Sunday, August 31, 2008

WotLK Beta - First to 80 Achievements

Blizzard is adding a number of Achievements or titles for the first people to reach level 80. For example:

The Supreme - First player on the realm to achieve level 80.
Assassin - First rogue on the realm to achieve level 80.
Warbringer - First warrior on the realm to achieve level 80.
Archmage - First mage on the realm to achieve level 80.
Of The Ebon Blade - First death knight on the realm to achieve level 80.
Stalker - First hunter on the realm to achieve level 80.

I'm not sure that these titles are a good idea. Levelling quickly is an impressive feat, but the people who earn these titles are going to be people who take the week off work when WotLK comes out, play 24/7 hours without sleep, or share accounts and power-level up to the cap. I think this behavior is negative, and I don't think that rewarding this type of behavior is a good idea.

As well, there's the potential for a very negative outcome. Imagine if some kid hurts herself in a marathon gaming session in an attempt to get one of these titles. That would be serious negative publicity, precisely when WoW players should be celebrating the release of the expansion.

In a lot of ways, it's like the Grand Marshal fiasco of the old PvP system. That system should have measured who the best PvPers were, but instead it measured who played the most. Ideally, this system rewards those who level the fastest, but it really measures who can devote the largest percentage of the total time to WoW in the first three days.

Finally, it's a lot of titles that are being given out only once, over a time span that is under a week. To me, it seems like a poor use of title resources.

I'm not against a single person being the only person to have a specific title. But I think that such a title should be encompass a large amount of work. For example, the Scarab Lord title (given out during the Ahn'Qiraj event) is appropriately impressive. Weeks of farming bugs, multiple 40-man raids, and ringing the gong for the entire server. That was pretty impressive, and pretty much every Scarab Lord earned her title, and indeed involved her entire server.

To me, the "First to 80" people will not have accomplished anything on the level of the Scarab Lord, and I'm not sure they really meet the standard set for a unique title.

What I'd suggest is that instead of doing "First to 80" titles, and rewarding negative behavior, Blizzard rewards efficient levelling instead. Blizzard already measures how long it takes to level in-game (i.e. the /played command). So pick an aggressive levelling time target, and give a title if the character manages to hit 80 before the deadline. For example, if you went from 70 to 80 in 48 hours /played, you get the title like "Coriel the Quick".

This has several advantages. It's repeatable, so you get multiple uses out of it. It rewards the people who level efficiently, not those who can play the most. If the target is set aggressively enough, people can actually come up with strategies to achieve it. As well, people don't have to kill themselves to get this title. The title would be achievable by someone who plays a couple hours a week, so long as they are super-efficient. Of course, you'd have to figure out how rested XP would interact with this.

An extension of this idea might be to give a unique title to the person who leveled the fastest. But this person could lose their title if someone beats their record. You could do something similar with Grand Master profession titles. Rather than seeing who is the first to 450, give the title to the person who knows the most recipes. If someone else comes along and learns more recipes, the Grandmaster title should change hands. I think these unique titles would be impressive, and more worthy than unique titles for just "the first to X" achievements.


  1. The only problem I see with "efficient leveling" titles is that they can be just as cheesed through taking 4 overgeared friends and running through instances constantly. I do agree that this is rewarding neutral/bad behavior, but it is kind of cool to see some unique titles being thrown around finally.

    I'm especially excited that endgame raiders are finally getting titles for large accomplishments, like first boss kills.

  2. It is going to end up being the same sort of people who hit 70 first. People who played the same character in shifts with four friends ginding in the woods for 36 hours.

    I know it won't be me, because I'll spend half of my time wandering between both 70 starting zones and admiring the view.

    Well, and I'll probably start a Death Knight and run him through the starting zone first. So that's surely going to impact my paladin's time to 80.

  3. I agree, it's a waste of some of the best-sounding title resources. And what will we do when the next expansion comes out and Blizzard wants to have titles for level 90? Arch-Archmage? Titles for first boss kills I'm cool with (though how do you handle guild members who were there for the learning nights but missed the kill?), but I think the leveling ones are a bit overboard.

    Also, one would think that the profession-related ones might actually encourage gold-buying (so you have the money to buy mats off the AH on launch day). Then again, Blizzard is now happily selling a Zebra mount (and 10 achievement points in the current beta build) for real world cash, so who knows what they're thinking.

  4. We all know there will be people that will for sure play the new expansion non stop from 70-80 just so they could say they were first.

  5. "has no life" seems like it could be an appropriate title for some.

  6. I think it's terrible.

    Tom Chiltern just gave an interview re. achievements where he said that he didn't want to encourage 'deviant' behaviour - and then Blizzard rolls out some x1 per title per server achievemnts that you can only get if you play the game non-stop as soon as it's released...

    If that's not deviant behaviour, I don't know what is...

    There's a fine balance between providing a game that people want to keep on subscribing to and one where addictive behaviour is actively encouraged and with things like this, Blizzard really do tip to the latter.

  7. I am taking 10 days off work to level to 80, I haven't had a holiday in a while and I thought it would be quite an achievement/something different to do such. I don't see any negative behaviour in doing such.

    I won't however be playing 24/7, probably around 10-12 hours a day, and its a shame that the titles will definately go to folk that are sharing accounts/going 24/7 etc.

    Never-the-less, by the time I hit 80 (i hope within 10 days), I hope I will have met alot of people who are gaining levels at the pace I will be (not the fastest, but considerably faster than most), and who hopefully will become friends for later end game raiding and such.

  8. To me levelling is a by-product of the game play. On my latest alt I even got rid of the xp bar so that I wouldn't be chasing that extra 2000xp to the next ding before I log off.

    /golfclap to the first person to reach 80 in the world. I don't think that is an 'Achievement'.

    Enjoying the game play, and picking up Achievements as you go along should be your aim.
    Grinding Achievements just for the 'honour' of being 'first' seems a bit sad.

    @gazelle: Perhaps you can explain just why getting to Lv 80 as soon as possible is something you want to do? Unless you are in SK Gaming or Nihilum, I don't see any point in it.

  9. Agree with Vlad.

    It's just fun exploring the content, seeing the new zones, experiencing the lore...

    And now with instances being optimized for levelling specs and even more easier and casual than before, why the rush?

    Enjoy the journey and then enjoy the endgame!

  10. I'd just like to say, though, that while I don't disagree with your sentiments, the people who are going to be trying for these titles are the people who would have done this -ANYWAY- even if there wasn't a prize.

    Could it have been done slightly better? Sure. But I'm not really convinced that there's going to be many people who will actually act differently based on this, because they would have rushed to 80 anyway.

  11. @rj - thing is, if people were going to do it anyway, why reward them with such significant titles.

    Archdruid - err, isn't that Malfurion's title?

    Prophet - isn't that Valen's title?

    They seem to be awfully significant in-game titles for those that will probably multi-box their way to victory.

  12. "It's just fun exploring the content, seeing the new zones, experiencing the lore..."

    You do have to remember though that some people find the competition and race to get whatever to 70 fun. To each their own.

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  14. @dazanna:

    Yes, of course - that's all fine and if someone wants to race to 80 well ok, fair enough..!

    Like the whole article is about, I just don't agree with the whole server first titles :)

  15. @dazanna:

    Yes, of course - that's all fine and if someone wants to race to 80 well ok, fair enough..!

    Like the whole article is about, I just don't agree with the whole server first titles :

  16. Simon:

    I should flip the question back at you: Why not reward them? These people still do it as a race, to try and get a world first. What's the problem with having some official recognition of this?

    Whether Blizzard gave a reward for being the server first or not, these people are going to take time off/play non-stop/share accounts/whatever anyway. And it's not like it cost Blizzard anything to develop these rewards on top of what they were already doing.

    I just don't personally see any problem with it. Sure, I'm a little sad that I wouldn't get a chance at some of the cooler titles, but it's about time there was a more substantive in-game reward for some of the things people strive for.

    And honestly, by the end-game of Wrath, the players are already more powerful then some of the NPCs who also hold titles like the ones being awarded.

  17. @RJ:

    I guess I agree with our host, Rohan here and they've put it much better than I could!

    I don't really have a problem with the 'Master Leatherworker' etc. titles but I do with the Archmage etc. titles - they really should mean something special if players are going to be awarded them i.e. for being the first person to collect the first lot of Wrath raid tier gear, or something - not for someone who has just ground their way through a load of world mobs with their friends (with or without multiboxing!).

    I have a real problem with the racial first to 80 titles as well - something that could add a real flavour to the game for lots more than one person is being used for grinding.

    I just think that most of the server first titles are too good to celebrate a not so impressive acheivement, that's all!

    Sure it's not the end of the world, but I just don't agree with it :)

  18. They should only give out that title for players who go 70-80 with no deaths... imo.

    That way its "not" a rush, as you would need to be quite skilled and careful which of course are much more admirable traits worthy of a title.


  19. @vlad: As I said, i won't be playing 24/7, so will not be getting to 80 as quickly as possible, i see no reward in that.

    Rather, i'm taking time off to turn the whole experience into something of an event. I even made a website so I can blog my way to 80. And it should be exciting, lets be honest: its the next stage in the worlds most popular online game ;)

  20. One benefit I see to the titles is that I will have a pretty good idea by just looking at these people, that I probably don't want to associate with them.

  21. A title for reaching lvl 80 first should be:

    '<'Look, I have no life!'>'