For some time now I’ve been among the trophy collectors.
Yes, I fought against it for years, even though I’m a terrible completeist. So I’m only happy when in an open-world game I have scanned all the icons on the map and see the magical 100 percent flashing in the menu when every collectable has been found in Uncharted 4 and everything else has been done in the game itself is specified.
But trophies, yes, I defended myself against them for a long time (I am now talking specifically about trophies since I am primarily on the PS4 and PS5). First of all, because I found it to be something inappropriate, a foreign body that eats its way into my gaming experience. Secondly, because, let’s not kid ourselves, trophies were simply implemented extremely poorly for a long time.
With tasks like “Play the game through on all five levels of difficulty”, “Defeat 500 enemies at a time with all available weapons” or “Win 1,000 online matches”, I only had to look at it to know that I was out of time – and would never do pleasure reasons. And tasks of this kind were commonplace in the first few years after the invention of successes in the form of achievements on the Xbox 360.
But now, yes, now I am addicted to collecting too.
I collect, therefore I am
I can’t even say exactly when it started, probably a year or two ago, and which game I was the first to complete at trophy level. Before that, I had a few platinum trophies in my possession, but really only a tiny handful of titles that I had played excessively.
But now I was through with various games and after the credits, I noticed that there was usually a pretty high percentage next to the trophies. So from then on, there were moments when I peeked into my trophy collection and noticed that I could achieve 100 percent with little effort. And above all, I noticed that the particularly stupid trophies of yesteryear, namely those that can be missed, were now much rarer, as were those that required excessive online gaming – as soon as the servers were turned off it is over anyway with the cheerful completion.
And here I am with almost 25 pieces of platinum jewelry in my possession; an achievement that doesn’t bring me anything, but is motivated enough that the trophy check has become an integral part of my everyday gaming routine.
All the more the now rare, but nonetheless, or even more annoying really stupid successes stand out like unpleasant splinters.
The harmless variant: specimens like “Oversized II” in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. Yes, there is now a platinum trophy in my collection, and for a long time, the tasks to acquire the small treasures in bronze, silver and gold are all very gracious. Story missions have to be completed, your own village needs to be fully developed or you have to take down a (gracious!) Number of enemies in a row using stealth kill. All of this happens on the side if you are a complete player.
And what does “Oversized II” require?
“Kill 3 heavy soldiers without breaking their shields while you are burning.”
That’s … specific. The attempt to implement these requirements without help is doomed to failure without a special amount of creativity. No, without a look into the vastness of the Internet, it is very difficult to find out how to solve this problem effectively. In my case, I had to consciously lower my level of experience and then lure enemies to a special place in a certain village, stand on a thatched roof, set the roof on fire with me, and then use the unlocked skill to open the enemy’s lances tossed it back while I hoped I wouldn’t break, slip out of sight of the adversaries by accident, or stop burning.
Simple, isn’t it?
In Valhalla, there are other strange trophies in addition to this particularly weird task, but as I said: Basically it’s not difficult if you know what to do. But since you can hardly find out for yourself, I don’t see the point behind such ideas.
No thank you
A second, much worse example: “Unbeatable” from Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, a game that I will definitely never be able to completely complete because of this and a few other tasks.
What do I have to do about that? Well, I have to get the crown five times in the tournaments, so I have to come out of them first – one after the other. I was never good at calculating probability, but since you always play against 59 other participants in several games, many of the matches, especially the team games, are based in part on luck – and like to mess around with the servers – and because you simply do it Has to be incredibly good, there is a chance that you will succeed … clearly.
Only a handful of people around the world will ever own this trophy. Nice for those lucky ones, but I don’t know if it’s worth offending millions of players around the world for this.
672 hours of joy
Fortunately, I didn’t have to experience my last example myself, but instead a good friend who ticks like me and has reached the limits of his nervous resilience there: “My Kung Fu is stronger” from an indexed part of Mortal Kombat from 2011. Well, a somewhat older title, but even then you should have known better, and above all the madness of this trophy is so great that it simply cannot go unmentioned: For this success, you have to have 100 with EVERY fighter Win matches, perform 100 fatalities, perform 100 X-Ray moves, splash 10,000 liters of blood and invest a full 24 hours of gaming time. To put it into perspective: There are 28 fighters in the fighting game, and even if I cannot do anything with these tasks as a layman, 28 times 24
For a (!) Trophy!
The question of why
I am glad that examples like the ones I mentioned have become rare. But still, it happens at regular, irregular intervals that I look at the trophy list of a title and lose interest in a, particularly annoying copy. Very few games are run so excessively that as a developer you can trust that the fans are willing to invest hundreds of hours.
Yes, this is a picture book first world problem, yes, in truth I shouldn’t care if I got 100 percent of the trophies or not. But it is not (anymore), and since there is this successful system, I also think that it should not enrage people through stupid design.
I have absolutely nothing against heavy trophies. If they are dynamically integrated into the game, for example, you receive them as soon as you have defeated a particularly tricky optional boss, popping up these little proofs of success can provide an additional boost of endorphins. If instead, there is hard work on the program, the requirements are stupid or astronomical, or, in the worst case, I notice that I have missed a copy or cannot get it because the servers are switched off, then I actually feel less interested in the game themselves.
And that can’t be the point of the matter.