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Making players perform actions due to a sense of bad conscience.

Players do action in games due to some form of motivation. When this motivation is based on feeling bad, either from having done something or not having done something, it is called Guilting.


Players on games which promote guilds, e.g. World of Warcraft, make players feel committed to turn up to raids and training for these.

Games such as FarmVille and Ravenwood Fair on social media platform often let players help other players. This create Guilting in those helped that they should return the favors.

Using the pattern

While Guilting is often seen as a negative aspect of gameplay, understanding what may may it occur can both help in ensure that it is not part of a game design or identifying when it can be motivated to be present. That said, Guilting consists of two parts. The first part is that players have other players they feel a connection with. This can be formalized Social Organizations such as Teams or Guilds, but any group that they feel Loyalty to can suffice as can other players with which they have Symbiotic Player Relations. The second part of Guilting is to make players feel that they should perform some form of action to other players. This is quite often set up by Delayed Reciprocity, for example through Altruistic Actions such as Free Gift Inventories, but any type of Social Dilemmas can work as well. Asynchronous Collaborative Actions shows how Social Dilemmas can be used for this purpose without the players needing to interact directly with each other, or even know much about each other. Another option to create Guilting is to put one or more players in a state of Helplessness and then let them ask for help through Communication Channels or Unmediated Social Interaction. While Mutual FUBAR Enjoyment may be pleasurable to those taking part of it, the collapse of gameplay due to some failure is likely to spark Guilting.

Guilting can also occur in games with Turn Taking or which are Turn-Based Games, here due to players try to make other players suffering from Analysis Paralysis quickly decide what to do next.

While Guilting can occur in any game with Unmediated Social Interaction, the presence of Chat Channels in games with Mediated Gameplay can give rise to the pattern as well.


Since feeling guilt is rarely a pleasurable experience, being on the receiving end of Guilting, or even seeing that this may occur, can lead to Tension. Since Guilting also divides players in those that are blamed and those not blamed, the pattern is likely to work against a sense of Togetherness among all players.

The possibility of Guilting opens up for Social Roles both on the sending and receiving end of the Guilting. Being good at Guilting (or avoiding to do it or be affected by it) can be a Social Skill.


Can Instantiate

Social Roles, Social Skills, Tension

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Altruistic Actions, Asynchronous Collaborative Actions, Chat Channels, Delayed Reciprocity, Free Gift Inventories, Guilds, Loyalty, Mutual FUBAR Enjoyment, Social Dilemmas, Social Organizations, Symbiotic Player Relations, Teams, Unmediated Social Interaction

Analysis Paralysis together with Turn Taking or Turn-Based Games

Helplessness together with Communication Channels or Unmediated Social Interaction

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.