The PlayStation 4 does a lot of things and among them is a fantastic little feature that shows a trophy's rarity based on the percentage of people who have unlocked it. Interestingly, it shows the statistics for trophies of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita games as well. And should you happen to read between the lines this trophy data\u00a0can\u00a0lend an insight\u00a0into gaming patterns, tendencies\u00a0and habits.\u00a0It can also show how certain games discourage or promote progress, how players might hit roadblocks at\u00a0certain junctures and how successive games in a series evolve. Interestingly, it can also reveal the state of used games sales. Below are some of these inferences based on the trophy data that players like you and I help construct. The data taken\u00a0from the PlayStation Network is from\u00a0systems that have synced their trophies online. Given how day-one patches and bug fixes are the\u00a0norm, the data\u00a0can be considered to be\u00a0largely representative. However, the information referred to in this article is\u00a0subject to change as more people play these games over time. Spoilers ahead Contains minor plot and character spoilers for Dragon Age: Origins & Inquisition, Mass Effect trilogy, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, The Evil Within and Batman: Arkham City. Romance and Perseverance My attention was swayed in the direction of \u2018Trophy Study\u2019 when I discovered that only 15% of the people who played Dragon Age: Inquisition on the PlayStation 4 were able to pursue a romance. This is among the bigger motivations for me in a Bioware game so I was surprised by the small percentage of players who had unlocked the trophy, Beloved and Precious. I was able to pursue a romantic interest\u00a0after I entered Skyhold. This led me to believe that a\u00a0player cannot woo someone until they reach Skyhold because that\u2019s when most of the companions begin to trust the Inquisitor - giving Inner Circle missions, asking favours and revealing secrets. It's in Skyhold that the inquisition begins to find its true form. I looked at the story-based trophies pre and post-Skyhold to understand how people approached the game. This\u00a0helped me unearth a plausible reason for such a small percentage of love-finders: the perils\u00a0of being distracted in open-world games. A quick look at the trophies that are earned for completing the main story threads, would suggest a distinctive pattern in the way people play Dragon Age: Inquisition. Over 88% of the players finished the prologue,\u00a0The Wrath of The Heaven. Immediately after you gain\u00a0access to the first open area, the Hinterlands. It\u2019s an expanse of lush wilderness marred with evil and is teeming with side-quests. These range\u00a0from closing rifts, to killings wolves, finding medicine, escorting a Druffalo and what have you. Maybe that's the reason why the percentage of players who did the second main story thread (which requires leaving the Hinterlands) almost halved (45% , Opposition in All Things). The players\u00a0who crossed this threshold also conquered the third story thread (44% players, In Your Heart Shall Burn) which follows immediately after the second. After which the inquisition makes its way to Skyhold. So essentially, fewer than\u00a050% of the players made it to Skyhold. My first time in\u00a0Skyhold saw me roaming the castle for upwards of four\u00a0hours in order to know the place, discover the points of interest and find where the companions were housed. How do you seek to romance someone when you don't even know where they are? Having clocked in over 95 hours I still have doubts about which door leads off Cullen's office. Given how the game is laid out after Skyhold it is no surprise that the number of players that completed the next story thread (Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts) dropped to just a little over 23% . There can be two possibilities for this. Either players were busy tacking the various optional areas that become accessible post-Skyhold like Emprise du Lion, the Western Approach or Emerald Graves. Or maybe this part of the\u00a0game, the scope of Skyhold and the subsequent War Table shenanigans became too over-bearing for some and they gave the game\u00a0a rest. I looked at\u00a0some PlayStation 3 era Bioware titles\u00a0to assess what percentage of players \u2018scored\u2019 in those games and how Bioware previously tackled romance in comparison\u00a0to their more complex take in Inquisition. Dragon Age: Origins had trophies for experiencing \u201cthe thrill of romance" with certain companions rather than a single general trophy. Unsurprisingly Morrigan was the most popular character at 23.8% , followed by Leliana at 11.8% , then Zevran with 10.1% and lastly Alistair at 8.7% . Maybe he was playing hard-to-get. A higher number of players seemed to have succeeded in Origins compared to Inquisition (even if we consider the overlap of multiple romances on multiple play-throughs, the combined percentage must still be higher than Inquisition\u2019s 15% ). For a long time romance in Bioware games has\u00a0involved little more than\u00a0sweet talk and a token mission as proof of affection. In the\u00a0Mass Effect series\u00a0the correct dialog options and basic loyalty missions sealed the deal. Over time it\u2019s becoming a multi-step, faith building process, with much more detail and thought going into each individual affair and its impact on the main-story thread. In Dragon Age: Inquisition potential\u00a0companions have class and gender preferences. A certain female elf would straight-out reject any male inquisitor for instance, or better - romance with a Tevinter mage could largely be viewed threatening to the \u2018cause' by fellow party and even non-party members. Bioware is making romance in their games much more experimental and perhaps more akin to real life. Valiant Heart One of the most important in-game decisions I made in 2014 was in Wolfenstein: The New Order when I saved Fergus and let Wyatt die. I don\u2019t know what it was\u00a0that made me choose Fergus\u00a0but I am glad I did. Making this choice lets you meet Tekla, an NPC that only becomes part of your game\u00a0should you save Fergus. The\u00a0majority of other\u00a0players\u2019\u00a0choices coincided with my own, with 62.9% saving Fergus, while 41.2% saved Wyatt (the excess of 100% is perhaps\u00a0due to multiple play-throughs). I too am a contributor to that excess of 100% as I went ahead and saved Wyatt on a second play in order\u00a0to see who replaces Tekla. Let's just say, you must save Fergus if you haven't played the game yet. Would You Kindly, Finish this Game The evolution of how games are \u2018made\u2019 can be judged by playing them and their sequels, but the evolution of how games are 'played' can also be judged by using trophy data. With an\u00a0endless number of games to play, players rarely finish every game they start. This raises the importance of knowing how players approach a game, what their experience with a game is punctuated by and when do they stop playing, when does a game lose most players. The number of\u00a0players actually finishing a game or reaching a certain milestone\u00a0is\u00a0information that can\u00a0evolve the way the next entry\u00a0in a franchise is\u00a0made. Take for instance, Demons Souls, the most challenging of all the games in the Souls series. A look at its trophy data suggests that while 61% of the players defeated the first boss in the game, Demon Phalanx, only 18.9% of them completed the game by Putting the Old One to sleep and Uniting the World. This says something really interesting\u00a0about the game. It is tough as nails, sure, but reaching the first boss is not an easy feat in itself, so what propelled the 61% of players to kill the first boss and not continue with the\u00a0game. \u00a0The number of players who progress over the course of the game diminish boss after boss. Being the first game in the Souls series, it was the most experimental of the three, a Japanese import heralded as the next big thing and thus maybe it piqued the interest of a larger audience, unaware of the what lay beyond the Nexus. Maybe a lot of players (myself included) were just caught in the hype and took the plunge. As the series progressed it changed directors and settings but not the challenge. And so people were not experimenting anymore and only the dedicated were picking up Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. While 42.9% of Dark Souls 2 players on PlayStation 3 saw the ending (as compared to Demon's Souls' 18.9% ), upwards of 35% of Dark Souls players reached the game's finale. These number can also mean that the sequels were being made more approachable as they progressed. I know from experience that Demons Souls is the toughest of\u00a0the three. What blows my mind is that there are still people buying Dark Souls games without really playing them. Maybe it\u2019s just in their backlog or maybe they just put in the disc in, loaded the game but were too scared to hit start. This is evidenced by the fact that out of the total people who have Dark Souls only 95.6% have lit the first bonfire which is among the very first things you do in the game. Similarly only 93.7% of Dark Souls 2 players have unlocked the trophy, This is Dark Souls,\u00a0which is awarded for dying for the first time. Its nigh impossible for people to not die in Souls games so maybe the remaining 6.3% didn't hit start. What\u2019s sad is that only 61.2% people gave clothes to Rosabeth. Poor girl. Another excellent game that deserved\u00a0more attention was The Evil Within. Yet another victim of above average difficulty and flawed execution. Mikami's westernized return-to-form was nothing if not polarizing. Trophy data suggests the buyers of the game didn't enjoy it too much. Trophies in The Evil Within\u00a0are awarded for dispatching major bosses across levels. In December 2014 the percentage of players who had slain the first boss (in Chapter 3) was a little over 55% and this number dropped to 43.5% for the second boss and 38.4% on the third. This trend seemed to continue resulting in\u00a015.5% of the total player based finishing the game by defeating the final boss. A shame as the game is fresh and challenging, if a little unclean and unwieldy. Another game in this category - which I have a love-hate relationship with - is Spelunky. Although\u00a0it\u2019s challenging and petty in its rewards the game\u00a0is by no means unfair. Nevertheless, a meager 15.8% players cleared the Mines and reached the Jungle, just 7.2% cleared the Jungle and reached the Ice Caves. And only 4.7% cleared the Ice Mines and reached the Temple. A possible reason why this percentage maybe so low is probably because, given how Spelunky had been free on PlayStation Plus in the month of October 2014, a bunch of subscribers downloaded the game but barely played it. Class and Character Trophies also give insight about what classes are the most popular choices. In Lords of the Fallen, most people finished the game as a warrior, 9.1% , while over 3.7% for each rogue and cleric. Although it does not affect the physical combat too much\u00a0in Lords, class does determine the\u00a0powers you have access to: strength, healing or stealth-based. On the other hand, the only way to compare the choice of class in Destiny is through the trophies awarded for fully upgrading a subclass of your choice. This happens very late in the game, maybe after one hits the 30 hour mark, and is most likely attained by only the most dedicated of players. Nevertheless the differences in class choice was not high\u00a0in Destiny: as 14.2% players fully upgraded a Warlock subclass, whereas 13.9% did it as a Hunter and 12.4% as a Titan. This also shows\u00a0how less than half of the total players fully upgraded a subclass. Even if we assume that all\u00a0players upgraded only one character class - which Is na\u00efve yet convenient for generalisation - we can\u00a0infer than less than half (14.2 + 13.9 + 12.4 40.5 % ) of all\u00a0Destiny players reached the final stages of subclass mastery. True trophy hunters are a rare breed, and thankfully a masochistic minority because I cannot imagine anyone even contemplating doing the Destiny raid without anyone on their fire-team dying. Alas this world and its people confound me immensely, just like those 0.1% of the Destiny players who did just that and unlocked the trophy\u00a0Flawless Raiders. True raiders I tell you, true raiders. Karma is a Switch One would assume that people today are more evil than good, thanks in part to the internets. But inFamous Second Son begs to differ, as 49.3% players finished the story with Good Karma while 27.1% of them finished with Evil Karma. Since 8.7% of the players Platinumed the game, there must be some over-lapping but the divide in the two choices is wide enough to denote a trend. InFamous 2 argues there are more good people in 2014 than back in 2011. 38.4% players unlocked the good ending while 23.1% finished\u00a0with the evil ending.\u00a0The original inFamous marks the darkest period of humanity with only 23.6% players beating the game as a Hero, while 15.5% beating it while Infamous (evil). This makes me hopeful for 2015 and beyond! Furthermore, the number of players who finished inFamous Second Son is much\u00a0higher than for its\u00a0predecessors. \u00a0Perhaps this is because\u00a0inFamous games have garnered a\u00a0reputation for being games with easy Platinum trophies. Used Games a-Go-Go Trophy data can also disclose some insight into the second-hand video game trade. If you recall, anyone who bought Batman: Arkham City new received a code in the box for playing the game as Catwoman. You could roam the sandbox as her, collecting her cleverly tweaked Riddler trophies or play missions specific to her theft storyline. It was a rather clever take on Day One DLC, an irresistible value proposition with a significant gameplay consequence. But how many people actually bought the game new? For the uninitiated, if you have the Catwoman DLC installed the game starts with one of her missions. You control her as the game commences and do a couple of her missions first. Soon you unlock the trophy, Arkham City Sirens\u00a0which 43.9% of the PlayStation players did. Essentially you couldn't get control of Batman until you attain this trophy which is confounding because of all the Arkham City players on PlayStation 93.5% of them have unlocked the "I'm Batman" trophy which is the inaugural trophy received when playing as Batman. If we turn to the trophy for finishing the entire campaign, Exit Stage Right, a higher percentage of players have attained that trophy than the percentage of players who have finished the Catwoman DLC\u2019s first mission (the very first mission of the entire game). Technically that is impossible if not for used game sales. That is not only sad but also a pity as the Catwoman aspects of the game were a\u00a0tour de force. These are just some of the tidbits that trophies can reveal. I apologise\u00a0for leaving out Xbox Achievements as I am sure they have their own stories to tell.\u00a0Here's to more thought going into not only how games are 'made' but also how they are 'played'.