Reward Systems in Games

Posted: October 14, 2012 in INFR 3330
Tags: , , ,

In last week’s Game Design II lecture, a major topic we discussed during class was reward systems in video games.

What is a reward system you might be wondering? Simply put, it is a system that rewards players in a unique aspect to interest, capture and motivate the player to play further. There were several examples covered in the lecture of the different types of reward systems that are found in today’s games.

In my blog post, I will be more specifically discussing my personal favorite reward systems in some games.

Materialistic Rewards/In-Game Content Rewards

What I mean by this type of reward is in certain games, you unlock certain items. Keep in mind, I consider unlocking items very different from getting rare items in other games. I think there’s a huge difference and preference when it comes to how certain items are actually acquired. What do I mean by this? Well…

When it comes to getting items through finding them in loot in MMORPGs, I’m not as much as a fan. There are reasons why I don’t like this reward system as much as unlocking items. A good example of this is World of WarCraft. Back in the day when I played WoW (dark and endless days in my room), there would always be rare items when doing large quests/raids. These items are randomly dropped and have very low drop rates, and then if you’re in a group you have to either Greed or Need roll for the item. In the end, getting an item is a lot more challenging, and you also never know what you would get.

I believe the core aspect of random loot/rewards for players that I dislike is the fact I don’t know. It is basic instinct of humankind to fear what we do not know; therefore there is a negative stigma of not knowing what lays ahead of you.

Screenshot of the old days of my low level mage from WoW.

On another note, I will now talk about the unlocking item aspect of the materialistic reward system. A good example of this is Battlefield 3. There is a very nice layout on the battlelog online which shows you all the current weapons you have, and how you’re doing in progress of unlocking the next best thing.

Not going to post my gamer tag, but as you can tell I kind of suck haha. But moar guns means moar motivation to get better and play MOAR! 

I enjoy this reward system of new items from Battlefield 3 much more than a random drop aspect of World of WarCraft.

“But wait Calvin! That’s not fair comparing a MMORPG to a FPS! Your argument is irrelevant!”

Actually no, they both involve materials/items a player uses in game. But to support my argument of random drop versus a structured unlock guide, is Team Fortress 2. TF2 has random drops for items as well! And once again I am not a huge fan either.

Overall I find presenting the player with all the potential rewards he/she can reap is a much more effective reward system for players. This will encourage players to “get one more kill” and play a bit longer to unlock another item; versus a player aimlessly playing, quietly praying for a random rare item drop. Anyways enough of my discussion/ranting about reward systems!

What’s your favorite type of reward system?

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