So, as regular listeners to our podcast may know, I’ve been playing God of War. In fact I finished it some weeks ago. Now when I say finished, I mean I beat the story and the side quests. However, I’ve still been playing it on my trusty PS4. In fact, I played it for another 2 weeks. Why? One word… Trophies.
For those in the know, trophies on Playstation (or achievements as they are known on XB or Steam) are awards given to players who complete specific tasks. Their value is based on what they represent in the game. For Playstation, this means a bronze for a basic task, silver for something rarer, gold for significant achievements and one single Platinum Trophy if you have done a Pokemon and caught them all. The more trophies you collect, the higher your player score on the Playstation network goes. It is similar on PC or XB too though the values are different.
Now some trophies you get just from playing the game, a few bronze for story beats, a silver or so for headshots etc., and typically one gold for beating the story of the game. Some games give more, for example, Telltale’s The Walking Dead gives you a platinum and lots of other trophies just for playing to the end, Other games require you to play multiple times at the hardest difficulty or with specific handicaps. Those games are pretty hard to 100% and thus a rarer thing for people to go for.
There is no logic to what constitutes a trophy, it comes down to the individual developer and publisher on what they give. Now I’m not a big trophy hunter (as named in trophy related Playstation sites) but I do find myself sometimes playing a game that little bit longer if the shiny Platinum trophy is within sight. It can, I reason to myself, extend the life of a fun game by making you explore more, experiment slightly etc. I’ve enjoyed some games more because of their trophies (Horizon: Zero Dawn, Wolfenstein The New Order, Shadow of Mordor) but then there are some I have played to the detriment of the game or just because of easy trophies (why Jazzpunk, why?).
Now Trophy hunting is a certain niche within gaming communities and, like speed running, it’s not the mainstream but a significant portion of people do it. If you look at stat sites that trophy hunters post to, some people have a crazy amount of trophies and platinums – we are talking hundreds. These people find every collectible first, post guides, speed run, difficulty run and generally blaze a trail. I find myself in awe of these people and I wish that I could manage it.
The truth though, is that I can’t. I don’t have the time or the skills and in games like God of War, the time I do spend grinding for that shiny 100% is time better spent elsewhere. God of War needed me to scour ever inch of the various realms to find treasure, twonk Ravens (google it) and, crucially, beat a really very difficult optional boss that had me swearing like a Starship Trooper. So why did I bother? I have no idea. Bragging rights? Not likely. No one at work was interested when I tried to give them a blow by blow account of my struggles against the Valkyrie Queen. Except for Colin but he’s odd and doesn’t know what a Playstation is. He just likes stories about powerful women.
I tried to justify it to my wife by arguing that over 5 million people bought the game but of those, only 4% have so far got the platinum so I am part of a select club. She said my time was probably better spent going to bed on time and not walking around a virtual world trying to throw axes at unsuspecting birds (seriously, google it).
The problem is, I know I’ll try it again. I don’t do all games but if it looks like I can manage it or the trophies look easy, I’ll try again. For what reason, I have no idea.
Rudy Manchego – God of War four percenter…