Relationships Between HEXAD Types – Gamified UK

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about the types of HEXAD users, but the world doesn’t stand idly by, and I still see them pop up in academic papers – which is amazing, so I thought it was time to say a few words about the things that have been repeated over and over again. Come on!

The idea was inspired by a recent research paper by Ana Claudia Guimarães Santos, Wilk Oliveira, Juhu Hamari and Seiji Isotani entitled “Do user types change over time? An exploratory study” You can get a copy here.

Without spoiling too much, they came to many conclusions about the species, but the conclusion that stuck to me was

‘The dominant user types cannot be considered stable.’

There have also been some comments about Free Spirits and Disruptors being a tricky touch too!

Disruptor and Free Spirit provided reliability results just below the acceptable level […] It might highlight the need to improve the Disruptor and Free Spirit subdomain or further analysis for these user types”

So – let’s dive in 🙂

Your gender changes

The first really important point about any type of user or player is that it is not static. There are two main reasons I saw for this, context and experience.


Depending on what you’re doing, the dominant genre can be very different from one task to the next. Think about video games and how you play them. Some games you want to go and destroy everything, others you want to explore and others you want to create. The same goes for any system. Depending on the context of the system, your motivation for using it will be different, and therefore your user type will be different. This makes it very difficult to rely solely on a survey to understand a player’s motivations. Their answers will be in the context of conducting a survey and not necessarily interacting with your system.


Just because you are one type when you start using a system, it doesn’t mean that your type will be in the system forever. When designing setup for systems, we often rely on attracting a player or reward-driven type to be in control, and rewarding the right activity to encourage more of it as the user learns the system. Then we actively encourage them to change the genre over time to something that is self-motivated and aligns with the needs of the system.

Consider a game like Minecraft. You get into Minecraft as a free spirit, wanting to explore the world and create new and exciting things within it. Over time, you may start to be more interested in finding specific features like Raider Castles or Mansions to test your fighting skills, becoming more than successful. You may then feel that you want to play more with others and explore the vast worlds created online. At first, this might make you act like a player, earn rewards and beat other players. You might become a bit of a nuisance, sadden other players and try to find loopholes and bugs to gain an advantage. However, over time, you may develop more into being a social participant in your style, being there to meet friends and play with them cooperatively. Finally, you may decide to contribute to the community with your own maps and game modes, to become a creative free spirit and benefactor.

In this example it is a bit exaggerated. , you can see how one person can view all 6 types of HEXAD in one game, based on their experience over time in the game. This is why it is so important to try to build your gaming systems in a way that may appeal to all genres, not just one.

Some species are closely related

The second point I want to look at is how closely some species are related and why.

In studies, I’ve seen people see strong bonds between socialists and philanthropists. This has happened many times now. There is a very good reason for this, and I will come to it. However, it is important to remember why the species were made in the first place.

It was designed as a practical tool for me to use when trying to describe motivation and potential behaviors in simulated systems, based on ideas from Bartel Player Types, but with a basis in self-determination theory. In the beginning, I just had three core types based on SDT – social, free spirit, and accomplished, based on association, autonomy, and mastery.

However, as I’ve been working more in this field, I’ve noticed behaviors that don’t quite fit in with these three. Initially, it was selflessness or benevolence/charitable work. While building a system I wanted to explore how to motivate this specific pattern of behavior and realized that it was not, in practice, well covered by the initial three types. So philanthropist Boy.

I later realized that I don’t serve food to those who were there just for the rewards, like those who were prepared ahead of time. These types have become players. This later led me to realize that not all participants will be positive and will have motivations that do not fit with the more positive nature of endearing design, these motivations become hangovers.

What causes research problems is that these types often appear very similar in surveys when asked about people’s motivations. The biggest culprits are socialists and philanthropists.

Socialists and philanthropists

The strong link between these two species is that they both stimulate them relevance. Without people and connections to people, how can you be charitable!? So when you look at pure motives, both will score highly in connection. However, their intentions are different. A socialist wants to connect with people and react With them. The benefactor is more concerned with him the acting on those socially related to them, in a way that they feel is positive. Be it charity, guidance, or even just a bossy!

Free spirits and vandals

Like socialists and philanthropists, what separates free spirits from vandals is intention! Free spirits interact with their environment, while creatures act on their environment (or, conversely, other people), and impose their will.

Where Free Spirits want to explore the possibilities of their world, Disruptors want to explore boundaries and find flaws and weaknesses to exploit. However, their motives remain the same (for the most part) Autonomy.

So the common factor here is the intent, whether the user is or not the acting or react Very important to know how to view their type in the real world.

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It was also published on Medium.

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