Written by Rick Warren / gfn21
It’s been just under a year since I last wrote about PlayStation’s trophy system. Given that it’s such a huge part of gaming for me, I wanted to discuss it again, so... here we are. Last time, I talked about how Trophies were the best achievement system in gaming, and how easy it was to get addicted to earning trophies because of that. While I still stand by that outlook, it’s worth noting that even the best systems can be flawed.
On the off chance that someone from Sony is reading this, know that this is nothing but constructive criticism from someone who has dedicated a huge part of their life to getting trophies. I love hunting for them whenever I’m playing games, and I only want that hunt to get better. Without further ado, here are some key things I’d like to see addressed.
Area 1: Multiplayer Trophies
To a trophy hunter, there is nothing more frustrating than an unobtainable platinum, and there is no greater cause for that occurrence than multiplayer trophies.
It’s always possible to go back to the singleplayer portion of a game and grab missed trophies, but when multiplayer comes into play, that isn’t always an option. Servers for older games are shut down often, and if they aren’t, the chances of finding a match are slim-to-none. This leads to players being locked out of trophies and, in turn, being locked out of getting a platinum. With games constantly releasing and backlogs consistently growing, trophy hunters find themselves rolling the dice whenever a list isn’t singleplayer-only. It’s always annoying to look at a list and see a handful of trophies for “playing five matches” or “playing every mode”. The feeling of dread that comes over me whenever I start to play an older game and see trophies like that is something that shouldn’t be felt at all.
Still, I’m not of the opinion that multiplayer trophies should be banned altogether, as I know people who prefer multiplayer trophies because they enjoy the added challenge that comes from unlocking them. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the reality is that most multiplayer trophies are participation medals for anyone who tries out the online modes. For people who just want to play the singleplayer half of a game, multiplayer trophies are a hindrance that can possibly lock them out of getting a platinum. For people who want a tough, time-consuming multiplayer list, they’re only getting a few simple trophies tacked on to the game’s trophy list instead. At the end of the day, both singleplayer fans and multiplayer fans aren’t getting what they want from a mixed list of trophies.
There are two possible solutions to the issue that I can think of, and either would be a step in the right direction.
If a game features a deep enough singleplayer and multiplayer to support two lists, why not make that happen? For a game like Call of Duty Black Ops 3, creating separate lists for singleplayer, multiplayer and even zombies could have been a completely viable option. If players don’t play one of the modes, they could just delete that mode’s trophy list from their profile and play what they’re interested in; the added lists would be completely optional. Killzone 3 is the best example of this, as that game’s multiplayer was eventually sold as a separate, standalone download with its own unique trophy list. If games started to follow this pattern and release different lists, it would kill two birds with one stone. The “main” list would be free from online trophies, while the additional lists could be packed with fun, deep tasks that wouldn’t make a normal list. Reaching the max rank, earning every medal, and going on a huge winstreak in a Battlefield game’s multiplayer are just some of the many possibilities. It would take a lot of work on Sony’s part, but full, optional multiplayer trophy lists are the best possible solution.
The other way to solve the problem is much simpler, and in turn it’s much more likely for it to really happen. From now on, Sony should treat multiplayer trophies like DLC trophies. This way, the multiplayer trophies are still there and unlocking them helps players climb towards the precious 100% game completion, but they won’t hold players back from getting a platinum if the multiplayer component eventually dies off. While it would be more rewarding to earn a separate platinum for getting all the multiplayer trophies, this is still a good compromise and a step up from what we have now.
If Sony were to take one of those two routes, they’d find themselves in a place where platinums don’t lose availability and multiplayer trophies are free to be more interesting. It’s a move that would leave all trophy hunters satisfied, and it’s one that they should consider making.
Area 2: Doubling Down on Competition
When going through my Xbox backlog over the Summer, I gained a new level of appreciation about a part of Microsoft’s Achievement System: the monthly gamerscore leaderboard. Here, players can see how much their score has increased over the past month and, more importantly, where they rank among the top 10 players on their friends list. This is a great feature that places a focus on competition, and because of that, I think this is the one area where Achievements beat out Trophies.
Why doesn’t Sony follow suit and add a leaderboard system of their own?
For anyone who is a member of The Level Up Network’s community, you probably know about the Trophy War. A competition where two teams battle it out to earn as many trophies as they can over a certain amount of time, the Trophy War is intense, time-consuming... and lots of fun. If Sony were to add a leaderboard system, that type of organized competition would be easy for everyone to take part in. Two or more friends could go at it for months (without having to use websites to track how they’re doing), placing bets on who would win.
Why stop there? Sony could reward monthly winners with unique avatars and themes, adding an incentive to beat out their friends on the leaderboard. General leaderboards could be added as well, bringing the entirety of the PlayStation player base into ongoing competitions where they can earn greater rewards. Adding Trophy Badges to Sony Rewards was a great step towards making Trophies matter, and I truly think that leaderboards and competitions are the way to take the Trophy System to the next level.
Trophies were originally pitched as a way for gamers to compete with one another, but it’s rare to see that happen. As of now they’re a great tool for gamers to get the most out of their game and to display what they’ve accomplished, but they could be even better if Sony adds leaderboards and extra rewards for their top earners.
Area 3: Minor Issues
While a revamping of multiplayer trophies and the introduction of leaderboards would be the most beneficial changes to make, there are other small improvements Sony could make to their Trophy System. Check them out:
Deciding What Games Get Platinums - Why is it that games like My Name Is Mayo get platinum trophies, but RE4 Remastered and Trials Fusion do not? The criteria for what games are deserving of a platinum and what games are not has become less and less clear over the years, and I’d like to see Sony more on top of trophy lists.
Separate multiplayer trophies, leaderboards, allowing more games to have Platinums... these are just suggestions from one of the many avid Trophy Hunters on PlayStation. I’d love it if someone at Sony took at least some of them into consideration. If not though, I’ll still be here, increasing my trophy count and having a blast doing it.
Thanks for reading! Are there any things you’d like to see Sony change when it comes to trophies? If so, share them in the comments below.