Thursday, April 14, 2016

My Life as a Gamer: Goodies Are Not Enough

One of the things that World of Warcraft introduced with Warlords of Draenor is the concept of a Weekly Event. The developers wrote up a rotating schedule of content emphasis, each lasting from Wednesday to Monday, each with rewards intended to entice players to participate in droves.

This is, as Bellular Gaming calls it, a retention mechanism. It's meant to keep you subscribed and playing, however minimal, while they work behind the scenes for their Next Big Thing.

Of this event schedule, three weeks out of every two months is devoted to something known as "Timewalking". The idea is that you queue up for the Dungeon Finder in a special Timewalking queue, run a subset of dungeons from a specific older expansion as if you were at the old level cap and at a specific item level, and if you complete five of them you get some special rewards relevant to the current expansion's endgame content.

This week, it's Cataclysm Timewalking. I've completed the event on two eligible characters, and I'll finish a third before it's over, but it's not something I enjoy doing with just anyone. If I'm not with friends or guildmates, I'm just doing it for the rewards and not enjoying myself at all.

That is not an uncommon sentiment. Folks doing it for the goodies are being retained, but not treated well, so once the gravy train stops so do they. This is not a good sign.

Now, I relate this in terms of gaming and game design, but I would hope you see the general applicability displayed here: the work itself has to be meaningful in order to provide a satisfying experience that brings people back, and wanting to come back, for more. As it is in work, so it is with play.

You can buy loyalty, but it is fragile at best. Once the bribes stop, so do those you buy with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment