yukai chou gamification

Game Design Technique: Collection Sets

Hello, Octalysis enthusiasts. Today’s focus will be a crucial concept within the Octalysis Framework: Collection Sets (Game Design Technique #16).

The Value of Collection Sets in Reward Distribution

Collection Sets offer a unique approach to reward distribution. Traditionally, many organizations lean towards an Extrinsic Reward System, which can be costly. However, the utility of Collection Sets is in how they can balance the reward schedule while still making the journey a lot of fun. They facilitate rewarding everyone for performing the Desired Actions without imposing a significant financial burden.

Collection Sets break a single reward into multiple parts, giving individuals a piece of the reward each time they perform a Desired Action. Once all pieces are collected, they can claim the whole reward. This way, Collection Sets help control the pace of reward distribution while maintaining continuous engagement.

Harnessing Core Drives through Collection Sets

Collection Sets capitalize on our Core Drive for ownership and possession. When we own something, we naturally wish to augment it, protect it, and even acquire more of it. Interestingly, when individuals manage to accumulate around 50% to 60% of a Collection Set, they generally become more determined to complete it. Depending on the design, Collection Sets can even allow people to trade pieces, injecting a social aspect and triggering more interaction.

Elevating Collection Sets with Themes and Mystery Boxes

Introducing a theme to a Collection Set can significantly boost its appeal. For instance, you could center a Collection Set around seven historical items or even Zodiac signs. In my book, I mention an example of a four-season deer Collection Set.

Another intriguing feature is the possibility of combining Collection Sets with Mystery Box designs (Game Design Technique #72) or Easter Egg designs (#30). This introduces an element of Unpredictability (Core Drive 7), further fueling engagement. Here, performing a Desired Action may yield a random reward—a piece of the Collection Set. This adds an element of surprise and excitement, not unlike playing a slot machine or a spinning wheel game.

The Interplay between Mystery Box Designs and Commitment

Mystery Box designs bring about an interesting dynamic. When rewards are uncertain, individuals are often hesitant to commit to lengthy actions. However, when coupled with Collection Sets, this reluctance can be overcome. The intriguing possibility of completing a set keeps them committed and curious.

A Practical Application: 21-Day Email Course

Let me elaborate with a concrete example—my 21-day email course. Participants are tasked with gathering secret codes from various social networks, transforming the course into a thrilling scavenger hunt. Though the final reward is unknown, it’s the progress of the Collection Set that keeps them invested.

When it came to deciding the final reward, I contemplated giving a book. But it seemed too conventional, perhaps even mundane. Therefore, I decided to allow the individuals who successfully completed their Collection Set to nominate two friends to receive the book.

What’s more, this reward wasn’t about the book’s extrinsic value—it was about the Social Influence (Core Drive 5) it fostered. The individuals receiving the book didn’t just see it as a gift from the course organizer—they saw it as a thoughtful present from their friend. This was a strategic application of the Social Treasure design (Game Design Technique #63), combined with the Collection Set.

Conclusion: Optimizing the Power of Collection Sets

To conclude, when you’re considering implementing a Collection Set reward system, remember to embed a theme—particularly one with a compelling, Epic Meaning (Core Drive 1). Encourage fun in collecting and even trading pieces. By doing this, you can ensure that the final reward—received upon the completion of the entire Collection Set—holds far greater value than the item itself but embodies the climax of a whole journey.

I hope this insight inspires you to create and implement your own Collection Set.

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