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Posts with tag optional

The purpose of Achievements, and how it's changed over time

Moonglade has a good post up about the pros and cons of achievements. Nowadays, achievements are everywhere, but when they were introduced to the game a while ago, they were seen as a great way for Blizzard to integrate an idea that had really taken off on Xbox Live (and that an impending competing MMO, Warhammer Online, was implementing for themselves). They were mostly seen as a benefit for the solo player -- even if you hit level 80 and nabbed some awesome gear, there'd be some optional fun for you to have in the future.

Since then, achievements have changed quite a bit -- I'd argue that they're actually more used in groups than in solo play, as raids check players for achievements when inviting them, and guilds use achievements to rate where their proficiency lies. There are certainly still lots of things for solo players to do (every holiday, achievements come to the forefront again), but titles and mounts have become the main goals there, not just optional points. As Moonglade says, instancing and checking up on what players have done seem to have become the main point of achievements. What was just a bragging competition on Xbox Live has transitioned to a real yardstick in terms of what a player focuses on in game and what they've done so far.

Is that bad? I don't think so -- Blizzard has done with achievements what they've done brilliantly with all of the other features of their games: borrow them, polish them, and then make them better. If you look through that old thread, most of the talk was about achievements pushing people to keep playing the game, and that happened, but I think one thing Blizzard has done is use achievements as a way to see what people have done so far as well: what instances have you run, what quests have you completed, what titles do you have already? There's lots more value to achievements than what any of us originally envisioned.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling, Achievements

A leveling server, just for leveling

Reader Tiago sent us an interesting idea I thought was worth sharing. He suggests that Blizzard create a "leveling server" -- a server that would be marked as specifically for new characters, so when you rolled a new toon on there, you'd be surrounded by a bunch of other people pre-80. And the key here would be that when you hit 80 on this server, then you would get a free server transfer off. In other words, Blizzard would have one server (completely optional, of course) designed for people to level on, with a realm full of people playing in the old world and leveling through the old quests.

Sounds good, right? Like most of our ideas, Blizzard probably won't go for it -- they've already knocked down the idea of vanilla realms, and while this isn't the same thing (you'd be able to level to 80, the idea is just that you'd leave the server when you got there), it does mean creating a different ruleset for a brand new type of server. Plus, to a much lesser extent, it could create an even more lonely existence on the normal servers. Not to mention that Blizzard has been focusing on speeding past the low levels, not emphasizing them.

But I like the idea anyway -- it doesn't seem too tough to do (mark one realm recommended, and provide free server transfers off of it), and it seems like an excellent way to get people who enjoy leveling up all together in the same place. And that's really what MMOs like this are all about, right?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Leveling

Are achievements optional?


There was an interesting discussion that happened on the official forums the other day, and I think it deserves a bit of light here on WoW Insider. Of course that thread devolved quickly into standard forum QQ and blue bashing, but hopefully that doesn't happen here.

The thread asked: are achievements optional?

This is a loaded question, for sure, so what I'm going to do is look at three different types of players and analyze what achievements mean for each of them. But of course to begin, it should just be said that any achievement is completely optional in the game. You don't need them, they deliver nothing to you that's necessary for your character to progress.

The Casual

The casual is the person who chooses to play the game at their own pace for a little or as much as they want. The casual rarely, if ever, make appointments or schedule in game activities with other people. The casual may or may not be in a guild, and that's just fine. The casual is there to enjoy the game on their own terms.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Achievements

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