Orphans? Bah

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orcish_orphan Ordinarily, I’d be all about a holiday, but Blizzard’s desire to shove nonsensical PvP requirements into primarily PvE achievements is getting really old. There’s a reason why Zulfon can be ”Zulfon the Noble,” and Queklain is always ”Queklain the Hallowed,” but you’ll probably never see either be ”Merrymaker.”

I’m not entirely able to explain why I hate this, but I think it’s the same thing as why I don’t play on PvP servers: if I want to PvP, I’ll go PvP. If I don’t, I don’t. By throwing in these achievements, in order to receive two tangible in-game rewards (the title and, eventually, the mount), Blizzard is essentially saying “suck it up: you have to go do PvP, no matter how much you hate it.” Yeah, I know, no one is forced to do them, but no one is forced to get a 2200 arena rating either: arena people arena because they enjoy that, and I hunt achievements because I enjoy that, but when my achievements force me to do meaningless PvP-based sub-achievements? Screw it. Holidays can piss off.

On top of that, I don’t even think Blizzard has completely thought through how these holiday PvP achievements work. I wouldn’t want to be a battleground-runner this week. I had a feeling that hundreds of non-PvPers struggling to complete objectives that more or less pit them against their own team and the other team would be an… inhospitable environment. Apparently I was right. Euripedes has a plea from the PvP side of the fence for Blizzard to please, stop this nonsense:

So here’s a suggestion, Blizzard:

Stop it.


Nobody likes it this way.

The people who want to PvP are frustrated because their battlegrounds are filling up with these incompetent morons who haven’t the slightest idea what to do and have absolutely no will to change that.

The people who don’t want to PvP are frustrated because they have to participate in something that, at best, has no interest to them and, at worst, is akin to smashing their face into mirrors and then stabbing themselves in the legs with the shards.

You want to have these people participate in PvP for an achievement? Fine. Then do it this way:

  • Win all five battlegrounds with your orphan out!

Shazam. You still force them to do something they don’t want to do, but at least this time they don’t have to completely screw up the battleground to do so.

Let me clarify: I’m not totally against PvP achievements. I think forcing them into the meta-achievement is a stupid idea, but I can understand maybe they’re there to give the event a more well-rounded flavor. Fine. What I am against is poorly-designed PvP achievements. Here’s a few examples of what I consider good and bad PvP achievement design:

  • Well-Designed

    • G.N.E.R.D. Rage. Neither side is negatively-impacted by the G.N.E.R.D.S. buff. If you die, applying the G.N.E.R.D.s buff is super-easy, because you get them out of every damn candy bucket in Azeroth, and you can trade them between people - so if you’re out, but your buddy has a ton, just let him give you some before you queue up. In fact, this one has the bonus that you can do it anywhere - world PvP, Wintergrasp, Battlegrounds, maybe Arenas even. You name it, if you can get an HK, you can finish G.N.E.R.D. Rage.

    • Rotten Hallow (H). This is the Horde PvP Hallows’ End achievement, and it’s really only PvP in the loosest sense of the term. It’s quick, it’s fun, and on some servers (Feathermoon, looking at you) it’s not even going to get you flagged or attacked.

    • Elders of the Alliance / Elders of the Horde. It might not be the easiest achievement for some people (heck, you might have spent some time running around the city as a ghost looking for the elder), but at the very least, you could strip naked and corpse-run your way to victory. It may not be easy or enjoyable, but it’s sure as hell not going to run anyone else’s day.

    • All the Midsummer events: Desecration of the Horde / Desecration of the Alliance and King of the Fire Festival. I did these before there was an achievement for them on Queklain (well, I think I missed a few fires in Outland), and I look forward to doing them again as Zulfon. Stomping out fires is quick and easy and earns you a skirmish here and there from dedicated defenders (unlike Rotten Hallow, stomping out the fires does flag you), and as for the city fire retrieval… these things are a lot easier to find than the elders (well, except for Orgrimmar’s, because we have bonfires everywhere all the time - but in, say, Stormwind, a bonfire in the park really sticks out), and sneaking from spot to spot as a non-stealth class? Hell, it was like Metal Gear Solid meets World of Warcraft. One of my fondest memories was riding into Stormwind on my dreadsteed, stealing the fire of Stormwind, sprinting north, and jumping into the canals; the guards gave up, though an intrepid hunter didn’t. Deep underwater, I died, then self-rezzed… then, sneaking through the canal system of an unfamiliar city, I made my way nearly all the way to the castle itself without ever drowning. Finally, I found a boat next to a low section of the wall… leaping out, I mounted up my dreadsteed again and rode like a bat out of Hell to the tram, /cackle’ing all the way IRL. It was awesome, and I look forward to doing it again (and finishing it as Queklain - Flame Keeper Queklain seems apropos for a warlock!).

  • Poorly-Designed

    • Rotten Hallow (A). The Alliance side of the Rotten Hallow achievement is at least partially like the Horde one, in that they have a “crash the party” achievement, and the wickerman area well outside of Undercity is arguably even easier to get to than the Southshore Inn. The issue is the other half of the achievement: the Alliance is relying on being around the Inn when someone from the Horde does their Hallows’ End thing to get this finished. This is ultimately unfair, and if this is the design Blizzard truly wanted, than the Horde should have been forced to clean up the mess at the wickerman as well.

    • With a Little Helper from My Friends. This would have been a lot better if there was a Winter Wondervolt machine in the battlegrounds and in Wintergrasp, or if the buff didn’t wear off after death. I tried doing this one: tons of gnomes show up, swarm out, get a few HKs, die, lose the buff, and /afk ou t to get a new one rather than wasting their time. Great job on this one, Blizzard.

      • And lastly, the inspiration for this, School of Hard Knocks. I don’t curse often, so when I do, you know I mean it: Blizzard Entertainment World Event Designers, what the fuck were you thinking? I entirely agree with ‘rip: if this had been “win once in each Battleground with your orphan out,” this would have been (1) entertaining, (2) possibly enjoyable, and (3) at least contributing to the point of the battleground, i.e., to win. As it is? Let’s take Eye of the Storm: not only does your average PvE achievement hunter not bother taking any towers this week, you also end up with a giant clusterfuck around the center flag, with no one doing any kind of D and eventually a win is achieved (for the other team, of course) via the towers because there were only 2 people on your team who weren’t chasing the flag and only the flag. Alterac Valley and Arathi Basin are even worse, I’m sure: I don’t dare poke my head in to find out.

So no, you won’t see me in Alterac Valley with an orcish orphan trying to keep up, or letting the Alliance cap farm so I can take it back and get a quarter of an achievement. That’s not my style. Brewfest? Midsummer Fire Festival? I’m all over those. But as for my orphan… all he gets is a day away from the orphanage, and I get a pig and a beholder.

Sorry Blizzard: maybe next year, if you’ve started thinking these things through.


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