[This was originally posted on my personal blog www.reachingperfection.com]
NOW let's talk about reward systems as I promised I would yesterday. Yesterday we covered instant gratification as something that stems from natural impatience. We covered specific examples of times when a person would choose to do something that was less rewarding over having to wait for a given amount of time. We also discussed how powerful instant gratification was. One of the sites frequent visitors, Prod, has come up with multiple situations around the internet where sites use human impatience to their advantages. A special thanks to Prod for being such an active reader.
Here you go
So let's talk about some of the reward systems out there that take advantage of human impatience. Let's start with Farmville, Cafe World, Restaurant City, etc, since all of these happen to be played most by the general public. Remember when you first started playing the game? You made a couple of dishes, grew a couple of plants, maybe dug up some treasure and you were rewarded almost immediately with a level up. It took you little effort to gain that one level. And once you heard that special ding, or that message box popped up with a big "Congratulations" you were slightly lit up inside with joy. NO TIME AT ALL! So what did you do? You continued on, doing all the same things again. Took a little longer this time, but in no time: DING! CONGRATULATIONS!!! And that's how it all begins. Quick and with no effort on your part. It was a little nudge in the direction of "Hey! If you keep playing, we will keep making you happy just like this!". And admit it, it felt good my friends. Oh but it's not just in social games on Facebook. How 'bout you more hardcore gamers that play World of Warcraft? I remember when I first tried the game ages ago. It takes no time at all to get to level 1. Then level 2. Then level 3. And before you know it you are investing 4 hours per level. Then a whole weekend per level. But it all started with that quick 10 mins of trying the game that resulted in the "YOU HAVE LEVELED UP!" ding.
They are Aware
The big companies are starting to learn this now. It is becoming a simple way to get people to start playing and continue for atleast a few days. That gives them enough time to get you truly addicted. Admit it... it would be harder for you to continue to play a game if it took you a full 8 hour day just to get to level 1. The big guys know this people. Since the time I tried out WoW it has become LOADS easier to level up. They have changed the leveling curve so people get rewarded more often. Why? Because of the talk that WoW is addicting and is starting to come with some negative impressions if you play. So what does Blizzard do? Reward you faster than before so that negative appearance that comes along with it isn't so bad. Not only is leveling easier, but instead of getting a mount at 40, you get it at 20 now. Instant gratification at it's best my friends...
Judging Game Providers
So everyone is using tactics like this to get you addicted and get you to shell out your money. This is just one needle in a full box of needles peepz. They all want your money. So should you stop playing games because of it? NO, because games are a great stress relief. Not only that, but there are game companies that do care about their consumers having fun. How do you know that a company isn't just in it for the money? You will know. Trust me. You can feel the difference between Activision and Bungie. Hopefully for gamers reading my blog, it will help you judge which companies to support. And for those who are building games for people, remember that your customers matter. A lot know when they are being jipped. And if you don't take care of your customer... they won't take care of you.