Achievements For the sake of achievement



Richard Bartle, a pioneer of massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, published a paper in 1996 that offers a taxonomy theory for gamers. The four types of gamers include achievers, explorers, killers, and socializers. My project involves creating a set of achievements that students can strive toward by completing specific tasks, ranked in order of difficulty. For example, an “easy level” achievement is “visit professor during office hours.” Achievers are the category of gamer that would immediately seek out this goal due to their desire to be active in their world. However, this achievement’s existence alone is not enough to entice other types of gamers to participate. Therefore, other factors such as unlockables and limits on available achievements will be added for further interest. For example, the “visit the professor during office hours” achievement would include information stating “hidden: 2.” Explorers would see that, if they were to achieve this goal, they would be able to unlock and discover two additional achievements that are currently not visible. This desire to interact with their world would drive explorers to at least achieve the first goal, if for no other purpose than to see the two hidden items. As for the killers, they seek out ways to hamper, harm, or defeat other players, hoping to become a champion. Placing a limit on how many students can achieve a particular achievement would encourage the killers to grab that achievement before others can. I am still considering how best to incorporate the socializers who do not share the common goals of achievement (killers/achievers) or acting/interacting with their world (achievers/explorers). Socializers, as their name suggests, are more interested in interacting with other players and do not necessarily desire to proceed through a game’s narrative or system of achievements. Bartle outlines means of influencing socializers in the context of MMO games, but I will need to think through the practicality and viability of these methods in a university setting. My initial thoughts include asking students to form guilds that can either stay together throughout the semester, grow, or decrease depending on guild consensus. This would also allow me to build in group achievements that might inspire socializers to participate in order to help others.

Created By
Shawn Higgins


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