Gamification Mechanic Monday: Point systems

Gamification Mechanic Monday: Point systems

Point systems make a lot of games work and are essential in the work we do in gamification. They allow you first and foremost to give feedback to the player on how they are performing. From the game design perspective you may track more in points than what the player sees to gain more understanding regarding behaviours. When I suggest point systems I often recommend more than 1 to be adopted, to allow for multiple feedback to the player.

In Pokemon Go you find a number of point systems all tracking slightly different elements which serve a purpose in the game. You have the experience points (xp), which are needed to track levels, but they are awarded for all actions such as catching pokemon, great throws, nice throws, curve balls, and pokestop visits. Each time you catch a Pokemon you also earn stardust, which can be later used to evolve your Pokemon or power them up so they are more efficient in battles in the Pokegym. Each specific Pokemon also has a type of candy assigned again this is necessary to evolve and power up your characters. Battling in Pokegyms earns you Pokecoins, these allow you to buy boosters such as lures and incense, egg incubators and balls. Poke coins also hold a monetary value and can be obtained through in app buying technology.

The key when looking at applying points, you want to ensure they are culturally appropriate. In European cultures we are often brought up with scores out of 10, which set our view of value. If all of a sudden a small action earns 10,000 points, it may set the tone of it being unrealistic and maybe you want to do that on purpose. As your gamification will tend to be process specific you may have several points system to measure specific activities such as for example learning related currency which can be used to buy additional courses or learning related materials. For competency tracking you may set up specific competency related points, similar to the candy option for Pokemon. Knowing how many to collect to evolve or power up is the feedback the person is looking for.

Always think of point systems through the eyes of the player and what feedback it will receive before thinking what information you will receive as a result of tracking.

How are you using points in your gamification?

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