Friday, November 19, 2010

Feats of Strength – the real version

Let's talk about Feats of Strength again. I admit it's the third time this week that I mention them, and that's a little odd considering that I'm not that much of an achievement junkie in the first place. Not more than the average at least. But I’ve got some kind of hangup on this at the moment, so I’ll blog on and hopefully it will ease my mind. Here we go: time for this week's ponderings from the bar.

My Feats of Strength
This post takes off with the announcement from Blizzard that we’ll get yet another ”Feat of strength” if we only can be bothered to log in once during a three week period.

Reading about it I asked myself what other feats I had in my bags. Since I've never paid any attention to them, I had no idea. A quick check in armory revealed that I had acquired 18 until this day, and to be honest most of them were less than overwhelming:

  • Getting myself a Collector's Edition for Wrath, well done, pat on shoulder?
  • Getting a Crashin' Thrashin' Racer as a Winter veil gift like everyone else in 2008. Wohoo?
  • Obtaining one emblem of any kind, really? I'd rather consider it a Feat of Strenth to manage to avoid them altogether.
The Champion of the Naaru and Hand of Adal titles admittedly took a bit of effort, and so did the Winterspring Frostsaber mount - even though that grind had been heavily nerfed by the time I got around to do it, and the process of getting it was more of a pleasure than a pain. So getting it didn’t really involve any particular need of being strong.

However, most of the Feats of Strength won’t fill me with a sense of pride. The list consists of a number of randomly picked events during my lifespan as a WoW player, which happen to have been documented this way. as a matter of fact some of the feats are so cheap that they inevitably dilute the concept of feats as being special and desirable.

This is a bit of a pity, since there actually is some potential in this feature. Just like the rest of the achievement system, Feats of strength could be a tool for players to make their characters stand out from every one else.

Even if your lvl 80 mage looks exactly the same as the one next to you at AH, wearing identical gear but a slightly different hair style, your individual experiences and areas of interest in the game will differ. The Feats of strength list could offer an opportunity to put this at display.

In the current form, the system is automatized. When you do certain things in the game, a note is added to your armory profile, armory either you like it or not. There’s no way to undo an achievement; those lists are forever (or as long as the game lasts).

But let's play with the thought that the Feats of Strength worked in a different way. What if it was the player who chose them? You could pick the ten achievements you were most proud over, as a declaration to the world: “Look at what I’ve done! Those are the top performances I have done!” A die hard PvP:er would of course display his best PvP achievements, a raider would highlight the most prestigious boss kills and the dedicated grinders would made no secret of their Loremaster or Insane titles.

Picking the best achievements would be a bit tricky and I’m not sure how my own list would look, but I know it would be different to what it is today. My Twilight Vanquisher title from April 2009 required far more strength than logging into WoW for the five year anniversary, that's for sure.

True Feats of Strength
Since it's my Friday night post, I'm letting my mind wander best it likes as we're enjoying our after-work pint. So now I'll stroll away and talk a bit about what I would consider to be the True Feats of Strength, which is someting quite different to the stuff that Blizzard rewards.

If you think about it: aren't there ever so many game related activities that will require patience, effort and courage? Those deeds will never be documented in a log, never flashed out as a guild message - and yet they are what will stick to our memories as we one day in the future will recall our years of WoW playing.

What's the bravest thing you ever did in Azeroth? When did you find yourself at a turning point, taking a hard decision that took you in an entirely new direction in the game? Which are the deeds that required all strength you could ever come up with? When did you challenge yourself with a task that seemed way out of your reach, taking the risk of a bitter and embarrassing failure?

When I think back at my own time in Azeroth I believe one of the bravest things I ever did was to take the plunge into the unknown, switching to a server where I didn't know a single soul, to join a guild that was raiding 25 man T5, while all I knew was how to Karazhan. A true feat of strength. Or the moment when I pressed the cubes in Magtheridon for the first time in the spring 2008. Looking back it seems as a fairly simple thing to do, but to me - it was huge!

Joining Adrenaline, taking a leap in difficulty and expectations was another one. I knew that I would be on trial for weeks; There was no guarantee I would pass it and if I didn’t it would pretty terrible in my records. "Why did you leave your former guild?" "Ahem. They thought I sucked so I was asked to leave..." But somehow I overcame my fears and took the chance, aware, regardless of the risks.

The fact that I've stuck to my guild ever since, being there through ups and downs, no matter what, is also something I feel good about, even I most of all think that I'm just privileged and lucky to have found such a good home. So probably it's not a true feat of strength. But it's important to me. The guild anniversaries outlast Blizzard's anniversaries by far!

And then there are the offline, but still WoW related activities. The very idea to start to blog in English took me a bit of courage, and to keep doing it for such a long time and with such intensity is probably Feat of strength material, (even if it’s also bordering to being a candicate for the Insane in the Membrane title. 600 blog posts, all about one single video game? Am I out of my mind?).

I won’t ever be able to write into my Feat of Strength log: "This mage is a dedicated WoW blogger since February 2008." But it sure would tell more about me as a player than the fact that I once got a Green Brewfest Stein more or less by accident.

Real Life Feats of Strength
This post is going towards its end, but before you head off for another pint in the bar or a nightly conversation in front of the fireplace, I'll ponder a little over the next level of Feats of Strength.

Have you ever thought about how your Real Life Feat of Strength list would look?

Taking the risk to be a little boring and predictable, I believe that my Mother title would top my list. The fact that I've given birth to and raised two children never ceases to amaze me. My list would also include some radical changes my life direction. Moving to a new place to live, switching jobs and career. Daring to step up when the situation required it - even if I didn't think I was fit to do it.

Then there are some feats of strength that are more on the sad side, feats I would rather have been without. Experiences such as dealing with deaths in the family, situations where I’ve been forced to act more like a “grown-up” than I had asked for, taking responsibility not only for myself, but for others. You know. The crap we all will encounter sooner or later in our lives, either we're prepared for it or not.

My conclusion - what I’m really trying to say with this post - is that I think we give ourselves too little credit for what we achieve in life.

We're so quick to identify our shortcomings and - the job we didn't get, the so-and-so grades, the GF/BF that dumped us, the friend we let down, the competition we lost, the opportunities we missed because we took the wrong decision. We love to dwell on it, calling ourselves all sorts of names. Fail mother. Fail friend. Fail lover. Fail student. Fail, fail, fail. But how we think back of our success stories, how often do we even notice them? How often do we recongize that we that we make a difference?

We have so much to be proud of, even if it doesn't show in a feed or will be celebrated with a flash message on a screen. Don't ever forget that.

It’s time to finish and bring out a Friday night toast. This one is for all our real Feats of strength - in the past and in the future.



Klepsacovic said...

Feat of Strength unlocked: Create a guild with friends and play with them for years.

Korenwolf said...

You're missing the potential for giggles seeing "Emblematic" pop up in guild during a raid on a Marrowgar kill :)

[Yes, ok we were carrying a couple of very freshly dinged 80's to the weekly raid boss]

Oestrus said...

It's funny that you mention the kerfuffle about FoS - because right around that time is when a subject I didn't give much thought to became something I couldn't avoid.

I do agree with you that it's becoming a bit unfortunate that people are refusing to do things unless there's an achievement or an FoS for them. I also feel it can get complicated when you're in a raiding guild and the core wants to try for an achievement that you don't wish to take part in.

I remember when Naxx was all the rage and people were trying for the Thaddius achievements or trying for the Malygos ones and it felt like such a waste - to purposely wipe on something repeatedly because you're trying to get that achievement spam to pop up on your screen.

I understand the desire to attempt the achievement, the desire to have it. But if you're not pressing forward with it, I don't feel it makes sense to drag 24 other people thru that with you. I really resented my guild at the time making me do those things when I really didn't want to and I certainly wasn't alone.

Ratshag said...

"Hero of Shattrath" - that one were all pain. Well, pain and abouts three bajillion spiders.

"Knuckle Sandwich" - not hard, but kinda fun ta get.

Is glad ya decided fer ta blog in English. 'Cause, lordy, do me Swedish fuhggin' suck. Is what happens when ya learn a language by watching the Muppet Show.

True Feats of Strength? Hrmmm..... I'd has ta say weren't any one single step, but rather the process of converting me blogging connections inta in-game relations. Rolling up an alt on another server and whispering Hydra or BRK or the Egolicious Priest and saying "hey, don't know if you know me but I left some comments on your blog" seems like such a little thing now, but where a big deal all them years ago. And is what transitioned me from Ratshag the simple orc doing solo rep grinds in Nagrand ta Team Ratshag, respectable raiders and all that came with that.

No bluggernubbin' clue how ya'd boil that down ta a catchy phrase, though.

Nikodhemus said...

2 of the things I would like notated as Feats of Strength would be that I completed the Nessingwary Quest line and got that achievement (woopie! Hey, as a hunter, that was pretty darn cool! And, collecting all those idiot pages ain't exactly a gimme.), and saving the day in my very first Heroic dungeon, Utgarde Pinnacle.

The guildmaster and her husband escorted me, both well over 5k GS, and I was FINALLY able to game with these guys... and we get stuck with a sub-par tank. Everything went ok, as my guild made up the DPS, and my two mates were devestating... until the tank went down against Skadi the Ruthless. Then the healer, then the Ret Pally, which left 2 hunters. We kited him as best we could just for fun, without really thinking we could do anything, but he was down below 20%. My guildmaster finally went down, I jumped up from Feign Death and Phoenixed my Devilsaur and went back at him. Devilsaur died and he came stomping towards me, right when Kill Shot came back up... and BAM, he went down. Talk about exhilarating! My guildies just kind of laughed, they had been doing Heroics for a year or so and had done this one probably 80 times, but none of that mattered to me. That was one of the best times ever playing the game for me, and I saved us from a wipe.

Ok, so I couldn't res anyone and they still had to walk back, but so what? We didn't have to fight Skadi again!

I think there should be a bit less achievements like Emblematic, and a bit more achievements like the Nessingwary ones, like being Exhalted with the Tuskarr for instance... I've been stealing puppies for MONTHS, that should be worth something!

Nellisynthia said...

"Do you remember Mezzy?

"How could we forget, the first time we saw one. Upon the Hills of Thelsamaar, upon a quiet summer's afternoon. There had been a battle; the Horde was much more restless then as it is now. And as we dusted ourselves off, our victory dearly bought, for the first time I heard that thunderous call, felt the heat of brimstone and the heard the stomp of fiery hooves.

"There, so tall, so proud, so strong and deadly stood one of the first fel destriers ever stolen from the stables of Xoroth."

The quiet warlock hugged herself, eyes closing as she remembered. She stood at the Voidwalker's side, a small shadow beneath a much larger one.

"Do you remember, Mezzy?

"Do you remember the hunting of dragons? Discovering the cave with the ghost mushrooms for the needed elixers? Counting our last coin for a bag of stardust, and then the trip down into Banehollow, all alone?

"And Miss Sayori ... oh Mezzy, not only had she seen the fire in our eyes that day in Loch Modan, looking down from her proud Dreadsteed ... it was her who taught us the tricks of Dire Maul, who stood buy us as we caught and tamed one of our own."

She let out a soft breath.

"How could I forget. She was the reason I still keep the Bell, Wheel and Candle.

"The reason we have never turned down a request to help another warlock steal their own Dreadsteed from the Burning Legion.

"She asked for nothing in return ...

"... and in kind, to remember her, never have we."


One of the best fights in the game. And I am no officer, not one of great importance in our guild and have no voice in decisions made, but for curiosity's sake I always check,
when a new warlock asks to join the Guild if they have the "Dreadsteed of Xoroth" Feat of Strength.

As for myself, nothing quite so grand.

Watching students walk through a school I have designed, knowing that the operating room where lives are being saved came from my desk, the kindergarten with the radiant floor - so its warm when the kids sit on the carpet as their teacher reads to them - the shock and surprise when they asked *me* to write my Father's eulogy ...

Simple things.

Syl said...

I don't even know what to say, this was such a beautiful read Larísa and perfect timing for me today. so often in life we are our own worst judge, aren't we.

"My conclusion - what I’m really trying to say with this post - is that I think we give ourselves too little credit for what we achieve in life."

So much that, a hundred times.
thanks for reminding me of it.

Anonymous said...

I think the term "Feat of Strength" is a bit inappropriate. I don't think of my feats as accomplishments, I think of them as Landmarks. Blizzard seems to think of them this well as well, despite the name.

"I was playing at [X] anniversary", "Ah, that's the time I got my first emblem", "Oh I remember tripping those rifts, that was fun", etc. Just little reminders of where you've been. I don't think they all necessarily have to be earned.

Gevlon said...

Another feat of strength: you encouraged other bloggers to start up.

Dyre42 said...

Feats of Strength?

Becoming GM of a guild that couldn't beat reg ToC5 and taking those same people into ICC10 with success.

Tanking the last 5% of Lady DW on my hunter my first time into ICC10 (5% buff). (I will not get rid of the bow I got from her that trip.)

Real Life Feats of Strength?

Becoming a parent.

and I probably should get one called "Heroism Denied" for the number times I tried to behave in a heroic fashion but got poor results.


One night many moons ago I was reading quietly in my apartment when suddenly I hear this terrible loud sound like someone laughing and crying at the same time just outside my door. So I open my door and see my drunken neighbor sitting on top of his GF beating the crap out of her. So without hesitation I grab thye sword by the door (my friend had left it there the night before)and jump off the balcony into the parking lot.

And right as my feet hit the ground two police cars pull into the parking lot. And that's when I realized that there is no worse time to be brandishing a sword in public. Since I was lacking a sheath or trench coat and needed to hide the sword fast I had no choice but to put it down my pants.

Now I don't know if you've ever tried to nonchalantly climb a fight of stairs with three and a half feet of steel in your pants. But I can assure you that its not exactly easy. But I apparently succeeded as I made my way back to my apartment and was not visited by the police that night.

Then I went to a bar and drank heavily. The end.

Nils said...

My conclusion - what I’m really trying to say with this post - is that I think we give ourselves too little credit for what we achieve in life.

I sometimes think I give myself too much credit. But then I also consider myself a bit arrogant, so perhaps it's just that ;)

About those feats.. I think they are specific to your character, not to you. How could Blizzard even try to judge you ?

Shintar said...

I agree that Feats of Strength have become a bit silly. Originally they were just supposed to be "retired achievements" that aren't available anymore and don't give achievement points, which is a questionable concept to begin with in my opinion, because what's so terrible about someone's arbitrary number being a few points higher due to them having a couple more achievements for having been around longer?

But anyway, I didn't mind that concept so much and accordingly I like those FoS most that were actual achievements at some point and have since been retired, like Onyxia's Lair (Level 60) or Proof of Demise.

Nowadays Blizzard seems to make a lot of FoS however that are intended to be feats from the beginning, for one of two reasons:

1) Something is happening that won't happen again, so it must have a feat, like WoW's 4th/5th/6th anniversary. This can lead down a slippery slope however as every day in WoW is unique when you get down to it, so you can make up FoS for absolutely everything.

2) Something is rare or takes some time to get. This one still confuses me to be honest. Why was my Venomhide Ravasaur a Feat of Strength for example; it's just the result of a normal quest line that is still around? It seems to me that this is Blizzard's way of avoiding the whining from achievement completionists that something is too hard or time-intensive to get - just make it a feat instead of an achievement, so it won't show up on their list of incomplete achievements and they won't have to complain about potentially missing out on points. At least I can see no other reason why these things couldn't be normal achievements.

Anonymous said...

They said when they first added it that Feats of Strength were just things that are really hard for a current player to get and/or impossible for a current player to get.

Noone from this point forward can get Emblematic. It's a FoS for that reason. It says I raided when the Emblem system existed. Which is why I like them so much. There cool little reminders of specific moments my character or myself were a part of.

They just picked a bad name for these types of achievements, but everyone one of your examples fits there original reason for the FoS tab.

Anonymous said...

I'm realizing using the phrase 'current player' in my last post was wrong. It should have been 'future player'. Obviously, if you got it you were currently play. I'm dumb lol.

rapidfirewow said...

The individualization feature you mention does actually exist in another Blizzard game: Starcraft 2.

Everyone has their own achievement tab which is reachable by everyone on your friends list or in your party. On the tab your latest achievement are shown, your total points and your personal "achievement showcase" which you selected yourself.

Here's my own profile if you wanna see an example:

Since Blizzard this for another game, I think they might decide to do it again for WoW... because it is a really awesome feature!

Interesting read btw. :)


Wishart said...

Its good to see you still posting, I remember when you first talked of starting it up.


Charlie said...

Wow, excellent post. You've given me a lot to think about here.

Larísa said...

: That's definitely a worthy Feat of Strength.

: Hehe, yeah there is a comic aspect to it.

@Oestrus: I think guilds are faced with this kind of issues all the time. What is better, to farm known content for more epics to everyone or to bang your head against a progression boss, prolonging the reset to next week to get more time for learning? I suppose all guilds will have to try to find a middle ground - or at least be clear in their policy so that people who wants/don't want achievements can move on to another guild which is more online with their views.

@Ratshag: The orc has indeed shown his strength in many ways. /bow

: That was a fun story! Indeed, it's those kinds of happenings that are memorable. It's those moments that stick in your mind - not the epics that come and go

: that was another piece of beautiful writing, thank you! And how wonderful to get the perspective of someone who designs buildings. Good Feats of Strengths and also something you're reminded of as you see them. It must be a fantastic feeling.

@Syl: thank you! I'm glad if it could help you to remind you about it. I know for sure you have feats of strength under your chest and many more waiting for you.

: Yeah. The name is leading us wrong in the thought. That's why it's so easy to mock it a bit like I do.

@Gevlon: Yep. What would the blogosphere be without the Greedy Goblin? I've never ever regretted supporting you in the start, regardless of what other people say and think. It's something I'm proud of.

@Dyre42: Oh, I love storytelling! What a story! What I can't quite understand is why you took the sword and jumped into the parking lot? Would that help the girl in her emergency? There's something I'm missing here. Anyway I'm glad you managed to get away with it.

@Nils: Well, they're thinking about making them accountwide, which I'm not a fan of to be honest. This post was more like hypothetical rambling. I'm not seriously suggesting they'd put my personal feats of strenght into the game. I think.

@Shintar: I agree with your analysis. They don't seem to know exactly what they want with those. What makes them seem so silly is the name of it "Feat of strength", which sounds like something HUGE and the fact that some of them really takes a TON of effort while others are completely trivial. There isn't any clear line in it.

: Yeah maybe that's the simple answer. "the name "Feats of strength" is badly chosen. However such a short statement would make a very tiny blogpost. ;)

: That's cool! I don't play Starcraft so I had no idea. I wouldn't find it too unlikely that they bring it to WoW. They're streamlining the battle-net-websites, so why not this feature?

@Wishart: Hi there, good to see you! It was indeed long time ago, in another world... or well at least another realm. I'll never forget how we met at that quest with the annoying drop rate by Searing Gorge.

Shy said...

I think feats are there to remind us of past glory moments.

You got yourself the collector's edition? Remember the very first moment you logged in to play Wrath? The exciting tinge in the stomach? I still have Frosty out with pride, not because it was so difficult to get a collector's edition (though in my case it has a special story which I might share one day) but because it reminds me of the feeling I had with the start of Wrath.

A racer with christmas 2008. This christmas 2 years ago time flies. It no longer exists btw and given more time you'll see less and less players who were there with christmas 2008 and still there today. Eventually you can count yourself as one of the few survivers from that year.

Obtaining an emblem of any kind? Funny enough I already know players who never achieved this. A colleague of mine just never even runs dungeons. He's the levelling type of person. I did run those dungeons when they had emblems, and I have the feat to prove that I was there.

Difficult and painstalking to get? Maybe not, but definitely some fond memories of things that once were and will not come back.

Bronte said...

"Obtaining one emblem of any kind, really? I'd rather consider it a Feat of Strenth to manage to avoid them altogether."

I chocked on my Diet Coke. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it