From what we have talked about until now, we already have some clues about what we need in order to implement the concept of gamification.
We already know we need:
- A challenge – the task that you have to accomplish;
- Accomplishment – the conquering or overcoming of the task;
- Reward – the intrinsic or extrinsic value obtained from it, be it satisfaction (intrinsic), a prize (extrinsic), or both.
But this just shows an iteration of it. Effectively structuring gamification should imply creating a meaningful chain of events so that it is not just a one-time venture. Otherwise it would seem to be a bit meaningless, don’t you think?
Next we must think about some important aspects to increase the effectiveness of the gamification:
By increasing the difficulty present in each level, the intrinsic reward is also progressively greater. In other words, the harder it is to beat a challenge, the better it feels to absolutely “destroy that barrier”. The extrinsic reward, if applicable, should be proportional to the level of effort invested in the task.
This helps a lot in the way that you will not get bored as easily by repeating the same thing over and over again, without a purpose, while noticing yourself improving, by challenging your limits every time. But this isn’t always true. Sometimes the task is hopelessly repetitive and there is no way to increase or adjust its difficulty. Therefore, this approach is not a valid option and we have a challenge right here that we must overcome creatively.
Another thing to consider is the setting of the game itself.
Is the task something we can include in a story-like environment? Can we create a meaningful story around a given task, stimulating the player’s imagination, hence increasing the engagement of said player?
Creativity plays a big part in the requirements of this subject. The Gamifier who creates the environment has to be creative. But this also applies to the Gamifee who has to interpret the scenario and fill in the blanks according to his or her needs.
Structuring gamification implies an approach on the setting as well. Will the player play solo or with others?
The Basics of Multiplay
The typical multiplayer modes in games can be included in two main principles. It can be either competitive or collaborative. In some cases it can be a mixture of the two. In both ways, this makes everything more meaningful and interesting to the game itself and, of course, to the player. The rivalry makes you try harder to be the best at whatever game you play, while cooperation makes the experience more enjoyable and it can be responsible for better results.
However, rivalry can sometimes inhibit the individual in a case where he or she fears not being good enough to compete against his or her peers and wants to avoid the shame of finishing last. Cooperation eases the potential psychological punishment and dilutes the importance given to that factor. Obviously this does not apply to everyone but we must always consider it.
It is common for individuals to create collaborative groups in a competitive environment. Games provide the players with the option to create Guilds, Clans, Organizations or Societies. These will gather a group of people with the same goal within a given game. Most of the times, these groups will be competing with each other in an effort to be the very best on resource control, gear production, storyline advancement, and so on.
Even amidst these struggles, more “casual” groups are created, with more laid-back goals. A lot of people enjoy simple things such as adventuring with their friends or having a place to chat and discuss ideas with others who share the same goals or interests.
This can and should be included when structuring gamification concepts. It can provide the most appropriate environment to each individual, based on his will to be integrated in a group where he will feel included.