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There can be only one.
December 3, 2009 - I couldn't care less about my Xbox Gamerscore. When I hear about GameSpy's Will Tuttle staying up until 2 a.m. to beat a kid's game for his next 1,000 points, I scoff, and when I review a multiplatform game on the 360, I'll gladly play on someone else's hard drive to net them the numbers that mean so little to me. However, when IGN Guide Guru Colin Moriarty tells me he's closing in on my Trophy count, my heart stops beating. When I hear that Hannah Montana only takes four hours to Platinum, I dedicate my weekend to it. When I read about some system clock or patch problem that results in cheap Trophies, I'm doing it.
I'm Greg Miller, and I'm a Trophy Whore. Now, many would ask me why I'm so dedicated to a system that's so much like another system that's been out longer… another system that's more popular and generally makes more sense.
The answer is that Achievement points suck because they are too fair.
Basically, a year into the 360's lifecycle, I was dead in the water when it came to Achievements.
See, the Achievement system is one of math. Everyone starts at zero points and has to claw their way up to a respectable score. You're going to be a noob for a long, long time. You've already missed the easy Madden and King Kong Achievements. If you want to double back for those, the other kids with nothing to do are still going to be thundering ahead and racking up point after point. People will see you with your 300 points and laugh you out of the village.
Trophies aren't like that. I was already a member of the IGN PlayStation Team when Trophies debuted last year, so I knew I was going to be raking these things in, but I would've chased them regardless. However, Sony threw a curveball that people either love or hate.
Trophies kind of grade on a curve.
When you start playing PS3 games and earning Trophies, you start earning the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum trinkets I love oh so much. These awards have some behind the scenes value that plays into how much they're worth in your PSN Level. That's right, your level like in an RPG. When you start playing and earning bronzes and what not, you'll see the progress bar fill quite quickly and your level start increasing like mad. It's great; it's addictive. Trouble is, the higher your level gets, the more Trophies it takes to increase your level.
I submit to you, fair reader, that this vague system is actually awesome.
I'm Level 13 on the PSN. That doesn't sound that high, right? If you just picked up your PS3 Slim, popped in a few games, and compared your Level 3 to my Level 13, you'd think you'd have a chance at catching me, but it's a trick. You're going to have to work your ass off to catch me. It's like the slot machines in Vegas that people play for hours because they're sure the next coin will win them the million.
My level translates to 1,157 Trophies – 909 Bronzes, 191 Silvers, 51 Golds, and 6 Platinums. I was level 12 for a couple of months because Golds were barely giving me 1 percentage point. Colin's on my ass (Level 12 – 997 Trophies), but he's still going to need to nab a bunch of golds and maybe even another Platinum (the kid's got seven already) to catch me. My goal is to catch up and surpass Podcast Beyond contributor Sam Bishop again. I got caught up in the review season and Sam has increased the gap between us significantly. Currently he's 23 percent from Level 14 to my 88 percent to Level 14.
That's what Xbox is missing. Right now, my Gamerscore is an insignificant 10,674. If I abandoned my PS3, I'd have a chance at catching IGN's Kristine Steimer and her 15,359. If I quit work and never left the house, I could get close to IGN Editor in Chief Hilary Goldstein and his 43,227. But there's no way I'm going to match Tuttle's 75,227.
I feel out of this digital pissing contest before it has even begun.
Yes, Achievements are fairer and make more sense, but they put anyone just starting out or just casually playing their Xbox at a disadvantage. If you only own a PS3 for Uncharted, you can get a respectable level without any real work. If you care about chasing mystery percents like I do, Trophies are there for you and boast a reward.
In the end, Achievement and Trophies are pointless. These are meaningless numbers and digital trinkets that give us nothing, cost us hours of our lives, and might not even carry over to the next wave of consoles. Plus, the one you're going to care about – the one that actually is the best reward system -- comes down to the console you prefer playing.
Still, Achievements suck and Trophies rule.
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