Social Roles

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The one-sentence "definition" that should be in italics.

This pattern is a still a stub.

While Bartle's paper "Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who suit MUDs"[1] does present categories for gamers that do have aspects of social roles, these describe player preferences. The pattern described here looks at how gameplay features can evoke Social Roles.

Social Roles often


Using the pattern

Examples of possible Social Roles are:

  • Banned – players not allowed to play the game.
  • Outcast – players excluded from social interaction by the other players.
  • Recluse – players willingly isolated from social interaction with other players.
  • Motivator – players providing or advocating activities and experiences in the game without seeking any in-game benefit.
  • Negotiator – players negotiating between two other players.
  • Mediator – players performing action for another player, either through his or her own actions or by taking over the other player’s possibilities to influence the game.
  • Helper – players actively helping another player perform actions in the game.
  • Violator – players trying to affect other players’ gameplay against their will through explicit actions.
  • Dominator – players trying to influence other players to perform specific actions for the player’s own in-game benefits.
  • Exhibitionist – players performing actions in the game to gain the other players’ attention.

Diegetic Aspects

Interface Aspects

Narrative Aspects



Functional Roles Scapegoats Spectators

Can Instantiate

with ...

Can Modulate

Can Be Instantiated By

Can Be Modulated By

Possible Closure Effects

Potentially Conflicting With


New pattern created in this wiki. However, the concept was introduced in the paper Socially Adaptable Games that was presented in 2005.[2].


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named bartle
  2. Eriksson, D., Peitz, J. & Björk, S. 2005. Socially Adaptable Games. Lightning round presentation at Changing Views: Worlds in Play, DiGRA conference 2005.

Cite error: <ref> tag with name "Bartle" defined in <references> is not used in prior text.