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Espectro



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Bartle Player Types and YPP Design Reply to this Post
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I must admit, I find this fascinating, and I need to share.

For those who aren't aware, Richard Bartle is the co-creator of the first online game, and serves most of his time now pontificating on the design of same. One of his early theories is the concept of four player types, which can be found online here: http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm. (This theory has since been expanded and can be found in his book, Designing Virtual Worlds.)

To summarise, the theory suggests there are four types of playing styles in a game such as Puzzle Pirates: winning in the context of the game (an 'achiever' play style), discovering the breadth and depth of the game ('explorer'), interacting with others ('socialiser') and imposing on others ('killer'). Note that players will fluctuate between the four as it suits them, and they derive differing enjoyment out of each style - take Shuranthae, who fluctuates between achiever, killer and socialiser as it suits him.

It also examines how the various player groups affect each other: a full examination is given in the linked paper, but essentially killers and achievers maintain an equilibrium, killers scare away socialisers, explorers drive away some killers, and socialisers feedback (so if socialisers leave the game, more will follow).

This means there are three steady states, if there aren't any external influences - killers and achievers dominating the game (think Diablo II), socialisers dominating the game, and all four groups having roughly equal influence. This last one seems to be the most commercially profitable, as you will get more players in the game if there's no clear advantage to playing one way or another, not to mention a more interesting game.

Which one are the Ringers aiming for? Cleaver has previously expressed supreme dislike of the first sort of game, and his encouragement of PvP seems to rule out the second type (as socialisers don't go well with killers). So let's assume he going for door no. 3.

YPP is hardly at risk of falling into the first steady state, but it might just fall into the second. YPP's design is unique among MMOGs - the system of promotion used makes it easier for socialisers to go up the ranks than other types, so socialisation is encouraged from the start (unless the crew defines a system of progression, which is an achiever characteristic). The problems begin when, to continue, players are required to be another sort of player, like when they start competing against other flags.

So, we have to ask, why does Cleaver assume that healthy, fun PvP can exist in the same game as everyone else (and it can) when the early game encourages social play? It seems like a grave miscalculation to encourage social play then to say, hey, now go start wars as the next step. (One notable player has already expressed this: http://www.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?thread=6981 although he later adds that he doesn't necessarily have to play as a killer if he doesn't want to.)

Let's look at this in the context of, say, blockades. Blockades is the premier PvP activity, which definitely falls under the 'killer' play style. As socialisers don't go in for killers at all, this puzzle would be supremely unpleasant to them. Even worse, it encourages PvP, which will lead to an increase in killers, changing the mood of the ocean and driving away socialisers (there were some notable pirates who left during this period, most of them socialisers. Consider Lallaria's signoff: http://www.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?thread=7862)

The recent breakup of the Union is another example. It was started as a chill-out, non-confrontational flag (a socialiser trait is to avoid conflict, as it usually creates schisms and ill-feeling), but was soon attracting achievers, who, of course, wanted to achieve. This eventually drove the flag apart. The question must be asked, however, why is it that achievers came to the flag in such numbers? (I believe the answer lies in the fact that Potato and Dora, the founding members, have been known to be explorers at times, and they identify more strongly with this type upon interview. They were with the Rudders for the early part of their career, an notable achiever flag. It's quite possible that they are explorers forced into an achiever mold for a good while, and when they left counter-balanced that with a deliberately social flag. Then their old friends wanted in, possibly due to prestige, and the rest is probably here: http://www.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?p=152735#152735.)

Of course, this is all very well, but pirates who have been here since beta often speak of the Azure ocean, and how superior it was. We were told that eventually the Midnight ocean would resemble the same feeling, but of course it never did. Why?

Bartle notes that: "massively increasing the number of explorers is the only way to reduce the number of killers without also reducing the player numbers in other groups." Having explorers is key to the survival of a multi-faceted game, and if they get bored, they'll leave. Let's look at the game from the point of view of an explorer:

Azure had a steady increase in the number of islands, frequent changes to the rules and a development team interested in how each change affects strategy. This means plenty to explore, and plenty of depth to each puzzle, which allows explorers to discover new strategy. Plenty of fodder for explorers. Since Midnight, there's been a minor change to ocean layout, few rule changes, and two new puzzles - one disappointingly shallow, distillery, and blockades, the pinnacle of killer play. Shallow puzzles don't encourage achievers, as they can learn the puzzle quickly and then there's nothing left. There's also been wars, again encouraging killers. Looking at Bartle, killers have completely different interests than explorers, so any changes that encourage killers don't affect explorers that much. (Explorer numbers do stay fairly steady, though.)

So, explorers haven't been given much of a bone, and they needed it when wars and blockades hit to keep the killer population in check. This is probably the culprit - the ocean has gotten more focused on the other three player types, while explorers have quietly gotten bored and left. (Consider Matthias' sign-off, in which he mentions boredom, rather than conflict, as driving him away (and this after a new puzzle had been introduced): http://www.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?p=117092#117092 . Another point is interesting: he mentions there a lack of understanding of a comment Rifkind made in a Piratical Parley thread (http://www.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?thread=7989 about the social attachments one forms in an online game: this is, of course, a social trait, and he mentioned earlier in the spiel he's not likely to be that sort of player, so he wouldn't understand why Rifkind reacts in that way.)

So, what would change the mood of the game? A massive increase in explorers, according to Bartle, and making up for the dearth of new features for them. If the upcoming puzzle has a lot of depth to it, that will encourage explorers to plumb its depths and to see what strategies they can devise. Storms will provide an extra dimension to the game, and thus is also good, although not as good as a new puzzle. A new archipelago will work as well, so long as it's sufficiently remote. And Adventure Islands, which is probably the pinnacle of explorer play.

Later, something on the current spread of the ocean and how the economic changes affected the ocean, and if I get hold of a copy of Designing Virtual Worlds, I'll bring the concepts in there into my examination.

Yours sincerely,
The Observer
[Aug 6, 2004 3:53:39 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
shagie



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Espectro wrote: 
This means there are three steady states, if there aren't any external influences - killers and achievers dominating the game (think Diablo II), socialisers dominating the game, and all four groups having roughly equal influence. This last one seems to be the most commercially profitable, as you will get more players in the game if there's no clear advantage to playing one way or another, not to mention a more interesting game.


I'd like to point out that there are 4 steady states that Bartle describes:
* Socializer explosion (where such restrictions are placed on pvp that they cannot play and socalizers flock there in ever increasing numbers making the game an avatar IRC)

* Achiever/Killer balance - hard enough to make the game worth while for the Achievers, and killers to prey upon them (part of what makes the game hard). One of the muds I used to play has fallen into that state.

* Equalibrium between all four types.

* The empty game that no one plays (technicaly steady though rather unintresting).

A Bartel type indiciator for PP can be found at http://www.black-knight.org/pp/bartle/ and has some results of its own as to the demographics of PP.

43% of respondents are primarily Explorers.
31% of respondents are primarily Socializers.
33% of respondents are secondarily Explorers.
26% of respondents are secondarily Socializers.

The most common type of player who took the test is a SEA followed closely by the ESA type.

This seems to indicate that the explorer faction is alive and well. The explorers can most often be found tinkering with sword fighting (so many combos!) and the economy, trying to figure out the probability of certain events, and asking Nemo or whatver ocean master happens to be on the docks "so what is the next puzzle?"

A look at the forums would likely confirm this with suggestions about camping and the economy, the probaility of a sword fighting game without a breaker, trying to solve the Apoth herb problem, recalculating taxes, trying to find out how new cascading types work, and poking about the pngs for the game to find out what the "other small things" in a patch are.
[Aug 9, 2005 4:00:00 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Espectro



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The Bartle test was linked earlier in the game's lifespan, so the majority of players would have checked it out then. It doesn't seem to have been linked since. This is mostly a snapshot at that time, early Midnight as I recall, rather than the current state of the ocean. The presented statistics confirm that explorers had plenty of choice around that time, but that is six months ago. Have the numbers of explorers changed during this time, I wonder? See above for my thoughts on that issue.

You are correct in pointing out four steady states - I naturally assumed Cleaver wan't planning to run an empty game, and merely ignored this state.

What is important to note that, as you noted earlier, players do not need to be one type at one time, and many players will be explorers for brief periods, including achievers attempting to learn something new and use that knowledge to further their achievement.

I did not say that there were no explorers in the game, although my fatalistic tone may have expressed this. I did, however, say that explorers have seen little new content for them, which a cursory glance at the activities you describe:

 
The explorers can most often be found tinkering with sword fighting (so many combos!) and the economy, trying to figure out the probability of certain events, and asking Nemo or whatver ocean master happens to be on the docks "so what is the next puzzle?"

A look at the forums would likely confirm this with suggestions about camping and the economy, the probaility of a sword fighting game without a breaker, trying to solve the Apoth herb problem, recalculating taxes, trying to find out how new cascading types work, and poking about the pngs for the game to find out what the "other small things" in a patch are.


seems to indicate. Very few of them seem to be tinkering with blockades or distillery, and it is a godsend that sword-fighting has the relevant depth to it to sustain an interest, although explorer-socialisers, with little interest in fighting others, won't find plumbing the depths of sword-fighting overly attractive.

Yours sincerely,
The Observer
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Akumu

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Re: Bartle Player Types and YPP Design Reply to this Post
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shagie wrote: 
A Bartel type indiciator for PP can be found at http://www.black-knight.org/pp/bartle/


Hmm. Just checking out the site, those statistics can't be fully trusted. By giving explainations of the results before the exam, you introduce bias into the system. Knowing what the exam measures and along what metrics, the questons are written in such a way that you can predict how a given choice affects the outcome. In the hard choices, I found myself saying, "Well, since I know what this one means that's not me, so I'll pick that one."

However, since this is for fun and not any sort of real study, I'm just being nit-picky. :)

As for the Ringers' design goals. I doubt they sit down and discuss, "Well this will be fun for the explorers..." but rather discuss how they would like to play and how it fits into the design goals they've already set out. These design goals have popped up here and there in the forums, but the most obvious one is the one you always hear about: Social gameplay is more important than solo gameplay. There's plenty of others, and these design goals are what I'd imagine they discuss, not the state of the ocean as Bartle dictates.
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Espectro



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Re: Bartle Player Types and YPP Design Reply to this Post
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As for the Ringers' design goals. I doubt they sit down and discuss, "Well this will be fun for the explorers..." but rather discuss how they would like to play and how it fits into the design goals they've already set out. These design goals have popped up here and there in the forums, but the most obvious one is the one you always hear about: Social gameplay is more important than solo gameplay. There's plenty of others, and these design goals are what I'd imagine they discuss, not the state of the ocean as Bartle dictates.


Interestingly, the two playing styles that can be defined as 'social' are socialisers, and killers. (Killers need other players to prey on, naturally.) As outlined, they don't get on.

Part of the appeal of online games is that they tread the balance between group-based and solitary. The mere fact that you can sail on your own is great fun to some, and to continually tilt the focus towards other people is to encourage socialisers and killers above achievers and explorers.

This may sound great, but think about it. Socialisers don't really care that much about the game, but more about those in it. Killers just want to butt in on other people. Who's actually going to be doing the playing?

Of course, this isn't the full story - the Ringers fully recognise that more socialisation without something to actually play is going to be more like a piratey chatroom than a game. And I would be surprised if they don't keep in mind how changes are going to affect the ocean and its moods. (On the other hand, this begs the question if they had considered that few players would take up wars. Another time, possibly.)

Yours sincerely,
The Observer
[Aug 6, 2004 5:16:11 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Tedv



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Interesting. I took the test and got these results:


Explorer: 66%
Socializer: 60%
Killer: 46%
Achiever: 26%


Now Achiever was by far my lowest score, which I'm pretty sure surprises a lot of people here (myself included). This can only mean one of two things. Either I don't understand myself or the test is biased. I don't think anyone can answer the first possibility for me, but the second one is curious. Did anyone consider the test questions biased? One or two stuck out at me when I took it but by and large it seemed pretty well designed.
[Aug 6, 2004 6:41:24 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Shanoyu

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Re: Bartle Player Types and YPP Design Reply to this Post
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I considered the test questions biased because they were ripped off from the earlier edition of the test and converted. The results still come out the same for the same types of options, except based on what I know about the game now (as opposed to what people knew about the game when that test was made, e.g. looking forward to flag wars) my answers would be totally different as an Achiever Killer Explorer (?, lemme find that other test) then they would have been then.

My gameplay didn't change, the game did.

P.S.

I got this on the black knight test:

Killer: 80%
Achiever: 53%
Explorer: 40%
Socializer: 26%

When I took the mud version, (http://www.andreasen.org/bartle/test.cgi)I got this:

Killer 73%
Achiever 53%
Explorer 40%
Socializer 33%

So the tests may in fact work similarly, although this is but one data point. I'm not sure I agree with the results either. A KAE is certainly what i'd LIKE to be (I'm already ok at socializing, I think!) but in reality i'm more of an SAK.

Perhaps the test is a better demonstration of our ideal type of player rather than what sort of player we are. Tell me, Tedv, does your favorite player fit into the type you recieved? Mine does sort of, I think.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Shanoyu at Aug 6, 2004 7:05:58 PM]
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ikajaste

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Bartle's MUD player classification Reply to this Post
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While Bartle's classification does have some merit and is works well in many situations, I try not to take it as a complete theory, rather as some interesting thoughts by someone.

Classifying player types can be useful in some scenarios, and at least it provides some interesting discussion. However, I think classifications shouldn't be thought of as exact rules. And many people tend to take them as such when they are being talked about. Even in a case like this, where classifications are introduced in a sense that people can have in them different amounts of attributes from multiple classes.

However, what I despise in Bartle's text is the use of the word killer. Killer has strong negative connotations, where the other types Archiever, Socializer, and Explorer are quite neutral and more descriptive of the class too. It's really hard to have a neutral discussion about killers.

I'd prefer using the term competitor. Or something else neutral. EDIT: That is, something else neutral. After thinking about it, competitor is not a good term.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by ikajaste at Aug 6, 2004 7:20:51 PM]
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Dylan

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You've never played Bartle's MUD have you? Or even read the article for that matter:

[Killers] use the tools provided by the game to cause distress to (or, in rare circumstances, to help) other players.

A term I've seen used in other games is Griefer. Consider it equivalent to Killer, in Bartle's terms.

To use a different analogy, in software circles, Achievers write commercially successful programs, Socializers contribute to open source projects, Explorers dabble in a huge variety of different technologies, and Killers write malicious trojans.

I personally find it hard to find any sympathy for anybody who has the distress of others as their main aim. Fortunately, I doubt there are many such people in this game. At worst, an individual or crew may move in to killer mode for a short period.

The simple fact is that it is almost impossible to be a (full-time) Killer pirate. On the one hand, it is very hard to target any opponent enough to make them realize they are being targeted. On the other, the gains and losses aren't that much - compared to MUD where if you got killed, your character was DEAD (i.e. had to start again from scratch).

I think that the current game design is what has all but eliminated the viability of the pure Killer. And it is the Killer which is at the centre of Bartle's influence graph. All the other three archetypes are encouraged: Socializers by crews, flags and hearties, and safeness on islands; Achievers by ratings, top 10 lists and PoE; and Explorers by the variety of puzzles and of course the various archipelagos and islands. Killers get PvP and blockades, but PvP is (usuallly) balanced by might ratings, and to have the fun of killing in a blockade - well you have to be pretty good at the other 3 types.

Dylan
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Shanoyu

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Yonder Essay wrote: 
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.


My test results wrote: 
80% Killer


I giggle merrily. Does this mean I get to start wearing black and killing kittens?

Maybe being competitive means i'm evil.

Hm, harsh words though. Either way i'm going to say that his assessment of the killer psychology is way off. There certainly are competitive players that fit the description of the killer, but I think fitting all killers into one category is silly, just as fitting all socializers into one category is silly. There are certainly socializers who specialize in the "social puzzle" in order to belittle and hurt others for that reason. But i'm going to have to agree that the quiz identifies competetors, not the killers Bartle describes.

I'll get more into psychology with a post later, but for now I want to point out that being a killer doesn't necessarily mean you're a bad guy. =)
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Kaet

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I would think "competitor" is the equivalent of "achiever," not "killer." You can be competitive without actively distressing other players. I haven't looked at the test, but from what I've read here, "killers" are the people who like to play against other people (in direct competition, not statistical competition). Which is fine - as long as the person the "killer" is playing against is another "killer," of course. heh
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ikajaste

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Kaet wrote: 
I would think "competitor" is the equivalent of "achiever," not "killer." You can be competitive without actively distressing other players.

Ture.

I stand corrected. When I think about it more competitor is a poor term, as it doesn't describe the type. Anyways, it was just something that came to my mind in somewhat of a hurry. Shouldn't have endorsed a term I didn't properly think about. Sorry.

However, even griefer is not neutral. I strongly believe the term should be neutral if people try to discuss about it seriously. I'm not supporting the type of play described, but I'd rather people dislike it because of what it is, not because people are discussing about it with a term that sounds bad. Griefer is somewhat better, though.

I haven't played the MUD, but I have read the article. Quite a while ago, though.
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Raerlynn



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Your scores were as follows: 

Explorer: 60%
Socializer: 53%
Killer: 53%
Achiever: 33%


Wow...considering that my time spent on dockside chat is about .00001 seconds, I'm a very big socializer...
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Gotagota

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ikajaste wrote: 
However, even griefer is not neutral. I strongly believe the term should be neutral if people try to discuss about it seriously. I'm not supporting the type of play described, but I'd rather people dislike it because of what it is, not because people are discussing about it with a term that sounds bad. Griefer is somewhat better, though.

That's just it though. There aren't any other terms for "those for whom the anonymity factor releases any natural inhibition to destroy."
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Jaffee

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On the topic of killers, it probably should be pointed out what the test had to say about it at the beginning...

 
The Killer prefers to get his challenge from other players, not from the game-supplied difficulties. Because PvP does not usually have a griefing implication in Puzzle Pirates, this type doesn't carry Bartle's negative connotation of someone who gets their kicks from seeing someone else suffer.


So personally, I think competitior would be a fine adjective for killer in this case. To me, the distinction between the two is rooted more in the social sense. The achiever will work with others (if at all) to meet their ends (pillaging brigands, running a shop, etc.). The killer will be working against others (PvP, tournaments, etc.). The achiever may or may not be competing in this sense, but it's pretty much required for the killer.
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Tedv



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tedv wrote: 
Interesting. I took the test and got these results:


Explorer: 66%
Socializer: 60%
Killer: 46%
Achiever: 26%


Now Achiever was by far my lowest score, which I'm pretty sure surprises a lot of people here (myself included). This can only mean one of two things. Either I don't understand myself or the test is biased. I don't think anyone can answer the first possibility for me, but the second one is curious. Did anyone consider the test questions biased? One or two stuck out at me when I took it but by and large it seemed pretty well designed.


I thought about this a bit more and I think I've concluded the test might be skewed. For example, it seems like the questions call you an acheiver if you like doing brigand pillaging and getting a bunch of cash from it. Well I really don't care much for pillaging. The things I work to acheive are more on the lines of buying shops. An economic victory, if you will.
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shagie



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One thing to consider is that with PP there are may diffrent 'victories' as such. There is the 'govern an island' victory, there's the 'most (dis)liked person in the ocean' victory, there's the 'own a shop' victory, theres the 'all black' victory. Just because one victory is more important to an individual dosn't make them not an achiever.

Personaly, the 'all black' victory has no appeal to me and the 'govern an island' victory may be a bit beyond my reach.
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Akumu

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Another interesting point... Bartle is a Computer Scientist, not a Psychologist or Sociologist. While that doesn't exclude him from making observations about those subjects, he doesn't have all the background needed to to be a definative source on the subject. This doesn't completely discredit everything he's observed in his MUD, it does mean one should be cautious of accepting his theory on online communities as fact.

As an example of something to back this up: Bartle's population for this observation is a population that is very different from more normal popluations. This is specifically about MUD players. Having been a MUD player, I think I can speak fairly confidently that that population isn't a representative sample of the population of online gamers at large. Does Bartle's identification of MUD players apply to our population? Probably not.

Finally, the whole "killer" debate. Bartle's entire assumption about how MUD populations work is based on the idea that killers aren't in any way controlled by the software rules of the game. This alone would suggest that we can't apply Bartle's theories to Y!PP as Killers, by Bartle's definition, don't exist for long here. You can't get your kicks by simply taking it out on other players because there are too many rules to prevent you from taking it out on players you can always beat up. Remember, MUDs, for the most part, don't require true SKILL to play, just knowledge of the game world.

On top of that, the few Killers who stick around have very little influence. That means we don't fall in the the total equilibrium, or the killer/achiever equilibrium. Nor are we totally domniated by socializers. According to Bartle, we have one more state to be in, and I don't think(granted I'm not logged on) we're there either.

Bartle's ideas for some online world design can potentially be very important. Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, however, is not a MUD and does not have a standard MUD's populace. Trying to analyze the game as if it is a MUD simply won't work.
[Aug 7, 2004 5:46:15 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    muteakumu [Link]  Go to top 
Whitefire

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Explorer: 73%
Socializer: 53%
Achiever: 40%
Killer: 33%


Who says I'm an evil blood thirsty PvP maniac? Besides myself that is *grin*.

I would just like to comment on why my score would appear backwards to most. I like PvP for one reason, it is the only puzzle in the game, imo. The rest, to me, are action games with a comboing element to them.

PvP is where you test your tactical skills against another. It is a shadow game where you double and triple guess what your opponent will do. It is you tring to see into another person's mind. And the ultimate puzzle, to me, is another person's mind. To be able to understand and manipulate their beliefs and perceptions of a situation and lead them into your pre-arranged trap. To me, PvP is action politics. A cannon ball can work just as well as a word sometimes =D.

So to label PvPers as the "killer" type would be a gross generalization. That is all.
[Aug 7, 2004 6:16:15 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
CursedBurger

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shagie wrote: 
One thing to consider is that with PP there are may diffrent 'victories' as such. There is the 'govern an island' victory, there's the 'most (dis)liked person in the ocean' victory, there's the 'own a shop' victory, theres the 'all black' victory. Just because one victory is more important to an individual dosn't make them not an achiever.

Personaly, the 'all black' victory has no appeal to me and the 'govern an island' victory may be a bit beyond my reach.


There's also 'Mem the Ocean' victory, 'All Ultimates' victory, 'Top Ten Board(s)' victory, 'Rule a Major Flag' "victory," 'Familiar' victory... if this keeps up it'll warrant another topic :P
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[Aug 7, 2004 6:16:58 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Shanoyu

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I have a number of problems with Bartles assertions, the majority of which concerning the fact that he doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. I believe his experience is from a rather small set of muds.

The fact is that the most successful of games requires people to assume a variety of roles, indeed, all four of them. The simple fact is that different people are oriented towards different types of gameplay, but that in order to achieve these goals, a good MMO will force them to assume the other roles.

For instance, in most online games i've played there is just very few of the thing known as the solitary killer that Bartle describes. In fact, i've seen more people of that description in puzzle pirates than anywhere else, oddly enough. Simply put, if the game mechanics make it more successful for killers to work in groups, they'll work in groups. If the game mechanics make it more successful for killers to work solo, they'll work solo. Quite often, the clan system will organize different types of groups into different clans (or in this case, crews)
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[Aug 7, 2004 9:00:27 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
zamorak

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Killer: 86%
Explorer: 40%
Achiever: 40%
Socializer: 33%

I kinda actually agree with those. hehe.

Maybe some people don't realise it but yea I think myself as a killer whenever I'm out on the seas. But I think my socializer would be higher than the achiever/explorer because I spend a litte more time on the docks than trying those other things. But other than that yea I think they are pretty correct.

Also I'm kinda like WF. Where it is the only puzzle in the game. And its really the only puzzle I'm good at. So most of this stuff is practically correct.
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Dodongo77

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Explorer: 73%
Killer: 60%
Achiever: 53%
Socializer: 13%

I'd say that's roughly where i stand. And I do agree that there hasn't been enough new things for the Explorer lately. Frankly, I've been rather bored of the game since I finished meming the ocean. I still log on mainly out of habit.

Adventure islands are what's gonna make or break this game.
[Aug 7, 2004 11:35:19 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
cmdrzoom

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Dodongo77 wrote: 
Adventure islands are what's gonna make or break this game.

Agreed. For the Explorers, definitely, and possibly the others as well.

In some sense, I think we all got spoiled because late Azure was nicely settled in some ways, yet quite dynamic in others (a new release every month at least!).
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[Aug 7, 2004 1:39:04 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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shagie wrote: 
One thing to consider is that with PP there are may diffrent 'victories' as such. There is the 'govern an island' victory, there's the 'most (dis)liked person in the ocean' victory, there's the 'own a shop' victory, theres the 'all black' victory. Just because one victory is more important to an individual dosn't make them not an achiever.

Personaly, the 'all black' victory has no appeal to me and the 'govern an island' victory may be a bit beyond my reach.


The only playing style that actually requires a game-based victory is the achiever. The other three are happy to do their thing.

 
I have a number of problems with Bartles assertions, the majority of which concerning the fact that he doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. I believe his experience is from a rather small set of muds.

The fact is that the most successful of games requires people to assume a variety of roles, indeed, all four of them. The simple fact is that different people are oriented towards different types of gameplay, but that in order to achieve these goals, a good MMO will force them to assume the other roles.


A valid point, and why I'm not entirely using Bartle's definitions - instead, I'm treating these four 'types' as playing styles to be flipped between as it suits. Thus, most of the blanket assertions that I make while examining various aspects of the game only apply to players who are using that playing style at the time.

(Personally, I suspect Thanos left partly because he was an achiever forced to play a killer/competitor for too long, and he got sick of it and left.)

 
Bartle's ideas for some online world design can potentially be very important. Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates, however, is not a MUD and does not have a standard MUD's populace. Trying to analyze the game as if it is a MUD simply won't work.


True. My point is that it's interesting to have a look at YPP using the player type idea, and see if it leads to anything useful. Certainly, you can't examine the economy's design using Bartle, unless you made so many assumptions that you were essentially just making it up. The only thing you can really use Bartle for is to look at various game features and how they'd affect the various playing styles, and how, in general sweeps, that affects the ocean.

Part of Bartle's assumptions is that people will settle into one playing style that they're comfortable with, which doesn't apply to YPP. The question then becomes, what happens when players are forced out of their comfort zone?

Remember that the various playing styles are essentially what priorities the players have at the time - do they attempt to control or not? Do they spend more time in the game's challenges or around other people? Bartle notes that the four playing styles can be put on a graph, with axis ranging from 'acting' to 'interacting' and 'players' to 'world'. It's this axis that I'm interested in.

YPP has an interesting design in that a certain amount of flexibility is required. The intentional design is that players are not able to spend a lot of time on one side or the other.

Take solo sailing - this is a solitary activity, so it's a 'world' thing - that is, people who are getting their enjoyment from the game world rather than other people. This is discouraged by the game, and by the Ringers, who want to see players who are able to make the switch and work with other people - that is, move towards 'players' on the axis. Of course, impetus to go the other way is provided by the puzzles (those that aren't cooperative, of course), so you have an interesting dynamic here, which requires players to play outside their comfort zone. (This is the answer to a question posed earlier, why do the Ringers concentrate on social over solitary puzzles? There's plenty to do on your own, and it's an effort to stop players from using a limited range of playing styles. That is, from a desing point of view - there's also time and monetary concerns that I'm not looking at.)

Is there something similar for the other axis - 'acting' to 'interacting'? Some basic mechanic that requires you to switch between the two?

The effective running of a ship, shoppes and blockades seem to be the only programmed "interacting" parts of the game - these are team activities. (If anyone else can think of some, point them out). And even then, none actually force you to 'interact' - shoppes in particular can be treated as an interesting and complex computer simulation rather than a group activity. This doesn't seem as elegant and obvious as the 'world'-'player' axis, in which good players have to be prepared to switch between the two as necessary. This seems like a weakness. (Of course, no MMORPG I'm aware of would pass unscatched through this set of criteria.)

What would fix this imbalance? Well, more cooperative activities. There's an inkling of this already in running a ship - bad performance in carpentry means the difficulty increases for bilgers, which is neat, but what if there was more interplay between the puzzles, making the setting to sail portion of the game an obviously co-operative activity (like having the speed that sailing pieces fall at based on the amount of bilge)? Or shoppes requiring some sort of contact between workers and managers?

Well, the shoppe idea would be a fiasco (the idea is that players can log on and at least have something to do at the shoppe, and not being able to do anything because they need other people would be going against that goal), but maybe there's some merit in having some sort of shoppe multiplier - if multiple people are playing a crafting puzzle, say, the puzzle gets an extra wrinkle but it improves performance. In any case, it provides something that seems to be missing in shoppes - pirates interacting, where currently only the managers really interact.

Just some disconnected thoughts, although I'm rather concerned at the overly hands-on approach I'm taking in this little study.

Yours Sincerely,
The Observer
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cmdrzoom wrote: 

Agreed. For the Explorers, definitely, and possibly the others as well.


The beauty of the adventure islands design is that it doesn't necessarily have to be pure Explorer. For example, one of the recurring things we're told will go in adventure islands is cooperative puzzles, which are a primarily interactive thing. It means that the Ringers can address any imbalances in the game as it stands by designing the island around some play type. (for example, an island which tracks the top scores of all visitors and awards its prize to the winner is pure achiever.)

Your Sincerely,
The Observer
[Aug 7, 2004 2:15:29 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
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