World of Warcraft's achievement system is something that a lot of players don't pay much attention to. In the Legion expansion, it helps you track the progress of overarching quests, but unless you're seriously bored and have nothing to do you probably won't spend a lot of time going back to older areas to complete their related achievements. Unless you're Xirev. He's a blood elf mage who, today, accomplished something that easily puts him in the top 0.1 percent of World of Warcraft's millions of players: He completed each of the 3,314 achievements—ranging from simple tasks to herculean feats like killing 250,000 players—available to date.
Oh, and it only took him six years.
"It was a very gradual process that started early on after achievements got introduced to the game in Wrath of the Lich King," Xirev tells me. He goes on to say that, at first, his intention wasn't to get every achievement. Instead, he just wanted a faster mount. Being a relatively casual player at the time, Xirev couldn't afford the high cost of training to ride mounts that would increase his movement speed to the maximum limit and also allow him to ride better mounts. But there was one loophole: Fast mounts earned through achievements would unlock the requisite level of riding skill automatically. Xirev says it was that need for speed that eventually got him turned on to achievement hunting. "The guild I was in at the time soon fell apart and I was left with a lot of time until the next expansion and a strong will to collect things in the game, so I started collecting everything."
Today, Xirev is 23-year-old Swedish student just about to start university in the fall. He tells me that, during Wrath of the Lich King and the expansions that followed, he was often playing World of Warcraft for five to six hours a day. With Legion, he frequently puts in ten or more hours. Over the years Xirev has tallied up between "850-900 days" worth of playtime, with 434 days on his blood elf mage alone. He also has 30 characters that are level 110—two of each class with an additional six mages. What's absolutely mind blowing about this is Xirev admits nearly all of that is active playtime spent hunting and grinding out achievements. "That is nowhere near the amounts other long time players have in this game but most of my game time is actual play time and not spent AFK in cities."
To put this in perspective, World of Warcraft has 3,314 achievements that tally up to a maximum 29,210 achievement points (this site is more accurate than Blizzard's official tally). There's some oddness to account for, such as bugged achievements and the fact that, for some reason, Alliance characters can technically earn 10 more points than Horde players. It's also worth noting that, because World of Warcraft is always changing, some achievements become impossible to complete. To manage this, Blizzard retroactively deems them "Feats of Strength" or "Legacy" achievements. Tallying up all of those, Xirev has a grand total of 3,759 completed achievements.
While a good chunk of these involve things players are doing anyway, like running world quests or completing new raids, others are a trial of patience and endurance. "Ask anyone who casually collects achievements and PvP is the area they have the most trouble in or don’t even try at all," Xirev says. That's because many of the PvP-related achievements require serious skill and extreme dedication to murder. One asks that you kill 250,000 enemy players, while others require maintaining an intimidatingly high rank during an entire competitive PvP season. Some seem impossible to even do today, like killing 50 enemy players in your own capital city (the days of raiding enemy cities is long over). Being a completionist in World of Warcraft doesn't just require time, it requires serious skill.
I ask Xirev what achievement really stood out as painful. "It’s probably 'Going to Need a Bigger Bag,'" he says. "It requires you to collect every single rare item from a Mists of Pandaria zone called Timeless Isle, some of the rare items are obtained from rare spawns that can have very long respawn timers. I didn’t even touch that achievement for a long time because it only gives 10 points and nothing else for the amount of effort you need to put in to get it."
And then there's the worst of them all: pet battles.
"Sometimes Blizzard creates achievements that just seem cruel like having to win a bunch of PvP Pet Battles, they should at least give you a shirt ingame that says 'I had to win 5,000 PvP Pet Battles and all I got was 10 achievement points,'" Xirev says. For those unfamiliar, World of Warcraft has a Pokemon-esque battle system where players can make their pets duel. For most players, it's a system better left forgotten—but Xirev had no such luxury.
While painful, the end result is that Xirev now belongs to World of Warcraft's most exclusive club. While he's far from the first person to collect every achievement, he is the first one to collect all of the ones added in Legion. What's more, his collection of mounts and pets is probably one of the most impressive of any player in the game. For someone who started out just wanting to get around a little faster, Xirev now has an unimaginable stable of stylin' rides. In fact, he has 424 of them. It's a fleeting accomplishment, though, since major updates always bring more achievements to complete.
But I'm curious if, given the chance, Xirev would do it all again. "Honestly, not really," he says—and I'm not surprised (we are talking about almost three years of his life here). "If I could I would want to be able to play games casually, however I’m a completionist at heart and I actively try to stop myself from collecting stuff in other games than WoW and I end up getting bored of them much sooner because of that."
Still, while his own achievement might be bittersweet, when Xirev shared his news with the community he was met only with adoration. Over on the World of Warcraft subreddit, moderators bent the rules against posting about achievements to allow Xirev's thread to stay up. Even Blizzard community manager Ythisens stopped by to admit that Xirev finally "beat the game" and that they'd just have to cook up some new achievements for him.
For now, however, Xirev seems like me might be looking to take a breather. "I told myself that I could finally relax once I had gotten all achievements but I don’t really feel any different," he adds. "I still have things to collect that aren’t achievements and there will always be new achievements coming in the next expansion, focusing more on in real life things is already something I’m working on and maybe I won’t have much time for WoW soon."