March 29, 2013

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic rewards was a recent Extra Credits presentation.

They boil down to a question:  "Am I doing what I'm doing because I enjoy it or because it can get me something I enjoy?"

This is a good question to ask your players -- what parts of the game do they personally enjoy the most?

Are there any parts they do because they enjoy the result, but not the task?

As a LARP player, I find there are scenes I need to be in because of extrinsic reasons:  I want to earn status or prevent something I care about from being harmed.  And there are scenes I want to be in because of an intrinsic reason:  I enjoy novel puzzle scenes, spotlight time, intrigues, and acting out ritual behaviors (such as coronations or knightings, or vampire court or magic rituals).

As a tabletop player, I find that I intrinsically enjoy scenes that let me have influence over the direction of the story or fate of NPCs; or game scenes like puzzles and tactical combat.  From that, you can probably see why I wrote a post that urges GMs to focus on the boundaries (story) and scaffolding (game) limits for sim scenes, instead of focusing on realism, verisimilitude, and pathos.  I need a little of those things to enjoy the game, but not much.