Okay, back to the thing I liked to do, demystify!
Today's Topic: Badges.
What are badges first of all?
They are a symbol of achievment representing the time and toil you took
to complete the badge.
Basically it gives you not only bragging rights, but ,more importantly, increased social status.
Let's turn to the internet now, on sites like http://www.kongregate.com?referrer=RunaWorld
Kongregate gives the player badges for completion of challenges and tasks in a certain game.
While these badges merit no tangible gain whatsoever, they give the player a sense of accomplishment in his interwebz life.
Think about this a little deeper though, what really motivates people to obtain these badges?
The answer: Social status.
The more badges a person earns the more other people respect that person.
This creates a social system that varies with the amount of badges total,
If there was only one badge, then you either have it or you don't, so Kongregate would be split into two distinct nonoverlapping classes the quote on quote "n00bs" and "1337's".
However the more badges are added, a gradient begins to form. The original "n00bs" and "1337's" begin to split into smaller and smaller classes of gamers, until we know specifically how good a gamer is. Like the "semi-1337's", "1336's","pr0l3s", etc.
Badges also serve another purpose, one that is often not looked at but acknowledged nonetheless: An ego boost.
With so many badges, a gamer is bound to get one in his interwebz life, obviously boosting his ego by a perceptible amount and leaving the gamer more happy than he had been before.
I dub the following law, the Ego:Badge Ratio:
S = E = B(W)
S = social status
E = ego
B = badges
W = D/A = Difficulty/Amount = Worth
With worth being how much the badge is worth relative to the amount of badges as in if there was one badge it's worth would be quite large compared to a 100 badges of equal difficulty.