We’re officially into Week Two of Blaugust 2021: Getting To Know You Week! This week is the week where all of us participating share a little bit about who we are and what some of our interests are.
So to my mind, it made the most sense to start off by talking about the kind of gamer I am utilizing something known as the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology.
What’s the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology?
In 1996, a British professor and game researcher by the name of Richard Bartle published a paper called “Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs” in which he cataloged his findings while researching different kinds of video game players, specifically players who played multiplayer online games. This paper led to a classing system that has helped game developers build their game structure around the various player types the developers hoped to attract.
This isn’t a method that’s only used by large games, either. Smaller games utilize this, too.
The Bartle player-type model is made up of four player-types which sit across an X- and Y-axis, in which people look at two specific things:
- Does the player focus on the game world or on other players?
- Does the player care more about acting or about interacting?
Players are further broken down into four player-types: killers (interested in acting and players), achievers (interested in acting and the world), socialisers (interested in interacting and players), and explorers (interested in interacting and the world).
With the information he gathered, Erwin S. Andeasen and Bradon Downey created a series of A/B answer questions to determine which type a player leaned toward and thus The Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology was born.
How I Found the Bartle Test
I first discovered the Bartle Test in June 2014, around the time the MMO WildStar came out. (RIP, WildStar. You are missed.)
One of the things that fascinated me about WildStar was that you not only had a class system, but also a path system. Each path would lead you to different kinds of content. Soldiers, as an example, could find little challenges out in the world in which they could kill wave after wave of monsters. Explorers might be challenged to race from one location to another before time ran out or to climb an object to see what was at the top.
While I enjoyed the idea of this system, I also wasn’t really sure which of the various paths I would have the most fun with. Prior to WildStar, this was something I didn’t really consider about myself as a gamer, and I wanted to know.
A bit of research informed me that this game mechanic was actually based on the Bartle Test, so I hunted down an online version of the test to take the test for myself. Even outside of this particular game mechanic, I thought it would be cool to find out what kind of gamer I was.
Recently, I decided to take the test again to see if things had changed in the seven years since I had last taken it. As it turned out, the answer to that question was no.
As it was when I first took the test back in 2014, the majority of my answers declared that I was firmly an explorer type. (Surprising probably no one, the killer type is lowest on my personal list.)
So what exactly does being an explorer-type mean? Well, according to the test results:
Explorers delight in having the game expose its internal machinations to them. They try progressively esoteric actions in wild, out-of-the-way places, looking for interesting features (ie. bugs) and figuring out how things work. Scoring points may be necessary to enter some next phase of exploration, but it’s tedious, and anyone with half a brain can do it. Killing is quicker, and might be a constructive exercise in its own right, but it causes too much hassle in the long run if the deceased return to seek retribution. Socialising can be informative as a source of new ideas to try out, but most of what people say is irrelevant or old hat. The real fun comes only from discovery, and making the most complete set of maps in existence.
And you know what? That’s all fairly accurate for me.
I can’t tell you all how many times I’ve just completely forgone roads or gotten distracted by that pretty thing in the distance. I’m the kind of player that always wants to know what’s over that hill or around that corner. It’s exciting to me to find a corner of the map that wasn’t there before.
I’m the kind of gamer who loves discovering new things about the game world I’m playing in. (Come to think of it, this may be why I really enjoy finding antiquities in Elder Scrolls Online.)
Achievements are nice. Hanging out with friends in games is also nice. But most of the fun for me in playing games lies in the journey I take, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What about you? What’s your player-type?