Social gaming features have made their way into the promotional portfolio of some of the top online poker rooms. This month, PokerStars joins the club with November Mission Weeks and MPN adds “Achievements.”
November Mission Weeks provide a promotional tool for PokerStars to encourage higher volume play. At the start of each week players select a mission appropriate to their game preferences and likely volume of play. At its simplest, players are setting themselves a VIP points (VPP) target for the week.
If they hit the target, they receive a freeroll “All In Shootout” tournament entry where the prize pools range from $10k to $250k. The “All In Shootout” format means that players that don’t turn up will be automatically put all in on every hand.
MPN has just introduced “Achievements” along similar lines. Achievements reward players with a badge that can be displayed at the table for completing a series of challenges.
Players who win three badges by the end of November will be entered into a $500 freeroll tournament.
Each achievement comes with a “Pips” rating. The more difficult the achievement, the more Pips players earn for completing it. Pips add up to a score and MPN suggests that players can challenge their friends to beat their score.
Since introducing missions with its radical software upgrade, PartyPoker has regularly introduced new missions of varying complexity. An example from last month is the WPT Montreal Mission. Players who achieved the mission tasks were given a freeroll entry into a tournament that awarded three seats—one a full package—to the WPT Montreal.
The tasks that players had to complete to achieve the mission crossed several game formats, and each was tenuously linked to some facet of Canadian history, geography or culture.
French regulated site Winamax has taken a different slant on the mission idea. The challenge is called “Guns and Glory” and players move up in levels as they collect experience points (XP).
Starting with a plastic sword at level one, new weapons are provided as players move up levels. Players can wear this weapons with a chosen character avatar, and with increased levels, new character avatars become available.
It is likely that missions at online poker rooms are going to become a permanent fixture. The combination of social and financial rewards make them an effective method of encouraging more play and adding entertainment value to existing players’ poker experience.