and raid achievements will inevitably nosedive if you can't make raids anymore), but there's always some stuff that people feel they should have gotten or worked at for ages that never turned up.

Now, you're reading OverAchiever because you're a dedicated achievement hunter or enormously entertained by the people who are -- and I think you know what this is like. There's almost a sense of hostile guilt as you look at the stuff you don't have, because those unfinished percentages taunt you. Sometimes it's not your fault. Sometimes, however, you just need to get off your arse.

These are three achievements -- easy, medium, and hard -- that players often put on the back burner while occupied with other pursuits. Two of them just got a lot easier -- or at least faster -- to do after patch 5.0.4, and all three will get more inconvenient when Mists of Pandaria hits.

Oh, and for pet collectors, we have some welcome news inside about Tol Barad.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: How to find the new cloud serpent mounts in Mists of Pandaria

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. Today, we experience the horrors of exploration.

One of the joys of getting into a new expansion is seeing a huge, lovely, empty map in front of you, containing a wealth of new experiences and items. One of the annoyances of getting into a new expansion is seeing a huge, horrible, empty map in front of you, containing a wealth of new experiences and items that you have absolutely no idea how to find. If you're me, you will eventually find yourself on a ledge somewhere in the Jade Forest, looking in silence over a cliff with a 2,000-foot drop with the knowledge that you can't fly off of it and that your hearthstone is down. This is bad.

I put this article together for that reason, because when I got into the Mists of Pandaria beta, I was desperate to find the new cloud serpent mounts but didn't actually know how to find them. (I did, however, "find" the bottom of the cliff. Good for me.) Hopefully, this will help you speed up the process a bit on your end, although we're still not 100% sure where all of these mounts will eventually be found.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: FAQ on pet battles and early achievements

The OverAchiever FAQ on pet battles and early achievements
Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women. With turnips.

I was an avid player of Pokemon Crystal and absolutely loved the game. It was hard not to when I had a Thick Club-armed Marowak with both Rock Slide and Bonemerang that hit everything like the fist of an angry god. Since Blizzard announced the new pet battle system for WoW, I have also been a fan of that -- never mind that it wasn't actually in the game until recently. If tear-assing around the world with a small, vicious creature that smites your enemies is wrong, I don't want to be right.

The pet battle system went live on a recent beta build for Mists of Pandaria, but I was one of the players afflicted with the crash bug on entrance to the actual battles. Suffice it to say that it is difficult to evaluate something when you are driven offline by doing it. However, that was fixed, and even though a bunch of LUA errors are still driving me out of the game at times, I return with tidings of great joy for prospective owners of dynamite rabbits.

You'll also find our early collection of pet battle posts helpful, although some of the information collected there has been overtaken by recent events.

Warning for those browsing on mobile devices: This is an image-intensive article.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Guide to Bloody Rare

The OverAchiever Guide to Bloody Rare
Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we're back to flying endlessly around spawn points.

So, how many of you are still with us after Frostbitten? My guess is that most of you are still circling Storm Peaks in a desperate bid at Vyragosa. My friends, I salute you -- but the rest of us are going to pack up and ship out to Outland.

Bloody Rare tends to be slightly easier than Frostbitten for the simple reason that Outland is even emptier than Northrend, and there are no rares here competing for spawn times like Vyragosa and our old buddy, the Time-Lost Proto Drake. You'll still find a few people leveling their Wrath-era alts through Northrend, but the population of Outland players usually vanishes by Zangarmarsh or Terokkar. However, that's just been my experience, and as always, realms will differ.

And no matter how empty Outland seems, there are still a few rares here that will drive you up a wall.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: In which Alliance has it much worse than Horde

The OverAchiever Sorry, Alliance
Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, we are grateful to play Horde.

This past week, I was tabbed out of the game writing an OverAchiever on Bloody Rare as a follow-up to our guide on Northern Exposure when something interesting started happening in the background. In the sliver of laptop screen dedicated to WoW, the chat channels exploded with warnings that the Alliance was attacking Orgrimmar. Given that the Midsummer Fire Festival is still going on with lots of players busy stealing enemy fires, this isn't particularly unusual. I shrugged and went back to work.

And yet, the warnings just kept coming. Curious, I tabbed back into the game to discover that a full 40-man Alliance raid was fighting its way to Garrosh Hellscream. Other players said that none of the other Horde leaders had been attacked, so I can only assume the raid was starting For the Alliance! with the toughest foe among them.

Now, Garrosh is by no stretch of the imagination anywhere near as popular as Thrall was, but lots of Horde players are still willing to defend him from attack because, well, he's got his moments. Orgrimmar's central district quickly became a lagfest of epic proportions as dozens of players who'd been gossiping in trade or loitering around the Auction House rushed to defend Garrosh. The Alliance raid was ultimately defeated, but they rallied and tried again -- unsuccessfully -- an hour later.

This was the first of three days that I saw the same Alliance raid desperately trying to kill Garrosh, and something started to niggle at me by day two. Namely, For the Alliance! and For the Horde! are among the very few achievements that are significantly tougher if you play one faction over the other.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

Guide to Midsummer Fire Festival 2012 achievements

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, you'll be running a lot of Fed-Ex quests.

The Midsummer Fire Festival will run from Thursday, June 21 to Wednesday, July 4 this year. (This year, OverAchiever gives you an effective week's notice on the holiday.) While there aren't actually a lot of achievements associated with the Festival -- the meta awards the Flame Warden title to Alliance players and Flame Keeper title to Horde players but consists of only six achievements -- three of them require you to put in some serious travel time, and one also requires a set of dangerous trips to enemy capitals.

If you're starting from scratch, this is definitely one of the more work-intensive holidays you'll have to clear for What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been. However, the one really good thing about all the work ahead of you is that even if you're starting from scratch, you can afford to get all the rewards from holiday vendors if you're diligent about hitting all the fires, quests, and dailies.

As far as we're aware, there have been no major changes to the holiday apart from the addition of achievements for Northrend and Cataclysm fires, but as always, I'll be around to update and add to the guide in the event that Blizzard springs something new on us. If Blizzard's also added fires to Pandaria on the beta, we'll have a head start on next year's holiday as well.

EDIT: I had a few inaccurate fires that I thought I'd fixed up last year. My apologies, folks -- I've visited them all again this year and made sure the coordinates are accurate as of Cataclysm. I've also rearranged the guides in a rough north-to-south direction to make it easier for anyone who's covering the continents. I hope that helps!

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Hunting rares and you -- A guide to waiting around for months

The OverAchiever Hunting rares and you A guide to waiting around for months THURSDAY
Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, the thrills of real-life hunting (lots and lots of waiting around) are yours to be had in-game.

Admit it: You still get a little thrill of excitement whenever you run across a rare mob. There's always that thought that this -- this -- is going to be the time you kill something with a silver dragon around its portrait and something fantastically rare drops. Maybe it'll be a world drop like the Lei of Lilies. Maybe it'll be one of the game's first epics, a Staff of Jordan. Maybe you'll go out of your way to kill something and find a plate Of the Boar shoulder on it, and you'll wonder why you bothered in the first place. But hunting rares is, as they say, the triumph of hope over experience.

There are four achievements in the game concerned with hunting rare mobs, and they'll keep you running around Outland and Northrend for a while.

These achievements might get a lot harder when Mists of Pandaria hits due to cross-realm zones. They're not exactly easy to do right now, but they certainly won't get easier if you have to compete against a raft of off-server players. While we're not 100% certain that that's how things will function, right now I would classify these as achievements to do sooner rather than later. The only reason they weren't listed in that column is because I didn't think of them, but a few canny readers made the Cross-Realm Zones + Rare Mobs = Oh Shiznit connection.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Which feats of strength can you still get?

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Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, the impossible is fun and constructive.

For a set of achievements that tend to be insanely difficult and reward no points, Feats of Strength are still a pretty compelling bunch. In a way, they could be described as a character's history, because they're usually about stuff that you can't do within the game anymore. Owning one of the classic game's original 100% mounts, old PvP mounts like the Vengeful Nether Drake, or 1,000 Stone Keeper's Shards are all signs that your character's been around the block a few times. However, there are still a few -- a very few! -- feats of strength that you can get right now.

I visited this subject in 2009, and a lot's changed since then. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the feats described in that article are no longer attainable (bye-bye, Swift Zulian Tiger!), but a few more have been added.

Fair warning: Most of the Feats of Strength that you can add to a character's collection are either RNG-dependent or grind-intensive to get, and a few featured in our 25 most evil achievements series.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Are pet achievements disappearing in Mists of Pandaria?

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Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, it's myth-explodin' time.

Last week in the comment thread for OverAchiever: Achievements to do before it's too late, there were a few notes from readers who were worried that noncombat pet achievements were going to disappear in Mists of Pandaria. This shocked me, because I could have sworn I saw pet achievements flash across the screen during the spam I always get when I copy my main to a beta or PTR, and I hadn't been aware that these achievements were actually missing from the General category. I was also sure there would have been some pretty high-profile news about it if developers were planning to axe them. Especially with the introduction of Pet Battles, it seemed like a very strange time for Blizzard to get rid of related achievements.

Then again, these are also the people who put the Aldor Rise elevator and Warsong Gulch rep in the game, so we already know they're capable of real cruelty.

OverAchiever's pretty much pointless if I don't use it to investigate stuff that I could have warned readers about well in advance, and pets are serious business. So, another character copy onto the beta later, I have an answer for you about what's going on.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Achievements to do before it's too late

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Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, time is of the essence. Where have we heard that before?

I recently talked to a player who managed to solo most, though not all, of the Glory of the Hero achievements from Wrath. He mentioned ones like Share the Love that been impossible to complete without putting a group together, and as you can imagine, getting four more players for heroic Wrath achievements isn't the easiest thing in the world at 85. People who want the achievement for their alts are rarely interested in doing a meta piecemeal, and this is probably going to get worse, rather than better, once account-wide achievements go active. Once someone's got a red proto-drake on one character, they almost certainly won't repeat the process on one of their alts.

The vast majority of achievements get easier as you level up, but the canny achievement hunter will pay attention to the ones that don't. As the game changes, players' priorities and interests change, and older content has a tendency to fall by the wayside. It's best to strike while the iron is hot.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

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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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: What we do and don't know about Pet Battles achievements

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Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, you might as well come back next week.

So here's the deal: This article's kinda stupid. I really wanted to write about pet battling this week, because if the idea of running around the world raining destruction on everything with a small animal of indeterminate origin doesn't appeal to you, then you are probably a communist. But pet battling has been functionally disabled on the Mists of Pandaria beta (you can only access it at level 90, and the current level restriction is 88), so all I can really do is nose around and dream of what's to come. If you want to skip this week's outing and return at a time when we're doing something a little more relevant or useful, I don't blame you. Go with blessings.

And yet I still really wanna write about pet battling.

My first pet in the game was a prairie dog sold by Halpa in Thunder Bluff. My next was a Black Tabby, which I camped Ambermill for the better part of two days to get off a now-vanished mob known as the Dalaran Spellscribe. While I have amassed in excess of 150 pets since then, the original two have accompanied me across the world into the darkest depths of the ocean and to the top of the highest mountain peaks. They were there when my guild sent Kil'Jaeden packing. They were there when I was alone in the darkness. They were there when the Lich King fell. They were there when I got my ass handed to me by a slightly less cooperative version of the Lich King.

And by God, they're going to start pulling their fricking weight around here.

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Filed under: Achievements, The Overachiever

The OverAchiever: Guide to Children's Week 2012

Every Thursday, The Overachiever shows you how to work toward those sweet achievement points. This week, children are the future, damn them.

Being the dedicated achievement hunter that I was and am (why else would I be writing this column?), I worked tirelessly on all the requirements for What A Long Strange Trip It's Been when the achievement system debuted in patch 3.0.2. This even extended to planning months in advance for the Brewmaster title before achievements even hit the game. My efforts were coming along quite nicely until Children's Week, when an unstoppable force (me) hit an immovable object (School of Hard Knocks) -- and physics being less predictable than our teachers led us to believe, it turns out that bodies in motion do not always remain so.

For an entire year, the only thing that stood between me and that purple proto-drake was that one damn achievement. And every year, I return to this guide and flinch at having to think of it again. So let's do this, folks, and then we shall speak no more of it for another year. This is actually a great and fantastically fun holiday, with the exception of that one thing.

The Children's Week achievements and the meta For The Children are part of the year-long What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been, so you will want to get these done if you're working toward a Violet Proto-Drake. This year the holiday runs from Sunday, April 29 to Saturday, May 5.

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Filed under: Events, Achievements, The Overachiever

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