The achievements system is a new aspect of the game, which records a whole plethora of things you do in game. It awards points as you accomplish milestones for some of the things it records. Others are recorded for interest, trivia, or usefulness rather than achievement points.
The achievement system reinforces some aspects of the game which are already encouraged and rewarded like pvp and raid boss kills, but it also rewards some off the beaten track aspect,s such as exploration, collection of rare items, completion of holiday events, etc. Role-players and others who like to immerse themselves in the world, lore, and trade skills of WOW should like some of the goals the achievements system records.
Many of the achievements measure things that already exist in game, although a couple are new e.g. for fishing there is an achievement to catch a fish in both stormwind and Ogrimmar.
Although I enjoy raiding, I have always enjoyed many of these wider aspects of the game, and like goals like these I can complete solo and over time, so I find the new system pretty appealing.
What hasn’t been announced yet, is what, if anything, the achievement points will be used for. Hopefully, a lot of points will buy you something nice. We will have to wait and see. Certainly, some of the achievements rewards you with titles, tabards and small pets.
Summary of the new achievements system:
▪ The System will launch with over 500 Achievements.
▪ New Achievements will be added with each content patch.
▪ Achievements can be viewed upon inspection of another player or through the online Armory.
▪ Achievements can be tracked by shift-clicking the icon in the Achievement UI, similar to the existing Quest tracker.
▪ Every time a new Achievement is earned…
▪ A special sound and animation will occur.
▪ The Achievement will be announced to the player’s guild chat and to everyone in the area. (Screenshot)
▪ Each Achievement earned will give the players a certain amount of Achievement Points.
▪ No information is available on how these Points will be used.
▪ Some Achievements will also give rewards. Examples include:
▪ Vanity pets (e.g. collect 50 vanity pets and receive a pet skunk)
▪ Feats of Strength will be a sub-section of the Achievements system.
▪ Feats celebrate accomplishments in old-world Azeroth, some of which are no longer available.
▪ Feats give no Achievement Points.
▪ Feats will be applied retroactively for those who have completed the requirements.
▪ The Achievement System will feature a unique, trackable UI. (See the Images tab for details.)
Source: http://wotlkwiki.info/index.php/Achievements (who in turn sourced http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/features/gameplay/achievements.xml )
MMO Champion Lists all the achievements by category and the achievement points awarded for each:
Edit: WOWhead now has a browsable list of achievements here
There will be achievements in the following categories:
These achievements record your stats, divided into the following categories – attributes, e.g. highest total agility; consummables e.g. food eaten; gear e.g. most mounts owned at one time; reputation e.g., total factions at exhalted; and wealth e.g. most expensive auction sold. Currently, they don’t have any achievement points attached.
Records you deaths in arena; battlegrounds and world; and records some of the reasons for death (falling, drowning, fire and lava) and wait for it … “Deaths from Hogger”! This category also records how many times you have be resurrected by priests, druids, etc. Currently, they don’t have any achievement points attached. Somehow I think there are going to be a lot of ‘accidental falls off mountains, or into lava pits’, and Hogger is going to have a fun old time beating players to death, who strangely fail to fight back!
Dungeons & Raids
This section is split into 3 sub-sections – classic; burning crusade; and WOTLK. Achievement points are awarded for an end boss (or sometimes all boss) kills in each dungeon. Some seem to only count once. Others seem to be repeatable and possibly farmable achievement points e.g. according to MMO Champions current list 5 points are awarded for Deadmines – Kill Edwin VanCleef; and then there is a separate achievement worth 5 points for Edwin VanCleef kills (Deadmines). Does this mean if you kill him 10 times you achieve 55 points? Will report back.
25 achievement points are gained for exploring each continent, and 5 for exploring each zone.
There is a title of World Explorer once you have uncovered everything.
Feats of Strength
These are accomplishments that players will find it very difficult to achieve, and almost impossible to do retroactively. They are worth no points. They are related to past achievements in Azeroth. e.g. old pvp titles, old rare mounts, or legendary items like the Warglaives of Azzinoth. Originally this category also had the first player to 80, and first mage to 80, first tauren to 80, etc. I think they have removed all of these now, as it encourages players to rush through the content, and to resort to work arounds, such as tagging a mob and letting guild mates kill it, rather than actually leveling properly themselves.
Player vs Player
Records your profession milestones and other profession related achievements, e.g. bake a delicious chocolate cake (cooking); catch a fish in Orgrimmar and Stormwind (fishing). Achievement points are awarded.
Records quest milestones and the achievement of specific quests e.g. complete all of the Hemet Nesingwary quests in Stranglethorn, Nagrand and Northrend. And what about this one – “Tuskarmageddon – mindlessly slaughter 1,000,000 tuskarr. Reward: baby seal cub” count them – 1 million! Awards achievement points.
Raising your reputation with different factions, both old and new – e.g. They Love Me In That Tunnel – get exhalted with the Timbermaw Hold and Town Crier get exhalted with all 5 home cities. Awards achievement points.
From cheers to facepalms; mails to chat lines; friends and guilds. No achievement points awarded. But some of this will have a useful side affect – you can inspect the number of guilds a character has been it; the number of items they have deposited and withdrew from guild banks; and the longest time they have spent in a guild. Very useful for guild recruiters to identify possible bank robbers and guild hoppers.
Again no achievement points, but some useful reference material. You recruiting someone for a raid, they assure you they have done kara hundreds of times, and ZA, and SSC, etc. You inspect them and look at their statistics – nope total 10 player raids completed = 0; total 10 player raided entered = 1. Not quite the story they are spinning. Statistics also measure things like number of jumps (one for the elves), max distance fallen without damage (pally for the win?); fastest water speed (druids prove to be the Phelps of WOW?); fastest ground speed, etc.
Most achievements will be retroactive. However, in the beta they seemed to recognize some of my achievements but not others. For instance, I was wearing the tabard of the summer skies yet I didn’t get the corresponding achievement that I had killed Lord Ahune. They have apparently now fixed this one. It is possible though, that some will remain bugged and will not be recognized after the game goes live, and you will have to repeat them to gain recognition, particularly if you do not have loot from the encounter as proof. I think they have already said that GMs will not be able to award achievements that have not been correctly awarded (I think they realized they might have a flood of calls).
So, what should I do to prepare?
Well you don’t have to do anything. After all, we don’t know what the rewards are going to be. However, you could think about collecting mini-pets, if you are intrerested in doing that and getting your skunk pet; completing your exploration of the world; and upping your reputation with different factions. Afterall, you are not going to want to run around Azeroth doing Timbermaw and other rep grinds, when Wrath hits. Also, if you want to take part in the world event achievements, you will need take part in Brewfest, and try to get your hands on a Brewfest mount and 200 tokens to buy membership of the brew of the month club. Similarly, take part in the Hallows End festival and try to gain each of the achieves required for that one too.