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The Value of Achievements

September 14, 2010

Note: This is one of two articles reposted from my old blog Moonglade, because I thought they were useful and/or interesting and shouldn’t be left to rot unseen.

Are you getting bored, waiting for Cataclysm to arrive? Feeling burnt out from raiding, or tired of levelling that alt? One of the things that you could do to further develop your character is to work on some more achievements, building up your point total. But what do achievements really tell you?

Achievement Points:

On Boize, I have just over 7600 achievement points (with very little play time since the start of 2010). That’s not an amazing amount (not like some certain people), but it’s still a decent total.

But what do achievement points really tell you?

In terms of the points themselves, they’re only really important if you focus on achievements across the board. i.e. You try to complete different achievements from all the different brackets. That’s similar to what I do myself. I work on various achievements from all over the place. One day I might do a bit of Battleground PvP for a few achievements, the next I might go collect a few more mounts or mini-pets. Then the next night I might go run some old world instances. Heck, I even rarely (very rarely) partake in arena matches.

But if you’re not gaining achievements on all fronts then achievement points don’t really tell you a lot on their own. Someone who is a hardcore raider may have completed all the ICC hard modes, and have the same amount of achievement points as someone who only plays solo.
Essentially, with the way that achievement points are currently configured, they’re just simply something to be collected without any real benefits, akin to mini-pets.

However, while achievement points may not have much worth, the achievements themselves can be useful.

Achievements:

The main benefit, in my experience, of achievements is in relation to instancing.

Before achievements, if you wanted to find out if someone had run an instance before or had knowledge of a specific fight, you either had to ask them (and then trust their answer), or see if they had any gear from that particular fight/instance. However, now with achievements, you are able to see if someone has completed an instance, or a specific fight within an instance, as well as when they completed it.

Although this does not still definitively tell if someone fully knows a fight, or will be able to pull their weight (i.e. they were “carried” through it before), it does help a lot more if you’re looking for guilds, guild applicants, or people to fill up a PuG.

There are still ways to work around this though. Often people will still say, “Oh, this is my alt, but I’ve done it on my main.” Unfortunately there is no way to tell if a person is trying to get in to a group with no knowledge of the fight, or if they are telling the truth. Another way people get around the system is by using a program/addon that shows any achievement they link as completed, as well as having editable completion dates. For example, I’ve seen a level 14 character that linked the [Scarab Lord] achievement, completed in 2020. Something slightly amiss there… But if other people are using the program/addon more subtly, it can be difficult if not impossible to detect unless you go and access their armoury on-line.

Overall though, it’s easier to find people who know the fights for instances.

However, there is another side to this benefit. It can sometimes be very hard for someone who is trying to complete content for the first time to get a group. I’m unsure what the situation is like on different servers, but on Dath’Remar almost every person leading a PuG will say “LFM for Heroic Instance X, pst with achievement.” If you don’t have the achievement, you won’t be let in.

The best way to work around this is to join a guild that runs the type of content you want to run (if you’re not in one already), so you aren’t subjected to PuG screening. However, if your guild doesn’t raid, and you want to stay in it and still raid, you may just have to deal with the hardship and keep looking until you find a group that will let you join, even if you don’t have the achievements.

Statistics:

Depending on what you use statistics to view, they can either have very useful or completely irrelevant information (although the same can be said about achievements as well).

In terms of your own statistics, you are generally going to use them to see how much of something you have done, whether it’s the amount of fish you’ve fished up, the total amount of money you would have accumulated had you not spent it all, or how many times you’ve died in Alterac Valley. This is all for your own personal gain, although it can be a good base for friendly competition with guildies or friends, e.g. too compare the total amount of fish caught between two reel-happy characters.

Focusing on the instancing scenario, statistics can also be used to find out information about people, helping you recruit for a guild or fill up a PuG with more experienced members, assuming that you take the time to look them up. Unfortunately, unlike achievements, you cannot view another person’s statistics in-game.

If you do choose to look up someone on the armoury (especially easy if you have an Armoury application on your phone), you can view their statistics to see things such as how many times they’ve downed a specific boss. This can give you even more of an idea as to their experience levels, as the more times you kill something, the more likely you are to know the fight.

However, always bear in mind that this information does not give clean-cut answers. Someone with 5 Lich King kills recorded may have died in the first seconds every time, while another person who has only killed him once may know the fight thoroughly, having read strats and watched videos in relation to the boss.

Additionally, this doesn’t provide you with any information as to what role someone was playing in each specific boss fight. Someone may know the role of a ranged DPS thoroughly, but have no idea what to do if they’re called on to tank.

So, while achievements, especially achievement points, and statistics are mainly used for simple collection reasons (this includes all the irrelevant, ‘useless’ facts), achievements and statistics can also provide you with some useful information for people, especially in relation to instancing (raids or otherwise).

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