Psychographic and Aesthetic Profiles: The Different Player Types

TLDR; There are key types of players each with their own priorities and how they enjoy and approach games. Independent of skill, this is how they prefer to operate and why we can't agree on what's fun.

Apologies for huge wall of text. Kind of got away from me.

Before I get started, this is not a commentary on the state of the game or how the meta is currently playing out or played out before.

What I'm trying to do is enable further discussions of those things to be tempered by a little more understanding. I've seen plenty of responses that don't amount to anything more than, "I like/dislike how things are and that makes you wrong."

Let's begin with a little background.

Wizards of the Coast has been working on the card game Magic: The Gathering for a long and still ongoing time. During that time they've come up with categories for different players based on how they play and what draws them to the game.

These categories are useful tools for understanding why people play and what they enjoy to craft a game to suit a greater variety of people.

Psychographic Profiles and Aesthetic Profiles are the two types of categories. I'll be focusing on Psychographic profiles because it seems more relevant to players as a whole.

Psychographic profiles are based on what players find fun about the game. Everyone has a a psychographic profile, though it can be a mix of these categories. There are three primary profiles here:


This is the player who gets into it and loves the game for the game. They like the visceral feeling of playing, whether it's the social aspect and playing with friends, the variety of things to do and explore, or just seeing the outcome of the chaos.

They tend to like big impactful plays, whether or not they win or lose. They will try again and again for the team-wipe Fist of Havoc or Nova Bomb as heavy spawns even if they fail because the day that it happens they will feel like a thunderous deity and they can almost taste that moment every time.

These are the players that will always find enjoyment in a new meta because the meta really isn't that important to them. They have their friends, their play-making Supers, and a new battle around the next corner.

Only when no plays can be made, their friends and comrades leave, and the outcome is predictable will Timmy/Tammy be truly out of the game.


If you've ever seen some off-meta gun reign supreme in a match somehow, you've found yourself fighting one of these.

A player who goes fights against the meta for the sake of finding a new tool or to break the way the game is played is a Johnny/Jenny. If they use a fusion in an anti-fusion meta because they live that voop life, they are a Johnny/Jenny.

Creative players, they do it for the feeling of pulling off a combo, improving their play in some weird way, self-expression, or even just to show that they can.

When the variety of choices is too low and the state of the game prevents them by how overwhelmingly strong a specific thing is, Johnny/Jenny will suffer and suffer hard.


Tryhard, thy name is Spike. The person who researches the meta, learns the meta, and becomes the meta is a Spike.

Spikes are characterized by a strong desire to win. This doesn't mean that wanting to win is a Spike-only trait, just that a Spike will, commonly, redefine their game by that desire.

Players in this category get the most joy out of the victory and not necessarily how they got there. They will adapt to new metas and embrace them.

Coming up with the next best thing, fine-tuning the meta, analyzing and adapting to the current meta, and perfecting their own play for the sake of the win are all the way of the Spike.

These are also the players that may feel forced to play a way that they don't enjoy, and they aren't wrong for feeling that way. They're at odds with that desire to win and the desire to use their favorite tools.

These three categories are fairly general ideas of what different kinds of player prioritize. People are complex creatures and are usually some weird mix of them, rather than being 100% one category. This difference in mentality is very important to note, especially if you happen to enjoying the current meta and wondering why others don't.

The Article that I based this on. It's a neat read, but making it 1 to 1 with Destiny nonsense can be rough.

Edit: Crap. Forgot to remove the Aesthetic part of the title when I changed my mind on discussing that part. Curses.

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