Social Mechanics in Games

Beyond the basics of the gameplay mechanics, social games leverage mechanics to emphasize, or expand, portions of the game play. In Farmville, to keep you coming back to the game, Zynga implemented the harvest gameplay mechanic. The player plants some seeds, and needs to come back to the game to harvest the crops. As the player levels through game play, items are then available for “Farm cash,” which can be purchased through leveling, or for real money. To encourage you to play with others, players are encouraged to visit each other’s farms, performing up to five tasks for experience points, or provide gifts.

Neopets utilizes a slightly more sophisticated gameplay mechanic. As a player travels across the site, she is ...

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