– Sir Bolver! – king Thorean smiled at the sight of his most favorite general who was wearing his shining panoply.
– If I may, my King? – asked the officer still kneeling. The King nodded and Bolver spoke: – His Highness Baron Gregory invites You to a hunting tournament and His rewards are as follows: if You accept, You will be immediately awarded with a Bronze cup. When you kill a boar, you will receive a second Bronze cup. Baron Gregory most likely would like you to hunt a Great white stag for which you will be awarded with a Silver cup! And finally, the tournament is ending with the hunt of the Rabid wolf, terrorizing his sovereign lands. For its catch you will receive his Golden cup. Baron Gregory is also kindly reminding You, that if you complete all of his challenges, You will receive His Highness’ gratitude and the Platinum cup.
– Rise, my old friend. – king Thorean smiled at sir Bolver and pat his shoulder. – What about the old hunting tournament of Duchess Elisabeth which sounded so much more promising?
The general made a sad grimace:
– Unfortunately this invitation is from last year. Of course you can participate and enjoy it, but there won’t be any cup rewards, you can put in your trophy room…
* * *
I recently had this scene in my mind, when I was looking desperately for a good strategic role playing game and found Valkyria Chronicles for the PS3. Reviews of the game are really positive, it has scored pretty high and is even considered to be one of PS3’s best exclusives. However it was released in 2008, when Sony just have implemented trophy support (with system update 2.40) and of course there was a transition time, before it was mandatory for all newly released games. Most of the games, released prior/around this update don’t have trophy support (Resistance, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots or Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion for example), but some received such on a later (or much later) stage – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Basically, on some of the forums I’ve encountered when I was looking for some Valkyria Chronicles opinions, some gamers say that they won’t even bother playing it, as it has still not received a trophy patch.
May be I should describe (for those who are not familiar) what trophies actually are.
They are an achievement tracking system consisting of 4 different types – bronze, silver, gold and platinum trophies. Each one is rewarded for accomplishing certain tasks in a given game, as bronze are the easiest to accomplish and gold – the hardest. In most cases, platinums are awarded for getting all other achievements (not necessary completing the game in 100%, as on later stage there might be released some DLCs, which provide more trophies). Each of these trophies award certain experience which counts towards gaining levels in the tracking system:
Bronze: 15 points
Silver: 30 points
Gold: 90 points
Platinum: 180 points
and each level needs certain amount of experience gain, before reaching the next one:
Level 1 – 0 points
Level 2 – 200 points
Level 3 – 600 points
Level 4 – 1200 points
Level 5 – 2400 points
Level 6 – 4000 points.
After that is rises by 2000 for each level till level 12 at 16000 points. At level 13 it goes to 24000 and it increases by 8000 with each succeeding level.
You might ask yourself – are those trophies and points worth something – do you receive some cash, goodies, freebies, games as you earn it? The answer is pretty simple – no! These trophies count only to the size of your e-peen or you can use them to track your game progress or compare it to the one of your PSN friends.
Before you condemn them because some gamers are missing some good titles I want to add, that in my point of view, trophies are not so bad – at least if used to track online your game progess.
Gaming has changed by a lot in recent years. There is almost no new game, which doesn’t support any kind of achievement tracking – be it a MMO or an indie game, some of which only have in-game progression accomplishment tracking or as cross-platform titles, tracked by Steam, PSN’s trophies or Xbox’ score. These progression trackings are not bad – they provide for sure the feeling for a reward after accomplishing something or making it to a milestone of a game. This system supports also the so known trophy hunters – gamers who after completing a game, might even replay it couple of times until they manage to get 100% of it. It even might ask you to try to perform extremely good in a given situation, which adds to the feeling of accomplishment.
However I cannot stand it, when it makes you to turn off a certain good title. Or in order to achieve a trophy, to die 100 times, kill 10 000 of a same kind monsters, to fall of a wall to your death or be slain by a boss. Trophies should mean achievement, which for me is also not equal to rubberband your controller and go out for a beer, so when you get back, your alter ego has already ridden his horse for 100 miles.
I’ve said pretty much everything – for me a gamer should not avoid a game, just because it doesn’t have tracking/trophies/scores. Achievements are a great addition, if they do not hurt your experience and pleasure of the game. And for those asking themselves what the ‘leaderboard’ looks like, be my guest:
Mind it, I’ve reached level 9 for a good year and a half of (not constant) gaming.