4 Types Of Players: Bartle’s Player Types For Gamification

We managed to study a lot of interesting and important information, which, in fact, could already begin to be put together in a single system. But still, do not rush, because we did not consider another important question – what types of players exist. This is what will be discussed in the fourth lesson. Given that the topic is quite voluminous, without lyrical intro, we get down to business immediately. Several decades ago, a model for segmenting players by psycho-type was created, and this merit belongs to Professor of the University of Essex, writer and game researcher Richard Allan Bartle. Currently, this model is used by game developers around the world, including in social networks, in order to optimize game directories for users. Bartle’s proposed psycho types can also be used to gamify non-game systems.

4 Types Of Players: Bartle's Player Types For Gamification

Creating one of the first multiplayer games, known as MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) and which has grown into a whole genre today, the researcher thought about what people are interested in and why they like to play multiplayer games. So, in an attempt to determine the motivation of the participants, Bartle was able to determine two scales:

  • Action – Interaction
  • Players – The World

The place where these scales intersect was called by him the plane of interests. Some people, for example, try to find in games the opportunity to interact with others. The second one like to take independent actions in order to take away what belongs to other participants or the game world in general. For the third, the main interest is the game reality itself, the possibilities that open in it, objects, mechanics, etc. There are those who enjoy not from the gameplay, but from group communication in online chat rooms.

It was these observations that subsequently became the basis of the Bartle’s identified by Bartle (also these psycho-types are often called groups of players). There are four of them:

  • Archiver Another name is Careerists. Their main goal is the accumulation of strength, funds, objects, artifacts and other resources and benefits provided by the game
  • Killers. The main motivation for them is superiority over other participants, the presence of power and advantages. By all means, strive for victory
  • Explorers.  Try to learn the game reality and its secrets as best as possible. Battles and actions for them are secondary
  • Socializers. Also known as Party People or Communicators. Strive for communication with other participants, social interaction and mutual understanding

Schematically, the system of psycho types looks like this:

Types of players and 4 Bartle's Player Types for Gamification

As should be understood, these are only brief characteristics of the Bartle’s of the players. And for a better understanding of their motivation, you need to talk more about them.

NOTE: The Bartle system is focused on computer games and their profitability, but taking into account the fact that in our course we are talking about the gamification of a huge number of processes, including those where revenue is not the goal, the concept of profit can be changed to the concept of that result which each individual project requires.

Detailed Description of 4 Bartle’s of players according to R. Bartle. 

Consider each group of players in order.

Detailed Description Of 4 Bartle's Of Players According To R. Bartle.

achievers

The majority of people belong to the category of Achievers – about 40%, but this indicator will depend on the characteristics of each particular project: somewhere around 15-20% will be Achievers, and somewhere around 50%. Despite the fact that among Russian players there is an extremely large number of Killers (more than in any other country), Accumulators are considered the most common player types. They strive for status and wealth.

Achievers like to acquire various benefits, so they tend to get a lot of resources and produce many things. However, they are very happy to receive awards, badges, medals for their actions. Their pleasure consists in achieving goals and solving constantly complicated tasks, because a reward will follow. In other words, the careerists are motivated by progress and growth during the game.

Careerists are willing to pay for accelerating their development, the availability of time and additional opportunities, although in order to be simply better than the others, they will not be wasted. Excellence for them will be such only if it is achieved by their own efforts. For them, the best scenario is “spend time – get rewarded.” In addition, Achievers are the longest lag in games and monetize perfectly.

Killers

Killers, as a rule, are the least – somewhere around 10%. But here it is important to note that by their presence Russia is ahead of the rest, then comes Turkey, then South Korea. Killers value things like dominance, influence, skills, and strength. Interestingly, influence is also important for Accumulators, and skills for Explorers. Note that each group has common ground, as everywhere there are intersections of the faces of the planes of interest. But keep in mind that the motivation for everyone will be their own.

Killers love to compete, participate in tournaments and rankings. Thanks to this, they “pumped” – they become cooler, surpass the rest. For this reason, they love everything that allows them to directly contact other players. Killers are also considered the most monetized group because they are glad to pay for the possibility of domination and victory. As for the delay of players of this player types in games, this indicator is at an average level.

Explorers

Ideal conditions for Explorers are a large number of various game mechanics, diverse content and the ability to apply your mind in the game. They like to study game reviews, and in order for them to take part in the game, they need to be convinced that it is interesting and worth the time to spend on it.

Like Killers, Explorers value skills, but at the same time, they are focused on gaining knowledge, studying game content, mechanics and the possibilities offered by the game. The wider and more varied the gaming reality, the better for them. It is also important for Explorers to develop all kinds of talents so that it will be possible to understand all the available combinations, subtleties and hidden aspects of the game. To interest, this category of players, dialogs, and quests should be included in the game, and the plot should be varied.

In addition, we say that the Explorers, if they are already interested in the game, will remain in it for as long as possible – as long as it challenges them and offers challenges. But at the same time, with the monetization of this group, everything is somewhat worse, because It is not easy to motivate Explorers to make a spontaneous payment.

Socializers

Socializers need to communicate, interact with others, be popular and, of course, have fun. If the Accumulators are proud of resources and achievements, the Killers are proud of dominance and power, the Explorers are smart and quick-witted, then the Socialists are popular. That is why you need to give players the opportunity to stand out, compete and compete. To engage Socialists in the game, it is necessary to equip it with contests, quizzes, meetings, forums and other things tied to interaction.

This Bartle belongs to the noble class, but here there are some nuances. Firstly, Party People are poorly monetized, and if they buy something, then this applies mostly to their appearance. Secondly, they are not inclined to linger in games for a long time, and it is the hardest to keep them. Often they come, play and go to another game. To motivate them to stay, you need to arrange interesting events and promotions, but they can bring many friends into the game, among which, of course, there will be players of other Bartle’s.

Now, after we have characterized each of the Bartle’s, it will be quite logical to compare them with each other in order to better understand the difference.

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Comparative analysis of Player Types for Gamification

In fact, it’s important not the number of representatives of each group of players taking part in the game, but the percentage ratio between them. And, as we already said, it depends largely on the features of the game itself. A well-thought-out game allows each player types to fulfill its potential, but if someone lacks gaming capabilities, he can begin to show himself as a representative of another player types.

Comparative Analysis Of Player Types For Gamification

The fact is that there are no people who could be 100% Achievers, Killers, etc. Each person has traits inherent in any of the four groups, just in one situation or another the traits of anyone prevail. The Bartle’s itself can be characterized as a player’s behavioral pattern and the circumstances of what is affecting which one appears.

So let’s figure out what the players love, divided by Richard Bartle into Bartle’s players’ types.

Achievers

Achievers do not like to buy for real money what can be achieved through in-game methods. This is perceived by them as an indicator of dishonesty in the game and an unnecessary waste of money. They also do not like to suffer losses, and if the game has the ability to create and save something indefinitely, they simply will not leave it. In those cases when the Achievers has paid at least once, it becomes loyal to the game for a very long period of time.

Killers

Killers can not stand routine and boring games, and if the game is monotonous, he simply leaves it. Plus, the players of this player types are not very disposed to social interaction, and the same communication with a huge number of people on social networks is an empty place for them. The killer can be called loners because they prefer to act on their own. They almost never form teams, and if they do, it is only to achieve some goal.

Explorers

For Explorers, all sorts of marathons, mass events, etc. serve as an irritating factor in games. If, for example, the Socialist looks at the Explorer, he will say about him that he is gloomy, unsociable, etc. In addition to this, Explorers do not like ratings and all kinds of comparisons with other players. By the way, they consider the average Killer to be disappointed in the life of Explorers, and experienced and serious players to be completely unnecessary, and therefore often simply ignore them.

Socializers

For Socialists, it’s nonsense when someone from among them attacks their own. Almost always, they are peaceful, but in some situations, they can become “trolls,” secretly bantering other players. And if someone did not please them with something, they will certainly express everything that they think about him. However, a direct attack is completely unusual for them. Like Socialists and Accumulators, they are reluctant to pay, and also avoid situations of a difficult choice. So if the game has a lot of opportunities, for them it will be a worrying factor.

Despite the considerable number of differences between representatives of different groups of players, you can always find a balance between them, and there are four main options for this balance.

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4 Scenario of player types Audience balance

Richard Bartle spent a lot of time researching how to balance the audience of players, as a result of which he created a serious and very promising system consisting of several scenarios.

4 Scenario Of Player Types  Audience Balance

There are four of these scenarios:

  • Scenario One. It implies a stable balance, according to which all Bartle’s are always in approximately the same ratio, and the percentage of each of them is quite large. Most of all, this scenario is suitable for game design, but it has one drawback: a stable balance is not suitable for those games that can be played for free, and does not allow supplying the game process with fresh traffic. High player loyalty can be easily destroyed by the need to deposit
  • Scenario Two. It is based on the balance of accumulators and killers. The bottom line is that most of the players are Careerists, where you can monetize projects (by the way, in games, Accumulators bring more than 1/3 of all income). The percentage of Killers in the presented scenario should be much higher than in other situations, and this rule serves as a guarantee of success, because they bring 2/3 of the profit. Also in the second scenario there is a small percentage of Explorers and Party People
  • Scenario Three. The basic idea is the predominance of Socialists. The third scenario is very popular. From the point of view of game design, it is quite simple, but in terms of monetization it is not particularly profitable. Thanks to the concentration of Party-goers, you can keep up the size of the audience of players. Games made in such a scenario are extremely resistant to shocks and errors, the Vedas Socialists are confident that this is included in the game. The catch is that the game may collapse if the need to deposit funds is included
  • Scenario Four. The point is the dominance of the Explorers. If in standard games there are only about 30%, then here this figure reaches 50%. The interesting thing is that Explorers can be difficult to lure into a new game, but if they are interested, then they will play for a very long time. In addition, they will be active, even if there is no need to support the game. This creates an autonomous project, which does not require constant updates

We will indicate some more important additions.

If a large number of people take part in the gameplay, the destruction of any game can begin with increased activity of the Killers. If they have the opportunity to “chop” everyone right and left, the first thing they will do is get rid of the Storage, because most of them. The Achievers themselves will begin to leave, realizing that they are not allowed to play calmly.

With the departure of the Accumulators, the number of Socialists will increase, which, in turn, will be hit by the same Killers. As a result, Party-goers will become less, because they will begin to leave the project with whole parties, because not everyone will like a situation when they are constantly attacking you.

At this time, Explorers, busy with their affairs and having lost their vigilance, will continue to play at their usual pace. And now they will become the target of the Killers, who will switch to them, because there is nobody else to “kill”. Thus, the Explorers will eventually leave, and the only players will remain Killers. And they don’t really favor attacking each other, because there is always a risk of being a loser. As a result of all this, the Killers will come to the conclusion that there is no balance in the game, and will also leave the game. The game will disappear.

Why all this?

We told you about the three main scenarios of balance, but they are all common, and each specific game requires that the actions be performed taking into account its uniqueness. But there are prerequisites, namely:

  • Killers should not have absolute freedom of action. If you want them to perform their functions without forcing other players to leave the game with their actions, you should create something like a battlefield where battles will take place. It is important that all players have the right to choose and decide to fight consciously, because only in this case they will understand that they are taking a risk. This method is very effective and allows you to save the audience.
  • Socialists should have a maximum of opportunities to realize their potential. Despite the fact that their loyalty to the game is always in question, they help to keep other participants in it and attract new ones. Any social activity in the game should be welcomed and encouraged, if, of course, we are talking about a competent and correct project.

In order for the game to have players of different groups, you need to introduce a variety of activity options into it and make the content fun and varied. Even already familiar and bored games can stay afloat if they are regularly updated, and people will be informed about this.

We figured out the Bartle’s and their characteristics, but that’s not all, because we need to understand which group of players this or that person belongs to. This is also necessary to talk about.

player types Definition

As we have already pointed out, people with just one Bartle’s players type do not exist, and this is clearly reflected in the so-called “Bartle’s maps” of players, i.e. percentage ratio between the features of each group. For example, Ali can be 30% Killer, 20% Achievers, 15% Socialist and 35% Explorer. In most cases, a person is dominated by some two-player types within 30% each. Situations when some kind of player types prevails by 40% or more are very rare.

Usually, the player types is determined by a simple test – the Bartle test. If you wish, you can find more than one version of such a test on the Internet and pass it. But note that the results will not be objective enough, because questions in the tests relate exclusively to multiplayer games. And if you already have the relevant experience, you can easily predict the answers, and if there is no experience, then the answers will simply be unreliable. In addition, each player cannot be tested, and game developers often use heuristics – algorithms that assign points for actions committed by players. They usually consist of 4 scales:

  • Accumulator (the player collects several achievements and gets points for this)
  • Killer (a player kills many other players and gets points for it)
  • Explorer (the player often finds new locations and hidden content and gets points for this)
  • Socialist (the player often writes in the chat and gets points for this)

Using this method, developers can roughly assess the types of players and draw the necessary conclusions on this basis. The final map is drawn up for a specific time period: for example, in one hour, 20% of the time the player behaved like Killer, 35% as Socialist, 15% as Explorer and 30% as Achiever. However, it is very important to come to an understanding of the fact that it is impossible to work out an ideal ranking for player types, and moreover, such a task is not necessary.

Bartle’s player types are merely patterns of player behavior, and much more important is not how we determine the player’s types, but how the correlation of all psycho types changes within the framework of one game project in general. It is necessary to analyze, monitor the course of events, compare data. Bartle’s methodology can be called an indicator, which indicates how stable the game process itself is.

If we consider it in relation to non-game processes, we can conclude that it is practically impossible to determine in advance which group of players a particular person belongs to. All we can do is speculate based on the information about people that we already have, for example, knowledge about the character and temperament, behavioral characteristics in ordinary everyday life or professional activities. The best option to establish a player type of a person as a player is to observe him in the gameplay. After one or more sessions, you can draw conclusions and make changes both to the game itself and to the hierarchy and arrangement of its participants.

Continuing, it will not be superfluous to say that after dividing the players into the considered player types, Richard Bartle continued his research. So, he began to reflect: players are acting consciously or not, the result of which is a system consisting of eight-player types. We will mention it purely for educational purposes.

An expanded version of the system of player types R. Bartle

In the expanded version of the system of player types, the scales “Action – interaction” and “Players – world” added at the beginning of the lesson are added – “Consciously – unconsciously”, and because of this new scale, the four-player types already familiar to us are divided into two.

An Expanded Version Of The System Of  Player Types R. Bartle

Accumulators are divided into conscious Accumulators – Planners, who scrupulously think through all their actions and moves, and unconscious – Opportunists, who try not only to see new opportunities everywhere but also to cling to them instantly in order to gain something for themselves.

If we consider Killer, then the conscious Killer turns into Politics, because due to his influence, strength, and actions, he is able to achieve much greater results. And the unconscious Killer becomes a Griffer (from the English “grief”, which means “grief”), i.e. a player taking out his anger and pain on others. While the Politician, “killing”, reaches his goal, Griffer does this as if having nothing to do, and, meeting his opponent, he will continue to “kill” him until something stops this endless race. The politician, having seen the opponent, will make several “warning shots” and leave him alone if he accepts the rules of the game and recognizes that the Politician should not be disturbed.

A Conscious Explorer , carefully considering his actions, turns into a Scientist. He thinks logically, studies game mechanics find ways to get game advantages and options for their application. Thus, an integral picture of knowledge is formed in him. An Unconsciously Acting Explorer is a Hacker. His task is to find in the game “glitches”, “bugs” and all kinds of flaws, which he voluntarily informs the creators of the game, wanting to get recognition.

As for the Socialists, the conscious Socialists are called Socialists, and the unconscious – Friends. The former are distinguished by the fact that they use their social connections to get the maximum benefit from partners in the game, and the latter are in constant search of someone with whom you can just bother, talk heart to heart, talk about something, etc.

Here, by the way, it will be very appropriate to say that the model of Bartle’s player types is not one of a kind. There is, for example, the BrainHex model, in which groups of players are divided according to the emotional attribute – the “hexagon of emotions”. The meaning of this model is that each of the faces symbolizes one of the emotions of a person, and the center of this hexagon is greed/hoarding / career. Based on this logic, seven types are distinguished:

  • Searchers. Searching for secrets, opportunities, hidden content
  • Survivors. They enjoy it when they lose some kind of suffering: they are saved from the threat, rid of problems, etc.
  • Reckless. Immersed in the center of events, because it’s important for them to do something, and it doesn’t matter what
  • Thinkers. Concentrate on solving problems, puzzles and accepting the challenges posed by the game
  • Conquerors. Strive to defeat other players, make efforts, achieve results, solving complex problems
  • Socializers. The main goal is to communicate with others
  • Careerists. They prefer to save resources, objects, statuses, etc.

This system is also good, but in most cases the creators of games and game projects are guided by the Bartle types of players system, which consists of four-player types, discarding the third scale, because determining the degree of player awareness is very difficult. In fact, we recommend that you use the Bartle system when you gamify any projects.

We have already repeated more than once that in order to build a successful gamification system and apply it to non-game processes, you just need to project everything related to games onto your activity, drawing appropriate analogies. Agree, because the types of players are very easy to transfer to people: think about which of your relatives, friends or acquaintances is the Accumulator, Party People, Killer or Explorer. And to whom do you relate to yourself? We are confident that you can easily give a game characterization to everyone you know, including yourself.

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