Guide to Gaming Achievements Mastery

Let me begin this guide by saying that I admire those that don’t exercise any of the behaviors listed below. A long time ago, in the innocent days of my childhood, I used to start a game and play with careless abandon, playing the game in whatever way made me happiest at the moment, and completion wasn’t necessarily the goal but rather a natural conclusion that I would eventually stumble upon.

Well, those days are long behind me, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way, as now I can’t begin a game unless I can commit to finishing it 100%. Completion and mastery of each game that pops up on my screen have become the norm, and failing to hit that mark simply isn’t acceptable to me anymore. So if anyone questioned my credentials going into this guide, I hope that puts your mind at ease; I’m addicted to platinum trophies and the little crumbs of serotonin they offer.

If you have stumbled upon this guide because you have caught the trophy hunting bug, if you are in a slump and need some tips on how to get trophies as efficiently as possible, or if you are just curious about the process and want to see how the sausage is made, you are in the right place.

I want to offer a guide that provides potential trophy hunters with all the tools to approach any game in their backlog, map out the trophies that the game has to offer, assess if the challenge is within your capabilities, and then, I want to guide you from that initial trophy, right through to your first plat.

In this guide, I will go over some key terminology that you will need to be aware of, I will give readers some excellent tips that I wish I knew before becoming trophy hunters, I will give you a roadmap from starting a platinum journey right through to the end, and I will also give some advanced tips for weathered trophy hunters that need a refresher course. So without further delay, here is our Guide to Gaming Achievement Mastery.

Why Do Gamers Achievement Hunt?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the trophy hunting process, I should probably explain why players put so much stock in the trophy hunting process and why so many gamers dedicated ungodly hours to popping platinum trophies. So if you are someone on the fence considering dipping your toe in the achievement hunting waters, check out these reasons below:

Bragging Rights

First and foremost, gamers love to earn achievements because popping those trophies comes with the added ability to brag to other gamers. As there are higher quality trophies, rare trophies, and even trophies that are notorious for their difficulty, if you can showcase this to your friends, then you can hold your head high as the pro gamer of the group. There are even forums and online databases where players can list their achievements, compare them against other gamers, and ultimately see where they rank amongst the other trophy hunters out there. The thrill of competition is infectious, and when you begin trophy hunting, you will see exactly how closely contested this space is.

Value for Money

Guide to Gaming Achievements Mastery

Another reason why players try to platinum all of the games that they play is that if you platinum a game, you are essentially completing the game 100% and seeing everything that the game has to offer. This isn’t always the case, as some games are more generous than others, but as a rule of thumb, a platinum means that you have seen everything that the developer has planned for you. So if you purchase a 90$ AAA game, you’ll want to milk all the fun out of that experience, and a great way to do that is by popping those trophies!

The Thrill of a Challenge

Then thirdly, we have the thrill of a challenge. There are a lot of trophy lists that are grueling, time-consuming, and often very difficult, but much like the players that enjoy super challenging games like Dark Souls, for example, there is a collective of gamers out there that love nothing more than overcoming the odds and popping a platinum that no casual gamer could ever dream of adding to their collection.

What Are The Key Trophy Hunter Terms?

No trophy hunter is ready for an assault on a particular challenging trophy list unless they are aware of all the key terminology that pops up time and time again in the achievement hunting community. If you don’t know the lingo and the key aspects of trophy hunting, then you might find yourself struggling to pop platinum on the regular. So here is a list of terms you’ll need to become familiar with:

AGC

Trophy Hunter

This acronym stands for average gamer completion and relates to the percentage of gamers that complete the game in question on average.

Auto-Pop

This is a new term that relates to cross-platform backward compatibility. When a player completes a PS4 game and platinums the game, then they download and start up the PS5 version and transfer the save data, there is a chance that the game will have an auto-pop feature enabled and award the player all the trophies without the need to play the game over again.

Depot

Depot or Depotting is a term that relates to a gamer installing a version of a game with a less up to date patch, allowing the player to get a trophy or set of trophies in an easier way, or this can be done to make a trophy available that has been broken in later patches.

Grind

Grind

This is a pretty accessible gamer term, but for those unaware, this is a term that refers to how much time, effort, and repetitive acts the player will have to perform in order to beat certain parts of a game. In terms of trophies, you may find that a particular trophy requires a lot of time to pop, or the player may need to XP boost, perform spam tasks, or something to this effect.

Hidden

These aren’t much of a problem in the modern age of gaming, where the internet is always accessible. These are essentially trophies that have no description when you look them up on the trophy list. This is usually to offer an added challenge or to prevent players from seeing any spoilers.

Missable

Missable trophies are trophies that players could potentially miss if they don’t make a correct decision in their playthrough or they push on past a point of no return in the story. Missing one or more of these trophies can lead to additional playthroughs and added time to your run.

Glitched

Glitched trophies are trophies that are either completely broken and will not pop even if you meet the criteria or best-case scenario; they are trophies that are temperamental and don’t always pop when you do what is required. It’s usually a good idea to avoid games with glitched trophies if possible.

Stacking

Stacking

Stacking is a process that relates to players playing the same game on multiple platforms to get more platinum trophies. For example, you may play Marvel’s Spiderman on PS4 and then play the ultimate edition on PS5. This is an example of a trophy that stacks. This term can also mean that if you complete certain criteria, other lesser achievements pop in tandem. For example, if you complete a game on the hardest difficulty, the trophies that relate to lower difficulties will also pop, and therefore these trophies stack.

RNG

Then lastly, we have RNG or Random Number Generation. In relation to trophies, this relates to a trophy that is purely dictated by luck. For example, if a game will only award a trophy for killing 100 of one type of enemy in a run and there isn’t a guarantee that 100 of these enemies will appear, then this is dictated by RNG.

How to Assess a Trophy List

Now that you have read and understood the lexicon of key terms above, it’s now time to teach you how to look at a trophy list and assess if you are up to the challenge. There are so many factors that make a particular 100% route more attractive or less feasible to players, and I aim to highlight all of these. Allowing you to pick games that work for you and not have your trophy section littered with lots of unfinished projects. So here is a quick rundown on how to assess if a trophy list is good for you:

Time

The first consideration that you should take into account is how much time you are willing to sink into the game in question. If you are playing a popular AAA title, then the chances are that you will end up having to play anywhere from twenty to one-hundred hours just to complete this game 100%. Games these days and huge, have more side quests than ever before and really try to keep players invested for the long term. So you will need to set aside a lot of time to get these desirable platinum trophies.

That being said, there are alternatives that can be used as a means of breaking up long platinum runs, or as a means of bolstering your platinum count. Indie games are a great palette cleanser from the AAA games of the modern era and tend to only take anywhere from two to ten hours to platinum. Plus, there are some cheap platinum experiences like My Name is Mayo, for example, that will offer up a platinum in under an hour. So consider this if you are experiencing AAA game burnout.

Difficulty

elden

Next, you should look at the difficulty of this 100% challenge. There are a lot of games that offer a trophy list that features some really tough trophies with daunting criteria. You might have games like Elden Ring, which are naturally hard, and as a result, the platinum journey is too.

Or, on the flip side, you may have games that are rather simple for the most part but have some incredibly difficult sections that make the 100% journey a very treacherous one indeed. A game that springs to mind is Stardew Valley and its notoriously difficult Vector’s Challenge trophy. If you look up a guide, you will usually see a rating out of ten from the author, and this will give you a rough gauge of how tricky this game will be to complete.

Grind

Another factor that one must consider is how much grinding you have to do. This relates to tasks where players will have to perform repetitive tasks over and over again, usually in ridiculous volumes, to make the trophy pop. This might be a task that asks you to kill 10,000 enemies in a game or reach a staggeringly high level through XP grinding. These tasks usually aren’t difficult, but they can be very tedious and time-consuming, and unlike games that take a long time because they have lots of content, games that ask you to grind can be mind-numbing to some players. So if grinding isn’t your cup of tea, stay clear of these types of games.

Potential technical issues

After this, you will then scan the trophy list and look at any potential pitfalls. These issues tend to present themselves as broken trophies that don’t work, trophies that are no longer available as certain sections of the game are no longer accessible, glitched trophies that only work some of the time, making the process one that relies on luck rather than skill. Then to a certain extent, missable trophies could be listed here, too, as missing these in your playthrough can lead to tens of hours added to your playtime, and no one wants that. So be sure to weigh up all of these factors and decide if you can still see a clear path to the finish.

Online Trophies

Online Trophies

Players should also be aware of online trophies on these lists and how much of a pain these can be. Unlike single-player trophies, these achievements rely on other players, situational events, connectivity, and of course, if the servers even still exist. These are trophies that will deter even the most skilled and weathered trophy hunter, so if you don’t want to deal with outside forces when chasing 100%, then avoid any games with brutal online trophies.

Fun

Then lastly, we have fun. It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the competitiveness and the near-addiction that is achievement hunting, to the point that you buy and play games almost like they are chores to be dealt with. So I urge you to find a balance and only play and 100% games that will bring you joy. No one should be sinking 50+ hours into a game or genre that they hate just for a little trophy at the end; it’s insane. Find a happy medium and play games that genuinely excite you.

A Typical Platinum Road Map

While it would be brave of me to believe that I could boil down every single game out there into one simple road map, I believe that platinum trophy processes have become pretty uniform in the last few years, and aside from a few outliers, you know what to expect going in. So with that in mind, here is the typical 100% roadmap:

Step One: The Fun Playthrough

In most games, you will either be able to play after the end of the story, or you will have to do multiple playthroughs anyway to earn the platinum, so the first playthrough is usually a freebie. You can experience the story and in-game world at your own pace, play on any difficulty you like and generally just play the game casually. This is the stage where you pick up all of the story-related trophies, gather up some of the more simple trophies, and ideally take care of any missable trophies too.

Step Two: The Clean-Up Phase

plat

After you finish the main story, this is usually the time when the player can start their New Game Plus, or carry on playing after the main story events. In this phase, you should focus on getting any collectibles within the game, taking care of any side quests and additional content that wasn’t needed to complete the game but is needed to platinum the game, and this is also a good time to take care of grind-heavy trophies like leveling up your character, for example.

Step Three: The Tricky Stuff

Then lastly, if you want that Platinum to pop, you will need to take care of the tougher stuff that sets the true gamers apart from the casuals. These trophies tend to be winning fights against impossible bosses, performing feats of skill that are super precise, or sometimes very situational, or these trophies may relate to online challenges which come with their own set of hurdles.

Tips I Wish I Knew Before Trophy Hunting

Now onto the juicy stuff, the reason why you are all here. You want to know what you can do to become the best trophy hunter around. You want tips to become more efficient, more prolific in the community, and tips on how to overcome impossible barriers and add some rare trophies to your cabinet. Well, you have come to the right place. Here is a list of amazing trophy hunting tips that I wish I knew about when I started out:

Play with a Guide In Front of You

If I could only give you one tip, this would be the one. If you intend to platinum a game, having an online guide in front of you as you play as a point of reference is a must. This is because games have a lot of moving parts, and it is very easy to miss a small detail or lose track of a certain key feature, and suddenly, you find yourself stuck, or worse, past the point of no return with a missable.

However, if you have a guide and roadmap out in front of you and you regularly consult this as you play, you will always know what task is next, what things to look out for, and you will be able to make use of some helpful tips in the guides that help you best certain difficult bosses or areas in the game. To play without a guide is essentially playing blindfolded; you could do it, but why would you?

Avoid Burnout

eliminated

Another important bit of knowledge I would like to pass down to the trophy hunting community is that burnout is a real run killer and can really affect your ability to consistently 100% games. If you are playing one game for a long time and it’s really kicking your ass or becoming a chore due to a grind-heavy section, then I say mix it up. I suggest that all players have multiple projects open when they hunt for trophies.

While this is far from a science, I would suggest that players have a AAA game, an indie game, and a quick, silly platinum ready to go at all times. If you do, then no matter what your mood is, there will be something in your library that you are capable of doing.

Organize Your Games

This will only apply to PS4 players, as the PS5, for some unknown reason, has not introduced this simple UI feature on the console. However, for you gamers still living in the last generation, there is a function where players can organize their games on the PS4 dashboard and place them into folders. This is a superb option for trophy hunters, as you can categorize your games depending on their trophy status. You could have folders like ‘In Progress’ or ‘Backlog,’ for example. It acts as a visually appealing to-do list and often serves as motivation to begin a new challenge.

Use Two Accounts (When Possible) 

If you are a keen trophy hunter and love nothing more than looking at your list of acquired trophies, you will know how much of an eyesore a game is on this list when it doesn’t read 100%. There is a certain level of satisfaction that comes with a list of games that are fully complete and listed back to back.

However, there are some games out there that players will want to play, but won’t necessarily want to play through to completion. So when this scenario pops up, it can be a good idea to start a new account on your Playstation. If it’s an online title, then this might not work, as you would need to pay for two PS Plus accounts. However, if it is a single-player, offline experience, this can be a great option that will keep your trophy list looking pristine.

Join a Community

community

I cannot stress how important it is to find like-minded gamers who love trophy hunting. If you do this, you suddenly have access to a pool of players that will hop into games and help you boost trophies and will take remote control and complete hard sections for you.

Not to mention that these players will be the first to congratulate you on your most recent accolades and share any struggles that they had with games that you are playing as a means of making your 100% journey more enjoyable. It’s a very warm and inviting community where everyone wants to help one another, so you would be a fool not to join one of these groups.

Start off Small

If you are a beginner hunter, I would urge you to start off small, take on some humble platinum, and get a feel for the art of trophy hunting before you take on a huge battle. I can’t count how many times I have seen a new hunter go for a huge open-world game and burn out due to the sheer volume of tasks needed to be done to complete the game.

A great place to start is with a nice indie game with a favorable trophy list, or a AA title that you know quite well and could easily sail through with a guide. You could also do some of the cheaper, easier platinum, but there isn’t that same feeling of pride and accomplishment when you finish those. A good place to look for inspiration is our lists of the easiest platinum games and the most satisfying platinum games. I hope this helps you find what you are looking for.

Watch Speedruns

Then lastly, this might sound a little silly and over the top, but watching speed runs is a super way to improve your trophy hunting ability. You see, these players are just extreme completionists that not only finish the game, but do it super fast. So watching their techniques and methods before you take on a game could help you sail through hard battles and challenges with ease, skip huge portions of the game, and ultimately pop trophies faster than you ever dreamed possible.

Become a Platinum Master

As you can see from the guide above, while some trophies can be rather straightforward, that isn’t always the case, and without a clear battle plan, you might find it super tricky to pop those more elusive platinum trophies. There are some key things that players need to know and be aware of before they take on a trophy challenge, and I hope that this guide has given you all the tools you need to master any challenge put before you and I also hope that you add tonnes of trophies to your virtual cabinet. I wish you luck in all the games you take on, and as always, thank you for reading Avid Achievers!

FAQ Section

Question: How Can You Make Trophy Hunting Less Stressful?

Answer: Trophy hunting can be a very stressful process, even for the best hunters around. So you may be wondering, are there any cool ways to take the factor of stress out of the equation. Well, maybe not completely, but there are a few ways that you can ease the burden. So here is a quick list of helpful things that you can do to make these 100% journeys more manageable: 
Listen to music
Listen to a podcast
Watch a stream, or let’s play of the game 
Take Regular breaks 
Co-op with a friend (if possible) 

Question: Do PSN Trophies Have Value?

Answer: To an avid trophy hunter, these virtual trophies hold a lot of value, albeit of a sentimental nature. These trophies have no monetary value and offer no perks or additional benefits when compared to players who have very few trophies, and these trophies do not alter any gaming experience to speak of. However, in some cases, gamers can benefit from 100% completion of a game. For certain titles, if the player completes the game and earns a platinum, Sony will email the player and will often enclose a code that allows the player to redeem an exclusive avatar or theme for their console. It’s not much, but it’s a nice gesture and one that can only be obtained by those that pop that platinum. 

Question: What is Trophy Score?

Answer: This is a new feature introduced by Sony which allows players to find out how prolific of a trophy hunter they are when compared to the entire Playstation user base. The player will be given a score between 1-999, and this will showcase how skilled of a hunter they are. Think of it this way, if you have a score of 500, that means that you are a better hunter than 50% of the player base. 
You may also be wondering what it would take to earn a rank of 999 and be placed in the top 0.1% of players. Well, this would mean that the player would need to earn approximately 1100-1200 platinum trophies. So unless you are a truly incredible trophy hunter, I reckon you still have some way to go!

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