Different types of games players.
There are many different types of games players. It has been an issue in several places so I'll attempt to shed some light on it - or at least be definitively wrong. It's a very tricky subject as every single player out there will claim they are a mixture of types. To some degree this is true but from observed behaviour they almost always fall into one of the following categories.
Combat Players. I'll start with the type easiest to spot. These types live to kill and see every moment spent not in combat as literally a waste of time. Whether or not they concentrate on human or ai (artificial intelligence) opponents could be a subdivision but is not a major thing. No challenge is too great for a combat player, the harder the better and they will often go out of their way to make things harder for themselves just so they can beat it. Often loners online things like plot, storyline and continuity have little interest for them. Just killing more and harder things. This is not to say they will not work as part of a team. Many very effective teams are made from combat players and many many games concentrate on this single type of player.
Persona Players create complex personalities for their characters complete with histories, back stories and the hundred and one things that go along with it. Very little outside of this is important although they will participate fully in plot or storyline situations it will always be from the point of view of how their created character would react or be affected.
Social Players tend to spend most of their time socialising with other players. They will build networks of contacts and often will only be online when their contacts are about. Playing with friends is the primary concern for the social player but again they will interact fully with any storyline situations as long as they can do so with their friends.
Statistic Players care about stats. Any stats. Whether it's the amount of kills or having the most powerful sword of wootness or guns this is what makes them tick. They tend to be very thorough knowing chapter and verse on game rules and mechanics and every secret or hidden place in the game. That's where the sword of wootness hangs out. Storyline and plot devices matter to them, but only from the point of view of what they can get out of it.
Role Players. You may think that anyone who plays a Role Playing Game (RPG) is by definition a role player. In fact there are very few true role players out there. They will hover on every word of any plot dissecting and analyising every last detail. They will be extremely knowledgeable about all the major characters in their envirnoment and will frequently interract with them. They are the players who come up with the grand schemes and plotlines of their own. If they come across an under-developed area in a game they will happily make up things to expand on the original and it will always fit with the precious continuity. When another type of player "dies" within a game they may be back seconds or minutes later with the same name as good as new. When a roleplayer dies it is a major event, the loss of a virtual possession and you will almost never see the same person as the same character back again. Some people refer to this as hard core playing. It's not, it's just a role player playing to his or her potential. The only thing more important to the role player than their character is the continuity. That must be preserved at all costs and if it means dying to save the world then few will hesitate. Unless they are role playing a character who would hesitate of course.
Many thanks to Talzhemir who's Ideas On The Nature Of Role Playing formed the inspiration for this article.