Falling into the trap of complicated jargons of gamification is easy. However, you have to comprehend the gamification basics and understand the core conceptions of the field. Then, you'll be able to master gamification. Thus, we want to review two fundamental concepts of gamification. What gamification is about and what it is not.
While the gamification term was becoming more and more viral, many marketing consultants who knew nothing about gamification and behavioral design tried to use this wave and fill their pockets with money. And some of them did that. However, these frauds damaged the gamification industry. This wave of dilettante gamifiers brought many wrong conceptions to the industry. Maybe the most infamous terms in gamification are PBLs: Points, Badges, and Leaderboards. You can't design a gamified experience only by putting points, badges, and leaderboards to it. Gamification is an art. And every gamified adventure is unique. So you won't be able to find a repetitive pattern to make everything engaging over and over again. I'm not going to say that you shouldn't use PBLs in your design. Nevertheless, you have to make sure that you are not relying on shallow techniques and overlooking the profound concepts. Instead of thinking about PBLs, you should think about gamification basics: human motives and human's brain. Gamification is about human motivation, neurochemicals, emotions, and experiences.
As you already know, the term gamification was invented by concatenating "game" and "-ification." That's why I believe "Experience Design" is a better term.
Gamifiers have learned many things over the years from game designers. But not because gamification is based on game design, because gamification and game design are based on the same concept: Experience Design.
The main task of a game designer is to design an engaging experience for the players. What is the primary responsibility of a gamifier?
That is not just about game designers and gamifiers. Movie directors, writers, acrobats, dancers, singers, and musicians are trying to create pleasant experiences for their audience, too.
That's why every gamification expert should learn different things from those fields.
Instead of trying to learn gamification by just playing games, try to master it by examining your daily experiences. Which of them are engaging and why. What are the qualities of entertaining TV shows? What are the characteristics of appealing books? Also, what are the features of engaging games?
To learn gamification, you have to answer these questions about gamification basics.