游戏研究者Amy Jo Kim 、Nicole Lazzaro 和Ian Bogost曾讨论过游戏设计者是否应该允许有闲多过有钱的玩家购买虚拟货币，以减少游戏中的苦力活。这个策略现在已在大部分社交游戏中实现了。
Four Reasons Why Gamers Cheat: How to Design Social Games to Optimize Cheating?
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I recently wrote about a Social Gaming Summit 2008 panel discussion on fun in game design where game researchers Amy Jo Kim (@amyjokim), Nicole Lazzaro (@nicolelazzaro) and Ian Bogost (@ibogost) discuss whether game designers should allow players who have more time than money to buy virtual currency to cut through the grind, a tactic that is built into most social games now.
Today, I came across Mia Consalvo‘s research on cheating behavior in video games, and her interview on whether buying virtual currency in social games can be called cheating.
Mia says that people cheat in games (use walk-throughs, cheat codes, hacks and scripts, buy items illegally, or use deceit) because of four reasons –
1. They are stuck because they don’t have the skills and experience to advance to the next level on their own.
2. They are greedy, and want to unlock the advanced goodies to extend the play experience without grinding through the repetitive gameplay.
3. They are bored with the game’s linear storyline, and want to jump ahead in the game’s timeline.
4. They want to cheat others and win conclusively, by gaining an unfair advantage over them.
Mia argues that cheating in games might be good in some cases. Players often get stuck, or bored, and cheating to skip ahead or extend the play experience might be the difference between completing a game and abandoning it mid-stream. Good types of cheating can help create a sense of community as beginners seek out more advanced players for tips, and even help designers identify breaks in the game flow and build better games.
Mia also argues that social games have built a business model on such cheating behavior. You can play the game for free, but if you want to skip the grind, you can buy skills, experience, or virtual good by paying for virtual currency. Also, as many social games are collaborative, cheating by buying virtual currency often does not have an adverse impact on gameplay.
As I was reading Mia’s interview, I had an Aha! moment. The social game business model depends upon players cheating and paying for virtual currency and virtual goods. So, social games should be designed to optimize cheating.
Going back to the four reasons why players cheat, social game designers should create more opportunities for players to cheat by offering paid opportunities to unlock skill and experience to play the game in flow, exclusive virtual goods to enhance the game experience, parallel narratives to explore the game in a non-linear manner, and early upgrades to level up without the grind. The challenge, of course, is to create these cheating opportunities so that they add to the gameplay, not detract from it.
Which games, in your opinion, are striking the right balance between offering attractive opportunities to cheat and maintaining a fun game experience for non-paying players? Do share your insights in the comments below.（source：gauravonomics）