So how can all these principles that have become common in sports be merged with the emotional engagement from the hero’s journey and applied to skill-based games that currently rely on the treadmill in order to retain players?
|You think my suit and colour scheme look good? Well, they won't for long because I have to ditch this gear to level up!|
When talking about primarily skill-based games, to take Destiny as an example (because I’ve played a lot of the game), I think the starting point is to make the game mechanics – which stand out so well from the rest of the game’s features – and make those the core player retention mechanism.
This means not gating content behind artificial power levels but instead concentrating on encounter design and difficulty. In RPGs and in games like Destiny, being underlevelled in a scenario is as bad as being overlevelled – but that does not mean that the scenario itself is bad or unenjoyable. There are many missions and quests that are very popular but once the player has exceeded the requirements of that mission/quest there is no reason to play it again because the content is uninteresting and the rewards are non-existent.