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Critter-pocalypse Continues January 10, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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As I mentioned before our guild, small though it may be, is intent on getting the armadillo pup that comes with the critter killing guild achievement.

We have now made it to the 20% mark.

I have added to the critter count myself by slaughtering the flocks of fjord penguins that can be found around Icecrown.

Many a penguin victim

I have to wonder what PETA thinks about this sort of incentivized critter slaughter that Blizzard has set up.

Actually, given their behavior back in 2009, I suppose I don’t really have to wonder.

Big Fish? Small Pond? Both? January 9, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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I was looking at my Raptr profile this morning, and one item caught my eye.

That first one, for my worgen Maloney says that I was one of the first 200 Raptr users to get that achievement.

And the reason it caught my eye was that the likelihood of me being the first 200 WoW players to do anything in any group of players of reasonable size seemed remote to the point of pigs flying.  And that achievement especially is not a tough one to obtain.

Of course, the population might not be of a reasonable size.

It is limited to Raptr users, and only those users who play World of Warcraft and who have bothered to add it to their profile and who run the client that does the tracking.  It addition, the user also has to then manually add specific characters.  Only the achievements of those characters get tracked.

So I could be something like the 20th player on Raptr to get the achievement for all I know.

I couldn’t get a fix on exactly how big the active WoW population is at Raptr.  If I search on people who play WoW, the number is less than 500.  But if that were really the case, I would imagine that a lot more of my achievements would be in the “first 200″ range.  Instead, most are like that second achievement, which merely points out what percentage of WoW players on Raptr who have the achievement.

I am still looking for more stats on how big the WoW population is on Raptr.

Sorting Through My Hallow’s End Loot November 2, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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Hallow’s End is over, it closed up at midnight on October 31st.  And while I didn’t go all out to do things for Hallow’s End, I still ended up with a few cool items.

I did Trick-or-Treat and used the dungeon finder to slay the Headless Horseman at least once a day.

And while I did not get the coveted Horseman’s Reins, I did at least get the flying broom.  It only lasts a few days, but it is a cool mount and it summons instantly.

Vikund on the Broom

And I did get the Horseman’s Horrific Helm, which is not only a pretty good helm, but also lets you do the Headless Horesman’s laugh.

For This I Will Show Helm

And I even got one of the masks I was looking for.  But only one.  I am still one shy for the A Mask for All Occasions achievement.

One Shy...

Not bad I suppose.  But now I have to wait another year to try and knock out that final Hallow’s End achievement.

Oh, and I got about a half a dozen sinister squashlings and an equal number of hallowed helms, both of which I already had.

Ah well, maybe they will change up Hallow’s End a bit more next year.

One More Hallow’s End Achievement To Go October 26, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in Blizzard, entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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Again, as with Brewfest, the completionist in me wants to finish off that one last Hallow’s End achievement.

Unfortunately, that last achievement for Hallow’s End is a bit of a pain.  This will be my third year on it and it is simple a matter of luck as to whether it gets done or not.

Two Masks Left

Right now though, rather like Gordon, I am feeling a bit of WoW malaise.  Cataclysm is a month away.  I’ve been on, read up on my specs, tried out the new skills on a few characters, but am generally in a holding pattern until Cataclysm hits and the instance group returns to Azeroth.

So I am not on enough, or interested in logging on enough, to go do a trick or treat every hour in hopes of getting those last two masks.  Blood Elf masks.  Damn Blood Elves.

I do get on to do the Headless Horseman once a day.  I was having a problem with WoW locking up during the Headless Horseman event.  Fortunately, Larisa was having the same issue, and a comment on her post pointed me to an addon that fixes a tool tip crash that seems to be afflicting WoW of late.

The addon basically suppresses tool tips and prints them out in your chat window instead.  A simple fix.

Not that my locking up seemed to slow down the demise of the Headless Horseman.  Even with a disconnected Ret Pally, three groups I was in killed him and I logged back on to find I had the daily quest done.

So I suspect that I won’t finish this achievement again, despite this being my third run through Hallow’s End.  We shall see.

The Longest Achievement September 29, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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Or the longest wait for an achievement.

My daughter announced that Brewfest had begun last weekend.

Now, last year the instance group pretty much beat Brewfest to death.  I got the Brewmaster title, we collected tokens, we killed Coren Direbrew nearly two dozen times, lederhosen was worn, and we danced in the streets of Dalaran.

How you doin'?

There was just one Brewfest achievement left, the Brew of the Month Club.

That Last Brewfest Achievement

It is an optional achievement.  You don’t need to do it to get the Brewmaster title.  But the completionist in me wanted to check off that last box.

To get there, one had to earn enough tokens to buy a membership… some 200 tokens for the privileged.  So I diligently did the Brewfest daily quests… well… daily until I had enough tokens to buy my outfit, my beer keg, my membership, and whatever else I needed.

And so, the year long brew of the month club membership began.

On the first of each month a new brew would appear in my in-game mailbox.  All I had to do was drink it, and I was another step closer to that last achievement.

Months went by and little checks went into the achievement tracker.

August 1st came, I drank the brew of the month.  I was, at that point, just one beer away from being done.

And then I let my World of Warcraft account lapse.  The instance group was playing Lord of the Rings Online this summer, I was out of work so I was even less keen than usual to pay for an account I was not using, and my latest 3-month subscription term was due at the end of the first week of the month.  I canceled my subscription.

So summer turned to autumn as we played in Middle-earth, leaving Azeroth for another time.

Then, as I said way up at the top, my daughter announced it was Brewfest.  I was employed again, she wanted to run around and do some of the activities, and I wanted that last achievement.  So I resubscribed after only a 6 week hiatus.  It can be hard to stay away.

And the first thing I did was log on with Vikund to check my main for that last, oh so satisfying beer.

Only my mail box was empty.  No beer for me.

I am going to guess that you have to be subscribed on the first of the month to get your monthly brew, and I was not.

Oh dear.

Still, I wanted to finish off that last Brewfest achievement.

So now I am back to doing daily quests to earn the 200 tokens.  that will take me less than an hour each over four evenings to do.

Then I have to buy the membership.

And then I have to wait 11 more months until we’re back to September first.  I have to remember to stay subscribed.  And I have to drink that last beer.

See what the achievement oriented player will do, just to check off one box.

The Coin Master February 23, 2010

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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Meanwhile back in World of Warcraft, where I seem to be spending most of my gaming time of late, I have achieved yet another pointless achievement!

Yes, I have finally managed to fish up all those damn coins from the fountain in Dalaran!

I have actually been one coin away for quite a while.  I needed Thrall’s golden coin.  But I am sure his is no more elusive than any other gold coin.  It is one of those quests that, when you start, progress in guaranteed.  The first coin you pull up is one you don’t have yet.  And the next dozen or so are likely to be new to you as well.

After that, you start in on the duplicates.  So getting that last one can seem like it takes forever.

Aside from the achievements, you also get the Titanium Seal of Dalaran for your troubles.

The coin essentially gives you an emote of flipping a coin and having it land either heads or tails.  Amusing, but I don’t think anybody is going to use it for, say, loot roles.

So that is one more of the fishing achievements down for me.  Though considering how often I bring up fishing in MMOs (at least relative to other people) I’m kind of slacking on the fishing achievements.

You Don’t Mess With The Zoltan December 4, 2009

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor, World of Warcraft.
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A few months back Zoltan was the man, king of the hill when it came to achievements.

He was the first person to cross that 10,000 achievement point mark in WoW.  Things look so good for him!  He was the front runner!

And now we find that somebody else has beaten him to the final goal.

Little Gray, a player in Taiwan has snatched victory from Zoltan, who is still 5 achievements shy of achievement perfection as of this time.

I’m surprised Zoltan hasn’t issued a press release calling foul, since Little Gray is really still one achievement shy of the mark.

I bet he is stewing now, seething with this rebuke to his achievement prowess.

So much so that I think we’ll see a serious Zoltan effort when patch 3.3 comes along and adds a few more achievements to the list.  And when Cataclysm comes I bet he”ll drive hard to lock down the array new achievements that will come with expansion and secure himself the crown.  So watch out Little Gray.  Zoltan has your number!

Watch for updates on this developing grudge match over at… um… oh, WoW.com.  They probably care enough to report on this.

(This post was inspired less by reality and my love of WoW achievements and more by sheer silliness and a desire to not let another choice post title slip away from me.  Any emotions ascribed to Zoltan are purly the product of my imagination.)

Why Yes, I am a Pilgrim December 2, 2009

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
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We’re on an Azeroth holiday roll.  Members of our regular group, including myself, have managed to complete the tasks for the meta achievement for the last few holidays.  Brewfest, Hallow’s End, and Pilgrim’s Bounty have now fallen to us.

However I was not sure that Pilgrim’s Bounty was going to fly.

Most of the achievements were pretty easy.  There was the usual round of gimmes for simple tasks.  Those didn’t bother me.

Nor did the Sethekk Halls run for Terokkar Turkey Time give me much to worry about.  I knew we could take down Talong King Ikiss as a group while wearing pilgrim’s hats and clothes.  Heck, on my scouting mission I managed to kill him solo.

Even the potentially annoying Turkey Lurkey achievement, which required you to go blast a rogue of each race with a 1 shot turkey shooter wasn’t all that daunting.  It would be more of a test of patience hanging around Dalaran waiting for the right rogue to show up.

No, it was The Turkinator that almost brought me low.

Running around and killing 40 level 1 wild turkeys turned out to be more difficult that it sounds.  That 30 second time limit to find the next turkey was a curse, as I would be on a streak, closing in on 30, and I would suddenly run into somebody else doing the same thing.  Or, being clever, I would run around the edges of Elwynn Forest only to run into a dry patch of no turkeys and have to start the count all over again.

Did you know that turkeys and murlocs apparently to not mix?  It’s true.

Finally, Potshot found a prime spot for turkey hunting and got the achievement.  On his advice I ran of to hunt in Trisfal Glades in the area between Scarlest Monastery and The Bulwark.  On my third try, I managed, at last, to get to 40 turkeys.

Turkinator! A Turkey Triumph!

By that point, the only thing I needed for the meta achievement was an orc rogue.  Potshot was kind enough to spare my patience and roll one up to play target for myself and others. (I later spread the joy myself by getting out my dwarf rogue for achievement target practice.)

The Aptly Named Orc Rogue

One shot and the achievement was mine.

That got me the title “Pilgrim” and the plump turkey pet in the mail.

But I was not done yet.

The plump turkey turned out to be my 49th companion pet.  One more and I would get another achievement.

I quickly consulted the big list of WoW companion pets to see if there wasn’t one left I could get quickly.

After some time, I realized that Vikund had not gotten the Ancona Chicken, a purchasable pet out a the Mirage Raceway.

Off I flew to buy a chicken.

And with that chicken came the achievement.

That achievement comes with a reward.  And what would any companion pet collector want?

Another pet!  So now I have 51 pets, including Stinky the Skunk.

A man and his skunk

Only 24 more pets to get the final pet collecting achievement.

I am not, however, going to buy those two pets from Blizzard.  No, I won’t!  Stop looking at me like that!

Anyway, this furthered my modest goal to get least one third of the achievements in WoW.  Not quite “Little Gray” level of effort, but I have that whole day job thing going on.

Next up, the Feast of Winter Veil.

Hail to the Chef Already September 22, 2009

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.

I have just about wrapped up all of the cooking achievements in WoW.

First, after several months of running the daily cooking quest in Shattrath I finally got the last recipe that stood between me and the title chef.

The Elusive Recipe

The Elusive Recipe

A fine recipe, Stormchops!  The lightning it generates not only hits mobs you are fighting, but will zap critters that stray too close, even out of combat.

After doing all those cooking quests I had plenty of Clefthoof Meat on hand, but I wasn’t sure where I was going to find Lightning Eels.  However, somebody in the guild dropped a couple stacks in the guild bank.  I have no idea who, but I grabbed some and cooked the final recipe.

And with the title chef, you would think I would be done.  Of course not!  What is a chef without his hat?

The chef’s hat costs 100 Dalaran Cooking awards.  This meant running the Dalaran daily cooking quest for a few more weeks.  Unlike the Shattrath daily cooking quests though, the Dalaran quest rewards you with the award, some cash, a pouch that sometimes has another award, and a small Kirin-Tor faction boost.

The trek to the chef’s hat was sped up some by also running the Dalaran daily fishing quest which, in addition to some more cash and some more Kirin-Tor faction also includes a goody bag that, among other things, has a chance to drop a waterlogged recipe which can be turned in for five Dalaran Cooking awards. (And even more Kirin-Tor faction.)

Finally the hat was mine.

Pilsbury Chic

Pillsbury Chic

No surprise that the hat also comes with an achievement.


And after running all those quests, I realized I was just shy of exalted faction with the Kirin-Tor.  Two more daily fishing and cooking quests did that.

Now the only cooking achievement I have left is Chef de Cuisine which requires one to learn 160 cooking recipes.  I am seven shy of the mark.  Time to go inventory recipes.  I certainly hope I have all of the recipes from daily quests at this point.

And of all that, I think my favorite cooking achievement was Critter Gitter.  There are flocks of penguins around the Argent Tournament area, so I took my critter bites and tamed my 10 critters.

My critter posse

My critter posse

Then I mounted up and rode around the tournament area with 10 penguins in tow.  This may be the only thing I have ever done in WoW that got more that one person to ask me how I did it.  WoW players are generally a jaded lot.

What to work on next?  There are all those fishing achievements I suppose, but I haven’t managed to win a Booty Bay fishing contest yet, so it may be a while before I am salty.

The Achievement Cha-Cha June 23, 2009

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO Design, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft.

It ought to come as no surprise if you have read this blog for a while that I am fond of the achievement system in World of Warcraft.

Despite the fact that I rank higher as an “explorer” in the Bartle Test, achievements do tend to drive my actions.  Of course, I tend to view exploring different places, having seen the world as it were, as an achievement, so it is no doubt more a matter of  how I interpret the questions that is mucking up my results.

My Bartle Test results - Explorer!

My Bartle Test results - Explorer!

And it is not just in WoW that I like achievements.  In EverQuest II I had a reasonable pile of server first and three game-wide first achievements.  They were almost all related to trade skills where the different tiers of quality (all of this was pre-Live Update 24 which started the big move towards trade skill sanity) allowed for many ways to grab a server first.  My initial game-wide first involved my Woodworker taking a rare (and expensive) component and making the medium quality version of an trade skill item that had just been introduced to the game.

So, yes, I like achievements and will squander valuable resources both in-game (gold or rare harvests) and out (time) to get them.

And yet I have problems with most achievement systems.

In Lord of the Rings Online the achievements are a bit grindy.  (Not that some of the WoW achievements are not grindy.)  Plus you tend to zoom past some of them as you level up, so to go back and get them you have to slaughter mass quantities of no experience mobs.  I tend to find that a bit tough since gaining experience and levels counts as an achievement in my book as well, though one I am not so good at sticking to, so I tend to prefer achievements that give me experience AND something shiny.

Warhammer Online went the hidden achievement route (as did LOTRO for their emote based titles), which seems a bit counter-intuitive to me.  The achiever in me likes to have a nice laundry list of potential tasks.  That is the enticement, the fact that I know I’ll get a shiny if only I can find some way to fall 65 yards and live. (And maybe get a two-fer if I bandage myself quick while my health is under 5%!)  The object of these achievements is to say, “Here are 101 crazy things to do when you’re bored and we’ll acknowledge when you’ve done them.”  The Tome of (Hidden) Knowledge doesn’t give you that list until after the fact.  Some people like that, I don’t.

The vast majority of EverQuest II achievements are of the server first variety, which is great and satisfying if you’re the person who gets it.  But once it has been taken it is gone, never to be seen again.  EQ2 also has a series of achievement-like things that award titles and the like.  But titles, while a nice and obvious sign of achievement, get out of control fast pretty fast in EQ2.  I have characters with piles of titles.  And, of course, you can only display one title at a time. (Two at a time, I suppose, if you get a prefix and suffix title.)

EVE has an achievement-like in its certificates, though since they are relegated to the largely off-line training mechanism of EVE, I have not found certificate chasing a very compelling hobby.

And then there is WoW, with its bright and shiny achievement system that puts up awards for things you were going to do anyway (made level 10!  trained for a mount!), to things you might not do without the shiny dangling before you (yesterday’s explorer title or the loremaster title), to some things that only the most dedicated player might go after (killing all the rare spawn mobs in the Outlands or Northrend for example), with some goofiness mixed in for fun.

Yet as enamored as I am with the WoW achievements, I can still find problems.

Currently in Azeroth the Midsummer holiday event is running, though they must use a different calendar in Azeroth since according to my calendar summer just started.  Anyway, with this event there is the usual set of achievements offered to players related to things you can do in celebration of Midsummer.  These events are actually pretty sweet, offering cash and experience as a reward for a range of simple to mildly dangerous activities.  For pissing on a horde bonfire, which does flag you PvP, my level 76 dwarf hunter gets 20K experience and 6 gold while honoring an alliance fire gets him 10K and 3 gold.

Level 76 Quest Rewards

Level 76 Quest Rewards

Hot stuff, so to speak.  Back of the napkin I would estimate that there is a good 2 levels of experience to be had running around honoring your own sides fires while desecrating the opposing faction’s bonfires.

What is not to like?

Well, the problem is that my main achievement collecting character is also my instance group character.  If I were to run out and scoop up all of the achievements for Midsummer with Vikund, he would end up pretty close to level 80, if not there.  But our instance group tries to stick together when it comes to levels and I am already pushing the limit at 77.  Going to 80, or close to 80, would be seriously breaking faith with the group.

I can still run through the event and get some of the achievements with my other characters.  But their achievements are separate from the achievement’s of my main character.

So I am going to add yet another wish to my long MMO wishlist.

I would like something along the lines of an account-wide tally board for achievements.

I want to see the sum of the achievements for all of my characters.

I do not want this to replace the individual character achievement listings, but I would like some way to see the cumulative achievements across the game.

In addition to my problems with levels on my main, there are other achievement areas this would open up.

For example, I never do battlegrounds with Vikund.  I understand paladins can be reasonably effective in PvP, but when I want to do that I get out my hunter.  So my hunter has a reasonable pile of PvP achievements that I will never bother to try and pick up with my pally.

This universal achievement board could also open up achievements exclusive to the other faction.  You could see the total of both horde and alliance achievements, for those of us who play both sides of the game.  Blizzard could even add achievements for doing something on either faction or for doing something with more than one character or on more than one server.

Meta achievements.

So that is the long-winded path to my wish of the day.

Are you an achiever too?  Which MMO achievement system do you like?