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Old 02-20-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
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Default The unfairness of online trophies dependent on human opponents.

The following is a lengthy read and it is not meant for everyone. My hope is that developers pay attention to sites like this when they consider their trophy systems and will consider the following.

Some people question the presence of online trophies for some platinums, especially when the single player component is the main part of the game: I do not and this argument is not about that. What I question are the type of online trophies completely dependent on human opponents.

Everyone knows that there are two basic types of trophies: Offline trophies and online trophies. In reality there are three types because there are two distinct types of online trophies:

1) Online trophies that depend on the quality of your human opponents.

e.g. Assassinís Creed Brotherhood -- Abstergo Employee of the Month --
Get every single bonus at least once (Multiplayer Only).

2) Online trophies that do not depend on the quality of your human opponents.

e.g. Uncharted 2 -- Thrillseeker -- Complete one Competitive Multiplayer Game.

What I mean to say is that some online trophies are like offline trophies: trophies that require the same amount of effort or challenge every time everyone attempts the trophy: i.e. when you go for an offline trophy the challenge is determined by the programming and is always the same goal or AI for everyone. So spending a set number of matches playing a given mode, like the Thrillseeker trophy above, regardless of your success will be the same amount difficulty for everyone who attempts it. Most co-op trophies generally reflect the same amount of difficulty for everyone as well because rather than facing each other they are facing pre-programmed AI like you would offline.

On the other hand there are online trophies completely dependent on factors that cause the difficulty level to vary and itís unlikely to ever be the same for any two people at different points in time. For instance if you get into an online game long after release, it is sure to be flooded with a strong high-level player base. Some games may end up with a lack of a player base and be forcing more players with distance lag to face one another. The point is that the difficulty level of the trophyís challenge can vary significantly. In the Abstergo Employee of the Month trophy above you are required to get every possible bonus during competitive matches, which may seem easy enough until you note that you must also get an ďextreme variety bonusĒ which is from getting a set number of unique bonuses within a single match. Some have found this easy and many have not, and it is not simply skill level that factors into it. I argued with some people that there was much luck in getting it because obtaining many of the bonuses were out of oneís control and depend on your opponents just happening to be in the right place at the right time: i.e. it depends on their play style. In online games it is often the case for many play styles to disappear and be replaced by ones that make getting certain trophies much more difficult.

The more a trophy depends on the results within a single competitive match the more the unfairness issue presents itself.

Not only can the difficulty vary between people for the same trophy, which is not fair in itself, but circumstances can arise that cause an added degree of unfairness for the people who are your opponents. Online competition between real people is tense enough. Low level players who are new to a game really do not want to face upper level players who have maxed out their prestige and mastered every nuance of the game. Now letís look at what a trophy like the following means:

Red Dead Redemption -- The Quick and Everyone ElseÖ -- Be the top scoring player in any three consecutive FFA games in public matches.

This trophy is insane, especially if you play against a full room of 15 other people. Let me translate what the developer wants you to do: ďplay against newbs so far below your skill level that you can easily walk all over them three times in a row.Ē Itís obvious that if you are playing against people close to your own skill level the odds of you winning three Free For All matches in a row are slim to none. Either they are letting you win (boosting) or they are so much weaker than you that they shouldnít really be your opponents in the first place.

So personally I am against those online trophies that depend on the quality of your human opponents: itís not fair that the difficulty will significantly vary between people who try to get a trophy and it is not fair to support the overpowered matches of upper level players against lower level players.

I understand the purpose of online trophies. Just as offline and co-op trophies, competitive match trophies are designed to get people to pay attention to all parts of a developerís game. Now what developers need to realize is that they need to take the winning and losing aspect out of the human opponent parts of online play. They should focus on things that are less about who won or lost such as the following: play X number of full matches of such and such a mode, use such and such a weapon, booster or skill for X number of matches. If they want to show a difference in level between people they could say play 10 matches for bronze and 100 matches for a silver. When it comes to playing against real people in an environment that is constantly changing and unstable, such online trophies should be about equal effort put: itís not about whether you win or lose, itís how you play the game...at least when it comes to player vs player competition.

Note the following before posting: this is not a discussion about offline vs online trophies due to availability of internet access or server shut downs; nor does it have anything to do with how online trophies may impede platinums. This is about how the difficulty of obtaining certain online trophies varies due to the dynamic variability of human opponents and the impact it can have on those human opponents.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:03 PM   #2
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The majority of trophy hunters hate online trophies for the reasons you have listed. That is why we have a Platinums that only require offline trophies thread, and most of the games have boosting threads for people who just want to get the trophies.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:23 PM   #3
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There was a blog post, which I cant seem to find...

Anyways, the developer there stated the primary reason they like to include a trophy/achievement here and there that not only requires multiplayer, but require the multiplayer team to be good, was in hopes that sites like this, that foster grouping and such, help that games community.

If I recall correctly, the developer stated that multiplayer trophies/achievements that simply required taking part in said online mode still boiled down to a single player experience.

The trophies/achievements that actually required some teamwork were more of a multiplayer nature than just taking part.

My own personal stance on the whole online trophies thing is that they suck and are the worst kind of trophy...but I do understand where the developer is coming from.

Quote:
So personally I am against those online trophies that depend on the quality of your human opponents: itís not fair that the difficulty will significantly vary between people who try to get a trophy and it is not fair to support the overpowered matches of upper level players against lower level players.
I agree with this 100%, as in many cases it will require "boosting"...which I'm sure the developers dont consider the same as helping a games community.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:23 PM   #4
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I agree with you on the most part of this. There are several reasons why I personally hate multiplayer trophies as well.

1) I don't like to rely on other people and being forced to boost with other people for trophies, especially after the crap I went through with AC Brotherhood.

2) If you decide to get the game like 2-3 months after it came out depending on what the online trophies are you are a lot more unlikely to get all of them without boosting because you are bound to run into a lot of players who have spent hours upon hours into the game and probably live in their parents basement as far as I know. So therefore you will consistently get your ass kicked a lot by players that are much better and have a lot more experience than you. That is especially applied to fighting games.

3) If you decide to get a game that is 1-2 years old it will be next to impossible to get the platinum for the game because by then the severers will be either shut down or the online will be a ghost town. But luckily i'm not into sports games so I don't really worry that much about the server shutting down part.

If a game does have multiplayer trophies that's fine as long as it's reasonable and not ridiculous to the point where you have to resort to boosting threads for help, especially considering that I don't like to rely on others for trophies like I said earlier.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:04 PM   #5
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Abstergo employee of the month in AC: Brotherhood is what made me start to hate all online trophies.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:05 PM   #6
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Just wanted to start off with a kudo's, as this is a thought-out case instead of a rant. When I saw the title, I thought rant right away (and I say that as someone who doesn't like online).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hastatus View Post
1) Online trophies that depend on the quality of your human opponents.

e.g. Assassinís Creed Brotherhood -- Abstergo Employee of the Month --
Get every single bonus at least once (Multiplayer Only).

2) Online trophies that do not depend on the quality of your human opponents.

e.g. Uncharted 2 -- Thrillseeker -- Complete one Competitive Multiplayer Game.

What I mean to say is that some online trophies are like offline trophies: trophies that require the same amount of effort or challenge every time everyone attempts the trophy: i.e. when you go for an offline trophy the challenge is determined by the programming and is always the same goal or AI for everyone. So spending a set number of matches playing a given mode, like the Thrillseeker trophy above, regardless of your success will be the same amount difficulty for everyone who attempts it. Most co-op trophies generally reflect the same amount of difficulty for everyone as well because rather than facing each other they are facing pre-programmed AI like you would offline.
Out of curiousity - where would online cooperative trophies go? (examples: LBP2's 3x, 4x prize bubbles and where you need four sackboys in a chain; Burnout Paradise challenges, Wildcat stadium; Wipeout's Bling Brigade)

Where would grind trophies that are speeded up by skill, but don't require huge amounts of skill go? (examples: 10000kills, Dirt 2's level 30 (everyone gets some exp, but better players get more and level up faster)

Quote:
...SNIP.....
The more a trophy depends on the results within a single competitive match the more the unfairness issue presents itself.

Not only can the difficulty vary between people for the same trophy, which is not fair in itself, but circumstances can arise that cause an added degree of unfairness for the people who are your opponents. Online competition between real people is tense enough. Low level players who are new to a game really do not want to face upper level players who have maxed out their prestige and mastered every nuance of the game. Now letís look at what a trophy like the following means:

....SNIP.....

So personally I am against those online trophies that depend on the quality of your human opponents: itís not fair that the difficulty will significantly vary between people who try to get a trophy and it is not fair to support the overpowered matches of upper level players against lower level players.

I understand the purpose of online trophies. Just as offline and co-op trophies, competitive match trophies are designed to get people to pay attention to all parts of a developerís game. Now what developers need to realize is that they need to take the winning and losing aspect out of the human opponent parts of online play. They should focus on things that are less about who won or lost such as the following: play X number of full matches of such and such a mode, use such and such a weapon, booster or skill for X number of matches. If they want to show a difference in level between people they could say play 10 matches for bronze and 100 matches for a silver. When it comes to playing against real people in an environment that is constantly changing and unstable, such online trophies should be about equal effort put: itís not about whether you win or lose, itís how you play the game...at least when it comes to player vs player competition.
Ultimately I think a good trophy set is reflective of the game. If online competition is designed to be part of the game, an online competition trophy makes sense. I don't enjoy it (even in the rare cases where I'm good at a game's online competition ), but it makes sense. I'm not familiar with your examples, but they may just be isolated examples of bad trophy execution instead of a incorrect mindset. Your other suggestions are also a good way to get players to explore a game, but I don't see them as an alternative. More like complimentary - ie a good trophy set could have both online competition and use/play everything-type trophies.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:36 PM   #7
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This is exactly one of the reasons why I don't like online trophies very much, despite being one of the players who is more likely to kick your ass than not. The problem is that some developers really don't think through skill based trophies - Bad Company 1 is a great example. Out of the 120 awards, a handful are almost impossible due to the speed at which a round is over. 52 kills in a round is all but impossible unless you fix a Gold Rush round or boost. Other awards rely on the competence of other players in a different way. For example, Strike (5 kills in 2 seconds) is doable if you hide behind the main enemy base and plant C4 on their helicopter and a few other vehicles, but your teammates will almost definitely spawn on you before you have enough enemies in place, and try to take over the base (or take the vehicles..)

I could easily come up with many more examples of why skill based trophies online are so flaw, and many more reasons against them (lag, cheats, hackers, ect), but at the end of the day I think skill based trophies should be left to the offline portion of the game.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:53 PM   #8
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The ones I hate the most are ones like LBP and ModNation Racers where you need to create something and get enough people to play it, like it, download it, or whatever. In theory, the premise would be that you create something awesome and get rewarded for it with people's attention and the trophy. It is indeed a nice theory.

In practice though, it just causes spam. People pump out something quick and crappy and beg all over the internet for people to do whatever needs to be done with it. And the people who do spend lots of time making something great? Their creation gets lost in a sea of spammed crap and they get no attention either, meaning they also have to resort to begging people to check out their creations or signing up for H4H/D4D/P4P threads to get their stuff looked at just enough for the trophy. It's not really fair to people who want to create and want to play good creations. And let's face it: whenever you hear Media Molecule brag about how many millions of levels there are in LBP and LBP2, what's the first thought that pops into your mind? Mine is "Yeah, but how many of those are copied levels where each single level has been uploaded hundreds, if not thousands, of times by people hoping to get a trophy? How many are blank levels with the entrance glued to the scoreboard? How many are actually quality levels worth playing?"

Again, I get the intent of having trophies like that. And it's a really nice intent. It just doesn't work and probably never will work as long as people pump out bad levels and good levels get drowned in the bad ones. I say to Media Molecule, United Front Games, and any other developers making a similar style game out there: leave those trophies out of your games. All it does it hurt your user generated content section. You'll get less overall creations made, but a much higher percentage of creations will be higher quality if people have no reason to pump out lazy crap so they can get a trophy. And for those who do create well, let the plays, likes, favorites, downloads, and whatever else be their own reward.

One final note: Online luck based trophies SUCK! I hate luck trophies in general, but at least with single player, you can keep trying to your heart's content. With online ones? Good luck. "In A Van Down By The River" from Red Dead Redemption is a perfect example of this kind of shitty trophy. Don't make trophies that rely on both getting lucky and finding people to play with long enough to get lucky.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:20 PM   #9
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I'm going to use Assassin's Creed: Revelations as an example.

There are a number of multiplayer trophies to obtain in competitive modes in this game. The problem is that the rooms are filled with prestige level 50 players or players at level 20 or less. That is it.

You are trying to get these trophies playing against experienced players who play this game all the time and constantly spam smoke bomb which cannot be avoided. This incapacitates you and means you will die. They do this and nothing else. Then they ridicule you for having a mediocre Kill : Death ratio

I could have an awesome Kill : Death ratio too if I spammed smoke bomb over and over again too. But that isn't fun so I don't do it.

Resistance 2 is another. You have to try to get 10,000 kills against players who equip a wraith and kangaroo hop ALL THE TIME.

So in all it stems down to people always taking the path of least resistance in playing multiplayer. Which Makes these trophies a real pain to get.

I am in full agreement that online trophies are much better when they don't depend on other players.

Leave that stuff to COD where people can camp and hack/glitch to their hearts content.
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:24 PM   #10
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I feel you. One of my all-time trophy rage moments came from Killzone 2's Valor Grand Cross trophy. In order to get it, you had to be in the top 1% of players for an entire week's worth of online gaming. Comparing my position to the total players, I spent the entire week pouring countless regrettable hours into trying to snag this gold trophy for my own. However, after all of that work, a family incident kept me away from my PS3 for over a week. That way, when I logged into Killzone 2 again, a week had already passed and it had not given me my Valor Grand Cross for the previous week.

Hours and hours for nothing.
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