Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Revelation of Playstyle

Last night, while smashing the crap out of wargs, barghests, and wights in Fornost and the surrounding area I came to a sudden realization.

You know those Bartle tests? The MMO-Personality tests that help you categorize why you play these infernal games? If you're clueless as to what I'm talking about, click dis linky. When you've taken the Bartle test, come back and read the rest. :)

Anyway, I always used to think I was ESAK (Explorer, Socializer, Acheiver, Killer). But that's just what I wanted myself to be I think. In the Bartle questionaires, I always answered the answers that I felt were more in-line of my idealized version of my playstyle. I was lying to myself, and it was having an effect on my enjoyment of these games.

You see, whenever I play an MMO, there are 2 things I'm primarily focused on: Killing things, and completing quests. Those are the activities I like to do the most in an online game. I have to face that. And I accept that... I just never realized it before last night.

I used to think I enjoyed hanging out with others online a lot more than I actually do (I like to chat and occasionally group up, but for the most part I'm a solo-er), and that I love to explore the worlds and get lost in them (I do, but it's not a reason for me to actually play MMOs). I do like these aspects of online games, indeed if I didn't I'd just stick to offline action games.

It's just that primarily, what I'm in Azeroth, Norrath, Middle-earth or whatever online world for is to kill baddies (and sometimes players), gain levels and accomplish other goals.

It's the same way at work for me. Give me a quota or a deadline, and I'll work my ass off. Give me a stack of papers and tell me to "take my time" and I'll spend my days writing long blog posts *wink*. That's my explanation for the "Achiever" side of me anyway. I like to have goals, and there are so many in these games, that's why I keep coming back for more.

The "Killer" part of me sits slightly above the "Acheiver". I can't help it. I like battle. I play melee damage dealers in most games... for this very reason. It's as close to real fights as I can get without picking a brawl in a bar or signing up for Karate class at the local gym. I like the fights, even if they're just button-mashing exercises. What's the primary means of accomplishing the goals in an online game? That's right... killing. Now you see my point.

I do like to explore. I do like to socialize. I'm guild chatterbox most days, and I love to group when the mood does strike me. But more than anyting... I like killing, and I like completing goals.

When a game doesn't satisfy one of the primary urges of my gameplay, I tend to lose interest and leave said game. I did with WoW because the goals were way out of my reach and/or were unattainable because of my playstyle (I loathe raiding and rep grinds). I was finding myself at odds with LotRO because I was playing it for all the wrong reasons. Now, I know what I want from it and those days I do log in, I know I'll have a much better time knowing what I'm there to do.

I feel liberated by this discovery. I can stop trying to figure out what a game wants from me, and instead focus on the important parts... fun. :)


Zubon said...

I think you have the "Killer" aspect off. It generally stands for Player-Killer, or other kinds of direct character-vs-character imposition of will.

Killers get their kicks from imposing themselves on others. This may be "nice", ie. busybody do-gooding, but few people practice such an approach because the rewards (a warm, cosy inner glow, apparently) aren't very substantial. Much more commonly, people attack other players with a view to killing off their personae (hence the name for this style of play). The more massive the distress caused, the greater the killer's joy at having caused it. Normal points-scoring is usually required so as to become powerful enough to begin causing havoc in earnest, and exploration of a kind is necessary to discover new and ingenious ways to kill people. Even socialising is sometimes worthwhile beyond taunting a recent victim, for example in finding out someone's playing habits, or discussing tactics with fellow killers. They're all just means to an end, though; only in the knowledge that a real person, somewhere, is very upset by what you've just done, yet can themselves do nothing about it, is there any true adrenalin-shooting, juicy fun.

We're almost all being violent. Killers want to be violent towards other players, not wander goblins and dragons.

Bildo said...

I actually meant to comment on that, Zubon. Thanks for pointing it out. I realize that Killer is usually meant for PKers or PvP-ers even.

But then what would be the type for a person who loves to kill mobs?

Killer is the closest to this I can think of, even if Bartle might not have intended it to be so.