Pets is one of the basic narrative-oriented gamification mechanics. Their function is to create a deeper emotional bond between the user and the game by taking care of virtual pets.
Pets belong to the "Avatars" category. Contrary to other avatars, such as Characters, Personal space, and Common space, pets do not as much reflect the inner world of users as they depend on them, requiring attention and care.
Pets belong to the Narrative layer in the model of gamification (see Model)
Pets are a visual representation of users' in-game achievements and failures. They help users to become deeply immersed in the game and keep up with the most important information. A pet can motivate users to be more active by demonstrating emotions, stating desires, and reminding them of important in-game events.
The main risk in the design of pets is that they can mismatch the chosen style of gameplay.
Duration of the effect
A game with a small set of pets, even one, is suitable for short-term objectives. When the gamification is long-term, you should set up a wide variety of pets, system that allows obtaining them, as well as a system of their updating and rotation.
What can I do with this?
The main goal of gamification is to further motivate the user to act in one way or another. Getting a virtual pet is one of these motivating mechanics.
Pets are often hidden from users; thus, they have to be specifically searched for.
Users can switch pets when there are several of them. When the number of pets is limited, a users have to decide which one to keep.
When there is a limit to a pet's development, users can try to reach its maximum.
You can spark users' interest by implementing interactive pets. Like when they can be examined, played with, or approached to discover more information and simply observed. These interactions increase the time spent by users in the system and help them to memorize significant information that can be transmitted through such interactive means.
The more there are elements of pets to change, upgrade or customize, the higher the level of users' motivation to show themselves.
When pets become valuable, then the higher the amount of them users have, the higher their in-game status is. The ability to collect pets is another motivating mechanic for completing the actions for which the game was designed.
Specific collections of themed pets may be a part of more complex games. These collections simplify users' guidance, allowing them to instantly figure out what is expected of them in a current position while also further motivating them to act as instructed by the game.
Demonstration of pets is a crucial mechanic that allows players to share their emotions.