Beating WoW: More Than Just The Lich King?

Back in the day, 'beating' World of Warcraft meant killing Kel'Thuzad. Now that a Taiwanese player has 'beaten' the game in WotLK, we can see how much deeper WoW has gotten since 2004.

A few days ago, a particularly interesting piece of news circulated most World of Warcraft communities, about a Taiwanese player, 小灰, who had, literally, beaten the game. According to his armoury page, this particularly ambitious Druid is boasting a massive 986 out of a possible 986 achievements, having just finished up the most recent Thanksgiving Event achievements on Thursday. Interestingly, while this was a fairly spectacular accomplishment in itself, it's personal success stories like these that really show how well designed World of Warcraft has become and how it's managed to remain millions of subscribers ahead of any other popular MMORPG: through the power of (no pun intended here) achievability and reward.

It always seems very odd to say "beat the game" in the same sentence as MMORPG, because one of the cardinal rules of this genre is the belief that nobody should be able to truly "beat" an MMO. It's uncertain when a rule like this was established, but if you ask any dedicated player out there, chances are high that they'd note that MMOs are designed around progression, and a viable conclusion to that progression is typically seen as bad news for the game. What is interesting, however, lies in how the definition of "beating the game" has evolved from a simple "killing the last boss," to finishing a massive list of achievements across every aspect of World of Warcraft.

You see, prior to WoW's first expansion, The Burning Crusade, there really wasn't much to do, aside from raiding and PvP. Endgame raiding required a huge amount of 'attunements' and up-to-date gear (remember, this was before tokens, and raids were 40 players!), and PvP required an incredible amount of grinding to get anywhere near the top ranks. Because of this, when players asserted that they had "beaten the game," it usually just meant that they had finally managed to down Kel'Thuzad in Naxxramas, or they had finally achieved the coveted Grand Marshall or High Warlord ranking in PvP.

Fast forward to World of Warcraft after two expansions, and it's quite easy to see how Blizzard has worked to broaden its avenues of progression. By implementing rewards through hundreds (almost a thousand!) of achievements, combined with all sorts of casual friendly systems that help players get into content faster, Blizzard has really made it possible for players to play the game in any way they want and still take pleasure in the amount of progression they make.

In this way, it seems as though a great strength of Blizzard's easier progression system is that players are now feeling more adventurous in their approach to the game. Some players are focusing purely on the WoW market, with raiding considered a side activity; other players have made it their goal to level to 80 without killing anything; and even more players are collecting mounts, pets or map exploration achievements because raiding, maintaining access to raids and 'progression' has been made easier to keep up.

Some of the more dedicated players have complained that World of Warcraft has become too easy to 'beat,' and they note just how quickly some guilds polish off endgame bosses, the moment they are released. On the other hand, however, while these small groups of players (remember, fewer than 5% of players had even seen Naxxramas before TBC!) may feel that their chosen "portion" of the game has shrunk, or gotten easier, there are millions of other players who are enjoying the huge variety of new activities being introduced by Blizzard monthly.

So in the end, the next time you hear someone lamenting that he's 'beaten the game' because the Lich King died a week after he came out, perhaps you should point him towards 小灰, and ask him if he's really seen all there is to the World of Warcraft.


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# Dec 07 2009 at 7:10 AM Rating: Excellent
26 posts
WoW has got worse since vanilla, the very core of the MMO genre (communication) has been strategically removed.

In original WoW you had to chat to succeed at any instance in a pug.

TBC made instances easier, but still a weaker party had to strategize and plan CC somewhat.

In WoTLK 90% of my groups/raids never say a word beyond "whoz tank?". Everything is just lolaoe'd down with no strategy or communication.

As the game stands now it is nothing more than a bunch of single player mini-games (boss-fights, dps cycles, whack a mole healbot spam etc) where it once was a fun collaborative adventure to rid the world of evil.

The only reason all my "mmo veteran" mates are still playing is because the competition is fecking pathetic. We are all desperate for SW:TOR or STO to not suck ***. But I guess we were blessed by EQ1 and RFO, we have high expectations.


Edited, Dec 7th 2009 8:20am by rsjabber
Missed another
# Dec 03 2009 at 8:41 AM Rating: Decent
8 posts
He seems to be missing the BB King Achievement as well, Under world events, Winters Veil.
"Finishing" The Game.
# Dec 03 2009 at 8:40 AM Rating: Decent
4,993 posts
When you consider that many of the achievements won't be available right away due to "Gating", IE, the artificial stalling of raids, you won't be able to kill the Lich King (and earn the associated achievements) for at least a few months.....
new achievement
# Dec 02 2009 at 12:47 PM Rating: Decent
79 posts
"That which has no life!"

Level all classes and races to max level
Complete all achievements with all account characters
Max out all professions on each character
Max out all trade skills with each character
Max gold on all characters
Max Arena Points
Max Honor
Exalted Rep with all factions
Equip all max gear of what your class can wear IE Plate, mail, leather, cloth
Gain every BOE item in the game and keep it in your bank or on hand

IF someone does that then they will 100% beat the game..... and prob have no life outside wow

"Finishing" The Game.
# Dec 02 2009 at 12:42 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
Hey, he's still got Insane in the Membrane left to do!

Plus the Wintersaber Trainers...

Edited, Dec 2nd 2009 10:44am by Figgins
"Finishing" The Game.
# Dec 02 2009 at 9:46 AM Rating: Decent
4,993 posts
And the beauty of it is, he didn't even finish the game at all.

Sure he has 986/986 Achievements *now*, but when Patch 3.3 comes out, he will suddenly have a bunch more to do.

And then, Cataclysm.. will add much, much more ontop of that.

There is no "Finishing" an MMORPG unless you play it clear up until development stops and then you finish everything.

And even then, one could roll another character, another class, and experience things from that class's perspective too.
"Finishing" The Game.
# Dec 02 2009 at 8:20 PM Rating: Decent
Wouldn't be so sure, Blizzard will probably add at most 30 achievements in 3.3

This is precisely why this game needs more world PvP...the only content that can truly go 'un-cleared' is player-created. Look at EVE Online...some of those Corp Wars have been going on for 2+ years and each battle is never like the last (or next).

WAR's a good example of how to implement PvP to actually affect PvE (ie getting crafting mats [least in early release you could]). Right now the issue with player-created (PvP-only atm) content is the reward doesn't come fast enough...I can go into a BG spend the same ammount of time as I would say in Heroic CoS...and not see one friggin item because I still need to grind another 35k honor before I can even purchase ONE piece. Whereas, H-CoS will have 5 guaranteed "Droppers" (including bonus boss)...that's 6* drops I'll at least "SEE". But even then it's not really PvP it's "run from point A to point B; kill boss, repeat" [AV], "run from point A to point B and back, repeat" [WSG]...the only BGs that have actually emphazied Player-content is EoTS, IoC, and AB.....I think there's another something about a Strand and some Ancients, but no one seems to look for it (lol).

*Not ingame so...I'm winging this one:
(1) Abom
(1) Caster Guy
(1) Twilight Dragon
(1) Bonus Boss [Mount]
(2) Mal'ganis [Won't count the Frozen Orb]...or was it 3 items + 1 frozen orb??? :(

-Swear, I'm not biased...I just...reaaaaally like PvP; anything where I'm pitted against another player
"Eagles may soar, but rats don't get sucked into jet engines."
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