For the Children, For the Birds

I did it! After more than two years of running around collecting coins, eating candy, drinking beer (I kind of liked that), teasing orphans and pissing on bonfires, I finally completed What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been and got my Violet Protodrake. /golfclap.

Now that I have the meta I wanted to talk a little about the School of Hard Knocks achievement, and why I hate it so much. It was the last thing standing between me and my drake.

Now, I don’t know who came up with this one, but clearly that person has some bizarre fetish for social behavioral experiments. Bad, evil experiments.

On the surface the achievement seems perfectly reasonable, just go into four battlegrounds and complete tasks that would normally happen while attempting to win any of these battlegrounds. The problems is that the volume of players entering the battleground looking to complete these tasks is far greater than what any individual battle can support.

Imagine if you will, a professional basketball team where every player was given a monetary bonus every time they scored a three point basket.

Three point baskets are an important part of the game, and it’s likely that if a team scores zero three point baskets it is probably going to lose. But, if every player focuses only on making three point baskets and ignoring the other facets of the game, well then that too is a recipe for failure.

What we have here is a situation where the needs of the individual are in conflict with the needs of the team. In fact most achievement seekers don’t care if they win the battle, and are more than willing to sacrifice a win for the sake of their achievement.

Ultimately what ends up happening is that you have players ignoring the battleground strategy and colluding with one another to see that players get their achievements. Arathi Basin, Warsong Gulch, and Alterac Valley pretty much require Horde and Alliance working together to ensure that as many people in the battleground get their achievement.

For example, in Alterac Valley you would normally cap a tower and then seek to hold onto it. Throw achievements into the mix and what happens is, you cap a tower and then let the other side take it, so you can take it back. This goes on and on until the battle ends.

Unfortunately not everyone is there for achievements, so in addition to Horde vs. Alliance you also have battleground junkies vs. the achievement seekers. You have folks who will attempt to win the battle, and/or grief the achievement seekers by attacking opposing players attempting to collude. Likewise, you have the achievement seekers ignoring strategy and focusing solely on getting their achievement. Who wins the battle comes down to which side has the fewest achievement seekers.

The worst of these battlegrounds is Eye of the Storm because Horde and Alliance don’t need to team-up for the achievement. Ironically this is the one battleground where trying to capture bases and win the battle gives the achievement seekers the best opportunity to capture the flag. The Alliance held three bases when I completed mine. But alas, most achievement seekers don’t understand this and will rush and camp the middle until they get an opportunity to capture the flag.

My feeling is that Blizzard should change or get rid of this achievement. The achievement seekers hate it, the battleground junkies hate, and it just isn’t any fun. If were a testament to one’s battleground skill that’d be one thing, but it’s not. It’s really just a social experiment in behavior. A bad, evil experiment.

One comment

  1. Yep, I just skipped this altogether and worked on the other achievs. The drake isn't worth it enough for me to do this. Maybe I'll get around to it eventually or maybe Blizz will just change it… One can only hope.

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