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Viral Unlockable

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Unlockable Content earned by playing with someone who has already unlocked it

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Someoneman on Sep 8th 2017 at 7:36:25 PM
Last Edited By:
Someoneman on Mar 6th 2018 at 2:11:02 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

A Viral Unlockable is a piece of Unlockable Content such as an achievement, skin, or weapon, that is earned by playing with another player who has already unlocked it. Depending on the game, merely meeting such a player may be enough, or you might have to defeat (or be defeated by) the player in question.

Because of the obvious Catch-22 Dilemma involved with this trope, some people (usually staff members) usually have the item in question unlocked from the start so they can spread it to normal players.

A type of Socialization Bonus, and possibly a Luck-Based Mission.

Examples

Video Game

  • The Creeper Clunk skin from Awesomenauts is unlocked by killing a player who is playing as Clunk and is wearing the skin.
  • Brütal Legend has the "Six Degrees of Schafer" achievement, which can only be obtained by playing an online game against someone who already has it (with the original vector being, of course, Tim Schafer).
  • Some title cards in the Call of Duty series are unlocked in this manner. For example, the "STD" and "Infected" titles in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and 3 are earned by using your knife to kill someone who has the title equipped.
  • The post-game DLC quests for Dragon Quest IX have become this since the DS' Wifi Connection servers were disabled- the quests can still be unlocked via local wireless connection with a player who already has them, making them one of the few bits of DS DLC that can still be legitimately obtained post-shutdown.
  • In Heroes of the Storm, Cho'gall was initially released in this way - a two-headed character controlled by two players at once, you could play as one of the heads as long as someone who had unlocked him was playing the other. After doing this, he was unlocked for your own use.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Pyrovision goggles can be earned by dominating a player who was wearing them. Seeding was done by just giving a pair to anyone who launched the game in a limited time.
    • The infamous Ghastly Gibus. Again earned by dominating someone wearing the hat. Seeded by a semi secret webpage.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown has an achievement named "Bubonic", which can only be earned by playing online against someone who already has it.
  • In Super Smash Bros.: Brawl, playing online against a secret character unlocks that character instantly.

Real Life

  • The concept of an Erdos number. Mathematician Paul Erdos had a number of 0. Anybody who has worked directly with him is given the number 1. Working with somebody who has an Erdos number of 1 grants one the Erdos number 2, and so on. In a similar vein, the concept of Bacon Numbers calculates the distance between an actor and Kevin Bacon,

Feedback: 13 replies

Sep 9th 2017 at 3:51:33 AM

This is an entry under Analysis.Video Game Achievements, so make sure to cross-wick that page once this gets launched...

  • Brutal Legend has the "Six Degrees of Schafer" achievement, which can only be obtained by playing an online game against someone who already has it (with the original vector being, of course, Tim Schafer).
  • XCOM Enemy Unknown similarly has an achievement named "Bubonic", which can only be earned by playing online against someone who already has it.

Sep 9th 2017 at 2:03:49 AM

  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The pyrovision googles can be earned by dominating a player who was wearing them. Seeding was done by just giving a pair to anyone who launched the game in a limited time.
    • The infamous Ghastly Gibus. Again earned by dominating someone wearing the hat. Seeded by a semi secret webpage.

Sep 9th 2017 at 2:51:11 AM

The post-game DLC quests for Dragon Quest IX have become this since the DS' Wifi Connection servers were disabled- the quests can still be unlocked via local wireless connection with a player who already has them, making them one of the few bits of DS DLC that can still be legitimately obtained post-shutdown.

Sep 9th 2017 at 7:49:41 AM

Sep 9th 2017 at 8:08:08 AM

  • Some title cards in the Call Of Duty series are unlocked in this manner. For example, the "STD" and "Infected" titles in Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 and 3 are earned by using your knife to kill someone who has the title equipped.

Sep 9th 2017 at 9:06:43 AM

I'm not entirely sure if this counts, but...

  • Portal 2 offers an achievement for completing a co-op course again, but with someone who never finished it before.

Sep 9th 2017 at 11:28:44 PM

^ That's almost like an inversion, isn't it? You can only get this achievement for playing with an "uninfected" player.

Sep 27th 2017 at 10:05:31 AM

Real Life, the Erdos Number. Erdos himself is zero, and a person's Erdos number is the Erdos number of the lowest-numbered person they've worked with plus 1.

Mar 6th 2018 at 9:33:16 AM

In Super Smash Bros Brawl, playing against an online player who is using a secret character you haven't unlocked yet unlocks it immediately.

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