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» The Nine Basic Types of Gamers - Maybe from Kotaku
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Comments

If you read this comment it will say:

Conqueror, wanderer, juggernaut and hotshot

Rob B.

Great post. I think one skill of the Participant has got to be Diplomacy--without this skill, it would be difficult to integrate with a pick-up group or last very long in a persistent team/clan.

I'm not sure there's a "Survivor" player style, but I was considering it based on your description of Hoarder. When I play games I usually hoard items--not because I want to collect, but because I want to maximize my chances of survival. You never know when you're going to find another X, so you'd better grab all the X on this level before you move on. If end up collecting too much of one thing and have to drop items, I replace the weak items with the stronger ones). This is particularly important in more realistic games, where resources (such as individual handgun bullets) are scarce.

I don't know if this is a separate play style, or if anyone else plays like this. Elements of Conqueror (I'm determined to win using the resources at my disposal) and Hoarder (I'd better grab everything here before I move on, who knows when I'll next have the chance?) seem to relate the most. I adopt this style in story-based FPS, RPGs, and survival horror games. Usually I end up with an excess of equipment at the end of the game (as you mention in your Hoarder description), which is actually kind of disappointing--things weren't as scarce as the story and level design initially lead me to believe :)

Manager/juggernaut. Anti-hotshot (I think manager and hotshot are possibly opposites). Anto-conqueror (similarly, I think conqueror/juggernaut are somewhat opposed?)

Gaming is definitely relaxation. I hate feeling out of control in my first life, and that seems to carry on in my virtual ones.

Uh, dunno why my comment came out "anon"--Tony Walsh here. No longer anonymous :)

In game selection I seem to fall into the Manager/Wanderer categories. However, my internal personality quirks also make me a Hoarder (although I usually loathe the play that goes into this play-behavior) and a Zoner. I am also, to a lesser degree, a Hotshot.

Ok, that answers my recent comment over on last years' DGD2 thread!
Great to see the work is progressing again, I'd be interested to have a more full-blooded discussion on it in SF. As for the types, let me get back to that when I'm not in an internet cafe!

I would also like to add a different type. One that plays games but only to push his system. This type of gamer would be myself. I want to get those 600 fps for doom 3 otherwise I won't play (shallow ain't I?). Either way, good post! Keep it up!

I couldn't really place myself in any of those play styles. Or maybe just a wee bit manager. Basically, I love knowing all about the game, it's what keeps me going. I like taking it slow and practicing, also squeezing out every bit of information about everything. I think knowing something, that others don't, gives me an edge. It also works in almost every game, from beat-em-ups to MMORPGs. Just knowing one little command or very tiny glitch can change the game drastically. Now for the weird part, I absolutely love playing characters or roles that are weird in some way. The classic glass cannon is one of my favorites. Examples:
The engineer with rifle grenades in Enemy Territory (some may say that it's noobish, I can't deny that, but I also can't deny that it takes a lot of practice to get all the shooting angles and rifle aiming just right. Using the rifle grenades like a mortar really is something I bet most people can't do) Another example is Zappa from the Guilty Gear series. The small text bubble containing 'WTF' over people's heads while playing with him is truly funny. I like him.
So, what am I?

Im part Wanderer, Manager and a bit of Conqueror

Interesting. What about an entry for the kind of player who is motivated by teaching and aiding others? They may be doing it out of kindness, a sense of justice or the thrill of power. This kind of player is often found in multiplayer games; defending noobs in counterstrike, healing their party in mmorpgs, setting up guilds and dispending advice. Offline, they probably share many similarities with the Manager, but are also motivated by story games in terms of delivering justice (banishing the twilight in Zelda, making judgments in Deus Ex).

Interesting. I've had a theory about this, myself, for years.

I've simplified the whole thing into two basic types:

Challenge vs. Experience

Or to put it another way, playing games to beat games vs. playing games to enjoy games.

It's an oversimplification, to be sure, but your nine types almost cleanly fall into either of these categories.

Conquerer, Manager, and Hoarder easily fall into Challenge.

Wanderer, Participant, Zoner, Juggernaut, and Hotshot fall into Experience, however, all for different reasons.

The only wild card there is "Monster". Largely an Experience-type (the experience of pain), one could also make the case as a Challenge-type, since they look for challenges in disrupting others.

I've often bounced around in the back of my head making a hard copy of my thoughts on this. Of course, that'd take away from the game time. ^_^

With respect to online play, I'm definitely moving towards a more Participant outlook on games. I prefer to be part of a team against CPU or another player team as i find the interactions of the "sport's team" mentality rewarding. Examples of this are my moving from Quake 3 Arena DM style gaming to the CTF and CTFS (capturestrike) gaming scenes.

In single player gaming i'm a Wanderer. Always have been. For me it's not about beating the game, it's about having experienced the gameplay and story. If a game is not engaging me enough then i usually drop it and either pick up a new title or move back to an older one. Sometimes i don't ever get back to the game if it's frustrating enough beyond what the game world offers me.
Examples of the type of game i've loved are PoP:The Sands of Time, Aliens Vs. Predator 2, Jedi Knight 2, VtM:Bloodlines, UFO: Aftershock and a few more. They're not confined to one genre.

One notable exception to this is the Half Life series. I liked HL1 but 2 didn't give me enough of anything to really enjoy it and want to replay and re-experience the game again. I always laugh when people bring out HL2 as an example of how storytelling should be done because there really is very little plot there - but maybe that's why so many people love it...

Great article. Good luck with the research.

I'll just basically say what I said on Kotaku:

Best I can manage from your descriptions, I would be a Conqueror because I like competitive gameplay and I enjoy challenge. There's just something wrong with that: The entry for Conqueror merely describes one thing about games I enjoy, and then begins to typecast me as part of this category.

Your article categorizes my two most common emotions as Anger and Fear, says I would thrive on a diet rich in First Person Shooters, that I'm more likely to complain when a game is easy, and that I'm likely younger than other types of players.

All of this is a great deal of assumption based around the simple aspect of enjoying challenge.

I rarely become fearful in games, and very very rarely does any game ever elicit anger within me, FPS is hardly rich in my diet, I do not mind a casual game in the least (fun is fun), and 20 isn't that young.

Very interesting, although thumbing through the profiles I came to the realization that one more may be needed. I'll but my percieved profile of this extra type down here.

Paladin
“I shall bring retribution.”

Play: Agon, Hard Ludas
Emotions: Contentment, Disgust/Contempt
Skills: Strategic, Diplomatic
The Paladin's primary purpose is to defeat those who abuse the system or work outside the rules while at the same time preserving fairness himself. Common enemies of the Paladin are Monsters, Juggernauts and occasionally exceptional Conquerers. Justice is the main pursuit of the Paladin and cries of "That's not fair." from Paladins are often followed by vendettas against the perpatrator. The Paladin seeks the contentment that comes from taking unfair players down a peg or persuading them to stop. Paladins prefer multiplayer games and may be Moderators in MMORPGs.

wanderer/zoner

It would be nice if someone's answers plotted them on a graph with 4 domains so you could say, 'I'm a bit of a wanderer but I have a lot of manager too.' This would be similar to some political ideology surveys.

I suspect that different games attract different types of gamers. Those that like blackjack may not be the same as those that like WoW. Black box games like Entropia Universe probably attract managers style players due to the 'figure it out' nature of the game. That being said, asking the gamers primary and secondary games would be very important.

I'd name a probably tenth playstyle. Probably it is wanderer + conqueror, probably not.

It's skills are strategy and probably tactics. It's emotion is curiosity. It's play style is Alea, Mimicry and Agon to a lesser extent.

It is experimenting. In RTS games he tries very strange strategies, like mobbing the enemy with a very large number of the cheapest unit. In RPG, it tries the unusual character combinations (warrior from a weak race or tough mage) In racing games he will try to win with the seemingly weekes car. In FPS he will try extreme weapons (finish a level with a baseball bat..)

What do you think?

Thinking of it, Paidia may come to the picture with this abovementioned new type. Its style is usually chaotic, everchanging. These people almost never play a game to the end, but they explore a lot of possibilities that others don't.

I'm mostly a Wanderer, I think, with some Manager thrown in.
(I'm also a girl. I wonder what the concentration of types by gender would tend to be?)

Utterly fascinating, if a bit inaccessible to those not well-versed in the concepts and terms used. I have one point of contention: you posit that Conquerors are more likely to be young gamers. In my experience, it's more likely that this type of "hardcore" challenge-seeking gamer occurs among those who were introduced to gaming in the NES console era. Most games during this period were not designed for the majority of players to be able to beat them at all, and many such platformers requires a high degree of reflex and skill to master.

Motivation is different, I would agree that many younger gamers do find an obsession with such conquest, but I've found such players of FPS games, for example, are more likely to cheat to accomplish this simply to claim superiority; those wishing games were legitimately harder and abhorring any sort of assistance or crutch tend to be from the previously-described group now entering their mid to late 20s. What do you think?

I think that these qualities - tendency to cheat and conqueror play style - are two different things but both are a consequence of their youth. Cheating in their case is a form of denying rules. Playing FPS is a trick of testosterone. Probably it's natural for a men to change from conqueror to manager as he grows older.

On the other hand, I'd say that only a very few women are conqueror and they have different motivations. The underlying emotion in their case would be probably the wish of control instead of challenge and winning.

Dear all,

Many thanks for the comments - far more than I can actually reply to at the moment! A few overall clarifications, however...

1) The actual "basic players" will come out of the research - these are just broad strokes predictions. By all means suggest patterns you think are missing, because it's interesting reading, but I won't be maintaining this list because it's just an idea of the kind of patterns the research might uncover.
2) Reasoning about the general does not allow you to reason about the specific. That is, finding statistical patterns in play does not allow one to say "I am pattern X, therefore I do this." Everyone is different! You only get coherent patterns by abstracting over a sufficiently large statistical sample.
3) A model of play styles is just a model - "the map is not the territory", as Korzybski said. There could be many different models, and any given model will not work for every person.

One thing that's interesting... it seems that the DGD1 patterns are being picked more often than the subsequent patterns (with the possible exception of Hotshot) - perhaps the first round of research was stronger than I give credit. ;)

The results of the survey will be published, so everyone will get to share in that data when the time comes. I'll reserve drawing any conclusions until we have some data to actually point to! :)

Best wishes!

Chris.

And what is your style, Chris? :)

Hi everyone,

Since you were seeking replies, I am so generous to give you one. ;)

I find myself a bit of a Juggernaut and a Wanderer. Imagination is an important thing for me, and thus I really like games which leave me free to use it. I try to win, but not at all costs. Let everyone have fun, is the key to me.

Of course I can't be completely sure, because at last I don't really watch myself when I'm playing, but I think this is the closest to me.

P.S.: The explanation about the patterns of play are very clear, even with my limited knowledge of English. So keep up the good work! :)

I would have to say I'm a Conqueror. I have pretty diverse tastes, but when it comes to a game with action (FPS, Action Platformers, anything arcade-like)

My playstyle is not "smart", but I enjoy it. In games I tend to be ultra aggressive. I enjoy plowing headfirst into a group of enemies, guns blazing. When I (inevitably) die, I like to try over and over and over until I finally manage to push through.

I don't like sitting back taking cover, and I LOVE it when I finally win after multiple attempts, or pull off amazing combos/kills.

When doing anyting where I want to win above all else (multiplayer, tournaments) I obviously take strategy and survival into account, but ultra-aggressive is my preferred playstyle when playing only for fun.

Pretty sure Richard Bartle covered this whole area in his book Designing Virtual Worlds. I think these are more or less analogous with the ones you've got here.

I'm glad to help you with this so here is a reply. XD
I'm mostly a Manager type player but I do have the Wanderer and Participant characteristics in second place, these are the ones I feel most identified with but I have a bit of all the other types also. As for the skills mine are mainly Strategical but I also Play in a Tactical way in second place. I play mostly RPGs and Adventures games but I like also games with original features. The only ones I don't like are the ones that simulate sports in a realistic way, I like to play games that have fantastic caracteristics. About the emotions I'm only identified by the Visual and Auditory Pleasure, Ecstasy, Wonderment, Amusement and Excitement; I don't know which of the others I like to feel. Hope it helps. Keep up the Good Work.

With all the responses this is getting, it's a shame the survey itself isn't ready... Thanks to everyone for contributing their perspective! It makes for interesting reading.

VagabondX - I commented on my play styles in the piece itself. ;)

Andrew: I wasn't aware Bartle had published anything beyond his four "Suits" model. That was an informal model with no research basis. It's useful - all models are - but limited. It's possible he has since expanded it, but I haven't read anything about this personally.

Best wishes everyone!

My bad. I've thought it to be a sample text instead of reality. :)

Btw, my play styles are the following on a scale of five:
Conqueror: 1/5
Manager: 3/5
Wanderer: 3/5
Hoarder: 2/5 (I like to reach a certain point, but I don't bother to collect things after it)

As an aside, I offer Mike Reid's Flame Warriors at http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/ - an interesting insight into the "games" on forums and BBSs. Several of the interpersonal styles are also found on (M)MOGs.

I'm mostly Wanderer. For what it's worth, my Myers-Briggs type is INFP.

Hotshot all the way. If it's racing, I'm always at the front. If it's shooting, I run into the middle of a war and shoot whoever I see. If it's exploring, I see how fast I can go through a level.

Oh how I love reading new typologies of player types! And this is great!

I would love to add a question to such a survey. If, for example, you are only using one game. "What do you do for fun in the game?" - I'd love to see the results of that. Or "What do you usually do for fun while playing games?". Ofcourse fun is such a subjective word - but it would be so brilliant to see the results of such a question!

Many thanks for the continued comments everyone! 'Hotshot' is showing up as a recurrent popular pattern, which is interesting.

Linn: the survey questions by necessity will have to have quantified answers or we won't be able to do stat analysis. The question "What do you do for fun in the game?" just wouldn't work.

However, we will follow up with case studies and we will be looking into this sort of issue in some detail at that point.

Thanks for taking an interest!

The first four DGD1 types still fit me perfectly, and in pefect order of importance to me in gaming. This probably makes me an 'archetypal' gamer in some ways, and maybe the reason why I've been interested in video games throughout my life. :) I wouldn't call myself that 'young' though. ;)

So 1. Conqueror, 2. Manager, & 3. Participant and Wanderer in about equal amounts.

None of the others are much like me.

The only thing that spoils it as a model for me is the Conqueror description above, given that I hate FPS's, despite having played a lot of them, because I find them too simplistic & boring, and the 'logistical' (?) skill of 'learning the level layouts' especially turns me off. I've often thought I would enjoy a team based FPS with a random map generator however. (But I'm not sure if such a game exists still!)
Complex multiplayer fighting games and strategy games are my favourite types of games, so this still fits very very well into the model, and I suppose it's why I'm not a 'pure' Conqueror type.

That said, I think a Conqueror could probably enjoy many of today's competitive multiplayer video games. All a Conqueror needs, in theory, is to be offered a way to win and some aspect of skill involved to enable the Conqueror to feel the fiero triumph in some way. I suppose the sub-tastes of the Conqueror type will determine what kinds of challenge interest them the most though & what skills they find the most 'interesting' or 'valuable'.

An interesting additional study from my perspective would be how these types of players play together when placed in different kinds multiplayer environments & what types of these players =don't= play well together. For example I suspect that Juggernaught types are the type of player that actually hates playing against someone like me, and I've seen this born out in some of my own experiences.

Finally, I =really= like the addition of the Paladin type posted by Talon J above. I can see a bit of myself there too.

Rik: many thanks for sharing your views here! The research we are running isn't based on the patterns above, per se - we are instead running a ride range of factors and seeing what patterns emerge. I believe we can be confident it will differ significantly from the strictly hypothetical groups above.

I'm intrigued to see someone else point out this "Paladin" style. I think the research we're running for DGD2 is too general to catch something like this but it's definitely something worth looking at in the future.

Thanks for sharing your perspective!

I'll use this 'revival' of the topic to put in a suggestion I've been thinking about ever since I first read this thread after AIIDE 2007 =) I don't see a parallel or even just a reference to Richard Bartle's player model (maybe I just missed it?).

You seem to cross reference so many typologies, I was wondering why you wouldn't touch on one so 'famous' (deservingly or not) in the industry?

I'm asking because, even though it's quite old, the acheiver-killer-explorer-socializer classification seems to reemerge as being an exciting and novel idea every other year, each time an aspiring game-designer prance on our development projects.

What are your toughts on it?

Admitedly, some parallels are easily made and maybe you wouldn't be bothered, but if you ever have the time and feel like it, I think it'd be very interesting to read how you think the two models (DGD1&2 vs Bartle) relate.

Anyway, that's a suggestion =)

Cheers!

Glad the 'revival' wasn't unwanted. ;)

I understand this is just a pre-research hypothesis for now & I'm getting completely ahead of myself =and= this research... but I'm not so sure I'm feeling "confident it will differ significantly from the strictly hypothetical groups above" like you say Chris.

I'm sure it will differ somewhat, but I'm already seeing an awful lot of identification with the above groups already when I analyse my tastes or the taste of my friends. I think this is looking like a rather good model already, which is no surprise, as I know it's based on a lot of great research and analysis as a starting point already.

The reason I came back to this myself was actually an accidental 'case study' I turned up that reminded me of these gamer types when I got into a discussion with a friend about "why" he was interested to play certain games, but not others. One thing that's interesting to me with these types is also the age of games that a person is likely to play, given how the video game market has changed over the years. Which of these types would be more likely to 'retro' game for example. (I'd suggest Conqueror and Zoner).

The more I think about this the more I'm starting to think that the market is increasingly driven by the primarily "Participant" theoretical type of gamer these days, rather than the traditional idea of Conqueror 'hardcore gamer' led market - I realise this perhaps isn't the place or time for all of this discussion though. :) Apologies in advance!

Thanks for the fresh comments! We're about to launch the survey for DGD2, so this is a good time to discuss these issues.


Olivier: In the subject of the Bartle types - we had data on Bartle types along with our DGD1 types in the first survey - but when we tried to correlate them, they simply didn't match up. This isn't to say that there is something wrong with Bartle's model or our model, it just means they are not fundamentally compatible at a statistical level - at least with our original data.

I believe all such models are most valuable as a means of prompting people to think about game play and game design in different terms - no model is strong enough to really "type" people meaningfully. But they are useful to think about how and why people play games.


Rik: I'm sure it is possible to apply the hypothetical model above to real players; it is, after all, the outcome of our first survey research plus other play styles that weren't shown but seem to be observable. But I am doubtful that what will come out of DGD2 will look anything like this, simply because the data we are gathering is so different! I'm excited to see what we will get when the time comes - I'm hoping to find all sorts of interesting things, but what - well, it's just not possible to know this in advance!

"I'm starting to think that the market is increasingly driven by the primarily "Participant" theoretical type of gamer these days, rather than the traditional idea of Conqueror 'hardcore gamer' led market"

I agree! The likely reasons? The success of mass market MMOs in the PC online space, and the success of the Wii. This has been on my mind recently, in fact, and depending on available time I may write about this over the next few weeks. I'll have to see, though, as I am 'falling behind' on blog content and sometimes things I plan to write about get swept away in the practicalities
of my working week. :)


Thanks once again for the comments!

Hi, I'm Kevin, a college Freshman at SUNY Brockport, and doing a paper about the different types of gamers for my College Composition class. My first contact with a list of different gamers comes from the book Game Design Workshop, now avalible online via http://gamedesign.uw.hu. A part of the book, which I linked to in my URL section, covers the same topic. Actually, it cites it from a documentary made in 2000 called "The Promise of Play", produced by Dr. Stuart Brown and David Kennard.

Several of both lists overlap. For example, your Hoarder's somewhat equivilent to their idea of Collector; Explorer or Artist to Wanderer, Competitor to Juggernaugt. Though at first I thought the most stark omission from your list was The Craftsman, the builders in game, but then I saw you mentioned that. You mention various things their list left out, but also I don't see any much analogy in the list to:
The Joker-doesn't take gameplay seriously
The director-likes to be in charge
Performer-wants to play with people not because they want to be part of something bigger, but to show off in front of others

Also, if you do check this, please e-mail me. Whatever you have to say would be very interesting and possibly useful. Most useful of all would be if you could point me to some other sources that I might use in my essay.

Thanks for the comment, Pim! The survey to investigate this further is now live (see the sidebar) - I hope you will participate!

I think im a bit of a wanderer. I love games with good stories, good characters and games that make my feel like im actually in that world. Maybe a bit of a participant too. I enjoy co-op with a good friend, and the idea of multiple people combining their skills to accomplish a difficult task is very interesting.

Collin: thanks for sharing your viewpoint! Have you also completed the Ultimate Game Player Survey? Please do if you haven't already!

Hmmm... I'm definitely a wanderer but I take issue with the participant being the only 'social' gamer type.

I love playing with other people and particularly enjoy diplomacy (and padia) however I loathe any sense of 'belonging'; always waving off any guild, group or even game identities.

I like to stand out rather than be part of the crowd :p

Geminosity: do you know your Temperament or Myers-Briggs type? It sounds like your preferred pattern is Idealist, so your Myers-Briggs type would be somewhere in the region of INFP. That would be consistent with your interest in diplomacy but a rejection of the sense of belonging associated with the Guardian pattern.

With regards to only one social pattern, the hypothetical player patterns presented here shouldn't be taken too literally - the real audience model for DGD2 is still being researched.

Thanks for the comment!

yup! I land in general areas of an ENFP/INFP idealist gamer :)

I found the 'performer' suggested by kevin interesting but I'm not quite sure that I'm enough of an exhibitionist to fufil the supplied description of said category.

To me, the name 'performer', however, brings across the impression of a player who seeks to entertain other players (would this be considered a type of diplomatic play?) rather than trying to fit in; that would apply to myself quite nicely.

Thanks for spending time with my lil post though and good luck with the model Chris :D

My gamer profile would be Participant...although I love a good hoarding ;)

My online game character profile would be Participant too

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