DrBloodmoney

Platinum Difficulty Ratings - A Question

119 posts in this topic

I guess its based on feed. For me 5 was always the standard difficulty. It means everybody who is a normal skilled player can do this.

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I know with some games there's an estimate based on if a player is new to the genre and/or franchise. For example with Black Ops (the original one) is rated 7/10, but is also rated a 5/10 if you have with CoD or perhaps FPS's in general. 

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Is there an actual guidance document that the Guide Writers on the site use to quantify the difficulty rating that they apply?


Nope, guide writers just pick what feels about right to them. Difficulty is very subjective depending on one's knowledge and skill on the game (genre).
There's also different kind of difficulties. For example; some games have really tricky puzzles - which without a guide - can significantly ramp up the difficulty of a game. The actions to complete them may not be hard to perform, but I think everyone can agree that some games' puzzles are more difficult than others'.

Personally I prefer this scale (roughly);
 

Spoiler

1: No skill and/or thinking required. Anyone can do these with ease. (Example: Telltale games)
2: No to very little skill, but a little bit of thinking required. (Example: LEGO games)
3: Low skill ceiling and doable by the vast majority of players. (Example: Games with simple platforming like Sly Cooper, Astro's Playroom 100%)
^These are the games that even low skilled players should be able to complete without too much trouble^
4: Moderate skill ceiling but takes the average player no more than a few tries.(Example: Beating Minecraft on Easy)
5: Moderate difficulty with some spikes. All average players can do these, if they spend a bit of time on those. (Example: Rayman Legends)
6: Tough difficulty. Very managable by skilled players, but somewhat tricky for average players. (Example: Crash Bandicoot 3)
^These games can be completed by average players, albeit that they take some effort^
7:
Hard difficulty. Difficult for average players, and somewhat tricky for more advanced players. (Example: Shovel Knight, assuming you don't exploit the save data backup function or homing)
8: Very difficult for average players and possibly quite tricky for advanced players. (Example: Celeste w/h Assist mode, including Chapter 9)
9: Extremely difficult. Average players can likely not do these, and even skilled players will have to grind. (Example: Super Meat Boy, Trackmania)
^These games are unlikely to be completed by average players, and even skilled players will struggle with some of these^
10: Near-impossible. Only the biggest tryhards will achieve these often after 100s of hours of attempts. (Example: Crypt of the Necrodancer)



 

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31 minutes ago, StrickenBiged said:

So, for example, I'd personally have given Titanfall 2 a 9/10 because that time-trial trophy for the tutorial area was an absolute b*stard to earn. However, the guide team asked me at the review stage to reassess and rate it on an average.

 

I kinda agree with the harderst trophy = difficulty, but I would rate it around 5-6/10 tops for the gauntlet trophy.

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Posted (edited)

As Striken pointed out, the hardest trophy of a game should indicate the difficulty of the Platinum and is what the rating should be on. 
 

Every guide writer should have to display their 10 games that they rate from a 1 to 10 and the specific trophy from that game that earns it their rating so that guide readers would get the context of their rating.

 

Its really infuriating to see any guide writer write “Just play on Hard as your only play through, it’s really easy” and then the game has aspects that both take time to get used to and are not easy at all. Seeing what other games they would have given ratings to would have told me  their intended reader assumes a much higher skill level than a standard new gamer.

 

If I’m going to rate a games difficulty though, I use my own scale: https://forum.psnprofiles.com/topic/187-most-recent-platinum/?do=findComment&comment=1824984


 

Edited by DaivRules
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Posted (edited)

52 minutes ago, StrickenBiged said:

So, for example, I'd personally have given Titanfall 2 a 9/10 because that time-trial trophy for the tutorial area was an absolute b*stard to earn. However, the guide team asked me at the review stage to reassess and rate it on an average. So I went with 6/10 because the rest of the trophies are fairly easy (I'd have gone 4/10) but I felt that the one trophy was so hard that it dragged the average up 2 points. 

 

I absolutely agree that that seems a nonsensical approach you were required to take. I mean, who is looking at a difficulty rating on a guide with the idea of getting some of the trophies and not all?

It's 'difficulty to Platinum', not 'difficulty to get some of the trophies'😂

 

 

 

16 minutes ago, HusKy said:

 

I kinda agree with the harderst trophy = difficulty, but I would rate it around 5-6/10 tops for the gauntlet trophy.

 

 

 

Haven't played it myself, but of course, different games are harder for different people. I guess the question is, how hard would it be for Joe "Madden and Fifa and Call of Duty" Bloggs to get :dunno:

 

 

 

8 minutes ago, HaserPL said:

Difficulty rating more often than not means jack shit in the grand scheme of things. So often do I see people giving 10/10 to games such as GTA V or The Witcher 3 simply due to their length...

 

Certainly I agree that length of time, or grind time should have no bearing whatsoever on difficulty - and (this is a bug bear of mine) neither should the 'rarity' value. There is an absolute epidemic of people confusing 'rarity' with 'difficulty', and I think length, number of required playthroughs and grind time is a major factor in that confusion. Just because a game requires 50 playthroughs and 200 hours, doesn't make the platinum 'hard'.

It sure as hell will make it 'rare' though! 😂

Edited by DrBloodmoney
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This isn't seemingly a popular opinion, but I do believe that to a degree the length of a platinum effort kind of goes towards the difficulty rating. I just think there's something to be said for the mental fortitude of spending hundreds of hours with a game, and that mental energy can translate to how difficult it can be to actually end up with the plat. I understand that tedium and being bored with a game's grind is the least relatable metric of difficulty but... For me it's something to consider.

 

As for the hardest trophy thing, I think more in terms of the hardest trophy affecting the difficulty rather than setting it. I've played Titanfall 2 and there's no way the game is a 9/10 difficulty just because of the time attack thing, no way. Even Vanquish isn't a 9/10 because of Tactical Challenge 6, because no other thing in Vanquish is that hard. It just elevates the general difficulty of the plat.

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35 minutes ago, HusKy said:

I would rate it around 5-6/10 tops for the gauntlet trophy

 

Fair enough, but this kind of difference of opinion might suggest that the guide writer should take a more relaxed "overall average" view on the difficulty of a trophy list.

 

What individual players will find hard will vary depending on skill and prior experience, whereas a "best guess overall average" approach might be more likely smooth over some of those differences of opinion, skill and experience? 

 

Maybe the best answer would be to have a community rating available to people who have the platinum trophy, so that we can draw on the wisdom of crowds. I know there's the argument that this often leads to every rating being either 1/10 or 10/10 (see Metacritic), but some other sites seem to do community ratings successfully (see Board Game Geek).

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Posted (edited)

12 minutes ago, StrickenBiged said:

Fair enough, but this kind of difference of opinion might suggest that the guide writer should take a more relaxed "overall average" view on the difficulty of a trophy list.

 

What individual players will find hard will vary depending on skill and prior experience, whereas a "best guess overall average" approach might be more likely smooth over some of those differences of opinion, skill and experience? 

 

Maybe the best answer would be to have a community rating available to people who have the platinum trophy, so that we can draw on the wisdom of crowds. I know there's the argument that this often leads to every rating being either 1/10 or 10/10 (see Metacritic), but some other sites seem to do community ratings successfully (see Board Game Geek).

 

I always take these ratings inside guides with a pinch of salt and do my own research (e.g. PST difficulty poll) before so it rarely happens that I'm surprised by the difficulty of a game. The only one that caught me off guard was GoW 3 PS4 guide which states 3/10 but the Titan difficulty is in my opinion much harder if you don't use the skip exploit.

 

And about community ratings, the best would be to crowd source it from PSNP users but that would require some extra coding. With enough votes, you would get some pretty accurate numbers.

Edited by HusKy
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Posted (edited)

28 minutes ago, StrickenBiged said:

Maybe the best answer would be to have a community rating available to people who have the platinum trophy, so that we can draw on the wisdom of crowds. I know there's the argument that this often leads to every rating being either 1/10 or 10/10 (see Metacritic), but some other sites seem to do community ratings successfully (see Board Game Geek).

 

The problem with crowd sourcing from only those who have platted the game, is that too many people use that as a little swing of their e-dong rather than a fair assessment. You know the ones I mean - the "GiT gUd" contingent of people who struggle and scrape their way through a game using every guide and exploit, then turn around to the people still working on it  and say "man, that was easy". 🙄 

 

Maybe I'm a little cynical about that, but I play a lot of Souls-like games.... I see that crowd far more often than I would like to 😂

 

I'd suggest if crowd sourcing was potentially a thing, it would have to be open to anyone with a modest percentage of the trophies, not all of them - as "too difficult for me to do" is a totally legit response to such a poll!

 

 

 

 

29 minutes ago, Deadly_Ha_Ha said:

This isn't seemingly a popular opinion, but I do believe that to a degree the length of a platinum effort kind of goes towards the difficulty rating. I just think there's something to be said for the mental fortitude of spending hundreds of hours with a game, and that mental energy can translate to how difficult it can be to actually end up with the plat. I understand that tedium and being bored with a game's grind is the least relatable metric of difficulty but... For me it's something to consider.

 

Hmmm. 

 

That's not invalid....

 

I think there is something to what you say about the 'mental-fortitude' required for a long grind (good phrase for it btw, i'm stealing that for future use 😜) but I can't necessarily agree that it should be a relevant factor in rating the difficulty.

 

I mean, I would argue that there is a certain steely 'mental-fortitude' required in creating a profile of hundreds and hundreds of 8-deep stacks of half-hour platinums, but that is not the same type of dedication or skill as going for the plat a tough game.

 

 

Edited by DrBloodmoney
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is there a reason this site has no difficulty poll for games?

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Posted (edited)

48 minutes ago, Deadly_Ha_Ha said:

As for the hardest trophy thing, I think more in terms of the hardest trophy affecting the difficulty rather than setting it. I've played Titanfall 2 and there's no way the game is a 9/10 difficulty just because of the time attack thing, no way. Even Vanquish isn't a 9/10 because of Tactical Challenge 6, because no other thing in Vanquish is that hard. It just elevates the general difficulty of the plat.

I'd agree with this, one very difficult thing shouldn't determine the entire platinum difficulty - although it should influence it.  Vanquish is a perfect example, everything in the main game is around a 3/10, challenge 4 is maybe a 4/10, then challenge 6 is around 6.5/10, but a few hours of training on this alone will be enough for you to overcome it, so a 5/10 overall difficulty is fair.  UMvC3 on Vita would be the opposite of this, especially if you do it without the leeway offered from DLC - there are no extremely difficult trials that would warrant more than 8/10 on their own, but there are 10 or so trials that are solidly 7/10, and a further 50 or so that are 6/10, all of these added together means a platinum difficulty rating of 8/10 is fair.

Edited by WakeUpHP
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6 minutes ago, DrBloodmoney said:

 

The problem with crowd sourcing...

 

Agree with all points. 

 

TBH, to assess a game's difficulty, my practice is usually to look for the trophies on the list that have the highest PSNProfiles rarity (so that I am comparing to trophy hunters), and consider those. If the rarity is wildly different from the rest of the list but close to the rarity of the plat, then you can be sure that it is a platinum blocker for most people who try to plat the game. Or if there are a few reasonably rare ones but then more of a gap between their rarity and the plat's rarity, then that tells you there are a few reasons people don't or can't plat the game. 

 

Then you can usually work out whether its because of technical skill requirements, a tedious grind, difficulty, etc, from the trophy requirements. 

 

I am now wondering, though, whether someone with some statistical ability could consider this problem and develop a method of scoring platinum difficulty objectively based on the trophy data available. There must be some way of analysing rarity which could give a fairly objective "score" based on how many people had the plat, how many got how close, the relative rarities and differences in rarities between individual trophies and the platinum, etc. Essentially it would be an evolution on the "easy games" and "hard games" lists on the games tab at the top.

 

Go compare the trophies ranked by PSNProfiles Rarity for Super Meat Boy and Ghost of Tsushima (for a pair of random examples) to see what I mean - the differences are stark, and you can easily see where players get stuck and give up on SMB, whereas Tsushima tapers off much more smoothly. 

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Posted (edited)

When you only have a single rating then the hardest thing you need to do should be the overall plat difficulty. But perhaps it could be split up in an "average difficulty" and a "peak difficulty" rating. That brings some nuance to it without going overboard on stats.

 

As an example I just completed Nascar Inside Line on PS3. At the hardest points it was an 8/10 because the challenges need a delicate touch and can get frustrating. If you're an average virtual racer they might be a plat breaker. But those were a small part of the game and the rest was very easy. So my average difficulty would be closer to a 6/10.

 

Anyway, the true nuance should probably be in the roadmap and/or trophy guide itself. I always prefer to see why a guide writer considered a game hard or easy. It's better to judge that way if I would be facing the same problems.

Edited by pinkrobot_pb
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Posted (edited)

19 minutes ago, nyarLOLhotep said:

I think it make zero sense that a Platinum's difficultly would be lower than a game's peak difficulty... without a shitload of qualifiers. Those qualifiers can't really be presented in the breakdown section. If it's platinum difficulty being portrayed and you can't earn the platinum without earning all the trophies, then the platinum trophy is as difficult as the game's hardest trophy fulls-stop.

 

I don't write guides though, but I do read them. If someone downgrades difficulty because the game on the whole "wasn't that hard", then I view that as inaccurate.

I find myself feeling more disingenuous giving the entire platinum effort a higher rating than it deserves just because one of the trophies is harder than all the rest. For as much time as you spend with a game, for all the trophies you acquire, it's a cumulative experience so why should the difficulty rating (something already pretty arbitrary since it comes down completely to the player's own judgment) not reflect a cumulative judgment? When you see a guide's difficulty rating, you associate that with the difficulty of the general experience, which is fine because if generally the game is as hard as it's labeled then it's still perfectly accurate even if there is something harder to do compared to everything else. 

 

It's semantics at some point but difficulty is so often inflated in this community that giving carte blanche to guide writers or even expecting them to base their difficulty metric on one single piece of a puzzle I don't think is the right move.

 

If one trophy is a 7/10 difficulty for me and 40 other trophies are a 4/10, I'm supposed to feel accurate giving the platinum effort a 7/10? I don't see that.

Edited by Deadly_Ha_Ha
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19 minutes ago, DrBloodmoney said:

That would be like saying jumping off a ten-storey building will only hurt a little:

It will really hurt right at the end, but 99% of the time you are falling it won't hurt at all, so the 'overall pain rating' is only 'mild'. :S1f602.png

 

If you can still experience pain after falling from such a height, I would call that tremendously unfortunate. :D

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Posted (edited)

6 minutes ago, Deadly_Ha_Ha said:

 

If one trophy is a 7/10 difficulty for me and 40 other trophies are a 4/10, I'm supposed to feel accurate giving the platinum effort a 7/10? I don't see that.

 

Because if one trophy is too difficult for someone to get, then what does it matter how easy all the others are?

 

They are not getting the platinum due to that one trophy. 

Therefore, the platinum is as difficult to get as that trophy.

Edited by DrBloodmoney
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The main factor for me is how they compare with other games in the same genre. Platformers will be rated together with other platformers and rhythm games with rhythm games. This does lead to some 5/10 games being more difficult than 7/10 but gives a better picture in the end since I am not skilled equally in both. I always base it around the peak and using all the exploits available like save scumming, pausing and glitches. Time spend on the hardest part is what I use to rate my difficulties. <1 hour is 4 or lower and >30 hours is 10. Anything in between I fill in based on other games.

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