Doing Bartle’s Test of Gamer Psychology

Bartle’s Test of Gamer Psychology has been around for a pretty long time now. Many people have done it, and its merits as well as its flaws have always been subject of much debate.

However my impression is that, despite all criticism, the majority of players are able to identify with their results for the most part.

When Krikket talked about hew own findings the other day I realized that I’d actually never taken the test myself. I guess it was about time to remedy that, wasn’t it?

Bartle_Krikket
I nicked Krikket’s much nicer version of the old graph, I hope she doesn’t mind

Before showing off my result I’d like to share some personal thoughts about the test, now that I’ve taken it.

I absolutely agree with the most commonly heard criticisms. My main complaint is that a lot of the questions are rather restrictive and sometimes outright weird.

Bartle_Question

This is, I think, a good example of a really strange choice I had to make. I mean, sure, I get that this one is meant to assess if you’re more of an explorer or a killer. There’s a whole bunch of assumptions tucked in there that I don’t necessarily like though.

If I was an explorer (spoiler: I am), why would I need to feel ‘safe’ to enjoy doing so? Why would I not dare to explore if other players were also present? The essay linked above claims that explorers say things like “You mean you don’t know the shortest route from [obscure room 1] to [obscure room 2]?”, which absolutely implicates that there can be a sense of competition to it, so this forced link between safe and exploration makes no sense to me.

If I was a killer (spoiler: I am), on the other hand, why would an area be useless to me by default as long as there’s no other player to kill there? Maybe a bunch of lucrative quests that I need to do to advance my gear are located there, and I’m actually glad that I don’t need to compete with others or fight over the quest mobs.

Now, I do realize that I’m probably being too nitpicky here. If I were to conceive a test like this and didn’t want to hassle people with having to answer hundreds of questions I’d be forced to generalize a bit, too. Still, it just rubs me the wrong way when my options feel too black-or-white, and also when choices are presented as mutually exclusive when they really aren’t.

This all being said though, here’s my result:

Bartle_Result

And what can I say, it represents me pretty well I think.

I love MMORPGs that allow me to feel like an Explorer, and many great adventures I’ve experienced only came about because I dared to venture into regions unknown.

It’s no secret that I also like to fight against other players and that I’m an advocate for open-world PvP, if done right. This is where I’m really quite at odds with Dr. Bartle’s essay because his description of a Killer is, in my opinion, more fitting for players I’d call griefers instead. Some versions of the test even use that term instead of killer. This is problematic though as it paints all fans of PvP with the same brush. Unjustly, I might add, proudly donning my Captain Obvious cape. I’m the perfect example in that I like to PvP a lot, but I hate griefers with a passion and would never behave like that myself.

That 40% Socializer score is probably a bit too high, to be honest. Oh, I do like to do stuff with my close friends of course, and when I’m in a great guild I also like to group up every now and then. More often than not I like to be on my own though, and even when I’m in a group I’m usually not very talkative. Except when you get me going about one of my favourite topics, then you’ll probably wish you hadn’t after a while.

The low Achiever score definitely hits the nail on the head. Being the first, having the biggest numbers, ticking off all the boxes…I couldn’t care less about things like that. Now, I do like to get my hands on nice rewards, so I sometimes engage in achievement-hunting and stuff like that if that’s what it takes. However it’s always about what I can do with those rewards, not about the achievements themselves.

And there you have it. If nothing else I guess this shows that a test like this can be flawed and still yield accurate results somewhat reliably. If you’d like to do it yourself, here it is.

Blapril 2020 post count: 11

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