Hey all, this is gonna be another quick self-promotion post. So I’m now Level 2 Octalysis Certified, but instead of this just being an achievement announcement, I felt like this would be a good excuse to talk about what gamification is and how it’s thought about. So let’s talk about the prompt and skills tested by Octalysis Level 2 certification.
Octalysis is a behavioral model for understanding human motivation. It gets its name from the 8 original motivations that it accounted for (a 9th motivation was later discovered). These 8 motivations are: Purpose, Achievement, Creativity, Ownership, Social Influence, Exclusivity, Novelty, and Loss (personal synonym-switching added). An experience can motivate in different ways depending on the strength and combination of these motivations present in its design. These different qualities can make an experience appeal more to certain personalities of users. Identifying if an experience’s combination makes it more motivating in an intrinsic or extrinsic and in a long-term or short-term way and recognizing what personality of users would be appealed to by this combination was the qualification for Level 1 Octalysis Certification.
Experiences aren’t uniform in their motivations, however, and that’s the topic of Level 2 Certification. By incorporating the 4 phases of discovery (Discovery, Onboarding, Scaffolding, and Endgame) into the analysis of the core motivations, it becomes possible to predict what types of users will be engaged during which phase of the experience. This might lead to predicting outcomes like “users that are highly motivated by Novelty will be engaged during the Onboarding Phase when they’re learning all the new options they have access to, but will be disengaged during the Endgame since they’ve exhausted the fresh feeling of the experience”. These diagnoses can help articulate address problems in an experience’s design.
I didn’t go in depth too much about the meaning or application of these concepts in an attempt to keep this post from being too long and technical, but if you’re interested in learning more about this or curious about how this relates to game design proper, feel free to reach out to me with your questions (also take a look at what The Octalysis Group is doing).