A reader asked a question this week: which games have influenced us as game writers? As luck would have it, one of my major influences just came out with a new edition this week: Dungeons & Dragons. Just opening up the Dungeon Master’s Handbook gives you a quick overview of infos you need in game design — whether pen and paper or MMOs.
Right at the beginning, the author encourages you, the DM, to identify the types of player motivations, many of which map to Bartle’s 4 types and beyond for MUDs and MMOs.
Actor — The person who likes to roleplay. I’d say that’s a cross between the explorer and socializer archetype from MMOs. Agree, disagree?
Explorer — Just like the explorer archetype
Instigator — Likes to make things happen. Woosh, have I been that on occasion. I’d say this type of player most likely aligns with the architect archetype. Instigator overlaps with killer, unfortunately. Also socializer, if this person is a natural leader.
Power Gamer — Achiever
Slayer — Killer or Achiever
Storyteller — The player who likes to find out what happens. We like to think the people who care about story in games are a subset of the explorer archetype.
Thinker — These players like to solve puzzles and strategize. You could argue it’s a subset of the achiever type, but I believe the thinker is happy just to solve puzzles and is not doing it for phat loot. I would say these types are most likely explorers, who want a full understanding of the game system. It’s a bit of a stretch, though. Strategizer — that must be an archetype, if it doesn’t exist already.
Watcher — This person is along for the ride. Pure socializer
What’s missing? I noticed the killer archetype seems somewhat under-represented. My friend quite kindly points out that the catass gamer, who just burns through content as quickly as possible, is not represented either. These types are like achievers on crack. I’m not sure these types can exist in regular D&D.
Once you have all these player types in mind, though, you will need to avoid the 4 misuses of Bartle’s Four. What other wisdom is buried in D&D? Stay tuned…