Big Changes Are Coming. But What Do We Want?
I’m quite certain it’s no secret to any of you that we’re big fans of PlayStation trophies around here. But, like all things, PlayStation Trophies can be improved and with the exciting launch of the PlayStation 5 tantalizingly close, we can’t help but muse over the things we hope might change with its release, the trophy system being no exception.
Below are the 5 ideas we mulled over most and we hope it helps to whet your appetite too as we look to the future for more PS5 news.
1. More Statistics
Most trophy hunters use PSNProfiles to see various statistics about a game we are going to play. What’s the fastest time-to-plat? Who was the first to earn the trophy? What percentage of users have completed the game?
Stats like this should be built-in to the trophy system. I think the console should have a whole trophy hub you can jump into. See what your friends are platting, what’s the most earned trophy this week? How many trophies were earned in the past 24 hours? Just interesting bits of information about the trophy community as a whole. Here you could browse the most popular games at the moment and view various tidbits about them.
This would also provide useful information at a glance; What is the average time-to-plat for a game? How much of a game do people usually complete? This would be very useful in helping trophy hunters to see which platinum trophies are worth spending hours working on, or if you don’t have a lot of free time you could use the average completion time to gauge how long you’re going to spend on the game.
Of course, there are some statistics available, it’s where PSNProfiles pulls their information from in the first place, though they do a bit of extra work to calculate new stats out of the provided information. The existing stats could be improved upon though for example the time to completion is usually calculated based on when you first booted up the game and when you finally pop the plat, it would be much better if the console tracked how much time specifically the game was actually being played.
Obviously we love PSNProfiles and don’t want Sony putting them out of business, so you’d be pleased to know that this wouldn’t happen. Unless Sony had some way of measuring which of us are trophy hunters and which of us are not, PSNProfiles would still be the perfect destination for stats more specifically targeted towards a majority hunter-centric userbase. Plus, with improved statistics on Sony’s part, PSNProfiles would have better information to pull from.
2. Account Rewards
The idea of rewards has been thrown around for years. From people asking that they be rewarded monetarily for their trophy-hunting endeavours to Sony actually sending out some avatars for platting certain games (albeit inconsistently) the idea has been tossed around in many forms but I think it should be simpler.
During the short stint that I owned an Xbox One, before selling it because I never chose it over my PS4 and the exclusives list looked like this; “Halo Master Chief Collection”, I saw two things I liked about how the achievements were done on the system one of which we will get to later. The first of these things is that upon earning an achievement you were rewarded with a new wallpaper for your console.
Now, I can’t say whether this is true for all games or just specific ones such as Halo, but this seemed pretty cool to me. Obviously, what happens on the PS4 is arguably better as they take a screenshot (optionally) at the exact moment that your trophy is earned. This can then be shared amongst friends or on fantastic subreddits such as r/Trophies.
However, if there were a pool of account rewards such as avatars and a theme, this would be a much better way of doing it (alongside the trophy screenshots of course, god forbid we lose this feature). We wouldn’t need to cross our fingers and hope that Sony sends an email about our Marvel’s Spider-man platinum a month after platting it in order to get the exclusive platinum avatar, because avatars would be provided by the development team within a pack tied to trophy progression. Maybe for every gold trophy, you earn a little avatar to proudly slap on your profile.
Obviously we greedy hunters would want a more weighty reward for our Platinum Trophies and I think themes would be perfect for this. An exclusive theme for your favourite game which you can only get by platting it? It’s an absolute no-brainer. Non-trophy-hunting individuals would be much more motivated to earn the platinum in a game they enjoyed if they like the look of the theme, and it’s the only way to get it.
In the end, we think monetary, physical or full-game rewards are clearly too much of an ask for earning a few platinum, especially when developers like Ratalaika muddy the Platinum economy which could easily put Sony out of pocket, giving out free copies of AAA games just because Timmy took the time to play 30 minutes of Ratalaika’s 40 latest ports.
3. Explicit Spoiler Warnings
You ever go looking through a trophy list and decide to take a quick peek at a hidden trophy before suddenly realising; “oh god damnit, now I know how the game ends”?
The fault falls partially on developers here as obviously the ability to hide trophies exists originally so that story spoilers can be hidden from anyone who wishes to browse the trophy list. However, far too many developers will throw any old task into a hidden trophy and call it a day.
Oh, really? My campaign experience would have been ruined by finding out you wanted me to shoot 80 cans?
It isn’t like Sony can enforce a system which would stop the abuse of the hidden trophy without a manual review process. Which may or may not already exist, in which case Sony doesn’t really care all that much either. At the end of the day, though, a simple way around this would be to mark a hidden trophy with some sort of simple red border or another such indicator to allow users to know “This isn’t just the developer dicking around, if you press square to reveal this, you’ll know how the Last of Us ends, and no cruel soul would impart that kind of misery on anyone”
4. Trophy Tags
This one could actually go hand-in-hand with the item above. If a tagging system such as what I’m about to explain was put into place then there could very well be a “Spoiler” tag.
When looking at a new game to see if you’d like to plat it, certain hunters have some specific preferences. Many hunters would prefer not to play a game which requires playing online as these often require getting the right conditions and can even become unachievable if servers go down or the developers stupidly ask you to become the best in the world on their leaderboards just for a gold trophy.
In this case, all online-specific or multiplayer trophies could be marked as such. Again, a similar feature exists on PSNProfiles wherein users who have written guides can apply tags to each trophy. This should be done within the system.
I find it unlikely that developers will tag a trophy as “Grind” but they may indeed apply “Online”, “Difficulty-specific” or “Spoiler” tags to a trophy… One would hope.
A simple and easy way of getting around developers being lazy or trying to school the system would be to have it set up as a community thing. Users could jump into the aforementioned trophy hub and select a tag from a list to apply to a trophy they have earned (and only trophies they have earned). This way we’d get an overall view of the community’s feelings on a trophy; if 10,000 people tagged a trophy as “online” but only 2 people tagged it as “grind” then it’s probably not a grind but it’s certainly online.
This could even be expanded by allowing users to rate the difficulty of a trophy which would then become an average rating tied to each trophy which would not only allow trophy hunters to pick and choose trophies they feel up to, and be prepared for what they are getting themselves into, but developers would be able to see where users are having the most difficulty and potentially change this part of the game in a patch to maybe smooth out any inconsistent difficulty spikes which weren’t intended.
5. Built-in Progress Tracking
Ah, the cream of the crop. This is the one other thing I liked about how achievements were done on Xbox One.
Some games offer a system like this built-in to the game. I recently platted Doom Eternal which to my delight has something of a trophy tracker, though it’s actually just tied to the game’s own milestone system – some of which make up the game’s trophy list.
Well, if some of you didn’t know, this kind of thing is available by default in the Achievement lists on the Xbox console. Given that fact, this is not just the most wanted feature on our list but we feel it’s the most likely. If developers are already providing this information to Microsoft when publishing a new game then all it should take is for Sony to implement the same feature in their own trophy lists.
What baffles me is that it hasn’t been done already. Why are we waiting a whole generation for this seemingly simple feature? I’m sure I am oversimplifying it and that it would actually be some enormous technical feat to be able to do that to the existing system without breaking everything, but it would have been nice to hear something from Sony on the matter, wouldn’t it?
And why do we all want this so badly?
Far too often do developers ask us to do menial tasks a certain number of times; Get 1000 headshots, kill 300 sheep, walk 12,000 miles in just your socks and knickers, or whatever – you get the idea. A good majority of the time you’ll easily lose count and you’ll end up mindlessly grinding out these trophies for hours without ever knowing how much progress you’re making or how much longer you’re going to have to be repeating the same laborious task. A simple progress bar makes all the difference.
Especially when some games can contain bugs preventing you from earning the trophy but you’d never know until you’d spent a month weeping in front of your screen wondering if you’ll ever get out of the time loop, eventually doing the math and figuring out that if you kill on average 10 guards per minute and you’ve been doing it for 3 years straight then it’s probably broken and you should go and shower.
Bonus: Reader Suggestions
Since posting this only a few hours ago on r/trophies and the PSNProfiles forums we have had some fantastic suggestions from readers which I’d like to share. Users who contributed to these suggestions are credited towards the bottom.
Unobtainable Trophy Fixes
Far too often we’ve gone back to our favourite older games on the PS3 to finally cross them off our to-plat list only to find that due to server shutdown or some other reason, one or more of the trophies are now completely unobtainable.
This is obviously a matter of huge frustration for most people and it seems obvious that those trophies should automatically pop via a patch of some sort. Perhaps the burden then lays at the feet of the developers rather than sony to fix this issue, as has already been done before with Metal Gear Solid 4.
If I may be devil’s advocate here for a moment, however… Had you acquired the platinum for this game years ago before there was an issue with the trophies, would you not be annoyed that newcomers to the game could bypass some of the potentially more difficult trophies and have an easier route to the platinum?
Maybe not, but I do believe this is what goes through the minds of those who are in charge of making such decisions and therefore not going through with them.
One user did suggest that we have the ability to pay for trophies we can’t unlock anymore and I think that really would be the solution, dangerous waters though as we don’t want developers trying to make a few extra bucks on the side by selling ALL of their trophies. I think Sony would be so cautious of that that this idea is no more than a pipe dream.
Separate Trophy lists for Online Trophies
This is one I back whole-heartedly. I’m not a fan of online multiplayer in the slightest, toxicity brews in the damp corners of online matchmaking lobbies and I prefer to avoid it where I can. Unfortunately, some games force you to put up with their haphazardly thrown-together online game modes in order to grab the platinum.
It’s within the opinions of many readers I heard from today that this would be a great thing to have, separating them out, perhaps with their own separate platinum, would mean that gamers of all kinds could enjoy the platinum journeys and not just those with a competitive streak and a proclivity for “Yo Mama” jokes.
Another suggestion by Courier23 on Reddit (who gave some of the best suggestions in my opinion) was this – “Make sure trophies are doable by just one player. Some of these trophies are completely impossible unless you organize a very good coop lobby (looking at you Arkham Origins)”
Many of us have experienced that frustration and while it may seem unreasonable there should be other ways around it. For example, MrZhangetsu and I are a veritable dream team in any co-op game we put our minds to but as soon as a game requires more than 2 people we suddenly hit a wall and have to deal with… *shudder*… randos…
The ability to sort trophies is another which came up frequently. As in, sorting games within the trophy section of our console, as often we’ll go looking through the list to try and find a particular game but get hit with a mountain of games both complete and incomplete. I can’t put it better than the two examples I received so here they are:
“For example, tonight I wanted to check my trophy progress for every Yakuza game and I had to search all through the list to find them one by one.” – NakedSnakeEyes on Reddit.
“For example, if there is a new DLC you no longer have 100% completion on that game, it would be nice to sort the entire list and put all the games without 100% completion on top of your list, etc.” – Exhuman1988 on PSNProfiles
This is more of an amalgamation of various suggestions I got which could improve upon the idea of receiving theme or avatar rewards, as some users suggested they’d like to be able to select their own rewards and other said they’d like to be rewarded with games or currency they can use in the PS Store.
I think the idea of trophies having a spendable value is a good one. As a few users pointed out though, this could mean that you can just buy as many Ratalaika games as possible to rack up Platinum points and spend them all on a AAA title, which obviously would be schooling the system and Sony wouldn’t like that. This would mean each individual platinum would need to be assigned a points value by a Sony representative, which is far too much work to expect of any company. You could automate this based on the rarity of a trophy but then the value would fluctuate and become messy.
One great suggestion given by orbitwhitegum7 on Reddit was this – “All your trophies could be worth x and each month PSN would have a game you could redeem for x amounts of points or whatever. Could be an indie game, a AAA game, something like that”. I think that would be the solution. For Sony to have a rolling store which refreshes it’s stock each PS Plus cycle, allowing users with plenty of Trophy points to cash them in for new games.
Another suggestion by PSVitaIsGood was this – “if it was like get a 100 trophies in Madden games altogether to get 30% off Madden 21 that would be cool”. This would be great. Again it would be up to the developers to run these sorts of campaigns but it would be a fantastic way to reward existing fans of the series and keep them faithful, as it were.
Deleting Games from Your Trophy List
This came up so many times that I do have to mention it, but let it be known that I disagree strongly with this one.
The idea is that you start a game and then end up not liking it. If you want to keep your 100% completion rating at 100% then you really have to be prepared to put in the extra work to do so. It’s sad in a way because a lot of trophy hunters will actually avoid games they may have otherwise given a chance just to keep their completion rating as high as possible.
Apparently (this is news to me, but good news nonetheless) users can already delete games from their list if they have 0 trophies. Which I think is exactly how it should be, can’t really get fairer than that. Other users suggested using a threshold less than 25% or less than 10% under which you can delete the game from your list.
I think maybe it would be nice if we could have an option to turn trophies off for a game. Right?
We could go into a game without the ability to earn trophies and then if we get to a certain point and decide “Actually, I think I could plat this” then we can turn trophies back on, at the expense of having to start over again. Like playing a game in test mode. But it’s a problem so unique to trophy hunters that I don’t see Sony investing in developing something like that. Your best bet is to use an Alt account for that, to be honest.
There were plenty other interesting and controversial ideas put forward but I think I picked out the most significant ones, and I’d be here all day if I were to try and add them all in. I may revise this over the next few days if any fantastic new perspectives are thrown my way, but thank you to everyone who has commented thus far, it’s been incredible interacting with everyone and getting some real insight on the community’s view of the Trophy System, given that it plays such a huge role in a lot of our lives.
Below are all the users who commented on either my Reddit or PSNProfile Forums post and influenced the additions above:
Reddit: Courier23, NakedSnakeEyes, orbitwhitegum7, PSVitaIsGood, Zombietime88, Elipsification, SasquatchSaul
PSNProfiles: UltraFire121 (RIP), enaysoft, dannyswfc9, Exhuman1988, dieselmanchild (We like this guy a lot and he had some great points about the Trophy System)
What about you? What kind of features would you like to see added to the trophy system? What improvements would you make to our ecosystem to better improve the community’s experience as a whole? Let us know and we might just add your suggestion above!
We’re always publishing new Platinum Trophy reviews to help people make a decision on what to plat next, if you decide to pick up trophy hunting, you could follow us on Twitter @GetPlat or Instagram @platget to see our latest reviews when they’re ready, and some other bits too!