Recently, we brought you a rundown of some of the grindiest achievements on Xbox, but intentionally omitted ones where RNG was the primary factor. As luck would have it, here's a follow-up piece all about those awful things.
Luck-based achievements are arguably even worse than grindy ones due to the sheer uncertainty of when (or even if) you'll meet the conditions. At least if a game asks you to play for 100 hours to unlock an achievement, you have a target. With the ones featured here, though, everything is up in the air. Some lucky bugger somewhere will have RNG smile upon them on their first or second attempt, while less fortunate souls find themselves with nothing to show for their efforts dozens of hours later. Developers seem to be a little too keen on achievements that reward blind luck rather than skill, and here's a selection of examples that take the trend way too far...
Monster Hunter: World
Giant Crown Master in Monster Hunter: World
Miniature Crown Master in Monster Hunter: World
Random elements have always been a major factor in the Monster Hunter series, from which (if any) additional beasts may turn up to interfere with a hunt to what manner of rewards you get at the end. Gotta love a good 1% drop rate, right? World took this to the next level, though, with achievements tied to defeating monsters of extreme sizes (both large and small). Aside from a few guaranteed mega/mini monsters in certain Event Quests, sizes are completely random, so this will almost certainly take ages — I have over 2,000 hours in World on PlayStation, and am still missing these two trophies. Oh, and Capcom doubled down on this nonsense with Iceborne too, adding another pair of crown-related achievements to send hunters back to the RNG grind with all the new monsters. Wonderful.
The Elder Scrolls Online
Master Fisher in The Elder Scrolls Online
The Elder Scrolls Online is packed with fun activities, from exploring the wilderness for adventure to delving into forgotten ruins to battle it out with steam-powered constructs. Amongst all of that excitement is a chance to take a load off and partake in some quiet fishing. You find a fishing hole, press A to cast the line, wait for the float to dip or your controller to vibrate, press A again to reel it in, then repeat those steps. Forever. It’s not really the most enjoyable of activities, so when someone decided to add an achievement to the game that requires you to catch every fish throughout the 20 base game zones, the only logical explanation is that they’d had one too many Bloody Maras. Tom says it took him the best part of 100 hours of continuously pressing A on his controller to earn all the titles. It would have been easier to catch Moby Dick.
Texas Hold 'Em
Luck of the Draw in Texas Hold'em
The clue is in the name with this Texas Hold 'Em achievement, which doesn't even pretend to be anything more than pure luck. If you don't play much poker, you're probably looking at this and wondering what's so bad about it. Well, what if we told you that the odds of hitting a royal flush — the best hand in the game — in Texas Hold 'Em are just shy of 31,000:1? That's assuming completed hands, too, but there will be times when you'll be close to a big hand, only to be priced out of the pot or to scoop blinds after early folds. The 'good news' here is that you can just have the game play itself by simply jamming down the A button and leaving it idle, although we wonder how many people who did this on 360 got the Red Ring of Death before they got a royal flush...
Crypt of the Necrodancer
Bat Trick in Crypt of the NecroDancer
The Crypt of the Necrodancer list is an achievement hunter's worst nightmare. The amount of patience, skill, luck, and time you'd need to get the completion is mind-blowing, and three achievements on the base list have zero unlocks on TA. This, fortunately, is not one of them, although it is the list's worst offender in terms of RNG. What is so hard about killing three green bats? Finding them — the devs say you'll likely only see one every 400 runs or so, and that's assuming you actually find it as you race through the dungeons, too. You'd easily see three of these rare mobs in the time it took you to learn the game well enough to beat it with Coda (more on that soon!), but in isolation, this grind is just preposterous.
Wits & Wagers
Super Wit in Wits & Wagers
Quiz games like Wits & Wagers can be good for a quick laugh, but asking players to see literally every question in the game is a... questionable decision. Just imagine how many tedious duplicates you're going to have to grind through when you're down to the last few you need to finish the set. There are only seven questions per game, so this would take a bare minimum of 100 games even with perfect luck and no repeat questions, which isn't going to happen. The fact that every piece of advice we've seen for this one relates to just leaving the game idle overnight as the host is pretty telling of how willing people are to go for this one properly, and we can't really blame them.
Tetris® Master in Tetris Ultimate
We considered saving this Tetris Ultimate achievement for a later list covering the most difficult unlocks, but on closer inspection, it's actually more worthy of a place here, or even on our previous list. The first two conditions are just long-winded cumulative grinds, but it's the final part that lands it here. Simply the Best asks you to make a combo of 20, which involves perfectly stacking the outside edges to completely fill the outer three columns on each side of the well, then filling it in such a way that 21 consecutive drops clear a single line. Both parts of this process are entirely down to the order the blocks come in, which is, of course, random, and it's only possible if the pattern plays nice. Which, more often than not, it won't. Good luck...
Ring Leader in Neverwinter
Lots of RPGs have items with ridiculously low drop rates, but most developers have the decency to not tie that kind of rare loot to achievements. Perfect World was not so kind with its Tomb of Annihilation update for Neverwinter, however, with a bunch of loot-based achievements including this brutal RNG grind. Updates have since improved drop rates (especially for parties) to take the edge off somewhat, but even now, getting the rare +5 variant of each of the five special rings is simply a matter of crossing your fingers as you repeatedly run hunts. Later expansions would move away from luck-based achievements like this in favour of more cumulative and narrative ones, so it at least seems like the team learned from its mistake.
Enter the Gungeon
Case Closed in Enter the Gungeon
This is a weird one, because it is reliant not just on luck, but also on very specific knowledge that the game never actually tells you. After your first proper clear, a new 'enemy' is introduced to the Gungeon — an extremely rare non-hostile Bullet Kin in a cape. Having gunned down thousands of similar foes before you first meet this one, chances are the poor guy won't last long, unless you know the score. You see, this fella actually has to survive the firefight, after which he'll wander around for a bit doing his own thing, then vanish. After five such chance encounters, you'll unlock both The Bullet as a new playable character, and this achievement. It can take long enough just to get the caped casing to spawn five times, but it'll take you even longer if you end up blasting him the first few times you meet. At least Enter the Gungeon is an awesome game with plenty of longevity, else this could have been a nightmare. Well, more of one.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
Full Roster in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
Sure, this one can be quickly and easily boosted, but unlock criteria that are out of the hands of the player are always a bit naughty. It's actually pretty unlikely that you'd ever get this through natural play, especially if you weren't online from day one when people were still sizing up the cast. Not all of the 48 characters are created equal, and some are way more popular than others, plus some previously common picks were hit with some major nerfs going into Ultimate and really dropped off the radar. As an extra kicker, DLC fighters Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath don't count towards the achievement, and anyone who bought and liked them is likely to want to get their money's worth, which is a dead team slot for any opponent fishing for this achievement. Things like this should probably be use every character, rather than face them all, as situational achievements that rely on the actions of others are almost always a pain.
Blast From The Past in Fallout Shelter
Low drop rates and free-to-play games go hand-in-hand, with devs making the good stuff extremely rare in an effort to funnel players towards speeding things up by pulling out their wallets. Fallout Shelter can be particularly stingy at times, whether with long periods of downtime that can be skipped by spending, or like this, with drop rates and targets that don't tally up into any kind of realistic time frame for f2p players. Legendary Dwellers can only be found in Lunchboxes, and those are far from common. You get one per week as a login reward and a smattering as you play for quest and objective rewards, but aside from that, the only other way to get them is — you guessed it — to buy them. Comparing multiple player accounts seems to put the drop rate for these Dwellers at around one in 40 (2.5%), meaning you'd likely need to go through close to 800 Lunchboxes before this achievement popped. That's years of daily/weekly play... or about $400. Your choice.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Poker! in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (EU)
I'd actually forgotten all about The Witcher 2's dice poker mini-game until I started researching this article, and was even more surprised to discover that I actually also had this achievement. Given how little time I put into this port before I bounced off it, I must have been insanely lucky — the odds of hitting five of a kind on your first roll are one in 1,296 (assuming you manage to keep all five dice in play!), although being able to reroll any number of them does help pull up the likelihood considerably, especially if you luck into a four-of-a-kind (one in 216 chance) off the bat, giving you a one in six chance to hit the fifth. Assuming the opponent doesn't fold after your first strong roll, that is. This mini-game is little more than a distraction since the luck-based nature of it doesn't make it an efficient way to earn cash, so it's a bit strange that CDPR decided to attach an achievement to a literal throw of the dice...
Divided by Death in Hades
A few of the more long-winded Prophecies in Hades involve multi-level RNG that is a little different to anything we've seen so far. First, most involve meeting up with specific NPCs, often in the event rooms (recognisable by the "!" symbol on the chamber door) on each floor. These aren't guaranteed to show up, so you could end up doing a bunch of runs while barely seeing them, especially if there's one in particular that you need. When you do get into one, the NPCs in question might not say the right thing to further the narrative — they might instead give you some backstory, comment on something you've done, or just natter away about something else. There's no way of influencing when they'll actually give you the dialogue you need, leaving you at the mercy of a two-pronged RNG system that can get a little frustrating deep in the endgame.
Lost Planet 2
Weapons Master in Lost Planet 2
Lost Planet 2 should probably have made it onto our previous list given just how utterly absurd the grind to unlock everything is. Still, we get to make amends by including it here, since unlocking all of the weapons is just a case of trying your luck on a literal slot machine. The price of spinning the wheel goes up over time as you start to empty it of prizes, but there's nothing to stop the final weapon you need to complete the set from being the very last thing left to win from the slots. Not too big a deal if you're going for the full completion as you'd need the rest of the stuff anyway, but in isolation, it makes this achievement a ridiculous game of chance. Not that anything in Lost Planet 2 is anywhere close to sensible, but you get the idea.
Legendary Set in Torchlight III
Another game that came up a lot in the comments last time was Torchlight III, due to its lofty expectations for how many monsters players should kill — one million is way too many. The so-so sequel doesn't stop there with its obnoxious achievements, either. This little beauty requires you to loot and wear all seven complete Legendary gear sets that were included in the base game, and as we established earlier, tying achievements to rare drops is not cool, especially not 42 specific rare drops. Oh, and it gets worse. Four sets are character-specific, meaning you'll likely have to do four full playthroughs before you even get close, and new Legendary gear sets added since launch apparently don't count towards this achievement, which will slow down your progress even more.
Crusader Kings III
Going Places in Crusader Kings III (Windows)
We've seen lots of example of low probabilities so far, but Crusader Kings III makes it onto this list purely by virtue of having so many moving parts as to be almost completely unpredictable at times. Haesteinn himself needs to survive all the way up to meeting the conditions, so part of this is hoping he doesn't get a dagger in the back or fall foul of some illness or another. Even if he does live a long and healthy life, there's no way of controlling or predicting what the rival factions will do, so you could miss out on this in any number of ways that make it impossible to achieve within Haesteinn's natural lifetime. This guide for the Steam version excellently lays out just how many things can go wrong — all you can do is hope for a lucky attempt, and restart if things don't go according to plan.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Mist Walker in Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age
Final Fantasy XII is jam-packed with outrageously low item drop chances, but thankfully, none of those are directly related to achievements. Some of those rare drops do make completing all Trials easier, though, if you have the patience to be dealing with 5% drop chances from chests that themselves have a 1% spawn rate. This one isn't quite that brutal, although pulling off all of the different Concurrences — combinations of the entire party's Mist techniques — is still very much more luck than judgement. You're on a strict timer and need to see up to 12 specific abilities, as well as perfectly timed Mist Charge rolls for the correct characters if you want to stand a chance. It's easy enough to grind out attempts just by recharging at a save point and going full overkill against the first enemy you see. But with no way to skip animations and so much resting on what options are given to you, this is still one hell of an RNG grind unless you get super lucky.
Cat Scratch Fever in Yakuza 0
If you're going to place bets on something, you might want to consider making it something a little more reliable than rock-paper-scissors. That's effectively all this dodgy Yakuza 0 catfighting mini-game is, and winning ten tournaments would try the patience of a saint. Ties are settled with a button-mashing sequence which feels rigged, while the AI can read your inputs and just choose to win... the whole thing is just one big exercise in frustration. Apparently, you can tip the balance in your favour by kitting yourself out with gear that boosts your financial fortune, so if lady luck isn't on your side with this gross grind, you might want to take a break and get yourself some new duds. The less time you have to put up with this sleazy, patently unfair nonsense, the better.
Winning Streak in Fishing Planet
This one is just plain rude. There are so many random factors at work in the size, placement, and behavior of fish in Fishing Planet that even asking for a single top-three tournament finish would be quite a tall order. Little wonder, then, that only four tracked players on TA have managed to pull it off ten times in a row. This single achievement is sat at just shy of 10,000 TA score, and you can surely see why — all it takes is for a few other players to get a little bit luckier than you with what they haul in and your win streak is in the drink, sending you right back to square one. This has got to be the worst offender on this entire list, in all honesty. Most here are pretty painful, sure, but they're one-and-done deals... you eventually do the thing, you get the achievement. But rolling a 6 on a dice ten times in a row? Give it a rest.
Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5+2.5 Remix
Master Magician in KINGDOM HEARTS - HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX
Master Defender in KINGDOM HEARTS - HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX
Kingdom Hearts gives us another two-for-one deal like Monster Hunter, thanks to this pair of achievements for rounding up every single one of Donald and Goofy's weapons. The lists are pretty long, and while there's not a whole lot of variance in how most are obtained, there's one weapon in particular for each character that is known to give completionists headaches. Defender and Wizard's Relic both drop from the Heartless variant from which they take their respective names, just, erm... not very often. They have an astonishing 0.2% drop rate so even though you're going to be killing hundreds of Heartless over the course of the game, you'd still have to get incredibly lucky to find either of these without resorting to grinding. Donald gets an especially raw deal, since he already has a better option available by the time the recommended farming spot opens up, but Goofy can grab an upgrade almost immediately after that point, too.
Who Collects The Collector? in Borderlands 3
The Borderlands games seem to like including achievements that involve hunting down rare enemy spawns, with this DLC achievement being the latest of them. As usual, getting the thing to spawn is tied to hidden conditions, namely completing a specific side mission, then just zoning in and out of a particular area until the enemy in question finally shows up. In a game that is built around the concept of pure and constant chaos, locking achievements behind effectively just going in and out of the same room for hours at a time seems a little off-key. We're talking potentially hours of wasted time here assuming you actually know where the blasted things spawn, too. If you don't, you're gonna be scouring the maps for weeks. No thanks.
As before, we'd love to hear your thoughts on both article and topic, as well as for you to continue the conversation down in the comments. We're looking forward to seeing what kind of luck-based lunacy y'all can come up with to add to the list, so get involved!