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.