Further Player Improvement Potential

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That players have the possibility to increase their skills in handling the gameplay.

The outcome of many games depend on the skill or knowledge of those playing it. For players that do play a game and notice that they could have played better, that game holds Further Player Improvement Potential for them. This can of course be subjective since players may think they cannot improve when they actually can or maybe believe they can become better when they in practice cannot.


Chess and Go are classical examples of Board Games which allow Further Player Improvement Potential for a lifetime to most players, much due to the fact than the skill of one's opponent is what primary sets the difficulty for anybody playing. This can also be found in most Sports such as Tennis. Golf and Marathons show examples where one doesn't necessarily need to compete against others but can always try to improve one's own handicap score.

Examples of Computer Games which offers players Further Player Improvement Potential for long period of time include team-based games such as Defense of the Ancients, the Counter-Strike series, and the Starcraft series and death-match variants of Doom or Quake.

Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft show how players can have Further Player Improvement Potential by the games continuously changing through the release of new expansions (and removal of older cards from some tournament variants).

Using the pattern

Further Player Improvement Potential provides means of players being able to perform some gameplay actions, note how well these work against some goals, and finally noticing that the possibility for better performances exist. While this does require Uncertainty of Outcome, not all types of Uncertainty of Outcome work. Performance Uncertainty is the primary way of achieving this and pitching players against each other in PvP gameplay where the outcome depends on their performance is a classical solution found for example in Chess and Go to allow nearly all players Further Player Improvement Potential. Evolving Rule Sets, or to a lesser degree any Expansions, provide players with Further Player Improvement Potential simply because their skills or knowledge will become outdated unless they learn how to play with the new rules or game elements that have been introduced. Perceivable Margins provide players with feedback about how well they perform for each action and thereby also help players in reaching their full potential.

Difficulty Levels and Ever Increasing Difficulty can also support Further Player Improvement Potential but here the potentially typically is bounded earlier, either due to a limited number of Difficulty Levels or that it is a narrow set of skills that are challenges by the Ever Increasing Difficulty. Exaggerated Perception of Influence can be used to encourage players to believe they can perform better, and this can motivate them to try harder and actually discover Further Player Improvement Potential they otherwise may have missed.

There are several patterns that can work against Further Player Improvement Potential, most which are related to making players have less Player Agency. The easiest example of this are games with absolutely No Direct Player Influence (i.e. not in a meaningful way even before gameplay begins). Strong presence of Randomness or where successful outcomes can be attributed to Luck also work against Player Agency and thereby reasons for players to believe that Further Player Improvement Potential exists or is meaningful to try and develop. Gameplay building on Solution Uncertainty, for example through Puzzle Solving, depends on finding the solution and without other additions to the design there is no reason for Further Player Improvement Potential for a challenge once a solution is found. This is especially the case for games where Trial and Error Solutions exists since here Luck or simply systematically going through alternatives can reveal the solution.


The presence of Further Player Improvement Potential in games show that players have a possibility to achieve better Gameplay Mastery than they currently have, and that there exists a potential Value of Effort for trying to become better. In games with Teams, it shows that positive Team Development is possible.

If the Further Player Improvement Potential exists between game instances, it supports Replayability either through getting better at performing the necessary gameplay actions or by developing Strategic Knowledge.


Can Instantiate

Gameplay Mastery, Replayability, Value of Effort

Team Development in games with Teams

with Strategic Knowledge


Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Difficulty Levels, Ever Increasing Difficulty, Evolving Rule Sets, Expansions, Perceivable Margins, Performance Uncertainty

PvP together with Performance Uncertainty

Can Be Modulated By

Exaggerated Perception of Influence

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Challenging Gameplay, Luck, No Direct Player Influence, Puzzle Solving, Randomness, Solution Uncertainty, Trial and Error Solutions


New pattern created in this wiki.