“Logins are In the Air”

| February 13, 2009 | 11 Replies
Will dance for rosesPlease note: the Love is In the Air minicast was published on February 11th. If you are looking for specific details on how to do these achievements, please download this podcast. This blog entry is strictly an op-ed piece.

Pronunciation: \ə-ˈchēv-mənt\
the act of achieving: to get or attain as the result of exertion
a result gained by effort b: a great or heroic deed

Apparently, in this case, “exertion” means the act of typing in your password and authenticator code in as often as possible.

“Love is in the Air” is Blizzard’s Valentine’s Day event. At a mere 6 days, it’s one of the shortest event windows out there, with 12 achievements that count toward the meta-achievement (getting the title and counting toward the “What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been” achievement and proto-drake), and 14 achievements in all. Here are the durations of other holidays with meta-achievements, with the number of associated achievements, past and future:
  • Winter Veil 2008/2009: 18 days, 12 achievements
  • Lunar Festival 2009: 20 days, 12 achievements
  • Children’s Week: 7 days (well, it DOES say “week”), 8 achievements (only 7 for meta-achievement)
  • Midsummer Fire Festival: 14 days, 12 achievements
  • Brewfest: 13 days, 9 achievements (only 8 for meta-achievement)
  • Hallow’s End: 15 days, 16 achievements
Love is In the Air has twice as many achievements as days to complete the entire cycle.  Only Children’s Week is nearly as short as Love is In the Air, but it’s one more day and five fewer achievements to complete. The remaining ones are nearly two weeks or longer.

There is another important distinction between the Love is In the Air achievement set and the other ones: almost all of the achievements rely on two things: luck and the ability to log in many, many times a day. To finish this achievement set, you need to have acquired 20 Unbestowed Friendship Bracelets, 10 Handful of Rose Petals, 10 Silver Shafted Arrows, 10 Love Rockets, an unspecified number of Boxes of Chocolates, and an unspecified number of Bags of Candies. The “unspecified number” means that in addition to the random element of getting the Box or Bag in the first place, there is yet another random feature of getting the right combination of chocolates or make the correct types of 8 candies. The Box of Chocolates is relatively easy — it’s not uncommon to find four types in the same box, but I know at least one person who has gotten four Boxes of Chocolates and still hasn’t sampled all four types.

I’ll get to the real bugaboo — the Bag of Candies — in a moment.

Unbestowed Friendship Bracelets are relatively easy, since you get 2-4 of these every time you get a Gift/Pledge of Adoration.However, if you’re unlucky with amounts, this means you are going to have to get ten Gifts/Pledges of Adoration to get enough bracelets to finish this.

The Love Fools are even easier because if you get in a group, you don’t even have to have these yourself — you just need to pity one, even if someone else drops it. You don’t need a Romantic Picnic Basket, because all you have to do is find a picnic with the same faction in Dalaran, sit down and enjoy.

The Rockets, Arrows, and Petals are all controllable to an extent because you can acquire 5 of these any time you turn in a Horde or Alliance Gift Collection, so you have a way, through effort, of making up for any shortfall there. Still, unless you’re willing to do the work to get six Horde/Alliance Gift Collections, you’re not going to get all of your rockets, arrows and petals this way (not to mention this is assuming you dispose of all of these with no mistakes and don’t need extras).

My real issue lies with the Bag of Candies. People across many, many servers are reporting an incredibly low drop rate with this particular item. You need to create 8 different candies using the bag, but you have no control over what you create. There are 10 charges per candy bag, so the chances of getting all 8 on your first bag are not high. Most reports I have heard suggest that most people need at least 3 bags to finish this achievement. True, there are some rare individuals who’ve gotten lucky, but these seem to be the exception, judging from the large number of complaint threads in the General, Customer Service, and Suggestions forums on the official boards. And the drop rate is unusually low — some people are estimating 2-3%. Blizzard has admitted the drop rate might be too low and they are looking into the situation.

I finished the Love is in the Air achievement set late this morning. My first candy bag got me 7 out of 8 of the candies. The second candy bag yielded nothing new. I finally finished it on the third candy bag.

How many times did I log on and get my Gift/Pledge of Adoration to finish? The answer: thirty-four times.

Over six days, this would be an average of 5.67 hourly check-ins per day. And I know people who have logged on more than that who still have not finished the luck-based ones.

I can do this for one reason: I am self employed and work in the same office with my gaming computer. Every hour, I would log onto Maggie and get my Gift/Pledge of Adoration, set the timer I keep in my office, log off. When the timer goes off, I log on again, get another Gift/Pledge, reset the timer, rinse and repeat.

But, what about people with normal away-from-home jobs, or school, or kids with parents who won’t let them log on hourly from morning to night? Blizzard has a tip about spending time with your friends out of World of Warcraft as well as in it, but this “achievement” seems to mean the opposite. As my friend Christy said, it’s more like a stress test of Blizzard’s login servers.

I don’t mind difficult achievements. As much as I am not looking forward to some of the PvP achievements during Children’s Week, for example, I’d rather do those than simply have a marathon login session in the hope that I MIGHT get lucky and get what I need to complete the achievement. Logging in, checking in with a guard, opening a package and logging out doesn’t seem like I am really exerting any effort. It’s just luck. Plain old, blind, random luck. And so much of this achievement set is purely that: random luck.

One suggestion made by Fuschia of the Shattered Hand server that I wholeheartedly endorse is to add the Bag of Candies to the Horde/Alliance Gift Collection reward options. This would allow people to farm those the way they can farm petals, arrows, or rockets, and give one more opportunity to substitute work for luck.

Oh, and the troll picture? That’s Taheisha, my level 1 troll rogue I had ported up to Dalaran to make life easier for everyone. Whisperwind has a population of over 28,000, only 120 troll rogues over level 10, and only 24 over level 70, so that’s not many troll rogues to throw rose petals at, particularly for Alliance characters. I made her to stand up on the north bank steps to help people finish the rose petal chucking achievement. Given the amount of time she spends with multiple stacks of rose petals, I’d guess the effort was appreciated.

Update: Apparently, Blizzard both claimed that the Bag of Candies was working as intended, but also applied a hotfix to increase the drop rate. Contradict much?

Category: Blizzard, Festivals

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  1. Antipope says:

    Thanks for the great V-Day blog. I actually find the V-Day event to be one of the most exciting/horrible events. I am on a quest for the perma-peddle and thus far it has eluded me. I even installed WoW at work, just don’t tell my boss. I know that in order to get the meta achievement I am going to have to finish this next year, but I’m ok with that. My only issue with the achievements is the romantic picnic having to be done in Dalaran.

  2. Shawn Coons says:

    I’m going to respectfully disagree.

    Pronunciation: \ə-ˈchēv-mənt\
    Something accomplished successfully, especially by means of exertion, skill, practice, or perseverance.

    Perseverance. It takes perseverance to login many times a day and that’s what I did. This is the only holiday title I have earned so far because it suits my play style. I am able to login multiple times a day for very short chunks. What I am not able to do is login for many long extended chunks of time during a week. The other holidays have seemed to require more time than I have had to give.

    This holiday took lots of short logins and luck, while other holidays took lots of long logins and luck. For Hallow’s Eve some people were able to login each night for an extended period of time and kill the headless horseman and eventually get lucky enough to get what was needed for the title. Others, like myself, were unable to give that much extended play time.

    For Love is in the Air, some people, like myself, were able to login many times a day and eventually get lucky enough to get the title. Others were not.

    So let some of the holiday titles be suitable for those who can give up hours at a time and let others be for those of us who can only give minutes at a time.

  3. Renata says:

    Perseverance is one thing. But restricting the holiday due to artificial time limits to those of us who are home enough to log in frequently is not fair to a large portion of their customer base.

  4. Chris says:

    hi ren… i do agree that the event is a short one… however…. they is more tha enough time to do the requared achievement… i myself did the achievements in 2 days of the event…. the candies have a very bad drop rate yes… but u can get them off citevens (guards have low drop rate) in Ironforge (greatest drop rate for allys) and guards in Thunderbluff… got the candy achievement my first bag. for getting gifts and Pledges of adoration… gifts from the citezens pledges from the guards…. the only one i have had problems with is the class/race combo achievement… and being on a PvP server means a guildie can’t go on and make a horde for me…. i had to get my real life friendd who was horde to make them for me. Don’t want this to seem like a rant… a 100% respect ur opinions on this event and i love almost 100% of your opinions to do with WoW. But i do have to disagree as this event seemed (to me) to be a will designed and well implemented event.

  5. Shawn Coons says:

    It’s not the holiday that is being restricted it’s the achievement. Which Blizzard seems to want restricted.

    From WoW Insider earlier today, “Zarhym points out that many players think that they deserve a free mount simply for participating in the holiday events, but clarifies that Blizzard doesn’t share the same stance. He says that the alternative is making major Gold sinks during these events or requiring the visit of 9,000 Elders — something I believe nobody wants — and explains that chance (or luck) needs to be a limiting factor.”

    Besides, pretty much every holiday meta-achievement is restricted to artificial time limits. But usually the restriction is against those of us who can’t often log in for hours at a time.

  6. Johnson Haas says:

    Thanks for the great info, and I really love the new mini-cast series you’ve started, detailing the holiday quests/achievements… the casts are short, to the point, and highly informative.

    Also thanks for the podcast… I’ve listened for a few years now, and even kept listening for a year after I thought I’d quit WoW. I guess it’s like in Godfather III: every time I get out, WoWarcast pull me back in. 😀

    Anyway I also wanted to ask about the new Nesingwary server; the one which might be the last to host an Ahn’Qiraj war effort. This is totally a fanboy question, and I cringe even to write it… but nonetheless I proceed: Are either you or Starman thinking of new toons there – and, dare I say it – a guild of some sort?

    There, I’ve asked my fanboy question… and if it’s too annoying, please feel free to edit it out of my comments before approval. Sorry to ramble, I just have a paranoia of seeming annoying to those whose work I respect. 🙂

    Take care.

  7. Johnson Haas says:

    Crap… meant to say Borean Tundra, not Nesingwary.

  8. Saliira says:

    I got lucky and finished all the achievements, but have a friend/guildie who never got his last bag of candy (can’t we make those tradeable like the rose petals, please?) and tried 5 or more times to shoot off 10 rockets, only to end each set at -12 seconds (!). This bug happened to him consistently (even with all addons disabled, at an off-time, in a deserted area) and was incredibly frustrating.

    For me, the hardest thing about this holiday wasn’t necessarily the fact that it was short, had lots of achievements, and required logins every hour, though those were indeed difficulties — it was the fact that it came directly on the heels of the Lunar Festival. In essence, it was a 26-day holiday with 24 achievements, some of which required extensive travel and others of which required repeated logins. /exhausted

  9. Renata says:

    I did have a character on Borean Tundra. I liked her enough that I got her to 36 on that server, but I have since transferred her to Whisperwind. I’ll be talking about that experience on the next podcast, including why I ended up transferring her off. Nothing against BT or the people there — mostly because it hit a point where it just became another server.

    As far as starting another guild — I don’t see that happening. Running a good guild is very hard work and not something either of us really has time to undertake and do proper justice.

  10. Blake says:

    Hey Ren! I’d like to start out this comment saying that I have just recently started playing WoW again after about a two months break and have now just hit 80. I have been listening to all kinds of Podcasts and yours and Starmans is definatly the best I have listened to. You guys give great info and I plan on staying tuned in.

    Anyways, I wasn’t able to enjoy most of the Valentines day events since I was busy leveling, but I definatly plan on joining in on the next events in WoW.

    On your above comment Ren, I also did have a character on Borean Tundra even though I did take a few months off of WoW I was still getting a little bit of play time, so I leveled a rogue to 23 and I agree with you in one of your past podcasts that it was a very refreshing experience. I was running some Deadmines runs and it was extremely fun since we were all very into it.

  11. Body Pillow says:

    gaming computers should have multiple cpu cores and a lot of memory to support those heavy graphics –“

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