The Neverending MMO Achievement Challenge
Word has come from Jim Sterling of Destructoid, reporting on another article which talks about the first player to supposedly “beat” World of Warcraft. Those of us who are crazy enough to be into MMOs know that the way that works, it means that someone has beaten all the content the game currently has to offer. In this case, Taiwanese player “Little Gray” has acquired just about all the achievements in the game, amassing some pretty interesting numbers along the way.
Now I could take the easy route and create a few Overly Positive Thoughts about how the really great achievement is not leaving the house or getting laid during this player’s gameplay, but Jim already beat me to that optimism, and I think this deserves another angle. First, I do really think it is some kind of accomplishment to get all of these achievements, because it does sort of prove that someone, with the right amount of dedication and playtime, can do so. Achievement hunting was popularized by the XBox 360 system of accomplishments and points, and while it was nice to go out and aspire to get all of them, it was never really a realistic goal to begin with.
This also proves a bit of the value behind unlocks and achievements in MMOs, which were arguably started by WAR and are now copied and continued in WoW. Successful MMOs appear to have a variety of interesting, yet time-consuming elements to them in order to appeal to players of all kinds. PvE’rs will tackle dungeons while PvP’ers will choose to prove their worth against other players, crafters will look to acquire recipes and prove to be an asset, and so on and so forth. People who find value in achievements are just another subset of players who are simply finding a way to enjoy their favorite MMO. In this respect I can’t fault Little Gray for doing what he did.
Besides, we all know that this isn’t truly the end – not when it comes to MMOs. There’s always going to be a bar raised, new content and levels to achieve, and yes, new achievements for any MMO in the market to have long-term life. Little Gray’s notion of “beating” World of Warcraft is quite temporary, and maybe that’s the true charm of playing games like this – they always have another challenge just over the next mountain that waits to be achieved. Will we see more in the future in terms of achievements? With the fact that someone just proved you could do it all, I’d count on it.