The Bartle Quotient: What Makes Games Meaningful to You?
The reason why we play games is as varied as the number of genres there are to play. I'm a firm believer that there is a game out there that fits every personality type and that's where the Bartle Quotient comes into play.
The Bartle Quotient is a kind of test that figures out what kind of gamer you are and allows you to figure out what aspect of gaming you find most engaging. It gets its name from Richard Bartle, a professor and renowned game researcher from England.
After a battery of simple, multiple choice questions, Bartle Quotient test takers get a rating for what type of players they are. In my case, I was an "ESGA" type of player, which is a very accurate representation of my typical playstyle.
Let me explain ...
Also known as "Diamonds," these are players who prefer to gain "points," levels, equipment and other concrete measurements of succeeding in a game. They will go to great lengths to achieve rewards that confer them little or no gameplay benefit simply for the prestige of having it.
Achiever is my lowest scoring area, which has to do a lot with my playstyle. When I play a game, I play it for the experience, not the rewards. In fact, in Skyrim Special Edition, I literally have 0 achievements after 40 hours of play (Yes, I'm using mods, but that's not the point).
My interests in a game have little to do with actually reaching game milestones -- unless those milestones actually come with a reward that advances my player and their skills.
Explorers, dubbed "Spades" for their tendency to dig around, are players who prefer discovering areas, creating maps and learning about hidden places. They often feel restricted when a game expects them to move on within a certain time, as that does not allow them to look around at their own pace. They find great joy in discovering an unknown glitch or a hidden easter egg.
My most favorite thing about gaming is the exploration/story aspect, which is why this is my highest rated attribute. I am a sucker for exploration and lore, which is what has kept me captivated by great RPGs like The Elder Scrolls series, The Witcher series, and the Fallout series of games. With so many dungeons to explore, quests to take and decisions to make, these games are incredibly satisfying to me and my natural sense of curiosity.
Griefer / Killer
"Clubs" is a very accurate moniker for what the Killer likes to do. They thrive on competition with other players, and prefer fighting them to scripted computer-controlled opponents.
My second lowest score was in the Griefer/Killer attribute. Rarely do I play a game that has a competitive aspect to it. At one point in time, I used to love playing MOBAs and team-based multiplayer games like Call of Duty and Battlefield 2, but I quickly lost interest in these games because it doesn't fit my personality.
Games like this go hand in hand with achievement-based games, something else in which I scored low. Generally, these types of game are just too fast-paced and have little room for you to explore. While I can appreciate them for the skill they take to play, they simply do not interest me.
There are a multitude of gamers who choose to play games for the social aspect, rather than the actual game itself. These players are known as Socializers or "Hearts". They gain the most enjoyment from a game by interacting with other players, and on some occasions, computer-controlled characters with personality. The game is merely a tool they use to meet others in-game or outside of it.
I love the social aspects of games. I remember the first time I played an MMO, City of Heros, and I teamed up with other players to take on an elite enemy. It was glorious.
The social aspect of games is what enriched my interest in games like Reign of Kings and Rust. It allowed you to have fun and act out a quirky character.
Interesting side note: In Reign of Kings, I was "Steven the Mighty," who was actually a pathetic errand boy for his father, the local lumber mill owner. Even the normally hostile bandit roleplayers took pity on Steven for his earnest, but exaggeratedly awkward presence.
I mean, that's just awesome! (OK. It's awesome to me, anyway ...)
The Bartle Quotient Tells Us Who We Are (As Gamers)
When it comes down to it, the beautiful thing about gaming is that everyone experiences games in different ways -- even if we're all playing the same game. Whether you enjoy the thrill of exploration and getting lost in the journey, or testing your might against other players in PvP, games give us something to look forward to no matter what kind of gamers we are.
If you haven't taken the Bartle Quotient, take 2 minutes out of your day and try it.
How did you score on the Bartle Quotient and is it accurate to the type of gamer you are? Share your results in the comments below.