Trophies and achievements have been in gaming for a while. At some point, you or your friends have likely gone “trophy hunting”, where you play a game, or even go as far as to only purchase it simply so you can get the Platinum for it.
I believe trophy hunting is wasting your time, and it’s time to set the record straight on why.
What Is Trophy Hunting?
Before I explain why trophy hunting is wasting your time, a quick little refresh is in order of what trophy hunting actually is.
Trophy hunting is the process of trying to earn trophies or achievements (depending on the platform you’re on) by doing the requirements of the trophy. These may be something like “Kill five bosses using the Longsword” or “Find seven artifacts from the West region”, you get the picture.
Different games have differing levels of difficulty to achieve all the trophies. On PlayStation, trophies are either Bronze, Silver, or Gold, and you’ll be awarded the Platinum once you’ve gained all of those. On Xbox, achievements are assigned different amounts of Gamerscore, with games usually being made up of 1000G across a varying number of achievements.
There are a few reasons why trophy hunting is wasting your time, even if it seemed fun at first.
1. Your PlayStation or Xbox Account Could Be Hacked, Lost, or Banned
What use are all of those trophies if your gaming account ends up being hacked, lost or banned? All of that progress is lost, and now your gamer score means nothing to no one. It barely meant anything to start with.
It would be extremely annoying to spend years achieving as many Platinums as you can before losing it all. And it could happen at any time. There is a market online for PlayStation account flipping, so if you have a lot of gamer score that could actually make you more of a target to these people.
If you plan to go down the trophy-hunting route and see how much gamer score you can amass, it’s a good idea to protect your account by using two-factor authentication.
2. Trophies Can Glitch
If you have hunted trophies/achievements for a while, you will have undoubtedly encountered one that glitches. It happens more often than you think, and can either completely prevent you from ever getting the Platinum for a game, or force you to go through the whole game again just for another chance of obtaining it.
Glitching trophies are extremely annoying when they happen, and often you have no way of predicting whether it’s going to happen or not until it does. Luckily, this type of problem tends to affect older games more, but it doesn’t mean it never happens on newer games. Who wants to go through all that effort trophy hunting on a game just for it to mess up and get in your way?
3. Finding Players for Old Multiplayer Games Is Difficult
There are many games that have multiplayer trophies you need to unlock to be able to get the Platinum. Some of these games are old, so your friends likely won’t play them or won’t be willing to help you get certain trophies you need. Some of these games are even older and thus have practically nobody online to play and get the trophies with. In these situations you’d go to a trophy hunting forum and find other trophy hunters to help you get them. You could search for people on one of the big video game forums, but you’d have better luck on ones specifically set up for trophy hunting.
There are plenty of them trophy hunters and forums around, but there’s no guarantee you’ll find people to help you with a specific game. The older these games get the harder it becomes. You’ll have to be patient and wait potentially weeks or months for other trophy hunters to find you on the same community and offer to help. If you’re only renting a game or accessing it via a subscription service you don’t intend to keep up with, the Platinum can become less worth-the-effort over time.
Not only do you have to grind the game well past the enjoyment phase to get a Platinum, now you have to scour the web as well. Ridiculous.
4. Trophy Hunting Projectizes Pointlessness
Trophy hunting is making a project out of an ultimately pointless activity. Okay, “all gaming is pointless” you may say back, but at least with casual gaming or single-player you’re having fun or experiencing a story you’re engaged with play out. Either way, you’re doing something to mitigate the overarching pointlessness of gaming in general.
With trophy hunting you’re turning it into a project, turning it into work, and it just doesn’t need to happen.
5. Trophy Hunting Is Dopamine Manipulation
Games have it down to a science of holding attention, serving you a steady stream of dopamine before slightly raising the difficulty. Except they don’t really raise the difficulty, but simply increase the required grind, keeping you hooked. From the difficulty, to the battle passes, to the trophies – same tactic. There are plenty of engaging games you can play for a dopamine boost, without having to commit to getting every last trophy or achievement on the game.
When you are trophy hunting, you’re simply being led from one challenge to the next, with a few obscure trophies sprinkled in that have you scouring the open-world for a specific thing/event. Playing games to have fun or experience a story is perfectly healthy and a good way to unwind, but getting sucked into the dopamine delivery system that trophies work on is pointless and an even bigger waste of time.
6. You Likely Don’t Enjoy It
If you look online at threads from trophy hunters on Reddit, or ask your trophy hunter friends, even look back to your own experience, you’d probably find that barely anyone really enjoys trophy hunting. You’ll spend ages planning out a Platinum run of a game, checking websites to see how difficult the Platinum is to get, and what you’d have to do to get it, and then spending weeks or even months grinding it out.
In the end, once you’ve gotten the Platinum, you’ll have maybe five or 10 minutes of feeling happy or prideful that you got the Platinum before it fades; and that’s if you’re lucky. Before you know it you’ll have moved onto the next game you’re trying to Platinum. Why go through all of that time grinding if you don’t really feel enriched by it? You can set goals in your games, go through collectibles, play it past the point of completing the story/missions or achieving the max level of multiplayer, but what’s the point in turning it into a project if you don’t truly gain much satisfaction from it?
Trophy Hunting Is a Waste of Your Time
Trophy hunting is one of the practices in gaming that I dislike the most. While you are of course free to enjoy gaming in any way you see fit just like anybody else, you may want to assess whether it’s truly a valuable use of your time.
Games can be fun, but not when they’re turned into projects and the overall aim of playing them is to increase some meaningless digital score. There are plenty of games you can play to kill time, there is no need to make a job out of them.