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

Richard A. Bartle richard at mud.co.uk
Fri May 24 17:08:45 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On 23rd May 2002, Steve (Bloo) Daniels wrote:

>> Achievers climb a mountain because they can.

> And assumingly not just anyone can, right?

Well that's perhaps the assumption they'd make, yes, although it
might be at odds with reality.

>> Killers climb a mountain because that'll spoil the experience for
>> everyone else.

> That is more a definition of a Griefer than a Killer.

Wellll, yes, it is. I suppose I was being a little too facetious

It's more like: Killers climb a mountain because of the power it
gives them over other people. However, since (in general) climbing a
mountain doesn't give people power over other people, the analogy
kinda broke down there so I took the griefer option.

> I don't think I'm an Explorer because I have no concern for the
> mountain unless it is a factor in where I am.


> And I don't think I'm an Achiever because I need a reason to climb
> it.

Achievers need a reason to do it: they have to perceive it as
something that is intrinsically difficult, but which they feel they
are capable of conquering. They don't especially care whether others
can conquer it or not, but one measure of "difficulty" is how many
or few other people have achieved it, so in that sense other people
matter. At heart, though, they want to beat the environment; they
only want to beat other players in the sense that they are part of
the environment.

> I might climb the mountain to get away from other people, so maybe
> I'm Anti-Social. :-)

There aren't many of you in multi-player games, because you can get
everything you want without hassle from single-players games.

> If Killer is synonymous with Griefer, then the usefulness of the
> quotient is much diminished, IMO.

Yes, it is. I spend a lot of time telling people the the top left
quadrant of my player graph isn't just griefers, or just PKs, or
just anything else. What it covers are people who like acting on
other people.  Some may be leader types, some may be politicians,
some may be busibodies, some may be griefers, some may be PKs...

I think maybe I took it for granted that when I equated killers with
spoiling stuff for other people, people would realise I was being
flippant.  I guess I should maybe have flagged it a little, too.

> Equating Competition with Griefing is foolish, IMO.

Well yes, it is.

> It appears to be a problem with both the Bartle Quotient and the
> Yee Motivations.

Standard disclaimer: I didn't design the Bartle quotient test.

As for the Yee motivations, they tell an incomplete story. There may
be other motivations that the survey missed. The ones it identified
arose from my player types paradigm, but other questions might well
have found further motivations.

The same could be said for my player types, of course, except that I
also presented a system that relates them to each other. If there
are further player types, they use different (or additional)
dimensions to mine and don't obviously interact with mine. Nick
Yee's studies take a new approach (which is potentially more useful
than mine) in that they identify motivations, many of which can be
held at once. However, they don't come with an underlying system
that shows any relationship between them strong enough to suggest
one way or the other whether further motivations might
exist. Indeed, they don't even come with a guarantee that the
motivations are all the same level of abstraction - they could be
the equivalent of "orange, lemon, lime, fruit".

When I started my work on player types, all I had were the results
of an informal (but in-depth) survey I undertook among my
players. It was a free-form question, so they could answer anything
they liked, and I had to extract meaningful information from their
answers. I could have asked specific questions, but I didn't want to
prejudice their replies (and didn't know what they were going to
reply anyway). Had I taken the answers I did get, extracted all the
various points they mentioned and run them through a stats program,
I would have been at the same stage Nick Yee's studies are now:
interesting figures and intriguing correlations, but no underlying
mechanism to suggest why things are the way they are. I couldn't be
sure I hadn't missed anything out, due either to my self-selecting
population of respondents or my own inability to discern more subtle
behaviours from what my players told me. The model only firmed up
when I developed first the player interest graph and then the
inter-type dynamics.

I believe that the Yee Motivations form the basis of a fruitful
direction for research. If it proves more useful than my player
types approach, so much the better. However, it's just the
beginning. Nick Yee has planted the seeds; let's see what grows from

My approach is at the psychological level, whereas for
multi-community games with thousands of players a socialogical level
is likely to be of more use. We don't have that yet, but perhaps
Yee's Motivations could lead to something concrete in that
direction. I await further results and analysis with interest.


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