jueves, 27 de junio de 2013

35 Inspiring Game Examples for Gamification Mechanics

35 Inspiring Game Examples for Gamification Mechanics

Why are some games better than others? What is in those mechanics that makes them so awesome and special? And how can we extract the best of those game mechanics to apply it to gamification

One of the most important things in gamification is knowing all the tools that we have available to use them in an epic way. We have a general list of 35 basic gamification mechanics (check out the "35 Gamification Mechanics toolkit") and some quick insights about them but, since all of them were originally created or mastered in games, why not having a look at some of the greatest mechanics examples in the history of games?

Games and mechanics: learning from the best for gamification

When designing a gamified systems, games are just the best source for learning why some mechanics are good and others are epic, so it's always a good idea to have a look at some of them to learn from the best! 

So how are we introducing this examples? There are 3 things to take into account: 

- What makes those mechanics so effective in terms of fun (42 fun things of Jon Radoff) and motivation (16 human motivators of Reiss)?
- Why are these cases so special?
- How can we use what we have learnt from the examples in gamification?
*And some bad humor jokes you'll have to put up with...

And before starting, do we need anything else to fully understand the examples? Not really, but some knowledge about Reiss' 16 human motivators, the "42 things that are fun" list and a bit of the general mechanics might be good. You can find it all on the "35 Gamification Mechanics toolkit" post. 

Let's get started!

1. World (The Lord of the Rings Online)

"Look at this Mr. Frodo! Here it says: Mordor, a warm, not-crowded-with-tourists sunny place, a high tower with views... It's decided! Ibiza will have to wait! This place is on fire!"

WHAT? An epic world is one of the best things to create a great experience. It gives the players a feeling of freedom and curiosity, and we all know how fun it is to explore a new world, learn it by heart and experience its beauty and aesthetics. 

WHY? There are many examples in games of amazing worlds but the one in the LoTR Online is especially awesome and it really takes you inside the magic circle due to its depth and richness, and the scenery is most of the times brilliant. Besides, it totally supports the storyline and makes you want to play more and more. 

HOW? There are many reasons to build a world for our gamified system, even just a small one, because it will enhance the story, the theme, and will take our players to a real magic circle where they experience amazing emotions. Since great gamification is all about the experience, worlds are always an option to take into account. It is particulary interesting for enterprise gamification and education. 
2. Area (Second Life) 

"Okay, so this is definitely not the place where I parked my car"

WHAT? As worlds, areas fulfill people's curiosity and autonomy, but they also enhance social contact and strenghten family relationships by creating public or private zones where people do stuff (mainly socialising in any way). Besides, it is so fun to customize Second Life's world, to have your unique place within it, like Minecraft does.

WHY? Areas are quite famous within games, but Second Life really created that feeling of private zones where to have small group activities, or those big public zones to socialise with everyone. It's like you really have a small piece of game for you and your friends, and it's all yours! They even sold them for real money!

HOW? Areas are really interesting for gamification because they dramatically increase social contact (guilds, teams, groups), and the feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. Social ususally means viral so don't miss out that chance. Very interesting for social good and any type of external gamification.

3. Avatar (World of Warcraft)

"Hmm, i'm wondering what's gonna happen in this hockey game. She's got the stick, but not sure what's going on with that weird pitch behind..."

WHAT? Avatars, characters, or even profile photos with a cool frame, are the perfect way of deploying status, customization, and making people express themselves as they want: heroes, villains, wise men, etc. Besides, having cool avatars make you the center of attention, and people like having their own glory time!

WHY? Avatars already existed before WoW, but the game masterized the concept. There are just so many possibilites, and they all look awesome. Races, classes, and thousands of different looks that increase the theme's effect and people's love for their in-game representations.

HOW? As in Nike+, people come to the point of loving their avatars (or less interactive representations) and they want them to be happy, look good, be great, etc. Apart from that, avatars are a great source of status due to how they look like, because people end up recognising patterns in them. It's a powerful way of motivating people and it's a fantastic tool for education, health systems, or enterprise gamification.

4. Customization (The Sims 3)

"There's something weird about her profile photo on facebook...Nah, should be her hair mate, that's a wig!"

WHAT? Customization is the perfect complement for avatars. It enhances all what avatars or customized profiles create, making their motivational and fun effects way bigger. It's a way of being bizarre, creating a group's style or just having some fun with the all the possibilites that games offer.

WHY? The Sims 3 made something better than others, they implemented so many possibilites and all of them were so realistic that you could almost feel that those characters were real! And they did it in a "nice and easy" way, just great.

HOW? There's a lot to learn from WoW and The Sims 3 about customization and avatars, and the way they did that, but basically, implementing customization within our gamified system gives the players not only a feeling of freedom and expressing themselves, but also an emotional connection with what they have created and control. Customization is especially effective in the same areas as avatars.

5. Skills / Traits (Final Fantasy)

"Cool chess set you got! Just a picky comment, I still find it weird when my king dies in first turn because of those trap holes..."

WHAT? Skills or traits are a very powerful way of creating emergence in your game while fulfilling the power and autonomy motivators. They give the player a sense of control and mastery in the long term, while making a game far more tactical and complex. When combined with classes and races it's a source of endless fun.

WHY? Final Fantasy is not only well-known for its drama and storyline, but also because of the vast amount of possibilities when creating your team. It's a very easy to understand and balanced approach that adds so many fun ways of building up your character.

HOW? Skills or traits are a great way of giving privileges or special treatments to your players, something that will add a great dose of status and power to your system. Apart from that, they create emergence and enhance the endgame, both difficult to have in gamification. They are recommended for almost every type of gamification.

6. Equipment (Dungeons & Dragons)

"Damm it! I can't find my catapult and i'm totally sure it was in my bagpack one hour ago!"

WHAT? Equipments are the very basics of items in games. It is what the character is wearing and that's why is a source of status, power and in the end, of saving and accumulating virtual goods. Items are one of the funniest things of games because you have to look for them, fight for them, team up to get them, etc. They create thousands of possibilites and so much emergence and complexity.

WHY? Dungeons & Dragons is without any doubt, one of the best RPG ever made, and there's no need to say why. Anyone that has played with just pen and paper, some of the board games or even video games knows that items, and especially equipment sets were the key to success in many situations. There were so many and they all have a function. A masterpiece for any gamer.

HOW? Gamification is by no means implementing D&D everywhere, but the way equipment is designed in it, makes it worth looking at it. Equipment can increase our system's potential by letting players explore the platform, having new goals all the time, showing their skills and generating great experiences. If they can find them, and it's worth it, they'll try for sure and it's always a great complement for quests. Specially recommended for business gamification.

7. Vanity Item (Team Fortress 2)

"Yeah, your rifle looks quite impossible to detect in the dark bro, no wonder why you got shot twice today"

WHAT? Vanity items are very similar to equipment, but they differ in a very small and critical detail: there are very few of them or it's almost impossible to get them. They also fulfill power and saving but they are all about status. "You'll never look like a pro player if you don't have this super special epic green item" and that's hard to find but so much fun! Many players will spend so much time just to get one of them, and that means a lot. Always remember people love collecting!

WHY? Team Fortress 2 has one of the greatest vanity systems i've ever seen in my whole life. No wonder why not only is the most played game of the Steam Platform (millions of players everyday), but sells items for amounts of money you don't want to know. Only because they have those cool lights on? That also, but mainly because they allow you to show others your global score, and in a FPS game, that's very important.

HOW? Vanity items are one of the most powerful mechanics for gamification. They enhance the endgame, are the perfect mate of virtual economies, radically increase time spent and engagement, and much more. Required for business gamification and almost all the types of gamification.

8. Elite Item (MU Online)

"Now i know where the fashion designer's inspiration for all those shinning clothes is coming from"

WHAT? Elite items are a very special type of items that allow players to do things or to visit places they are not allowed in the beginning. As vanity items, they are a source of status and power, mixed with curiosity and social contact. They are a very fun way of making your players explore the world, add some mistery and gain knowledge about the game progressively.

WHY? MU Online is a very old and classic game, with some terrible graphics, but what they did well, was creating a whole system of elite items that were available to almost all levels. Mixed with easter eggs, and time events, they made the game so engaging and fun.

HOW? Making some parts of our gamified system only available if players do some special stuff that we say it's a really powerful tool. As we have said, easter eggs and time events are the perfect companions! Good for external gamification.

9. Power-up (Super Mario Bros)

"Oh my gooood! That canyon was not supposed to be pointing down!"

WHAT? Power ups are a great way of adding some power to the system and most of the times they are used for competitions against other players if the game allows multiplayer modes. Besides, it is so exciting and fun winning in the last second because you activated it! Or just passing that level thanks to some extra help!

WHY? Super Mario Bros is well-known for its basic but effective boosters and they are perfectly balanced adding so much emergence and excitement to the game, and they also create the habit of taking some actions in order to get the boosters.

HOW? Power-ups are a very useful tool for gamification that can be used as lifejackets (we talk about that later on) or scaffolding and they also generate a great dose of excitement that is always great to have. All types of gamification can have power-ups.

10. Currency (Farmville)

"I never expected a farm to be that cheap!"

WHAT? In-game currencies are one of the key aspects of every gamified system. They serve to many purposes and fulfill so many human motivators like saving, power, status, social contact, etc, and besides, having a currency makes the game so much fun because people love collecting and trading and that leads to many other things

WHY? The currency system in farmville is one of the most well-known of all because it is so engaging and zynga's profit skyrocketed after its release. They achieved what not many games could, making virtual money as valuable as real money, and that's an amazing thing. Second life and others also got to that point. How? Well, that's a mix of many things but without any doubt, status and the vast amount of people how plays, is one of the key issues

HOW? Currencies and gamification match perfectly and they allow us to implement so many types of mechanics like items, quests, trading systems, punishments, etc that will not be as powerful as they can be with a trading system going on. Besides, they make games endless and are a powerful tool for increasing social contact. A must-have. It is a great tool for business gamification and in general for all of them.  
11. Trading systems (Team Fortress 2)

"I love them all! And look at the prices! Give me two of each!"

WHAT? Trading systems are the perfect complement for currency systems. They need each other and their effects together are way bigger than alone. All the effects that currencies had, trading systems enhance. Apart from that, players love trading and acting as if they were stock market's brokers, predicting the future, farming items to get better ones later, discussing prices with others, writing guides about it or discovering the secret mechanics underlying. It's just a big source of fun!

WHY? Team Fortress has (again) one of the most compelling trading systems ever! And with the implementation of the beta market they have achieved so many things but in special: killing black markets and cheaters, making vanity items really available for all, increasing dramatically profits, et. The formula is similar to the app store: cheap, great, quick, and simple.

HOW? As well as with currency mechanics, trading systems are really useful in gamification because they make gamified platforms way more social and interesting. Besides, things like markets, auction houses, NPC vendors and so on, add so many possibilities in the long term giving the players two important feelings: that there's always people playing and that there's always something new and exciting to do.
12. Quest (Grand Theft Auto 3)

"I love the way how those cool pink weapons work from my helicopter..."

WHAT? Quests are the best way to fulfill people's need of being the greatest hero ever, or the biggest villain on earth, or similar. And that is something that is so much fun, it doesn't matter if we have to save the world or destroy it, there's always some feeling of control, autonomy, and idealism that makes it great, and rewards are worth it!

WHY? Grand Theft Auto is one of those games that has both types of quests: the villain and the hero one, and that's something remarkable cause it doesn't happen that much in games, and when it happens, it's not done that well. It lets us be whatever we want to be, and what it's more impressive is that we don't take those quests for tne rewards in them, we do them because we want to follow the storyline and what it involves. And that's a critical point for gamification.

HOW? As we have said, quests are a great way to keep people engaged through rewards, time events, special challenges and new things all the time, but they are also awesome to tell a story where our users can be the main character, so keep this in mind! Quests are perfect for enterprise gamification.
13. Tutorial (Travian)

"So your first and probably the only step in this game is kill them all"

WHAT? Tutorials are one of the most important things in games. They teach us how to play and give us that feeling of tranquility that we all need in order to learn how to play today's overwhelming games, but they also foster human curiosity because they kind od tell you the story of what is next and that's really fun. They guide you, make you feel big and powerful and then they let you "kill them all" (don't try this in travian or you won't last long) or do as you like, and we all love that!

WHY? Travian is not an easy game. It was not in the past where you just had to kill them all as soon as possible but with the implementation of heroes, new terrains, etc it became a really complex game. But no need to tell you that in the beginning! Travian's tutorial guides you in a perfect way and when you finish it, you've learnt all you need to play, gained loads of stuff, and you didn't even notice!

HOW? Tutorials are required if our gamified system is not that simple or if we feel that our players are not going to understand what we are trying to teach them . They are also great to show people how feedback loops (whether positive or negative) are and form habits that are great to play in a good way. Always try to make a simple one that has some story in it! Tutorials are great for external business gamification and education.
14. Special Challenge (Team Fortress 2)

"I was sure something was wrong with lunch when our guest was a giant pumpkin holding a massive axe"

WHAT? Special challenges are events that only take place once in a while and a great way to deliver an awesome experience from time to time. They fulfill our curiosity for knowing what is going on in the game, but also give us a powerful status feeling when others see how cool we look with that unique item. Just see the faces of people staring at you saying: you've got the pumpkin badge and you cannot get it anymore! How cool is that!

WHY? Team Fortress 2 (yes, again, i'm such a fan) achieved this in a really nice way. They have some special events and challenges that you can play throughout the year like halloween or christmas and rewards are awesome. People love them because it's something new, exciting and full of prizes! What else they need?

HOW? Special challenges are a great way to "shake it" a bit and make your system exciting. Apart from that, if rewards are worthy and challenges are epic, people will love it and it will most likely go viral. Always remember it's advisable to have quests already implemented so people are a bit used to how it works! Special Challenges are great for social good gamification, external business gamification and education
15. Time Events (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask)

"Let's have a walk tonight honey.. There is such a beautiful dark sky with a fantast...forget about it, let's say there's full moon"

WHAT? Time events are great for short term engagement, and they increase that powerful feeling that is called loss avoidance, or in other words, you don't want to lose something that is valuable for being 10 seconds late, or you just don't want to miss out that special thing that will end in 5 minutes and 24 seconds. And when you finally did it... who is the coolest player ever!?

WHY? Majora's Mask was one of the legend of zelda's expansions and it took this to the next level. The game was all about a big countdown to save the world, and the feeling of tension was permanent, but it didn't create anxiety so we can say it was a very close experience to flow and that's so cool. Not many games can say the same when times come to scene.

HOW? Countdowns, time events, and any kind of time limit is great for gamification when it comes to short term engagement. If rewards are worthy and the event is cool enough, you'll get some great engagement levels! Just don't make it too long and remember that there should be a challenge involved to make it more fun! Any type of gamification is suitable for time events but they are quite effective in getting real life challenges done.
16. XP Points (Diablo II)

"OK, this picture is boring enough not even to find a joke about it, so let's talk about XP which is far more interesting"

WHAT? XP Points are one of the most famous game mechanics ever and almost every game has something like them, so they should be working quite well. And that's because they are a great source of mastery, progression, status, power, acceptance and much more, but what makes them great is that they are fun! They involve so many of the fun factors like collecting, feeling complete, experiencing achievement, etc so always good to have them.

WHY? Diablo II as Diablo III, or any of the greatest RPG existing games, really focused on this aspect of the game making points and levels one of the most important parts of the gameplay. They involved and were linked to many others like skills, traits, magic, dexterity, life points, etc. Just keep in mind that points alone are useless and how game points involve so many factors within them.

HOW? Points seem to be one of the easiest things to implement in games and they are actually one of the hardest. Since so many other mechanics depend on points, it's not that easy to balance how you get them, so always take into account how points are related to other mechanics and what they allow players to do, the same way that levels will do.
17. Economy Points (Plants vs Zombies)

"Finally! This is where i parked my car!!

WHAT? Economy points are slightly different from XP Points because you can trade them for stuff, and but still fulfilling almost all the human motivators that XP Points do. The only difference (and it's a big one) is that they are directly connected to the trading and currency system, and that might change it all. Sometimes they are part of the currency system like in Plants vs Zombies and others are separated

WHY? Plants vs Zombies feautes a very clever currency-economy points system that encourages you to keep on playing to unlock more levels and mini games that are even cooler than the game itself. Some other games just have a separated currency system and economy points mechanics like any games where you get extras and more content by getting in game points that let you unlock them.

HOW? Economy points are not a must-have mechanic but it is always good to implement them if you want to run some giveaways or just let players unlock some rewards. Whether you want to implement them within a currency system or not is just your choice. It's always a good way to foster long term engagement and some extra features!
18. Levels (Baldur's Gate) 

"Look man! This is facebook's first draft of the site's main screen. It even has the profile photos of your friends!"

WHAT? Levels are another of the most well-known features of games, and a great source of motivation in many ways, but the main ones are status and power, and they are always fun! Which of us doesn't like progressing, or mastering something or just competing against your friends to be the number one? Apart from that, they are the perfect complement for points, skills, item limitations and many other mechanics!

WHY? Baldur's Gate is another of those RPG classics that i'm sure many of you played. As D&D, Baldur's Gate is all about solving puzzles and defeating big bosses while experimenting a great adventure through its awesome storyline, but if we think about it, many of those things happen, because levels allow you to do them, so never forget the importance of making levels that matter while being "invisible" at the same time

HOW? Levels usually are a must-have because they enhance so many mechanics and gamification is not an exception. It's important that levels are shown to give instant feedback, engage players and create those feelings of status and power, but always remember not to put all the focus on them, making them a bit invisible and letting players have a great experience while using our system.
19. Progress HUD (Pokemon) 

"See that button that says "cry". They were telling you in the pokedex man, there's no way you gotta catch 'em all..."

WHAT? Progress HUDs (head-up displays) are a kind of mechanic that tells you how you are doing currently, and how far you are from your goal, or in other words, they show your progress creating a feeling of order and tranquility, or showing your mastery (status) to other players. They are so much fun and really engaging because they make you try harder all the time, trying to achieve completion as linkedin or the app store update notifications do.

WHY? Pokemon is by no means the first game that deployed this kind of mechanics but they did so in a brilliant way. Without you even noticing, the game was putting a message in your mind: "you gotta catch 'em all", and that's what people were doing! How many times you've passed the game, but kept on playing because you were missing pokemon? It was a very clever strategy to engage and sell way more games, and progress huds were a key role of it.

HOW? As we have seen many times, Nike+, LinkedIn or the App Store are using this kind of mechanics for short term engagement and to make people do stuff that they won't usually do, like completing their full linkedin profile or having all apps updated all the time. They are perfe
ct for customer gamification and social good campaigns. 
20. Achievements (Day of Defeat: Source)

"Another boring screen for something that was so much fun. I spent more than 50 hours doing achievements, and that's not a joke"

WHAT? So here they are! Achievements and badges! There's so much on this topic because they are one of the very basics of gamification, and that's because they are really effective if done well and complemented with some more mechanics. Achievements are one of the most powerful ways to fulfill not only the status motivator but also acceptance, because many players will only accept players in their guilds or parties if they have got a certain achievement or something similar. Besides, doing crazy achievements is so much fun (better with a dose of humor) and it's another way of making the game endless because some of them are a challeneg even for pro players!

WHY? Day of Defeat Source is one of the best games for learning how to implement achievements in a system. As Team Fortress 2, all of them are crazy and really funny, but what makes them great is the balance between boredom and anxiety. I have spent more than 50 hours doing all of DoD Source achievements and i couldn't finish them (cause i burnt my laptop due to it), and many of my friends did so too (doing achievements, not burning laptops) and I can promise that it was fun alone, but when doing them in groups it was just epic.

HOW? Achievements are a great way of adding status, surprise and excitement to a gamified system. Apart from that, giving cool rewards for them is always recommendable and make them even better, whether those are tangible or intagible. Just remember to make them fun, interesting and valuable, and players will spend countless hours on it! Achievements are great for customer gamification.

21, 22, 23. Total Rankings (Celtic Tribes, Ogame, Candy Crush)

"I don't recall Amazon top best seller book's list to be that colorful..."

WHAT? Total rankings are the simplest way of adding power and status to a game. As achievements, total rankings also provide players with some acceptance and in overall, global leaderboards and achievements are not that different. It's fun to be the center of attention and gaining recognition if you are on top of the list but the best leaderboards add influence as a key ingredient of leaderboards to be more powerful. Anyway, local and social standings are usually better because they encourage players to do better all the time, whether that improvement in their performance is related to same level players or your friends.
That happens because global rankings fail in encouraging players in midgame or endgame stages because new players don't have the feeling of progress and they think that being good or achieving something important in the game is mission impossible. 

WHY? Celtic Tribes features a global ranking while Ogame and Candy Crush have local and social rankings. I have played the three of them and i can tell you that so many friends have left Celtic Tribes because they are discouraged to keep on pushing for being number 1, which is all that matters for so many people when a game has a global ranking. On the other hand, Ogame has been running for so many years and it kin of avoid that feeling with local leaderboards that allocate you in smaller leagues where you can compete in fair conditions. The best of these examples is Candy Crush that has put the focus on the social competition more than on global competition. I'm on level 165 of Candy Crush and i still feel that sense of competition and it doesn't matter which levels your friends are, it's all about trying to beat them in every level and have fun while doing so!

HOW? Deciding if leaderboards are for us, and which ones can be better is a very important choice in a gamified system. I always recommend to analyze all options and see what kind of competition we want our players to experience, but if i have to choose between any of them, i think that social leaderboards are the best option in most of the cases.Anyway, always think of all the game stages and how you can avoid players being discouraged. Usually, leaderboards are amazing for enterprise gamification and education.

24. Fixed / Variable Rewards (Team Fortress 2)

"Hmm, this Casio Retro Edition wasn't supposed to make me invisible..."

WHAT? Fixed and variable rewards are a great way to fulfill the saving motivator, and put some order in what Reiss calls "eating", that can be turned into "receiving" in games. Players love in-game rewards the same way humans like being rewarded in any way, it's just the extrinsic drive we all have. Apart from that, there are many reasons why rewards are fun, from excitement to collecting stuff, and if we talk about variable rewards, also surprise, which makes this kind of rewards way better fixed ones. However, rewards have many setbacks (You can find a lot of motivation and gamification books about this topic here)

WHY? OK, this is the last time I mention Team Fortress without being paid from Valve! So Team Fortress 2 again as an example, and i'm sorry for that, but this is one of the best rewards system I've ever seen and I thought it was worthy to talk a bit about it. So what TF2 basicallty does is giving you variable rewards with a fixed interval of around 15-20 minutes played, so you play 1 hour, and 3-4 rewards are expected. However, the system has a weekly limit, so it takes the best from fixed rewards (order, habit) and combine it with the best of variable rewards (which is getting different things all the time). In the end, what you have is totally engaged players that play so many hours a week, to avoid losing the chance of getting new items and because those items are not only cool but really useful within the game.

HOW? Combining fixed and varible (variable means that time or items vary) rewards is probably the best way of creating this kind of system for our gamified system . Apart from that, we have to be sure that rewards are useful and valuable, basically because people will soon realise if it's worth investing their time and effort in them, and everything depends on how much value they add to the player. Remember rewards are like products or services, if no value added, no one will spend anything on them. They are great for all gamification types.

25. Random Rewards (Plants vs Zombies) 

"And they said: this product will make your plants grow stronger...couldn't they've been a bit more specific?!"

WHAT? Random rewards are like fixed or variable rewards but they add big doses of another great component: surprise! Surprise and mistery are really fun things to implement in a game and they can serve to many purposes, from "beginner's luck" in the onboarding to take aback some more experienced players cause great lots of excitement in players that will soon start making their theories of what are those new rewards that appear from time to time.

WHY? Plants vs Zombies has a nice system of random rewards that will somewhen drop while playing, like chocolate bars, big diamonds or other gifts, and it is not the only game who has thi kind of mechanic. It's just nice to be playing and all of a sudden...great reward! So whenever you play you are kind of tense to see when next one will be!

HOW? Random rewards are not really random and they always follow some simple pattern, but players won't realise that in most cases. They are great for any type of gamification but need to be complemented with other more powerful mechanics in order to achieve good results

26. Easter Eggs (Angry Birds)


WHAT? Easter Eggs are one of the best drivers for curiosity and saving, and that's because of the secrecy they are always surrounded with. How many times you've played a game after it's over just to unlock some epic secret content? Or looked for guides and tricks to get those hidden items? People love secrets and misterious content that can be unlocked through puzzles, and no wonder why, we are all incredibly curious animals!

WHY? Angry birds as well as Final Fantasy have awesome easter eggs systems. In Angry Birds it leads you to new great levels and to get them you have to solve a physical/strategical puzzle to make a shot that gets you the egg, it's just a perfect combination of challenge and mistery. On the other hand, Final Fantasy requires you to complete and play way more than to finish the game to unlock the secret final, which is obviously much better. Since many of those videos are already on youtube, and even when i'm a fan of Final Fantasy, i still prefer Angry Birds model because it's funnier and more engaging.

HOW? Easter eggs always involve epic new contents, or awesome rewards, or super fun challenges, so if you don't have any of them in your system is better not to add them. They are really good for making your gamified system more interesting and exciting so they fit in any type of gamification.

27. Free Lunch (Guild Wars)

"Now i know where the guys of Dolce & Gabbana are getting their inspiration from for summer collections!"

WHAT? So what is a free lunch and why bother about it? Well, it is something you get for free with the effort of someone elese, which in games, it's really unfair, but happens all the time. This is that type of mechanic that bothers player so much but makes games more interesting and social because it encourages social contact and trust while being a good mechanic to see which players are nice and which aren't.

WHY? In Guild Wars 1 (or just the first version of it) there were some green items that came to the game some weeks after it was launched, becoming the best gear at that moment. So as you can imagine, people went nuts to get them, because they were so cool and powerful, but drop rates were extremely low and places to get them, extremely hard for less than 2-3 players. So what happened? People teamed up to raid those places again and again, but green items were asigned randomly to the party members when they dropped so every team had to make an agreement to "share the item". In the end result was that some cheeky players got their "free lunch" and run away as fast as they could, but it really encouraged people to trust each other and strenghten their "family relationships" with the guys from their same guild.

HOW? So as you can see, free lunches are like a double-edged sword, and including this in a gamified system has benefits and disadvantages. Just try not to bother player that much and they'll create their own system to avoid this type of mechanics even when every player likes the feeling of having a chance of getting something for free.

28. Lifejacket (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

"Try hitting any of those big Left-4-dead zombies with a slingshot and some nuts, and see what happens..."

WHAT? Lifejacktes are mechanics that help players in difficult situations or when they are stuck or lost track of their main goals. It's somehthing that fulfills order and tranquility (it's wrong in the 35 mechanics toolkit post) and let players advance in the game. Some are funnier than others, and there are many types of them, from boosters, sudden tips, NPCs that advise you, etc.

WHY? In Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time you've got a nice fairy that tells you what to do and guides you through the game. Some of the tips are better than others but it's always very helpful to talk to her. Apart from that, some of Zelda's levels require specific weapons or items, and there are plenty of lifejackets along the game that supply players to avoid "deadlocks".

HOW? We have to accept that not everyone is going to know what to do when they arrive to our gamified system or during the player's journey so it's always good to help players a bit in some difficult situations or if we want them to do stuff that they haven't done before. Anyway, remember not to make it so easy or they'll be bored, and give that information to everyone to guarantee fairness!

29. Punishment (Counter-Strike)

"Yep, seems like a nice view up here..."

WHAT? Punishment is one of the most well-known mechanic in games. There are so many types of punishments and some are harder than others, but they are all based on the same concepts: loss avoidance and risk aversion or what we call negative tranquility and negative saving. It's a fact that people love losing in games so they'll learn and improve, but it's also clear that people hate losing things they already had or being punished. So there's a balance there that will not be possible without punishments.

WHY? Counter-strike has not that many options for punishing people rather than "you are dead and have to wait for playing next round" which is more than enough for many players, but they also did something very clever to reinforce this idea of punishment through social shame. Every time you get a headshot, the game laughs at you saying "headshot!" or "owned!" that all the others see, and it's even worse if they kill you with a knife or normal gun, which makes every player trying to avoid this, or trying to give it to others, making the game far more tense and interesting.

HOW? Punishments can be really useful to create negative feedback loops that help stabilize our gamified system. It doesn't have to be something that kills players, or remove all their items, just small things that help you keep control of how the platform evolves. If so many people got all badges, change the system and make it all the way around, now the mission is not to win bagdes but to avoid losing them!
30. Guilds (Clash of Clans) 

"Here are the options: Option A is you collaborate, option B is we make you collaborate our way"

WHAT? As chats, guilds are the very basics of social contact, acceptance, honor, family and status of games. The same way we tend to gather together in groups, guilds let people fulfill those motivations in games making it fun too. If you talk to pro gamers, mostly of all them will tell you that they keep on playing certain games just for the people the met there or because it's so fun to play with "their small family". In my case i still play some games due to it, and when the game starts being boring, your guild and its people make it way funnier than it was before. Oh, and the smaller the guild, the better!

WHY? Clash of clans is all about social contact and guilds. As Celtic Tribes, there's no way you can last long in the game without being in a guild, and even there, it's not that safe. Apart from that, big wars are only possible through guilds, and many other great features like PvP battles are not that fun without being all together. That's why guilds are a must-have in so many games!

HOW? Having guilds, groups or communities in a gamified system is one of the best ways for people to socialise and it always makes it far more interesting than solo playing. Aristoteles once said "we are all social animals" and we keep on being like that, so don't doubt it and let people gather and fight together in any kind of gamified experience!
31, 32. Party/Team, Chats (League of Legends) 

"We might not be the prettiest but we're gonna kick that ass of yours"

WHAT? Parties, teams and chats are also well-known among MMO players, and as guilds they are mechanics for social contact, family, acceptance and some times honor. But what's more important, they let players speak to each other, interact, choose a side and fight against each other. Competition and the feeling of being part of a family are really powerful human drivers and they should be taken into account. Apart from that, if you ever played with a team in an exciting battle or mission, you'll probably know what it means to have a whole bunch of fully coordinated guys with a common purpose, so much fun!

WHY? Well, i don't even think i have to explain this point in League of Legends, because it's all about teams and coordination (and some strategy + rol). If there's one big example for these kind of mechanics is LoL, one of the most played and famous games nowadays. I'm not a LoL pro player, but the best way to discover why it's such an awesome game is teaming up and playing some rounds! You'll realize that millions of people are not wrong!

HOW? Teams and parties are a shorter version of guilds in time, and they are way more flexible that their big brothers (guilds). So if you think that guilds can be excessive or social contact is not that much needed, teams and parties can be a great option for you, just use them with missions, challenges and events and results can be awesome. And with chats it's quite clear, they are always advisable to generate social contact and buzz within the platform. And remember, competition, family relationships and common goals are what we are looking for with these type of mechanics, so don't forget to really encourage that! Chats are great for all types of gamification and teams are perfect for education, enterprise, social good and health.
33. Ambassadors (The Steam Community)

"So how much you say you'll pay me for 917,584 contributions to the platform? Oh yeah, a TF2 christmas huntsman...let me think about it...deal!"

WHAT? Ambassadors are a more advanced way of social mechanic, and it involves pro or at least very active players that level up your community and help improving and maintaining it. It's basically a way of putting people in the project and letting them improve what you already have, because most of the times, pro players, hackers, guild leaders, or just hardcore players, know much more of a game than developers do.
And in the end, it's a good way of fulfilling people's need for social contact, acceptance and status within a game.

WHY? I've chosen the Steam Community for this example because i haven't seen anything this powerful in any other game. It's just impressive how many contributors steam have, and how engaged and committed players are to improve the game, help developers and other players and make it bigger. Just awesome what it can be done if the game really means something for its players.

HOW? Ambassadors are not something that you can easily do, it's a mechanic that takes times and effort, because first of all, your gamified system must have a meaning for its users, secondly, there should be a big mass of people so those ambassadors are real ones, and third of all, the environment has to help players to play this role, so quite difficult. Anyway, always try encouraging your users to help you and reward them how they deserve and who knows, maybe you start the new Steam Community!
34. Social Graph (Farmville) 

"So which animal is the one who's giving you milk? Right, left, right, left, right...arghh, they look so similar!"

WHAT? A social graph in a game involves all the social interactions that a player has with the surrounding environment and how he/she is related to those guys. So basically, it involves your friends, guilds you are in, parties you've been part of, social trading, etc. It is a concept that comes from social networks but it is very interesting for games because it really gives players the feeling of being part of something bigger than themselves and playing with a lot of people together.

WHY? Farmville has one of the most complete social graphs that we can imagine, all of it empowered by facebook, which is difficult to achieve nowadays in games, but give it some time and we'll see what happens with apps. Basically, farmville keeps you connected to your friends and other players showing you all your connections and recommending more links based on facebook.

HOW? Social graphs are great but difficult to implement, and they usually require some kind of social network support so if you can make that, it's awesome, if not, just try creating that feeling of being playing together with so many people at the same time with other mechanics like guilds, chats, etc

35. PvP (Heroes of Might and Magic III) 

"Now serious, how is that guy expecting to break into the castle? you've seen defense units? Come on!"

WHAT? Player vs Player mechanics are a classic of MMO games, and they are so effective in creating social contact, status and power that almost all MMO game that is out now have them. They not only fulfill many of the main human motivators but they're also so much fun. Competition, recognition, achievement, progress, excitement.. they encourage all of that and much more! Just imagine how poweful they are that some months ago, Gameloft almost killed his number one game "Order and Chaos" because the community created a boycott against the company for promising PvP arenas and not doing anything for so long. People said things like: "they were bored, game was no longer fun, it had no interest, they levelled up for nothing, etc.."

WHY? So this is our final game! Heroes III! For those who have played it, you know what i mean, and for those who didn't, Heroes III featured something amazing, being able to play against 7 friends while playing in one computer, with a very clever turns system. I've never had that much fun before, and i have spent so many hours playing! Games were different all the time, and you never get tired of it, just awesome how much emergence and simple complexity the game created. I truly recommend everybody to play it, to see how PvP can be achieved without internet, and to realise how great PvP mechanics are!

HOW? PvP is always great no matter what, just be sure: it is fair for all players, it protects beginners, it lets users choose between PvP and PvE, it is worthy and valuable, and that is fun enough! No fun, no PvP!

Some final notes on this post

-  This was the second part of the 35 Gamification Mechanics toolkit and i felt that it needed some examples to complete it so I first did a gamification approach for all the examples but there weren't that many that i liked so i thought that it would be better to step back, have a look at the origins and learn from the best, game examples.

- I have played many different types of games on almost any device, from SNES games to Apps, but as you may have realised i have a passion for RPGs Strategy games, and MMORPGs in special. So that's why so many of the game examples are coming from those types of genre (which is also one of the most powerful for learning gamification techniques).

- This is such a broad topic and even when i tried to cut it, it was impossible to make it shorter. I'll do some more posts on the general categories of mechanics (social, progression, economy and physic) and I'll try to speak about more advanced concepts. 

- Last but not least, i do want to apologize for my bad humor, so if you want to send me an email saying how horrible it was, this is my email: victormanriqueyus@gmail.com (oh! and i also accept comments, feedback, or any kind of discussion, I`m always glad to chat with all of you!)

Victor Manrique
+Victor Manrique 

miércoles, 19 de junio de 2013

The 35 Gamification Mechanics toolkit v1.0

The 35 Gamification Mechanics toolkit

Important Update 15/10/13 -> The NEW 35 Gamification Mechanics Toolkit (v2.0) is here

The link for the new 35 Gamification Mechanics Toolkit is this one: http://www.epicwinblog.net/2013/10/the-35-gamification-mechanics-toolkit.html

If you still want to see how the first version of the mechanics was done, keep on reading!


The 35 gamification Mechanics toolkit v1.0 (19/06/13)

What are the most powerful gamification mechanics? What are their main psychological benefits? And how can we mix the gamification players and their favorite mechanics

These are the 3 main questions that have come to all of us when designing a gamified system. Want to know the answers? Follow the steps, and let the magic begin!

The Toolkit - How To Play

2º Have the list of the 42 fun things created by Jon Radoff ready**

3º Have a look at the 35 mechanics list and think which ones are better for your system!

UPDATE: 35 Inspiring Game Mechanics Examples for Gamification-> check it out!

*Taken from a screenshot of Jon Radoff's book "Game On". Scroll down a bit to see the pictures. You can download them : )
** Every # symbol means a number, so for example, when it says: "Fun in #5, 15, 21, 30" it means that the fun of that mechanic is in some of the fun things of Jon Radoff's list numered from 1 to 42.

jueves, 13 de junio de 2013

"Making work more fun" Mario Herger on Enterprise Gamification

Epic Gamification Hangout with Mario Herger - Enterprise Gamification & Gamification World Championships 2013

Mario Herger on Enterprise Gamification - Making work more fun

Who is "Super Mario? MARIO HERGER is founder and partner of Enterprise-Gamification.com. He has been Senior Innovation Strategist at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California and Global Head of the Gamification Initiative at SAP where he has worked for the past 14 years. He also co-founded in 2013 and leads the Austrian Innovation Center Silicon Valley (AICSV)
In his work as head of the Gamification Initiative at SAP he has encountered and supported gamification efforts in the enterprise from multiple levels and departments, like Sustainability, On Demand, Mobile, HR, Training & Education, Banking etc. He has driven the awareness around gamification by organizing and leading innovation events around this topic, holding dozens of one- or two-day gamification workshops, working with gamification platform- & service-providers and game studios, consulting and advising organizations, and by incorporating gamification into SAP's strategy.
He regularly speaks at and co-organizes conferences on gamification and innovation (amongst other topics). His large network in the gamification and innovation space allows him to pull in experts from every corner of the world into projects.
Thanks to his blogs and activities around gamification, and of course people interested in this topic, in April 2013 he topped for the first time the global leaderboard of Gamification Gurus.
He has been driving communities for more than 15 years, including communities on innovative topics, like Visual Composer, Business Process Experts, mobile, robotics, and gamification, but also folk-dancing (Dancilla)
He has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Vienna University of Technology and an undergraduate degree in International Business Management from the Vienna University of Economy.
He recently played through all levels of the iPad game Air Attack and currently works with his six year old son on reaching the final level of Angry Birds in Space.


Epic Win Blog (@victormanriquey): So Mario, as we have said before, you´re part of Enterprise Gamification and SAP, founder of the Austrian Innovation Center of Silicon Valley, author of the book “Gamification at work”, judge at the Gamification World Championships… quite many things!! But how did you start your journey in the world of Gamification? What is your personal story?

Mario Herger (@mherger): Thank you victor for having me! So I’m not a game designer, so I’ve never built a game except for some small ones, but I’ve been with a German company called SAP, a software giant, for nearly 15 years, and 3 years ago I basically stumbled into the mobile world and when we looked at some of the apps, they had this kind of stickiness and playfulness, and we just couldn’t understand what was going on with these apps, what they were doing so good.
So to understand it, I said: let’s have a look at maybe an industry where UX is very good, and that was the video game industry. So this was in august 2010, and I formed and internal community to educate ourselves on that and I stumbled on this term, Gamification back then, but in august 2010 when you looked for that on Google there were less than 1000 results, and 3 years later, you’ve got millions of them! (laughter)
So once we started working on it after 3 or 4 months working on it, I realised that i was actually one of the first ones, not coming from the marketing world but from software development, looking at it for not only making better software, but applying it for its enterprise use, and it really embraced me, and I started talking about it, writing about that, and that led me to April 2013 when I finally got the 1st spot of the Gamification guru’s list, ahead of Gabe Zichermann!

Epic Win Blog: Talking about this, I always say that we are living a new technological revolution, with kids having all kinds of motivating and engaging experiences through games, and it may be difficult for them to be motivated when it comes to find a job. As an expert in enterprise Gamification, how can Gamification help here? What are the main techniques that you are applying now to make work more fun? Tell us a bit more of your daily work!

Mario Herger: Exactly, that’s a very good point. When we look at the millennials, this generation that was coming into the work market right now, they’ve basically played all their lives videogames since they came out with Pong in 1992, so this millennials, these kids basically, had something like a 97% of their childhood playing videogames, and around 10000 hours of experience, and that means, according to Malcom Gladwell and his book “Outliers” (From Epic Win Blog we truly recommend it too), that they have achieved this level of total mastery, and they are coming with that.

So if you play in the symphonic orchestra, you have probably trained around 10000 hours, if you play in the soccer league, or for the national team, you’ve played more than 10000 hours. Even Bill Gates when he started Microsoft he had practiced more than 10000 hours! So this is what we call a total mastery.

So these people are coming with that, and they are expecting a similar experience from the software that they are using, and they are also very familiar with game language so we can actually use that in order to motivate them. But there is something else, is not just that this is entertaining, but it also is engaging and one of the main reasons is because it always tells you where are you, how you are doing and how you can become better, and this is a really critical point. Because in the end, what this millennials are always trying to do is to learn how to become better, and in the work environment we are not doing that.

"A game is giving you feedback on how you are doing all the time, and at your work place… when was the last time someone said “Thanks!” to you? Probably months ago!"
And when you go to a performance review, you hear stuff that happened 9 months ago, and this is absolutely not helping people on how to improve and learn from mistakes, so there is a clear opportunity for us by providing better feedback loops through Gamification.

Epic Win Blog: Following this former topic, you are preparing your new book called “Enterprise Gamification” that is coming out soon, how is it different from your first book and what are its main key points?

Mario Herger: So the first book that is out right now is called “Gamification at work” and I wrote it with Janaki Mythily, a colleague from SAP, and she is the director of the UX team here at Palo Alto, and this book is basically an introduction of how Gamification at work delivers great results and why, through two examples, a community and an application. 

So it gives you a good overview if you are new to Gamification or to Gamification at the work place. And the other book, called “Enterprise Gamification”, is the one I’m working on at the moment, having around 600 pages, and will probably be out in July. I’d call it “The ultimate guide for enterprise Gamification”, because we look at the design methodology, behavioural psychology, tons of examples, and around 150 pages about technology and platforms that can be of use. And that as a whole should give you an overview of how to use Gamification, serious games, simulations, etc in a work environment

Epic Win Blog: Great! And how should read this book? Is it suitable for everyone?

Mario Herger: Well this book is certainly not for everyone, it's for those people that want to get really serious into it, so perfect for developers, game designers, UX designers, CIO, product managers, solutions owners, businessmen and owners who run a company, and the main point here is to add value to their products or services and indirectly getting value for themselves, to motivate and engage their teams.

Epic Win Blog: And back again to your projects, you are going to be one of the judges of the amazing first edition of the Gamification World Championships, a really exciting project with big prizes and a fantastic final in October at San Francisco. Many of our followers will know it, but, just as a reminder, will you be able to tell us what is it about, and a brief introduction of the whole contest? 

Mario Herger: So I’m excited about this opportunity! I think there are a lot of incentives for Gamification designers to participate, we have a semifinal round, where you can submit your Gamification solutions, systems, processes, ideas, etc and there will be a pre selection for the final where my other cool judges and I will be looking at all those materials. 

So basically what I’ll take into account is first: -are they just putting points and badges to that?-, because that’s not what I’m expecting, even when you might have some impact and success with it. But what I’m really looking at is a most sophisticated approach, something that really adds value for the player, and that’s the difference from a great system and a poor one.

We’re also taking into account if they really understood their players, because if the players get some value out of that, they’ll be way more engaged. Also if they are using many design elements as storytelling, fun mechanics that are making people feel like a hero, feel like a rebel, giving them those kinds of experiences, and -how did they do that?

Also, how is the complexity of it? Is this an elegant design having innate complexity or is it emergence complexity? And how much fantasy did they use? Is it just the kind of boring thing?

Epic Win Blog: Cool! And when is it going to start?

Mario Herger: I think it will be in july when you can start submitting but it’s not decided yet, so there might be some changes, so the best thing to do is checking the website, that is www.gammify.com, and the final will be in San Francisco in mid October, with more than 40000k in cash prizes, and even paid flights to San Francisco for the 16 finalist who will be in the final. 

Epic Win Blog: As a way to finish this interview, i´d like you to tell us how you see the future of enterprise Gamification and its natural evolution in the next few years. So what is the next step?

Mario Herger: So, well of course I have a lot of ideas of how this could evolve and how it might really evolve, because you know, here in the enterprise world we like taking the fun out of things, we make it to serious (laughter), but, one of the things that I think will happen is that, what we call Enterprise Gamification today, or in other words, adding fun to the enterprise world, will turn into a technology that will be able to collect all that data of how players are doing, what’s their status.

So if we gamify every system, app or software, we’ll have a pretty detail skill profile that is timely accurate and tells us how good people are in certain areas, will show us the strengths and weaknesses. 

Anyway, that’s already happening with some systems like Stack Overflow, the SAP Community Network, or in any platform were experts are basically helping each other, and now just expand that to all the cases. So suddenly we see who the experts of it really are!
And that has so many uses, for examples bringing people that have complementary skills together, and people will put that on their CVs, like “I’m a level 7 designer” or “I’ve got a thousand points on the SAP Community Network”, which is actually already happening right now but we’ll see that way more. 

"So the key point here is that for the first time we’ll have real data on the skills of people, which is critical for promotions, giving feedback to make them better, for project teams, and much more!"

Epic Win Blog: So thank you Mario for being with us today, lots of great content and epic insights here to be analysed! Thanks again for this interview, and hope to see you soon!

Mario Herger: See you soon too Victor!

This interview was done on Wednesday 13th June via G+ Hangouts

Victor Manrique