Points, Badges, Leaderboards – Part 1 of 3

Behavioral design goes much further than the widely used Points, Badges and Leaderboards. This principle is one that is at the core of Yu-kai Chou’s book: Actionable Gamification.

The right implementation of the right Game Technique at the right time and place is what makes for a successful design, and an engaging experience. Click To Tweet

However, points, badges, and leaderboards can be a powerful addition to your design, if used right.

Photo by Christine Roy on Unsplash

In Octalysis gamification we define two types of points:

Status Points (GT #1)

Status points allow the user to grow in status as they do more of the desired behavior. These are often experience points.

They focus on Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment, they make the user feel accomplished and a sense of progression.

With Status Points the user can level up and unlock permanent powers.

Exchangeable Points (GT #75)

Exchangeable points are points that you can redeem, exchange, gift. These are often virtual currencies.

They focus on Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession, they allow accumulation and exchange. As well as Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience, make sure there is scarcity in coins and items are useful to buy. This is where The Big Burn (GT #88) can be used by introducing a very expensive item that will only give a small cosmetic change. The user can tell other users about her succes in coins accumulation by showing off this cosmetic change. This mechanic, where the user can quickly burn the majority of her points for something, helps you to control your economy.

With Exchangeable Points the user can redeem points for items that have a one-time use. Occasionally they might be used to unlock permanent powers, but this is less common.

Important Differences

It is important to be aware of the differences between these two types of points as to not mix them up. Most games use both points: experience to level up as status points, and currency to use and redeem as exchangeable points.

Next week we will take a closer look at Badges and what they can bring to your experience if implemented correctly.

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