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Today's question was submitted by

Simon Woodward
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Thanks for your submission, Simon!

Do you collect trophies? What kind of trophies do you like or not like? Do you have any Platinums? What are your proudest Platinums, and which ones do you regret? If you're an Xbox or PC player, what about achievements?
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Simon Woodward
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I am not super interested in Playstation Trophies, but sometimes scroll through them. I have never achieved a Platinum, although I completed a couple of games to 100% that don't have Platinum trophies (Journey and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter). I noticed that there are a couple of games that I am fairly near to Platinum-ing, particularly

The Witness (2016) - I just have to complete the timed challenge, although this is pretty tough and I am very rusty.

Mass Effect 3 - I have already got Insanity! so there are only a few combat trophies to get I think.

Also I am near with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Mass Effect 2, although Insanity! is a lot harder on that game.

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The majority of trophy lists are thoughtless garbage that only exist because they are required to exist. They are uninspired task-dumps with, at best, inadvertent integration with the game's deeper design. They display no understanding of why the game is fun, no understanding of how players would pursue a sense of mastery and accomplishment on their own, no understanding of how players went about pushing the possibilities in games long before trophies existed. They can easily submerge an excellent game in an ocean of tedium.

For these reasons, I ignore trophy lists about 80% of the time, maybe more. They are a blight on enjoyment and an extremely efficient way to lobotomize your relationship with a game.

But, some trophy lists are a clever reflection of the kinds of things fans would probably challenge themselves to do anyway.

I have 40+ platinum trophies. Ones I'm pretty happy with would include XCOM: Enemy Within, Alpha Protocol, and Demon's Souls. More recently, there have been worthwhile trophy lists for games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Dishonored 2 (I have the platinum for both).

Sometimes I will pursue a Platinum because I find I am most of the way there anyway, and the remaining requirements, while admittedly kind of dumb, are not offensive. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim would be a good example.

I can usually tell if a trophy list is in the "complete waste of time" category in less than 2 hours of normal play. Sometimes I can tell just by reading the list, before booting up or even purchasing a game.
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I thought it might be fun to cite a few examples of individual trophies that are "good" or "bad."

An example of a good, high-commitment trophy:

An Army of Four, from XCOM: Enemy Within.

Quote:
Beat the game without buying a Squad Size upgrade on Classic or Impossible difficulty


This is a great trophy for a few different reasons. XCOM is a highly replayable game in a genre built on the idea of approaching things in a variety of ways, and honing your skills in a way that lets you "get away with" more and more as you become more experienced and see a full range of possibilities. This trophy requires you to replay the whole game not only on the hard or very-hard difficulty, but with an artificial constraint that feels badass because you have to carefully develop a smaller squad composed of super-soldiers. The way that the trophy is hard is merely an extension of the way that the whole genre of games is hard - plan ahead, analyze synergies, think through multiple tactical permutations before locking in a decision, etc. It's everything that made you fall in love with the game already, just at a high level.

It's difficult, but not grueling. It's a good 'culmination' of the trophy list, and is the final thing most players would do if going for Platinum. It's also a good trophy because the list does not otherwise require you to play the game multiple times. By comparison, the main 'flaw' in the trophy list for XCOM: Enemy Unknown is that you must complete the game at least 5 times. I love Enemy Unknown as much as the next guy, but 5 times?

For another example, let's look at a bad trophy for a great game: It and I for Prey.

Quote:
You killed every Human on or around Talos I.


This is dumb for several reasons. Prey provides a well thought-out and plausible range for roleplaying where you could be a noble savior or a merciless psychopath. The trophy is obviously intended to emphasize that psychopath side of the spectrum, and to lend itself to playing the game at least twice. It is also meant to be the conceptual opposite of the pacifist trophies that are popular for this type of game.

The problem is, even if I'm a heartless killer, I have no reason at all to care about an across-the-board extermination, and even less reason to think that stragglers will survive on their own if I complete the game with bad intentions. It breaks immersion to think that Pyscho-Morgan sidetracks herself by hunting for needles in a haystack, whereas if you are trying to save lives, the opposite is true. And it's worse than that, because it's quite easy for humans to die fighting you but not have their deaths attributed to you, and there's no way to know for sure until the end of the 30+ hour game. So not only do you have to go way out of your way to find and personally kill everyone, you have to do it in a ridiculously immersion-breaking way, arbitrarily policing how your victims die, with plenty of save-scumming to be sure.

I love Prey. Why would I tarnish my enjoyment with this sort of lazy, half-baked nonsense? Why would I want to remember the game years later and think about the hours I spent on this? I don't. So I didn't.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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I don't collect trophies because I never win contests.
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At the risk of dominating the conversation, you see a lot of "maximalist" trophy lists filled with "do all of X," "get to the end of Y." Very little creativity or penchant for shenanigans.

I have the Platinum for Final Fantasy VII, but so do a lot of people, because it doesn't really represent anything other than "I made numbers go up."

Final Fantasy VII PS4 Trophy List

What's weird about this is that, anyone Square might have given this responsibility should have had a thorough knowledge of the crazy stuff people actually did with FF7. It's a pre-trophy game with an extensive history of players finding their own fun. Why not tap into that legacy?

They included an individual silver trophy for unlocking each character's level 4 limit break. That's totally wrong. The only one there should be a trophy for is Aeris (for reasons fans would immediately grasp).

Why aren't there any fun materia trophies? Like linking Hades with Added Effect? Why aren't there any fun combat trophies, like putting a 100% cover materia on a character with the Adamantite Bangle (the trophy would be called "Turtling," of course). Hello? Bueller? Bueller?

Just, zero love in that trophy list. Shame.
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Not really. When I first heard about trophies I guess I thought it was a cool idea.

I don't have any Platinum trophies. I might've cared when I first got a PS3, but then I realized life is too short and I have a lot of games to play. I'd rather experience more of the games I have then spend my time working on getting all the arbitrary trophies of one game.

If I get an achievement, great, but I rarely look at them anymore. Maybe once I go back into a game to play more after completing it, I'll actually care, but I don't see that happening any time soon.
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Kevin Brown
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I have zero trophies. Of course I don’t own a PS so there you have it.

As far as Achievements go, I’m kind of hit and miss. It depends on the game. If I really enjoy the game I’ll spend extra time achievement hunting to protract my play time. Usually this comes at the dwindling hours of a game when I’m not ready to let go of it. Instead of finishing it off I will start Achievement hunting. But I really don’t care about getting ALL the achievements for a game.

I’ve gotten all the Achievements for a handful of games and most of those are because the Achievements are easy. The only game that I can think of that was time intensive to get all the Achievements for was Oblivion and all it’s DLC.

The Achievements that I most enjoy are the ones that reward you for doing something random and fun and that you do just because it is goofy. Do random thing in game because it is amusing and then an Achievement pops. That is oddly rewarding. Example: making a basket with the basketball in Deus EX Human Revolution. Shooting a turkey with a flare in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
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Are trophies achievements? Sometimes a Steam game I am playing will notify me of an achievement. In some games it breaks my immersion. Usually they are like a gnat. Buzzing about and mildly irritating, but of little consequence. Sometimes they are like a pat on the back. Like an extra point in a game only the game this time is playing Steam rather than the game I am playing.
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frumpish wrote:
Are trophies achievements? Sometimes a Steam game I am playing will notify me of an achievement. In some games it breaks my immersion. Usually they are like a gnat. Buzzing about and mildly irritating, but of little consequence. Sometimes they are like a pat on the back. Like an extra point in a game only the game this time is playing Steam rather than the game I am playing.


Yep, same term, just Sony and MS.

I assume all Steam Achievement lists are identical as well, at least for multiplat AAA games.
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JohnRayJr wrote:
By comparison, the main 'flaw' in the trophy list for XCOM: Enemy Unknown is that you must complete the game at least 5 times. I love Enemy Unknown as much as the next guy, but 5 times?



I beat it 5 times, I used to love that stupid game.

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MeteorBear wrote:
JohnRayJr wrote:
By comparison, the main 'flaw' in the trophy list for XCOM: Enemy Unknown is that you must complete the game at least 5 times. I love Enemy Unknown as much as the next guy, but 5 times?



I beat it 5 times, I used to love that stupid game.


I beat it twice, and I beat EW twice, and I'm sure I'll go back and play one of them again at some point, but it was hard for me to imagine wanting to play through it that extensively, say, in one year.
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I've gone through periods of caring about trophies/achievements and not caring about them. I haven't cared enough about them to actively seek out the Platinum trophy on a regular basis, although if I'm playing a game where the platinum seems achievable without extending the game time and/or being too boring/grindy, then I will go for it. I think I have 4 or 5 platinums, although most of those have come from The Walking Dead games, and you get the platinum in those just for finishing them.
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Started out as a big Achievement hunter, I would want to 100% every game. There's two things that stopped me doing so, firstly those that centred on multiplayer - I often lag behind in terms of new releases ( too many games!!! ) and the MP would be dead and literally be impossible to gain any.

Secondly, any that are grindy and offer no real reason to go for them. GRID is a prime example, I love that series, psyched for the new one, but it was the game that killed achievements for me. I played it a lot, different cars and tracks, but I realised the last achievement is basically driving 'X' amount of miles in one car. Quick bit of maths, I would have to do over 200 laps of the shortest circuit in the same car to to gain it. NO WAY.

So, any Achievements that add something to the game, encourage you to play a different style or try something fun or skilful, they are great.

Half Life 2 - One Bullet - Complete the game using only one bullet. Basically got to use the gravity gun as the only weapon, changed each set piece entirely and made it more deadly.

Crackdown - Car Juggler - Use Explosives to keep a car in the air for seven seconds. That was a fun diversion, a twist on the old western shooting a tin can in the air, but with a rocket launcher.

Edit: Wanted to add my most proudest. Winning an online Royal Rumble in WWE2K - that was a both a stressful and pant wetting experiance all in one. If yaaaa smellllLLLLlll, what The Rock....
Sorry, I'll hand in my cool badge... blush
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I love achievements! But I only try to get those that are reasonable. Some games that I love I'll go for full achievements, but usually I'll go for a majority, or those I'm interested in.

I hate the "kill 1000 blofbats" type of achievements. It's not that they're hard, just tedious, and take time. Though if I love a game, I'm likely to get them anyway.

I'm always a little sad about multiplayer or co-op achievements, since I'm not likely to get those.

I generally don't care about social achievements in games, though if I get them while playing, great!

I prefer achievements for unlocking rare game endings. Those are my favorites!
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adularia25 wrote:


I hate the "kill 1000 blofbats" type of achievements. It's not that they're hard, just tedious, and take time. Though if I love a game, I'm likely to get them anyway.


I tend to come down against these as well, but they can turn out OK if all they are doing is pushing you to experiment. The Uncharted games always have stuff like this (I have the Platinum for Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 4), but I realized that the weapon trophies gave me an extra reason to try to succeed with weapons I would otherwise ignore.

Still not great, but at least it's not sitting around grinding to reach quotas.

Final Fantasy IX has a trophy for playing the jump-rope minigame and not missing a jump for 1000 consecutive button presses. There are no words.
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I enjoy achievements and trophies, but I am not 100% obsessive about them. I have the platinum for Dark Souls Remastered, and I am proud of it. It is the only one I have, I think.

I gave up on the platinum for DSIII, because there are two spells that require either 1) an insane amount of grinding, or 2) a lot of coordinated cooperative play, neither of which appeal to me. So I am short two trophies required for the plat.

I only have one puzzle left in The Witness for the plat, but I don't see myself ever getting it. I loved the whole game, and then they put a
Spoiler (click to reveal)
timer on the last grand puzzle?
Nope.

My sons and I are currently working on Dead Cells trophies. My youngest got two bad ones at the same time: he was
Spoiler (click to reveal)
crushed by an elevator while carrying 100+ cells. Oooof.

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I enjoy collecting the achievements that are possible for me to collect. Multiplayer-based ones annoy me because I'm usually far brhind the curve. I enjoy weird challenges (like the ones Matt mentioned for Dead Cells) and I tend to try to get them on a second run that I make to work on completion-type challenges.
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I don't generally go out of my way to grab achievements unless I'm already almost there, I read the achievement text and it sounds amusing, or it's a sort of in-game achievement that gives a reward. That last one isn't super common outside of mobile games but I'd naturally achieve most of them anyway by virtue of playing the game normally.

I've got a sort of love/hate relationship with progression-based achievements. On one hand, you're not achieving anything special by just playing a game's story. On the other, it's always interesting to me to see exactly how few owners of certain games have gained the "got past the intro" or "finished the mandatory tutorial" cheeves.
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I turn my notifications off, Its neat they exist though.
I gravitate more to the Speedrunning stuff when I think of challenging myself.
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I appreciate the outlandish achievements that motivate off the beaten path gaming or the ones that give you an update on how far you are through the game.
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tdphillips wrote:
I've got a sort of love/hate relationship with progression-based achievements. On one hand, you're not achieving anything special by just playing a game's story. On the other, it's always interesting to me to see exactly how few owners of certain games have gained the "got past the intro" or "finished the mandatory tutorial" cheeves.

This is fascinating to me too. I'm not really fussed about getting achievements on my Steam games - occasionally I will go out of my way to complete some of the not-too-difficult ones. However, I almost always go and look at the global achievement stats to discover things like "79.5% of players completed the tutorial but only 21.8% actually completed the game" (for example). Based on my observations, the hardest to complete achievements of any game typically have a > 3% completion rate.
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jesslc wrote:
tdphillips wrote:
I've got a sort of love/hate relationship with progression-based achievements. On one hand, you're not achieving anything special by just playing a game's story. On the other, it's always interesting to me to see exactly how few owners of certain games have gained the "got past the intro" or "finished the mandatory tutorial" cheeves.

This is fascinating to me too. I'm not really fussed about getting achievements on my Steam games - occasionally I will go out of my way to complete some of the not-too-difficult ones. However, I almost always go and look at the global achievement stats to discover things like "79.5% of players completed the tutorial but only 21.8% actually completed the game" (for example). Based on my observations, the hardest to complete achievements of any game typically have a > 3% completion rate.


Same here. I played through Mad Max (2015) recently, and finished "Act 1" during my first session. It's not very long and is mostly just tutorial / introductory stuff. Afterwards I glanced at the trophy list and saw that only 68.6% of players get that far. I thought, "I lost 30% of players in one session, what?"

Also, I frequently end up with trophies that have sub-30% completion before I get plot-checkpoint trophies with 50-60+.
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Rarity-wise, my most 'niche' Platinums are:

1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (0.2% of players)

2. Styx: Master of Shadows (0.4% of players)

3. Rise of the Tomb Raider (0.6% of players)

4. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (0.8% of players)

5. Frozen Synapse Prime (0.9% of players)

It's instructive to think about what the rarity in each case represents. DE:MD includes one trophy for beating it on the hardest permadeath difficulty, which for hardcore fans won't be much of a stumbling block, but it's a nerve-wracking commitment and you lose a lot of people right there. That's a 0.4% achievement on its own. It also includes what I would call an 'unstable,' high-commitment trophy in Foxiest of the Hounds, which requires you to finish the game without triggering alarms. So, it's not only a whole-game condition, but one that is easy to trip without knowing. Meaning, the game mechanics make it possible for guards outside of your area to become alerted - they are far enough away that you will never know it happened, so you actually have to make sure you leave nothing behind that can cause an alert once you are gone. That is also a 0.4% trophy. On top of those, DE:MD includes a handful of trophies for finishing its "breach mode," which is where the developers stuck all of their Microtransactions and is designed to be pay-to-win. You have no control over your save and it is an extremely unforgiving, thread-the-needle mode. Even the first, lowest commitment Breach Mode trophy is 0.3% - finishing the mode is 0.2 the same as the Platinum.

All of this is inflated by Playstation Plus. DE:MD was a free game in January 2018. Any time that happens, all trophy percentages for a game will noticeably shrink - a bunch of people who otherwise would never have tried a game suddenly 'own' it, and turns out (surprise) it's not their cup of tea.

I could go into this for the other four trophies, but the point is that rarity almost always represents a handful of specific qualities. These include: multiple missables, glitched trophies, unreliable trophies, conditional whole-game trophies, an implied multi-playthrough requirement (at least three - I think I've seen as high as eight), pay-to-win, multiplayer grinding, excessive collectibles, speedrunning, and playstation plus.
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The extent to which I collect trophies or achievements is a function of the extent to which I like the game combined with the ease of obtaining the trophies. The trophies I like are those which incentivise in-game activities that I might not have thought of or spent time on, thereby adding depth to my experience by getting me to see facets of the game I might've missed if left to my own habits. My one big achievement goal is trying to get a higher % "avg game completion rate" in Steam. I like to keep it over 50%. Right now it's 64%, although it goes higher and lower from time to time.
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