Gamer Psychology – The Achiever: I Must Win at All Costs
“Champions are made and not born. Champion’s feats are acquired and not inherited, earned and not transferred, attained and not deposited.”
― Ikechukwu Joseph
Achievers are probably the most common player types in gaming, and for good reason – Games are meant to be won, in a quantitative and (usually) undisputeable way. Games, which revolve around challenges, goals, and the completion of those goals, are practically a beacon for these players. Everything in the actual “system” of a game can usually be whittled down to a “score,” and a higher score is what an Achiever lives for.
In a multi-user game, Achievers often define their success by characteristics such as their level, their rank, or their stats. They brag about their kill to death (KDR) ratios, their successful raids, or their unbelievable score counts. Achievers attempt to beat, no, to master the system, whatever it is. If there is a challenge to be completed, this is the type of player who will have it done, regardless of the difficulty, the obscurity, or the length of time it takes to complete it.
Achievers are natural-born succeeders, looking to accomplish and even surpass every challenge that they come across, regardless of the difficulty.
Now, of course, in real life, the Achiever is usually pretty easy to recognize. Some will instantly think of the sports superstar, others may see a wealthy businessman. But the key to understanding the Achiever personality is not simply in wealth, though that can certainly be a factor. It can also be in what that wealth is used for – The best car, the best suit & tie, the best shoes, the best watch or jewelry, the best house. Achievers strive not only to succeed, but to succeed beyond anyone else.
And while drive, ambition, and the will to succeed are all worthwhile goals, there is definitely a flip side: Achievers hunt for the thrill of not only doing well, but in doing better than someone else. To an extreme Achiever, it’s not enough simply to succeed – They require a quantifiable and tangible display of their superiority.
The suit, the tie, the car, the house, the boat, the prominent photo of the pristine family… Achievers are all about pride, and they utilize these symbols as ways of showing that they are better at the game than anyone else, (in this case, the game of real life).
This can manifest itself in ways outside of monetary wealth however – social capital is just as potent to an Achiever as gold, sometimes even more so. As such, you’ll see those who seek to have more “Likes” on Facebook posts, more followers on Twitter or Pinterest, or have more comments on an article or blog post. (The irony of that sentence does not escape me, I assure you. <grin>)
While there are other player types who are more social-centered, (ie – The Socializer), Achievers look at game, at life, and at everything as a competition to be beaten, to be bested, and to be won. They want to win, and more importantly, they want others to know that they’ve won.
When designing a multi-user game, these players are catered to by finding the best gear, completing the biggest challenges, and being able to carry trophies of their achievements. (You may notice the subtle insertion of both the PlayStation and Xbox token monikers in there.) Achievers wear their glory on their sleeves, often quite literally, and to them, level, rank, and prestige are extremely important.
Now, don’t think that this “eye towards success” means that Achievers are completely selfish. Quite the opposite – Achievers are often very willing to explain to you how they’ve accomplished something. They get a lot of joy in helping others to succeed as well, often because it increases their own social standing. They may not even have that as their conscious goal, but they hope, in some part of their mind, to “bring others up to their level.”
They love to have discussions about how to be more efficient, to get more out of a tool or resource, or find unique ways to combine elements to create an improved solution.
As such, they often make really good teachers, coaches, and advisers, albeit ones who are sometimes a little too critical, too harsh, or too demanding, simply because to them, success is everything, and lack of success is not improvement, it’s failure. However, they are very well-motivated, and can help those who seek to to improve tremendously.
To cater to an Achiever, give them tangible goals, things to, literally, “achieve.” They will seek out challenges, and defining them in a tangible way helps them to focus their efforts. That’s not to say they are not creative – quite the opposite, actually. Second only really to the Explorer, they often know more about a system than anyone else does.
At the end of the day, if you want to win, then make friends with Achievers. They will carry you to victory on their shoulders, and as long as you keep shooting praise their way, they’ll push hard for you to the end of the earth.
To them, it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
As long as you win the game.
[Note: In each of these descriptions, I'm going to detail the most extreme elements in order to best differentiate one from another. Every player is different, and is likely a combination of each of these. Just something to keep in mind. - K]