A few weeks back I was nominated by Lorraine of Games & Stories to participate in a new tag style post. The tag involves taking a gamer motivation survey by Quantic Foundry and then examining the results by answering several questions. I already have a pretty good handle on what kinds of things I gravitate toward, but let’s delve into how accurately that is captured by Quantic’s survey.
Also before I begin, thank you for the nomination Lorraine! I’m a big fan of her in-depth story analysis of the first Assassin’s Creed, which you can find the start of here. Go check it out if you haven’t already.
1) What were the results? Share the link, headline and the two motivation model graphs you received.
Action-Oriented, Persistent, Social, Grounded, and Expressive
2) How do you feel about your survey results?
I’d say the results reflect me fairly accurately. Story is almost always my lowest priority in games and that tends to be why I gravitate toward mechanically compelling experiences as opposed to narrative ones. Mastery being the highest rated category also makes a lot of sense as that is largely why I’ll play a game for extended periods of time. I didn’t put over 500 hours into Monster Hunter: World to get better loot – it was almost entirely to get better at playing the game.
I have to admit I am a little surprised with how high design is scored. I think this category encompasses skill builds as well as character aesthetics, which would go a long ways in explaining why the score is so high. Thinking about the “meta-game” is another aspect of depth, which gives games a lot of longevity for me.
3) Which category is the most accurate and least accurate?
Most Accurate: Immersion
Immersion in games is weird because it won’t happen for me unless I find the game enjoyable to play. You can have the best writing in the world, but without gameplay to back it up I’ll constantly be reminded that I’m playing a game, one that I’m probably not enjoying that much. Because of this, both the “fantasy” (world building) and story aspects of video games end up becoming a secondary concern. Once I’m invested in the gameplay I become more receptive to these elements as I’ll be entirely focused on whatever I’m playing. Story by itself though? That doesn’t do anything for me.
Least Accurate: Creativity
I previously stated I was surprised by the score of “design”, so I suppose that makes it the least accurate. I wouldn’t say it’s inaccurate as I do enjoy customizing the appearance of my characters, or building bases in survival games I just never figured I liked doing it that much.
4) Are there any major exceptions to your typical gaming motivations?
I can be won over by story-telling and story focused experiences if it’s done through the environment rather than entirely through exposition. I think the biggest advantage to this method of delivery is that I’m able to take in the story at my own pace, rather than having a bunch of exposition dropped on me. I get it. You really want to tell me how dangerous this area is, but can you shut up for a second and let me figure that out on my own while exploring it?
5) Do any of these motivations carry over to your non-gaming life? If so, how?
It’s not just games where I set goals for myself and strive to achieve greater ability – I do that with everything. If I’m still interested in doing something that usually means I have set skill based milestones that I’m trying to achieve. The one exception to this is work because I work for a giant corporation where my personal goals and the company’s don’t align, so neither of us are ever going to be satisfied with each other.
6) Which games in your experience best satisfy your gaming motivations and how do they compare to the “suggested games” list from the questionnaire’s follow up page?
Games with depth that are simple to understand, but difficult to master tend to be the ones that best satisfy what I want. Monster Hunter: World stands as a fantastic example as I started out taking thirty to forty minutes on every single hunt and I could barely play one of the fourteen available weapons. Now I’m able to do most hunts in under ten minutes and have working knowledge of how all the weapons play. That’s the kind of thing I crave – the ability to develop a skill even if it’s just a bunch of imaginary stuff in a video game.
As far as the recommendations go, they’re kind of terrible. I have played two of the top ten games: Starcraft II and Heroes of the Storm. Starcraft has depth, but also has an incredibly high skill floor so playing it with any level of competency takes a monumental amount of effort. Heroes of the Storm is a lot more approachable, but as a five versus five multiplayer game it’s difficult to gauge how well you’re doing. The terrible stat tracking further exacerbates this problem.
The remaining suggestions all seem to have taken the destruction part of the action category a little too literally. Just because I like to kill stuff in games doesn’t mean it always has to be with a gun. I think the other problem is I gravitate a lot heavier toward niche, smaller games and even the niche recommendations on my profile aren’t niche compared to some of the games I’ve played.
There you have it. I figure those who have read a handful of my reviews will not be entirely surprised by the results. I tend to focus on the aspects of games that I find most important, which is mirrored in my survey results. I am also supposed to nominate some folks to participate. I don’t know if any of you have already been nominated, but would enjoy reading your results.