I've spent hundreds of hours to become one of just 0.13% of Warcraft players who have Dragonflight's ultra-rare meta achievement, and WoW did it suck

WoW: Dragonflight meta achievement hunting
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At the end of the last couple of expansions, Blizzard has given World of Warcraft players a meta-achievement to conquer: An achievement made up of hundreds of other achievements, the "I've done everything this expansion had to offer" medal of honor.

Dragonflight is no different. The A World Awoken achievement dropped as part of the 10.2.6 patch on March 19, and players have been struggling to finish it up ever since. Just an estimated 0.1295% (about one-eighth of one percent) of all players have picked it up so far, according to Data for Azeroth.

It awards a nifty mount—a Bakar, or giant dog, that played a role in the story of the expansion. A nice reward in theory, but chasing this meta achievement has made me want to take that dog to the pound instead.

I'm a heavy Warcraft player: I did every questline in Dragonflight, and maxed all the major factions, before this meta landed. I do reasonably well at dungeons (3250 Mythic Plus rating) and raids (8/9 Mythic Amirdrassil, working on my personal Race to World Last before the tier is over). I have the previous meta-achievements, hundreds of alts, the Waist of Time, and all those other "this took way too long to do" sorts of checkmarks.

And there were still parts of this meta-achievement that made me want to set my PC on fire. (I might yet; at the time of this writing, I'm stuck waiting for a couple of random spawns to finally put this thing to bed.)

Why has this meta-achievement, in particular, been a nightmare?

Randomness, when you're trying to do a big achievement in a short-ish amount of time, feels terrible, especially when you're required to do ALL of something. And consistency should be key—if earlier achievements weren't consistent, they should be before something like this gets released. But people are going for it anyway, because they really want that mount.

Let's dive into the pain and suffering: Here are the five worst parts of Blizzard's new meta torment.

5. Loot specialists should be tossed out the nearest portal

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Whoever designed the Forbidden Reach zone's meta-achievement, which is part of the overall Dragonflight meta, needs a hug. Not only does this zone alone require that players kill EVERY rare-spawn elite on the island (most others only require a selection of the total), but one of the rares spawns ANYWHERE, despawns after a time, despawns if you don't kill it quickly enough, and spawns IN STEALTH.

I'm calling you out, Loot Specialist. Or I should say I called you out, before terminating you with extreme prejudice, after I had to spend dozens of hours trying to find you. We are not friends.

Also on the irritating list from this zone: the requirement to loot a hundred tiny random-spawn ground-spawn treasures and the requirement to open 150 doors in the Zskera Vaults, a single player instance that you may only clear once a week. I cheesed this achievement by doing it on all my many level 70 alts, since progress is account-wide, but what do the single-character players do?

4. Cloudy with a chance of seething

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The Storm Chaser achievements, part of the overall meta, require you to kill 200 monsters that have been empowered by the relevant storm. Okay, you say, 200 creatures to kill? I can do that.

Then you look further and realize that it's 200 creatures in four zones. Okay, 800 creatures. Still doable. But wait, it's 200 creatures in each of four storm types in each of the four zones. So… 3,200 creatures. Uh…

Now add in that the storms are random spawns, so you may go, as some of my friends did, a full week without seeing a particular storm type present in a particular zone. The storms spawn in elite areas, so the majority of what you'll be killing are high-health elite mobs. And every mob in the area doesn't count; only select ones do. So all those elementals and their protectors that spawn in the middle of everything you're killing? No credit. This non-elite? Counts. That one? Nope.

Some of the areas (Obsidian Citadel for instance) are tiny, with spread out groups of things to kill, making it slow as a fiery snail mount to plink your way through 200 of them. And until a recent hotfix, storms spawned one at a time, instead of in twos as they had at the start of the expansion.

I'm in a storm, all right. A storm of rage.

3. Say cheese

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The Legendary Albums quest requires you to (again!) snap pictures of ALL the rare characters that happen to be next to the course as you float down a river or in the air in a balloon, taking pictures as part of the cataloging world quests scattered all over the islands. This would actually be alright, because those guys are there 100% of the time when the quest is up…

…Except the quests are, again, not up 100% of the time—so you're stuck waiting until the magic combination of mojo occurs in the quest rotation, so that you can get that last picture you need to complete the quest. I'm looking at you, Nat Pagle. Or I wish I were.

2. Zaralek Cavern treasures and rares deserved to be buried

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Zaralek Cavern's underground rare spawns used to be fine, a normal sort of random rotation, until the way they spawned was abruptly hotfixed into a confusing morass of "stuff spawns but not here"—and good luck figuring out where "here" is.

They're also low health, so anyone standing nearby is going to have them dead before you arrive from across the cavern. It's not quite as bad as Forbidden Reach, because this achievement requires finding some rares instead of all of them—but it's still icky.

The rare items achievement in this zone was horrific mostly due to the Seething Cache, the random-time-spawning, only-one-person-in-the-zone-gets-it, annoying-as-hell treasure. The achievement required you to get all the treasures in the zone.

Yes, the achievement was eventually hotfixed after a full week to no longer require this particular treasure, but that was after I'd already spent dozens of hours camping, server hopping and popping back there every time I had a break in-game.

1. I don't even like birds and dogs any more after Tetrachromancer

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Hunts are continuous world events in Dragonflight, requiring groups of players in an area to work together through six different tasks, typically involving killing or collecting. A character earns an epic-quality satchel from the first hunt of the week, followed by a rare quality on the next, then an uncommon, then common for any others they do in the week. One of the exceedingly rare things that can drop from the bag—typically only the epic one—is a color option for one of the two hunt companions you earn by progressing with the faction.

It's a nice idea; your bird (ohuna) or dog (bakar) is with you for every hunt, and it gives a bit of personalization. It's NOT a nice idea for the meta for the entire expansion to require every single rare, random-drop color.

I have friends who leveled from 1 to 25 renown with the Ohn'aran people solely by doing hunts. They were not finished with this achievement. I've done more hunts than I can count, and I still had two left going into the meta. The drop chance was so random, and so low, and the requirement that you have every single color so high, that this achievement has been a struggle bus for almost everyone who's embarked on it.

Honorable mentions: Not terrible for everyone, but terrible for some people

WoW: Dragonflight meta achievement hunting

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Not every achievement in the meta is horrible for everyone. But that doesn't mean they aren't terribad for some of the folks trying to finish it up. Here are some other items on the "it may not affect you but someone hates it" list: 

  • Having to do all the dragonriding race courses if you're prone to motion sickness
  • Having to do all the cute, time-gated dragon whelp babysitting daily quests if you hate dailies, hate baby dragons or hate babysitting. (I confess I already did these because BABY DRAGONS but that's just me, y'all)
  • The Fishing achievements. Don't like fishing? Too bad, because you're going to be spending a hundred hours doing it if you didn't already complete it
  • The I'm Playing All Sides achievement in Obsidian Citadel, which requires turning in grindingly-farmed keys to four major characters in the area. Except that sometimes, they randomly don't count. Good luck
  • Minute Menagerie, which oddly requires you to purchase all of the pets from time rifts with painfully-farmed Paracausal Flakes. This is incredibly cheesable—just have a friend cage their pets and learn them, then give them back, or buy them yourself off the Auction House—but if you do it as intended it's an absolute waste of, heh, time.