Bartle Test

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    What is the Bartle Test?

    The Bartle Test, short for the Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology, is a classification system for players of multiplayer online games, including MUDs and MMORPGs, based on their gaming preferences and habits.

    The test categorizes players into four main types: Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers, based on their responses to a series of questions. This helps in understanding different player motivations and how they interact within game worlds.

    The Bartle Test was developed by Richard Bartle according to his observations of player behavior in MUDs (multi-user dungeons). It has since become a standard reference in game design to help creators understand and cater to different player types.

    Sample test questions from the Bartle Test, such as: "Which is more enjoyable to you? 1) Killing a big monster 2) Bragging about it to your friends"
    Bartle Test questions from Matthew Barr’s website.

    Bartle Test FAQs

    What do the four types in the Bartle Test represent?

    • Achievers are players who like to gain “points,” levels, or achievements within the game.
    • Explorers like to discover areas, create maps, and learn about hidden places.
    • Socializers enjoy interacting with other players, forming relationships and communities.
    • Killers thrive on competing with other players and exerting their influence on the game world.

    How is the Bartle Test administered?

    The Bartle Test is typically administered as an online quiz consisting of a series of questions. Players choose answers that best align with their gaming preferences, and based on their responses, they are classified into one of the four categories.

    Can a player belong to more than one category in the Bartle Test?

    Yes, most players show a mix of characteristics from different categories. The result is often presented as a percentage for each category, showing how strongly a player identifies with each of the four types.

    How can I use my Bartle Test results to improve my gaming experience?

    You can use your results to explore games and roles that align with your dominant player type.

    For example, if you’re more of a Socializer, you might seek out casual games with chat features and light roleplay. If you’re an Achiever, look for a game with an achievements system, custom titles, rare equipment, and other goodies.

    Can your Bartle Test results change over time?

    Absolutely. Your preferences can evolve as your circumstances change, and retaking the test can reflect these changes.

    For example, you might score high in the Killer and Achiever categories during college, then find that later in life, while working full time and taking care of a family, you’ve become more of a Socializer.

    How has the Bartle Test impacted game design?

    The Bartle Test has influenced game designers to create more balanced experiences, catering to different player types. By understanding the diverse motivations of players, developers can design games that appeal to a broader audience.

    Is the Bartle Test applicable to all types of games?

    While the Bartle Test was specifically designed for online multiplayer games, particularly MUDs and MMORPGs, its principles can be applied to a broader range of game genres to understand player behavior and preferences.

    See also: MUD styles and player types.

    Myths about the Bartle Test

    One misconception is that the Bartle Test pigeonholes players into a single category, limiting their gaming identity. In fact, most players exhibit traits from multiple categories, reflected in a percentage-based result.

    Another misconception is that the test dictates the only way players should enjoy games. While it offers insights into preferences, it doesn’t prescribe a single path of enjoyment.

    Bartle Test examples

    • A player who primarily enjoys completing every quest and getting the best gear is likely an Achiever.
    • Someone who spends time exploring every part of the game world, even if it’s not necessary for game progression, is an Explorer.
    • A player who prefers chatting, making friends, and joining guilds over advancing in-game might be classified as a Socializer.
    • A player who enjoys defeating other players in combat and proving their dominance in the game could be identified as a Killer.

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