Different ways of classifying players and their motivations / long-term behavior
What's a player persona?
A player persona is a player's long term pattern of behavior and overall motivation for playing a game.
Classifying players under various personas / categories can help you study players and interpret playtest data.
In reality, players are never just one category. People are a complex combination of all these motivations and more.
Nonetheless, this reductive simplicity can be useful for making design decisions and imagining your audience. Ideally, every level can satisfy every persona.
(TODO: flesh this out a lot more)
Play style vs player persona
Huizinga's game of politics
Bartle's "gamer psychology"
The 1996 Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology was one of the earliest attempts to classify video game players. Bartle was studying player behavior in early text-based MMOs called MUDs, and sorted all these MUD players into four general categories:
achievers want to score the most points, maximize game progress
explorers want to discover new places or systems, map-out the game space
killers focus on PvP / competitive conflict with other players, sometimes unfairly
socializers focus on cooperation with other players, roleplaying and fan culture