I Hate WoW Achievements

As the title says, I hate WoW achievements.

Why?

Because I enjoy PvP in WoW. Specifically, in battlegrounds. Yes, I’m sure that’s not hardcore enough for you leet gank groups that cut your teeth on the blood of the damned in Darkfall or blow up Titans in Eve with your tackler or whatever. I enjoy killing things, and WoW lets me do that and rewards me with points so I can buy new pants. It’s a win-win, usually.

I can’t play this week. Why? Because Blizzard’s version of Children’s Week this week has, as a quest to unlock an achievement, capping flags in several popular battlegrounds.

Note: in a given game of Warsong Gulch or Arathi Basin, not everyone caps a flag. That’s not how the game is designed. It’s designed to be played as a cooperative team endeavor. In fact, everyone can’t cap a flag because only one person can at a time. And don’t even get me started about Eye of the Storm, because (a) the flag is in one spot where you are basically turned to paste anyway and (b) I play Alliance, and Alliance are never allowed to win Eye of the Storm. It’s in the rules. But hey! Someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to make an achievement for taking your little orphan sprog out to the battlegrounds, and spent about 3 minutes writing it up. Awesome.

Which means, currently, battlegrounds in WoW currently consist of nothing but achievement hustlers, frantically trying to unlock the achievement in the one week open to them before next year so they can get their purple pulsating flying manhood compensator (the flying mount, the fastest in the game, that you get for unlocking all the event-based achievements) trying desperately to outclick other players in clicking a flag, regardless of what actually is going on around him. Or, even worse, the achievement for Warsong Gulch where you have to return a dropped flag. Which results in entire teams camped around their flag in the hope that one foolhardy opponent actually tries to play the game as intended.

This is monumentally retarded, and here’s why.

  • You don’t force people into PvP who don’t enjoy it. My god, this is basic MMO Design 101. Blizzard usually plays in the big leagues, and then goes and makes a junior varsity mistake like this that makes me wonder if the adult designers went on holiday this month. PvP is an entirely different playstyle. You incentivize it, you reward it, you don’t make it a requirement, and you especially don’t make it a requirement for achievement playstyles who are collecting achievements instead of, you know, doing PvP.
  • You don’t make single player achievements that screw over other players. I literally wonder if the designer who made this achievement ever set foot in a battleground, so disruptive is it to gameplay. This incentivizes players – who, thanks to the point above, are there even though they have no interest in the actual gameplay – to screw over their teammates and be the first to win the CLICK CLICK CLICKY contest to unlock their precious little dingy achievement unlocked window so they can stop trying to screw over their presumptive allies and go back to doing what they enjoy. This is not good design. This is not even bad design. This is incompetent design. Anything that rewards players for pissing off other players is incompetent design.

I know. It’s only for a week. At least they didn’t include my favorite BG (though it seems awfully hard to queue for lately!) I should stop being a whiny …whatever the insult is for someone who just wants to kill people and right now wants nothing more than to kill his own presumptive allies (and lest we forget – I play Alliance. I *already* have a burning, unslaked desire to kill night elves) because Blizzard decided it’d be funny to direct the locust swarm of achievement whores through the wilds of PvP.

Just in case you think I’m being a whiny baby? Here’s what noted rantsite WoW Insider had to say:

Nightmare.

This…is not going to be a lot of fun.

School of Hard Knocks requires you to enter the four pre-Wrath battlegrounds and capture/return flags or assault nodes with your orphan out. It may sound simple, but think about the length and frustration factor of the average pugged battleground, and then think about the length and frustration factor of a pugged battleground where your own team’s sole concern is beating everyone else to an individual achievement.

This is going to work in one of two ways: either you get these achievements for being close to a captured/returned flag or a captured node, or you have to do it yourself. If it’s the former, then this achievement is suddenly a lot less nightmarish. (Editor’s note: it’s not. You have to be the one to return/cap the flag.) If it’s the latter…I really don’t know what to tell you that might help. Your best bet is to try to organize a premade (if your guild isn’t doing one already), rotate people into flag and node captures, and hope everyone sticks around long enough for everyone to get their achievements done, although this is obviously going to be a tall order by the time you hit the 40-man AV.

I’m looking forward (well, not really) to seeing a series of Warsong Gulches where no one plays offense, Arathi Basins where no one plays defense, Alterac Valleys where no one plays defense, and EOTS where the entire game is a writhing, howling mass of players clustered around the center trying to be the first to click the flag. Oh, and to make things even better, with the huge decline in arena participation and the relative ease of raiding, few players at 80 have serious resilience gear, making it easy for burst DPS on the opposing team to annihilate people in the run for a flag or node.

I return to my previous statement; nightmare.

Hey! Blizzard! Why not for next month’s event? Make an achievement that requires you to get an arena rating of 2000! That’ll be a hoot!

I hate WoW achievements. I want my game back, goddamit.

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122 Responses to I Hate WoW Achievements

  1. Iconic says:

    I play Alliance, and I actually can’t tell much difference.

    Eye of the Storm: I’m convinced that capturing the flag could actually result in negative team score, and people would still swarm like moths to capture it just because it’s so much more discreet and easy to understand “pick up the flag and bring it home” than “control the most towers over time.”

    Adding the “Endanger An Orphan Week” achievements really doesn’t change the strategy for your average brain dead PUG.

    Alterac Valley: Defense is for chumps anyway– the entire thing is incentivized for quick matches where no one actually fights each other if they can help it.

    Arathi Basin: Running around and zerging each node in turn actually results in more honor, since there’s bonus honor for captures and defenses, but no extra honor for a static 3 vs 2 win.

    Warsong Gulch: Okay, this does result in really stupid (like, even more stupid than usual) gameplay. Since I hate WSG with a burning passion normally, this doesn’t really change much for me.

  2. Lum said: …”you especially don’t make it a requirement for achievement playstyles who are collecting achievements instead of, you know, doing PvP.”

    Unfortunately, this thread has run through almost all of their holiday achievements so far. As a dedicated collector who avoids PvP like the plague, this has made the entire Violet Proto-Drake one incredibly sore point for me.

    As far as I can tell, one designer went through and set up a really nice diverse spread of achievements for each holiday — something for PvPers, for raiders, for soloers of several levels — and then someone else came through and said, “Okay — to get the meta you do *all* of those. Done!”

    (By the way, why does this site think I am someone called Sebastian Mottschall? That’s random. Well, at least it didn’t let me post as him. I had to log out first.)

  3. Horse says:

    I agree entirely. I hate PvP with a passion, and the World Event achievements are overflowing with fracking PvP. I presume Blizz thought “if we make them do a little bit of PvP, maybe they’ll realise that PvP is fun”, but in my case it just reinforces how much I fracking hate fracking PvP. Every god-damned time.

    I’ve been dreading Orphan’s Week for some time precisely because it was one of the more PvP-heavy achievement sets.

  4. Renata says:

    I agree completely. I wrote my own blog post about it, and I said that I felt sorry for people who like to play battlegrounds because we’re ruining it for them with our achievements. Believe me, we don’t want to be there any more than you want us to be there.

    However, I have noticed that some dedicated PvPers are using this as an opportunity to cull the unskilled, and make it harder for people to get their achievements. Don’t they realize that the fastest way to get us achievement folks out of “their” battlegrounds is to let us move as quickly through the system as we can — NOT making it as difficult as possible for us to finish?

  5. Sorry, your disclaimer doesn’t cut it, Scott. You’re playing a game where the alpha and the omega is PvE content with PvP thrown in as a bone, and you’re complaining about them not considering the consequences of their actions in PvP? Really?

    Anyway, you’re late to the party. These stupid achievements have been in there as long as there have been achievements. I realized how stupid the whole thing was during the Christmas/Winterveil holiday. The one PvP achievement for that is to do PvP disguised as a holiday gnome. All fine and dandy, until I realize I CAN’T FUCKING SHAPESHIFT AS A DRUID BECAUSE I WOULD LOSE THE GODDAMNED DISGUISE. Yeah, that makes WoW’s so-called PvP real fun when I can’t even use my core class ability.

    I think Sandra’s being too kind. I fear that some of the WoW designers are trying to see what they can get away with at this point. “Hehe, we’ll make the OCD victims do PvP! So awesome…”

  6. Kaalinn says:

    I can’t help but wonder why the last guy you quoted plays MMO’s at all…. He doesn’t seem to enjoy or want any of the features or social interaction inherent in them that regular single player RPGs don’t have.

    This exactly fits what I’ve come to perceive WoW as.. It brought people that aren’t _really_ MMO players into the genre. And in most cases I think they still aren’t.

    That guy is pretty much a _player_ that thinks MMOs started with the launch of his favorite, because only then MMOs as a concept seemed worthwhile to him, despite it being quite different than what it was originally about, i.e. that guy would probably not touch a MUD with a ten-foot pole, and just be confused and frustrated by UO.

    These people are swarming the market now though, and if you were to make Bartle’s hinted at kind of game now (which as you pointed out would be pretty close to UO) you’d be considered a commercial failure, because you’d only attract (or retain) the core MMO customer base, not the … let’s call em RPG Heroes.

  7. Melf_Himself says:

    Lol. That sounds mighty irritating. Couple of points though.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rewarding people to do PvP, as a lot of people will actually enjoy PvP but need to overcome the fear of sucking/being abused etc.

    It’s hardly *forcing* them if it’s just to get some achievement (I am correct in assuming that it does not alter player power, aren’t I? If it does, I take it back, that’s dumb…)

    Designing the achievement so that it does not involve doing your best to win the game is retarded though – it should have been something like “win 3 games of X with your orphan out” (I know nothing about these orphans, and am assuming they can’t be attacked (otherwise, internet outrage) and can be out for the duration of a match)

  8. Asimo says:

    Achievements like these are one of those decisions (along with, say, Weapon Skill and the unusuable LFG system) that I assume continue to exist as is only because someone on the staff is too stubborn to admit they made a stupid design mistake and back down, vindicating the criticizers. Holiday Achievements in general tend to be designed towards unintentionally aggrivating players, either due to limited-opportunity RNG issues (imagine the rage of someone who misses the violet proto-drake by not getting a Brewfest mount, or worse, a toothpick during Halloween trick or treating?), or by active encouragement to grief other players over a limited (in both time and amount) resource, like the current debacle.

    The only consolation is School of Hard Knocks is pretty much the only achievement of note in the holiday that’s actually difficult and frustrating. But it does still show a depressingly backwards design method with Achievements in general.

  9. ahoythematey says:

    Here’s what I want to know: why the fuck did they need an achievement system in a game that was built from the ground up as a fucking achievement system? Every piece of goddamn loot on your character is just another version of, “Achievement Unlocked – Are you Ashamed Yet?”

  10. Trevel says:

    ahoythematey — because City of Heroes did it, and then so did LOTRO, and then so did Warhammer Online (who tried to sell it as if they were doing something new), and of course everything X-box and PS3 …

    And Blizzard is ace at stealing ideas.

  11. wumpusbait says:

    After the joys of Noblegarden (“..did you just spend several hours staring at a wall? Just standing there, waiting for eggs to spawn? Are you, y’know, having *fun* doing this?” ), I’m less than surprised at the current aggravation.

    I decided about 10 minutes after the Achievement system went live in WoW that I wouldn’t be fanatical about getting them. And every day it’s getting harder and harder to restrain the urge to be a Smug Bastard about that decision.

    I’m trying to look on the bright side: Most of the Achievement Junkies won’t come back in the BGs once this is over, and we can go back to killing each other like adults..

    ..until the next bloody festival…

  12. Blake says:

    My wife is a very non-PvP type player. She’s also very into doing things like the holiday events, and does want her Violet Proto-Drake. Now she has to spend hours PvPing in order to continue along the path towards her drake.

    She’s willing to put the time in, however, it is not at all fair for the real PvPers that she has to take up a slot trying to accomplish the PvP tasks rather than having a player who wants to PvP there. She knows she’s going to die over and over again, and will probably not add much to the games she’s forced to join, but she has to do it as she wants the drake.

    Stupid, stupid development choice by Blizzard forcing a playstyle on people who have no interest in it, and also forcing a non-PvP player on PvPers — thus making their games suffer as well because of it.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if the development decisions were made like you said Lum.

  13. […] But of course, someone, somewhere, will find a way to make it a Hell. Enter the Achievement Hustlers. […]

  14. Kate says:

    “…a lot of people will actually enjoy PvP but need to overcome the fear of sucking/being abused etc.”

    Trust me, the 5 or so hours I spent being chain killed as a holiday gnome in the hope of racking up 100 kills did not help me overcome my fear of sucking and being abused.

    I have put in a lot of time into this achievement, and I’m sorry I disrupt gameplay, and I hate it, but it’s a very small aspect of the year worth of effort, so I will suck it up and do it. I’m almost certain this one portion of one event will prevent me from finishing out almost a year of effort.

    It’s true that the reward doesn’t improve character power, and I don’t usually even care much about mounts, but I do like achievements and especially the ones that have titles as rewards. Plus, who can argue with a year-long achievement entitled, “What a Long, Strange Trip it’s Been?” (maybe you have to be “of a certain age” to have the Grateful Dead echo through your mind whenever you read that, LOL)

    When I started this year of foolishness it wasn’t clear that Children’s Week would be part of the year-long achievement, and as it was written then, it was shorter and had virtually no PVP.

    Anyway, enough ranting, I’m off to ruin Lum’s pvp experience. Sorry, man.

    ps I’m not Blakes wife 🙂

  15. Cedia says:

    Well, I’ve decided to be on the hopeful side. I played Horde on Moon Guard (Emberstorm) right after BC and when I came back a few months ago I decided to go back to Alliance, on a server also on Emberstorm. I cannot believe the difference. Alliance gets steamrolled. I’m trying to get the damn mount and, out of about 40 games played so far, we have won 3.

    So yeah, I’m hoping that this achievement will at least bring us more Alliance people queueing up, because usually we are simply outmanned by Horde. Add that to the general complete fogginess of Alliance players, and yeah, it ain’t pretty.

    Why? Why why why is Horde and Alliance so different for BGs? I don’t get it!!!

  16. Daniel says:

    I guess that I am the only one who likes this decision, maybe because I am not after some “purple pulsating flying manhood compensator”.

    My take on it is this. It’s *supposed* to be hard to get the drake. If one guy missed out on it because he can’t PvP or didn’t get the right RNG drop well, too bad, so sad. And Scott loses out on your precious PvP for a few days. Cry me a river.

    If people chose to wreck the game because they are after the drake that’s their decision. Maybe there were ways that Blizzard could have made this insanely difficult without doing the meta thing. But I honestly don’t think it’s a bad idea. Maybe it’s having unintended consequences. But the one thing I think is that the drake should not be made easier to get.

  17. Brent Michael Krupp says:

    @Melf_Himself
    The holiday meta-achievements are required to get the 310% speed flying mount which is one of the very few extra-fast mounts (all the rest are 280% speed). It’s not a huge boost but it is a very distinct PvE advantage which is why even people ambivalent about achievements are doing these.

  18. Longasc says:

    Achievements and Meta-Achievements are a current plague that has not only befallen MMOs.

    They are not content, they stretch content and actively ask people to do the most hilarious bullshit ever for… a certain carrot, the ultimate reward.

    Guild Wars has an achievement for death-levelling your char (i.e. you let mobs kill your char, and then when they levelled up by killing you, you kill them and slowly level up yourselves) in the starter area to max level. Some people did it initially just to try if it is possible.

    Make an achievement out of it, make it count to a Meta-achievement, and people will do EVERYTHING.

    It is a lazy way to stretch content instead of adding more. I even think it is going to annoy people in the middle to long run instead of being “fun”, and going to burn them out.

  19. dartwick says:

    he said “retarded”

  20. Gx1080 says:

    If you want your players to do stupid stuff and strech your content without much effort, just call it archievements.

    Another Title for this: Archievements are the new black.

    Fact: Less than half of the people that is annoying now in BGs are going to get the violet drake.

  21. Boanerges says:

    I generally find that achievements are either of the “later, rinse, repeat” variety (do X 1000 times) or the unusually rare (kill X while he’s standing on Y doing Z). One is kinda fun because it happens over time. The other is maddening because you have to play forever waiting for just the right set of circumstances.

    I suspect Blizzard is trying to avoid the EQ system of alternate advancement points. These are a simple way to do that but it promotes undesirable play.

  22. Pat says:

    I made arrangements to do every holiday so far. That included scheduling a vacation day during Love is in the Air so that I would have more time to get gifts. I planned ahead and purchased a Brew of the Month Club membership before achievements went live. I did Noblegarden by getting up at the ungodly hour of 8:00AM and spending an hour collecting eggs. (and laughing at the idiots who were camping before the crowds came, meaning they had to wait forever for a respawn.)

    I even engaged in some auction house exploiting with a bagful of hand-crafted chocolate cakes for Children’s Week. But I am not doing the Battlegrounds. Once I realized what was actually required, I couldn’t bring myself to play bizzarro BGs. I initially thought many of the achievements were group ones, but they aren’t.

    If the achievement isn’t removed, I might do it next year. Even though I really wanted that Purple Penis-mobile.

    PS- Didn’t there used to be an achievement for killing 10 enemy players who had their orphans out? It was called “Orphan Maker”. I swear it used to be there. Why remove that but not “Hard Knocks”?

  23. marlowe says:

    And the end result of “Hard Knocks” *won’t* be converting any PvE players into PvP players. It is going to be miserable for them. They won’t be geared or speced for PvP and it is going to be a miserable rape parade of incineration and DK overpowerage. Fun…

  24. Mist says:

    I started playing WoW again less than a month ago. WoW achievements are still fun for me. However, WoW achievements for the stupid limited time holiday crap are not. I did School of Hard Knocks in 2 hours the first night, just so I could piss people off on various forums who could not complete it themselves, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an incredibly dumb achievement.

    Putting the ugly yet fast purple drake for completing the holiday events is stupid.

  25. Ritchian says:

    I gave up on getting all the achievements on one character some time after my 40th or 50th kill of the Headless Horseman without seeing any sign of a Squashling or any of the various other luck-based drops. The RNG obviously didn’t want any of my characters to be “the Hallowed,” let alone ride a purple dragon that flies at Mach 1, so I wasn’t going to argue with it. But I have tried to get specific titles for specific characters. Elder seemed to fit pretty well with my Death Knight (And I would never, ever want to do that ill-conceived time-sink of a meta-achievement on another character again.) I had no problem running around for a few hours swiping eggs from people in order to get my Paladin his “the Noble” title.

    Over all, the Children’s Week achievements aren’t horrible. But I agree that the take your orphan to a bloody battlefield achievement is plain stupid. I can live with luck-based achievements (I must have been the only person in the game with five bags of candy in my pack before they upped the drop rate on it.) that reward those with no life or 24-hour access to WoW. Many of the achievements reward people who have the time to devote to a game which I don’t possess at the moment.

    But an achievement that rewards the worst impulses in battleground PvP is beyond foolish. Players don’t need more reasons to make Warsong Gulch into an unending turtle. Players don’t need more reasons to huddle into the center of Eye of the Storm while the other team captures all four towers. And you haven’t seen frustration until you’ve watched 20 people cram themselves into a single tower or bunker in Alterac Valley attempting to capture the same flag.

  26. Wolfshead says:

    I agree with you Scott 100%. Forcing folks who don’t like to PVP to do PVP achievements is wrong. A game designer should never force anyone into having to engage in a playstyle that they aren’t interested in. This issue also causing a lot of consternation on the official WoW forums.

    Putting an achievement system into WoW was the brainchild of none other then Jeff Kaplan — who’s seemingly run out of original ideas these days — not that he ever had any to start with. After copying most of the design of WoW from EQ he felt the need to steal this idea from the XBox and other gaming systems. He spent much of this time and resources during the Wrath of the Lich King slumming around on the beta forums asking for input on achievements and banning forum posters.

    One of the most pathetic things about the Achievement system is the name itself; lacking any semblance of originality they shamelessly called it the “Achievement System”. Just brilliant guys. You have to wonder given the success of WoW if Blizzard is getting either lazy or arrogant that they can believe that garbage like this is acceptable. But then again, they call their new content “patches”. You really have to wonder why Blizzard these days has such a glaring deficit of imagination.

    Earlier this year wrote an article that slams WoW achievements if anyone is interested:

    http://www.wolfsheadonline.com/?p=1052

    Achievements don’t work in WoW. They nothing more then a juvenile and imbecilic timesink. They remind me of an online version of the children’s game Simon Says. Flawed from the outset they were tacked on to WoW in a clumsy and unimmersive way that lacks a sense of harmony and cohesion with the rest of the gameplay mechanics. I’m glad that other people are finally coming out of the closet and expressing their disappointment with this so-called Achievement system.

  27. Informis says:

    “They remind me of an online version of the children’s game Simon Says.”

    You know, that’s not a bad metaphor for raid content, either, except you have 25 people who all must do what Simon says. One person fails and Simon enrages, killing all of you.

  28. Facebook User says:

    I’d be happy if they changed them to require you to be within X yards of someone capping the flag/capturing a tower. As it is now, they actually encourage you to fight against your own team instead of completing the battleground objectives.

    I never had a problem with the Hallow’s End or Winter’s Veil PVP achievements, because all you had to do was earn HKs. I wasn’t being punished for rolling a healing-spec’d priest as I am with this one. (As if trying to heal in battlegrounds isn’t punishment enough.)

  29. Hely says:

    I don’t have a problem with the Hallow’s End pvp requirement. I do have a major problem with the Winter’s Veil pvp requirement.

    I used to play a feral druid. Every time I shape shift I loose that stupid costume. The only class that does. So I was stuck trying to lolferalheal. This was way before dual specs. It didn’t work out too well. I died not long after I cast my first heal. I lost the costume then too. I gave up soon after.

    It’s just not worth it. I do want a proto drake mount though. I’m stuck trying to RNG the green one from those stupid eggs.

  30. Hellfire says:

    The nature of the PvP achievements is the problem, not specifically having PvP achievements as part of metas.

    Most of it could be solved pretty easily by using proximity detection or making the achievements themselves raid-wide (with an increase in complexity) so that TEAMS would reap the benefit for doing a TEAM activity. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure this stuff out.

    This part is minor, but as a class that spends a half their time stealthed as a core component of PvP having to pop a critter before doing actions (which can’t be done in combat) is kinda, you know, shitty shitty.

  31. Angelworks says:

    Some achievements in wow are fun, but yeah this one was painful. I managed to do it, but my character who pvp’s a lot has a ton of resilience and stamina (elemental shaman). It was really funny to see players come after me to find that they couldn’t kill me, but I could crit them to death ;).

    More than once I was the only one with an orphan and actual pvp gear on.

    What’s sad is with some minor tweaks they could have made this achievement encourage good battleground behavior – instead of the other way around.

    Blizzard will keep it the way it is though – because high speed mounts should be rare for some reason. It wouldn’t surprise me if they removed the violet protodrake from the achievement next year or changed it.

  32. Angelworks says:

    Oh I would add – that I think its OK to have pvp achievements in game – especially for holiday events, but with two qualifiers:

    a) they should work (remember the Christmas gnome pvp achievement – that was pretty broken…?)
    b) they should be designed to promote good gameplay – you know – to maybe encourage players to come back to BG’s and do things like capture towers etc.

    and I would agree – these were designed by someone who has never done a bg himself (because it probably was Jeff who came up with these).

  33. […] 2, 2009 at 11:09 pm (Uncategorized) Broken Toys has an article on why WoW achievements suck. Oddly enough I managed to complete it, but it made me […]

  34. Aufero says:

    My theory is that many of the WoW holiday achievements were designed by CSRs who lost their minds trying to read every thread on the official boards. It explains the sadism perfectly.

  35. Viz says:

    Why should one presume that because they’d like to do something, they should be able to do it?

    The legitimate complaint against achievements is that some require actively screwing over people who are supposed to be on your team.

  36. Sullee says:

    Achievements sucking ass is news to you?

    I’m going to have to reiterate my complaints that industry insiders stop giving blizzard money between failing at cloning WoW and start being more critical of the fucking lame design that riddles the thing.

    Did you blast blizz when achievements were put in for promoting unhealthy gameplay? There is a reason kids aren’t allowed to gamble in casinos yet we’re all ok with blizz exploiting reward schedules to addict players regardless of age? Maybe the politicians should go after the whole industry since you folks are so bad at policing yourselves.

    Achievements are todo lists with at best a reward for something you were doing anyway. At worst they encourage gaming* to the detriment of the broader activity and\or unhealthy gameplay such as long camps waiting out the RNG by repeating actions for a low probability result.

    *Gaming as in game the system.. manipulate and take unfair advantage of loopholes etc.

  37. […] Lum hates WoW Achievements. Also, Christmas.  And you. […]

  38. Iggep says:

    Achievements have been incredibly good for the game. But I completely agree about world event achievements having to be done in BGs. Bad idea.

  39. Asimo says:

    Honestly, I’d argue whether Achievements have been good. They do encourage people to play a bit more than they normally would, but they also heavily discourage the play of alts – one of the biggest way to retain players – by virtue of them being character-specific rather than account-specific, as well as discouraging people to swap from a “alt” to an “main” in the future, even if they would enjoy this better. A lot of Achievements are pointless busywork, and this becomes blindingly obvious when you stare at that blank spot on a second character. It actually manages to devalue the achievements on the main once this realization is hammered in.

    The biggest failure with the holiday achievements regardless is making many of them purely-RNG or heavily-PVP based to begin with. The benefit of the holiday, in a business sense, is keeping certain people subscribed for a year basically for free, so they can get the collective achievements as they go along. Once they miss a holiday achievement – especially if it’s due to some random or unfun bullshit – that motivation goes away, and Blizzard’s at potential risk of losing months of obsessive player time.

  40. hitnrun says:

    “My god, this is basic MMO Design 101. Blizzard usually plays in the big leagues, and then goes and makes a junior varsity mistake like this that makes me wonder if the adult designers went on holiday this month.”

    What? C’mon Lum, surely you must have noticed that the adult designers left to focus on Diablo and Starcraft two years ago. Since the release of Burning Crusade Blizzard’s design decisions have consisted of nothing but stuff like this.

  41. Cedia says:

    Actually, I think it was Kaplan who put in Achievements. He’s the one who loves to put “work” into MMO’s.

  42. Vetarnias says:

    I see a few things hinted at here and there in this thread, but I’ll just put it bluntly.

    It’s Blizzard’s fault, allright, but what I would add is that it’s probably deliberate.

    It’s just the mighty treadmill at work. Every activity in WoW is a treadmill more crass than the other. The way quests are constructed is one; the blind quest for gear is another. So is the level-divided map, the development of skills (fishing, etc) pegged to levels, crafting pegged to grinding for rare materials that have nothing to do with the craft they’re associated with (ichors of whatever in armorsmithing, *really*?), etc.

    Achievements? The largest treadmill in the game, making use of all the other treadmills, gear, level, you name it. And including PvP requirements — limited to two weeks in the year — just means you’re making sure that a large chunk of your players never see the end of it, for any reason: because they suck at PvP, because they’re not geared or speced for it, or because they just have the unfortunate choice of not joining the juggernaut side on their server.

    In other words, it’s rigged to prevent the player from ever seeing the end of achievements by completing them all (until the next expansion kicks in). It’s the same thing as if a friend of yours invited you to dinner and promised, as a bet, to give you $10,000 if you ate everything he served you, but when you showed up, you realized that the side dish was full of the one ingredient he knew you were allergic to. The dice are loaded, and Unethical WoW marches on.

    And by the way, I urge you to take this very interesting discussion to the MMORPG.com forums, where it will be met with hostility from the regulars because it’s not entirely pro-WoW. One poster in particular will make it his duty to run you through an inquisition and distort (or ignore) your answers, while dismissing you with three times more punctuation than needed, random sentences in teal and others underlined, and reducing all discussion to the magic figure of 11.5 million, all of this with more Belgian obnoxiousness than an Agatha Christie omnibus. And don’t be deceived, you’ll be the one ending up with a forum warning. That should remind you of the futility of ever questioning anything regarding WoW or Blizzard.

  43. Noel Walling says:

    I’m still of the opinion that Blizzard’s biggest mistake with their achievement system for WoW is not in the specifics of the individual achievements, but rather, that the system is character-specific rather than account specific in a game that encourages players to experience multiple class styles through re-rolling.

    This becomes an even larger mistake when one considers how they’re tying accounts together through battle.net log-ins, rather than game-specific accounts, because at this point, there’s no really good way to show an ‘account achievement score’, because such a thing just doesn’t exist in WoW.

    In theory, they could tie all the character achievements together and add them up, but that’s pretty silly, because it would immensely diminish the achievement ‘worth’ of other Blizzard titles when (not if) they implement them.

  44. Stabs says:

    Think you’re kind of missing the point of pvp.

    Player. Versus. Player.

    Other players with a different agenda are coming in and messing up your honour farm. Hostile players. Who you can kill.

    That IS pvp, not the mindless farming you’ve become addicted to.

    I’m very much reminded of the Diablo 2 PK debate where Blizzard said

    “The addition of the occaisional anti-social player only adds to the feeling of tension and fear that makes the rewards of success that much better”
    http://www.warpcore.org/~sirian/diablo2/protest-2a.html

    OK it’s frustration rather than fear and tension but after so many bloggers have been ranting about WoW being a mindless hand-holding treadmill it seems inappropriate to complain about other players messing up your player versus player farming because they have competing goals. Find a bunch of like-minded folks and gank the living snot out of them. Make them scared to go into a bg to get their achievements. Now that would be pvp.

  45. wilhelm2451 says:

    I actually like the achievements. They are fun to go out and run with my daughter. But when I saw the Children’s Week achievements I just said, “That ain’t gonna happen.” I’ve played enough battlegrounds to see the futility in it. We did the holiday quests, got our little pets, and moved on.

    But I know people who are even now in battlegrounds, and will be all week, trying to get that achievement because they have to have them all.

  46. Vetarnias says:

    @Stabs
    And while I disapprove of ganking, I must admit this suggestion gets quite a high rating on my schadenfreude meter.

  47. Alarik says:

    @Stabs
    The enemies playing counter to your goals aren’t the problem, precisely because you can gank the shit out of them; it’s the people on your own side screwing you over, which you really can’t do anything about.

  48. Guus says:

    I agree with you completely. I hate having to do PVP solely to get the damned achievement, which is what I am after. I like PVP sometimes, and I agree with you completely because it bugs the crap out of me that I have to learn a new playstyle for one day to get my achievement, one that ruins the game for you. Sorry.

  49. hitnrun says:

    I don’t think it’s the PvP that makes this achievement so horrible – though I realize Lum never misses an opportunity to bait teh hardcorez and his eternal nemeses are always happy to strike back – it’s the particular goals that must be reached to get these achievements.

    Anyone who has spent 5-minutes in Blizzard’s little sandboxes can tell you how horrible an idea it is to tie anything to actually completing an objective yourself. It would be just as bad if they were a Gears of War “Horde Mode” style PvE-gauntlet encounter. There are only handful of relevant unlocks in these time-consuming scenarios and they punish you (by taking more time) for leaving them early.

  50. Vuddy says:

    I think you are missing an opportunity Scott.

    Get 3 or 4 friends who like to PvP together, grab the Eye of the Storm Flag and let the sheep come to the slaughter. Your side will scream at you to drop the flag so they can cap it, but you will be too busy killing the achievement whores that dribble in one by one.

    This works in Warsong Gulch as well, but its harder to get the flag with all the sheep in the flag room.

  51. Steve says:

    Who are you, and what did you do with Lum. You’re either putting on a brilliant display of irony as a writing tool, or you’re just a massive pile of QQ. I can’t decide which yet.

    So battlegrounds are a big cluster-cluster this week. That’s tragic. On the other hand, no one is holding a gun to your head (I presume), forcing you to go into the mean, awful BGs. On the gripping hand, BG participation is as high as I’ve seen it since WotLK came out, even if that means they’re chock full of carebears.

    I played a grand total of seven BGs in order to get my Children’s Week wrapped up. 1xEotS, 2xAB, 3xWSG, and 1xAV. The AB’s, incidentally, were two of the most intense AB matches that I can recall. I think this achievement actually made AB more exciting.

    I agree that it made WSG more tedious than usual. The second match I played in, the alli’s (I play Horde) ventured out of their base a grand total of one time, and one of my teammates got the flag return credit. On the other hand, we did win, so I’m trying to see the bright side here.

    In any case, it’ll all be over soon. It’ll just be a few days, and you’ll get your long BG queue times back.

  52. neispace says:

    I think another problem is that achievement systems in games should never be tied to in-game rewards. You shouldn’t win a mount, or anything beyond points on your gamertag. Achievements are best when they are designed for pure fun and interesting play.

    Tying rewards to them, especially in an MMO, is just asking for player dissatisfaction as people who don’t enjoy the events feel forced to do it to gain the swag, and people who do the events and achievements get annoyed because now they have tremendous competition.

  53. Mihn_KT says:

    Im sick of the achievement system, it needs to die. It has turned a once helpful guild into a bunch of epeen strokers. You used to be able to get people to come back to help you with old content, now, no one will go unless they need the acheivement. It sickens me.

    Dont get me wrong, I love my guild, been with them through Gruuls and all the way to Ulduar. But, the pursuant of acheivements, is killing the real reaon people are in guilds, to help others, not “What acheivement do I get if I help them”.

    Oh well. Maybe its time to give it up.

  54. ShannonB says:

    I hate achievements since they seem to have become mandatory.

    When it started, I assumed they were a fun diversion for players who needed a direction to make the game fun for themselves in other ways. Something silly to pursue when you have 10 minutes to spare while waiting for something.

    When did it become this all out GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL OR DIE OMFG NAO! thing?

    I also didn’t realize the violet proto-drake was essentially a mandatory, free mount for every single person on the server at the end of the year. Because that’s what it’s become. OMG! I can’t finish my achievements I won’t get the drake!!!

    Bloody hell people, it’s just a goddamned mount. Nothing says you’re entitled to it either. Blizzard doesn’t need to nerf every achievement so that every single player can get the thing with a bare minimum of effort.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter what Blizzard introduces, players will find a way to ruin it with their general stupidity and greed.

  55. Blackblade says:

    You know, I’ve never once gone out of my way to do any achievement.. Why do people kill themselves over these things? I understand there are those that want to do everything possible and get the full experience, but seriously. How many of them achieved Grand Marshal? Woops.. Something they’ll never get, they might as well give up now. Whenever I do manage to get one, it’s a surprise to me.

    Oh, and if you need to win in EotS, come to the battle group where Steamwheedle Cartel is located. Alliance wins EVERY match.

  56. Jason says:

    Now, I don’t dislike PVP, but I dislike what this achievement has done to PVP, and that it forces me to do PVP in a style that I don’t want to do, just to get this achievement.

    What I hate /more/ though, by far, is the general reaction from the PVPers to this, basically blaming the NON-PVPERS for being in PVP. Hey, fuckstick. Instead of bitching at the non-PVPer for wanting his or her achievement, how about working with them to let them get it, so they GET THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR WAY.

    Running WSG? Someone take control and put 3-4 people with Orphans in the flag room. Let them defend, and when they pick up the flag….cycle them out and replace with another. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

    Alterac Valley? This requires Alliance and Horde putting aside their general hatred of each other to put a group of Horde in one of the Alliance towers with a willing alliance to keep taking the tower back so that the next person can take it, and get their achievement, and vice versa with the Alliance in the Horde tower.

    The same applies to Eye of the Storm, really. There’s no real reason that Alli and Horde can’t work together, and alternate flag captures. I know, I know. That’s not the point of the BGS at all. But here’s the thing: Blizzard put us in this situation, and the faster we get the achievements, the faster we get out of the BGs and let the PVPers do what they do best.

    So please, let’s not violate Rule 1 of Life: Thou Shalt Not Be An Asshole.

  57. Owain says:

    Lum, you really need to camp the DarkFall online store, and try to snag a copy. A pain, I know, but I think you really would find it worth your while. Roll an Alfar, and come to the KGB city, Khosgar, which lies on the south east coast of the main continent. Submit an application for citizenship on the KGB web site, oracle.the-kgb.com, and list Owain ab Arawn as your sponser. Shhhh. No else needs to know. This will be our secret. Except for everyone else who reads this.

    I’ve been in the game a couple of weeks now, and what I’ve found that there is not the non-stop universal gankage everyone seems to think that Darkfall will inevitably fall into. Granted, if you wander solo into the world, you will find no shortage of opportunities to be ganked, but no one does that. Instead, Darkfall seems like a continent wide battleground, but without the stupid stuff you are complaining about with WoW battlegrounds.

    Yesterday was very typical of this, from what I’ve seen so far. I checked in, got on the City Defense Ventrillo channel, and found that all was quiet on all fronts, so I went to the bank and got a few tools, and starting chopping wood and mining for stone, both to supply lumber and stone for the guild achitects for building supplies, and also to develop strength and other attributes.

    After about 20 minutes of this, somebody comes into Vent and announces that infiltrators have gotten over the walls and are moving towards the city bank, where most folks hang out macroing skills, and dropping off harvested supplies. I stow my pickaxe and equip a bow, and join the hunt. Thanks to the quick warning we drop the ones inside the walls pretty quick, but there are more outside the walls, both to the north and to the south. I run to the north wall and man the siege cannon and start firing at troops in the open, scattering them quickly.

    They move out of my visual range soon after I start firing, but we have spotters out in the field that direct my fire on their location, and soon they are in full retreat towards a local enemy hamlet. We armor up, mount up, and move out on a retaliatory strike.

    They have no siege weapons, so we sweep through their village without much difficulty, and catch them in the open. We overpower those we find, and withdraw before they can mount a counter attack. Things quiet down after that, so we go back to foraging. I strip off my equipment and go for an ocean crossing swim to build other attributes, and carry a fishing pole with me as well. A lad has to eat, you know.

    30 minutes later, the city is under attack again. I am half a continent away, fishing, so I do a bindstone recall, and reappear in the city in the middle of the attack, unarmored. I make it to the wall and start sniping with my bow. I get pretty well fried by their mages, but somehow manage not to die, and eventually we clean them out of the city, so it’s time to armor up again, and we have big fight south of the city. Neither side can make much headway, so both sides disengage and withdraw. Back to the city, where we defend against intermittent probing attacks and feints, but no large engagements for a while.

    No where in this are points awarded to permit me to buy a pair of uber pants. There are no flags to cap, no achievements to unlock, no artificial carrots to entice players, no flying mounts, nor quest rails to follow. But also, no non-stop ganks or fighting just for the sake of fighting. We are harvesting resources and crafting supplies, and our enemies seek to disrupt our operations and claim our resources for their own, all the while we are training and develping our skills to better defend our expanding sphere of influence. Some days, we get no probing attacks at all, so we harvest mobs, and forage for resources. Other days, we face waves of attacks.

    I’ve played battlegrounds on WoW and in DarkFall, but these feel more like sporting events than actual combat. There must be a strong attraction there for that kind of game play, because a LOT of people take part in it. Nothing ever changes in that setting though. Once you get through with the map, it starts again, and again, and again. The same fight over and over again. Groundhog Day, with swords.

    In DarkFall, no two fights are ever the same. The areas change, the tactics change, the objectives change, and depending on your success or lack thereof on the battle field, your over all strategies change. One week, you may be triumphantly expanding, and the next week, you may be desperately defending your civilization. Either way, things are never boring. And no “purple pulsating flying manhood compensators.”

    All in all, not bad for my first few weeks in a brand new game.

  58. Mercury says:

    This is typical of some of the strange design choices that have gone into the game lately. It falls right in with the recent “PVP-only” change to Exorcism, which was giving paladins too much damage. That flub was hilariously explained by Ghostcrawler who said they were getting too much damage because they “could use Exorcism to cause damage while closing to melee”*. Somehow, this extremely obvious scenario escaped the designers, when it easily could have been datamined or discovered in 5 minutes of dogfooding.

    The children’s week mistake falls right in line as another easily-avoided, stupid move. If you put that achievement on a piece of paper and handed it to a bunch of WoW players, half of them would instantly say “this is going to suck for me” without a second thought. It’s that obvious. Everyone’s going for the mount.

    I think it would have been a great deal less painful to simply require winning the four battlegrounds, as there is enough balance to get all 4 on either faction over a week. And then if the battlegrounds are flooded with PVErs, at least they’re trying to win and not do stupid shit that helps nobody.

    For my part, I simply didn’t heal anyone with an orphan out in battlegrounds. Unfortunately, I can’t control where my ProM bounces, so I’m sure it picked up a few of those buffoons. Alas. At least they got no Penance.

    * = yes, that is the actual quote from Blizzard staff, word for word.

  59. Drey says:

    @Brian ‘Psychochild’ Green

    Winterveil as a feral druid was indeed very, very painful.

  60. Cedia says:

    So please, let’s not violate Rule 1 of Life: Thou Shalt Not Be An Asshole.

    Unfortunately, this goes against Blizzard’s game design.

  61. The Alien says:

    I like the achievement system in WoW. I also liked the badge system in CoH.

    I think the School of Hard Knocks achievement was a mistake, for the reasons Lum gave.

    I’m going for all the holiday achievements and yes, they’ve sunk a lot of time. But I’m in a situation where I can’t seem to get into a successful raid with my two out of three guildmates who share my play schedule. We’re all RL friends and playing together is much of why we play.

    So instead, I can satisfy my diamond-y impulses with the achievement system. Who is to say that a new title is worth less of a time investment than a new wand?

  62. I’m wondering if Blizz has a specific target number for how many people should get the holiday drakes. There’s been repeated comments that it should be rare and hard to get. So next week somebody’s going to sit down and calculate how many players have all the holiday achivements so far. If it’s higher than they like are they going to accept a sky full of purple, or add some tough BG achivements to Midsummer and Brewfest?

  63. Redwolf says:

    I agree completely, even if I’m on the other side of the field as far as PVP goes. I generally don’t enjoy it. An attempt at this achievement resulted in me spending about a half hour completely miserable in Alterac Valley without any success.

    I have since written it (eventual speedy flying mount and all) off. I didn’t make this decision because I felt I couldn’t accomplish the achievement, but rather because doing so would be the antithesis of fun. I could do it, but I’d hate every minute and that means it’s not worth it to me.

  64. Owain says:

    Grimhawke[EB] :@Owain Great post Owain.

    I hope this isn’t a duplicate post, but the last one didn’t seem to take.

    Thanks Grimhawke.

    I need to clarify one comment I made so folks won’t be confused. At one point, I wrote, “I’ve played battlegrounds on WoW and in DarkFall,” when what I meant was, “I’ve played battlegrounds on WoW and in WarHammer…”

    I don’t see any way to edits posts submitted here, but that sure would be a handy function sometimes.

  65. hellfire says:

    You can only edit for 5 minutes after posting.

    At any rate, someone above said that conflict was the whole point of PvP. I don’t disagree on spec (ie that assholism is fine since you can be ganked for being an asshole) but we’re not talking about solo open-world PKing.

    The achievements for this meta are in team-based battlegrounds. The achievements in this meta are constructed in a way that is a) counter to the actual goal of the battlegrounds in question and b) counter to actual TEAM PvP.

  66. Ed says:

    I gotta admit, any system that can provide a basis for this sort of comedy is good by me. http://www.zwixy.com/Obama_Barack_World_of_Warcraft_achievement.jpg

  67. ErikBethke says:

    This is too funny, I read your blog often, saw this post and wondered what was the big deal.

    I pride myself on being the laid back kind of pvp-er, the kind of guy who cant stand raiding because people are so uptight and hardcore when raiding.

    Last night I was simply trying to clear my EOTS daily and for 13 games in a row we lost because of people just going for the flag and failing to 3-cap.

    This is the only time in years I lost my cool and started to berate the other players.

    -Erik

  68. bejeavis says:

    The only cheev that is worthless is the EoTS one. The other cheevs are positive things to happen in a BG. Or in other words if you aren’t also trying for the cheev yourself, you can’t really say that someone killing the EFC, returning a flag or assaulting a tower is bad. Hell, if you are in WSG and have 4 people that are rediculously over-zealous about camping the FR and killing the EFC, then you really should just get your ass on offense and count yourself as lucky, because you are in a group that is better than 60% of all WSG pugs. But everyone worth their salt knows that flags don’t freakin mean dick in EoTS games. That cheev is just pure fail.

  69. ml says:

    I hate achievements, I haven’t gone out of my way to do any other than when other people in my group/raid wanted to do them. I am also exalted with all BGs on several characters.

    I actually liked this event, but only because it brought change to BGs that have been exactly the same for 4 years now. I understand why other people hate them, but this type of events, if designed intelligently could actually bring some fun to the daily honor grind.

  70. geldonyetich says:

    When dealing with a particular aspect of a game that gets my goat, I like to get the bottom of it: why does it bother me?

    Take the mother of all MMORPG killers: the grind. Why does the grind bother me? At first blush, you’d think it’s because there’s levels and experience points. Some people swear off games with levels because of this. However, the true problem with the grind is simply that you’re bored solid of the individual repetitive activities that constituted filling that experience bar. That experience and levels exist was never really the problem.

    In this same approach, we look at World of Warcraft achievements. Is the fact that people can earn a dandy title for committing to certain difficult tasks the problem? No – we know this because City of Heroes has the same thing and it hasn’t broke that game. It seems to me the real problem with WoW is that players are heavily incentivising to earn the achievements. No badge in City of Heroes earns you can epic mount, so you can live without it.

    As we know from old school Ultima Online incentives turning the first graphical virtual world into a gankfest, incentivising people to make the game suck is easy to do.

    Honestly, I don’t regard what WoW does as all that important. Sure, they got millions of subscribers, but I’m more or less convinced that most of those millions are from the Blizzard brand name fishing in new players to the genre. WoW didn’t need to be good, it just needed to have the EverQuest hook, and the millions were assured. Nobody else can replicate WoW’s success because they’re not Blizzard and they don’t have millions of fans sitting in the wings waiting to jump that bandwagon.

    So, my formula for MMORPG success? Develop for niches on a shoestring budget, because WoW was a one time deal. Either that, or find a whole other pack of people who never played MMORPGs before and pull them onboard. (Good luck without a brand recognition grapevine working for you.)

  71. AcidCat says:

    Though I am 3 months clean from WoW, during the last few months of my playtime Achievements started annoying me. I played with a decent sized casual guild (real casual, barely did more than a token old world raid) and almost everybody was enamored with achievements. During any holiday it was the worst, constant chatter in guildchat about who had done what achievement, who needed to do X to get Y achievement, blah blah. After a while I just felt like the odd man out because I couldn’t be bothered to give a shit.

  72. […] one achievement seemed to rate high on the scale of pain for me.  And I had not even considered how annoying this achievement might be for the people who enjoy playing battlegrounds and who are going to end up having their venue […]

  73. Owain says:

    “As we know from old school Ultima Online incentives turning the first graphical virtual world into a gankfest, incentivising people to make the game suck is easy to do.”

    This is not true so much as UO made both griefing and solo PvE too easy. It was easy for the griefers because hit and run gankage was easy. You hit the guy soloing outside town, and even if you had friends in close proximity, the murderer only had to recall and he was home free, so there were always solo PKs to contend with because there was nothing anyone could do to prevent them from ganking targets of opportunity.

    On the other hand, they weren’t all that wide spread that people absolutely couldn’t solo PvE. You always had secure cities to fall back on, and if you were smart, you could still play solo because you also had the recall escape spell as well. Live was easier in a guild, but not overwhelmingly so.

    My problem with WoW and it’s clones is that, in many ways, they really aren’t role playing games. This is reflected in the way people now refer to them as MMO games (massive multiple online games) instead of the older term, MMORPG (massive multiple online role playing games). WoW-esque games are exercise in grindage, whether it’s level grinding, gear grinding, achievement grinding, grinding, grinding, grinding. Grinding for what? For the success of your faction? Can’t be that, because it wouldn’t matter to your faction if you have the highest levels, the best gear, or whatever, Humans never lose Stormwind, and Orcs never lose Orgrimmar. The world is static.

    The situation in a game like DarkFall is dramatically different. I am very much a citizen of the city state of Khosgar. I actively contribute to the success of my city, both through supplies gathered to improve our infrastructure, and through defense of the city from direct attack. If I lose on this ‘battlefield’, it doesn’t mean just a few repairs to my otherwise immortal gear. My supplies, my gear, and my mount may all be lost, suddenly and permanantly (at least until replaced). If the clan loses the battle and the city falls, suddenly we are all refugees in a hostile world. This is a level of role playing beyond anything WoW offers. MMO indeed.

    On the other hand, outside of the newbie areas, I haven’t seen much of the griefing gankage that was common on UO. There are permanant faction cities, but they are vastly inferior to player cities. There are some unguilded solo players, but the overwhelming majority of players belong to clans, both large and small, so you don’t find many solo PKs or solo PvE players. The solo PKs and PvEers are both rare because you don’t have the fast recall ‘escape hatch’. Most players I encounter do not operate solo, so a solo player has to almost always contend with a group, which quickly results in a dead player. Actions have consequences in DF for both good guys and bad guys, which was less the case in UO.

    You do have rival raiding parties, but at least in our case, they run significant risks because reinforcements are only a voice chat call away, and the hunters can quickly become the hunted unless they are very careful.

    “However, the true problem with the grind is simply that you’re bored solid of the individual repetitive activities that constituted filling that experience bar.”

    This represents the best argument I can think of both for and against games like WoW. The fact that you can be bored by doing the chief activities designed into the game says a lot. The fact that Wow in particular has so many subscribers demonstrates that many players don’t particularly want to be challenged, and are content with endlessly repeating simple tasks that are not particularly difficult as long the carrot of the next level, or the next bit of gear, or the next ‘achievement’ is available. Skill is not necessarily needed, but simple endurance most definately is. Thus, WoW successfully has a lot of subscribers. For many players, myself included, pure grindage games are no longer viable.

    Darkfall has it’s share of grindage, to be sure. Mining and lumberjacking are not the most stimulating of activities, but they do have the advantage of yielding supplies and building attributes that contribute directly to my survival, both short term and long term. And since I never know when the next raiding party will show up, being bored is not something I have had to worry about for long.

    If Darkfall will be a long term success, it will be because it followed at least part of Geldonyetich’s advice. “So, my formula for MMORPG success? Develop for niches…” Darkfall is very much a niche game, as Eve is a niche game, and as ShadowBane was a niche game before either of them. If you find yourself chafing at the odd design decisions taken by WoW and others, DF may be a niche that fits better than you think.

  74. […] Lum is Mad It’s this sort of prose that has kept me reading his assorted cumdugeonly writings for nigh on a […]

  75. Eric Kearns says:

    I just play for the reasons I like the game and when some achievement pops up I am usually surprised a bit and think, “hey… I didnt know that was coming” then I move on. The lengths people go to in ranting about this seems a bit overzealous to me. It’s just added content for people who care about it. I do agree adding it into a PVP model is not a good idea as it certainly forces people to jump into a gameplay mode that isnt their cup of tea. Oh well. I wouldnt have done that if it were me I guess.

  76. Ingmar says:

    The problems are generally exaggerated. AV has already been back to normal for the last couple days on my battlegroup, Strand (which is awesome) isn’t affected at all. Arathi Basin is just spazzier than normal on flag flips. Only WSG and Eye are really adversely affected, and IMO anyone who actually enjoys WSG is adversely affected in the head anyway. 😛

  77. Ingmar says:

    I should throw in, nobody is being ‘forced’ to PVP. The Violet Proto-Drake is a reward that requires some PVP to get. Truly OCD achievement hounds are *already* PVPing, because there are a ton of PVP achievements, including ones that require high arena skill.

    Characterizing this as a purely PVE reward for something that “should” be a purely PVE endeavor is just wrong.

  78. Asimo says:

    Even if you believe that to be the case Ingmar, there’s still the critical point in the fact it’s simply a poorly designed achievement. It requires players to act contrary to the good of the battleground, directly or indirectly, and forces competition over limited resources that would be irrelavent if not for the achievement.

    You can get away with this sort of “do it backwards!” design in PVE since it’s both easier to design around and presumably everyone in a raid is willing and informed to do it a specific way. But in a battleground, you’re both facing an uncontrollable opposition and surrounded by random people who want to do things properly – perhaps still even while they’re going for the achievement.

  79. Sullee says:

    Yes, you too can own* your very own mount that is 10.7% faster on inane treadmills! Wheeeee.

    To purchase just complete these following few tasks. Please hurry as these tasks are only available during limited times.

    *Must subscribe at least one year to be eligible to purchase. Mounts not valid for first 7 levels of any new expansion. All purchases are final.

  80. Mark Asher says:

    There’s nothing wrong with game design that encourages players to try parts of games they might otherwise shy away from. Maybe Blizzard could have made the achievement progress for the battlegrounds simply winning one of each, though, or even win one or lose two — something like that.

  81. Jederus says:

    Couldn’t agree more with your assessement. Particularly in regards to the mistake of ‘encouraging’ gameplay in the BGs that is counter-productive to team play and hence, winning the damn thing.

    For what it’s worth, we’ve covered some basic strategy for the achievement over at http://wowenomics.wordpress.com/2009/05/03/a-tutor-for-the-school-of-hard-knocks/ in the hopes that it gets PVEers in and out of the BGs faster. Sadly, however, I have to agree that the best approach for those of us that actually like the BGs is to simply wait a week. What were the designers thinking? Or were they thinking at all?

  82. Gx1080 says:

    Ha. The anger against archievements is an old one. I mean its the Blizzard’s way of making busisness: Put a purple manhood/self-esteem compensator in the finish line, and people will do any stupid-grindy-content strech thing any day of the week.

    When the year passes and only 2-3 people have the Purple Drake i can bet that they will be called no-lifers for the rest despite the fact that they tried too.

    When that happens the “holiday archievement frenzy” will slow down a lot.

    I could say that people are stupid, but the problem is that the average WoW player thoughts are: Me no like think. Me think hard all day so Me want to sit ass in front of computer and do brain-dead activities that a monkey could do.

    Winning BGs is harder that sit and click the flag all day. Thats why the archievements are things like that, after all is just Blizzard catering to their costumers.

  83. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    “As we know from old school Ultima Online incentives turning the first graphical virtual world into a gankfest, incentivising people to make the game suck is easy to do.”
    This is not true so much as UO made both griefing and solo PvE too easy. It was easy for the griefers because hit and run gankage was easy. You hit the guy soloing outside town, and even if you had friends in close proximity, the murderer only had to recall and he was home free, so there were always solo PKs to contend with because there was nothing anyone could do to prevent them from ganking targets of opportunity.

    It’s true that being able to escape easily was part of the reason why ganking became such an out-of-control problem. If we could track down every ganker, and if they couldn’t just “I ban thee” themselves to safety, it would certainly put a sense of accountability into their actions.

    However, I suspect a larger portion of this was because ganking was a means to circumvent the grind. Would you rather spend several hours mining and smelting, or 5 minutes killing the miner and swiping their ingots?

    The incentives were definitely routing people directly to ganking, especially after the novelty of the individual activities (what little there was to be had in “click, wait, sort inventory”) wore off.

    Skill is not necessarily needed, but simple endurance most definately is. Thus, WoW successfully has a lot of subscribers. For many players, myself included, pure grindage games are no longer viable.

    Personally, I can see WoW simply walking in the steps of EverQuest here. The reason why people were willing to tolerate WoW was because, for them, it was their first grind and the activities didn’t quote lose their novelty. But now the novelty has severely worn off and they’re mostly all bored and shopping around for a better game.

    It’s an identical pattern, just on the scale of dragging new people to the table, and we know this happened because WoW’s subscription base is about twenty times bigger than EverQuest’s ever was.

    The tricky thing is that no game is an everlasting gobstopper, even if reward persistence over skill. Eventually, the players will master each activity you throw at them, or else they’re suffering from a learning disability that prevents them from doing so.

    The solution is relatively straightforward, but not easy: make advanced gameplay modes available (requiring advanced game design) and also provide a variety of gameplay modes (requiring multiple game designs).

    If Darkfall will be a long term success, it will be because it followed at least part of Geldonyetich’s advice. “So, my formula for MMORPG success? Develop for niches…” Darkfall is very much a niche game, as Eve is a niche game, and as ShadowBane was a niche game before either of them. If you find yourself chafing at the odd design decisions taken by WoW and others, DF may be a niche that fits better than you think.

    There’s two things that are keeping me out of Darkfall:

    1. The PvP is completely unrestricted, meaning that individual player skill is second to how many people you can drag to the battlefield. It doesn’t matter how good you are, your village is dust the minute some guild bigger than yours, or perhaps simply on another time zone than you, decides they want to destroy it.

    2. The gameplay mechanic boasts no activity I haven’t already bored of in another game.

    The former assures that the game itself is an unbalanced travesty of a shadow of a game, and the later assures that in order to find novelty in the game I’d have to convince myself it’s something’s it’s not.

  84. Owain says:

    “However, I suspect a larger portion of this was because ganking was a means to circumvent the grind. Would you rather spend several hours mining and smelting, or 5 minutes killing the miner and swiping their ingots?”

    For the one thing, miners very rarely carried ingots. They carried ore, which required mining skill to refine, and was VERY heavy, so it was generally useless to the PKs. They would frequently steal ore, kill an animal, and then leave it on the corpse so it would vanish when the corpse decayed. It was more trouble to steal than it was worth as far as value was concerned. They robbed the miner not so much to profit from it, but rather to deny him the use of the ore. As mentioned, there was little downside to the activity in UO because it was so easy to get away with it. It’s a lot harder in Darkfall, and because they can’t get away as easily, attackers frequently die when trying it, so at least in my experience, solo PKs are FAR more rare than they were in UO.

    “There’s two things that are keeping me out of Darkfall:

    1. The PvP is completely unrestricted, meaning that individual player skill is second to how many people you can drag to the battlefield. It doesn’t matter how good you are, your village is dust the minute some guild bigger than yours, or perhaps simply on another time zone than you, decides they want to destroy it.”

    I have not participated in a siege in the couple of weeks I have been playing, so I cannot comment on it in detail. From what I understand, it’s a major undertaking, it’s VERY expensive, and it involves huge risks for both sides, so it is not entered into lightly. Once I have a better understanding of the siege system, I’ll see if I can expand on that, but it would seem that DarkFall learned from mistakes made by ShadowBane where city building was an enormously difficult enterprise, but conducting sieges was trivial in comparison. There is a lot more involved than big guilds rolling over small guilds. If that were the case, sieges would be far more common than they are.

    “2. The gameplay mechanic boasts no activity I haven’t already bored of in another game.”

    Well, there’s nothing new under the sun, so until they start marketing holodecks, I guess you’re screwed, game-wise.

    Agreed, taken in isolation, there is nothing earthshaking about things in Darkfall. Other games feature ancient weapons, magic, dungeons, PvE, and PvP, although the PvP in most other games is pretty anemic. Darkfall does stray pretty far from the WoW model, so for gamers who are looking for a style of play that very different from the large number of WoW clones available.

    “The former assures that the game itself is an unbalanced travesty of a shadow of a game…”

    Now there is an unbiased statement spoken from the depths of an ignorance so pure it sparkles, and from an complete lack of first hand knowledge whatsoever, but do carry on. You are certainly among friends here.

    “…and the later assures that in order to find novelty in the game I’d have to convince myself it’s something’s it’s not.”

    So you should not be considered to be part of Darkfall’s target audience. Yeah. I got that. I did mention niche games, and Darkfall does fill a niche currently unserved by any other game I am aware of, with the possible exception of Eve, which belongs to a different genre entirely, so there should be little competition between the two.

    Some folks play WoW. Fine. Some folks play sports games. Good for them. Some folks play The Sims Online or Second Life. Well. There’s no accounting for taste. My one and only point is that players who are tired of riding the quest rails on a level based grindtastic game like WoW and it’s clones, a more wide open skill based sandbox game like Darkfall might be something to consider. In many ways, Darkfall seems more and more like a persistant first person shooter with elements of RTS build and conquer games. That is pretty different, at least in my experience, but then I’m not as thoroughly bored with it all as some.

    Your milage may vary.

  85. geldonyetich says:

    “I have not participated in a siege in the couple of weeks I have been playing, so I cannot comment on it in detail. From what I understand, it’s a major undertaking, it’s VERY expensive, and it involves huge risks for both sides, so it is not entered into lightly”

    The relevance of this in addressing the issue of unrestricted sides is very poor: So what if it’s expensive? My guild plays more, severely outnumbers your guild, and we’re bored. Bored enough not to care about the risk, greatly mitigated by our massive numerical advantage, to raze your village just because we’re looking for targets.

    There’s really no way around it, unrestricted PvP might bear some fruit in spectacle factor, but otherwise makes for a pretty broken game. It’s not like it’s hard to add, just flag the players so they can gank eachother and you’re done.

    “Well, there’s nothing new under the sun, so until they start marketing holodecks, I guess you’re screwed, game-wise. ”

    Yeah, I am pretty screwed so long those who land jobs designing games are convinced there’s nothing new left to do.

    Fortunately, the few games created by those who actually have the creativity and talent to see otherwise keep me going.

    “Now there is an unbiased statement spoken from the depths of an ignorance so pure it sparkles”

    No, calling somebody’s statement ignorant without bothering to explore the reasons why is ignorant. Sadly, as a relatively enlightened individual, ignorance burns at the touch.

    Would you play a team game where anyone’s capable of joining any side regardless of numbers? I wouldn’t, because 24 on 2 is pretty sucky balance. Put those odds on any game, where any player is given an equal power lot, and an “unbalanced travesty of a shadow of a game” is a very apt description.

    I can tell because you keep dragging the conversation back to Darkfall that you’re here to defend it. Well, guess what? The people here actually know what they’re talking about. Darkfall is pretty dang broken in many fundamental ways.

    If you still enjoy it, that’s your business, but don’t waste your time trying to spin doctor it. Why, exactly, would you feel obligated to do so? I don’t think they’re paying you do to that, are they? The opinions expressed by Scott Jennings are not your responsibility.

  86. geldonyetich says:

    (Of course, a quick look at his related link reveals a gung-ho PvP guild currently situated in Darkfall Online.

    I’m almost wise enough to remember that debating those who have arrived under the spell of a self-appointed crusade is inevitably fruitless. Such an individual is on a mission, and any claim that they’re here to learn is a ruse so profound that they themselves may believe it.)

  87. Gx1080 says:

    Yeah, you are so wise yet you critizice something that you havent actually tried. How i know that? Because DarkFall is like EVE in the zerg. That mean: the world is HUGE and it takes a long time to go between areas so zergs have to be coordinated because it means letting your things vulnerable to attack.

    It has been the EVE way since its creation and nobody complains more than the usual. Not every game has flying paths/portals.

    Its not perfect (macro land) but it has the EVE “spark” thats makes it fun. For “spark” in this case i mean potential for large BoB-death drama potential. And a game without a catch like that, becomes boring (See: WAR, although in WAR’s case it could be because its just hype and dissapointment, and people get tired of dissapointment, i mean the PvP there is as or less balanced that WoW)

  88. geldonyetich says:

    Comparing Darkfall to EVE Online only acts as greater confirmation to me that I was indeed quite wise to know without trying in this case. This is because I criticize EVE Online along the exact same lines: the open, unbalanced PvP is not conductive to good gameplay.

    EVE Online is actually a bit worse than Darkfall on the grounds that you’ll never catch up to established players by design. Skills are gained by simply designating skills and waiting, and they’ve several years of waiting in front of you. Economically, it’s even worse, the established players are the only ones who can afford to profit off all the starting players – a newbie’s asteroid/mission grinding ultimately makes sure the rich stay richer than you, because it’s the veteran players who are backing all the buying and selling in the home sectors.

    That the BoB-death drama even happened is a massive indicator along the lines in which EVE Online is broken as a game. Why play EVE Online as a game – all that intergalactic resource acquisition, processing, and ship battles? If you want to make real progress, find somebody inside the corporation who is frustrated with how idiotic his fellow corp mates are, and has all the right permissions to destroy it. They’ll practically hand you the “win” button, and hand over hundreds of thousands of man hours of your corporation’s work to their enemies, because they can.

    That said, don’t misunderstand me. Yes, I’m calling them terrible games, but that’s only because I’m operating under a fairly reasonable design premise that a “good” game should be balanced and fair to the players. If you don’t care about that, you can certainly enjoy them. I never said they didn’t excel at being a spectacle. Hey, being a spectacle works for Reality TV.

  89. Gx1080 says:

    About the skills, since you are not going to believe my word:

    http://www.massively.com/2008/05/05/eve-evolved-skill-system-demystified-part-1

    Read it. Read the part 2 as well (link in the same page).

    About the economy, its a free-market world just like the real world. And just like the real market, its has to face the lie that Lenin said: “We are poor because the rich people exploit us”. Which sorry, but its pure unalterated BS.

    About the drama, its not that different of a guild leader cleaning the guild bank, changing name, and transfering to another server. Exept for the soverignity that its always changing anyways.

  90. Owain says:

    “There’s really no way around it, unrestricted PvP might bear some fruit in spectacle factor, but otherwise makes for a pretty broken game. It’s not like it’s hard to add, just flag the players so they can gank eachother and you’re done.”

    This is an interesting theory you have there, but it doesn’t match the facts on the ground. If it were true, the KGB would be the undisputed power in our little corner of the continent, but we aren’t. We currently have large numbers, and a reasonabley large city, but the way the siege system works, if we were to lay siege to one of the small hamlets near our city that disputes our authority, we’d have to challenge them, and if they ally with the many other groups in the area that are fighting against us and we fail to take their hamlet, we either lose our city, or we have to stake such an enormous amount of gold that the risks FAR outweigh the benefits. So right now, we are embroiled in a guerilla war against numerous smaller insurgent groups in our area, and we are constrained by the game mechanics from being able to use our greater numbers against them.

    That is good game design, and one we are not particularly upset about, because although we are limited in our capability to seize these smaller hamlets, we do enjoy a target rich environment where we can employ small group tactics over a very wide area, which brings us back to the relevance of this topic to this thread.

    Lum was originally complaining about changes that have been made to the WoW battlegrounds, namely the achievements. I have no direct experience with that, but it does sound like it truly sucks, so I’ll take his word for it. He ends his post thus: “I hate WoW achievements. I want my game back, goddamit.”

    I can’t help him there with respect to WoW, but I can suggest an alternative based on my own direct experience in Darkfall. At least with respect to a ‘battlefield’ situation, Darkfall does offer an environment that surpasses by far anything WoW has to offer in terms of size, scope, variety, and challenges. Alas, we have no “purple pulsating flying manhood compensators” to offer, but I think Lum would not consider that to be a bad thing.

    “Would you play a team game where anyone’s capable of joining any side regardless of numbers? I wouldn’t, because 24 on 2 is pretty sucky balance. Put those odds on any game, where any player is given an equal power lot, and an “unbalanced travesty of a shadow of a game” is a very apt description.”

    If you are talking football, yeah, that would make for a long afternoon, particularly if you are constrained to a regulation field. But this is the view of PvP as a sporting event that fails, in my opinion. I’ve played 2 v 24 odds on the short side, and as long as you don’t let them box you in and smother you, it can be hilareous, particularly if the mob isn’t very well organized. While they are milling about trying to figure out what to do, you can frequently pick one or two folks off who aren’t paying attention, and make it out before they know what’s happened.

    Sure, in cases like that, I almost invariably end up taking a dirt nap, but sometimes that’s intentional. The other day, I was out chopping some wood, gathering resources, and I was jumped by a party from a rival group. I knew I was going to die, but they were mounted and less maneuverable while I was on foot, and I was able to bob and weave and duck between them while they were hitting each other more than they were hitting me long enough that reinforcements from the city I had alerted over voice chat were able to arrive and roll over them. Yeah, I died, but I lost nothing, and they lost 5 mounts, plus all their gear. I count that as a win, and the biter ended up getting bit.

    If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.

    “I can tell because you keep dragging the conversation back to Darkfall that you’re here to defend it. Well, guess what? The people here actually know what they’re talking about. Darkfall is pretty dang broken in many fundamental ways.”

    The reason I keep dragging the conversation back is because it’s relevant. People, like Lum, either point out problems with other games, and I point out that if that feature bothers you, here’s an alternative that doesn’t suffer from that problem. Alternatively, people lke you who have never played some game, in this case Darkfall, make sweeping that are contrary at least to my personal experience, so in the interest of clarifying the situation, I try to set the record straight.

    “Of course, a quick look at his related link reveals a gung-ho PvP guild currently situated in Darkfall Online.”

    I’m not sure how this is a bad thing. If any of Scott’s readers were to want to learn more about Darkfall, to whom should they turn? Should they listen to someone who has never played the game, is hostile to the genre in general, and whose conceptions about the game are contrary to how the game actually works, or should they listen to a person who is actively and enthusiastically playing? Before anyone drops their hard earned 50 bucks on Darkfall, by all means, drop by the KGB web site (oracle.the-kgb.com) and get a feel for what is really going on, good and bad. That way, you would be making a more informed decision than you would by listening to someone saying, “Yeah, I’ve never played it, but I heard Ultima Online sucked because it had unrestricted PvP, and EvE is just a non-stop gankathon, and don’t EVEN get me started about ShadowBane… So based on that, I know that Darkfall is an unbalanced travesty of a shadow of a game, or something.”

    As near as I can tell, you are calling it a terrible game either because there is no ‘Easy Win’ button, or no referee to make the sporting event you are looking for “fair”. It’s not so much a terrible game as it is a game that you don’t care for, which is fine. The last thing I want is to have someone buy any game and then whine about how ‘unfair’ it all is. To quote the immortal words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann from Full Metal Jacket, “… my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Corps. Do you maggots understand that?”

    Darkfall is not easy. It is not fair. You will die. A lot. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. From the start, your skills will suck, and they will suck hard for a very long time. Quests are limited, so if you are addicted to the glowing “!” over some npc’s head, move along. This is not the MMORPG you are looking for. You may join a small guild, start doing well, and the next week a bigger group will roll into your area and knock you on your collective butts. You may have to take to the hills and live by your wits, wishing you had eyes in the back of your head. Or, you may experience what is best in life! “To crush your enemies, to drive them before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women!”

    But you will not be bored.

    It’s that, or “purple pulsating flying manhood compensators.” (Heh! I love that phrase.) Your choice.

    Choose wisely.

    P.S. If you have any other faulty conceptions about how the game works, by all means, contribute them, and I will seek to clarify. I am here to serve.

  91. Brask Mumei says:

    The early state of any MMORPG is always extremely different from the later state. If, after two years of Mudflation, Darkfall remains in this state where large guilds can be properly counterbalanced by small hamlets, I may very well try out the game.

    In the early days of UO the PKs didn’t all Kal Ort Por on sight either. We were running around with “Apprentice Swordsman” glowing over our heads, living by our wits, and generally not being bored.

  92. Owain says:

    “The early state of any MMORPG is always extremely different from the later state.”

    Fair enough. As has been pointed out here and elsewhere, Darkfall is not without its problems. If it is still going strong in two years, no one will be happier than I, although I’m having bit of a hard time following the logic of a statement that says, in effect, “Well, it seems to be working to perfection right now, so of course I wouldn’t want to try it currently.”

    Of course, in two years, even if the current balance of power is maintained, you will have folks saying, “Joining Darkfall now is an exercise in futility. The established clans have been there two years, and new players stand no chance.” Whatever.

    I think it must be a ‘comfort zone’ thing, and few folks like to stray too far from theirs.

  93. Gx1080 says:

    In the recent DarkFall patch notes im seeing a difference between developer’s hype and actions. I like more the actions so i’m not borrowing much attention to the hype.

  94. Gx1080 says:

    Because its hype. Thats for shareholders and calming down trolls. And this is a Hardcore PvP game, a type of game that would be more enjoyable if didnt atract the community that atracts.

  95. geldonyetich says:

    Owain :
    This is an interesting theory you have there, but it doesn’t match the facts on the ground. If it were true, the KGB would be the undisputed power in our little corner of the continent, but we aren’t. We currently have large numbers, and a reasonabley large city, but the way the siege system works, if we were to lay siege to one of the small hamlets near our city that disputes our authority, we’d have to challenge them, and if they ally with the many other groups in the area that are fighting against us and we fail to take their hamlet, we either lose our city, or we have to stake such an enormous amount of gold that the risks FAR outweigh the benefits. So right now, we are embroiled in a guerilla war against numerous smaller insurgent groups in our area, and we are constrained by the game mechanics from being able to use our greater numbers against them.

    I read this, and it looks good on the surface, but I get a little deeper and I see a lot of it is basically a matter of how you choose to look at the game.

    Where you see a big risk of your larger guild not attacking rival villages for risk of provoking them to band together for a massive counterattack , I see a bunch of unconfirmed speculation. Personally, I would speculate from past experience that the average player really does not have that much capacity or interest in organizing themselves.

    Where you say the gold put at risk in an attack wouldn’t be worth it considering the risks involved, I see there’s really no point to PvP in the first place in that game. Sure, you could level their village, but would you really gain anything from it? Having incentives in the wrong place is bad. Having no incentives at all to play is worse.

    Where you see a guerrilla war, all I see is ganking. In a guerrilla war, the participants are at least trying to accomplish something. Here, they’re mostly attacking eachother just to alleviate boredom.

    You’re basically spinning a lot of roleplay on top of a broken game mechanic in order to enjoy the game. Is that so wrong? Not at all. However, it doesn’t convince this aspiring game designer that Darkfall is a less broken game. It does, at least, confirm that the “EVE Spark” is indeed alive and well in Darkfall.

    Gx1080 :
    About the skills, since you are not going to believe my word:
    http://www.massively.com/2008/05/05/eve-evolved-skill-system-demystified-part-1
    Read it. Read the part 2 as well (link in the same page).

    I’ve actually played EVE Online and know all about the game mechanics. Taking a newbie guide off of massively.com and waving it around doesn’t prove anything.

    The “skills myths exposed” part is actually talking along a completely different tangent than what I am – that in order to fulfill a single role on EVE Online you don’t need to know all the skills.

    That’s all very well and good until you realize that you’re still not going to be piloting the very best ships with all the best possible equipment unless you have a very wide and diverse range of skills that would take a very, very long time to gather.

    I’m not talking a dreadnought, either. Just a good interceptor kitted out the right way would take somewhere along the lines of a year or two to get all the skills to kit out to maximum advantage.

    So, basically, this who guy wrote that guide on massively? Completely clueless. Probably not a newbie, but probably a veteran player who never had to deal with the newbie perspective and doesn’t realize just how much of an uphill battle it is.

    Actually, he might not be clueless. He was probably had an incentive to stretch the truth to entice new players into the game so he did a bit of “myth debunking” along the lines of stretching the truth by omitting the whole of it. Whether his incentive came from EVE’s developers paying him or just wanting to get more new blood in the game, I cannot say.

    Gx1080 :
    About the economy, its a free-market world just like the real world. And just like the real market, its has to face the lie that Lenin said: “We are poor because the rich people exploit us”. Which sorry, but its pure unalterated BS.

    “I am calling this pure, unalterated BS, therefore, I am correct.”

    This is not the way critical thought works.

    It’s actual the real-world significance which makes EVE Online’s economy so broken. There actually is a whole lot of evidence right now, during the current depression, about just how harmful a completely free-market economy without restrictions can be.

  96. I like the achievements, generally. But some of them are very frustrating. I am a kibbles and bits recipe away from getting my Chef achievement but despite doing the BC cooking quest on a daily basis for months, the recipe has not dropped. Similarly the SoHK achievement sux hard. I gave up.

    Alliance are not allowed to bitch about not winning EotS as they always friggin win AB and AV.

  97. Cedia says:

    Vivianne Draper :
    Alliance are not allowed to bitch about not winning EotS as they always friggin win AB and AV.

    Come play on Emberstorm. Alliance wins nothing.

  98. Owain says:

    Vivianne Draper :I like the achievements, generally. But some of them are very frustrating. I am a kibbles and bits recipe away from getting my Chef achievement but despite doing the BC cooking quest on a daily basis for months, the recipe has not dropped. Similarly the SoHK achievement sux hard. I gave up.

    And geldonyedich calls Darkfall “an unbalanced travesty of a shadow of a game.” I read that, and started bleeding from the ears.

    Vivianne. I have no words. No human being should be subjected to that degree of suffering…

  99. Gx1080 says:

    Disclaimer: I dont mean to offense the many cool guys that play the game. Its just, well you are in your forums way more that i do and i feel it.

    The issue with games like DarkFall and EVE is that they are way too much like the real world and the real world its tough. Its not a theme park with “purple pulsating flying manhood compensators”(I also love the frase).

    But at the end of the day you can smack and talk shit all the day but its your actions that make the difference. Thats other thing, you can kill anybody that talk shit to/about you. So, you dont get offended, you just whistle while you stab the idiot that bugged you. Repedeatly.

  100. Owain says:

    “But at the end of the day you can smack and talk shit all the day but its your actions that make the difference.”
    Very true. The funny thing is, even though I am currently playing in a free for all pvp game, I never starting playing MMORPGs for the pvp. I came to Ultima Online 10 years ago from pencil and paper D&D games, where player characters worked together against the DM controlled entities. The first time another player attacked me during the UO beta test, I didn’t even fight back, because I was sure that he MUST have mistaken me for an NPC. I was world class naive back then.

    I joined the KGB in UO because they were a prominant anti-pk guild, dedicated to fighting the gankers. As such, I am very old school about PvP. Even in Darkfall, I will not attack another player unless they are a known enemy, and I have frequently paid for that philosophy.

    Khosgar, the KGB city in Darkfall, is a bit of a haven for small groups in the area. I don’t know every group that frequents our city, but I suspect that many of them are small clans who aren’t big enough to have even a hamlet of their own, so they use Khosgar as their base of operations. Some of our members get annoyed when we come under attack, and these guys are afk macroing, but they have fought with us at other times, so it works out.

    This is neither here nor there, but some folks think that everyone playing Darkfall are psychopaths constantly killing everything in sight. In some cases, that may be true. For a lot of us, it’s more like, “Don’t start nothin’, won’t BE nothin’.” There’s aways somebody starting something, though. Never fails…

  101. Cedia :

    Vivianne Draper :Alliance are not allowed to bitch about not winning EotS as they always friggin win AB and AV.

    Come play on Emberstorm. Alliance wins nothing.

    srsly? this is very tempting. i has a boomkin.

  102. Siege says:

    I actually like the achievement system. I don’t go out of my way to get them all but there are a couple I’m actively pursuing. It’s fun to see them pop up while I’m doing stuff however some of them are not very well implemented(like the Orphan week pvp ones for example). I wouldn’t mind having the violet proto-drake but I’m not interested in participating in such poorly thought out achievements. I took a look to see what would be required to get it when these first came out and basically said ‘screw that’. I do enjoy pvp but I don’t enjoy the pvp holiday achievements at all.

  103. rocks and holes says:

    Owain :
    I can’t help him there with respect to WoW, but I can suggest an alternative based on my own direct experience in Darkfall. At least with respect to a ‘battlefield’ situation, Darkfall does offer an environment that surpasses by far anything WoW has to offer in terms of size, scope, variety, and challenges. Alas, we have no “purple pulsating flying manhood compensators” to offer, but I think Lum would not consider that to be a bad thing.
    snip
    Choose wisely.
    P.S. If you have any other faulty conceptions about how the game works, by all means, contribute them, and I will seek to clarify. I am here to serve.

    There is nothing more irritating than a Scientologist-turned-Darkfall-evangelist.

  104. Gx1080 says:

    Its just a suggestion. It become long because a guy started flaking when he didnt even tried the game.

  105. Anonymous says:

    Lum, if Ghostcrawler is indicative of the sort of clueless, upjumped summer interns on WoW’s live team these days, you can expect the number of ill-conceived design decisions to do nothing but increase. No worries, though: by the time WoW is finished punching itself out, Blizzard’s next MMO should be hitting store shelves; and we’ll have a presumably stellar SC2 to tide us over in the interim.

    My beef with WoW’s current direction is broader than Lum’s–his seems to be that Blizz is failing (at least in this instance) to make an event ideally accessible to casuals. My problem is that they’ve swung the pendulum too far in favor of making the game a discrete collection of minigames for those last few potential subscribers out there–particularly through the most recent round of nerfs to the not-very-difficult Ulduar and by removing the tactical aspect of PvP.

    I guess it makes sense since chatroom+minigame lobby is apparently the Future of Online Gaming, but it leaves me cold.

  106. Sheepherder says:

    Gx1080 :
    Its just a suggestion. It become long because a guy started flaking when he didnt even tried the game.

    He started with a ten paragraph post. If you take out Lum’s quoted section Owain’s original comment was longer.

  107. […] to fight for colored eggs. Perhaps it was the result of encouraging selfish game play through poorly designed game mechanics. Regardless, the griefing doesn’t stop with world events and it certainly didn’t start there […]

  108. Gx1080 says:

    I used “flaking” for not having to say “talking shit”. Because he was talking shit about games that he didnt even played.

  109. Keybounce says:

    The discussion seems to be heading to PvP in general, and PvP games like Eve and Darkfall. So, …

    I had thought that EvE had the problem of “The old are game-designed better than you, you can never catch up”. I read a web page (linked earlier in here) that indicated otherwise — a group of 3 people, after about 3 months, with good teamwork, can take a singleton player with 5 years.

    Alright, if that’s true, then the “older is better” issue is solved. And it makes sense — there has to be a way for older players to be removed, or there’s no point in starting.

    But consider this: That’s basically saying that you have to play in a team.

    It’s one thing for a game to permit, or even encourage team play.

    It’s something else for a game design to say “Soloers are out of luck. Period”. Saying that I can’t play game X unless I can get some friends to play at the same time as me? And if it’s all about teamwork, and working together as a smooth unit, that means that I can’t play “pickup” with a new group next week; I have to practice with the same team and get our team moves down.

    Someone, that doesn’t seem much better. Maybe it will become the next big “professional game sport” — it is, after all, built-in teamwork, and look at how many people turn in to see a professional sports team. But that’s not what makes a good casual “game” — an entertainment concept.

    What could make a good “casual game” — entertainment — and still give the challenge of another person instead of a mob?

    ====

    Do pulsating, compensating, flying purple people mounts come in one eye and a horn?

  110. Owain says:

    If you want to take down a 5 year vet after only 3 months, then yes, it might be a good idea to bring a couple of friends with you, but that in itself does not demonstrate that “soloers are out of luck.” It may just mean that you might have to wait a few more months for you to be able to do it yourself. I don’t think that is unreasonable. Again, I’m still not sure why people what to play an MMO and yet try to make a solo game out of it. If you want a personal challenge, sure go solo. But to go solo and then complain that you aren’t as effective as a group strikes me as being a bit silly.

    “What could make a good “casual game” — entertainment — and still give the challenge of another person instead of a mob?”

    This pretty much rules out persistant MMOs where players build game skills (not mouse/keyboard skills) progressivly over time. Your best bet would be a first person shooter, I think. The capabilities of your character are as good as they are ever going to get, barring things like special weapon unlocks. With a FPS, you are mostly concerned with ping, knowledge of the map, and your twitch ability.

  111. Gx1080 says:

    You know, for getting teh purples you are going to need other people. Its time to review the abreviation: Massive Multiplayer Online Game. MMOG. The whole point of those games is playing with others. Sure you can do stuff alone, but the biggest rewards you dont get it alone.

    I said it once and I still believe it: MMOG cannot be like single-player games despite the fact that most people want that. Sorry. Its just like wanting apples to be oranges. They are way too different. Mainly because an MMO involves playing with others. You cant escape that.

  112. Tremayne says:

    @Keybounce
    What would make a good “casual” game that allows newbie vs veteran to be a challenge? I think maybe a game where experience gives you “broader” skills instead of raw power. So the vet has a lot more cool moves that apply debuffs and what have you, but he doesn’t have ten times the raw DPS, hit points and armour of the newbie. If the vet uses all his great moves intelligently, he’s going to win – but an idiot playing his brother’s level 80 won’t crush a skilful level 1.

    Closest examples I can think of to the “broader” power design are Guild Wars and Planetside.

  113. Freakazoid says:

    Owain :Again, I’m still not sure why people what to play an MMO and yet try to make a solo game out of it.

    It also doesn’t make sense to make the entire leveling process soloable, only to have grouping suddenly be the post-level content. It’s like playing a bowling match, but the last set is suddenly a game of basketball.

    Games don’t necessarily have to make sense. They just need to make money.

    To that end, I can’t wait until some genius charges monthly for a solo MMOG, where your only “interaction” is through chat, auction house, or in the terrible designed small-group content that don’t give rewards any better than solo play does. Moneyhats will be in abundance.

  114. Gx1080 says:

    Freakazoid :

    Owain :Again, I’m still not sure why people what to play an MMO and yet try to make a solo game out of it.

    It also doesn’t make sense to make the entire leveling process soloable, only to have grouping suddenly be the post-level content. It’s like playing a bowling match, but the last set is suddenly a game of basketball.
    Games don’t necessarily have to make sense. They just need to make money.
    To that end, I can’t wait until some genius charges monthly for a solo MMOG, where your only “interaction” is through chat, auction house, or in the terrible designed small-group content that don’t give rewards any better than solo play does. Moneyhats will be in abundance.

    Honestly, yes those games can and will exist, but i fear a day when those games are the only game out there. It will be a day when everything that i believe as a gamer will die by the hands of the collective stupidity. Because, those games are good enough for the mindless ones, but not for me. I play games because the thirst for a challenge, i want my actions to make a difference, and i want to share that with others.

    Almost nothing in this world feels better than competing against other human being, and those times when you could barely get the victory….is when you truly feel alive. You can smack me all day for that, i dont care, i play games for that.

    Returning to the subject, its not that bad that PVErs start to go to the BGs more often, it is bad that they are inmersed in that clickfest orgy/gangbang/bukkake party in the flag and/or towers instead of trying to win. That, for the people that PVP, its like standing on the fire for PVErs. And god knows that people can suck in BGs without the help of stupid archievements, thank you.

  115. Keybounce says:

    I seem to have been misunderstood.

    Owain :
    If you want to take down a 5 year vet after only 3 months, then yes, it might be a good idea to bring a couple of friends with you, but that in itself does not demonstrate that “soloers are out of luck.” It may just mean that you might have to wait a few more months for you to be able to do it yourself.

    I don’t think that a 3 month player should be able to take out a 5 year vet by themselves without a sneak attack, catching them off guard, an ambush, or catching net lag, or something like that.

    A team of 3 with the basics under their belt is another story. In a ship versus ship game, a ship is going to have the same abilities no matter how skilled the pilot is. A more skilled pilot might aim better and hit more/miss less; a well-equipped ship might have better targeting computers (and then, if you can’t afford it after three months, it’s probably mis-priced), and three ships will outgun that one ship. Now, maybe the 5 year vet has an ultraship with more firepower, but the team of 3 can lure the solo ship into a trap. Etc.

    In a WoW style game, 3 months gets you to level max; then it’s three-on-one, and the one might have more PvP experience, but is still outnumbered and out of luck.

    Again, I’m still not sure why people what to play an MMO and yet try to make a solo game out of it. If you want a personal challenge, sure go solo. But to go solo and then complain that you aren’t as effective as a group strikes me as being a bit silly.

    I see nothing wrong with saying that a soloer will not be as powerful as a group.

    I see nothing wrong with saying, “Hey, if your friends are online, you can play with them”.

    I have played in MMO games where there are hundreds if not thousands of other players. Maybe I’m competing as a merchant against a hundred other merchants. They may not be online at the same time as me. Maybe I’m competing in skill against the other players.

    And maybe I’m in direct team play against another team, with perhaps 4 to 20 total players involved.

    The game world itself may have 400 people online; I may play against a background of 2500 people on the server.

    But I am only playing with a group of 1 to 5 people as a rule. In Puzzle Pirates, I used to routinely play with 25 to 50 people at a time, and occasionally 150 people at a time (as that’s how many people it can take to crew the largest ships); others have weekend blockades (the YPP “raid” game) with 400 people involved in one battle.

    Yet even with those numbers, what’s the typical “group size” as seen by players?

    Most players are doing their part to contribute to the ship.
    One person has the game role of navigating the ship that has 1 to 150 people on it. (50 in a typical raid ship)
    One person might have the job of XO and manage all those people on the ship.

    What’s typical in a WoW type game? A team of 5. In a raid, one person on each side managing 10 teams for a total of 50 people.

    The server is massively multiplayer.
    The player’s game is small multiplayer, or solo.

    Now, most MMO games have this basic rule:
    You can play solo. You’ll get more entertainment, access to the nastier areas, etc, if you play in a group.

    A game like Eve has this basic rule:
    If you go solo, expect to be ambushed and destroyed. You must be in a group at all times.

    Worse, most or all MMO’s have this rule:
    As much as your character is not you, there is no hint of any sort of self awareness or self defense. If you are turned away from your screen for a moment, your character is helpless. So you never get any real “downtime” while playing, as you can be ganked at any time if not 100% aware. Oh yea — never mind that in RL your character would have peripheral vision, some sort of defenses, etc.; in this game, you have narrow tunnel vision that doesn’t let you see what you would see if you were there, you don’t have any sort of instinct or reflexes, but must depend on being able to find the right key or mouse button; there is no instant feedback, but rather you have to worry about several different status displays that act as a HUD at best, obscuring your limited vision even farther, etc.

    An MMO RPG is not the same as “being there”.
    The avatar in an MMO isn’t supposed to be you in most games — as your avatar gets “higher” (level, skill, etc) it gains in ability even if you do not, in most games, yet the basic skills of responding to what happens to you never goes above your own ability to manage the keyboard, the UI, deal with the many different add-ons/plug-ins/macros/customizability/etc (see WoW and all those things for it), etc.

    “What could make a good “casual game” — entertainment — and still give the challenge of another person instead of a mob?”
    This pretty much rules out persistant MMOs where players build game skills (not mouse/keyboard skills) progressivly over time. Your best bet would be a first person shooter, I think. The capabilities of your character are as good as they are ever going to get, barring things like special weapon unlocks. With a FPS, you are mostly concerned with ping, knowledge of the map, and your twitch ability.

    I hardly think that testing your ability to memorize map trivial and twitch better makes for a fun game. And yes, some people do.

    ===

    MMOG cannot be like single-player games despite the fact that most people want that. Sorry. Its just like wanting apples to be oranges. They are way too different. Mainly because an MMO involves playing with others. You cant escape that.

    Again, the difference of:
    You can play solo, but group play will be better
    vs.
    You can’t survive if you are solo. Make sure your friends are able to play with you before you log on. Or, make sure that there are guildmates with you, in your area, who will help you and are not involved with something else.

    Not to mention games like WoW that say: “Yes, your friend is online. But they gained 8 levels the last two evenings when you were not playing, and can no longer group with you without wasting their time for nothing.”

    ===
    Should a level 1, skilled player, be able to take out a level 80 played by an idiot? I really hope not.

    I think a far better question is, should an avatar that has gone through the “newbie” area, and done some basic development, run by a skilled player, be able to challenge a high-level/skill avatar run by a bad player? I hope the answer there is yes. I hope the answer is something like the underdog has a 33% chance of winning. Enough that the high level person won’t be looking for that, but not so much that the low level person is looking for the high level person.


    Do pulsating, compensating, flying purple people mounts come in one eye and a horn? (Does this board support signatures?)

  116. sinij says:

    WoW growth finally stopped. I wish I could say it is beginning of the end and in a couple years we will be playing something else, but that actually depends on GC’s continuous employment.

  117. geldonyetich says:

    sinij :
    WoW growth finally stopped. I wish I could say it is beginning of the end and in a couple years we will be playing something else, but that actually depends on GC’s continuous employment.

    WoW is doomed, 9 months tops before it loses all but its core subscribers. It just doesn’t have the depth to last. Oh wait, that prediction didn’t pan out. 😛

    A little wiser, I realize the major fault in my wild speculation was just underestimating for how many players WoW was their first MMORPG – WoW was their EverQuest. How long did it take players to bore of EverQuest?

    Well, lets see. Everquest started in 1999, peaked at about 550,000 in mid-2005, and in 2007 it was down to about 175,000.

    Following that pattern, WoW was released in 2004. It should peak at about 2009 – WoW’s growth has stopped, you say? By 2011 it will still have about 35% of its subscriber base.

    Of course, WoW is a massive exception to the usual rules in MMORPG subscriber bases, perhaps that means behavior will be different here. (Even though it essentially is another version of EverQuest.)

    A really tricky thing to consider here is just how many of that 35% were the original players. My guess? Without even looking at the statistics, I’m going to say less than 10%, simply on the grounds that I really doubt a MMORPG can entertain somebody for anywhere near 9 years before chronic burnout applies.

  118. Tremayne says:

    @geldonyetich
    The pattern with Everquest doesn’t really apply to WoW. Something happened between 2005 and 2007 – WoW got into full swing and ate everyone else’s lunch.
    WoW’s growth has stopped, at least for now, because they’ve saturated the markets they’re in. They’ll have the usual rate of attrition as players burn out/get girlfriends or whatever, but I don’t expect a precipitous decline unless something new and shiny comes along and lures a large swathe of the player base away.

    And it won’t be Darkfall 😀

  119. Viz says:

    @Tremayne
    I’ve mentioned this somewhat before, but while Guild Wars didn’t have the massive gear scaling that raid-style MMOs have, you definitely could NOT take on fully developed characters without some pretty considerable grinding (but you could at least pick PVE or PVP).

    In the case of Planetside it would be more accurate to say that you needed to get enough levels to access whatever cheesy tactic was most effective (Pounder MAX, or Surge/Jackhammer, or whatever it was that Vanu used, I forget).

    More fundamentally, while the principle of your suggestion is sound, the trouble is that abilities that aren’t directly quantifiable are the biggest can of worms in PVP balance. Complaints about gear (except the stupidity of resilience) are actually not all that common on the WoW forums anymore; it’s precisely those debuffs that have everyone up in arms.

  120. T. C. Feher says:

    As the guy who doesn’t want to clutter up your Warsong Gulch with my under-geared, squishy ass, I am in complete agreeance with this assessment.

  121. Gx1080 says:

    Oh about the Ulduar nerfs, its mostly in the hard modes because, well, some bosses (Kologarn) hard modes were determined mathematically impossible to kill and stuff like that. When, even in the near-perfect tests of the best classes and specs dont kill the thing its bad.

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