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If you're a gamer, you're probably familiar with "achievement" systems, where you get a little virtual badge every time you complete a game goal, like finish a level, or some arbitrary task the developer happened to think of, like collect all the pink-colored guns in the game. The Xbox Live Gamerscore system is basically the grandfather of all achievement systems.

It's so common it's sort of an inside joke among gamers.

World of Warcraft picked up on the system soon enough, once they realized the potential. You see, plenty of people were already hooked on WoW because of the sense of accomplishment -- gaining levels, killing bosses, getting fancy weapons and armor -- from just playing the game content as it was designed. The thing is, there were players on either side of that bell curve (super hardcore or super casual) that weren't quite as hooked as they could be.


This is the ideal, you see.

Enter the achievement system. Achievements can be handed out for the stupidest things, like reaching level 10 or logging on during WoW's 4th anniversary. This makes people feel like they've accomplished something even if they'll never set foot in a dungeon or kill a boss.

On the other end of the spectrum, the overachievers who kill every boss in the game within a month of its introduction now have new challenges in the form of completely arbitrary conditions under which to kill the boss. It'd be like after a football team wins the Super Bowl, asking them to try and win the Super Bowl again, but this time with one hand tied behind their backs and everyone on the team wearing a Bavarian alpine hat.


And you can't let the hat fall off.

So some achievements are meaningless, and some achievements are insanely difficult. The developers thought it would be funny to make some that were both. Like these.

5Old Crafty / Old Ironjaw (aka Many Hours of Fishing)

"Old Crafty" and "Iron Jaw" are names of fish. You don't get this achievement for defeating them, or finding them, or anything else you'd expect in a medieval monster-killing fantasy game. You get it for catching them, by fishing, with a fishing pole.


I'm sure this is exactly what you're looking for in a fantasy-themed MMO.

Fishing in WoW is almost exactly like fishing in real life. You cast a line and can't go do something more interesting, because the moment you hear a splash, you must click on the bobber or you will lose the fish. Then you will either reel in an empty line or something you don't want, curse, and cast it again, about 1,000 times or so, until you get Old Crafty or Old Ironjaw. Also as in real life, there is usually drinking involved.


Which can be done from commemorative WoW beer steins.

One veteran WoW fisher's tips on fishing includes detailed instructions for how you can trick the game into letting you watch a TV show in Media Player while your character performs the boring fishing task (recommending all seven seasons of Scrubs as a good choice -- though I personally would suggest The Wire.

The real tricky part however, is that one of these fish is found in a Horde capital city and one is found in an Alliance capital city. In WoW, you're either in one faction or the other, and the other faction will kill you on sight (both players and city guards).


You usually have to bring a small army.

So basically, getting one of the fish just takes patience and a good sitcom. Catching the other one requires you to walk straight into a city packed with players and NPCs that will kill you the moment they set eyes on you, and that's when you're supposed to set up your fishing pole, and wait patiently for hours.

Your reward is that you get an achievement that no one will ever see unless they click on your profile and look for it specifically, and 10 achievement points that can't buy anything and aren't part of any competition.

4BB King

One thing you'll start noticing is the WoW developers' penchant for terrible puns and pop culture references. If you play WoW regularly, you know it's best just to sigh and move on.

The BB King achievement requires you to walk into the capital cities of the opposite faction, similar to Old Crafty/Old Ironjaw, but (1) you have to walk into all five cities, and (2) you can't just hide out in a secluded fishing spot and do your thing. Instead, you have to walk right into the throne room of that city's leader and shoot them with - I am not kidding here -- a Red Rider BB gun.

This BB pellet will draw the hostility of that leader, plus all their guards, and probably lead to your imminent death, either at their hands, or the hands of enemy players as you try to run out through their city to safety.

Oh, also it takes a couple of seconds to fire, it can miss, and it can backfire, stunning you for five seconds and giving you a temporary negative status called, "Right in the eye!" just in case you haven't noticed the reference to A Christmas Story yet. You'll have time to figure it out while the enemy guards murder you.


This is BB King, for you Philistines.

3School of Hard Knocks

Two things you need to know about first -- orphans and battlegrounds. Orphans are non-combat characters that you can have follow you around during Children's Week, a yearly event where you take an orphan around with you to see specific sights in the world that they've always dreamed of seeing while confined to the orphanage -- sights like the Dark Portal where the orc invasion entered the world, or like a dam or something. They say malnutrition does strange things to a growing brain.


Doesn't do much for looks either.

Then we have the battlegrounds, which are specific player-vs-player scenarios with goals like capturing the flag or holding bases or whatever, and involve players killing each other en masse.

So what better things to put together than orphans and battlegrounds? It's like peanut butter and jelly, it is.


"MOTHEERRRRR! NOT AGAIN!"

Every year during Children's Week, people who don't normally play PvP will flood the battlegrounds, hoping to accomplish these very specific and non-teamwork-oriented goals while toting an orphan around, enraging the PvP veterans who are trying to, you know, win the battleground.


Also, for some reason, 15 orphans goes from cute to creepy.

2Insane In The Membrane

Cypress Hill! Ha ha! Remember, like I said, just sigh and move on here. This achievement means you've raised your reputation with the 8 most useless factions in the game. This is how factions work:

(1) Blizzard installs them as an official faction in the game, which means they get a name and a little progress bar in your reputations page.

(2) Blizzard implements some things you can do to improve that reputation, like quests, or items you can turn in, or something.

(3) Blizzard creates rewards that you get for having a certain reputation level, and puts a quartermaster in the game you can buy these rewards from.

There are a few factions in the game where they basically got to step 1, then when it came to step 2, implemented one thing you could do to increase that reputation, and then forgot about adding any more, and just really never got around to step 3 at all. So the lack of attention to step 2 means you can only increase your reputation at a snail's pace for those factions, and the lack of a step 3 means you get nothing for doing it except people shaking their heads sadly at you.

So the developers thought it would be funny to give out an achievement for getting max reputation with all of these factions, which one person has calculated would take approximately 360 hours of playing time, time that can't be spent killing bosses, getting gear, or achieving any game goals, never mind time you could spend with your family or exercising.

In return, not only do you get the achievement, but also a title that can appear at the end of your name.


So yeah, totally worth it.

1Scarab Lord

Back in about 2005-2006, they introduced a new zone, Ahn'Qiraj, and were determined to make every single player appreciate all the work they had put into it by making it a pain in the ass to open.

First, the entire server, tens of thousands of players, Alliance and Horde, had to gather tons of random items for the "war effort," including bits of cloth, scraps of leather, random fish, and a ton of things suspiciously similar to what you find in hoarders' houses.

While the peons of the world were doing that, the top guilds were racing in their own way to become the official gate-openers.

They first had to pick an official ribbon-cutter in the guild to put all their efforts behind, and went on a crazy quest line involving clearing dungeons, killing bosses, going on scavenger hunts, and gathering 16,800 items dropped by monsters that players couldn't kill alone.


One down, 16,799 to go.

Whole guilds would spend days killing those 16,800 creatures and handing the loot to their designated star player, who, at the end of all this, would get the key, which was a scepter, because you know, fantasy world.

Once the whole server finished hoarding enough "war effort" items, and at least one person had a scepter, that person would go open the gate, and often enough, crash the server thanks to the ton of looky-loos gathered to see the event.

The gate-opener would then get the title Scarab Lord, as would anyone else who happened to have the scepter and was able to go click the gate within 10 hours of the opening without getting caught up in the server crashing, which considering the incredible timing needed, was usually nobody else.

So getting the title means you can walk around cities with people whispering to each other, "That guy is a Scarab Lord. There's only like one per server!" and then some of those people might care.

The rest of us just go, "Oh, that's interesting," and then go have sex.

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