Those of us who played during the first season of the Living World will recall achievements associated with killing x amount of Scarlet's minions, interact with x amount of objects or jump to some point. It was a lot of busy work that offered little more than a surplus of achievement points and some small sense of satisfaction. The problem now is the fact that we're getting more of that as part of this new direction of supposedly harder achievements.
I do understand that there is a difference between the instanced story missions with their achievements and the Living World open world achievements. The problem is that there doesn't really appear to be much growth in the challenges we have been facing lately. While there is a significant less amount of “Kill twenty quaggans” there is still a large amount of “Find some random thing you don't really care about”. On top of this there are achievements that are incredibly obvious and aren't really elite like “Avoid the red circles” or “Destroy some objects”.
Let us look at the Gates of Maguuma achievements more closely:
In the first mission “Disturbance in Brisban Wildlands”we have two achievements that are hardly considered difficult: No Shocks Here and No One Left Behind. These two achievements simplify to don't get hit by some ranged electrical shots and don't let the marked allies die. This leaves Shocking Development as the only real challenging achievement and you can achieve this by simply running around in a circle for a minute.
The second mission “Fallen Hopes” is the worst one of the lot with all three achievements having very little to do with your skill with your character and more of your skill with the space bar. Zephyr's Ascent and Zephyr's Leap are only about getting up to some arbitrary point where your only challenge is if you hit perfect jump or not. No Rock Unturned is only about running around for thirty minutes to find some boxes to destroy that are hardly even protected by normal trash mobs.
“Cornered” is the last mission and provides the biggest challenge with only one of the achievements. Explosive Avoidance can be dismissed because you should be avoiding the red circles anyways. Opportune Moment is only difficult after they patched it and it is still essentially just figuring out how to jump. Dashed Advantage is truly the only one worth the term “Elite Achievement” as it really makes you think outside of the box while in the middle of a boss fight and forces you to use the provided mechanics in a different way to finish the achievement.
I do acknowledge that Entanglement stepped up the achievement game a bit I still think they can do much better with content that is permanently accessible. Could they be easing us up towards some truly difficult achievements? That is a possibility. Do I think that, in the Fort Salma mission, that killing enemies before they kill your marked allies is a tougher achievement or that avoiding more red circles is elite? The Fort Salma mission is much more of the same we have been getting since Wintersday.
We should also speak about the Living World achievements. While I do acknowledge that they aren't advertised as harder I do think there is something to say about the literal same thing we've been doing since the Festival of the Four Winds: Jumping around with jump assisting crystals to find some arbitrary item to interact with for a moment before moving on to the next one. In total we have been using jump crystals to find sixty coins, two llamas, fifty sky crystals and ten master sky crystals. That is a total of a hundred and twenty-two arbitrary things we've been hunting for that play no important impact on anything. It is purely busy work that doesn't test our skills except to jump.
We are in a portion of the game that is catered to the level eighty characters. Achievements are supposed to be rewarded to those who do some significant task that proves their skill. Finding a loose penny is not a significant task. I beg you ArenaNet bring back some challenges worthy of note.