Pragmatists vs … Achievement Junkies?

There are two types of WoW players.

  1. Those who think that achievements are awesome (“Yay, gotta have them all!! Point me at the grind and show me the shiny title!”)
  2. Those who think that achievements are lame (“If I want to do something, I’ll do it anyway. If I don’t, no achievement is gonna force me into it.”)

Most of the time, this won’t matter because even people who dislike achievements will find some of them fun or amusing. But there are some achievements that really separate the men from the boys.

Undermanning the raid instances.  Oh yes, better believe this one is a doozy. In order to get the super special raid heroic meta-achievement protodrake (which looks exactly like every other protodrake but a slightly different colour and isn’t as cool looking as the ones coming out next patch anyway) you need to run the existing raid instances with less than a full group.

Is it a problem? Nope. But it really will show who in your raid values achievements enough to leave people sitting outside when there was room in the raid for them. We’ve had arguments about that this week, and people do feel strongly on both sides.

(Note: I would mind less if there wasn’t a one week lockout on the raids. But telling 5 people they’ll have to go find a PUG if they want to run Naxx this week is … not how I play.)

Intriguingly, this is not a casual vs hardcore issue. On Elitist Jerks, I was surprised to see debate among the posters about whether the undermanning achievements were daft. But that was more down to my preconception. I had assumed that more of the hardcore would revel in achievements and thrill to the challenge of picking who got to run the undermanning raid.

So maybe we need new classifications for players. Pragmatic vs … see, this is where I fall down. I have no idea how to describe people who want achievements, and are not put off  even when they are obviously daft. It’s so very alien to the way I think and play that I don’t even have a word for it. But it’s important because achievements are a huge incentive for a large part of the player base.

And I fear that increasingly, if Blizzard isn’t careful, we’ll be seeing more fights between the pragmatists and the achievement junkies in future. Everyone likes to weigh up effort against reward in MMOs, but pragmatists weigh the rewards differently from junkies. That’s the issue.