Sunday, September 2, 2012

On Gamification

So I'm looking at the trusty calendar of blog posts around here, and it seems it's been about five months since I personally have written anything. To be fair, I've had something to write about for a couple months now, not including the Axis and Allies Global contests where the Axis actually won. You'd think that would be something that should have come up, especially since I was the one who pulled it (actually it was twice) off, but I'm lazy. And as it turns out, the topic I am going to write about isn't the one that's getting written about. Suckers!, you shut up.

Anyway, as one might surmise, today I'm writing about gamification, in the guise of a partial game review. I've recently begun playing Planet Baen, which is not surprisingly a game produced by Baen Books that just so happens to get you free e-books. So far, I've managed to get one, and I'll probably manage another in another day or so. (I should really also get an e-reader, but haven't done so as yet. I do have this neat device known as a computer that can fill in for it most of the time, however.) Anyway, onward to pros and cons.


1. Free ebooks
2. Good writing
3. Not hugely time consuming...sorta
4. Learning curve isn't that steep

The first is obvious, the second is probably also so. I mean, you've got these presumably talented writers, they should be able to come up with some good descriptions of the items. For example, the Security Training Camp: "To thwart an assassin, you've gotta train like an assassin. And then, after getting your microdrone recon cert in an appropriately twisty tenement, you train to assassinate assassins. Before you graduate, you're fed the rumor that you've been infiltrated. It gets a little paranoid."

The qualifier on the time consumption is for people such as me, who can't help but check up on their nation even though there's no need. In fact, it's really not necessary to check up on it more than about once per day, so long as you do so enough to keep the clock rolling. It's kind of like Progress Quest in that sense. WARNING: Progress Quest is highly addictive. Click that link at your peril. Similarly, the walk-through teaches you most everything you need to know about the game, and only takes about five minutes.


1. Little player interaction
2. There aren't a lot of choices to make.

To be fair, I think the game is still in a beta state, which is reasonable, but other than gifting other players resources, you can't do too much with or to them. A straight-up marketplace is in the works, but I think some sort of combat might be nice also. One pro I didn't mention was that you get to choose a politico-economic system to associate yourself with, and I'd like a chance to prove or disprove that mine's better than everyone else's. Similarly, you have to complete missions to level up, I think it would be nice to have a choice of mission as opposed to just completing what they give you and waiting for the bars to go up.

Anyway, I'm getting free books out of it, and I'm willing to forgive a lot when that happens. Maybe next time I'll write about what I meant to write about earlier.

P.S. In case anyone reading this wasn't aware, this is a thinly veiled campaign to get people to sign up for it, if they're so inclined. And read this blog. If you do do so, look up "Slagdar the Ineffable". Yeah, I know, I suck at names.

No comments:

Post a Comment