Confession of my engagement with a gamification platform: from fun to gaming within the rules

05 Jan

 taking_gamification_to_the_next_b2b_levelTo drive user behavior two of the best gamification blogs and many others use a gamification platform offered by BeatUp (name changed for anonymity). Posts have been written by the owners’ of blogs on why they use a gamification platform, but I am writing this post from a player perspective, who actually competes in the rankings.

The first stage of onboarding was fun. As soon I permitted the platform, to use one of my social network it gave me a meaningful booster and welcomed me to the setup. It showed that I have taken the initial step towards desired learning which was to know more about gamification. During the newbie days of my visit to the blogs and interacting with the platform, I was some 200 or more rank below than the top player, i.e. top player might be having 1,500,000+ points, and I was having some 400+ points. But each point addition that I was having, was a meaningful addition to my score, as the points and badges were not for free but with gamification post/video/comment that I interacted with.

Slowly, I started to enjoy the system, and started to compete in small badge/point achievement missions, like to watch 10 videos back to back. So, ordinarily I may stop after 5 or 6, but since I was learning, and the badge progress bar showed me that I can get a badge for watching 4 more, I stayed glued to the system. Doing this I was gaining new gamification knowledge and on the other hand I was climbing up the leaderboard, which in my view point, showed other players that I am a regular visitor to the site (Game technique of Envy), and I am very active as well. Staying on top for a day was fun initially, then staying on top of the board for a week showed my achievement to others, all was good till this stage, I was playing fair till now and making progress gaining gamification content.

The game turned bad now, the moderator of the blogs linked the ranking to some meaningful reward hoping for increasing activity, at this point fun became obsession, and weekly top ranking was no more engaging monthly was needed, but all-time top spot was what I wanted. The new materials started to dry up, as I had no new activity to do, and still I was way behind the number one player. So, I dived in figuring out how the system actually gives points/badges, can it be gamed. And to my luck it was possible. I learnt for example by giving 50 unique visit to the site, I will get 10,000 points, so I simply opened 50 tabs and opened the website 50 times in 10 minutes, and boom 10,000 points or write 10 comments and get 5,000 points so I checked that whether writing random comment like “qweqw ere qew” is counted, and it did, so boom 10 random comments I got another 5,000 points and in no matter of time, I learned all the rules and became number one player, or atleast top 10 before I stopped playing across various sites.

Though I have stopped doing it now, but by this post, I hope the gamification platform designers will learn something and prevent further exploitation of their platform or do not make activities contingent upon points which promote players to do the same things that I did.


Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Gamification, Gamification Strategy


Tags: , , , , ,

5 responses to “Confession of my engagement with a gamification platform: from fun to gaming within the rules

  1. Yu-kai Chou

    January 6, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Haha, actually, sometimes having a system being gamed is not necessarily a bad thing – sometimes that IS the game!

    Lets say some guy realized that there is a bug in a game that allowed him to level up 3x faster. He then logs in everyday and exploits the bug, thinking that game devs are so dumb. However, he is doing EXACTLY what the game devs want him to do – come onto the game and play everyday. He actually feels clever and accomplished (Core Drive….?) even though if there wasn’t this bug, he might lose interest and quit on week 1.

    When you design something that is Gameable by Design (note, I did not do it by design, haha, it was truly a limitation of “Beatup”) you just have to make sure 2 things:

    1) It does not demoralize the experience of other users (like can’t have a sword that kills other users with one hit)

    2) It does not drain resources from the game designer (every person who gets 10 stone can exchange for free drinks….oh wait there’s a bug that gives people 100,000 stone??)

    And I would say you truly accomplished what the site has set out to do – learn about gamification more, and feeling what it’s like to be in a system too. You are probably one of the people that are truly at the forefront of Octalysis knowledge. That obsession was Core Drive 6 creeping in, and you know my teachings on Black Hat Core Drives right? You’ve accomplished your goals, beat the game thus far, and the game developer has yet to create new game content. You’ve achieved much, learned a lot, and can truly feel proud.

    At least it probably was an educational experience that wasn’t a “drag.” 😉

    • GaMiFiCaToR

      January 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      He actually feels clever and accomplished (Core Drive….?) #2.. Development and Accomplishment.
      And of course, after applying Octalysis twice on different subjects, it has kinda sucked inside me, so from past 3 weeks or so, whenever I interact on a post related to gamification I tend to throw in the drive terminology.. 😉 🙂

      • Yu-kai Chou

        January 8, 2014 at 3:38 am

        Haha yes. I think this is the ideal of good gamification experiences – you feel obsessed and addicted. But after some time, you realized you accomplished all the goals you were hoping to (like learning a bunch about gamification and Octalysis).

        I wished more things were like…something that makes me obsessed with, figuring out how to game a system (which is really core drive #3), and then afterwards, I suddenly know how to play a new instrument or speak a new language. Many “gamified” apps out there have the shell of a game, but nothing is doing that great of a job driving the obsessive behavior that I want in myself.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: