GDC Report (tues)Day one: Part 4 – Rewarding DrivePosted March 17th, 2010 by Warren Blyth
1:45pm- Meta-Game Design: Reward Systems that Drive Engagement (summary)
This talk moved fast, and seemed more business (“user manipulation”?) minded. She presented a diagram which designated three levels of game (representing player interaction? feedback?). basically:
1. Experience points (represent the time player puts in)
2. Skill points (player’s demonstrated ability),
3. Influence points (player’s friends and sharing).I didn’t want to transcribe slides, but here are some raw notes I thought interesting:
- basic gaming model is: You take actions to earn points. You also receive feedback and rewards while taking these actions. When happy, you end up contributing/generating viral feedback for the game.
- Think about which actions should earn points. Which reactions? (ex: reacting to friends actions should be a way to earn something).
- Plus, you want to let people spend points (not their xp!). (ex: like spending some sort of points to acquire decals or cards or armor or whatever). This points-spending trick is core to a really “sticky engagement loop.”
- “levels are shorthand for participation and acheivement.” … rpg levels, i assume… Meh (I don’t really play/enjoy RPGs). but she’s saying your “level” is just another point system, which makes it clear how you’re progressing through a game.
- Don’t show leaderboards to newbies. They intimidate newbies. “Maybe don’t show them at all unless player is high up on them?” Social leader boards are better. They always show your place. Trick you into comparing yourself against friends. Shape your behavior by urging you to outdo your friends.
- “Missions” tell people what to do next. This is a “great solution for web design” also, as it gives you direction. (not sure what she meant exactly when suggesting missions could help with web design…)
- “Achievements” give you short term goals between your levels. They can also push you to do things you never would have thought of. They can also foster a collecting urge (“just need two more”).
- Separate your players by the time they invest. They need different kinds of rewards. Power users will respond to scarce resources. Newbs won’t notice or appreciate them.
I thought she was saying some interesting things about the psychology of, well, basically Facebook games and WoW. Which are games I don’t play. But I’d bet these tricks, and these ways of thinking, would be very useful in games for an entire class. Doug and I have discussed leaderboards at length, and I’ve read of several schools benefitting from switching over from “grades” to “acheivements.”
Lot of food for thought here. I’m still digesting.