Gigantique Sacks and Lovin' On Squirrels: All About WoW Achievements

Illustration for article titled Gigantique Sacks and Lovin' On Squirrels: All About WoW Achievements

We now know that World of Warcraft will get achievements added in when the Wrath of the Lich King expansion comes, and when we sat down with Blizzard today we got to discuss them, learning about some of the kinds of actions and behaviors that will earn you those achievements. "We've wanted to add them for a long time," WoW game director Jeffrey Kaplan, who is as enthusiastic in person as he appears in this picture, told Kotaku. "I'm a huge fan of achievement systems in other games; I love Xbox's system, and I also think Steam did a really good job in introducing achievements. We always talked about it for WoW... [since] players are always measuring themselves against other players." Why the decision to include achievements, then, with such a heavily status-based leveling system at the core of WoWs mechanics? Big difference, said Kaplan: "With levels, you're gaining tremendous character power... skills, abilities, access to more items and areas... with the achievement system, we really wanted it to be a history of your accomplishments. Not gaining character power through it... we wanted it to be a reflection of your character's power." So how does it work? Squirrels ensue:Blizzard says it's built a really expandable system, resembling a character "score," as a reflection of the things you've done in the game. The rewards are largely cosmetic, playing into the player's desire to "show people their trophy case." "The greatest example is the Xbox gamerscore, which is for absolutely nothing," Kaplan said, adding that despite the uselessness of achievements from the perspective of game mechanics, it's still a great way to create further engagement. He told us about a friend of his who meticulously played the Avatar: The Last Airbender game strictly for the amount of points he could accrue. Over 500 achievements are ready as of now, said Kaplan. "I think by the time we ship we'll have close to 700 achievements. We have 500 in the beta right now, and that number grows by 10 to 20 a day at this point. we're really getting a lot of content in there, kind of crossing all the different aspects of the game." Among the achievements are what Kaplan called "fluff flavor" accomplishments. Like what? An NPC called "Haris Pilton" sells an item called the Gigantique Sack for 1200 gold. Buy it and earn the achievement, "My Sack Is Gigantique." Some are fairly light, like "Kill 15 Turkeys In Three Minutes." Kaplan admitted that not every achievement has a super-clever name — with the aim of 700 different achievements, that's understandable. Another one? "To All The Squirrels I've Loved Before." Address a certain number of in-game squirrels with the "/love" emote, and be credited toward the achievement. One thing that's bugged Kaplan in general about achievements in the past is that there's no gauge of how far you're progressing toward the available unlockables. With WoW, that won't be the case — you'll see, for example, how many squirrels you have left to love before you hit sweet success. "A whole slew" of the achievements will also still apply to the base game and to the Burning Crusade expansion.


Mike Fahey

@KirbyMorph: BERSERKER!