My attempt to help with forum activity!
So, with all the recent discussions about the different types of progression and scaling, I thought it might be interesting to go a step deeper and look at why we enjoy progression, regardless of what form that progression comes in. Why do you progress? What do you get out of it? I'm talking purely about progression mechanics, rather than player progression (getting better as a player).
I've come up with the following reasons, and was wondering what else you can think of and what your personal reasons are?
1) A means to an end
You progress because it allows you to do things that you couldn't do before. This could be as simple as progressing to unlock more content, or progressing to get better at pvp / raids.
2) Sense of achievement.
The game tells you that progression is a goal, so achieving those goals gives you a sense of achievement. This in turn releases all those lovely brain chemicals, making you feel good.
Progressing further than other people can make you feel important. I feel like this is usually combined with timing (being first to progress) but for some I'm sure that simply reaching the end of progression and being further ahead of other people will provide a sense of importance.
4) It's just a by-product
I'm sure for some players, progression is just a by-product of playing the game and they don't actually care. They want to see the game and couldn't really care about progression, it just happens naturally.
5) Searching for more depth or challenge
Most games with progression start out pretty basic, but as you unlock more things, the game can become more challenging or gain extra depth. Thus, the motivation comes from wanting to search out that better gameplay so you can have more fun.
Where do you sit? Can you think of other reasons to progress?
[NB: im deliberately ignoring developer's reasons for having progression, like providing a nice on-ramp for learning, gating content, providing long term goals etc.]