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An attempt at MMO analysis, computation, and philosophy. Why MMOs are what they are, and how to get beyond that.

Author: jawapet

Bartle Test, why players need to take it

Posted by jawapet Thursday October 2 2008 at 4:03PM
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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.

Achiever (Diamonds)

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'.

Explorers (Spades)

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.

Socializers (Hearts)

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 (Clubs)

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 Bartle week where every 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.

DarkMonk1337 writes:

No one category can equal 100% eh? Lol, I feel special I broke the mold.


Thu Oct 02 2008 4:30PM Report
jawapet writes:

Richard Bartle-

"The result of the Bartle Test is the "Bartle Quotient," which is calculated based on the answers to a series of 30 random questions in the test, and totals 200% across all categories, with no single category exceeding 100%.[6] For example, a person may score "100% Killer, 50% Socializer, 50% Achiever, 0% Explorer," which indicates a player who prefers fighting other players relative to any other area of interest. Scores are typically abbreviated by the first letter of each category, in order of the quotient. In the previous example, this result would be described as a "KSAE" result."

Thu Oct 02 2008 5:30PM Report
Koddo writes:

Spelling and grammar ftw.

Thu Oct 02 2008 6:28PM Report
BlakeySGV writes:

The Bartle test is pretty much invalid now. It assumes that most people playing MMOGs these days are the same type as those that played MUDs 10+ years ago. More specifically it assumes that most people are role playing in MMOGs. They simply aren't anymore. In fact that type of player only makes up a small fraction of MMOG players now.

Fri Oct 03 2008 9:11AM Report
Resin213 writes:

 Better than the Magic colors IMO. The most telling sigs are the ones with game played and hours on them in the sigs, but I'm not even currently playing an MMO so I hate those despite/because of their telling-ness

Fri Oct 03 2008 1:19PM Report
Zyllos writes:

Ya, I read some of the questions carefully and they really are not very complete. Like one questions: When you complete a quest: a) you gain experience b) you gain a wand with 3 charges of charm. To me, experience is much better than that any charge item but if it had "a weapon of your choice that is better than you have but on the same power level of the wand" I would have taken the weapon because most likely I needed gear but it would have made me something different then just wanting to gain experience.

Fri Oct 03 2008 1:26PM Report
Zyllos writes:

Oh, fyi, I got 100% explorer.

Fri Oct 03 2008 1:27PM Report
jawapet writes:

BlackeySGV- "The Bartle test is pretty much invalid now. It assumes that most people playing MMOGs these days are the same type as those that played MUDs 10+ years ago. More specifically it assumes that most people are role playing in MMOGs. They simply aren't anymore. In fact that type of player only makes up a small fraction of MMOG players now."

The Bartle test is still used however.  And that is the most important thing.  Their are several other psychological tests out there all accumulating data.  The question are simple to keep answers simple.  And it is still a primary source of demographic info about players.  Yes it is primarily aimed at MMO players both from standard MUD types to 'gamey-er' types.  But isn't dedicated to MMO players as well?

Tue Oct 07 2008 12:47PM Report
gameshogun writes:

There is an 8-Type version of his test.  However, no one's created an online test for it.


Tue Feb 17 2009 4:58AM Report writes:
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