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Daily Reaction: Gotta Add Those Trophies, it’s the Law!

In a somewhat hilarious, but mostly just sad complaint today, a ResetEra user made a thread angry that Square Enix hadn’t added any Trophies to Final Fantasy XIV with the Shadowbringers expansion, saying that they were under the impression that it was the “law” to add new trophies to any paid content. Now, if you know me, you know I like my trophies. But this complaint gets right to the heart of why many people say trophies are ruining gaming, exemplifying an entitlement for little digital checkmarks while not being able to enjoy a game without them.

My series Trophy Theory talked a lot about how Trophy lists can really improve a game and promote players exploring more aspects of the game outside of how they might traditionally play. I’ve talked about the importance of good, solid Trophy lists, and also explored the nature of letting go when a trophy is just too hard, grindy, or unobtainable. Trophies are a whole new layer and way to interact with a game, providing a roadmap of tasks and things to try to do. Maybe you aren’t one to normally play on a harder difficulty, yet a Trophy is tasking you with that challenge. Normally play a damage class but Trophies want you to get some experience with a healer? This metagame wrapped around the game can really change and broaden your experience.

Trophies also act as kind of a console-wide experience bar, progression that defies the boundaries of a single game and paints a picture of your own history with games (well, at least since Trophies were implemented in 2008). It’s a reason to revisit older games that you might not otherwise. It’s a reason to up your skills and challenge yourself. For some people, all it takes is that unearned trophy to prompt action.

According to Article 7, Section 3A…

So the thread’s title is pretty laughable, claiming that the law requires trophies to added to paid content (there is no law stating this, I can assure you), but the meat of the post is what really starts to give a bad name to us Trophy hunters. The poster laments that the game hasn’t received any additional Trophies since the base game came out, and then goes on to say that even the base game’s Trophies were uninspired and don’t really get into the depth of the game. Let’s break this into two parts.

“I spent £40 to buy the new Shadowbringers addon[sic] and you don’t get any extra trophies for it,” is literally something that they typed out, as if somehow their 40 money units were wasted on this expansion because they don’t get any Trophies for it. Even as an extreme Trophy hunter who once ranked within the top 500 in the US, I understand that the value of a game is not held within its Trophies. Are Trophies nice? Sure, and I feel their pain that a game they love hasn’t added any new ones in a while (we’ll talk Destiny in a second), but to insinuate that price of the expansion should have included trophies as part of the content addition is really something.

They also spend a lot of time talking about how the trophy list in the game is so poor anyway. Okay, so I’ve run into bad Trophy lists before. I may have even said a thing or two about bad Trophy lists before. But I’ve never felt entitled to a good Trophy list. I fundamentally understand that the content exists within the game whether there’s a Trophy for it or not, and I don’t actually need a checkbox to give me permission to perform certain tasks.

I play Destiny 2 a lot, which is a pretty easy Trophy list overall and doesn’t include a lot of the new content or things you can do in the game. It does have an in-game Triumph system though, which acts basically like its own internal set of Trophies. Problem solved. I’ve had 100% on Destiny 2’s Trophy list for ages now, but I keep pouring time into the game 1) because I love it, and 2) because there are a bunch of in-game Triumphs to chase. Yeah, I do love my little checkboxes, but I’m not out here demanding the the entire Triumphs list be made into PlayStation Trophies. (Though I wouldn’t say no to that, Bungie. Consider it, yeah?)

Final Fantasy XIV similarly has in-game achievements, and the poster even acknowledges this throughout the thread, but still demands for Trophies to be added. The whole thing is a mad an absurd post, but mostly it strikes me because it gives the rest of us Trophy hunters a bad name. Just because I enjoy a good trophy list and get a thrill from that ding, just because I love chasing Platinums and having a set roadmap for me to experience everything there is to offer in a game, none of that means that I would ever stoop to being entitled and demanding for Trophies. Where Trophies have not been available, I’ve found other options and solutions to continue enjoying things (like, you know, playing the game). Because we were all enjoying games long before Trophies came along, and as much as I love them, I know that games can be plenty enjoyed without them.

Daily Reaction reacts daily to the video game industry. Have suggestions for the column or subjects you’d like us to react to? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out previous Daily Reactions for more dives beyond the headlines.