DIGGING FOR TREASURE: The Elation, Trials and Tribulations of Platinums, Trophies and Achievements

PING!

Gaming achievements have been around for a long time now. 

In 2005, games made for the Xbox 360 console contained ‘in-game achievements’. 

For reaching in-game milestones, finding collectibles, carrying out specific tasks or certain in-game activities awarded you with an achievement and a Gamer Score. Gamer scores associated with a self made gamertag accumulated and the more achievements you earned the higher the score you had.

Once Sony realised how popular this was they decided to jump on the bandwagon and created a similar feature for the Playstation 3 with games post 2008  having ‘Trophies’ introduced. These trophies were on a scale of Bronze to Platinum depending on the actual game achievement.

I have always been a Playstation gamer right from the very start with PS1 then onto PS2, PS3, PS Vita and now the PS4, I have though recently purchased my very first XBox console (XBox One S) but for this article going forward  I will be primarily be referencing the Playstation Trophy feature. 

Throughout my Playstation journey I have been through all stages of Trophy acquirement. I have been an active trophy hunter, a trophy obsessive, a non carer to where I am today which is more of happy go lucky.

The first question has to be …do trophies actually add anything to a game?

You could say it does add value and extended playtime to a game especially when aiming to achieve all the trophies available. Players may invest no end of extra time grinding away at a game to fulfil all of the requirements needed. You could also say they are not required to play the game, games are purchased to be played the way you want to play and trophies could be just a distraction. 

Trophy Whores/Hunters/Obsessives

There are a lot of people who take this shit seriously. Some whores/hunters make every effort to accumulate as many trophies as possible with any means possible. They attain Platinum trophies of the same game on multiple platforms and regions just to add their trophy count. I have even known people to not play a game they like the look of purely because of its trophy list! Some people have two PSN accounts so they can test the platinum viability on their second account before trying to achieve it on their main account just so their list will read 100% for all games. It’s purely a numbers game with whores and hunters and for some people the numbers on their PSN Profile is all that matters. 

I have trophy hunted on and off throughout my time with Playstation. I have some Platinum trophies that I am incredibly proud of and I have some …well…lets just say it’s embarrassing.

Lets face it, any Trophy hunter/whore/obsessive has a platinum like ‘ My Name is Mayo’.

Come on admit it! 

A ridiculous cheap game which all you have to do is tap a picture of a mayo jar for 45 minutes. Maybe you have a Hannah Montana PS3 plat lurking in your list or a Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs? 

Dozens upon dozens of indie games on the PS Store literally hands you a Platinum trophy just for purchasing it, basically part with a quid or up to £3.99 and boom with little or no effort, time and skill needed you can obtain a Platinum trophy. This leads nicely onto my next point…

Measuring Trophies

How can a Platinum trophy for say Bloodborne, RDR2, Demon’s Souls or any other notoriously difficult game be on par with pressing the ‘x’ button continuously for 45 minutes on a picture of a jar? 

I am not a hypocrite and shamefully I have the said ‘Mayo’ platinum trophy along with a few other questionable titles but seriously… it’s the same reward – a Platinum Trophy. The patience, skill, dedication required to obtain the Platinum trophy for Dark Souls is galaxies apart (embarrassing you could say) to that of a cheap pathetic here’s thes Plat for doing piss all type of game. 

PSN does have a trophy rarity percentage in place which displays the percentage of trophies obtained from its players ranging from Common through to Ultra Rare but at face value its the overall trophy count that counts with people.

If I said Mr. Walnut has 5 Platinum Trophies which included Bloodborne, Red Dead Redemption 2, Grand Theft Auto IV,  Dark Souls Remastered and Super Meat Boy 

Yet…

Mr. Smug-Faced Pistachio also has 5 Platinum trophies including (yes you have guessed it) My Name is Mayo, Foxyland, The Little Acre, Nubla and Mr,Massagy. Yes Mr.Walnut has obtained the better, well respected, difficult Platinums but Mr. Smug-Faced Pistachio also has 5 Platinums and at face value it’s the same and says exactly that on their PSN profile (unless you opened up their trophy lists). 

Also Mr. Smug-Faced Pistachio could have potentially obtained all 5  of thesePlatinums for spending around £15 on the PS Store, accumulated dozens of Gold/Silver trophies in the process all within around 6 hours tops. 

Instant/Indie Game Platinums

In my opinion I strongly believe that Platinum Trophies should be the ultimate reward, a full completion of a game in all aspects…not just a £1.99 purchase on the store in which you only have to play 6 mini levels to obtain like 12 Gold Trophies and a Platinum trophy.

Why does Sony not say “Look here you lot, you’re taking the piss”? There is such a plethora of really shite indie titles which are barely playable let alone enjoyable on the store. Well the answer is obviously money, no matter what people will forever be chucking money at these types of games because of their obtaining trophies obsession and the fact it’s a cheap, quick way to boost their numbers.

I dare you to find one person who would have actually purchased ‘My Name is Mayo’ if it did not contain trophies and because it sounds fun tapping a jar for 45 minutes!

I am not saying it’s just Sony as I am sure X Box has exactly the same ‘crap games’ on their store but these gaming giants seriously need to start filtering some of the offerings they put on their respective stores. 

The most important thing to a real Gamer is the enjoyment the game brings them in which can vary to all aspects of it like fun, entertainment, immersion, gameplay, value, story etc etc. 

I am in full support of Indie developers and arguably some of their games are as good if not better than some triple A titles but it such a shame that those decent efforts get lost is a sea of just shit on the store. Sometimes the PS Store will have 2 or 3 indie similar racing games appear on the store on the same day…why? It’s pointless, why does Sony/Xbox not just pick one which offers the highest quality and meets the expected standard, surely their Gamers (customers) are worth that. I also bet you that the one with the simplest, quickest Platinum will sell the most even if it’s inferior in every way. 

Bronze, Silver & Gold

Another thing that grinds my gears is how the level of the trophy is designated to an ingame action or assigned in general. I have known games which simply reward you with a Bronze trophy for simply buying the game and booting it up or watching the first opening cutscene. How is that a fair assignment of a Bronze trophy when you take Doom 3 BFG Edition, the ‘Doomed Nightmare’ trophy which is to complete the  whole campaign on Nightmare (hardest) difficulty and it’s only a fecking Bronze??

It’s crazy! 

It happens in so many games; for example- the skipping rope trophy (Hail to the King) in Final Fantasy IX has you jumping a skipping rope 1000 times for a Gold trophy, I am not sure if you have ever attempted this (without PC cheating) but jesus you would have more luck trying to win the lottery…

30 Fragments to Midnight- simply Die once in the game = Gold trophy!  

There are hundred upon hundred of trophies ill-assigned and it really frustrates me. I know that this is how it is and I should just get a grip, stop moaning, play what I want blah blah blah but I love trophies and this sort of thing is another aspect of the whole debate of are trophies actually worth it or mean anything? Does this type of thing devalue them?

I am not as much of a trophy hunter as I used to be and it took me a long time to come to the conclusion that the game must always come before trophies.

What really makes me laugh is when these whores brag, I’ve got 500 plats and then you take a look at their trophy list and its…

My Name is Mayo (PS4 EU)

My Name is Mayo (PS4 NA)

My Name is Mayo (VITA EU)

My Name is Mayo (VITA NA)

Etc…

You think yeah, yeah, yeah whatever you jar touching, sweaty arse crack, hairy beanbag weirdo. Multiple regions and Platforms are just desperate, especially in the above game. 

Trophies do add something to games in my opinion but I do sincerely wish the high tier Platinum earners should have more recognition. 

Should there be another Trophy added which separates the serious from the ridiculous?

A Palladium Trophy maybe? 

Awarded for sheer excellence in game completion? Maybe rewards for true platinums such as free DLC, money off DLC, in game boosts, themes, avatar, shiny badges for your PSN profile/username etc. 

Out of all my Platinum trophies (53 at time of writing – October 2020) I would say around 10 are embarrassing but I also have quite a few to which I am very proud of: Monster Hunter World (PS4), The Outer Worlds (PS4), Fallout 4 (PS4), Final Fantasy VII (PS4) and God of War 3 (PS3) to name just a few. 

Telltale games (R.I.P) have also always had easy Platinums. Just finish the game in its entirety which was usually episodic. Again these were not skillful or taxing Plats and can be achieved in anything from 8-12 hours but at least the game had a story and gave immersive stories and experiences. 

Hand on heart I thoroughly enjoyed a number of their games because of their stories and not for the trophies including The Wolf Among Us, Tales of the Borderlands, and The Walking Dead season 1. 

One of my other all time favourite games Life is Strange is also similar in its episodic story driven approach although there are collectibles in each episode to obtain the overall Platinum (taking a number of photographs in certain areas) which also adds an enjoyable element to the game or Platinum walkthrough.

Unobtainable Platinums & Online Trophies

There are a number of games in which the Platinum is even no longer obtainable due to closed servers although there are some which are unobtainable due to glitches and bugs, unfinished games in relation to studio closures and platform support issues. 

I personally loathe Online trophies especially those that are required to achieve the Platinum. 

For me personally being a more single player orientated gamer, online trophies just frustrate me and not just because I am ‘Billy no mates’. 

For the lonlier folk, without begging at boosting threads for partners, online co-op trophies can also be difficult to obtain.

I am not saying that online trophies should not be part of a games trophy list but I think it should not be a requirement for the Platinum (unless it is a designated online only game).

What about those people who are not PS Plus subscribers or live in areas where internet speeds are poor?  How is it fair to them that they can not obtain a Platinum on their favourite games especially when they have earned all other trophies? 

The fact that some online trophies rely purely on RNG when grinding is also a frustration. Team play online trophies in certain FPS games are also frustrating as it doesn’t just measure your skill and you are reliant on your other squad members whether that be via matchmaking or general peers- you could be a fantastic player on games like Destiny for example but you would be extremely lucky to complete a raid on hard mode with randoms, let alone be part of a clan or squad.

Games like Far Cry 5 (which is a series I love and I am also currently playing) has 2 or 3 trophies linked to online co-op play.

Why ? 

Now on my platinum run I am having to wait for The Gibbon to start playing it just so we can ‘Co-op’ a couple of missions, these trophies add literally nothing to the game. 

I am currently playing and enjoying playing through the game and have done from the start with completing side quests, stashes, outposts all on my lonesome why the hell do I need someone just to be ‘with me’ for 3 quests?  

Content Creators

There are many content creators who really value their trophies and showcase them off on their videos via youtube etc. I have stumbled across a few over the last few months. One of these that really stands out is Adam McDermott. Adam has a fantastic channel on youtube which he details his personal  journey throughout a variety of respectable games to obtain the Platinum trophy. The episodes are so well written and edited that you feel you are with him on the journey. I thoroughly recommend you check out his channel if you love game completions and Platinum Trophies.

Summary

Whether you are a trophy hunter, whore, an obsessive or you have a carefree attitude towards trophies and achievements, the only thing that matters and should matter is the game. We are all Gamers after all aren’t we?

Personally speaking for me  it’s always nice hearing that magic ‘ping’ with the trophy notification appear at the top of the screen or that little XBox animation at the bottom once you achieve it. I am proud of my current Trophy count even though it contains many hidden ‘desperation efforts’ but going forward I hope my mindset does not change from its happy go lucky approach.

  • I do think the trophy system does need another overhaul or a refresh going into next gen (although I doubt this will ever happen). The new levelling system to me just encourages people to buy the cheap instant plats to steamroll through levels.
  • I definitely think they need to look at the quality of games they put on their respective stores and if they plan on selling shite then don’t make it a virtually instant platinum trophy. 
  • Keep Online trophies separate from the platinum list although make sure that a game still shows as 100% even post DLC. I hate it when the game completion % reduces over time when DLC comes out, my Rocket League Platinum now sits at 42% – what the hell is that all about?
  • Don’t forget it is ok to abandon a game if you’ve stopped enjoying it or completed it, don’t plough more hours into it purely to get a trophy- dont ruin the experience. Something I have been guilty of in the past.
  • Games are to be enjoyed regardless and sometimes the need to forget about the shiny distractions is needed to fully benefit from the experience.

I will continue to obtain trophies as and when although my obsession has long gone. I do plan to make sure I have played a game long enough to decide whether I’ll enjoy it enough in the long haul and prevent a string of 1% on my trophy lists. 

In regards to my Gamerscore on XBox,  I will soon be working on a more respectable gamerscore (if I can ever prize it away from my wife and daughter) and there will certainly be no My Name is Mayo.

Thanks for reading, happy hunting, happy gaming and remember to enjoy the games not just its rewards.  

Happy Gaming,   T-Rex 

PSN: Axel_1605    Xbox- Axel1605#1951

Side note: No Mayo Jar was harmed in any way through writing this piece.
Side note 2: Thank you to Adam McDermott for allowing me to mention his channel…check it out on Youtube now!

Thank you for reading, please see other articles available on Stasis Geek by myself and The Gibbon, we both thank you for your support. Should you wish to make a donation to support myself and the site then visit: http://www.ko-fi.com/trexcush1605  thank you.

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