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WOW achievements confirmed

Plus: Latin America falls to Blizzard.

A major bit of World of Warcraft news passed us by in all the E3 hubbub last week: Blizzard confirmed that next expansion Wrath of the Lich King will introduce an achievement system to the game.

The move was strongly rumoured following a leak from the alpha test last month. Blizzard spilled the beans on WOW's official website last week.

There will be more than 500 achievements at Lich King's launch relating to every aspect of WOW, "including world exploration, PvE, PvP, professions, and character development". Some will come with cosmetic in-game rewards - tabards, vanity pets and titles are all mentioned.

The achievements window will be accessed via a new button on the action bar. As with the Xbox 360 equivalent, achievements each have a points value that adds up to a total score. Some even come with progress bars and quest-style completion objectives, and can be tracked on the main screen.

You can compare your achievements with other players' just by clicking on them, again like Xbox Live. Unlocked achievements are announced with animation and sound to anyone in the vicinity, as well as on your guild channel.

Achievements are very much in vogue with MMOs right now. WOW's current competitor Lord of the Rings Online, and near-future contender Warhammer Online, both feature achievement-style systems, while Age of Conan also has one in development.

It might not be entirely original, but WOW's achievement system sounds very well-sorted to us. Check out the official page for more detail and some examples.

Meanwhile, in other WOW news, Blizzard announced that the game would launch in Latin America for the first time at the end of this week, on July 25th. Mexico, Chile and Argentina are the first countries to get localised versions of the game, and dedicated Spanish-language support teams. The Spanish-language support pack will also be available across North America.

WOW will also release in Russian later this year. We'd bet that a Portuguese version for Brazil is next on the list after that, as WOW's world domination continues.