Lots of little victories take on the pain
It takes so long to earn
You can double up or you can burn, you can burn
- Whitlams “Blow up the Pokies”
One of the things we looked at when I was doing Psychology at Uni ( Never finished.. full time work to pay rent called and the idea of doing 2 years unpaid placement hurt my pocket) was the importance of positive reinforcement that gamblers got while playing the Poker machines/pokies/slots.
You win 5 cents – it goes ding and text along the lines of “Your fabulous” appear on your screen. ” Great work!” ” Awesome” You now feel really good about winning 5 cents. You want to win another 5 cents. The colours and sounds all played their part in reinforcing that good feeling you had about your small win. Makes you want more.
Like Pokies when you get an achievement your screen Dings! an achievement plate appears - and unless you have turned off the settings it gets announced to those close enough to you to see it and then announced in guild chat. In addition, like the pokies, the sounds, your visualisations and messages are positively reinforcing your sense of accomplishment, announcing the smallest victory and treating as it were a large one. Appealing to your ego.
You have done something special. You have spent how many hours wandering around the pixelated plains of Azeroth exploring every nook and cranny – and you get an achievement.
The guild reads your accomplishments and ” Well done, grats, wow, ect ect.. ” fill the channel” Furthermore reinforcing that you have done something great!
We have been brainwashed into thinking that the tinyist in game achievements are special and we are reinforcing this belief and each others addictions by the nature in which we are approaching the importance of achievements by the positive reinforcement messages we get, from Blizzard and from our own guildys.
Dinging 80 is special. Killing 100 players in a courtyard carrying seaforium charges is not. ( Its not like I even knew that they were carrying them.. )
I agree with the 1st to 80 achievements, or even clearing a instance, and even the undying achievements are pretty cool. Others are fun to do – hugging squirrels, and killing rodents, but really they are just time wasters, things to distract , and keep us occupied.
Furthermore particular achievements or series of achievements have titles. We can display to the world our title. Even I have a Jenkins title. “Wow.. did you see such and such a guild has the Undying title.. ” ( I want that one )
However, do we need an achievement for each quarter of naxx, on normal and heroic? – Do we need an achievement for 1 Coin of Ancestry, for 5 coins, for 10, for 25?
Weekends are now spent with achievement after achievement being announced to the guild. We have people writing congratulatory macros that randomise the response.
Each achievement done is one more step closer to having a bigger epeen. You can now rank your guildys in the Armory by achievement points. Who has the most time to waste?
Are achievements distractions to keep us from wanting new content? They have me doing things I’ve already done before, and have to redo because the achievement didn’t register. ( Blizzard conspiracy to get us back into old dungeons) – I am spending more time on and gold on repair bills because people have to kill a boss a particular way for a 10 point achievement.
How do we stop this madness?
Next time your guildy gets a unimportant achievement because they caught 25 fish ( 25! wow ) Ignore them. Do not congratulate them. Do not encourage them to get the 50 fish one, or the 1oo fish one.. or the 250 fish one.. ect ect ect.
Save your congrats for the ones that do require effort, or the whole system becomes meaningless.
Because I play wow to play wow, not to have my time wasted, measured in achievement points.