[Thought for the Day] Outcome based gaming

In my day job, there is an ongoing debate about management via outcomes. This is where you are given a set of goals, such as ‘reduce the number of homeless people in this area’, and your agency will be judged based on how well it does this. It’s controversial because the most efficient way to get to the outcome might not actually be the best overall (eg. in this example, you could ship all homeless people to another city, or refuse to add any new homeless people to your list) but at the same time, it is useful to focus people on a solid purpose and to let them all see the goals of their organisation.


Achievements in MMOs are also a form of outcome based goal. It doesn’t matter how or why you got the achievement – whether you looked it up on websites, did it by accident, spent ages figuring out how to do it, had an addon to help, organised your own group to get it  – the game merely records that the desired outcome was reached. So we could call Bartle’s ‘Achiever’ type player, an outcome focussed player.


And if the gaming community itself becomes outcome focussed, then they are throwing a lot of fun playing styles (eg. exploring) out of the window. I’m sure game devs are very much aware of this player tendency. In GW2, you can see this in the way vistas, zone completion, and daily quests are designed to fit around explorer and social playing styles as well as achiever ones.  In WoW …. you get people who look up all the Lorewalker Scroll locations on a website and then act superior because they got their reputation mount faster than people who decided to just explore.