One of the first things you learn as a game designer is: Be Consistent. If the player does something, and gets a response, they need to get the same response every time. Game Rules need to be consistent across the entire game.
Blizzard has NOT been consistent when it comes to achievements. They are not being consistent when it comes to rewards either. They need to PICK A POSITION and STICK TO IT.
Example 1: Hand of Adal vs. Starcaller/Kingslayer. Hand of A’Dal doesn’t even have an achievement associated with it, but it was removed. Blizzard claims they “didn’t want people to get the title who didn’t earn it in the period it was intended to be earned” and so they removed it. But Kingslayer and Starcaller were just as difficult, and intended to be just as exclusive, and yet remain in the game.
(Note: Q: Will you ever bring back the mounts for achievements that were removed (Naxx Glory runs) as you didn’t remove the later mounts? – Joyia (North America/ANZ) A: This is a tough one. On the one hand, we know there are a lot of players who would still like to get their hands on these mounts. On the other hand, we were pretty clear that they would only be available for a limited time, and we hate to go back on our word because we know some groups went through heroic efforts to get them before the door closed. This is the kind of thing that is not set in stone and player feedback might eventually convince us to change our minds.)
Example 2: Achievement Drakes. Yes, I was the Joyia who asked about the Naxx Drakes on the achievement Q&A thread. I was a part of a guild at the time that was working on the achievements for said drakes. It nearly ripped our guild apart. It lead to multiple people leaving and joining more progressed guilds. It lead to me LEAVING a guild I liked and almost leaving the game. The stress of attempting to get these achievements BEFORE they were removed was insane considering this is a GAME. That’s right, it’s a game. It should be fun. But on multiple occasions, Blizzard insists on making the game not fun by putting time limits on achieving things. (Theoretically the ZA Bear and ZG mounts fall here too, despite not being achievements.)
When it came down to it, I resolved myself to the fact I wasn’t going to get these drakes. I resolved myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to get the Ulduar drakes. I just wasn’t that kind of player. I got my purple protodrake, and I was happy. But then, I managed to achieve the bone drake for ICC 10 man on my mage. Success! Joy! And then… they didn’t remove the achievements. Last week, a bunch of goofballs in trade pugged up a 10 man group and succeeded in getting the SAME drake I had worked so hard for.
What makes my Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher LESS special than the Naxx Plagued Protodrake?!? Wow, way to be a hypocrite!
To head off the comments of whiny elitists saying “I want my mount to be rare!” There are three things with this as well. One, stop being elitist. You can always climb on your little box and show off your e-peen by saying “Well I got mine two weeks after the raid was released!” Two, it is punishing to players who change mains, re-roll alts, or start the game late. Even the new people deserve the chance to get something awesome, this is after all a game that wants to be accessible, NOT elitist and exclusive. Three, rarity is a FALLACY in WoW. That’s right, it’s not real. Rarity is a RELATIVE concept. Meaning, something is only considered rare, if and only if, the people you play with do not have it. I have posted this example before. When the Sparkle Pony came out, only 2 people in my guild bought it. So out of about 20 players, only 2 people had one. Meaning that the people we hung out with and were likely to pay attention to their mounts, count as the audience. That gives the Sparkle Pony a 1 in 10 rarity. Now, the Deathcharger’s Reins had been farmed up by about 10 people in the guild, meaning it has a rarity of 1 in 2. the entire World of Warcraft does not count in the rarity, only the people you are likely to interact with do.
BE CONSISTENT. Seriously. I am willing to accept the decision one way or the other, just PICK A SIDE AND STICK TO IT. This endless waffling and inconsistency just frustrates and annoys players and is just BAD DESIGN. Best case, Blizzard realizes it’s hypocritical responses and opens the Naxx Drakes back up. (Theoretically they could add the Tiger and Raptor mounts back in some form of grind or in the CtA bags – which to be honest would be FAR more effective in getting people to run it. They could even add the ZA bear back to a timed run of the new ZA dungeon.) Worst case, they remove the ICC and Ulduar drakes, and people got them “unfairly” after the period, but at least now, that will not happen again, because they decided to be consistent.