To me, achievements are a way to mark accomplishments for things that are off the beaten track; things that players would normally receive no recognition for.
Traditionally, the only time players ever received recognition for their in-game exploits was via gear and special titles. These were generally reserved for top end raiders and PvP guys.
The achievement system puts in a place that allows players to be recognized for what they do, whether that is raid old school bosses, do a bajillion quests, explore everything, or die repeatedly to Hogger for hours.
In previous years, I never really cared for the holiday stuff. I mean, it was there, and I would usually do some of the stuff to break from the tedium, but I never really paid any attention to them.
With these achievements, now I actually have a reason to do them.
It’s something to do to break up the standard “raid, instance, farm, PvP” cycle, and do something offbeat and strange.
I mean, really, consider what the people going after the Merrymaker title are actually doing.
Rather than defeating the alliance here, or thwarting Arthas, they’re going after a random boss somewhere, so they can steal her hat, so they can wear the hat while eating fruitcake.
Does that sound strange to anyone else?
I mean, consider it in the context of Azeroth.
“What are your plans for the weekend?”
“Well, the Scourge are getting a little more aggressive here, I’m going to need to call in for some backup. As long as we can hold this pass, we should be able to prevent them from gaining a strong foothold. You?”
“I gotta go throw a snowball at Cairne, and after that I’m going to turn myself into a snowman and dance. Oh yeah, and I think I still need to sprinkle snowflakes on a troll.”
It’s another aspect to the game that has always been there, it’s just now there is an actual purpose behind it. Even if it is something as silly as being known as a Merrymaker.
That’s what I really like about the Achievement system. It gives you something to do, some goal to strive for, that is completely detached from the standard game.
Don’t feel like raiding? Fed up with your faction always losing AV? Well, grab a fishing rod, a water walking potion, and head on down to SSC and fish up the Lurker Below. Take screenies of your impending death.
Sick and tired of running PuGs all day? Rush to Stormwind and do the Stockades. Play alliance? Ragefire Chasm awaits.
Grab a buddy and duo Onyxia. Grab your Argent Dawn badge and run Stratholme a few times. See how fast you can do a Baron run solo. My personal record is seventeen minutes (zoning in to looting Rivendare), and that was before LK was released. Use the nifty stopwatch feature and time yourself.
I know plenty of people hate it as a pointless time sink… but seriously, if you aren’t already playing for more than six hours a day, something is very, very wrong with you.
And really. Pointless time sink? World of Warcraft? That’s about as congruous as you can get.
From a PvP standpoint, achievements are nice in that you generally get PvP achievements from playing the battleground correctly.
There is no “kill fifty people on some hill somewhere”. There is “kill one person on a hill somewhere, and then do a bunch of important stuff”.
Strand of the Ancients, for instance. There is no achievement for “mill around in front of the Blue Gate getting shot at by cannons.”
There are, however, achievements for using sapper charges to blow up gates, and achievements for shooting other people with cannons.
The easiest way to learn how to play a battleground is to read the achievements for that battleground.
“Hai guys Im new how do I play Warsing Gulch?”
Now, instead of failing to give an answer the new guy will understand, you can politely direct them to their achievement menu, and check out what it says under “Warsong Gulch.”
Kill the enemy flag carriers? Check.
Capture the enemy’s flag? Check.
Fight in the middle against other players? Hmm… odd.