Perhaps you think this is about the “loot bag” announcement from this week. Afraid not. My feelings on that (I’m for it!) hardly justify an entire post to themselves. No, this is something else entirely - gaming personality types, and their relationship to SWTOR.
Have you heard of the Bartle Test? In 1996, a professor by the name of Richard Bartle wrote a paper - specifically mentioning MUDs, but still highly applicable today - called “Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who Suit MUDs.” It’s available to read online, if you wish. Bartle’s personality categorization was converted into an online test in the late 90s by Erwin Andreasen and Brandon Downey, and later - due to popularity and infeasibility of scaling the database side - moved to gamerDNA, where it resides today.
The four card suits mentioned in Bartle’s title align with four “gaming personality” types. See if they sound like you or anyone you know:
Diamonds are Achievers. They love concrete signs of advancement. Scores, money, points, achievements, gear - if it can be collected and/or improved upon, a Diamond will do it. Diamonds are notable for pursuing in-game challenges or rewards that are of no actual use to them simply for the notability of having done so. MMO creators love Achievers, for obvious reasons. Someone who levels characters for the love of leveling, or your typical achievement hounds (guilty as charged) are, to some extent, Diamonds.
Spades are Explorers. They got their suit due to their tendency to “dig around.” Seen someone post a vid where they were exploring in a closed-off region of a game just because it was there to be explored? You’ve seen someone with some Spade leanings in action. Spades delight in new areas, Easter eggs, and sometimes new glitches. Explorers are the most likely to dig into a game, but are the most likely to leave when a game transitions from fun to chore. Once again, yours truly is a prime example.
Hearts are Socializers. Hearts are there for the people. Maybe they never advance above level 20 because they’re roleplaying. Maybe they’re those people who genuinely do raid for the people - not the boss-killing, or the loot, but the people. Hearts are usually the most helpful to other players, and are usually that person that everyone gets along with because that’s just how a Heart rolls. Most people who play online games are, to some extent, Hearts - even if it’s just a little bit - and their relationships don’t necessarily have to be with people! A Warlock who’s attached to her minions, or those people asking about relationships with companions in SWTOR, are to some extent a little Heart-y.
Clubs are Killers. (There’s an obvious joke here about clubbing people.) The “Killer” archetype often seems to have a lot of negative aspects associated with it, but at the heart of it, Clubs are just extremely competitive. A lot of Killers are focused on PvP, true to their name, but sometimes Killers can be found in other aspects of the game - controlling markets on the Auction House, for instance, or guiding their guild to World First Boss Kills. Don’t take the name to mean they’re griefers or trolls - many Killers are very nice people who just happen to thrive in a competitive environment. Bored Killers are usually bad news, though; ‘bad’ Killers will turn into trolls, while ‘good’ Killers will often seek environments that give them the competition they can’t find in their current environment. Cynwise is a Club who competes with players directly, Basil Berntsen does it in the auction house, and anyone leading a bleeding-edge progression raid guild is more than a little bit Clubby.
So now that you’ve read that summary - and perhaps you’ve taken the test yourself, so you know what your gaming personality looks like (yours truly comes in as 73% Explorer, 60% Socializer, 53% Achiever, 13% Killer) - you might be wondering what TOR has to offer for each aspect.
Diamonds may have been a little disappointed to discover that there wasn’t an actual Achievement system in the game, but there’s still all those hallmarks of MMOs that you’ve come to love - leveling, stats, cash, skills, et cetera. You may not have actual capital-A Achievements, but there’s still plenty of things for an Achiever to point at and say, “I did this.”
Spades will have intricate stories to play through and enormous frickin’ planets to traverse, and lots of lore to delve into - including the Bioware Codex. Plus, for the first time in a long time (outside of Rift’s placement of artifacts and cairns far off the beaten path), SWTOR is set to reward Spades with an actual, tangible reward for exploring - Holocrons, which give nice permanent stat bonuses to a character, fill in a spot in the Codex, and most are said to be solely findable by dedicated and crafty Explorers.
Hearts will find all the usual tools they’re used to in order to foster kinship - guilds, et cetera. In fact, Bioware’s gotten a head start with its guilds with their Guild HQ site. Go ahead and form your guild now! (We certainly did, and you’re welcome to join us!) Declare other guilds as friends or enemies, and Bioware will do their level best to get you onto the same server and everything. In addition, SWTOR should help Socializers with relationships with non-player characters, too - each class gets its own, unique set of Companion Characters who travel with you, respond to your conversations, and (in some cases) can grow into an actual relationship with your character. (However, for Jedi, that’s more than likely the road to some Dark Side points. Choose carefully!)
Clubs will likewise find the aspects they’ve always been used to competing in. Raids, aka Operations? Check. PvP, aka Warzones? Check. Auction house, aka Galactic Market? Check. Whether you’re killing threats to the galaxy or just beating up those pesky Imperials/Republicans, you too can flex your inner Killer. World PvP is available on PvP realms for those who enjoy that aspect of the game, as well.
I, for one, will be hunting Holocrons til the cows come home - after I dive into the storyline Bioware’s put before us, probably several times over. What’s your “gaming personality” like - and what aspect of the game are you most looking forward to? Do those fit with one another?