Thinking about account-wide achievements & the impact they’ll have on playing alts

Account-wide achievements.

This is what we’ve been asking for, for years.  Right?

Well, they’re apparently active on the Mists of Pandaria beta now, and I’ve found myself becoming concerned about them lately.

Me, thinking about this

Over the past week or so, as I’ve picked up several achievements from soloing old content as well as raiding in Dragon Soul, I’ve been thinking about how account-wide achievements will impact how I feel about them in the game.

Players view achievements differently, and they even view them differently from character to character:

  1. Some are achievement nuts – as in, one of their main goals has something to do with a) having the most achievements in their guild; b) being tops among their friends; c) completing a list of achievements by a certain date, as a goal; and so on.
  2. Some go for as many achievements as they can get on as many toons as possible – if there’s a holiday, they complete it on every character they can; if they don’t have <Expansion Name> Dungeon Hero on one of their alts, they rectify that situation ASAP; they get “the Explorer” on every toon that can fly; etc.
  3. Some see achievements as a by-product of their accomplishments, wherein the real joy comes from the completion of whatever caused the Achievement to pop up, rather than in the achievement itself.  As such, they have a moderate amount of points, but aren’t concerned about that either way.
  4. Some don’t care at all.

And there are other points of view, but these are some examples.

Personally, it has been fun to take Mushan, who has over 5,000 points, into old content and pick up some achievements in a different manner than I originally did with Anacrusa – my old main – who has over 8,000.  Sure, I have achievements for Naxxramas from when it was current, but I have several on Mushan now that I acquired by soloing, which is an entirely different animal.  I killed Patchwerk a long time ago, but soloing him was a victory in its own way.

In that case, some achievements are just as special, if not more, when done on a different toon, in a different situation.

When I was in Naxx again on Saturday (which will be a future post), I was thinking about how account-wide achievements could change those experiences.

If I already had the Plague Quarter achievement on all of my toons, would it have felt any different to solo it on Mushan this year?  I don’t know.  I mean, I already had it, but I didn’t have it on Mushan, and I certainly didn’t have it from soloing.  So it was a victory, no matter what, and it would likely have felt as good even if I had gotten a completion of that wing with my guild back in the day on my hunter, and then soloed the wing later on him.

So perhaps I’m worrying about nothing.

The benefits of account-wide achievements are obvious.  Who hasn’t wished that they had Whatever Mount on this toon, now that it’s their main?  I know that I got the Giant Sewer Rat on Mushan the other day, and really wish I had gotten it on Anacrusa, who has spent exponentially more time fishing than Mushan, and is working (not very hard) on that hundred pet achievement.  In those cases, yes, I’ve sometimes wished that, for instance, pets and mounts were BoA or account-wide.

With the pet battle minigame coming to Mists of Pandaria, pets become account-bound, which is nice for those who are excited about that sort of thing.  I’m not interested in it at all, but that’s beside the point.  However, I’m not sure I understand why achievements had to be tied to pets and mounts, if they even are.

Me, reading what others are saying

So anyway, after thinking about this in rather poorly-formed ideas, I logged in to my reader yesterday to see that others are expressing doubts about them as well.

Anne Stickney at WoW Insider wrote a post called Are account-wide achievements a blessing or a curse?   In it, she references a post from a few days ago called Account-wide achievements and an end to blank slates by Harpy’s Nest.  Both are good reads, and written way better than this post, which is just sort of rambling.

Anne talks about how her level 11 pandaren has the Seeker (3,000 quests completed) and World Explorer, which just seems weird.  Harpy laments how when she starts a new toon, she likes to be able to experience some of those firsts you can achieve, referencing Make Love, Not Warcraft as one in particular.  And one very salient point she makes is that, as achievements are currently, it’s very intuitive to be on a character, see what isn’t done on your achievements list, and make a choice to work on it.  And it seems like having a crowded achievement list – from a low level on – can take some of that fun away from the alt experience.

Me, finishing this up

Part of me doesn’t care all that much.  I like achievements, but I don’t live or die by them.  However, since I do like them, I enjoy having a blank slate with a new toon, conquering something anew that I previously conquered on a different toon, reaching a goal on a new toon, and experiencing those firsts for real.  I’m all for having account-wide pets, mounts, and even titles – they’re sort of like transmogrification, in that they let you customize your character if you like.  However, I’m feeling leery about having an achievement on Mushan that says “Completed by Anacrusa” – or, even worse, by a lesser-played alt who happened to be in a different place during the leveling process (or whatever).

Perhaps an “Account-wide Achievements” section in the Achievements tab would be a good answer, rather than superimposing account achievements over character ones.  I don’t know.

We’ll see how it plays out.  I don’t hate the idea, and I can see many benefits, but I also have concerns.  This post is just me, thinking out loud (so to speak), with very little information.  I’m interested to see what others’ impressions are over the coming weeks, as well as how account-wide achievements look when they go live in MoP.

– – –

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.  Comments are welcome!

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2 Comments on “Thinking about account-wide achievements & the impact they’ll have on playing alts”

  1. Erinys says:

    “Perhaps an “Account-wide Achievements” section in the Achievements tab would be a good answer, rather than superimposing account achievements over character ones. ”

    When I first heard about Account wide achievements, I thought that would be how Blizzard implemented it. Just another tab between the character’s individual ones and the guild tab, so you could link say a raid achievement you’d earned on another character but they were still separate.

    I think I would have been a lot happier with that system. However focusing on the silver lining, my Hyacinth Macaw will finally get some flight time having been ignored since vanilla :D

    • Mushan says:

      Yes, the consolidation of pets and mounts, in particular, is pretty exciting. I don’t have any uber-special mounts, but I’ll enjoy having my pick on most of my toons. :)

      I’m glad that someone else was thinking of the Tab idea re: AWA. To me, it’s the most sensible and true way to do it. If Blizzard thought of it – and I think there’s a decent chance they did – they must have decided that what’s on beta now was preferable for some reason. I won’t stop hoping that this solution is something on their radar, in the meantime.


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