Players Prefer Points

Players like points. Some players are even addicted to points. Yesterday I saw a post in one game forum. There the player told how his opponent was losing the game, but just before defeat the other player left the game: In this situation the game system gives both “win” and “lose” ranks to both players. So, basically this player was pissed off. He went to game’s official forums and told about the situation and even posted a replay file. He then posted to game admins and wanted to get that “lose” rank away. It was important because he had won over 30 games and lost only one.

Doesn’t this prove that players just love to get points. They want those victory points. They want bonuses. They want more and more points. When designing your game: keep in mind that Players Prefer Points.

10 thoughts on “Players Prefer Points

  1. @SasQ: If I remember correctly, the answer is *yes*. If the user can reverse engineer the program, I believe he can manipulate the system and send fake scores.

  2. @Game Producer: But how do you recognize who send that scores – the real game or the hacktool? Even if transmission is encrypted, the key must be hardcoded into a program or being get from the server – in both cases it could be found by end user, right?

  3. [...] It may be a truism that casual games players like to see their name on a scoreboard – players love points as pointed out here – but many games sites (and a few developers) seem to misunderstand it, either ignoring highscores altogether or completely overloading the player with every conceivable flavour of scoreboard. [...]

  4. @Michael: Yes, but that would require reverse engineering the program itself – and changing the post sending functions. There’s no 100% sure way to prevent this kind of hacking, but it would require the person to dig really deep. The system I mention doesn’t allow user to send fake scores – because they are crypted inside the program.

  5. Michael McCulloch

    This is probably not the place to debate specific issues related to a posting system, however it seems to me the root of the problem is storing the scoring stats in a secure manner that hides the data from the end user — as the end user is more likely to hack the stored stats BEFORE the process of posting rather than manipulating the server and/or transfer mechanism. Thanks.

  6. @Michael: I know that is a problem. Luckily – there’s a solution for that. Indiepath & Polycount Productions has a software called IndieNET. It’s a system that uses 128/256bit RC4 encryption (=”secure way to post stuff” in English). The software is not *yet* available but will be soon via http://www.indiegamebusiness.com. Drop me or Tim (at indiepath.com) an email if you are interested.

  7. Michael McCulloch

    I have often considered a high score list, but how do you prevent abusers? For those that REALLY like points will just abuse/hack the system to post a huge score. I’ve seen similar games to my own that post high scores with simply unbelievable stats.

    The trouble of developing a secure and true system for comparing scores seems to be a lot of touble.

  8. [...] GameProducer.net has a short and sweet post about game design, specifially the idea that ‘Players love Points’. …players just love to get points. They want those victory points. They want bonuses. They want more and more points. When designing your game: keep in mind that Players Prefer Points. [...]

  9. Minority? I really would like a statistics to prove that – as far as I recall, almost every single game uses points/ranks in some way. Some simulations might not use points and some chat “games” like Habbo Hotel (where the main element is collecting stuff and socializing). I bet all games at ironcode.com contain points – do they?

    Majority of players like points, ranks, status, titles – western society is built on that. Players prefer them.

    I must say that I would be more than glad to hear about those players who don’t like points (or other status symbols). I believe I’m one of them – for the most part.

  10. Some players like points – competetive people really like points. Unfortunately, those are in the minority.