Motivational Design

Lenses and Patterns for Motivational Game Design

User Tools

Site Tools



Chance is an event in which we have no control over the outcome. When people think of chance, usually dice or casino games such as roulette come to mind. Casino games are a popular use of chance, but many other games can put chance to use as a source of motivation. Some games balance chance with skill, and it's important to keep both in mind when using either.


Chance can be used in games to add a sense of anticipation as well as replay value. For example, the game of roulette leaves players with a high sense of anticipation at the thought of winning a large sum of money. This anticipation lasts for the entirety of the time that the ball rolls around the wheel until it falls into one of the slots. In many online games, players will replay the same boss battles for the small chance that a specific item will drop upon defeating the boss.

In a similar sense, chance can also be used to increase variety. That same boss may have a plethora of skills and abilities to choose from and each action could be chosen randomly, or semi-randomly. This would result in very different experience each time the players encounter the boss.

Can be instantiated by

  • Loot drops
  • Lotteries
  • Chance-based abilities, skills, effects, etc.


Diablo 3

The older version of Diablo 3 increased the chance for better items dropping as the monster power (MP) increased

Diablo 3 includes chance into defeating every enemy in the game in the form of loot drops. Each enemy has a list of items that it could possibly drop, each with a percentage chance of how likely it is to drop. This motivates players to play through the game again in an effort to collect an item or set of items that they desire. As mentioned with the game of roulette, this also adds a sense of anticipation during the entire boss fight, right up until the loot is revealed.


When thinking about including some form of chance into your game, consider the following:


Skill can be viewed as the opposite of chance in games and can be a good balance for keeping your game from becoming too chance-based. An example of this kind of balance can be found in the card game Magic: The Gathering. Creating a powerful deck in that game requires a great deal of strategic skill. However, there are many cards in the game that include chance-based effects. These often require flipping a coin or rolling a die to decide the outcome of that particular card's effect.



Components: Reward


Currently looking for references to improve the depth of the page's information.

List of scholarly and professional sources and references that serve as background or support to this pattern. Please reference using the APA citation style.


patterns/chance.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/20 07:09 by boneill