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Genese Davis: RPG Personality Traits

Column By Genese Davis on June 13, 2013

Gaming personality types are generally multifaceted and the dominance of one facet over the other is often situational. However, there are quite a few tests and quizzes out there that place player preferences and gaming personality types into different categories. In the Exploring MMOtivation column we took a close look at Dr. Bartle’s explorer gaming type, and mentioned how his test can determine whether a player falls into the explorer, killer, achiever or socializer category.

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In a recent interview, I got the chance to get to know Dr. Regina McMenomy and her co-host Rhonda Oglesby. Through her dissertation research Dr. Regina created Game on Girl, a show discussing gaming, identity formation, and online representation. From her analysis, Dr. Regina designed a quiz players take that can reveal whether you belong to the Self, Role, or Mastery category, and she describes the three RPG gaming personality types as follows:

“Self Players see themselves in their avatars and identify strongly with them. They are more likely to refer to their avatars in the first person, placing their own identities within the game and the game environment….”

“Role Players embrace the role-playing aspect of the game, creating a different identity and backstory for their characters. They might see the avatars as part of their own identity but only in a minimal way because their primary goal is to create a new, alternative identity. They see their avatars as separate identities that they can take on or off, and the performance of these fictional characters is the primary attraction to the game, and especially to MMORPG gaming since they are likely to find others with similar interests there….”

“Mastery Players do not necessarily see a connection between their identities and their avatars or create separate, fictional personalities or back-stories for their avatars. They are likely to be more interested in the game mechanics or in certain achievements, getting to a place where they demonstrate high levels of mastery over the game itself….”

When I took the quiz my results said I ranked predominately in the Self category, then Role, then Mastery. This surprised me as I thought my mastery would be higher. I really enjoy “mastering” certain elements like ranking in DPS, and achieving server-firsts.

Dr. Regina and Rhonda also asked what I remember when making my first character. They asked: “What’s your typical pattern when you build an avatar, what’s your method, and what choices do you want to have?” As I answered, I realized I gravitate toward the familiar rather than alien. I’ve never had the stomach for horror, so I usually avoid the more “scary” looking characters.

As we continued the discussion I noted that when picking an avatar I often read the backstories of each race. I gravitate toward races that have a history of philanthropic or humanitarian causes. Rhonda mentioned that this method is unique, and that most players choose their avatars based on what they can see, not based on the race’s history or moral compass. Here’s the link to our full discussion: Game On Girl – Episode 62

It’s interesting to think about all the RPG personality types we encounter while we game. Who we play with directly impacts our experience. When I wrote about MMORPGs in The Holder’s Dominion, it was especially important to accurately portray this factor. Even though I didn’t have Dr. Regina’s breakdown, I used personal raiding experiences, plus the experiences from players I interviewed. How these players dealt with raiding or PvPing scenarios went directly into the novel to show the wide range of RPG personalities. It will be fun to hear Dr. Regina’s review when she finishes reading the book and see if she sensed the Self, Role, or Mastery traits within the characters.

When picking your avatar, what’s your method or what choices do you want to have? Do you fit into any of Dr. Regina’s RPG personality types?

P.S. Let’s connect! Find me at GeneseDavis.com and on Facebook and Twitter. Until then: Game on, and Lark Your Life. <3

Every week, Holder’s Dominion author Genese Davis opines about MMO gaming, the issues the genre faces, and the power of shaping online worlds.


Check out more columns by Genese: The Trailer, A Guild Management Suggestion Box, AMMOnition, Dedicated Auctioneers

Genese Davis / Genese Davis is an American author, host, columnist and media personality. She is the author of The Holder’s Dominion, a next-generation thriller heralded as a breakthrough novel by Publishers Weekly. Davis is the founder of The Gamer In You and was recently awarded iGR Woman of the Year. Her writing expertise expands across various literary genres including thriller, fantasy, sci-fi, gamer-lit, new adult, and young adult, along with screenplay, playwriting, video game lore, characterization, and narrative. Davis is an in-demand host, speaker, and moderator, appearing internationally for TV, web-series, conventions, academic fairs, publishing workshops, as well as literary and entertainment expos. In addition, she is a featured columnist at MMORPG.com. Residing in Irvine, CA, Davis advocates for her other passion, animal rescue. To learn more, visit GeneseDavis.com.

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