1. The basic unit of a game is time. All value reduces to this unit.
2. Not all time is equally valuable.
2. Not everything motivates equally.
3. Not everyone is motivated by the same things equally.
4. All other things being equal, motivation is an output that’s proportional to how much effort you put in.
4b. The trophy doesn’t matter, but the effort behind it does.
5. Cooperation is its own motivation.
6. A reward’s value ought to be just a little bit more than the cost to secure it. A reward’s cost is therefore also a function of its value: it shouldn’t be so challenging (read: costly in time) that people regularly abandon its pursuit, but it shouldn’t be so cheap that just anyone could do it immediately.
6b. The function that determines a reward’s cost and value should be fairly consistent across the game. Otherwise, you end up making a time arbitrage minigame that doesn’t enhance the user’s experience in meaningful ways.
7. Forget the neuropsychology of motivation and learn about the art of telling a story.