Quests: A Motivational Analysis through the Octalysis Framework


Gamification has emerged as a powerful tool for boosting user engagement, participation, and satisfaction across various applications and experiences. By incorporating game-like elements into traditionally non-game contexts, designers can create environments that encourage user loyalty and enjoyment. One such gamification mechanic is the quest system, which has been effectively employed in diverse settings such as education, fitness, and productivity. This article will delve into an analysis of the quest mechanic using the Octalysis framework, developed by Yu-kai Chou (read the guide). By examining quests through the Octalysis lens, we aim to provide valuable insights into how these mechanics can be designed to maximize user motivation and engagement.

1. Sense of Significance and Mission

Quests can be tailored to provide users with a sense of purpose and direction. By aligning quests with a broader goal or mission, users feel they are part of something greater, which in turn fosters engagement and motivates them to take meaningful action.

2. Self-Improvement and Skill Development

Skill development is a key component of many quest systems. By designing quests that require users to learn or practice specific skills, gamification systems can promote self-improvement and encourage users to adopt a growth mindset.

3. Social Pressure, Friendship, and Competition

Integrating social elements into quest systems can capitalize on users’ inherent desire for social connection, competition, and collaboration. Features such as leaderboards, team-based quests, and social sharing can foster a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition, further motivating users to stay engaged.

4. Mystery, Surprise, and Unpredictability

The element of surprise can serve as a potent motivator. By incorporating hidden quests, easter eggs, or randomized rewards, designers can maintain user engagement and curiosity. Unpredictability keeps the experience fresh and exciting, enticing users to return and explore further.

5. Avoidance of Negativity, Stability, and Safety

Quests can help users avoid negative outcomes or consequences. For instance, in a fitness app, a quest could be designed to promote regular exercise, helping users maintain their health and prevent potential health issues.

6. Resource Scarcity, Impatience, and Deficit

By introducing scarce resources or time-sensitive quests, designers can create a sense of urgency and encourage users to act quickly. This approach can be especially effective when combined with other mechanics, such as rewards or competition.

7. Ownership, Accumulation, and Sense of Proprietorship

Quests can motivate users to collect items, achievements, or badges, fostering a sense of ownership and accomplishment. Offering exclusive or rare rewards for quest completion can tap into users’ desire to collect and accumulate.

8. Achievement and Striving for Leadership

Quests can be structured to provide incremental challenges and achievements, encouraging users to strive for mastery and leadership. By offering rewards or recognition for completing difficult or high-level quests, designers can effectively motivate users to push their limits and achieve more.


Designing effective quests as a gamification mechanic requires a deep understanding and application of the core motivational drivers outlined in the Octalysis framework. By carefully crafting quests that tap into these motivations, designers can create engaging and rewarding experiences that keep users coming back for more.