[MUD-Dev] Codename Blue & Facets - Nick Yee's new studies

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Thu May 16 03:22:15 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Nicholas Yee writes:

> Bartle's Explorer type focused on mapping a world's topology, and
> a general interest in experimenting with and learning about the
> game's mechanics. My data showed that these 2 aspects were not
> correlated. And then I tried to see whether I could focus on the
> "interest in game mechanics" aspect with these statements:

In reading Bartle's paper again, it occurs to me that I would never
have used the term 'explorer' for what he describes.  "Knowledge
achiever" or "Knowledge socializer" is probably more appropriate.
By Bartle's metrics, I am not an explorer in his terminology, but I
am most certainly an explorer by nature.  To me, an explorer is
someone who likes to see the new.  End of story.  Beyond that
exploration motivation is the question of what someone does with the
knowledge that exploration brings.  Do they use it to socialize,
compete, or some other pursuit?  For me, exploration IS a
motivation.  I suspect that, for many, exploration is only a
necessary prerequisite to other goals.

So I may just chalk this whole thing up to a misunderstanding of
what you were attempting to determine.  You were considering the
possibility of explorers existing, but only as defined by Bartle -
which has been the standard by which we carry on these
conversations, of course.

> One way to look at this is that the Explorer motivation (just the
> game mechanics part) might exist but has very little explanatory
> power. In other words, knowing whether someone scores high/low on
> the Explorer motivation doesn't tell us much else about why they
> play - that it isn't a primary factor.

That I can believe.  I suspect that questions that examine only the
exploration motive, and not the motivations that lie beyond
exploration (i.e. why players explore), would uncover a number of

> Instead, the results show that if you could only ask a player 5
> questions to understand why they play, you should ask:

>   - How interested are they in forming long-term relationships?

>   - How important is it to them to set and achieve goals?

>   - How appealing is it to be immersed in a fantasy world?

>   - Do they enjoy grouping and drift to leadership positions when
>   in a group?

>   - Do they use other players for their own ends?

How about adding "When you find out about something new in the game,
how much do you look forward to experiencing it?"  Unfortunately,
even that is a loaded question because it may mask the player's
desire to get that information so that they can do such-and-such
with it.

> So at the moment, I'm leaning towards the weak explanatory power
> hypothesis - that some people do play because they like tinkering
> with the game mechanics, but measuring their motivations on other
> factors gives you far greater insight into their in-game behavior
> and overall motivation.

Given the definition of Bartle's 'explorer', I'm inclined to agree.
Personally, I like experiencing new stuff simply because it's new.
I'm not very interested in collecting the data in order to provide a
service to the community (socializing), I'm not interested in being
the first to know about a new spell or system so that I can be
praised for my discovery (achiever), and I'm not interested in
finding out about a secret passage so that I can sneak up and kill
my enemies (killer).  I just like experiencing the new.  That's what
I consider to be an explorer.

  Q: "Why did you climb the mountain?"

  A: "Because it was there."



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