Posted by: Sean | September 11, 2008

Achievements, Aspirations and Daily Quests: Crossing The Sims 2 and Warcraft for the sake of Role-play

I think that’s the longest title I’ve ever constructed for a ‘blog post. For those of you playing along at home, this will be my third “Sean rants about game construction and puts forward unlikely ideas about how to structure Warcraft for improved role-playing experience” post. If you are more interested in practical advice such as, say, how to improvise, I heartily recommend one of Jess’s posts. Feel free to go along now and read one. I really like her posts about psychology and Warcraft; very enlightening, I think.

Now to both of you who are still here, let’s talk The Sims and Warcraft. Way back in the mists of time, I noted that I had an idea for “how achievements could be leveraged into a nifty role-playing mechanism that would combine the coolness of achievement points with the aspirations system of The Sims 2 to create a really wicked-cool story-line generator for your role-playing character”. But I never followed through.

Let’s go through and define some terms.

  • Achievements and Achievement Points: A new feature coming out in Wrath of the Lich King, for those with sub-boulder accomodations, which will basically create a little white flash and a text message informing you you’ve done something cool when you do something allegedly cool. In addition, you’ll get a number of achievement points at the same time, which do absolutely nothing except give you an extremely well measured penis which may be compared to other penes.
  • Aspirations and Aspiration Points: A feature of The Sims 2, which rewards Sims for doing things they really want to do with emotional fulfillment, also rewarding the player by making it possible to not have to measure those bloody Bladder, Fun and Social meters quite so much. These wants are selected from a pool given by your lifelong Aspiration, which is something like ‘Knowledge’, ‘Wealth’, or ‘Romance’, etc. In addition, by doing these things you get Aspiration Points, which can be traded in for cool things like brain caps, fountains of youth or extremely measureable penes.
  • Daily Quests: Are what you do to get gold.

Right. Now, let’s put these in the blender and see what we get.

To begin, you go to a hobby shop, which are new places inserted into World of Warcraft cities. You can then purchase a hobby kit that gives you your new aspiration; very similar to a Profession, but with fewer options. Some probably wouldn’t make it straight from The Sims 2; I can’t see romance making it, but Friendship could easily enough become Respect, and have a similar kind of focus to the Diplomacy achievement, it’s all about increasing ranks in reputations. Knowledge would probably go straight over, with goals such as “Learn a new [profession] recipe/schematic/formula”.

As you might have guessed from the above examples, what picking this would do is add a few daily quests to your quest log. All of them would have a timer on them, usually 24 hours, before being replaced, although some may give you a longer time frame. Some more mundane examples might be, “Kill 20 Air Elementals” if you were researching electricity, let’s say, as part of the Knowledge aspiration. If you complete these quests, you get aspiration points as a reward.

These aspiration points do a few things. One, hitting certain levels of aspiration points would become an achievement in and of itself, thus fueling the measurement craze a little more. But moreover, you could spend these points for various cool bennies; not really weapons or other useful things but story based little treasures, like cool tabards, trinkets that do fun things based on your aspiration, or even stuff like having the Town Crier characters talk about you for an hour. (If more than one person has flagged this reward, then they’d alternate.) And come on, this idea in and of itself to me makes something at least passingly similar this notion worthwhile; when was the last time those NPCs actually served a purpose?

Jess points out to me that this idea would have niche appeal at best, use masses of memory, and be basically unprofitable and unworkable. To these claims, I note, this is why I have a ‘blog.


  1. Interesting idea, but I’d have to agree with unworkable, though probably not for the same reason that Jess would.

    At some point, your quests will end up reaching a critical mass. Aspirations would need to be fluid, transitive, so that the quest you get today isn’t the quest you get tomorrow, or the next day, or the next.

    There would have to be a certain level of uniqueness to each Aspiration quest, otherwise all you have is a fishing/cooking daily with an even goofier reward than Chuck’s Bucket/Recipe: Delicious Cake.

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