Monday, 28 October 2013

GamerScore Vs. Trophies

As this console generation comes to a close (PS3/Xbox360) we fondly look back at all the games we’ve enjoyed, the arguments and discussions and, of course, the fan-boy wars.  But what has kept our hold to one side more than the other?  The exclusive games?  The controller?  The community?  Or is it the ability to prove your worth against all the others?

When boiled down, both GamerScore (Xbox360) and Trophies (PS3) show off your gaming skill and determination.  But does either of these numbers/scores hold any real validity and, if so, which is more accurate in terms of player skill?

Both systems work on the very simple basis of completing the game to receive an achievement/trophy for it.  Most games have different levels/tiers of achievements and trophies depending on difficulty or progress.  But is it fair that a player with more time automatically has a better score?

When you compare GamerScore and Trophies there is one very distinct difference.  The reward for playing a PS3 game relentlessly until you receive the Platinum Trophy is much higher than the reward for the GamerScore equivalent, making it more visually pleasing.  However, due to the more consistent nature of GamerScore it seems like a more public and competitive system among the masses of online gamers.

Some argue that it is harder to improve your GamerScore than Trophy Rank because of the lower number system, which makes it harder to rack up points, but this is an unfair comparison.  It is all just a series of numbers.  For example, if you were to take the average Trophy level of 14 (32000pts) and convert it to GamerScore, it will equate to roughly 20,300.  There is a rather large gap between two numbers, but this is due to Trophy points ranging from 15-180 points, whereas Achievements range from 10-100.

Certain games are sometimes undercut or overlooked when it comes to points.  Games in the sporting genre often get left behind, due to the different skill used in comparison to the average First-Person-Shooter or Action game.  But this means little if you want to improve your score.

As fun and brutal as competition can be between gamers and their scores, there is one rather large problem.  For the time being all your points are just accumulated and handed back to the player, nothing else.  It also seems somewhat unfair that the more games you play, the higher your score is.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of percentage system? Meaning a player’s score would drop if they didn’t excel or finishing games.  But then this comes with its own set of problems.  What if someone only ever plays a small handful of games, thus keeping their scored upped forever.  Or what if somebody played a new game on your profile, and your score dropped as a result of someone else?  There are so many issues that we can run into and will cause problems in the competitive gaming world.  But what are our options?

Sadly, we live in a time where keeping track of everything is normal and your performance is always scrutinized.  However, thanks to the countless amounts of games and modes there will always be a place for you to compete, no matter your style.  In the end, it all comes down to your skill, not the amount of hours you sink into numerous games.

Both the Trophy Rank and GamerScore hold their purpose though, they keep you coming back to complete and 100% your favourite titles.  There is a sense of accomplishment, though, when an Achievement or a Trophy pops.  I think the next generation of consoles could go a step further and take our competitive nature to the next level, whether with Achievements, Trophies, or some combination of both.

 - Frank van der Merwe

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