Gamification Elements for Each User Type

At Game2change we pride ourselves in our innovative game-based solutions that increase engagement and, therefore, increase knowledge retention. We have seen various companies soaking up game-based methods and approaches and these companies are playing ahead of the curb. This is just testament to the effectiveness of game-based tools.

However, how do we know how our target audience will respond to our gamified program or product? At Game2Change we look at how different player types respond to games in order to answer this question.

If game-thinking is based on the premise of using games and game-like elements for better engagement, then the best way to understand possible reactions is to use the same profiling model used for fully immersive games.

We use Andrejz Marczewski’s User Type Hexad model. Each type interacts differently with game-based systems as they are each motivated by different core motivators and therefore value game elements that cater to their core motivator.

The profiling model has 3 subtypes; 4 Users, 4 Players and 4 Disruptors. The users are motivated by intrinsic motivators. The players are motivated by extrinsic motivators. The disruptors are motivated by change. Each player and disruptor type have a corresponding user type. This is due to the fact that as our motivation fluctuates between intrinsic, extrinsic and change, so we move between user, player and disruptor. The best designed game-thinking systems cater for all four of the main user types as we cannot be profiled as a single user type. Rather, we are more likely to display most, if not all of the user traits, but in varying degrees.

Because the players and disruptors are based on the 4 main user types, we have focused on the users only in this article. Below is a summary adapted from Marczewski’s work of the user types, their core intrinsic motivator, and their valued game mechanics. These will assist you in designing your game-based solution to cater for the broader target audience, making sure there is a little something to engage each person.


Motivated by Relatedness – the desire to be connected to others. 

Socialisers are looking to create social connections and interact with others. They would typically be motivated by systems that promote relatedness.


Let people build close-knit guilds or teams. Small groups can be much more effective than large ones. Create platforms for collaboration but also pave the way for team-based competition.

Social Network

Allow people to connect and be social with an easy to use and accessible social network. It can be more fun to play with other people than to play on your own.

Social Status 

Status can lead to greater visibility for people, creating opportunities to create new relationships which feels good. You can make use of feedback mechanisms such as leader boards and certificates.

Social Discovery

A way to find people and to be found is essential for building new relationships. Matching people based on interests and status can all help get people started.

Social Pressure

Allow people to connect and be social with an easy to use and accessible social network. It can be more fun to play with other people than to play on your own.


Competition gives people a chance to prove themselves against others. It an be a way to win rewards, but also be a place where new friendships and relationships are born.

Free Spirit

Motivated by Autonomy – The need to feel agency, independence or freedom. 

Free Spirits want to create and explore free from external control. Depending on their own preferences, they would welcome systems that allow for exploration and creativity.


Give your free spirits room to move and explore. If you are creating virtual worlds, consider that they will want to find boundaries and give them something to find.

Branching Choices

Let the user choose their path and destiny. From multiple learning paths to responsive narratives. Remember, choice has to be (or at least feel) meaningful to be most effective and appreciated.

Easter Eggs 

Easter eggs are a fun way to reward and surprise people just for having a look around. For some, the harder they are to find, the more exciting it is.

Unlockable Content

Add to the feeling of self expression and value, by offering unlockable or rare content to use. This can be linked to easter eggs and achievement.

Creativity Tools

Allow people to create their own content and express themselves. This may be for personal gain, for pleasure or to help other people (teaching materials, levels, gear, FAQ)


 Give people the tools to customise their experience. From avatars to environment, let them express themselves and choose how they will present themselves to others.


Motivated by Mastery – the desire to learn new skills and develop expertise in them. 

Achievers are looking to gain knowledge, learn new skills, and improve. You can expect achievers to want to complete ever challenge your system has and be the best at each one. Whilst tokens of completion such as certificates and badges may be gratefully received, they are not going to be the only reason achievers engage with the system.


Help keep people interested, testing their knowledge, and allowing them to apply it. Overcoming challenges will make people feel they have earned their achievement.


Different from general rewards and trophies, certificates are a physical symbol of mastery and achievement. They carry meaning, status, and are useful.

New Skills

What better way to achieve mastery than to learn something new? Give your users the opportunity to learn and expand.


Give users a fixed goal to achieve. Often made up from a series of linked challenges, multiplying the feeling of achievement.


Help to map a user’s progression through a system. It is as important to see where you can go as it is to see where you have been.

Boss Battles

A chance to consolidate everything you have learned and mastered in one epic challenge. Usually signals the end of the journey – and the beginning of a new one.


Motivated by Purpose – a feeling of greater meaning or a desire to be altruistic. 

Philanthropists want to give to people and enrich the lives of others.
Philanthropists are looking for a sense of purpose and meaning. For some it may be altruism, for others it may be more of a feeling that what they are doing serves some higher purpose.


Some just need to understand the meaning or purpose of what they are doing (epic or otherwise). For others they need to feel they are part of something greater than themselves.


Looking after other people can be very fulfilling. Create roles for administrators, moderators, and curators. Allow users to take parental control.


Access to more features and abilities in a system can give people more ways to contribute. It also helps make them feel valued and even more meaningful if earned.

Collect & Trade

Many people love to collect things. Give them a way to collect and trade items in your system as it helps build relationships and feelings of purpose and value.


Allow gifting or sharing of items to other people to help them achieve their goals. Whilst a form of altruism, the potential for reciprocity can be a strong motivator.

Sharing Knowledge

For some, helping people by sharing knowledge with them is its own reward. Build the ability for people to answer questions and teach others.


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