Achievements: The New Progression

March 24th, 2009

The officers of Unemployed had a little meeting last night, and discussed things along the lines of raid morale and attitude and such.  One part of the discussion got me really thinking.

It’s taken me a while to come to terms with the fact that with Wrath of the Lich King, the goals of a raider must change.  My goal can no longer be to work my way week by week through a dungeon, hoping to someday take down the big bad guy at the end.  I’ve taken down all the big bad guys that are available to me, and I’ve had them down a number of times already.

But that doesn’t mean I’ve “beaten the game”.  Yes, there are fewer boss encounters and raid dungeons to see than there were in Burning Crusade or Vanilla.

But achievements are the new encounters.

And this is something that many raiders need to be convinced of, including me.  I may not like it, but it’s the way it is.

Now, people who are playing this game to challenge themselves, rather than because they are fans of the lore and design, would probably have a much easier time coming to grips with this concept.

However, from a lore perspective, it was a lot more compelling to be working towards some big head honcho and killing his lackeys along the way.  To work towards that moment when you finally, after weeks of work, take that evil man/dragon/demon down and teach him a lesson!

There’s no lore-based reason to take Sartharion down with his drakes up.  Whether we walk in there and take the drakes down first, or leave them up, we’re still walking out of there with a dragon and 3 drakes lying on the floor.  And I feel this is one reason why people are having a hard time trying to see what is left for them to see and do in raiding.

I understood their goal with this expansion was to allow everyone to see all of the content rather than restricting it to the top few percentages who had the right combination of skill, time and coordination.  I always thought that they tried to do this with their 10- and 25-man versions of all raids, and I felt it wasn’t working properly because most of the 10- and 25-man fights are identical, you just have more/less people to worry about.

But I was wrong.  The way they’ve allowed everyone to see the content, yet still give something for hardcore players to work towards is through “hard modes”, achievements.

Achievements are usually thought of optional fun little things that you can do as a bit of a challenge to yourself, or as some way to get yourself a shiny new mount.  And some of them are exactly that!  There are many players who just aren’t interested in optional fun little things or new mounts, they want to raid, see new content and to play the game for what they’ve always enjoyed.

But what they fail to see is that encounters like Sartharion with drakes up are not just optional fun ways of changing a fight – they are completely new encounters in themselves.

From a Raid/Guild leader perspective, it’s MUCH more difficult to motivate people to want to kill a boss they’ve already killed just to do it with more difficulty, with some sort of handicap.  This is a froward challenge that all leaders must be prepared to work through, and it’s something we’re dealing with right now.

When a progression guild is recruiting, they say up front if they’ve done 3D, or 2D or 1D.  They don’t just say they’ve killed Sarth (unless, well, they’ve only killed Sarth).

This is because it’s not about just getting a new mount, it’s about the challenge.  It’s about the skill.  The different in difficulty from killing Sartharion to killing Sartharion with all three drakes grows exponentially, and those who are able to get 3D down have what it takes.

And it seems with Ulduar, this will continue as the norm.  You might blow through all of the new raid within the first couple of weeks of the patch release, but you’ll then need to spend months working on getting the “hard mode” achievements.

Like I’ve said, I don’t like it.  But I’ve come to understand that it’s the way things are going to be now.

That might change when Icecrown Citadel comes along and the majority of raiding guild have Arthas down in the first few weeks, and just spend the rest of the game trying to see if they can all do it with their hands tied behind their backs…

But for now, I can accept it.

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3 comments to “Achievements: The New Progression”

  1. I understand it and agree with your comments here.

    I must say though, that I’m one of those that doesn’t care about the achievements. I get the ones I can when they come up, but I don’t care to hunt them down. They provide no motivation to me at all save for when there’s something tangible along with it.

    Psynister’s last blog post..Paladin AoE Grinding – Part 1 (Pre-Lv 30)

  2. I’m also not super into achievements, I try for the ones that seem like fun for me, but I’m no Loremaster or Seeker or even Ambassador.

    That’s the second reason this can be difficult, because even if you don’t care for the achievements, some of them are clear signs of PvE progression. And if you want to progress, you need to work at those achievements.

  3. [...] Achievements: the New Progression from Mend Pet, by Brajana [...]