The Loremaster achievement, which gets you not only the achievement but also a title and tabard (which goes towards another achievement), has been around for a while now. While it has always been a meta achievement, an achievement for obtaining a series of other achievements, it has changed a bit over time.
Back before Cataclysm, Loremaster meant getting the zone by zone achievements for each area in The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King by doing a specific number of quests. Each zone had a tally to hit. In the very quest/story driven WotLK zones, that number could exceed 100 quests in each. And then there was a single achievement each for Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, which just required 700 quests completed in each.
Those last two were a bit of a pain. Sure, you could pick any 700 from each, but 700 is also a pretty long-term goal, especially when the transition to the achievement system didn’t always credit you with everything you had previously done. I recall not getting the achievement for Scholomance despite the fact that my pally had the epic charger mount, which required at least two runs through it. That, and the idea of going back through so much of old Azeroth with a level cap character did not appeal to me. But I have to hand it to Earl, he went and did that.
Then came Cataclysm, and much of old Azeroth was recast with changes in scenery and new quest chains. Blizzard took the time to make achievements for most of the zones in the old world, so rather than just a lump sum of 700 quests they were divided up into single zone (or two combined zones in a couple of cases) quest packets. If nothing else, that makes things a little more digestible in my opinion, having a set of sub goals.
Still, I did not go after the achievement. You had to do the whole thing on a single character which would mean a significant amount of back-tracking through zones you had out-leveled. And since I would want it on what I considered my “achievement character,” it would have meant doing it all with a level 85. I hate being the level cap character stomping through the lowbie zones, and while one shotting things never really gets old, you do end up running into quests where you have to get a mob’s health down and then apply some magic or device. Those get particularly annoying when even without a weapon your minimum hit will kill the mob in question a few times over.
However, since Mists of Pandaria, achievements have been shared across your account. This means that I can go in alts and do the content at level, or close to level, and have it count towards the achievement rather than having to have my level 90 “main” character slum it across multiple low level zones. Since I noted last week that I was actually having fun running down zones at level, the time seemed ripe.
Add in the fact, as pointed out to me last week, that because the Eldre’Thalas server has been joined to the Korialstrasz server via Blizzard’s connected realms, that I now effectively have 11 more character slots that can join our guild and share things on a single server, and I seem well positioned to take on the Loremaster achievement. I was practically giddy at the prospect of having so many free character slots and rolled up four new characters with zones like Darkshore in mind.
I then looked into how many zones I had to run. I have a lot left undone, so I got started.
Some of the zones feel very familiar from the old days, though the quest chains have been tightened up quite a bit. No doubt because characters level up much faster now.
My night elf rogue… I am not sure why Blizz felt it was necessary to make leather wearing classes feel ridiculous by putting them in shorts and a vest in the starting zone. But there were lots of similarly clad elves running around. And eventually you get better looking gear. But for a while I felt goofy in a self-conscious way.
I now have four pre-60 characters in motion working on various zones in old Azeroth, made up of classes I have never played to level cap. (Warrior, monk, shaman, and rogue) And I have plans for a couple more. One of the things I have noticed is that even though the game points you at most of the quests in a zone, there do seem to be a few off in the periphery or hidden away, so being something of an explorer helps.
And it is fun to tour the world again. Darkshore, which I am in the midst of with my rogue, and Ashenvale might be a couple of the more difficult achievements. Back in the day, facing these two was enough to get low level night elves to make the dangerous run through the Wetlands to Ironforge. Well, that and being able to play with your friends who rolled humans, dwarves, or gnomes. But you didn’t see many low level representatives of those races making the run the other way.
Will I stick to this, or will I get bored of it and move on to something else? It is quite possible that, next week, I’ll be focused on mounts or pet battles or something else. (Though, in doing these zones, I have been taming new pets along the way.) But if I keep at it, it will at least keep me distracted from Warlords of Draenor.
My zone “To do” list after the cut.