Why Status Points Matter: Game Technique #1 – Status Points

Game Technique #1: Status Points

Yu-kai wrote Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, & Leaderboards several years ago in the middle of the buzz era of gamification. His argument was simple: there is something in gamification (what he called Human-Focused Design) that IS important and useful in designing experiences for humans.

Yu-kai wanted to differentiate the knowledge he had acquired from 10,000 hours of playing and studying games (not to mention his consulting work with hundreds of companies) from other organizations who were jumping on the gamification trend without the expertise.

Thus, the title of the book.

But Game Technique #1: Status Points, still matter.

Let’s start with status.

Status is a huge motivator in many areas of life. Recognition of status stems from our neurobiological ‘settings’ as humans. Even lobsters, who diverged from humans 350 million years ago, have hierarchy and have status in that hierarchy. Once a lobster loses a fight, it won’t fight the same lobster again. In your experiences, you don’t have to make your hierarchies quite so rigid.

What status points do:

Status points keep score. They can also be used as consumable points to purchase something in-game or in-experience from other players or through a marketplace. This makes status points incredibley useful.

Examples in the wild:

On querytracker.net, where I recently started getting feedback on my query letters for my most recent fiction project, I noticed this technique used to great effect.

Image of query tracker hero points.

A comment from a player with more status (in this case, karma points) has a different impact than from a lower level player. You gain gain points by posting and gaining karma (given by other players). So you can’t get status in a vacuum. Your status increases in relationship to the effort and value you add AND how others perceive that effort and value.

Reddit.com uses Reddit Gold, which is also quite useful and representative of a two-tiered status point system (karma and gold). Reddit Gold is used for their premium member program as well as a giftable status point for incredibly useful contributions to a subreddit.

How to use Status Points:

Use status points wisely and they will greatly improve your experience.
Status points have a White Hat and extrinsic feel to them, stemming largely from Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment and Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness.

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Article by Erik van Mechelen

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