Richard Bartle and his Player Types

Richard Bartle
Image of Richard Bartle by Gamelab Congreso Videojuegos from Flickr with thanks

Richard Bartle created his taxonomy of player types, as a result of his observations of players of Multi User Dungeons (MUDS). The four player types are:

  • Killers
  • Achievers
  • Socialisers
  • Explorers

It is important to note that Bartle’s research can only strictly be applied to players of MUDs, and potentially MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games).

The four types are mapped into quadrants separated by two axes, acting<–> interacting and player<–>world.

Player type chart

He later added a third axis explicit <–> implicit which meant that there were two subtypes for each quadrant.


  • Planner (explicit)
    • They set a goal and aim to achieve it.
  • Opportunist (implicit)
    • They look around for things to do, but they don’t know what these are until they find them.


  • Scientist (explicit)
    • They are methodical in their acquisition of knowledge.
  • Hacker (implicit)
    • They have an intuitive understanding of the virtual world, with no need to test their ideas.


  • Networker (explicit)
    • They assess who’s worth hanging out with.
  • Friend (implicit)
    • They enjoy their company.


  • Politician (Explicit)
    • Their aim is to get a big, good reputation.
  • Griefer (implicit)
    • Their vague aim is to get a big, bad reputation.

Read Bartle’s paper or take a version of the Bartle Test to find out your own Bartle type, and see also Andrzej Marczewski’s Hexad of Player Types for Enterprise Gamification.

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