Monday, November 3, 2008

Peeking Through the Curtains

I must confess that I like the new Achievements introduced in patch 3.0.2. I think it's a fun addition to the game that makes it possible to feel a sense of accomplishment even with short amounts of play time. It's nice to be able to log in for a few minutes at lunch or on a busy night and still have a purpose instead of running around in circles in your faction's city of choice. (I personally like to jump in a pattern following the tile floor in Ironforge, but that slightly OCD quirk is a topic for another day.) Running through a lowbie zone to discover missed areas or actually seeking out a rare pet so that you can one day have a skunk may not be huge accomplishments, but they do bring another aspect to the game that makes it more accessible to those who have lives (unlike me) and cannot dedicate hours every night to raiding or pvp.

All of these examples are acceptable reasons to like Achievements. But the truth is, I just like to watch. I'm descended from a long line of curtain watchers. You probably thought my grandmother made lace curtains for her front windows to balance the need for privacy with the need for sunlight (no, the picture isn't of my grandmother, but whoever's grandmother it is totally understands what I mean). But really, it's just because it's so much easier to see what the neighbors are doing without making them think you are a stalker. After all, the neighbors might catch on if you're constantly moving mini blinds out of the way. No such worries with sheer lace curtains. There's a fine line between "neighborhood watch" and "creepy" and my grandmother has excellent balance.

Achievement spam in my guild satisfies my curtain watcher genes. Thanks to "cheeves" I now know when my guildies are fishing, exploring, pvping, questing, or instancing. I even know when they pick their teeth (although I have to agree with an Achievement hater who vehemently denies that that's worthy of an Achievement). I even know whether they are the kind of person who seeks out achievements, embraces them as they naturally occur, or does absolutely everything they can to avoid them. Achievement spam has given me just as much insight into my guildies as my grandmother ever got from watching her neighbors to see whose car sat in the driveway all night long. But I don't have to pretend I'm keeping an eye out for suspicious characters. Or volunteer to pick up your mail.

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