Ladderboard and Tiers: A Motivational Analysis through Octalysis Framework


Ladderboard and tiered systems are prevalent in the gamification, providing customers with a sense of progression, competition, and achievement. In this review, I will explore how these game mechanics align with the eight motivation mechanics in the Octalysis framework developed by Yu-kai Chou.

  1. Sense of significance, mission:
    Ladderboard rankings and tiered levels instill a sense of significance and mission by placing customers within a larger competitive environment. By striving to climb the ranks, players feel more appreciated and valued for their skills and dedication.
  2. Self-improvement, unlocking creative potential, skill development:
    As customers ascend the ladderboard and unlock new tiers, they experience a sense of self-improvement and skill development. The game mechanics encourage to analyze strategies, refine their techniques, and think creatively to overcome increasingly challenging obstacles.
  3. Social pressure, friendship, competition:
    Ladderboards and tier systems foster social pressure, friendship, and competition by encouraging to compare rankings and progress with peers. This friendly rivalry can drive customers to invest more time and effort to surpass their friends or to form alliances and collaborate to achieve higher rankings together.
  4. Mystery, surprise, unpredictability, curiosity:
    While ladderboards and tiers may not directly offer mystery or surprise, they can contribute to the overall unpredictability of a game. Customers can be motivated by the uncertainty of their next opponent’s skill level or the rewards they may unlock with each new tier.
  5. Avoidance of negativity, stability, safety:
    In the context of ladderboards and tier systems, customers are often motivated to avoid losing rank or dropping to lower tiers. This avoidance of negativity and desire for stability drive them to continually improve their “skills” and maintain a sense of safety within their current tier or ranking.
  6. Resource scarcity, impatience, deficit:
    Ladderboards and tiers can create a sense of resource scarcity by limiting access to certain rewards, items, or exclusive content to players who achieve higher ranks. This scarcity encourages players to compete and strive for higher rankings to unlock these limited resources.
  7. Ownership, accumulation, sense of proprietorship:
    As players progress through ladderboards and tiers, they often accumulate rewards, titles, and in-app currency. This sense of ownership and proprietorship can serve as a powerful motivator for customers to continue playing and investing in the game to protect and expand their collection.
  8. Achievement, striving for leadership:
    One of the strongest motivational factors in ladderboard and tier systems is the pursuit of achievement and leadership. Customers are driven to excel, reach the top of the ladderboard, and attain the highest tier possible. This motivation can lead to immense satisfaction when goals are achieved and can even result in customers pushing themselves to their limits in the quest for gaming excellence.

Ladderboard and tiered game mechanics effectively tap into various motivational factors, as a result, become powerful tools in gamification design, successfully retaining customers and fostering long-term investment. By understanding and applying these motivational mechanics, businesses can create immersive and rewarding experiences that keep customers coming back for more.