Bartle taxonomy

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KSubzero1000
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Bartle taxonomy

Post by KSubzero1000 » June 4th, 2018, 9:51 pm

So the recent Fallout thread brought this concept at the forefront of my mind again. It's a classification method that organizes video game players into four different main groups based on their tastes and preferences according to two separate sets of factors.

Short version:

People who prefer interacting at their own rhythm, following their own rules and who value agency and exploration in singleplayer games are called Explorers. (Fallout, Heavy Rain, Myst, etc...)

People who seek to overcome pre-determined challenges in singleplayer games or milestones in multiplayer games are called Achievers. (DMC, Ikaruga, Destiny, etc...)

People who value the human interaction aspect of cooperative multiplayer games above all else are called Socializers. (Sims, Minecraft, Sea of Thieves, etc...)

People who want to dominate others in competitive multiplayer games or who enjoy chaotic action in singleplayer are called Killers (sic). (Street Fighter, PUBG, GTA, etc...)


Obviously, that's a very rough outline - most people are a lot more complex as to be pigeonholed so easily. But do you find the basic premise to be valid? Are you leaning towards certain category(ies)? For those of you who are active in video game development, is this the kind of concept you take into consideration when trying to define your target audience? Is this all just debunked pseudo-science?

It's interesting to me because I think that my comparatively narrow preferences might be due to me falling squarely into the singleplayer "Achiever" category with hints of the "Explorer" one. Although I love a good story or artistic design, I care very little for narrative agency, I prefer structure over freedom, and short polished challenge-based games over sprawling timesinks with massive amounts of content and opportunities for expression. When told I can do everything I tend to do absolutely nothing. Cooperative multiplayer doesn't tend to hold my interest for very long, and I find the hyper-competitive nature of certain games to be rather unsavory. I got more mileage out of Nex Machina than Skyrim.


I think we have a lot of Explorers here! :P

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ColinAlonso
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Re: Bartle taxonomy

Post by ColinAlonso » June 4th, 2018, 10:32 pm

Looking at the those summaries, I play more games in the Achiever category than the others.

I think anything that relates to categorising personality or preference into a small number of groups is always vague and people will have a mix, while also recognising the group they most strongly relate to.
KSubzero1000 wrote:
June 4th, 2018, 9:51 pm
When told I can do everything I tend to do absolutely nothing.
Was there an old Penny Arcade strip that said this. I remember strongly agreeing with a line like this a long time ago. I can be turned off very quickly by big open world games for this reason(which makes how much I enjoyed exploring BotW even more remarkable).

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Flabyo
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Re: Bartle taxonomy

Post by Flabyo » June 4th, 2018, 11:59 pm

It’s a useful starting point, and certainly something that most game designers will have probably read at some point.

Bartle was originally describing text based multi user dungeon games specifically those with tools to allow the players to expand the world. As a result his work is most applicable to the design of MMOs.

There are other similar models out there that vary in their complexity and applicability. For example at Wizards of the coast they work with a three way split in the prime motivation of the players of magic the gathering, and design each card to appeal to one of these groups. They call it ‘player psychographics’

This is the original article though you probably need to be familiar with this kind of card game to understand it.

More recently the study of this has become to be known as ‘player personas’. You can find a lot of stuff about that, especially when it comes to designing for the mobile space. heres a piece that identifies the different kinds of players who might spend money on a f2p game.

Sometimes the industry does give off this feel of ‘making it all up as we go’, and quite a few indies do, but most designers will have stuff like this in their playbook now. You can’t afford not to really, the days of ‘well I’d play it, so other people will’ being enough are mostly done.

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KSubzero1000
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Re: Bartle taxonomy

Post by KSubzero1000 » June 5th, 2018, 12:13 am

ColinAlonso wrote:
June 4th, 2018, 10:32 pm
Was there an old Penny Arcade strip that said this.
I might have read this somewhere, though I'd be completely incapable of recalling where exactly... Sorry. :(

Flabyo wrote:
June 4th, 2018, 11:59 pm
It’s a useful starting point, and certainly something that most game designers will have probably read at some point. [...]
Excellent stuff, thanks!


I just think it's interesting how different people will often look for completely different things in their games. I think Halo has always been a really good example in that regard: Meaty challenging campaign for the Achievers, lots of secrets / lore / forge for the Explorers, hyper-competitive game modes for the Killers and both PVE and PVP cooperative modes for the Socializers. The exact same game could end up meaning a totally different thing for different people.

Obviously, yeah, it's all just a matter of taste in the end. But I find the potential psychology behind it rather interesting. It's also nice to perhaps be able to put your finger on why exactly a very popular title may not appeal to you.

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Suits
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Re: Bartle taxonomy

Post by Suits » June 5th, 2018, 12:32 pm

Explorer. All day.

Much to many of my mates annoyance and their Socialisers status.

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DomsBeard
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Re: Bartle taxonomy

Post by DomsBeard » June 5th, 2018, 3:32 pm

I would say I'm 80% explorer and 20% killer

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Stanshall
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Re: Bartle taxonomy

Post by Stanshall » June 5th, 2018, 4:55 pm

I swear I read this post this morning twice and it was called Battle Taxonomy and I thought, huh, clever without realising it didn't make sense, twice, nor realising that wasn't what it said, twice. At heart, I'm a killer but in games I'm probably an Explorer-Achiever.

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Michiel K
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Re: Bartle taxonomy

Post by Michiel K » June 6th, 2018, 4:28 pm

Little bit of everything. But local multiplayer, whether it's vs. or co-op is where gaming is at its best for me. I've always viewed it as a social activity and feel weird sitting down and playing a game all by myself for a long period of time. Even when it's a single player game, I already feel happier when someone watches or we're passing the controller around.

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