Cumulative Trophies – Conquering the Impossible
Two years ago, I submitted an article to The Neopian Times that sought to bring some of Neopia’s most over-looked game trophies to the public’s attention. These are the cumulative trophies, those which reflect millions of points sunk into the games of Pyramids, Sakhmet Solitaire, Scarab 21 and Neggsweeper.
The TLDR version of my last article was that these trophies are not impossible to get, even if you’ve only just signed up to Neopets today. They simply require a huge investment of time and dedication, with a smidgen of luck thrown into the mix. As long as you submit a score in these games once every three months, you retain your high score and can keep adding onto it; come back four months later and you’re back to square one.
Towards the end of the article, I revealed my own personal journey with these special and rare trophies: I was struggling to shimmy up the high score table of Neggsweeper, aiming for my first ever cumulative trophy. Since its publication, I have received Neomails from multiple users who wanted to check in with how I’d progressed. I’m pleased to be able to share with you that my obstinacy has paid off. A squiz at my user lookup reveals a shiny gold CHAMPION trophy in my original grail game of Neggsweeper, as well as a companion in Scarab 21. Pyramids continues to elude me, with that Desert Aisha’s head mocking me with its silver sheen…it is my current ambition.
In this transition from cumulative trophy seeker to proud owner, I have learnt a few tricks that may benefit others in their own quests for glory.
1. You’ll need time…a lot of it: it may seem obvious, but do not underestimate the time required to crack into the cumulative high score tables. If you’re someone who needs instant gratification (something becoming all the more prevalent in this day and age!), then you’re going to be dissatisfied with even the quickest of progress in cumulative trophies. It’s taken me three years to earn the cumulative trophies I currently have. Not three years of playing to the NP limit of 5000 and quitting. Three years of grinding out board after board whenever I was online. That sort of dedication isn’t suited to everyone, and that’s totally fine. I completely understand those who want to have more of a life than me, haha! Just be realistic about the gains you’ll make and how long it’ll take to achieve your end goals.
2. Take advantage of the 3 month reset window: following on from the previous point, you may have times where you feel mentally burnt out and just want to throw in the towel on the whole idea of cumulative trophies. I get it. I’ve been there myself, where it’s just too daunting a number that you’ll need to accomplish for your next step. At the moment, I have less than half the required score for an upgrade to Pyramids CHAMPION. When I think about it like that, reflecting on the hours and hours already put into the game and then having to double it, it’s overwhelming. Rather than pushing yourself to a point of resentment though, remember that your high score just needs to be added to every 3 months. If you’re burnt out, take a break from it. Finish one game every couple of months, to keep your high score active, and it’ll still be there if/when you ever feel like picking up where you left off.
3. Find the game modes that work best for you: both Sakhmet Solitaire and Neggsweeper give you more than one option in how you wish to play the game. It is a good idea to experiment with these, to find what yields the best score results for you. The way I suggest doing this is by taking note of your starting score, then seeing how many more points you earn over a certain time frame of playing in each mode. This will allow you to have a rough estimation of your point output potential, though obviously there are luck factors with particularly good or bad boards that’ll influence this as well. For example, I found that although playing Neggsweeper on Hard mode by far yielded the most points per game, it was overall the slowest method of point accumulation for me. This was because of a failed game resulting in zero points in Neggsweeper; the time spent on a Hard board was higher and had the chance of giving me no additional score to my total, whereas I could complete several Easy boards in the same time and have a positive gain.
4. Practice makes perfect: it’s an adage that has been around a long time for a reason- because it’s true! Sometimes the speed at which we can play a game is limited by factors out of our control, such as commitments in real life reducing our time online, or on-site lag sabotaging our progress with slow page refreshing. Beyond these though, our own level of skill in these games does play a role, and this is something that you will gain over time. Probably without even realising it, your brain will become accustomed to the patterns for solving the different games, reducing the cognitive load it takes for you to play them. It’s like riding a bike; you get to a point where your hands and brain know what they’re supposed to do, and you don’t need to actively think as much about it. So if it take you a while to figure out the complicated rules and scoring systems of Scarab 21, for instance, that’s perfectly ok! You’re learning a new skill, and that takes time.
5. Set realistic goals: don’t look at the #1 score and aim at that to begin with, or you’ll be discouraged before you even begin. Take it one step at a time. For a fresh player of cumulative games, your first long-term goal might be to make it onto the high score table. Not Top #17, just to have your name on that board at all. That in itself is a really tough accomplishment in these games (particularly for Sakhmet Solitaire), and is nothing to be sneezed at. Once you’ve cracked the Top #100, perhaps you’ll aim for #75 next; breaking down your overall goal into more manageable chunks helps you see that you are indeed making progress, even when it feels like you’re not. Every name you overtake on that table is a victory that you’ve earned. Aside from these long-term goals, also consider setting yourself daily score goals. Perhaps on a work/school day you want to earn 10k points, and on the weekend you go for 20k? Find some figures that reflect your time and ability levels to begin with, as you can always adjust them as you improve.
At the end of the day, the four cumulative trophies still remain badges that represent your skill and dedication on Neopets. Undertaking the quest to earn them is not something that should be taken flippantly. If you’re looking for something to help you stand out from the crowd though, by all means go for it. I look forward to seeing you on those HSTs!