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Posts with tag account-wide-achievements

Breakfast Topic: Do account-wide achievements make characters too interchangeable?

Breakfast Topic Do accountwide achievements make characters too interchangeable
Account-wide achievements bug me. I get that it's nice to be able to see when players have some real history and effort in their game. What I'm not OK with is how linking that experience to characters that haven't earned it makes every character feel like a tool of game mechanics instead of a character that's part of a story and fictional world.

I value the unique histories of each of my characters. Each one of them has played in entirely different ways: different guilds, different playstyles, different content in different eras of the game. While I'm proud of their achievements, I believe they are inextricably linked with the characters that achieved them. If I need to prove to a RBG leader that I've slaughtered hordes of the Horde, I'd appreciate a verified link to the character that did it -- but I have no desire to have that achievement linked to my little Cataclysm-era PvE bunny. It just doesn't fit.

I still feel odd that my characters share pets and mounts. I recognize that most people adore having everything available everywhere. To me, though, the things my characters have and don't have are part of what makes them unique, giving me different reasons to play (and not to play) each. It's perfectly OK not to have it all! Until recently, I'd been running about with my trademark Captured Firefly on characters such as my bankers that hadn't farmed it themselves. I've quit doing that now. It just didn't seem to fit.

To be sure, none of this makes me angry or resentful. I don't get pissy about a newer character running around with a title or mount he obviously didn't earn. I recognize how useful it is to have shared pets available for battling. And yes, like choosing not to summon my firefly, I realize that I can simply choose not take advantage of certain account-wide features. But after a bit of time under the new system, I find it still feels a little too glib. When characters become interchangeable, we lose our sense of investment in them.

Are you inseparable from your account-wide pets and mounts? Have shared achievements or titles helped you earn a spot in raids or join a guild? Have you started playing a different character based on gaining (or keeping) access to something you earned on another character? Have account-wide features made your characters feel more freely interchangeable -- and if so, is that a good thing?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

GuildOx introduces Alt Detection

Guildox introduce Alt Detection
WoW database site GuildOx, which ranks guilds, players and loot from World of Warcraft by reading data via the official WoW API, has introduced a sparkly new service for would-be recruiters.

Thanks to the introduction of account-wide achievements, GuildOx, along with any other site that is smart enough to extract this information from the API, can use the cross-account information to tell you exactly who that new player's alts are that's applying to your guild. So, if someone claims to have amazing gear, and anything else that isn't a linkable achievement on an alt, you can now check it out on GuildOx.

The functionality could allow a guild leader to see if the new person they're picking up is actually the worst trade chat troll on the server, for example. As GuildOx says, this can provide extra insight into applicants when recruiting new guild members. If you think you'd benefit from this, then you can check it out on GuildOx's new service by viewing one of the site creator's characters, and all their alts.

There is, of course, a down side.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Warring perspectives on account-wide achievements

2 warring perspectives on accountwide achievements
Yesterday, with a speculative post on twitter, I unwittingly started a bit of an argument between a few of my friends about the 5.0.4 changes to achievements. I didn't mean to, I had been reading the comments on The Queue and was not hugely surprised to note that I was not the only person who wasn't jubilant at the changes.

I am ever the partisan, and try to consider both sides of every argument when making a decision, but at this point I can't quite decide whether I like the new achievement system or not. Why? Well, let's see.


Making the meaningless less meaningful

I was kind of upset at the changeover from Wrath to Cataclysm at the disappearance of the Wrath and earlier talent trees. If you weren't around for those, they were gigantic behemoths of talent trees, far larger than the Cataclysm ones, and featuring far more talents that addes 1% damage onto something, or reduced a cast time or cooldown by some insignificant amount. I didn't miss them because I mourned the loss of any particular aspect of them, or felt they were more complicated or clever, but because getting a talent every level made going from 23 to 24 feel like something meaningful.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: What's your favorite part of 5.0.4?

Breakfast Topic What's your favorite part of 504
Patch 5.0.4 has arrived, laden with goodies like account-wide pets, mounts and achievements. But oddly enough, none of these things were my favorites from this patch. AoE looting is fantastic and was easily at the top of my favorites list before I logged in, but it paled in comparison to something else, something far quieter that I hadn't really considered a huge part of the patch.

My realm is a terribly small realm off in the corner of nowhere. I have my character's hearthstone set to Dalaran, partially for the easy access to the Caverns of Time and partially because I like Dalaran. It's a little lonely, but quiet. There are maybe a half-dozen people there, usually.

I logged into Dalaran yesterday and was abruptly taken aback because the place was packed.

In my excitement over everything else, I'd forgotten all about the cross-realm zones that were being introduced. It turns out my quiet little corner of nowhere was now populated by tons of people from another realm altogether. And it turns out that realm is the home of a friend of mine from Twitter, a fellow blogger. For the first time ever, I got to say hello to her character and pose for screenshots and generally be a silly idiot.

I'd forgotten how it felt to be in the midst of a bustling city. I'd forgotten how it felt to have activity at all hours, and I'd forgotten how nice it was to just run into someone I knew out of nowhere. And in that moment of giddy, silly screenshot frenzy, cross-realm zones abruptly shot from something I hadn't even considered to the top of my favorites list.

So what's your favorite part of 5.0.4? Is it having all your achievements on all of your characters? Is it finally being able to ride around on all of your mounts? Is your pet collection completely amazing? Or is it the sudden discovery that in the great big World of Warcraft, you're not quite as isolated as you used to be?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

What to expect from patch 5.0.4

What to expect from patch 504 ANY
Patch 5.0.4 will be here on Tuesday, Aug. 28. As with other pre-expansion patches, 5.0.4 will include some important changes that will reflect gameplay in Mists of Pandaria. To be perfectly clear, while this is a pre-patch for Mists, it is not Mists itself and shouldn't be confused with the game we'll all be nabbing on Sept. 25.

While there are some features from the beta that we'll see go live with this patch, others will not be released until the new expansion goes live in September. This is a confusing time for some players, because they're not quite sure what to expect when it comes to the pre-expansion patch. Will new features be rolled out? Will we see new instances or profession changes or playable pandaren?

To avoid confusion, here's a short primer on what you will and will not see in patch 5.0.4.

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Filed under: News items, Mists of Pandaria

How flexible is too flexible when it comes to gameplay?

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Way back in the days of vanilla WoW, your character was something you were stuck with, as well as your talents. If you wanted to unlearn your talents, you were certainly welcome to do so, as long as you didn't mind paying a lot of gold to do so. Once you made a character on that server, it stayed there. Once you chose your gender, hair and facial features, you were stuck with them. If you chose Alliance, that character remained Alliance for good.

Over the years, we've had a lot of small things introduced that allowed us a little more flexibility with the characters we love to play. You can change realms, factions, hair, gender, race -- you can completely change who your character is at the drop of a hat. Mists of Pandaria is introducing a host of new features intended to give the game some added flexibility by allowing characters to share achievements, mounts and pets across an entire account. This means that players are no longer limited to what character they play. You can switch between characters and still have the same benefits.

There's just one thing that Blizzard has never, ever wavered on, one last point of rigid inflexibility when it comes to the characters we play: class.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

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: 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

Zarhym clarifies account-wide achievements

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Ghostcrawler did a pretty good job explaining the upcoming account-wide achievements, but some players still have questions regarding both achievements and account-wide mounts, as well. Community Manager Zarhym (@CM_Zarhym on Twitter) further clarified the account-wide achievement and mount system earlier, as well as clearing the air about the question regarding account-wide reputation.

Zarhym
We don't want to make reputation account-wide. We think that removes too much of the gameplay of having an alt. Harkening back to the blog, the goal is for players to feel free to play their alts. If you have a cool mount on character A, then that might be an issue. Being exalted on character A so that enchants are easier to buy doesn't seem like the same issue. (What I mean is, it's a short step from there to saying character A has better gear so you aren't going to play B).

We can understand where the desire to have reputations function in this way stems from, however. For this reason faction rep is going to work a little differently in Mists of Pandaria and, we think, will feel better for players with multiple characters.


While we don't know exactly how faction reputation is going to work as of yet in Mists, it's nice to see that Blizzard is addressing the concerns of those with multiple alts. But the biggest question so far regarding account-wide achievements and mounts is what exactly the definition of "account-wide" is. Is it account-wide or Battle.net-account-wide? The wise floating skull cleared that one up for us, too.

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Filed under: Achievements, Mists of Pandaria

Ghostcrawler on account-wide achievements

Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street has just released a new post on account-wide achievements. He makes a strong point that Blizzard's overall design goal is that it doesn't want us playing one character over another only because of achievement concerns. This is quite good news for raiders with multiple alts and others who need to use achievements as a sort of progress check on their moving-out-of-the-fire skill and game knowledge.

Some key notes from Ghostcrawler's blog post:
  • While you only earn achievement points once, you will still see the achievement pop-up notification if you earn it again on a second character.
  • Most achievement criteria are not account-wide. That is, if you explore Thousand Needles, you'll need to explore it all on one character to get the associated exploration achievement.
  • Meta achievements like What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been are account-wide, meaning you can finish Flame Warden on one character and Noble Gardener on another.
  • Faction-specific pets, mounts, and titles will not work across faction -- that is, no Alliance mounts for Horde characters.
  • The goal is to share rewards across the entire account that are granted from achievements.
In particular regard to that last point, Ghostcrawler says: "I'm not going to promise this yet, because a lot of magic has to happen for that to work, but it's our intent." So that looks to be very much work in progress still, but it's great to know where Blizzard is headed.

Ghostcrawler's full post after the break.

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Filed under: News items

Are account-wide achievements a blessing or a curse?

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I remember the day achievements went live. I spent a good portion of that first day just before Wrath's release hunting down and completing the few achievements I could definitely complete. Well Read? Done. To All the Squirrels I've Loved Before? Well, I couldn't quite complete that, but I did dutifully go /love every animal I could, aside from the few in Northrend I couldn't get to yet. When Wrath was in its waning days and I was bored, I'd work on obscure achievements I didn't have. Bloody Rare and Frostbitten were both completed during this time.

I haven't really focused so much on achievements this expansion. However, my guild is on the brink of finishing heroic content, which means from that point out, we'll just be farming various content, I'm guessing. And that sounds like it's just about time for my achievement obsession to kick in again -- as well as finishing off tracking down and nabbing those few pesky mounts and pets in game that I haven't gotten yet.

In Mists, all these achievements I've got on my main will automatically be granted to my alts, which I was pretty pleased about. But then I started to think about it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Achievements, Mists of Pandaria

How to get all the Children's Week pets in one year

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User CJGibson over on Reddit's /r/wow community made an excellent point earlier today concerning the Children's Week pets that are only available while the holiday is running.

Ordinarily, it's only possible for one character to get three pets each year: one from the classic Azeroth quests (Piglet's Collar, the Rat Cage, the Turtle Box, or the Snail Shell), one from the Outland quests (Elekk Training Collar, Egbert's Egg, Sleepy Willy, or Legs), and one from the Northrend quests (the Curious Wolvar Pup or the Curious Oracle Hatchling). But you know how in Mists of Pandaria all of the non-combat pets on your account will be shared amongst your characters? If you run a series of alts through the quests and pick different pets on each one, you'll have all the pets on all your characters once the Mists of Pandaria content patch hits (or, at the latest, once Mists itself does).

The tip was so brilliant that I slapped myself for not thinking of it, so I wanted to draw some attention to it here as quickly as possible. Pet hunters? Save yourselves four years' worth of waiting, and get cracking.

If this is your first year with the holiday and you need any help with the achievements, you can find our guide to Children's Week here.

Filed under: Events, Achievements

Account-wide achievements won't be available for "quite some time"

For those of us with multiple alts, there's one topic that seems to come up again and again at the top of our wish lists: account-wide achievements. The reasons are numerous. Achievements are often a barrier for entry into PUG groups. Some achievements are so absolutely tedious and time-consuming that most of us only have the patience to do them once. And, of course, some achievements award us with some pretty cool items that we'd like to be able to use on our alts, like the Reins of the Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher.

Blizzard's developers are keenly aware of our desire for such functionality, and today on the Blizzard forums, Blizzard promised that it's something they're working on. Just don't expect it any time soon, and don't expect any additional account-wide functionality like account-wide reputations or professions. So says blue poster Wryxian:

BoA's, 1 step further
We do like the idea of account-wide achievements and it is something we have liked for a while. However we don't currently have the tech to be able to implement them as we'd like to, and probably won't have that for quite some time.

Account-wide professions or reputations are not something that is currently on our to-do list. If we were to think about that kind of thing, we'd have to carefully consider such a change as it has potential to heavily favour those of us who enjoy playing multiple alts. People who prefer just playing one character might not really see that as fair.


Given how soon Blizzard typically means when it says "soon," we probably shouldn't be too optimistic when trying to interpret "quite some time" into real-world weeks and months. Perhaps in time for the next expansion? Perhaps something our grandchildren will be able to enjoy?

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Filed under: News items

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