Nice Guys can be Killers too

A recent Blaugust post inspired me to finally take the Bartle Test. For the uninitiated, the Bartle Test determines your MMO personality by asking a series of questions. It’s basically a psychology quiz that relates your personality to what you would find yourself doing more of, in-game. Richard Bartle created the test, and the surrounding theory, and was also one of the creators of the original MUD, which is the precursor to modern MMO gaming.

In Thalen’s article, he talks about how his Bartle Test results reflect his desire to avoid PvP.  He goes on to say that he can be competitive, but in a more goal-oriented way rather than feeling a sense of accomplishment from PvPing. I disagree with this, but I have discussed PvP on more than one occasion, so I won’t go into that here. I do agree with him though that the Bartle Test is fairly accurate, and a way to glean more about ourselves when looking at how we behave in MMOs.

Here’s my results from a Bartle Test:


As my test results show, I am firmly a Killer. PvP is a driving force in what I enjoy in games. My career of PvP started long before I ever played an MMO (before they even existed as we know them today). Games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Twisted Metal, Mario Kart, Starcraft and a long list of FPS games took up much of my gaming time. Of course, as a lover of RPGs, I can also admit to loving the exploration facets of games, and wanting to achieve all of the alternate endings for a game. I also became a bit of a trophy monger once I got my hands on a Playstation 3, and that accounts for a bit of my Achiever status, though I have lost the urge to get all the trophies or achievements in a given game. One part that is surprising to me is the Socializer aspect being so low, because I have always placed a high value on being a social person. I guess that doesn’t reflect well in-game though, because I am not a person who really role-plays or is content to sit around and use my MMO as a chat room. Being a Killer is also reflective of anti-social tendencies. I suppose I’m a walking contradiction.

I wasn’t really surprised by these results, I think that they reflect my personality fairly well, at least when it comes to playing MMOs. This is probably part of the reason that I’m not overly satisfied with the current crop, or those that have passed, because PvP is rarely a focal point. Here’s hoping that some games of the future will cater more to us Killers.

Have you taken the quiz? What were your results?


#bartletest #killer #blaugust

18 thoughts on “Nice Guys can be Killers too

  1. You should play some EVE. It definitely offers killer and explorer experience. PvP, PvE whatever you like and the meta game gives you plenty of social outlets besides RP. Too bad the Bartle test doesn’t rate how tolerant you are for learning curves.


    • Yeah on paper EVE has many facets that I really like. I tried it oh so long ago and didn’t like it, but I find that I was more engrossed in themeparks at the time. Having “been there, done that” I find I’m more apt to enjoy something like EVE has to offer. EVE still requires a subscription though, and with my nomadic nature (as of the last couple of years) I can’t justify having a sub. That is, unless the free month included with the box hooked me appropriately.


    • I definitely can relate to changing focus. I think in years gone by I might have been more of an Explorer or Achiever than a Killer. My Killer instinct was awoken when I started playing LoL years ago, after being dormant for some time (since I primarily played consoles).

      I believe I read part of that paper once. I’ll have to give it a re-read.


  2. As a self-reported test, it’s always good to remember that the Bartle Test reflects a player’s own _preferences_.

    Thus, people can alter their preferences over time if they so chose, or they, like me, can remain firmly in one camp despite the passage of time. I think how honestly they self-reported their real preferences reflects how much the test results reflect their true nature / personality or no.

    EASK for life.

    I have many times let the Achiever run ascendant, and while I can play that way no problems and get -very- competitive, I become a rather unpleasant person to know. So over time I decided to just sate it with personal goals, mostly soloable ones.

    I’ve also tried pushing S up a little more, but I’m just way too introverted to have it last and it becomes stressful and tiring to have to present extroversion in both real life AND relaxation time.

    Ditto K. I get into periods where I give competitive gaming and PvP a really good go at it – played WvW in GW2 for months, ran through Aion and Warhammer as the zeitgeist hit, and while I enjoyed my time with it, I knew I was mostly sating an Explorer urge to grok how the whole system worked, rather than getting any visceral thrill from defeating a player.

    Once the explorer in me decides, “Ok, I know enough of how it all works now,” it’s an effort to even contemplate the thought of facing the endless “I kill you, you kill me” repetition where perfect balance demands 50% victory on both sides. That’s usually when I start to drift away and find something new and shiny.


    • This is definitely *not* science, but I still do find it a good conversation piece as you said. I think I have always had the desire for PvP, mainly because once I realized I could beat a game, the next logical step for me was to up the ante by playing friends.

      When I got my first apartment, the PS1 was my only entertainment, outside of watching VHS movies or listening to CDs (don’t forget consuming large quantities of alcohol). I didn’t have a bunch of games either, so one of my favorites was Street Fighter Alpha 3. I had a close friend at the time who would come over and we would literally play that game for the entire night. No change of pace, just the pure 1v1 PvP that SF games can offer. Since I owned the game and had more practice at it, I beat my friend 9/10 times. He’s a great example of someone I would love to play with though, because even in defeat, he swore he would win the next one. Eventually he got better. It took a while sure, but eventually he got to a point where he basically rivaled me, and our wins were split down the middle. Those were good times to be certain.

      I guess the point of that is that I am immensely pleased by repetitive content, but moreso when a human opponent is involved. Someone on a similar playing field (game mechanics), who might eventually best me (learned skill). I simply burn out when it’s do quest – get loot – dungeon run – get gear – raid – get gear – expansion time – repeat.


  3. Bartle always struck me as the nerd’s equivalent to a sex quiz in one of those stereotypical teenage girl magazines. It doesn’t say much about anything, but it’s still a fun conversation piece.

    I think my biggest problem with it is that I tend to approach each new MMO from an broad-minded perspective, or at least with the intention to pursue some aspect of it that is not necessarily what I think I am hard-wired to always seek. My preferences change contextually depending on my mood, the game itself, who I am playing with, etc. I don’t have a set archetype that I like to describe myself with and my more specific preferences have changed over time a great deal.

    For example, I love organized PvP a lot, especially in a sandbox sense of throwing a tournament, dueling, or challenging other guilds to a friendly guild war. But I don’t always want to be flagged for PvP, especially not in a game that has poor balance or where I am playing a class that I feel is inferior on its face (such as an EQ Bard, whose best skill was running away forever).

    I do like competition too. I really enjoyed – overall at least – Ultima Online’s Faction PvP where players fought over control of cities by capturing them CTF-style with the flag being an orb that had to be carried back to your faction’s base.

    Some days though, I want to take all of my grief out on virtual monsters and do so by performing better at it than my teammates doing the same. I don’t want that to be interrupted by murder and mayhem (or I do, but only so far as it is contained to outside the instance where my plans for organized PvE aren’t ruined entirely and a fun, dynamic battle can occur).

    I don’t think I have much of a point here, other than a broad agreement that one preference for a particular aspect of gameplay doesn’t mean you are naturally a carebear or an asshole. You’re right about that!


    • I think I have an open mind when it comes to trying new games. I don’t go into them with any expectation outside of what they have already been labeled as. If it’s a Themepark I expect it to play as such; a sandbox should play in its own way. Outside of that I go into new MMOs (and other types of games) to be an Explorer and “figure them out.” However, once I get to a point where I think I have it figured out, if it doesn’t fill a need I tend to move on quickly. My Explorer is easily sated. My Killer is not. That’s why I’ve spent time with so many different MOBAs and games that are known as PvP-centric I crave some of the experiences had in those genres in my MMO. It will be done right eventually, but until then, I will continue to try the games on offer. That doesn’t mean I will sing praises for games that aren’t fulfilling my desires. But, at least my Explorer will be satisfied.

      The strange part is that I was never so nomadic until this decade. I was more apt to spend months on a game, rather than jumping between titles every week.

      Apparently something has awoken in me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. @C.T. Murphy: Bartle’s classifications are just the beginning. It’s just that nobody else has yet seem to have bothered to delve deeper into this subject. In other words: Sometimes, the evidence of a fly struggling may be the only evidence that there’s a spider net there as well. We may not know which spider made it, but at least we know that there is at least one spider around. And that it prefers making nets over personal hunting.

    @Izlain, I haven’t read everything in the depth it deserves, but this line caught my eye: “Being a Killer is also reflective of anti-social tendencies”

    There is some overlap, but I think it goes the other direction: if you’re anti-social, you’re more likely to play a killer. Playing a killer however only means that you value combat challenges, possibly preferably against other players – it does not make a statement about whether or not you /respect/ your opponent. Anecdotal point of evidence: I used to play scenario paintball, which meant that I could literally shoot my opponents (*rawr*!). But while we were the fiercest of enemies on the field, we had in general no problem socializing out-of-game – and often the latter happened only moments after the former.

    MMOs are in a weak spot here, because there is no good distinction between in-game and out-of-game. No campfire afterwards to gather around and share stories about highlights of the day over a couple of beverages.


  5. Thanks for sharing! I learned a lot about myself during this test. And if i´d done it before june, when i started playing pvp, the result would have been different. I was so sure pvp wasnt for me…. This only shows we need to try a lot of different playstyles. i think some ppl thinks pvp isnt for them just because someone said they didnt like it and never try. Thats a shame because iv never had this fun before so im happy i eventually became a “killer” lol :):)


    • It definitely stems from experiences, because otherwise your answers to the questions will change. This is why it’s not an exact science, but it’s still interesting to think/talk about.


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