Progress with friends
Count me as a fan of Candy Crush Saga on iOS.
The folks at King.com do a great job. Much fun is the over the top (and slightly creepy) presentation of a much-loved tile matching mechanic. But I also love the transition between levels on the Candyland map and being able to see my progress vs Facebook friends:
Woohoo level 10… see ya Mike…
Um… Charles, Angus, Sana and Mary, you guys have too much time on your hands *_*
Air’s thin up there
Seeing your Facebook friends* in a game can be a strong motivation to continue on the grind of a game.
* For many hardcore players who use dedicated Facebook game accounts with non irl friends, I think the argument still holds. You often have as strong a bond with them through other games spanning many years of your life
But it’s increasingly the case that:
- Your FB friends won’t won’t be all playing the the game you are
- Of those who are, only a couple might be at high levels
This presents a question to game designers who spend many cycles on high level systems and players, those who bring in the big revenue.
On one hand you could argue that the real friend social layer is only needed to get you addicted to the game and helping the viral coefficient a bit, and once you’re up there at high levels the meta game and game-specific social components (friends, guilds, challenges, events etc) take over.
But to me it seems strange to have two separate friend layers within a game - Facebook and in-game, often used in different parts of the UX and game systems.
A marathon model?
Imagine in a game like Candy Crush Saga if that instead of showing a ever thinning list of FB friends as you progress up through the levels, you blend in-game friends (and foes and strangers) into the progress map.
It could be done programmatically.
A sprinkling of high level players, with serious bling showing the spoils of progress, as well as those with a similar cohort, trajectory or level to yours, to encourage you to keep on moving (analogous to how Clash of Clans throws high level players occasionally into the random PvP matching as well as those ranked similarly in level to you)
The way I see it, this model could be like a marathon:
- You may have a handful of friends or people you know also running and motivating you to join, but they probably aren’t all running with you through the whole race
- You have the high level runners at the same event - the ones you admire on the big screens and in your dreams aspire to become one day
- But most of the time you are surrounded by folks running around you - some may be and remain total strangers, others you may develop an unspoken but real emotional camaraderie as you compete, but also drag each other to continue through the gruelling miles
All of these three groups are different, but aren’t they all runners in the same game?