Otherwise known as the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology is a test designed by Richard Bartle to keep track of gamers and, more importantly, track gamer types. It is important because more and more companies are relying on the Bartle Test for to develop games for specific gamer types, as well they tend to develop more games for the gamer type that is the most prominate. The test is a series of questions that are asked to a player, their reaction help gauge how they view the games they play. It is broken down into 4 distinct areas Achievement, Exploration, Socialization, and Killing. According to Barlte each type is assigned a symbol resembling those in card games. Each player has a different impact on how they play the game. To many people their is simply n00bs and 1337s. But certain people act certain ways in a game because of their play style and how the game responds to that play style.
The following is going to be a brief rambling of the different styles and what they represent.
These players across in several different ways. In a more single player or solo enviroment these are the players who believe that every game can beaten, not only that, but that it can be beaten in a glorious way that allows them to unlock every unique armor set, special weapon, upgrade funciton, and title. In an MMO world these players come across as the powerleveler or the uber leetists. They enjoy attaining something that no other playr in the game has. Their ideal is to rank higher then anyone else in guilds and team play. They are often very competitive, although they despise other achievers for trying to out do them. They seek praise from socializers who will spread the wow factor of what they have done. This type is also rather big into bragging about what they've done on forums or through other outlets. They like to show off and occasionaly get into trouble for it. They are commonly labeled 'hardcore players'.
They do it everywhere. Explorers are, for lack of a better definition, 'content whores' they love peeking into new areas checking out parts of the game other players don't often go through. At a low level you will ocmmonly see this type running through areas where they can get easily clobbered. They also tend to pay attention to the storyline more then other players. They love discovering glitches and easter eggs and are often frustrated when the game forces them to move along a single linear path. They love solving puzzles and usually feed the socializers by sharing their knowledge and outlook on the game at hand. They often despise killers, as they slow the exploration process. Commonly labeled as 'RPers' (even if they aren't) or at least game savy.
The chatterbox of the game. This type often does not do well in single player or solo parts of a game, and instead thrives on groups and guilds. They tend to chat up a storm even if they have no idea what they are talking about. They take advantage of every aspect of MMO communication; quickly filling friendslists, chatting up big guilds, telling stories in groups, and even insisting on use of vent or voicechat for everything.
Killers are what their name implies, killers. They thrive in PvP content often finding themselves showered in blood. They love destruction and enjoy games where vandalism and pain thrive. They hate playing the way of the good guy, protecting the innocent cart of villagers, and would prefer to be the bandits trying to rob it. For many its sport, the idea of reading and competing against another real opponent not just an NPC. For others its about hurt often 'ganking' their way around in low level areas slaughter the newbies in their unprepared state. They love the idea of KoS and often thrive as being known as the bad-ass, someone to stay away from.
All four of these components are placed into a percentage, with no one percentage dominating 100% be the total of all percentages equaling 200%. the letters A, E, S, and K are then arranged in descending order to indicate a code as to what each individual player type a person is. As an example I am an EASK. I enjoy exploring areas but also like to achieve alot in the game as well, and while I do socializing I often find myself more comfortable in a smaller group or even soloing. I tend to stay away from PvP although I will enjoy it from time to time.
Now like I have mentioned before, game companies are using this template to design games for specific player types. The more players that take the test the more information becomes available to these designers and the better the chances of seeing what type of game you like on the market.
Now to be honest the Bartle test doesn't cover every aspect of the game, and, although it is the most popular gamer psychology test, it is often parred with other psychological tests to create scpecific games.
Now how this applies to players is this. Be proud of who you are in a game, share your Bartle Results start stating with confidence your Bartle letter code. Put yourself out their to game companies that I am a ---- and I am interested in the games you make. I would go so far as to call out for an MMORPG.com Bartle week where every MMORPG.com subscriber is encouraged to take the bartle test, share their results and even display it in forum posts or in signature banners.
It is only by encouraging companies to invest in the players that we can continue to see growth in the gaming industry. By growth I mean proper development, development of games that does cause most of the players to hate the game after the first day of release. And to create a game that allows the players themselves to continue to grow and evolve as players and to become more involved with the games they play.