Account-wide Achievements and Questions of Identity

There’s been talk recently about having account-wide achievements in Mists of Pandaria and it leaves me (and I suspect many others) unsure as to how to feel about this.

I am not the only person who raids with a different character now than she did in Vanilla or Burning Crusade or Wrath or even earlier this expansion. Kurnmogh, my hunter, hasn’t seriously raided current content on a regular basis since Vanilla. I managed to get in for the Tidewalker kill in SSC on the hunter, as well as the Gorefiend kill in Black Temple, but, by and large, since Burning Crusade, I’ve been healing in 25-man raids, while farming and doing silly things on my hunter.

That means that while I still have a huge attachment to Kurn (obviously), all my raiding achievements (and titles) are on Madrana.

It took me a bit of time to accept this, especially the title part of it. I was not so pleased to miss out on getting Hand of A’dal on Kurn, while I was thrilled to get it at all.

As the years went by, the achievements, titles and mounts started piling up on Madrana. Hand of A’dal. Twilight Vanquisher. Astral Walker. Kingslayer. Glory of the Icecrown Raider (25). Defender of a Shattered World. Glory of the Firelands Raider. Destroyer’s End. All of them gotten while the content was current, except for Astral Walker, gotten during Tier 9 content.

In the meantime, Kurn got all the holiday titles and even managed to get the Baron’s mount. Kurn managed to snag of the Nightfall in T10 gear and also got Kingslayer, and Defender of a Shattered World but most of those came when it wasn’t current or was heavily nerfed (30% buff in ICC, zerging Sarth 3D 10-man for fun, post-nerf T11 content).

And then there’s the OTHER holy paladin. I am the same player playing that holy paladin, Madrana of Skywall, as I am playing Madrana of Eldre’Thalas. Madrana of Eldre’Thalas WAS Madrana of Skywall for about six months at the end of Wrath. But the current Madrana of Skywall is a new toon, the baby pally, I call her. She hasn’t earned anything.

I lie, she’s got “the Patient”, “Kingslayer” and “Destroyer’s End” (and the Kingslayer was because I helped out a group of guildies get the Been Waiting a Long Time achievement on LK, then got the kill and the title).

But just because I haven’t earned anything of note, really, on the baby pally, does that mean I’m not capable of having done so? No, because I clearly did all that on the OTHER Madrana.

It makes my head hurt.

So I’m going to say that no, I don’t think achievements should be account-wide. For me, my achievements show a very clear snapshot of what I was doing at a certain time in my WoW career. It reads like a resumé. I am so very proud of so many of my achievements and titles and mounts that I got on Madrana. While it would be nice to have them accessible to me on the baby pally, or ride my Icebound Frostbrood Vanquisher or Corrupted Egg of Millagazor on Kurn, it seems inauthentic.

Terribly strange, isn’t it? I mean, they’re MY achievements, MY titles, MY mounts, but I feel if I didn’t earn them with a specific character, that character shouldn’t get to benefit from them. (Conversely, this does not mean I don’t think arcanums should continue to be account-bound, but that’s more because I’m lazy and hate rep grinds, not because of anything larger.)

I guess it comes down to what do those achievements, titles and mounts mean to me? I find the idea of being able to wear the “Hand of A’dal” title on Kurn to be, well, devaluing the work and time I put in on the Lady Vashj and Kael’thas fights on Madrana. I know, it’s weird.

But let’s take account-wide achievements a step further to maybe illustrate my point.

The baby pally has 525 cooking, as do Kurn and Madrana of Eldre’Thalas. Both Kurn and Madrana of ET have the Chef’s Hat. Having not spent two years in Wrath of the Lich King content, the baby paladin never got 100 Dalaran Cooking Awards and never was able to buy the Chef’s Hat. (WTB one of these for each profession, by the way.) This means that the baby pally’s hearth is currently in Dalaran so she can do cooking dailies efficiently (and also take the CoT port from Dal to get down to Dragon Soul quickly) and I’m at a woeful 52 tokens. (No, she doesn’t have high enough fishing either to do the Dalaran Fishing Dailies in the hopes of a Waterlogged Recipe, either.)

Should I need to grind that up to 100 to get the hat? I have it on two characters, already, shouldn’t I just be able to send that along? In a world where my level 5 bank alt could potentially wear the Hand of A’dal title, why on earth shouldn’t all my characters have access to at least one of the two Chef’s Hats I have?

For that matter, why should I have to level up cooking to 525 on THREE characters? Surely just one character knowing cooking ought to suffice. Same with first aid and, of course, fishing!

But if we go that route, what about “real” professions, like Leatherworking, Inscription and Alchemy? No kidding, I have four characters at 525 Alchemy, three at 525 Inscription, three at 525 Herbalism, two at 525 Mining and basically one of everything at max level save Engineering and Blacksmithing. Shouldn’t that stuff carry over as well? I mean, I’m the one who did all that work, right? I’m the one who sat there and milled ’till my fingers were raw (okay, not quite that bad, but still). I’m the one who did all of that on all kinds of different characters, on a variety of servers.

So if we open the door to account-wide achievements, titles, mounts and pets… where does it stop? Where should it stop? Where do you draw the line between “quality of life improvement” and “completely freaking ridiculous”? Is there even a line TO draw between those two points? I would argue that the Chef’s Hat, for instance, would be a quality of life improvement, but my level 5 bank alt being a Hand of A’dal would be completely freaking ridiculous. But someone else might think that the Chef’s Hat is ridiculous and the level 5 bank alt with that title would be AMAZING.

I strongly suspect that questions like these are the primary reason we haven’t seen much account-wide stuff to date and why they’ll probably “test out” account-wide pets and the like first. The slippery slope is just too slippery. What is completely acceptable to one person is a step too far for another. Taken to the extreme, you could make an argument for throwing out the levelling process because “hey, I got to level 85/90/100 on one character! Make all my toons that level!”

I do agree I’m probably a little strange with my identity issues (“But KURN never killed Vashj and Kael!!!”) but I think my own situation, particularly with the baby pally thrown in the mix, illustrates an interesting conundrum with regards to the value of these rewards and the reasons people attach meaning to them. I think all of these are important questions and situations that need to be looked at before they throw the doors open to account-wide achievements.

(Blatant guild plug: Remember, Apotheosis of Eldre’Thalas is 2/8 HM with Heroic Yor’sahj to 22% and is recruiting!!!)

7 Replies to “Account-wide Achievements and Questions of Identity”

  1. If achievements recorded the name of the character that earned that specific achievement (like they currently record the date of achievement), would that help solve your identity crisis? Eg: ‘Glory of the Pandarian Raider’ – earned by PandaMonkLOL on 01/01/2012.

    I’ll come at shared achievements from another angle – my paladin has a huge, huge amount of achievements, indicating the amount of time I’ve put into doing some very obscure WoW activities. In fact, I’ve put so much time into my paladin that it really turns me off the thought of swapping mains ever. That’s not to say that I’m unhappy with playing my paladin, but I do enjoy my other characters and I know that if I ever ‘main swapped’ I’d be compelled to do some of those crazy things all over again. And because I’m not interested in doing that, I’ll never main swap. Make sense? I’d continue playing a character whose class I enjoyed less than another because I don’t want to lose all that achievement progress. Shared achievements solves that for me.

    I do understand your identity issues though. Gear works a bit that way for me, like pulling out Benediction on the priest I mained in Molten Core. It’s a trigger for a memory of a particular time in WoW.

  2. Like Daraxis said, I imagine it won’t just say Achievement Earned on 01.01.12, but Achievement Earned by Character1 on 01.01.12. Have they said account wide titles are likely? I thought that was just wishful thinking. I imagine you won’t get the rewards for the achievement on all characters (apart from mounts and pets as they’ll obviously be account wide already).

    I can understand where you’re coming from, and I think if I played like you play I might be more against it.

    But for me, I can’t wait. I’m an achievement collector in all the games I play and my main in WoW is a Paladin. However I don’t really like raiding with him. I do however love raiding with either my Balance Druid or Discipline Priest. Previously though, I’ve only done as much raiding as I’ve done on my main because I didn’t want to get achievements on them my main doesn’t have.

    Also, I don’t have time for a proper raiding schedule as I work 12 hours a day, and sometimes 14 or 16 if we’re in the crunch, so my only hope is PUG raids. Trying to get in one after the first few weeks of a new raid is an exercise in frustration if you don’t have the requisite achievements. My hope is that these account wide achievements will solve that.

    Lastly, I really love to PvP on my rogue. Now I can focus my rogue on getting the PvP achievements and leave my main out of it :)

  3. One big reason this has taken so long has to be because of the variety of achievements and which ones can legitimately be flagged as “account bound”.

    Lastly, I looked and neither of your servers are RP realms. Are you sure you’re doing this right, Kurn?

  4. I’m pretty much in the same boat as you. I’m not interested in RPing at all, but all my characters are their own “persons” in a way. I get an identity crisis when I even consider race/faction changing or even renaming one of my characters :P So, even if global achievements and titles get implemented, I won’t use them on characters that haven’t earned them. I too feel a bit bummed that I don’t play my TBC main, who has Hand of Ad’al and the purple achievement drake and the badass guitar from Kara… but that’s life, and my current main has some shinies of her own. I raided TBC as a fury warrior, and using those titles on my resto druid would feel wrong – it’s not even close to being the same thing and I’m completely clueless about healing before mid-Wrath. I might be weird like that, since I also won’t transmog my gear to anything pre-Ulduar (when I switched to my druid).

    Overall, I can’t say I care much. I don’t remember the last time I had to link an achievement to someone… and the people who do matter (i.e. guildies and friends) don’t need me to prove that yes, it was me on that warrior in TBC. (Having BoA flavor items would rock though. Literally. I love that guitar!)

  5. I completely agree kurn. One thing is sending that 2k honor in wintergrasp so u can buy some gear and therefore have the achievement, another thing is getting onyxia kill feat of strenght on your main and having it as well on your 3 months old alt.IT’s ridiculous, and i also do for example herocis and pvp with my pala and raids with my shaman, farming stuff with some char, with another farming argent tournament for reps. i always played with about 10 chars since i started playing wow, so i suppose i would be one of the defenders of that acheiv bind on account. But i dont, the achievs are the reflex of what u have been doing with THAT char.
    Btw as i have played with several chars i dont rly have a main char, if i do heroics at 3 am ofc im using my prot pala instead of elem sham or i can very well wait 4 or 5 hours for a dungeon. The achievs doesnt define your main char, that’s why u get them when u do them. Now i am forced to take my tank on a raid and i want the achiev on the shaman. yeah, indeed i would like the achiev on that other chars, but having the acheiv on the pala doesnt means i knwo what to do with my shaman, on that same fight :S

    Also, if u wanna take it to an extreme, we’ll have bind on acc guild achievs someday…

    Nay, im totally against it.

  6. For me, this is less of an achievement thing and more of an “oh my gosh I don’t want to have to grind that mount/pet on yet another character.” I’d be happy if it was just mounts and pets. I agree with you about titles and achievements – besides, I’ve re-done my titles/achievements on different characters several times now. It’s tedious, but I recognize that it’s MY hang-up (i.e. I can’t stand to not have my character have ALL the things).

    But as far as mounts go – I’d love to be able to use my Nether Rocket on my mage, because it’s my paladin that has it. Same thing with the riding chicken mount. The Toxic Wasteling also dropped, the only time I’ve seen it, but it dropped for my paladin! >< My druid has an Anzu mount, and I've been grinding Sethekk Halls on my mage (Voss used to call it "Septic Halls," back when I couldn't solo it and he had to help me) but with no luck for a second Anzu. It seems greedy to even want/expect two of something so rare. It's just a quality of life thing for obsessive collectors and neurotic folks alike. As far as raid achievements go, I usually have them on the character I want them on, but I can see where it might be a main-switching deterrent to have to re-do all the things. I have three characters with a pet collection of 100+. I have pretty strong opinions about account-shared pet (and mount) collections, haha.

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