Five years ago – yes, it’s been that long! – we did an Overthinking in which our staff all took Quantic’s survey to see our results about what type of gamer we are through the lens of the Gamer Motivation Model, a sort of a modern spin on the MMO-centric Bartle test by long-time gaming academics. Recently, the model has been updated to spit out not just a list of weighted attributes but a specific “gamer type” that ought to add some color to the discussion.
So since it’s been a while, and we’ve added a ton of new staff since then, I thought it would be fun to take the survey again, adding our new staff to the pile and allowing our older writers a chance to compare new results to old results to see whether they’ve changed at all. We invite our readers to post their gamer types in the comments too!
I feel like I used to fit into the Bounty Hunter category when I was younger, but as many of my friends moved away from gaming, plus having to make new connections with a wider variety of people, “difficult” games (aside from Monster Hunter) rarely felt like a good way to bond with people. I feel like the Gardener’s description mentioning Animal Crossing really called me out, as that’s been one of the big games getting me through the pandemic.
I often think of myself as creative but can get quickly frustrated when the games don’t allow me to be creative in the way that I want, at least when it comes to cosmetics. I feel like games don’t give enough options in customizations so that it always feels like “you can pick any color you want as long as it’s black.” (This is why I loathe the character customization options in FFXIV). When it comes to character playstyle “creativity,” I love open-ended games like The Secret World. I liked that there was no “right” way to play. Or maybe I just like that the toxic min/maxer culture has a hard time thriving in free-form character creation because it collapses under the crush of so many variations.
As a recovering completionist — yeah, that fits with the bard. I love lore in particular; I would give up a good story in game in favor of good world building. Overall, I guess yeah, I’m a bard.
I retook the survey this week and it’s now saying I’m “Calm, Analytical, Relaxed, Immersed, and Creative” with Creativity 95%, Social 63%, Immersion 62%, Mastery 48%, Action 25%, Achievement 8% – almost identical to the last time I took it, even though I changed some old answers and most of the games too. And I’m not really sure I’m the type who wants to spend all day chatting or have a specific focus on any stories but my own?
So I still have a lot of the same concerns about the model as last time: The questions are still vague, the categories still seem so broad as to fit almost everyone, and the recommendations assume liking X in one game implies you like X in general. Is the survey about what we wish we could do in games or what we actually end up doing? Why are there two questions about guns and explosions but little about core content like crafting or guild leadership? How exactly does an economy gamer convey that she’s lost interest in MMO combat PvP but is a hardcore economy PvPer, when there’s no disambiguation for the kinds of competitive content available in MMORPGs? Like, how do I answer this question as a primarily econ player when I know it’s actually talking about combat PvP and so I’ll only confuse the algorithm?
And then I’m looking at my fellow colleagues who got pegged as bards, and I know we have some stuff in common, obviously, but I don’t think that when it comes to what we actually do in MMOs on a regular basis we’re that similar. Do my fellow bards also spend most of their MMO time in crafting spreadsheets, stocking vendors, and coming up with pun names for their 800th City of Heroes character? Hehe. It’s still interesting for sure. I just hope all MMO players aren’t being tossed in the bard bin because we like playing murder barbies/murder legos.
Actually, scratch that. Who’s up for a timely sea shanty?
Chris Neal (@wolfyseyes, blog): Yeah, this seems about right to me, honestly. I’m a roleplayer at heart and when I get into a game and a character, I love to RP things or come up with headcanon or make decisions based on just what that character would do. Even in games where roleplay or lore is hardly part of the gameplay experience, I still kind of form a persona in my head.
About the only thing that’s weird about this profile is that it reads “the game is a grand story that emerges from a community of players,” which insinuates that I would like sandbox games a lot more than I do. Perhaps it’s less due to my own proclivities than it is finding a sandbox that doesn’t feel like a world I care to visit or isn’t loaded with overpowered PK misery. Though Mobius PvE in Elite Dangerous is pretty much my ideal sandbox right now.
Anyways, I definitely agree with the creativity and customization parts of this — all of the cosmetics, please — but I was surprised at how highly I ranked on the social aspect of gaming. I suppose in a way I shouldn’t be since, y’know, we’re on a site devoted to massively multiplayer RPGs, but I was just musing the other day on how much I play MMOs solo. I enjoy dipping into group content every now and then, but I generally prefer to play story content solo, maybe with a friend. In some of my main MMOs, I’ve never even bothered to join a guild because I simply don’t think I would play with them.
I feel like if I had answered a few questions differently (or maybe listed a few different games) it probably would have given me architect as at least a secondary type, which is more about planning and decision making and building. It also lists solo play as a big part of it, so the test probably saw the MMOs I listed and disqualified me from that one. It’s a fun idea, but I think the limitations of personality tests are obvious here.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): Bard, huh? Well, as the resident MOP stream singer that seems a pretty fair assessment. And yes, I am all about interacting with others in game worlds filled with rich lore and stories; the game is a grand story that emerges from a community of players for me! So that all sounds pretty spot on.
Now, let’s compare the actual test results! Have I changed?
- 2016: Analytical, Completionist, Gregarious, Deeply Immersed, and Creative
Action 41%, Achievement 23%, Mastery 67%, Creativity 90%, Social 63%, Immersion 80%
- 2021: Calm, Spontaneous, Relaxed, Gregarious, Deeply Immersed, and Creative
Action 30%, Achievement 19%, Mastery 8%, Creativity 95%, Social 57%, Immersion 69%
The key words seem to fit for the most part. Except calm: Have they seen/heard me when I get frustrated and stubborn at something in-game?! I can get pretty fowl mouthed. (When Flubby Duckies is heard, you know things are real!) As for gregarious and creative, yup, I think those shoes fit. I do agree that I have significantly reduced the completionist aspect for now because I just don’t have the gaming time/brain space to worry about getting every achievement in most cases. I used to stress about getting All. The. Things. Since that’s just not possible now with where I am at in life, I am glad I reached the point it doesn’t really bother me. I am super curious why social and immersion dipped down; it looks like not wanting to duel and PvP again dropped my social score? Weird. But immersion? I suppose it is true I don’t immerse as deeply in all my games because I just play too many these days. It feels more like that assessment was based off of the eclectic variety of games I listed, which I find unfair. I mean, it only gave me the chance to list nine in total, and I play how many?! Not any true representation there is all I am saying. That said, as for TSW and LOTRO being popular games for bard, that fits — and I didn’t even list them!
I’ve been on an old-school, hardcore gaming streak recently too. That’s likely where the Acrobat comes in from. It probably weighed pretty heavily on the fact that I listed Hollow Knight as a game I recently played that I enjoyed. The Ninja is a good one too. I’m certainly more into games where I can compete with other players on a smaller scale than on the grand, large “my guild of 50 vs your guild” type of combat. I’m pretty interested to see what all the others on the team popped up as!