Heroic Achievements

I think Blizzard really struck gold with the achievement system in general, regardless of whether they copied Warhammer’s Tome of Knowledge. I don’t really care who copied whom as long as it results in a better game, obviously good ideas will be used by other people.

Personally, I’m the sort of person who likes to complete objectives, hence why I’ve always tended to try to complete all quests in an area or why I like to level alts (another level 80, check!) So it’s not exactly a surprise that I find myself running around some zones just to discover a few remaining unexplored regions just to get the exploration achievement for that zone, or I’ll actually pop into Ragefire Chasm during the Wrathgate event in Orgrimmar just to get the achievement.

However, one thing I never felt was the urge to get the heroic achievements done, which has a proto-drake mount as an achievement. It took me a while to realise why this is the case, even though I’m a fan of achievements in general.

When I play the game and do instances in particular, I approach it as a problem to be solved. “How do I defeat this boss with this particular group?” The best part of raiding in TBC was helping devise strategies to beat difficult bosses. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that me and my wife were one of the very few people in the guild capable of devising or adapting strategies for difficult bosses. Most players have no clue about gameplay mechanics and their idea of raiding is throwing themselves at a boss until it dies. There is no discussion about what went wrong and no attempt to improve things. Many good players are terribad at explaining what to do. “Don’t stand in fire” is only a simplified criticism and sometimes giving bad players tips and tricks does help.

However, most heroic achievements actually go counter to this approach of problem solving. As an example, there is an achievement in Heroic Utgarde Keep for not shattering the frost tombs on the first boss, Prince Keleseth. The frost tomb does damage and stuns the afflicted player. What’s the best way to counter this ability? Hmm…. shatter it quickly? Hence, doing the achievement basically means “handicap yourself by doing the wrong thing”. Another example is the Watcher achievement for the first boss of Azjol-Nerub, which requires the party to keep all 3 watchers alive until the boss is killed. If the goal is to defeat the boss… then it makes sense that you would kill the guards off quickly rather than purposely tank all 4 mobs.

Does that sound familiar? Hmm… Sartharion will call his drakes to him if they are still alive, buffing fire damage, shadow damage, and reducing the raid’s max hp. What’s the best way to deal with this?

Kill the drakes first…

This is why I feel absolutely no drive to do most heroic achievements. I’ve mentioned before that I can’t pretend to lose. I find it very difficult to purposely play in a manner that does not make sense, hence why I can’t afk in battlegrounds and I can’t play while watching TV etc etc. There is no incentive for me to do the achievements, since I do not care about the proto-drake mount and I do not care about the improved loot. I’m all for achievements like “kill malygos in 6 minutes” because those will come naturally in the course of executing a good clean boss kill. But most of the heroic achievements are in the vein of “This boss has a gimmick. To get the achievement, ignore the gimmick and pretend you’re retarded”. This isn’t really Blizzard’s fault, because how else do you get an achievement besides just killing the boss.

Some people (probably the more competitive in nature) look on it as a challenge. I don’t feel like I accomplished anything by tanking without a weapon. Or not using mangle. Or eating smash. But that’s what the heroic achievements basically are. Admittedly there are some creative strategies used to overcome them, but it all boils down to going really out of the way to do something, which doesn’t appeal to a practical person like me.

8 thoughts on “Heroic Achievements

  1. Of course kill the drakes first. But it’s the 3 drakes that’s wiping guilds. Not Sarth.

    You can say that it counters approach to problem solving. Why not think the other way? Based on the restrictions given, what’s the other way of solving the problem?

    Btw, for the watcher achievement, one way is to kite the 3 watchers to instance entrance and shadowmeld and then others dps the boss while the 3 watchers run back. You don’t necessary have to tank it.

    I’m sure there’s more than 1 solution to a single problem.

    Moreover, 310% speed mount is tempting 🙂

  2. Sorry I take the Sarth part back. I think you meant killing them before engaging Sarth. :p

  3. Yah, I thought about what you suggested regarding the fact that its still a problem to be solved. But the restriction is still artificial. The “challenge” still involves doing something which you know is stupid, but you do it anyway because of the achievement/better loot. So that’s why I find it difficult to get excited about it. The mount/loot is not an incentive for me, and I don’t get satisfaction from the “challenge” for the reasons mentioned… so no reason for me to do it.

    It’s like playing basketball and saying “ok you can only win by shooting 3 consecutive 3 pointers”. Some people like this kind of thing, for me I just think “huh then you’re not playing basketball, it doesn’t make sense”

  4. You might as well say why make heroic dungeons when you just grind the same normal dungeons again and again. :p

    Although I do admit some achievements are retarded, it sometimes just makes a heroic instance a lot interesting (maybe less boring) to go to. If not, heroics are just trash = aoe, boss = tank and spank

    For Sarth fight, Blizz is trying to cater for players of all levels. Fighting Sarth alone is damn easy. Although some blind pple tried to play WoW (can’t see fire wall). It’s like Kael without adds.

    Furthermore, achievements currently acts as a form of guild progression. Same content, more difficulty.

  5. Yeah, but somehow I feel there’s a difference between heroic dungeon and non-heroic (besides the fact that I actually still want emblems…)

    I think it’s something like a heroic is a difficulty setting. I.e. Normal Mephisto, Nightmare Mephisto, Hell Mephisto. Since I like to complete objectives, I can tick them all off after finishing them. But the achievement is like “Kill normal Mephisto without using potions”, “Kill normal Mephisto without using a unique weapon” etc. etc. in a sense because the restriction is self-inflicted, there is some difference there. The fight didn’t really become harder, it’s harder because you refuse to do something. Whereas a heroic dungeon really is harder by it’s very nature (and some things are really trivial in normal instances to the point that you don’t even need to know what boss abilities do).

    Another element of disatisfaction is similar to what I feel towards the holiday achievements: I already know I won’t do them all. Thus, there is much less motivation to do any of them because I won’t even get the proto-drake unless I complete them all.

  6. Says the Merrymaker… >_>

  7. well, i’m the person who wouldn’t even fly around to get the explorer achievement unless it’s within 10 seconds of my current path. So yeah, achievements are not my cup of tea 😛

    Then again, when it comes to heroic achievements, I may be more inclined to do it with a group of people I know. Definitely not something I would pug for.

  8. Yeah we only did Merrymaker because it was quite easy to do. We were doing SotA and Wintergrasp anyway, and happened to get the hat from heroic Nexus which we were running for gear.

    Didn’t bother with Elder or Love Fool.

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