Gamification Research: How Diablo III uses Game Mechanics to become Winning & Addicting

New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis

Blizzard Entertainment, a company that knows how to do gaming right (though not perfectly), has hit it big with their latest game Diablo III, launched in May of 2012. Within a week, they already sold 6.3 Million Copies, and as of September 2012, already made it to the Top Selling PC Games of all-time. Its success not only rides on the popularity of its predecessor Diablo II, but also stems from the utilization of a great amount of smart game mechanics to make users engaged and addicted.

This article analyzes the techniques and game mechanics that Diablo III uses to achieve the status of Winning & Addicting.

Basic Game Mechanics

1) High Quality Graphics and Sound

This is required for most games, and Blizzard is one of the best at it. Unfortunately, we won’t be learning too much from this because Gamification only applies to gaming elements that are still there after you strip out all the graphics, sound, action and apply them to professional activities.

2) Leveling Up System

Pretty basic too. Pretty much all RPGs (Role Playing Games) have a leveling up system. When a player kills monsters, he gains Experience, which allows his character to level up and become stronger. A leveling system makes players feel that they are having progress and are improving themselves, even though the tasks they do are very mundane. A sense of improvement and accomplishment is key here.

3) Progression through a storyline

Again, like all RPGs, there is a storyline that makes players want to continue to play and find out what’s next. This is similar to wanting to finish a book or movie. Unfortunately, Diablo III’s storyline isn’t that great, and it makes you play through the same storyline in 4 different levels to beat the game (not to mention “farming” the same area/quests over and over), so this factor is not strong in Diablo. It does, however, get first-timers to want to finish the level 1 difficulty once.

4) Points/Money Accumulation

A solid presentation on Gamification by Sebastian Deterding

New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis

Gamification presentation/research from Sebastian Deterding

I recently stumbled upon some Gamification Research by Sebastian Deterding and I think it is a great piece of work in the industry. It shows a heavy amount of research and utilization of Gamification.
As you know, I have always been saying that Gamification is not really a good word to use (sounds very gimmicky and suggests it is created from games), but it should really be called “Human-Focused Design.”
Sebastian calls it “Gameful Design” which I think is appealing but difficult to gain significant traction.
I strongly recommend going through the entire thing.