Archero is a f2p action arcade game, developed and published by Habby, where players make their way through hazardous dungeons defeating waves of enemies by stacking up skills, collecting loot and experience to level up and forge powerful, stats boosting equipment.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Harshal Karvande. Harshal is the Game Design Lead at Rovio (Small Town Murders), formerly Game Design Lead at Zynga (FarmVille 2).
The reward-loops inside and outside of the game’s rogue-like battle loop create moments of achievement and gain, and keep the repetition feeling fun and productive. But it’s in the anticipation of getting these rewards that Archero excels in engaging players.
The Reward-Loop Inside Battles
When starting a dungeon run, and after every level up, players are given a choice between three skills to obtain. These skills stack up, combine and synergise in various ways to strengthen the player and are reset once the player is defeated or the run is successful.
Also, encountering Angels, Devils, Masters or getting to spin a lucky wheel at rest areas in between the battle areas of the dungeon gives players a chance to obtain more skills, sometimes in exchange for a reduction in health or watching an AD.
The game doubles down on the anticipation of the skill reward moment by simulating a slot machine — various skills spin on three reels when the player levels up and stops for the player to choose between them. This communicates the game of chance and leaves players thrilled as they anticipate whether they would get the skills they are looking for.
A similar reward moment happens when players get to spin the wheel for skills or rewards — simulating a roulette wheel as it spins around and gradually slows down, rousing the player’s anticipation in wonder of where the wheel will stop.
The Reward-Loop Outside of Battles
Using the coins obtained from battles players can purchase permanent upgrades to varied talents that boost damage, health, and other aspects. Players cannot choose which talent to upgrade, instead the upgrade cursor moves between the talents available when the upgrade action is triggered, and slows down to a stop — randomly choosing the talent to upgrade as players watch on with anticipation.
The game also contains loot boxes with different rarities and drop rates for equipment to purchase from the shop, random drops when killing monsters or completing tasks. It’s no accident that Archero draws inspiration from casino games of chance, with variable reward moments that make the grind engaging and the anticipation that alleviates the craving for them.