|B. F. Skinner|
The "reinforcement" in Skinner's books, as well as the CYOA books, is completely internal. The point of Warlock of Firetop Mountain was not to score points, but to open the damn treasure; likewise, even though most text-adventure games kept score, the points never really got taken seriously. This is an insight basic to all kinds of games: finding new stuff is its own reward.
It's because of this I don't see experience points for exploring as necessary. For fighting the monsters you don't really want to fight because they can kill you? Sure. But adding to the map, hearing the DM's description of a natural wonder, those are intrinsic player rewards that have nothing to do with extrinsic rewards: experience or gold being accumulated in the name of characters.
It is this division between intrinsic and extrinsic rewards that, I think, characterizes the divide between the power gamer and the rest. Simply put, a power gamer is focused on the extrinsic system of rewards. In roleplaying games, it's leveling up. In competitive games, it's winning. The intrinsic pleasures of simulation, role-playing, discovery, or socializing carry no weight by themselves to the power gamer. If winning comes by a boring technique; by assembling an implausible but min-maxed deck, character or army; or by being rude to other players - so be it.
|Image by CosmoDNA, somethingawful.com|
This is also why every attempt to regulate player behavior by manipulating experience points, gold, levels and other such things plays into the hands of the power gamer, becoming in the end just another tool to victory. In the end, going up one level into the real world to apply social pressure, or down one level into the fantasy world to work out the consequences of the undesirable behavior, works out better than playing around with the twilight world of the game mechanics.