Will Mists of Pandaria mean new characters are no longer blank slates?

It’s interesting that the move to account-bound achievements in Mists of Pandaria hasn’t gotten more press and discussion. To my eyes, it’s one of the biggest changes Blizzard are making in the new expansion – arguably on a par with the talent redesign.

The change from each character being independent to each character sharing the achievements and perks of the others is a huge change to how we view new characters, and like many additions to the game, it’s going to have ramifications far beyond those that are obvious. Today Harpy’s Nest discusses one of the long-term changes – the fact that new characters will now have far less to do than they did before

“All my characters who are high enough level to reach AV are exalted and that’s a rite of passage for me. Just as is saving my achievement for the stunned corpse of someone I really enjoyed ganking. Inheriting those moments from others takes away some of the fun from achieving achievements in the first place. Of course, it’s probable that you’ll still get the achievement, your new one just taking over from the inherited one but it’s not the same. It’s like the difference between blank notebooks and half filled jotters or buying new clothes versus getting your brother’s cast-offs.

Then there is content. I repeat content on my alts just because there is a blank space in my achievement list. I explore places I know like the back of my hand, flying over old familiar hidey holes, taking screenshots and thinking about all the memories they gave me. I do old favourite quests and farm rep with people who already love me on four other characters. I get out into the world because my achievements aren’t currently shareable and I know plenty others who do the same. Even when there is no new content available, when the game seems stagnant (like now), there is plenty of things to do if you treat all your characters like separate individuals. This change alters that. When your play time is perhaps limited by outside factors and achievements are shared, it makes sense to only do certain things once. Why for example should I run Ulduar again because I’ve got all the titles and both mounts already. If there is nothing I want for transmogrification, there is no reason for me to set foot in there again. No one is ever going to farm the Firelands dailies twice (or at least if they do, that gives a whole new definition to masochism). All these areas which on all the servers I play on (mainly medium to high pop) are currently buzzing with the latest crop of alts will fall silent.

Now this is all fine and dandy, if Blizzard keep new content flowing at a rate where we don’t get stuck for things to do but if they don’t? I can’t help but feel that making achievements account-wide makes the world smaller.”

I must admit, I’m concerned about this change. Even for me, pretty much the opposite of a serious achievement-collector, the fact that my various characters all have their own unique histories and access to the various perks, mounts, pets and so forth in the game makes them feel more concrete. But, as Erinys points out, it’ll be far worse for people who actually collect achievements.

For some people, this change will literally remove 80% of the content they could otherwise complete on their characters. Rather than having the fun of seeing their achievement list fill up as they level and grow a new toon, there’ll just be the same tedious list of achievements as every other character, with no opportunity for a new character to grow or develop unless they pass the achievements on their main.

Are you looking forward to having access to all achievements on all characters? Or are you concerned that Blizzard may not have considered the long term?