Valve and the TF2 and Dota 2 Halloween Events – Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

In their tradition of Halloween events in Team Fortress 2 (this year as well),

Valve implemented a Halloween event in Dota 2 as well.

I think the end-result is a lot better in Dota 2 than in TF2 this year. I’m not talking about the technical or story-line implementation, which are both great, but that in TF2 two event Achievements are featured, and the Halloween boss that has to be killed for them has to be killed cooperatively with both opposing teams. The boss though, and his/the event-game-mechanics strongly encourage you to continue killing enemies / playing against enemies. An adequate coorperation does not occur – at least not in such a high level that would be necessary to kill the boss in the two minutes given.

Again, also out of my own take on the event and my experience with it, I come back to intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation in video-games.

The Achievements encourage extrinsic motivation; the fixed set goal you have to work for, where you rather than enjoying the experience itself you enjoy overcoming the goal. As the boss opens a portal at the end, and killing him is an objective you can strive for, this is a second aspect to the extrinsic motivation – I also believe you get an item at the end.

In the end though, you never reach the goal and it becomes a kind of frustrating experience. You have to be careful and aware to still enjoy the event at all, and not constantly rage at all the players not focusing on the boss 100 % (even then he is not easy to beat). It seems killing him just won’t happen on normal public servers.

From what I saw of the Dota 2 event (checked out a video) it is much more appealing. In the first phase, it introduces an adapted ctf-style gameplay where you play against the enemy team. In phase two, the boss appears but is not ready to be taken on yet. In phase three, your and the enemy team unite, resulting in no player-damage to one another, and focusing on the – still hard to beat – boss.

I feel like the Dota 2 has the much more enjoyable event – even though I did not play it.