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How to Reward Players with Status in Gamification Systems

In a gamified environment, status is often tied to valuable gameplay behaviors that support a company’s business objectives and needs to be rewarded. So on a site that sells books, for example, you might reward users who submit particularly excellent reviews.

If your goal is to foster player engagement on, say, a weight-loss site, then you could confer higher status on those users who religiously add entries to their online food journals.

You can confer status using the following tools:

  • Badges: Ever been a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout? Then you’re already familiar with the idea behind badges. Badges, which can serve both to incite a player to action and to reward the player for completing a task, can be either physical or virtual. The latter is more common in gamification programs. Badges are kind of a big deal.

  • Levels: Levels represent status in your gamification program. Players advance to new levels by performing behaviors and earning points. It’s a good idea to make the first few levels easier to attain because that encourages players to participate more often. The highest levels may require extended usage over a longer period.

  • Leaderboards: A leaderboard is a board that displays the names and scores of current competitors in a gamified system. Alternatively, a leaderboard might simply indicate a player’s ranking in the system without noting the scores of others. A player who reaches a certain level on a site or attains a high position on the site’s leaderboard will naturally be recognized as being of a higher status than players who have not yet attained that level or position.

Badges, levels, and leaderboards are most effective when employed on a social site. Without that social component, you’ll find that these types of rewards simply aren’t as useful. For many, status just isn’t all that meaningful if no one else knows about it.

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