I am not what anyone would call an achievement hog (or the other terminology where you leave off the “g”). I do not really go out of my way to check off unfinished tasks in my WoW log. Most of my achievements are there as a by-product of my normal play style, and in any guild ranking by achievement points I am pretty far down the list. I am happy to participate in guild achievement nights, and I am always ready to help others get special achievements, but left to my own devices I generally do not directly pursue them unless they lead to something else I really want. (Achievements to unlock flying would be an example.)
But that does not mean I am not goal-driven. It’s just that I prefer to set my own goals rather than have Blizz list them out for me. As I have explained before in this blog, I set pretty much the same goals for myself at the start of every expansion, roughly:
- Progress through every raid tier at whatever level of play my raid team is doing.
- Gear my main to approximately whatever the “max” level is for the level of raids I run.
- Max out all my professions on all my characters.
- Level all my alts, at least to LFR minimums.
- Spend enough play time with my alts to be minimally proficient with them.
- Develop one or two alts to be able to do normal raid mode.
I get a real feeling of satisfaction when I judge that I have reached these goals.
My frustration with Legion is that, for many of these goals, Blizz has either vastly increased the time necessary to do them, or they keep moving the line to where I can never really feel I have completed them. Both factors tend to make most of these personal goals unattainable. I only have so much play time available, for example, and if gearing up an alt (mainly artifact AP) takes twice as long as in a previous expansion, then I will only be able to gear up half as many alts. (That’s not the actual ratio, but you get the idea.)
But the most frustrating part of all this has been that it is not possible to “finish” my main’s artifact (and thus gear) leveling because Blizz keeps introducing more and more levels of power to it. Consider:
- They initially told us once we got all the basic traits done and got to the final gold trait, anything beyond that would be minimal and we should not feel we had to diligently pursue it.
- Then along came a patch and lo and behold they added a whole new set of traits we had to build until we got to “Convergence” on our weapons.
- But after that, said Blizz, no worries, anything beyond that would be minimal and we should not feel we had to diligently pursue it.
- Then of course along came patch 7.3, and Blizz once again yanked the football away and pushed us to chase billions and billions of AP every week to fill in — yes, you guessed it — another trait table, this one based on relic slots!
As usual, now they are reassuring us that once we get all relic levels unlocked, any further increases to artifact power are minimal and we should not feel we have to bust our sweet little asses pursuing AP after that.
This is all old news, of course. We should no longer be surprised when Blizz lies to us time after time. (Remember their progressive lies about the role of garrisons in WoD.) “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” We have all rightly complained a lot about the endless AP grind in Legion, and even Mr. Game Director Hazzikostas seemed to realize it in a couple of oblique comments in yesterday’s dev Q&A.
The thing is, this will not change in Battle for Azeroth. We will not have an artifact weapon, but instead we will have at least 4 pieces of artifact-type gear. The mechanics will be different, but these things will not:
- We will be required to have one certain piece of gear (the neck piece) in order to even function in the expansion. This is like our being required to have an artifact weapon in Legion. It is not possible to participate in the expansion without it.
- The neck piece will in effect control the trait tables for at least 3 other pieces of gear. We will have to “progress” the neck piece in order to unlock various
traitscapabilities for other gear slots. Sound familiar?
artifact weaponspecial gear will gain power by our accumulation of massive amounts of artifact powerazerite. We will get this by participating in the MAU-enhancing activities Blizz designates. For the entire expansion.
No matter what Blizz says about powering up the new gear, you can take it to the bank that the enhancement process will be never-ending. For anyone wishing to raid or even to do Mythic+ (Blizz’s new stealth raiding activity), there will be no logical stopping points. As soon as there starts to be a slight dip in MAU, Blizz will introduce an entirely new set of powers to be unlocked by diligently chasing more azerite. Count on it.
And so, finally, here is my point: I do not know how much longer I can continue chasing something I can never catch in this game. I am not sure I can reset my brain to give up a set of personal goals that have served me well ever since I began playing WoW. There is a slow burning anger in me that Blizz so cavalierly devalues my goals and my play style, and a growing nugget of rage that not only do they tell me what my goals will be but that they keep moving those goals further down the field.
No, I am not going to rage quit. I will wait and see what BfA brings. In the big picture, when I engage my logic rather than my emotions, I know it is still an amazing game. I must certainly be having fun with it, because otherwise I would have quit long ago.
But I cannot shake the feeling that each time I log on I am being backed into a smaller and smaller corner, being forced into a play style and set of game activities set not by me but by Blizz. If I may shift metaphors here, I am sick of having a carrot tied to my head so that no matter how fast I run I can never catch it, and I am sick of Blizz telling me a continuous stream of lies about my chances of doing it.
I want the damn carrot, Blizz!
Next week is American Thanksgiving week, and I will be taking a blog vacation during that time to tend to relatives and cooking and football. Look for me back here on November 27th. For those of you who celebrate turkey day, enjoy!