Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

The following text was written within a seminar at the department of business informatics regarding the social-alternate reality game Evoke.

Introduction

“EVOKE is a ten-week crash course in changing the world.”
That’s how evoke characterize itself. Evoke is an amazing social network game which help empower people all over the world to come up with creative solutions to the most urgent social problems.
The first season of the game began on March 3, 2010 and ended on May 12th, 2010.


1.1 Motivation and background

In this ten-week crash course the player should change the world?! Okay at first the player has the objective to play through 10 missions in 10 weeks. These missions announced different social problems and were subdivided into Learn, Act, Imagine and Quests. In Quests the player are able to display himself and his imaginary team. In the missions the player are able to provide his own ideas in blog posts, photos or videos. With these tools he can complete all of these missions.
In this seminar we are the players…


1.2 Purpose

Goal of this work is to answer the following questions with our experiences gained during the gameplay. The questions were provided with politely assistance of our advisors.

2.1. Which positive experiences did you make during playing EVOKE?
2.2. Which negative experiences did you make during playing EVOKE?
2.3. What should be changed to raise the motivation?
2.4. What would you change to raise the mediation of information?
2.5. What should be improved on EVOKE to ease the solution of an objec-tive?
2.6. Is there a event during playing evoke which you will held in memory?
2.7. Which game mechanics did you perceived in a positive way?
2.8. Which game mechanics did you perceived in a negative way?


2 Questions

2.1 Positive experiences

- Which positive experiences did you make during playing EVOKE?

I am quite surprised by the last 10 weeks that I've played this game. I didn’t think that you can learn so much during playing a game in 10 weeks and also having fun. So i think i gain a lot of different positive experiences during my gameplay. First of all the learning effect was immense. I learned a lot about sustainability, environment protection and different problems around the world.
It was interesting to read the different articles and quest from the other play-ers. It is incredible how much people from different social cla**** and coun-tries from all over the world have taken part in this game and it was really enthralling to read the different perspectives and opinions. It was also nice, that there were missions that are related directly to my own environment. So I had the possibility to learn more about my own hometown.
The Act part was the part in which one i felt best after completing. You could bring in your own creativity and had the feeling something really moving. For example, I’m really happy about helping different countries and people with micro financing with kiva, globalgiving or Opportunity International.
The imagine part was the most fun part of this game. It was a mix of creativi-ty, fun and hope. You can write down your own ideas and you could mix it with real or optimistic hopes and funny ideas.


2.2 Negative experiences

Which negative experiences did you make during playing EVOKE?

The navigation of the website was at first a little bit difficult. Even in the last posts I saw a lot of people who had problems with the tagging. Also the dif-ference between comment and blog post is not clear for every user. I think this could be solved easier.
The sort-function of blog-posts are not sophisticated yet. You can search blog post, but you cannot search for the evidence label (Tags) just for the post title. That means you will only find the posts from people who used the tag in their post title e.g. “Learn7: My Hometown”.
For me personally, the focus was on learning and the powers were not as important. Also, because the season was actually already done. However, if the points would matter, single-line posters would be annoying for me. There should be a better a****sment of the posts.
Also diversified media post would be nice. The information is mostly showed in a long text with a few pictures. This acts as a deterrent.


2.3 Raise the motivation

What should be changed to raise the motivation?

From my point of view Evoke is a big single-player game with a basic ap-proach of high score and comment functions. You can increase the motiva-tion by adding more multiplayer functions. “Find a solution with three other players”. “Give an a****sment for at least 5 new posts”. An a****sment e.g. between 1 and 10 and not just a power vote. Powers should only be distrib-uted if the average rating is e.g. above 5. This would avoid single-posts and increase the motivation of the ordinary players.
If you hide special abilities or powers in other player profiles or blog post you could increase the motivation to browse through other profiles or blog posts.
Quest should also be awarded like the missions.
There should be more achievements and it should be possible to reach every achievement. At the beginning it was a nice goal to reach the first achievements but then there was a big breach between the first achievements and the last one.
A big boost for the motivation would be if you were able to reach a higher level if you have a specific number of powers. In this case you will get ac-cess to more complex missions. Currently you attend missions and receive powers, but actually that’s no advantage for you, except you are displayed in a high score. Evoke already advertises with “Complete missions to earn powers, and find out where your true strengths lie.”, then you should distrib-ute powers and really get "better ". If you e.g. have collected more than 100 points in creativity, you should get access to more complex creativity mis-sions.


2.4 Mediation of information

What would you change to raise the mediation of information?

Every User has a unique profile and this should be used. For example you could specify in your own profile which particular topics are most interesting for yourself. Also you could be announced if there are new posts from friends or if there are new posts of people that you have stored on an “interesting list”.
In addition, you could show better rated blog posts on your start site. Or own blog posts which were responded to. In addition, a link in with a social-network like Facebook would be functional.
Another point, I already posted, is that diversified media posts would be nice. The information is mostly showed in a long text with few pictures. This acts as a deterrent. It lacks on video and audio files.


2.5 Solution of an objective

What should be improved on EVOKE to ease the solution of an objective?

A few links to information didn’t work. Evoke should backup sites with im-portant information and save them as a second link on their own server. So users have the possibility to find the information on the evoke site if the pri-mary site is down.
It would be nice if you can use html code or bbcode also in Quests.
A practical improvement would be if you could write a solution to a solution from someone else. Thus, several people could always tune a solution and cooperate better.


2.6 Event

Is there an event during playing evoke which you will hold in memory?

Before Evoke I couldn’t imagine that I can help people directly with my mon-ey and actually could choose which situation I want to donate. Then I learned about micro-financing and i was happy but also a little bit sad because you visit kiva or globalgiving and see all these people that are searching for help and you cannot help all of them. But of course, I was happy that I could contribute a part to help people. There were two situations when I used micro-financing. One of them is especially remained in my memory. As an enthusiastic soccer player I've decided to donate 10$ to a project from Rwanda that trains 100 women with football coaching skills to provide 100 women football teams throughout the country. I have a friend that was in Rwanda for a social-year in 2010 and he told me that he played a lot of football with the kids in Rwanda. So I know that the conditions to play football are not so good. With this small donation I got the feeling that I helped a little bit to improve these conditions.


2.7 Positive game mechanics

Which game mechanics did you perceived in a positive way?

In the most positive way I perceived the comics. I think a lot of work was put in it. They gave me some kind of a launching energy and the motivation for the weekly mission. They also inspired me and helped me finding solution to the exercises.
I also remember the powers in a positive way. It’s nice to get powers from other players because then you realize that somebody have read your post. It’s also nice to give powers to other player because you can honor their work.
The profiles were very interesting. It was nice to know how the people look like and where they are from. If I had read an interesting article I always also read the first quest from this person because I wanted to know what the per-son does in his real life.
The achievement also does their job. I wanted to get the 100 points on one power achievement.


2.8 Negative game mechanics

Which game mechanics did you perceived in a negative way?

Probably the following point exists because of the re-opening. It’s not possi-ble to get on the Leader cloud, because it’s not up to date. So some achievements are also not possible to get.
It’s also bad that the system gives powers automatically. I already posted a proposal for solution in point 2.3.

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