Guest Article: Finding Motivation

posted by on 30th June 2011, at 10:36pm

This guest article comes from addiv on the forums. You can also reach him on twitter @addiv. If you’d like to submit your own guest article, find out how here.

As I stare into my bank, idly scanning possessions for inspiration, a thought passes through my mind: ‘What am I going to do now?’. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of Standing. You know, that secret skill most of us would have a cape of achievement for if it really existed. Standing is something new for me. I’ve always been motivated in my goals and rarely had a problem staying on task. Lately though it’s been a lot harder.

I recently reached a major goal I’d been working towards for a long time and immediately after I noticed my motivation to play was gone. The goal was the vehicle driving my efforts, and having reached it, it felt like I’d driven into a concrete wall. This has happened before on a much smaller scale after reaching 99 in a skill, but it never lasted very long. It seems the bigger my goal, the more Standing xp I’d earn after achieving it.

This got me thinking about what motivates players. While some players lose interest quickly, others manage to max their stats and still find the game interesting. Motivation is clearly more complex than saying we play for skill capes. What motivates us to keep working towards the goals we set? There are endless sources of motivation but for simplicity lets look at a few of the most obvious ones: material gain, social interaction and status.

Material Gain

We like nice things. A little bling to spice up our outfit or some high level combat gear to help us in a fight doesn’t come cheap. Completing a quest might require a significant investment of time and training other skill to meet the requirements but we’re willing to spend the time if the reward is useful to us.

Social Interaction

Friends and clan-mates are often a major source of motivation. Most people I’ve talked to credit their friends as the main reason they still play. It’s more interesting to train a boring skill with friends and maybe even get a little competition going to keep it interesting. Even when we choose to train alone, we can communicate easily through clan chat and private messages. We might be an anti-social bunch but we keep our close friends close.


Status can be related to material items but it’s more than that. Status doesn’t come easy and means something different to each of us. We respect players that worked hard to reach our idea of what makes a successful player and it motivates us to do the same. Status is about earning the respect of our peers. Reaching a high total level or a high rank in a skill can earn you respect from those also trying to reach the same goals.

When we first start playing we are driven by all of these motivators as well as others not listed here. We might not have any friends in the game and start out with limited access to items and resources. Our levels are low and we have an open slate of skills to train up. New combat gear is available as we train and quests become available to open up the map to new locations, giving us new goals to work towards.

After a while, we look around and realize a lot of skills have been mastered and access to items and resources isn’t such a problem. The mysteries of RuneScape don’t seem like mysteries anymore and the game has become a very familiar place. What motivated us as a new player no longer seems as important. Our motivations change as we play. Finding new sources of motivation seems to be the trick to staying interested in the game.

Unfortunately, no one can tell you how to stay motivated since it’s so tied up in what you want to get out of playing RuneScape but there are a few things you can do to keep your motivation up:

  • Make goals. Find a variety of goals to shoot for instead of going for one at a time. If one goal is starting to waver, just take a break by working on another goal. You’ll always be working towards your goals but it won’t be as boring and you’re more likely to enjoy training them.
  • Along with those high level goals, set smaller goals along the way. Nothing wrong with a high level goal but if you lose motivation it quickly becomes a chore. Setting smaller, quickly achievable goals along the way lets you pat yourself on the back occasionally for your hard work and provides stopping points where you can safely switch to another goal if you need a break.
  • Try to be social. You may have your inner circle of friends now but once they start moving on you may find yourself becoming disinterested as well. I realize this requires you to actually communicate with other players but this game just wouldn’t be as interesting without the social interactions.
  • Be open to trying new things. There are plenty of activities in the game and many of the newer ones are social events where many players gather, giving you a chance to meet new people. As new elements are added to the game, take a break and try them out. You might find something that interests you.
  • Finally, protect yourself. Take the steps necessary to prevent hackers from sapping your motivation by cleaning out your bank. Set a bank pin and recovery questions. Use a strong password and change it regularly. The overwhelming task of rebuilding your bank after a hack can be a major motivation killer.

I’ve decided that I need to set a few non-level related goals. I still want to be one of those players with maxed stats but I also want to find the game interesting once I finally get there. I’m still not sure what my new goals will be yet but for now I’m motivated to get as little Standing xp as possible and enjoy the game. If I’m not having fun in the game, what’s the point in playing?

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