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Bartle's Types

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2002 9:14 pm    Post subject: Bartle's Types Reply with quote

I find typology to be a handy tool for aiding 'division of labour'...At least a guide to visualize this better. Sort of like personifying an object - breathing life into a stale classification. If one calls that art, i don't know. *shrug* For me, typology adds mystery and an 'objective' foundation to what would otherwise be a random selection of subjective semantics/statistics. The most famous typology is C.G.Jung's Thinking/Sensation/Feeling/Intuitive classification in psychology; Another is Western Astrology and it's "four elements" of Fire/Air/Water/Earth which were based on the old humors of Phlegmos/Choleric/Melancholic/Sanguine. As you can see, the amount of material begins to increase at an exponential rate, and alot of it is convoluted as hell and about as practical in application as reading tea-leaves. "pop psychology", as you will.

*shrug* just boils down to a visual aid. It's also very handy when someone comes up with a typology that's specifically designed for one's area of interest. Bartle did that years ago with his types for MMOGs (or 'muds' being the only thing in existance at the time)...I've got a few major reservations about his interpretation, but since he invented the wheel, i felt that critiquing his effort would be more constructive than reinventing the wheel - mainly because it's rather handy to have a source one can list so that others can tell what i base my assumptions on.

Bartle wrote:
So, labelling the four player types abstracted, we get: achievers, explorers, socialisers and killers. An easy way to remember these is to consider suits in a conventional pack of cards: achievers are Diamonds (they're always seeking treasure); explorers are Spades (they dig around for information); socialisers are Hearts (they empathise with other players); killers are Clubs (they hit people with them).

My interpretation? Pretty much the same as the above..Since i believe there was a displacement arising out of stereotyping and oversimplifying the 'killer/socializer' aspects - I assume mainly because of the bad influence of the 'troll' infestation in Bartle's study. Therefore, i've retuned 'Bartle's types' and hope it's a refinement and an improvement. I believe the five largest context context shifts between Bartle's types and how i refined it is in
  1. Taking the 'competition' attribute of Bartle's 'achiever type and placing in the 'Killer' type's definition.
  2. Who i chose to be the 'roleplaying' type: The 'killer'
  3. and, the stripping away to appropriate types the many social aspects of a MMOG that were delineated to the 'socializer' type
  4. Then there's the 'acting/interaction' and 'world/player' axis that i've chucked as being impractical, even if it did attempt to deal with programming issues, simply because the axis system - as a whole - made no sense.
  5. Finally, i don't particularly subscribe to Bartle's veneration of the "Malthusian" philosophy when it comes to population ratios between the types.
Here's my take on the 'deck of cards' approach:
  • "clubs" = aggression/competition ("killer"; Drama-Phlegmos)
  • "spades" = foundation/understanding ("explorer"; Romance-Sanguine)
  • "hearts" = community/experience ("socializer"; Comedy/Tragedy-Melancholic)
  • "diamonds" = power/leadership ("achiever"; Satire-Choleric)
    • Eve-online version
        For reference: C.G.Jung's base types (matched up with the above list; my personal opinion on the subject; ignoring intro/extraversion; unrelated to myers-briggs)
        • Reason
        • Sensation
        • Passion
        • Intuition

I believe Bartle intended the types as a means to understanding we all have a bit of each type in ourselves - the key factor being we don't have equal proportions, nor do we have perfect information about our own and others' types *g* (ie. deconstruction)
    an example would be a player, with a low preference for the killer archetype, at a loss to explain to a hardcore pvper why he/she cannot be arsed to grab a gun and fight back (and still have fun)
My intention is to keep Bartle's basic assumptions intact as far as "clubs[killers]/spades[explorers]/hearts[socializers]/diamonds[achievers]"

Disclaimer 1
There's a very loud minority on any forum that insists they alone represent a significant proportion of the demographic. These people are invariable one of two diametrically opposed camps: 'Carebear' (these people always consider any game/forum activity, out-of-character; OOC) or 'Griefer' (these people always consider any game/forum activity, in-character; IC)
    Believe it or not, this variety of idiocy actually exists and are quite vocal. To treat anything that happens on the internet as "RL ethics" or "just a game" is a sign of immaturity. I prefer to call a spade a spade - they're trolls. The sole desire of a troll is to see their name in the top thread of a forum.
These 'Metagamers' skew the statistics, and i'm almost dead certain affected Bartle's classification regarding the socializer and the killer types. Both are over-simplified, in my opinion, by this 'troll' factor, ipso facto. The problem is compounded to no end by the carebear's herd mentality and the griefer's loner mentality
  • you'll often hear the carebear talk about how they are the majority of the demographic and wave the collective wallet around.
  • Griefers love this over-hyped ratio of prey to predators that appears to give them more victims per capita. Not to mention their self-proclaimed underdog status gives them equal standing, in their eyes.
      You'll notice how this influences Bartle's actual demographic "ratio" as well...much to my eternal dismay.
Disclaimer 2
Now, the thing with most people using Bartle for their own agenda is they tend to use strict interpretation of the types in the abstract (ie. structuralism; either you're black or white, no gray)...C.G.Jung who invented a rather famous typology always bemoaned this tendency to compartmentalize people. This interpretation actually warps any typology into a tool to demonize and witchhunt, and destroying the spirit of typology in the process - filling it with merely the fantastic hopes and fears of the population that are so black and white it's ridiculous to even classify such. One runs the danger of creating a pantheon of soap-opera gods.
  • The 'carebear' obviously passes his/her behavior off as 'good' and not merely just a damn troll
  • The 'greifer' obviously passes his/her behavior off as 'evil' and not merely just a damn troll
      sort of like a love/hate relationship. Too bad they can't just **** off and die quietly
Disclaimer 3
especially dangerous is the assumption of an equal proportion of types (ie. extreme structuralism; everything is gray)...This tactic is usually employed by the 'trolls'
  • an example would be a carebear touting the need for PVPinhibitor chips on the basis that everyone would benefit from this "happiness" factor
  • one the other side you have the griefer assuming he/she can force people to grab guns and fight back, since if everyone has an equal proportion of types then everyone has the same reaction to pvp (and all one needs to burst through a carebear's reluctance is a little "excitement")
      you'll note that both above points of view are complete and total crap, not whether or not they have a point, but that each argument is based on what is, by definition, bald faced lies. Each camp just wants to get attention of the MMOG populus using the other camp as fuel, not for any cause, just because the attention's there. period.
Disclaimer 4
especially dangerous is the assumption that happiness resides in eliminating risk...This is quite telling about the underlying motivations behind the 'troll' factor.
  • Carebears want to eliminate ALL risk involved in their character playing the game...which is obvious just retarded and belies their true goal: attention through controversy
  • Griefers want to eliminate ALL risk involved in preying on players playing the game...i'm not going to insult your intelligence by explaining what a bully is.
      The very strange thing is, if the game developers caved in and took away ALL risk for either the 'carebears' or the 'griefers' the game would obviously die within weeks. Taken to it's logical conclusion you'd think these idiots would grow up, realizing this. But, no, eliminating ALL risk is just an agenda masking their true intention: attention seeking.
Disclaimer 5
The developers. ah yes, them. These are the folk who we hope understand disclaimers 1-4 plus the types themselves, better than we do ourselves.

    By now, you've seen the trap that i believe Bartle fell into: He over-emphasized the socializer aspect to mimic the carebears and did the same for the killer aspect to mimic the griefer. One could debate this and claim that i'm missing the point of typology...that indeed this 'carebear'/'griefer' polarity is actually not just 'trolling' but a valid aspect of Bartle's types of Socializer and Killer.
      yes, but not the overriding and blinkered SOLE aspect of either type. Sort of putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. Or the tail wagging the dog.
Okay, so i'm operating from the assumption that Bartle confused the 'carebear' and 'griefer' troll dynamic as the basis for two of his types. The assumption implies some certainties:
  1. one accepts that there is a 'socializer' and 'killer' type with a deeper basis than merely 'carebear' or 'griefer' connotations
  2. that ignoring the true patterns of 'socializer' and 'killer' types displaces the TRUE definitions to the other types involved, thereby affecting the interpretation of ALL types
  3. Discovering the true basis of 'socializer' and 'killer' types is going to take some unravelling
  4. If one is tailoring a typology to suite a MMOG, one had better have an understanding of a game's career choices in order to prevent insanity setting in
  5. having separated a game's careers by way of 'division of labour' (not to mention, 'occam's razor') one then has the ability to tack on a typology to each division.
  6. Having "arbitrarily" decided on matching up the 'divisions of labour' with bartle's typology, i have to go about showing that my interpretation holds regarding the "mushy-stuff" (ie. my definitions of the types)
  7. Finally, it's up to the viewer to decide whether i've "trumped" (pun intended) Bartle's definition...otherwise i'm just blabbing pointlessly over something already decided.
  8. As a side note, there are alot of folk who simply cannot stand typology, regardless of "visual aids" or not. Philistines.
I'm going to use "Eve-online" since i'm currently playing that, not to mention that it has more of a demographic than the last MMOG i played, "jumpgate".

The theory is going to revolve around my guess that "Killer" is actually the "Roleplaying" type. This was honed during my JumpGate tenure and it seems to be a highly popular consensus among Eve-online players that in order to have an effective roleplay you must be prepared to accept that any roleplay, or MMOG for that matter, is essentially PvP. (even if a shot is never fired, not only are there are more ways to pvp than combat the very definition of "multiplayer" assumes human interaction)
    and as anyone can tell you, human interaction is pvp even at it's most cannot have perfect understanding between another human without omniscience.
Now all i need to do is show beyond a reasonable doubt that Roleplaying is the proper abode of the much maligned "Killer" type.**

** - reference to Facets

(crossreference; rant on carebear/griefer dichotomy) (crossreference; critiquing the bartle questionaire - an argument for killer=roleplayer)

Last edited by Psych-L-Ops on Fri May 30, 2003 5:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alrighty, this bit is where i get to talking about Bartle's 2 dimensional thinking which caused the bias that probably allowed "killer" to replace "roleplayer". First off, Bartle said this:
Bartle wrote:

Four approaches to playing MUDs are identified and described. These approaches may arise from the inter-relationship of two dimensions of playing style: action versus interaction, and world-oriented versus player-oriented. An account of the dynamics of player populations is given in terms of these dimensions, with particular attention to how to promote balance or equilibrium. This analysis also offers an explanation for the labelling of MUDs as being either "social" or "gamelike".


        Killers            |                  Achievers
PLAYERS -------------------+------------------- WORLD
        Socialisers        |                  Explorers

now, the thing is about this is i really (in the colloquial) think 2 dimensional thinking is just plain's cute as hell and that's the problem, but then again that's just my personal evaluation so let's get on with dealing with it rationally. Unfortunately, like any 2 dimensional thinking, once you point out the flaw the whole house of cards falls down...fortunately, i'm not going to leave anyone hollering, but will attempt to define the issue and create a solution.

Now, at this point i'd like to add that Bartle's types have been critiqued and numerous other clones expoused that drop or replace or add types. (take for instance the ludicrous reasoning this guy used to drop explorer type.)
    excuse me, but if someone showed me the test he used to prove the non-existence of anal-retentiveness among his test subjects, i'd have told him to shove it...
    WTF ...anyways, i'll get to repairing the damage done by Bartle and why people think Explorers & Achievers play a singleplayer game as i go along.
First off, when Bartle first started in on this typology thing i believe he began with his 2 dimensional chart and moved on to the deck of cards analogy...As a reference point in pioneer work a compass is really nice to have, but i'm afraid i'm going to have to pop that metaphor bubble. Typology is alot more complex than playing tic-tac-toe, but the really cool thing about it is that ANY attempt is better than nothing and a very good, but flawed, stab at typology is a work of genius - regardless of the fatal flaw inherent.

The fatal flaw in Bartle's case is his 2 dimensional thinking allowed the "killer" type to replace "roleplayer" type to the point where even today (i believe) Bartle considers "roleplaying" to not be distinct enough to BE a type.
    duh *muffy does some real hard thinking so his point becomes clear and simple*
The reason why 2 dimensional thinking biases typology is because there is a deeper meaning behind ACTING than merely "world/players", in the context of the former not the latter choice set...It's really quite simple: INTERACTION cannot possibly mean anything in context of Bartle's types: no type is without interaction. (feedback, or whatever have you)

    now, one could turn around and tell me that no type is without acting, world, or players...but that would be disingenuous because while true, interaction is WHAT all those three categories do in a MMOG community.
      duh *muffy cannot believe the relief he feels after two hours to make his point is well spent*
Okay, so removing INTERACTION as a viable part of Bartle's types begs the question: "so what is the opposite of ACTING?"...well, taken simply it's 'Being'. Of course, one needs to explain something beyond looking like some crazed Buddhist monk going after Nirvana like a masochist.
  1. Going back to my Devil's Advocate, i'd point out that all types interact in the MMOG community as a matter of course
  2. 'Being' isn't supposed to connote some borne-again christian rant or scientology freak session
  3. 'Being' is meant is the context of 'Role', since this ain't the Matrix and our player's existence isn't in question nor even relevant
  4. What is relevant is that 'Being' is not unlike a choice or decision one makes, ipso facto, to develop a ROLE - it's our character's "character" that is what is relevant.
  5. ACTING is the taking of a role and interacting with the world, without any "character development", and thus "roleplaying" instead of "rolemaking"

      One would suppose that 'ROLE' would be the abode of the roleplayer. Not so. There's another source material i used and that's "Characters and Viewpoints" by Orson Scott Card which has a MICE quotient. This helped me immensely in realizing that a book based about a ROLE ("character") revolved about a change in character.
        This lead me to understand the difference between ACTING and ROLE. In that roleplaying for the killer wasn't about characterization at all, it was about taking a character and roleplaying, not "rolemaking."
Okay, so now we have "ACTING vs ROLE"/"WORLD vs PLAYERS" scattered around like a game of 52 pickup. The logical conclusion in constructive criticism is to realize that the axis really are actually the types themselves, and furthermore are still axis.
    at this point you're most likely thinking: HELP
Typology is alot more complex than a game of tic-tac-toe. When one thinks of it in "2 dimensional" terms of x-y axis and the resulting 4 types one really doesn't consider the points of each axis to be anything other than "neutral". This results in a rather static and extremely simplified view of what is, to say it bluntly, ALOT more "interactive" than plotting geometry. (One needs to focus on the axis AS types)
    the result can be seen in either light when done right...when done wrong, one ends up shooting oneself in the foot without knowing it. All due respect to Bartle for his work of genius, i won't blame him for severely fucking up an entire generation of MMOG typologists - 2 dimensional thinking has done in more famous examples than Bartle. (say Jung's personality types that Myers-Briggs decided to play tiddlywinks with)
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seeing the types as not only that but axis as well introduces the concept of types to a greater range of understanding because one is lead to think about the relationship between the two axis (x & y) than previously possible.
    "clubs" = aggression/competition {{development}} ("Killer"; PLAN)
    "spades" = foundation/understanding {{purpose}} ("explorer"; SETTING)
    "hearts" = community/experience {{function}}("socializer"; PASSION)
    "diamonds" = power/leadership {{role}} ("Achiever"; ROLE)

      Orson Scott Card created a MICE quotient which i use as well...although i've plagarized the semantics
      • PLAN (orson's "idea" story)
      • SETTING (the world's places and it's cultural expectations; orson's "milieu" story)
      • PASSION (order out of chaos; orson's "event" story)
      • ROLE (orson's "character" story)
Taking Bartle at face value and looking at the "inter-relationship of two dimensions of playing style" [plan (bartle's acting) vs role (bartle's interaction)"/"setting (bartle's world) vs passion (bartle's player)], per se, it just begs the question: Since the "y axis" is halfway between the "x axis" doesn't it follow that the Explorer/Socializer aspect contains a mix of the Killer/Achiever of equal proportion? If so, how does one prevent deconstruction on a massive scale into intellectual entropy (ie. total garbage)

Quite simply, one needs to trust that the core concept of PLAN, SETTING, PASSION and ROLE are distinct in not only type, but that one has correctly polarized the axis.

  PASSION -------------------+------------------- SETTING
(socializers)                |                  (explorers)
    Now, i suppose i could merrily fill in those 4 quadrants like Bartle did, but that would be impossible for i really believe it's more linear than a pie graph, so to speak. But, since that's sincerely off-topic, i'll ignore the temptation to play tiddlywinks with a simple graph
So, where exactly is the merit in examining the relationships between the axis? Well, it helps to explore the meanings inherent in 'polarity' and 'perpendicular'. Take for instance PLAN: the 'polarity' to ROLE in that when one is focusing on the issue of PLAN in say, Eve-online, the farthest thing from one's mind is ROLE, ipso facto; the 'perpendicular' SETTING and PASSION axis is that when one is focusing on the issue of PLAN in say, Eve-online, setting & passion play a sort of dance to create a story; Now, the latter concept is a little more complex than the former so i'm going to spend a bit explaining that.

Setting & Passion play equal parts in PLAN, yet all 3 are distinct concepts enough to say that PLAN does not eliminate setting & passion, nor does it rely on those concepts to describe itself, a posteriori. (To wit, all 4 concepts are distinct, a priori)
    This is an extremely complex perspective on an otherwise cute and simplistically abstract concept of "typology"...I suppose this is my attempt at "deconstruction", though i'm rather unfamiliar with the topic of philosophy so i'll give that soundbite a wide berth
Hopefully, i've shown enough to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt why Bartle's INTERACTION side of the "acting/interaction" axis was flawed. I've probably shown how ROLE plays a significantly more important and distinct part in Bartle's typology and why the misunderstanding caused Bartle to create a flawed "Deck of Cards" metaphor.
    I'm not sure why Bartle went with Interaction instead of Role, but i can guess at the reason: In focusing on creating a geometric 2 dimensional chart to explain his concepts he fell into the trap of making a disconnect between type and axis and didn't see the inherent flaw contained in the term, "interaction", and quite possibly was biased to do this based on a reluctance to see the opposite of ACTING as ROLE...I'm darned sure he was biased on a deeper level to associate aggression/competition with the achiever type...on an event deeper level, i'd even start connecting the dots about the sexism inherent in wanting to paint such a bold and "manly" picture of the noble achiever type, in contrast to an 'evil' killer type with no redeeming features besides an age old atavistic cathartic release...not only that, it was probably a healthy distrust of "mamby-pamby" definition of roleplaying that i find, quite frankly, to be immature...and well, honestly, hypocritically sexist.
When you finally get down to brass tacks, one will realize that the inclusion of 'Roleplaying' into the definition of a type, opens the mind a little more regarding the ephemeral nature of the type system itself - nobody can roleplay constantly. It helps nurture the idea that we play all the types at different times. some more than others, and some people who play the 'killer' type aren't worthy of such a title (the "griefers"). This makes total and complete sense, because the only folks i've ever seen pull off decent storylines are combat PVP squads/corporations.
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Chief WO4
Chief WO4

Joined: 09 Feb 2002
Posts: 473
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Bump Reply with quote

There we go. I just re-edited this old thread into something a little more understandable, plus revamped it for Eve-online and my current understanding of the types. I was going to let this rot but noticed this thread comes up in a google search for "bartle's types" as the third entry.


must be them russian spam artists boosting our ratings, no matter how many i delete/ban. lol.
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