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 Achievements and trophies

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fronkhead
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PostSubject: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyMon 24 Jun 2013 - 23:38

What's your take on these? I'm interested.

I must admit I loved them when I first discovered them, but I now loathe them. Even the good ones.

The problem is -- as this excellent article points out -- they change player behaviour.

But that's not a good thing, since the games we play are a bunch of rules, gameplay mechanics and systems designed to motivate us to, well, play the game within certain bounds.

Once you start introducing rules from outside the game, or achievements, it distorts those original bounds set for the game itself. For example, one trophy on Persona 4 Golden asks me to read every book in the game, but doing so is actually an irrational activity within the game's bounds -- you'll never have to read all the books, or never even *need to*, and time is scarce in that game (Each activity takes up half a day, so you'll want to allocate the best activities to your time).

So if I wanted to chase down that trophy (and many people will, and have), I'd be essentially doing something that would have been against my interests had the trophy not existed (and that would have been the case on PS2).

There are far worse examples of how trophies distort player behaviour, of course, like when I join a game of Team Fortress 2 only to find it's a bunch of people trying to unlock a trophy by pretending to kill each other in certain ways.

I can see trophies being less harmful if they weren't introduced from outside the game's bounds, and there are good examples of these, but then why not just put them in the game? It didn't harm GoldenEye to have a bunch of level-specific time trial challenges that would give you tangible rewards (paintball mode! Big heads!) rather than some sort of out-of-game badge to show off to the 2 people who will check through your achievements/trophies.

So why not avoid trophies entirely, you say?

The problem is -- again as the article I linked to points out -- trophies exploit the human instinct to gather. It's satisfying to 'collect' them, and Sony/Microsoft make sure each trophy/achievement is accompanied with some chime (Which does sound great), and thus it also likely makes collecting them something we actually want to do, even though we're actually harming the game experience to collect them. But even then, looking back at the trophies/achievements I ever bothered to collect, and weighed the benefits of doing so with the time and effort taken to pull them off (especially in the case of the bad ones), it wasn't worth it. Not at all. I still have memories of changing weapons for no good reason in Uncharted 2, just to rack up a certain number of kills with them and earn a trophy.

Of course, there are good achievements/trophies to be had, specifically the ones which feel like they weren't introduced from outside the game's rules, mechanics and systems, which don't alter player behaviour. The article I refer to calls those variants, and I'm all for those (but again, would rather they existed within the game as a challenge mode, or something).

There's more arguments both out of and in favour of them in the article here: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/185436/an_alternative_to_achievements.php?print=1, please do give it a read if you're interested.

I can see why Nintendo refuses to add a system-wide achievements system for these very reasons (one size does *not* fit all), and I find it very liberating to not have achievements in my games.

Still, I'd love to know your views on the subject.
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Crumpy Andy
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 0:06

I tend not to look at games trophies until I've finished them, I like ones that make me use certain guns and try missions in certain ways as I probably would stick to 1 gun and kill everyone with it, no stealth and no other guns used. I don't think to use them otherwise and I get very complacent.

I like increasing my trophy level as well and I like being able to compare them to other peoples to see either how far in the game they are or how they've played the game (like good/evil or murderously/stealthily)

Personally I'd love Nintendo to include some, especially as I regularly 100% their first party stuff and would like more to do. I know a lot of people like leaderboards and stuff for replay value but I never get high enough on them to bother. Gathering trophies is something I can do though.
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JayMoyles
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 1:23

Great read Sporkhead.

I'm very much in Andy's camp - first playthrough is always without looking at the achievements, and any I do get end up being an added bonus of my regular completionist way of playing a game or a nice surprise when I fulfill an achievement by accident. Following that, achievements act almost as ways to challenge myself.

One thing achievements have done is make me play through on harder difficulties, and it increases the longevity of a title. Multiplayer achievments can go away and die in a corner though.
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Balladeer
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 7:56

I've never had the chance to experience console-wide achievements/tropies/whatever, being a Nintendo-only gamer; so any experience I do have is with game-specific achievements. 

Unlike Jay 'n' Andy, I'm not much of a one for re-playing games, or at least not long games.  As such, Xenoblade's achievements got short shrift from me.  (Although they did do one thing right: by providing exp., there was a point to them.  Then again, the same could apply to most things in the game.)  I imagine Pokémon Black/White 2's badges would get the same treatment.  However, I did go some way towards finding all the little bonuses in SSBM, not to mention all the squares in SSBB, and I imagine that I'll go on to try and collect the set of badges from Phineas in New Leaf.

Essentially, if a game has replay value I'll probably try to pick up its achievements, as a method of extending its lifespan further; if not, no matter how good (and Xenoblade is brilliant), I won't.  Super Mario Galaxy 2's Green Stars are a much better way of extending a non-replayable game to my mind, for no other reason than (unlike the Persona 4 achievement mentioned by Spork) they were fun, and couldn't be seen (or could only with difficulty) as cynical ways to extend a game's lifespan.

A bit rambly, that; but essentially, I don't care for achievements unless (a) I'd be playing the game for ages anyway, or (b) they're fun to get.
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The_Jaster
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 8:11

Quite simply they are a load of old rubbish, just let me play the game my way.

Its the content of the game that should make me want to play it over and over again not because I get some sort of virtual stamp of approval.

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masofdas
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 9:27

I agree with jaster.

I play a game for fun, story etc not to have a ping with 50gs for killing 100 grunts with a plasma pistol. But a game like dragon age i played how i would first go, then started again and was going to do the opposite to get the achievements and see how the story etc changed around me but i wouldn't of done all the romance ones due to them just taking way to long and kinda a pointless.
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JayMoyles
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 14:27

sporkhead wrote:
For example, one trophy on Persona 4 Golden asks me to read every book in the game, but doing so is actually an irrational activity within the game's bounds -- you'll never have to read all the books, or never even *need to*, and time is scarce in that game (Each activity takes up half a day, so you'll want to allocate the best activities to your time).

I like when achievements make you go out of your way and do things like the above. It's making you see everything the game has to offer, and some of the dialogue during those book reading scenes are brilliant. Imagine if you hadn't bothered to read any of those books, you'd be missing out on a piece of content in the game.
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Silver light
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 14:56

Not interested in 'em personally and don't really see the point of them either. People should just be playing how they like than chasing vitural brownie points.
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Athrun888
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 15:02

I'm in two minds about trophies myself.  On the one hand if I like a game they do actually make me shoot for as close to a 100% completion as possible.  On the other hand I feel they have killed the unlockable as I have noticed a shift away from cool fun extras that allow fun gameplay options in favor of these trophies and the extra content now being sold on the side.  So I'm in two minds, they've stripped away things from games I used to like (the secret fighters in fighting games is all but dead now) but in games like Persona 4 I know when I play that game if I ,like it as much as Persona 3 I'm going to shoot for a 100% of the game because of the trophies.
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Crumpy Andy
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 15:32

I'm pretty sure it's DLC that's taken away most of the extras as opposed to trophies. I've even seen extra dfficulties being sold which I think is the worst offense.
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fronkhead
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PostSubject: Re: Achievements and trophies   Achievements and trophies EmptyTue 25 Jun 2013 - 19:42

JayMoyles wrote:
sporkhead wrote:
For example, one trophy on Persona 4 Golden asks me to read every book in the game, but doing so is actually an irrational activity within the game's bounds -- you'll never have to read all the books, or never even *need to*, and time is scarce in that game (Each activity takes up half a day, so you'll want to allocate the best activities to your time).

I like when achievements make you go out of your way and do things like the above. It's making you see everything the game has to offer, and some of the dialogue during those book reading scenes are brilliant. Imagine if you hadn't bothered to read any of those books, you'd be missing out on a piece of content in the game.
I should have explained myself better. You don't actually read the books you buy, you just get a stat boost to your personality when you do read one. I've maxed out all my stats, so there's absolutely no way I would want to read any more at this stage, it would only result in wasted time.

The problem I have with this characteristic of achievements, is -- as Jaster hinted at in his response -- the game itself is comprised of a bunch of rules and systems that should be good enough to motivate me to make these decisions, there shouldn't be some sort of outside influence making me do want to do this. That is going a bit off topic, though, I realise I didn't explain myself properly.

If I were to take your interpretation of my poor explanation, then I probably would have read the books anyway without the need for an outside influence to make me do so, instead as it stands the cost of reading the books is far greater than the benefit of getting the trophy.

---

Edit: Just re-re-read your post -- is it true some of the books have great dialogue?
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