WoW! Thoughts! — On the Loremaster Achievement

Thoughts on the continuing evolution of the Loremaster achievement.

With seven new zones on their way in Mists of Pandaria, I had been furiously rushing to attain my Loremaster achievement.  Having played through Azeroth during the Burning Crusade, I didn’t earn achievements while leveling.  With the Cataclysm redefining questing in sub-level 60 zones, earning my Loremaster title seemed like the perfect way to experience all the new content and accomplish one of the more time-consuming achievements.

Each zone in World of Warcraft (save the starter zones) have an achievement that can be earned for completing a specific number of quests.  That number varies from zone to zone and is based on the overall amount of content a zone provides.  Arathi Basin, for example, only requires one to complete 18 quests.  Icecrown requires one to perform 140 quests.  Earn each of these achievements on a continent (or, in Cataclysm’s case, an expansion), and you get a meta-achievement.  Once you earn the five meta-achievements, (Loremaster: Kalimdor, Loremaster: Eastern Kingdoms, Loremaster: Outland, Loremaster: Northrend, Loremaster: Cataclysm), you earn the meta-meta-achievement, The Loremaster, which also confers the Loremaster title and a fancy tabard (with a big ! on it).  The end result is that one has to do roughly 3300 quests and literally travel all over the world. (Two worlds, in fact.)

While assigning a number of quests to each zone – based on how many quests Blizzard thinks a player should finish to ‘complete’ a zone –  might have worked in Wrath, for zones that had been designed at launch, this system became outdated the moment the Cataclysm altered Azeroth.  Linear questlines became the norm in Cataclysm, with each zone featuring storylines that highlighted how the events of the Cataclysm had affected that zone, and forcing your character to play a major role in the aftermath.  The end result is that a number no longer indicates that a zone has been ‘done’, but rather, the final quest in a storyline does.

While the achievements for Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms fail to reflect this, Blizzard acknowledged this in the upper level Cataclysm zones.  Hyjal, Vash’jir, Deepholm, Uldum, and Twilight Highland each have two achievements to be earned while playing through them.  One is the number-based achievement, which counts towards Loremaster: Cataclysm.  The other is an achievement for finishing the main questline of that zone.  It doesn’t count towards any further meta-achievements, but it does suggest that Blizzard was aware of this disconnect and ready to begin fixing it.

When Mists of Pandaria launches with its seven new zones of lvl 85-90 content, there will still be an achievement to be earned for questing in each of those zones.  However, instead of being based on a number, each zone will have several stories, and completing those stories will net one the achievement for a given zone.  Finally, after eight years, questing and learning the lore will truly be the requirement for earning the Loremaster achievement.

This is an overdue change, especially with the way that questing has evolved over the years.  As quest stories become cohesive and take greater focus in each of the zones, it only makes sense to give the achievements for completing those stories.  Tracking how many quests a player had done was useful as shorthand, but with single quests sometimes hidden, completing those achievements often meant just as much time spent reading Wowhead as reading the quest text.  The title to be earned is Loremaster, and to truly understand the lore one needs to play through the story of the game.  Finally, the achievement can properly reflect that.

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Nick Zielenkievicz
Nick Zielenkievicz
Nick Zielenkievicz

Senior Producer

Host of WoW! Talk! and The Tauren & The Goblin. Sometimes known as the Video Games Public Defender. Wants to play more Destiny and Marvel Heroes but WoW is all-consuming. Decent F2P Hearthstone player. Sad that he lost the Wii that had Wrecking Crew on it. Would be happy if the only game ever made was M.U.L.E. Gragtharr on Skywall-US. Garresque on Ravencrest-US.

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