Intrinsic vs Extrinsic motivation: Overwatch

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic is like natural motivation, extrinsic is basically the carrot in front of the donkey. Many people also call it manipulation.

That brings me to Overwatch. I’ve been playing the game on and off since 2016. Every time I reinstalled my wife says:

Oh no… Overwatch again?

my wife

The thing is, I’m a sucker for ranks (extrinsic). So I played ranked a lot. The problem is, if you are not good, you go down the ranks and when you are at lower ranks, it’s like being poor, it’s tough to escape it!

Lately I started playing quick play (intrinsic) and I was never frustrated. The differences I noticed:

  • People don’t get so angry because there’s no visible rank.
  • If someone quits, someone comes to replace them. So, less likely to lose even with quitters.
  • The games are shorter. In ranked it can take 45 minutes to tie and then lose in the next game that takes 5 minutes.

The extrinsic motivations in Overwatch are broken and that is why I think there is so much love/hate for the game.