Progress meters

The purpose of a progress meter is to show momentum to get you to do more of a certain action. They are loaded in games so you keep playing.

Take Mushroom Wars 2, a fun strategy game. It has a progress bar for getting to 6 wins that gives a reward. That reward is on a sliding scale progress bar that gives additional rewards at higher levels. There is also a progress bar on experience that levels your character up.

The goal of these progress bars is to keep you hooked. They each behave on different time scales. The first is short term, play another game today. The second medium-term, come back tomorrow. The last is a longer timescale, comeback next week.

Considering new characters unlock over time, that is another progress bar.

Progress bars are about keeping you hooked, more than the progress itself. A progress bar at 5 out of 6 wins that gets a reward calls for playing another game or two. Progress bars are about controlling behavior more than tracking progress.

Recognize that and behave accordingly.