Who are you?

In 10 words or less. You have 15 seconds — come on, chop chop! “Sensitive literary snob gourmand likes people but not too close.” But hey, who cares? What I want to know about is you as a gamer, specifically as an MMO gamer. I’ve had a couple of days to think about this, and I’m going to try it this way.

3 things you love doing/experiencing in MMOs, 3 things you can take or leave, and 3 things you dislike in MMOs. Yes, these things tend to change somewhat over time and depending on circumstance, but I’m going to try to tease out the essentials of the experiences. I’m hoping it’ll give us a broad picture of what we’re like as gamers. It may not, and I may have to resort to sniffling pathetically or even handing out free T-shirts, but we’re not there yet. Feel free to explain your classifications; I could have limited the terms to use in order to get more “real data” but I’m partly trying to demonstrate that we’re all individuals playing these games, and besides there are plenty of much better classification sites out there (like Bartle’s well-known gamer type test, of course).

3 things I like: socialising* — harvesting — fluff**

3 things I can take or leave: crafting (it really depends on the system) — PvP/RvR — grouping

3 things I dislike: big dungeons (especially indoor ones) — zones — pillar-to-post quests***

* While I like to play solo, I don’t always like to play in a social vacuum. Good social systems (chat, friends lists, tell/online notification, etc) make a big difference in my enjoyment of a game over time. I try not to confuse sociable with group-centric — they really aren’t the same thing.

** That’s a huge category by itself and includes many things like non-combat appearance outfits, housing/decorating, mounts, companion pets, and so on.

*** You know the ones — where Bob sends you to A to do one thing, then you go back to him and he sends you back to A to do something you could have done the first time around, but you do it anyway and go back to Bob who sends you back to A again (or nearby), by which time what you really want to do is just kill Bob and be done with it. Basic quest-archetyping requires a giver and a return to the giver for the most part, but somehow some quests will make you grind your teeth while others will seem okay. The ones that make you grind your teeth as you trot back to Bob for the 15th time are the ones I’m talking about.

Looking at how many times I’ve had to edit that simple list — to refine a preference, to explain it, to move them around (I moved grouping down to “take or leave” because I don’t really hate it, I just don’t always like it and instead I added “zones” because I really do detest loading screens and every time I see one, my immersion dies a little) — I suspect I won’t be the only one. There seems to be no way to allow folks to edit their comments directly without actually becoming authors on the site, which is way too much foofery all round, so feel free to just add/edit as you see fit — or mail me and I’ll be glad to do it. (Did I just add myself to every p3nile enhancement list out there with that mailto link? Ruh roh.)

In connection with the previous couple of guilds as social systems-related posts (here and here specifically), I’m wondering if what we want from guilds is determined by what we prefer as players; well, I’m reasonably sure it is, but we’ll see. For instance, I suspect achievement-oriented players will be the most uncomfortable with the single char/multiple guild idea, because to them the idea of belonging to more than one in-game group at once (especially with a single character) will imply that allegiances and responsibilities necessarily suffer — in other words, achievement-oriented players may also prefer exclusivity in guild terms, for fairly sensible reasons. Conversely, social-oriented players will tend to prefer any system that promotes more rather than less networking. I’m not sure about killer-oriented types because I score so low in it, but I think it may be related to achievement-orientation in terms of what that player type expects from guilds and in-game social groupings. (If you’re a K, do tell!)

I just took the Bartle test again and, unsurprisingly, it hasn’t really changed much from the first time I took it in 2000, though I think back then the E and S values were swapped; either way there’s only a few percentage points between them.


40 thoughts on “Who are you?

  1. Damn, and I had my 10-word description all ready to go too: “Introverted, cat-loving homebody loves writing, gaming, reading, and geekery.” πŸ˜‰

    Okay here are my three 3s (with a few similar to yours):

    3 things I like: fluff (housing, pets, mounts, everything you mentioned and more!); crafting/harvesting; socializing

    3 things I can take or leave: PvP/RvR; grouping; dungeon runs

    3 things I dislike: open-world FFA PvP; bland, ‘colorless’ environments (I’m thinking EQ2 here, especially if you compare it with LotRO); too much zoning

    I didn’t mention that I liked questing, but I kind of assumed that was a given, as pretty much every MMO these days has some form of a quest system. I do so love fluff: housing and pets and mounts and and and and … I could go on. I also adore creating things, so crafting comes into that, though the amount of love I give depends on the system (I destested the so-called crafting system in WAR, I love EQ2’s crafting a whole bunch — especially being a carpenter and making furniture/decorations — and I’m okay with LotRO and WoW’s systems). Harvesting is something I always loved, because I like shinies and will follow the trail of shinies til the ends of the earth. As for socializing, well … it’s like you said. I may like soloing, but I also enjoy making friends, talking, having fun, RPing up a storm, etc.

    I’m fine with a PvP system and I tend to even participate and get competitive at times (‘ha, I healed more than anyone’ is the usual thing for which I pat myself on the back, just so I don’t go insane with all the ‘HAEL ME NUB’ comments and no one protecting me), but I can take it or leave it. This ties into the thing I dislike: FFA PvP. I am a carebear at heart, so I hate, hate, HATE it when my fun is interrupted by some little snot who gets his rocks off by griefing others. I like grouping up for group quests, but I don’t like staying grouped ALL the time and doing solo quests (well, except with my husband, but since he doesn’t play LotRO it’s a moot point), so yeah. As for dungeons/instances, I love them and a part of my perfectionist side adores the nice loot I can get, but I wouldn’t mind a world with just quests and no dungeon-running.

    Stuff I dislike … granted, I’m not saying EQ2 is all bland, and I put colorless in quotes because it’s not literally that way, but I just don’t like that particular art-style or color palette used in that world. Bland, bland, bland, especially compared to LotRO or WoW (okay, everything looks ‘colorless’ when compared to WoW, but you know what I mean). Realistic is fine, sure, but I prefer realistic a la LotRO than the blandness of EQ2. Too much zoning kind of kills things for me, too. I like having an open world I can run across and explore and quest in. Makes things seem bigger. I want to see something in the distance and know I can run or climb or swim to get there without having to zone a dozen times.

    EQ2 should have been my perfect game, with its tons of fluff and crafting/harvesting system (which I absolutely adored, especially how you can have a level 1 adventurer who is a level 80 crafter), but its environments, zoning, questing system, and the way it chugged on a computer that can run LotRO / Fallout 3 / whatever on high/highest settings meant that I stopped playing after a couple months.

    I’m enjoying LotRO immensely right now and hope to keep on along that path. It’s not perfect and it lacks a few features I wish it had, but overall the game and the community is wonderful and satisfies me. I miss playing with my husband, but his MMO of choice is WoW.

  2. @Mallika: You should know by now that there’s no such thing as a post that’s too long! *winks*


  3. Speaking of Bartle, I’m an ESAK as well, though at times it becomes EASK. πŸ™‚

  4. As my old, old — err, long, long-time friend Manamar said, there’s no such thing as too long. Not on this blog!

    I just realised that a few other bloggers also have forums. I’ve got forum software, I’d just need to recover my domain (or get a new one). Hrm…. This mainly prompted by the fascinating comment-runs of the last few days — it’s harder to follow blog comments, I think, than forum threads. Then again it would be ONE MORE PLACE (aaargh) to visit…


    Carry on. Nothing to see here.

  5. Cue Roger Daltrey screech and CSI intro.

    3 things I like: To crush your enemies , see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.

    3 things I can take or leave: Fluff. Grouping. Socializing.

    3 things I dislike: character models that look like they were created by art school dropouts. Zoning. Guild drama.


    Not enough Achiever IMO.

  6. I think I like this game. Now how to distill down everything?

    3 things I like: Character Variety(particular types of abilities), crafting, Worldiness*

    3 things I can take or leave: PvP, zones, levels

    3 things I dislike: FFA PvP, E-peen competition, character limits

    *Since it barely even looks like a word, this probably needs some detail. My favorite thing in an MMO is the sense of plausible reality they can have. The idea that its more than a multiplayer game, that it is a living breathing world , that would keep going whether I play or not, and make logical sense with itself. EQ really captured this for me. WoW has it to a point, though it feels more gamey in it’s organization. Vanguard really captures this feeling even with its warts, and I felt WAR kinda let me down here as it felt alot like a linear progression game.

  7. 3 things I like: Avatar Customization, Socializing, PvP

    3 things I can take or leave: Raiding, Questing, Hotbars

    3 things I dislike: Levels, Classes, Static NPCs

    E:80% S:60% K:60% A:0% <- bartle score if it helps.

  8. Well, you know I have to add my 3’s to this entry. lol

    3 things I like: Socializing, complex character creation, adventuring

    3 things I can take or leave: Trade skilling, PVP, Raiding

    3 things I dislike: Immature players, clicks, running around a lot

    I find that when I’m socializing, grouping, hanging with friends, I have the best times playing. At times, I do want to be anti social, but being the only one logged on to a guild for hours and hours tends to depress me. I also wish more games had the character creation that CoH has. I want my toon to stand out visually, which is why I’m spending so much time trying to get a night elf mount for my dwarf. lol

    When I say adventuring, I mean it in the sense of exploration. I like quests that take you to different places to explore new areas that are exciting and dangerous.

    I like to trade skill, but it’s not my central reason for playing any game, and if it’s way complicated or doesn’t facilitate any useful items, then I’ll ignore it all together. I’ve PvPed before and it was fun, but it’s not something I would play a game just to do, so again, I can take it or leave it. The same with Raiding. I like the socializing that raiding can produce, especially if it’s done with fun people, but when it because more business or work than fun, I can leave it.

    I hate cliques, especially in guilds. People that seek only to advance themselves and others, specifically their friends, by using other guild members as resources and then disguarding them once they have achieved their personal goals, drive me to the point of purchasing a gun. This also covers immature players, who, in most cases, look out for themselves or are just selfish to the point of annoying others to death.

    I also hate games that run you around all over the planet just to gain 300xp and a really silly items. Exploration is fun, but not when it costs me 3g in air fair and 1hr of my gaming time, just to turn in one silly quest.

    I think that covers it.

  9. 3 things I like: Exploring, Photography (taking screenshots), Mechanics (analyzing how the game works, especially the economy and player class/advancement systems)

    3 things I can take or leave: PvP (must be skill-based, though; gear-dependent PvP is most unwelcome), People (some are great, others, not so much), and Crafting (I’ve seen good and bad, and a few in the middle)

    3 things I loathe: Forced Grouping, Immaturity (in devs or players; sexploitation, profanity, overreliance on violence, etc.), Subscriptions

    Strangely, the take/leave section was the hardest. I’m pretty opinionated, I guess.

    Obviously, I’m a strong solo proponent. Just because I play online in a world with other people in it, it doesn’t always mean I want to actually play with them. If I’m forced by the game to play with other people to get through the storyline or perform basic functions of the game, I’m not likely to stick around. I don’t mind the “forced grouping” of raids, but nearly anywhere else is annoying.

    Other than that, I second Lars’ comments over on his blog. I’ve also written at length about some of these things over on my blog, though not specifically in response to this article.

    Oh, and this is pretty diagnostic: (The first time I took the test, I was 100/50/50/0… I guess the 7% Killer the second time was from a grumpy day.)

  10. Aw, I can’t post a tag in a comment? How sad. Oh, well. There should be a GamerDNA picture there of my EASK Bartle diagnosis. E100, A47, S47, K7. (Yes, that’s 201%, I’m special.)

  11. Sigh. WordPress ate my img tag the second time around, and it wasn’t even being used. Sorry for the multiple comments, Ysh, please feel free to editorialize and condense them.

    In other news, have you heard of Nick Yee and the Daedalus Project? There is a lot of great information there about why people play MMOs.

  12. Bugger. Same issue as Tesh it seems…. Preview! Preview! My kindgom for a preview!

  13. @ Tesh — I’ve been filling out Nick Yee’s questionnaires for years, heh. Well, back when he was still doing them for his thesis or whatever it was. I only check it every 6 months or so now.

    However, it’s a very worthwhile link and is going into the sidebar. Thanks for the reminder!

    @ Manamar — don’t blame me, blame WordPress. Yeah! Represent! (I could host — but I don’t wanna.)

  14. 3 things I like: PvP, Exploration, Raiding

    3 things I can take or leave: Mounts, non combat pets, fluff

    3 things I dislike:
    Solo players who think they should have the same gear as a raider.
    Players that never look anything up.
    Overpowered gear, UO had the best gear ever, you got a +3 sword and you were freaking happy about it.!(side note- Darkfall’s gear will be like that.)

  15. Interesting, Teki. I’ve always thought that the need to look things up outside of the game shows a basic failure of game design. I guess raiding turns that on its ear somewhat, though.

  16. I probably shouldn’t try to do this at work because it requires more (and uninterrupted) thought than I can give it, but I don’t want to get left out!

    I almost put “Other Players” in all three categories but I didn’t want to use up my slots. But its’ true. Some I love, a lot of them I loathe, and the majority of them I can take or leave.

    But here’s my real list:

    Things I like: Exploring, Building, Fluff

    Take or leave it: Realm Based PvP, User Interface Polish, Casual Grouping

    Things I don’t like: FFA PVP/Dueling, Forced Grouping, Fragmented worlds

    I was really tempted to steal Jeco’s “Worldiness” term for one of my loves. It’s a great term and it is really important to me too. I wish I’d thought of it first but now it’d feel like copying. πŸ™‚

    I said “Building” because its a catch-all that includes crafting things, leveling my character, decorating my house, tweaking my character (gear, talents/aa points/traits/whatever the game uses). Just basically making progress or making something out of nothing. That scratches a deep itch in my psyche.

    Wasn’t sure how to work User Interface into the take-it or leave-it section, but I know (for instance) a bad UI drives Ysh crazy, and I’m not as bothered by them.

    Fragmented worlds means dis-jointed zones. I’m not too annoyed by (for example) EQ2’s Zones where going from one zone to the next is basically walking through a doorway with a pause, but I hated AOC’s “zones” that were back and forth across the continent. Warhammer, too, feels like a fragmented world, even though you can go from 1 zone to the next in a tier, it feels very disjointed to me.

    These past few posts have been truly enlightening, and I think its important to admit and acknowledge that we’re all different and some of us are just not going to see eye-to-eye at all. Teki and I, for instance, could probably end up in some rather heated discussions about MMOs, unless we stuck to talking about Exploration. πŸ™‚

    Like Tesh, I think the need to look something up out of game is a failure of game design. Although I’ll agree with Teki that other players aren’t responsible for making up for that failure.

    I think one of the reasons I’m enjoying EQ2 so much is that I have a walking, talking EQ2 Encyclopedia sitting next to me. OTOH, when I’m playing LOTRO and I’m stuck on a quest and don’t have anyone to ask and finally figure it out, it can be really satisfying.

    Since everyone is sharing Bartle:

    Explorer: 73%, Achiever 53%, Socializer 53%, Killer 20%

    But I don’t think Bartle is very accurate. I think it measures who we *think* we are, but that isn’t always going to be who we are. I mean, I get 53% Socializer, when in practice I can go for many in-game sessions without saying a word to another player. But when I’m taking the test and am presented with a social-oriented question, the social answer sounds right, even if in practice I’d end up keeping to myself.

    For instance I love to bail out someone in trouble, and will do it whenever I get the chance. Often that person will send a tell thanking me, but I very very rarely will respond. I’ll do a /bow emote and leave the area instead.

  17. Aye, Pete, the Bartle test is very binary, which limits its usefulness. That’s why I like perusing Nick Yee’s work; it allows for much more subtle gradations of motivations.

  18. I like Pina Coladas, and Dancing in the rain…sorry song popped in my head.

    3 Things I like – Teamwork – I like doing stuff with my guild and meeting goals as a team, not to say I enjoy a good solo session I do. I like PvP, Nothing says love like crushing your foes. Being a badass in general, what can I say My Chosen is HAWT!

    3 things I can take or leave – Expensive talismans – seriously 100g for one +19 wounds talismon. Your killing me. Crafting in general – meh, and Long Instance runs with alot of Trash…seriously enough already.

    3 things I dislike- Whiners..hate em. Guild drama – hate it. Bad Itemization – I feel this game is riddled with it.

  19. Expensive (insert crafted item or magical mob dropped item here) is a product of a player driven market, which is a thing I love and hate.

    I love being able to sell things I don’t need to other players, so I can use the money to purchase things my character needs, but yet, other players tend to inflate item costs, buy manipulation of the player driven market, so common, much needed items are out of reach for us normal, casual players.

    Explorer: 60%, Achiever 53%, Socializer 47%, Killer 40%

    I think years of playing First Person Shooters online has rotted my brain. lol

  20. I linked the Daedalus project in the Check this out! section right at the top of the page — it is absolutely worth a look for those who don’t know Nick Yee and the work he’s been doing for some years now. I’ve been filling out his questionnaires since 2001 or 2002 — because you eventually see the results, and because most of those are pretty thorough, and probably because he has a genuine interest in gamers and gaming, there’s a wealth of fascinating stuff there and it’s really fun to take part. Even if you think a questionnaire is biased (and most aren’t, that I’ve seen), you can say so at the end in the comments.

    Definitely go take a look if you like social theories in gaming.

  21. Heh, I just noticed the link. It’s definitely one of my favorite places to poke around. πŸ˜€

  22. @ Tesh

    I should have wrote, people who don’t read the quest dialog then spam chat with, “where is mob A” or “I don’t get this quest, what am I suppose to do?” When the quest dialog states what and where you are suppose to do.

  23. oh oh, my kingdom for an edit button. not the whole kingdom though, just a small part.

  24. So I decided to take this Bartle Test of Gamer thing, and I came out with the following:

    E= %53
    K= %53
    S= %47
    A= %47

    Not bad I guess. I did like the first line for the secondary influences;

    Explorer Killers enjoy seeing the world, meeting interesting people…and killing them.

    Lol, can’t argue with that!

  25. 3 things I like:
    1. Figuring out and learning from how the game systems are designed.
    2. While I’m more of a solo player, I still like being part of a guild and helping with its overall mission.
    3. Leaving the real world behind for a while.

    3 things I can take or leave:
    1. Having the l337 l00tz in a game.
    2. Raiding
    3. Faction advancement.

    3 things I dislike:
    1. Poorly designed travel systems.
    2. Inconsistent level desgin.
    3. Crafting

    And here is what sweet old Bartle thinks of me:

  26. here’s mine:

    K: 73%

    A: 73%

    E: 33%

    S: 20%

    that said, there were a few question that could go either way depending on how I was feeling at the time I answered them.

  27. Another ESAK here..

    3 things I like: Housing, exploration, Immersion.

    3 Things I can take or leave: Dungeons, PvP/RvR, Crafting

    3 things I hate: Raiding, railroading (a-la Guildwars and to a lesser extend WAR), Lag.

    Yup looks like I’m one of those roleplayer types. I like my character to live in the world rather than just level through it. I dont need a billionty pets but I do like a house I can decorate. EQ2 was about the best example of that so far. The exploration part is pretty obvious for an ESAK and immersion is where WAR has really let me down. Its a great game but its only a game and not a world for me. Thats despite all the fantastic ‘little details’ they have put in it.

    I like dungeons but not running them 500 times and I really like taking them on at higher level with less people just for the challenge.

    I really wish game devs would find something else than raiding for end game. Its inaccessible for the vast number of players and uninteresting for more (again with the running the same instance 100’s of times). I had hopes that the flow of RvR combat in WAR would provide something different but that is coming across as so ‘fake’ at the moment and just about influence/renown/gold bags rather than war.

    Lag more than anything else will drive me away from a game.

    Oh look another long post.

  28. 3 things I like: big dungeons β€” feeling like a hero β€” nifty visuals
    3 things I can take or leave: socializing β€” PVP β€” raiding
    3 things I dislike: itty bitty dungeons β€”crafting/harvesting β€” fluff (housing, pets, decorations, etc.)

    I’m a dungeon crawler. I’ve always loved the thrill of wondering what is around the corner and the danger involved.

    I’m not much on crafting, harvesting (EQ2 and VG crafting makes me cry) and I feel fluff is basically a waste of resources to create, store and maintain.

    But that’s just me and it’s not something that would ever turn me away from a game.

    Yeah, socializing is in the middle. I ended up playing my Hunter from 52 to 73 solo (I’m not sure why I avoided PUGs so much).

    I think I’m generally content having people around to talk to but that’s not what a MMO is for me. I do have more fun playing with friends, but like the grouping said ‘take it or leave it’.

    Basically, games are entertainment for me. πŸ™‚

    (While some of that might sound absolute, I’m not saying games shouldn’t be made to cater to different types… I’m just saying what it is for me.)

  29. @ Smaken — Games are entertainment for us all — we just derive our fun from different aspect of these games. Believe it or not, some of us think crafting is entertaining πŸ˜€

    It was interesting to see people post their 3 categories. While we’re all different, there are broad lines that can be drawn, and I still wonder whether there’s a correlation between what we like/meh/dislike and our Bartle ratings.

    Stomach bug having mutated into a common cold (clearly I did some major offending of virus gods this week), however, and said virus gods having replaced my brains with cotton wool, I may not be doing much correlation today. πŸ˜›

  30. True, I guess I was stating the obvious but for others, MMOs (more specifically than games) becomes more of a virtual social thing than an actual social thing. Know what I mean?

    There are people that aren’t there to play the game, they’re there to be social. I’m there to play the game and be social secondary.

    Does that explain it better?

    By no means am I talking down about those that choose the different path or look at it as a social device, it’s just not what I do. What you do is what you do. What I do is what I do. πŸ™‚

  31. Ysh, I suspect there is definitely a Bartle correlation. Have you read the GamerDNA blog Bartle articles? There are some interesting data correlations that they found data mining.

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