Aspects of Play: Richard Bartle – Player Types

Richard Bartle, co-creator of Multi-User Dungeon, formulated the theory that players could be classified into 4 main types of ‘gamer’: Killers, Achievers, Explorers and Socializers.

Killers – These are the type of players that are what some would call ‘blood-thirsty’ as their title so aptly suggests. They are more prone to causing social drama and to impose their own will and dominance on other players (More often then not, this would be expressed in the form of ‘trolling’, the act of purposefully harassing another player to the point in which a reaction is given to the player in which they thus find amusing), specifically in a Player vs Player scenario. So typically in games that have persistent multiplayer within them, for example; either shooters, MMO’s or a combination of the two.

Achievers – These are the type of players to go for gold, in the sense that if they see an obstacle or something within the game specifically designed to be challenging to achieve. Achievements in most modern games for instance aren’t fundamentally a ‘challenge’ as they are merely there for reward purposes, but some players see the goal of obtaining all achievements as a highly esteemed challenge. The more challenging the goal is for this type of player, the more rewarded they tend to feel.

Explorers – These are the type of players that, like their title suggests, explore the game world. This isn’t just confined to parameters of the game worlds themselves but the mechanics that the game house itself. These types of players tend to know a lot of the games inner mechanics and a large understanding of how the game works. In more modern times, this player type would categorize Speedrunner greatly. Speedrunners are individuals who go out of their way to learn game mechanics and use those mechanics to manipulate games to complete them in the fastest time possible. A recent example of this would be Awesome Games Done Quick 2014, of which was a week long charity event organised by Speed Demos Archive of whom do a lot of Speedrunning and the premise of the event was to Speedrun a lot of games fairly quickly, showcasing various exploits and tricks to complete games quicker.

Socializers – These are the types of players that are more interested in the social aspect of video games, in the sense that they will go out of there way to pursue friendships and interactions with other players, rather then trying to explore a game to its full extent, purposefully imposing their will on others or attempting to achieve the most difficult thing within a game. They usually do this, which is the norm in social gaming, is MMO/MMORPG’s, like World of Warcraft, of which house the ability for the player to setup and manage guilds to interact and converse with fellow players.

The thing to note with these player types, is the fact that a player isn’t necessarily confined to a single player type as they can be many at once because they all share similar traits that can be transposed in many regards.


Game Development Tuts+. 2013. Bartle’s Taxonomy of Player Types (And Why It Doesn’t Apply to Everything) – Game Development – Tuts+. [online] Available at:–gamedev-4173 [Accessed: 15 Jan 2014].


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