I was a little bit stumped on whether or not I’d be able to make a post this week, and what it would be if I could. My esports team, Aretuza Esports, were finally able to announce that I will be one of three content creators going to Warsaw next week to report on proceedings at Gwent Challenger #5, the next major tournament for Gwent: The Witcher Cardgame. I’m incredibly excited to be able to take this opportunity, but there’s so much to do in preparation for the event and what we plan to do in Warsaw that Games & Stories has had to take a back seat.
Thankfully, Angie from Backlog Crusader had my back. She found an interesting small survey for gamers to take to explore more about what they like about gaming, and turned it into a tag similar to the Real Neat Blog or Sunshine Blogger Awards. I was one of the bloggers she tagged to take part in the survey, and as time is at a premium for me at the moment, I thought that might be interesting for us to look at this week.
Angie came up with some questions for each blogger to answer regarding their motivation profile, which I’ve now taken, so let’s jump straight into it!
1) What were the results? Share the link, headline and the two motivation model graphs you received.
“Calm, analytical, relaxed, deeply immersed and practical…”Quantic Foundry about me and my gaming
2) How do you feel about your survey results?
After a little bit of thought, I think these results line up pretty well with how I go about gaming. To start with, I was a little disappointed in myself for scoring so low on Creativity, but then I saw how high I scored on Immersion. While I enjoy customising characters and messing around a little with armour and weapons and hair dyes and such, I won’t spend hours on that part of a game. I much rather dive in and experience the story and the universe the game has put me in. To extend this thought just a little bit further, in games where the player character is completely customisable, RPGs such as Star Wars: Knights of the old Republic or Dragon Age, as opposed to The Witcher with a more set player character, I usually care a lot more about the NPCs I interact with than my own.
3) Which category is the most accurate and least accurate.
I mean… I don’t think this is a surprise to anyone at this point, is it? I think anyone who loves story-telling as much as I do will know how many hours are added to a game’s play time by a burning need to read every journal entry, have every optional conversation with every possible character and completing every side quest, not because of a need to 100% the game, but to get as much immersion from the story and universe out of the experience as physically possible.
It’s entirely possible that my understanding of the questions skewed the results on these categories. In a single-player game where I want to be immersed in the story-telling, it’s true that I don’t want a particularly challenging boss or mission to get in the way. I’m quite happy to have the difficulty level set to normal or easy to enjoy the story-telling rather than set it to hard to test my ability with a controller or mouse and keyboard.
At the same time, as a member of a professional esports organisation, I do spend a lot of time playing two games competitively, and I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t enjoy it. I think the Competition aspect of Social is a little lower than I might expect, knowing how seriously I can take my competitive play when I’m really gunning for a good result. Likewise, part of what I enjoy about competitive play is the challenge of matching myself and my ability against another opponent (or seven in the case of Dota Underlords). I don’t necessarily have to win a game; as long as I feel like my ability has been tested and that I haven’t let myself down by not living up to what I’m capable of, I tend to enjoy the experience nonetheless, and the most fun I have is when I am playing against someone I know is a similar skill-level to myself, when the challenge is equal for both players. In that sense, I also feel Challenge is a little inaccurate, but maybe it’s just me…
4) Are there any major exceptions to your typical gaming motivations?
My mum is a completionist gamer, through and through, and I did inherit some of that off of her. I don’t know why, but particularly with MarioKart I feel the need to get all 3 stars at every tier of the single-player championships even though any bot under 150cc is a breeze at this point and even at 200cc it’s still way more fun to race against other people.
As alluded to already, I don’t usually feel the need to get every achievement, find every piece of equipment or work to 100% a game, but I will go to great lengths to wring as much out of the story-telling as possible, which usually means completing all of the side-quests even if I never use the rewards. The Witcher III has been a particularly punishing experience in this regard. There is so much game in that game! Every single quest, even for the most ridiculous piece of armour that I’ll never use, is steeped in so much story-telling that I am actually yet to complete a full run-through of the game because I keep burning out, even though I really enjoy playing it.
5) Do any of these motivations carry over to your non-gaming life? If so, how?
I guess it makes some amount of sense that I don’t spend too much time injecting my own creativity into my playing experience of video games when I spend such a considerable amount of time and energy on the numerous fictional universes inside my own head. Gaming, as I do, to relax means taking a creative break too sometimes.
Actually, I think the motivation to be immersed is what carries over best. When I write fiction, and I really get into it, I completely disappear into my characters, the way they interact with each other and the way they deal with what’s happening to them. One of my main motivations for creative writing is to offer my readers the same escape I experience when I write. And when I play story-focused video games too.
Away from the story-telling side of things, one of the other words use to describe me in this profile was “analytical”, and that’s also true outside of gaming. Formula One is one of my life-long passions, and a lot of the enjoyment I get from it comes down to thinking about which drivers are on-form, which cars suit which circuit and which team has the current formula best calculated week to week. It’s incredibly nerdy, I know, but it’s fun!
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?
Early in the survey I listed three of my favourite all-time games as Halo 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, and the fact of the matter is that these are the games that best satisfy my gaming motivations. The first two are incredibly immersive, both with some fantastic characters and themes to follow, the last greatly satisfies my analytical, strategic and competitive side, and is actually quite immersive too, in it’s own way.
What I find very interesting is that in the first 10 games the survey recommends to me, there is not one competitive title in there. In fact, there are 34 titles in all, and Hearthstone is the only one I’d recognise as competitive in a traditional sense. It’s 32nd on the list. Maybe that should tell me something.
The rest of the games on this list definitely belong there. They’re either steeped in story, in strategic elements, or both. It’s not a surprise to see 3 of the 5 games I listed as the games I most looking forward to playing (Firewatch, Life Is Strange and The Last of Us) on the list, and it’s not really a surprise to see things like Pillars of Eternity, Crusader Kings II and Stellaris either. It’s this list that really convinces me Quantic Foundry have built some good analytical tools into this project. You can never quite tell how accurate things like this are going to be, but… this absolutely tracks.
Passing the Buck…
I would love to know how anyone reading this scores on their own test, if they take it, so please do feel free to leave a comment about how you got on if you’d like. However, this is a tag, so I
am contractually obliged do feel the need to do this properly and get some other gaming writers involved. I like Angie’s questions a lot, so I am not going to ask any new ones. I’m just curious to know how these writers fare in their results:
Lorraine likes story-telling. Who’d have thought it?
Over the next couple of weeks, I really have no idea what’s coming up for Games & Stories. I fly to Warsaw a week from today so next week really does depend on whether I have time to come up with something to schedule before I leave, and then I will be so busy with Challenger #5 content that I just don’t know whether I will have time for anything else. I don’t like the inconsistency, at all, but there’s quite a lot more riding on this event going well than a lot of people realise, so it does require a lot of my focus. We shall see how things go!
In the meantime, take care 🙂