TGP 25 | Black Mage

S2: E25 | Black Mage Spells For Powerful Mental Health

Daniel A. Kaufmann, Ph.D
Dr. Gameology on Twitch & The Gaming Persona Podcast
Owner of Area of Effect Counseling

Final Fantasy XIV Online features over 20 combat classes that players can use in their quest to become the Warrior of Light and save the worlds of Eorzea and beyond. The Black Mage is one of those classes, and believe it or not, that playstyle can help your mental health. What is the relation between being a Black Mage in Final Fantasy and mental health in your real life? Black Mages have to decide whether they should get a power-up but get damaged or not get any bonuses but be unscathed. These are decisions everyone has in their real day-to-day life. People just need to know their potential so that they can defeat their challenges. This week, Dr. Gameology and Jenny talk about the mental health strengths we all can level up by applying the play of the Black Mage class to our everyday lives.

Listen to the podcast here


Black Mage Spells For Powerful Mental Health

Life Tips From Final Fantasy XIV Online

I’m your host, Dr. Gameology and I’m joined by Jenny Lebron, my co-host. Jenny, how are you doing?

I am doing fantastic and I’m excited to be here.

This episode is going to be epic, but before we get started, where can our readers find us?

You can find my photography page on Instagram @J.LebronPhotography or if you are curious about what a nerdy person’s photos look like.

I’m DrGameology on Twitch and other social apps. You can find my blog and other cool gaming psychology information at You can find the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, and most anywhere else podcasts are found. Jenny, what are we talking about from the world of video games in mental health?

We are going to talk about mental health and Black Mages.

The most amazing class from Final Fantasy XIV Online. Did you know that the critically acclaimed MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV Online has an amazing demo that you can play?

I sure did. Is it free to play?

It’s free to play. It features A Realm Reborn and the award-winning expansion Heavensward.

I feel like I knew this. I feel like there’s a meme floating around about this.

There is a meme and I‘m not looking at it. I’m disappointed at myself for not having it word for word down. Someday, Jenny. We have real goals on this show. Let’s go to our ordinary world, where we share everyday life through our games. We have a goal and we are going out to do it. Jenny, how was your weekend in the world of gaming?

I played some Final Fantasy. We did another Alliance Raid. It was one of those nights where I didn’t want anything that was too mentally draining for me. We chose to do an Alliance Raid. I wish I remembered which one it was, but it was challenging.

The stat for magic is intelligence. So if you're not really a physically gifted person, you can relate to the Black Mage class a bit more. Click To Tweet

Was it Syrcus Tower?

I wouldn’t know the name. If you can describe a site, I will be able to tell you.

Did you fight a giant woman who blows things across the screen with her mouth lasers?

No, I don’t think so. We fought a giant dragon that we had to stay behind. It’s the one where it has magnets. It’s the one that has a masked boss.

I don’t know which one that is.

It was fun. It was nice to escape for that evening. I also finally got to play It Takes Two and it was so much fun. I knew it was going to be fun because you guys talked about it a couple of episodes ago, but I couldn’t wait to play again after we played the first time. It was a cool game. We did pretty well. We played for two nights. We beat the Robot Wasp Queen.

That’s fun. Were you playing the male or female character?

The female character.

What were some of your favorite powers that you were able to use?

I enjoyed having the hammer. That was cool trying to figure out what you need to do. In this game, I am notoriously bad at platforming. It’s not a thing that I’m good at, but I’m good at the puzzles. My RPG game or brain game is on-point and trying to figure out what we need to do next and where we need to go. That has been fun.

It’s a well-put-together game. It’s one game of the year for many outlets. It deserved it. For my ordinary world, my wife and I finished it in between the last recording and now.

How far do I have to go? How far am I through it? I don’t know. We got into the house.


TGP 25 | Black Mage
Black Mage: There’s a lot of duality in the black mage class because you have to be aware of when can you really push and do more and also when you have to hang back and accept your limits.

Structurally, the story takes a long time. I had dinner for my birthday and we had some of our friends that we have played MMOs with in the past. It’s cool anytime you get your real-life friends who you’ve played games with, but don’t play games with anymore to be able to do something in person and cover that geographic distance and be around each other.

That was something that happened during my weekend, but one of the cool gaming things that we had some overlap and talked about was finishing It Takes Two. We were talking about it. There’s almost a double-length approach to the story of this game. You get to the point where you think the game is about to end, and then the Book of Love has very different opinions about how far you’ve come, and you end up doing a lot more video games together. It’s not bad. It’s the reality that the game could have been shorter, but it is not shorter. I would let go of all your expectations and enjoy the ride.

What else did you do in gaming?

I picked up playing Spiderman PS4 a little bit more. Ironically, the percentage of story completion that I am at is 69%. I have cleared 6%. I was at 63%, but this is episode 69 of our show, so it’s serendipitous. I don’t know where that’s going. We’ll just go to the last thing in my ordinary world. I am still working on my third playthrough of Elden Ring. I’m getting to the point where a lot of the fights took a long time, the first playthrough and, last time, the second playthrough.

I remember feeling like nothing plays through, but I’m not at the part where the fights are tough yet. I’m in the second area of the open world where there’s a big lake and then there’s a cliff on the left and a cliff on the right. Traveling across those are completely different experiences. I’m trying to get to the wizard academy, which is a terrible place where you die a lot because everybody you fight is magical. If you remember, it’s the place where I did some fancy jumping and made it to the staircase that I was trying to get to, and then a giant ball flattened me, Indiana Jones style. That was a moment that I know I mentioned in a previous episode.

I’m still playing magic-focused, but my strength stat is getting a little higher, so I can rely on my sword work a little more. That’s the gaming I have been doing. I wasn’t able to raid in Final Fantasy XIV from a combination of work-related responsibilities, and I was not feeling very well in the evening time. That’s something I’m hoping to get back into and make some more raid progress with my AIE Guild team. Are you ready to go to our next segment?

I am.

This is the Call to Adventure, where we get into our topic for the week. The focus of our episode is going to be on the amazing class job in Final Fantasy XIV Online, the Black Mage. In order to begin talking about mental health spells that we can cast as Black Mages, I need to find out front and center right here, right now, how well do you like playing ranged DPS in all different kinds of RPGs?

I don’t have as much experience with ranged DPS, unless white mage counts or glare mage. I started a red mage, which is range.

Until it’s not.

I played that and I only played it a couple of times. I don’t know if I could say that I did well. I feel like that’s the only time I have ever played ranged DPS because in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I did not switch characters ever. I played a healer for Lumiere on the Republic side for a little bit, and then only got hurt not very far. The answer to your question, how well do I play ranged DPS? It’s okay. I don’t prefer it.

You’re getting in there and cutting things up nose to nose, face to face.

Every boss fight is a gigantic math equation that is happening on your screen. It's you versys the math that the game is calculating for. Click To Tweet

Yes. I like being in the action.

Shake their hand and dismember them. Very violent. You are a violent game player, Jenny.

I am. It’s fine.

I’m always playing ranged DPS and magic is preferred. This goes back to our episode about archetypes and the heroes that we play, which is also part of season two of the show. Everyone can find that episode on the website. It’s already out. When I am playing ranged magic, the stat in Elden Ring for sorcery is intelligence.

This crystallizes what it is I’m talking about. I always prefer knowledge because I’m not a physically gifted person in terms of athleticism, speed and power. Those aren’t the ways that I solve problems in real life. This idea is a critical thought that led to my research as a doc student and my persona as a games researcher. I created a character in Star Wars: The Old Republic that looked like me. For whatever reason, I felt like the voice actor talked like me. It’s maybe a little more annoying but it’s close.

I realized that I created the Daniel Kaufmann that has been trained his whole life to be Emperor Palpatine. That character in Star Wars is representative of the Sith Sorcerer class, which is range force damage. When I jumped over to Final Fantasy XIV, I instantly began looking at what classes use magic, standing at range, and are able to throw impressive works of what elements we use. It’s not lightning. There is thunder and so there’s a little bit there, but it’s mostly fire and also ice.

The Black Mage plays this balance between casting fire for aggressive amounts of damage, but that depletes your energy stores inside of you. You cast ice, which continues the flow of damage but rebuilds your energy, so you can switch back to fire focus. There’s also a duality in the class that I like between being aware of when can you push and do more? When do you have to hang back and accept the limits of what you are for a little bit until you are ready to push more? You can already hear the mental health discussion just by me describing the class.

Those are my three main RPG characters that come to mind, an Elden Ring character that focuses on spells and the intelligence stat, the Sith Sorcerer that focuses on the mastery of the force, and the Black Mage that focuses on managing the magic point meter in a way that leads to optimizing influence on the battle and the boss’s health gauge.

In hearing you talk, I realized that it’s not a video game. In D&D, I always played ranged DPS. I was a sorceress. I created two different types of sorceresses and that was my go-to in that game. I don’t know if it’s because I hadn’t played MMOs. I wasn’t exposed to anything else. This was my pre-WoW days, but I do have a little bit of experience, at least with the mind frame that it takes to play a ranged DPS.

This is a bit of a diversion, but we are managing our time well. Why don’t you play WoW anymore?

I only played WoW because I was dating someone at the time who played WoW. We lived on opposite sides of the country and it was a cool way to hang out together.

That’s a whole gaming persona episode in and of itself.

TGP 25 | Black Mage
Black Mage: Do you want a damage increase but get hit by the boss? Or do you want less damage, but survive unscathed? Everyone makes decisions like this in life, not just in video games.
Image Credit: Square Enix – Final Fantasy XIV Online


It was fun. It was my first introduction to MMO. This was back in the day when people were playing Wrath of the Lich King.

That’s early WoW.

People liked that expansion. It was fun. I didn’t play ranged DPS then. I played a Ret Paladin, which is DPS but I’m pretty sure it’s a melee.

I know that was a long time ago, but how does your experience in WoW compare to the two MMOs that we have played together, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Final Fantasy XIV Online?

In what sense?

All of the senses.

When I played WoW, one of the things I loved about Wow was I was on a PVP server. There was a sense of risk involved with playing because you could get attacked by someone on the alliance side at any moment. For me, that was fun. Some people used to get griefed and camped, and it’s no fun. For me, it was an exciting part of the game that, at any moment, I could die out of nowhere and not realize what was happening.

It’s like a giant boulder rolling down the stairs and flattening you.

Also, the alternative, I could beat someone on the alliance side and feel great. It was fun. I remember the first time that I killed someone who attacked me. I was never the aggressor in that game. I played that game a lot differently than I play MMOs now. I remember the first time that I beat someone who attacked me and I was so excited. I loved that about that game, and then I loved playing with the people that I played with. That still hasn’t changed.

That’s an element of your gaming history that I don’t have. It could be a bigger part of what we do.

If I can remember the time, then sure. For the most part, it was a lot of fun when I played. I was sheltered from a lot of the negativity that could happen. I enjoyed leveling up and I didn’t get to the end-game or anything like that in WoW. For me, it was mostly questing, learning my class, and all that.

Were you a healer?

Know your potential and be patient while you work towards your goals. Click To Tweet

I did heal for a little bit because paladins can also heal, but my main spec retribution, so it was DPS.

Was that melee?

I believe so, but I could be wrong. I’m not good at determining that. There were lots of spells that I did cast that were spells, so it was using magic. I’m not sure. I could be wrong.

I was looking to see if there were any connections between you and ranged magic DPS for the rest of our conversation. Since there’s not, we’ll head out on the Road of Trials as equipped as we are and face our challenges while we discover our strengths. This episode and the topic are another connection between the collaboration of Dr. Gameology and the reframing and re-enchanting with the Superpower Toolkit.

We had Elizabeth on the show to talk about this endeavor to collaborate with all these different social media entities that are talking about geek culture, fandoms and mental health while she’s working towards the completion of her academic goals to become a clinical psychologist. I wanted to make sure that since we had such a good time doing the White Mage episode.

I wanted to get the other classes that we have put all this work into represented in our content as well. What better place to go than the Black Mage? It’s my favorite class to play. I wear the hat when I go to panels and I do my very best to represent Black Mages well, even though there are lots of strong opinions about them because you have to play them a specific way and fit them into the group. There are things that you have to know, “We have a Black Mage in the group.” Before we go into the mental health tips that are on the social media posts and the images, what is it like for you to play with me in Final Fantasy XIV since most of the time, I am a Black Mage?

I don’t have experience playing with you as Reaper. I don’t think or at least not very much experience, but playing with you as a healer, sometimes it’s challenging. It’s because if you are melee and you are not trying to move, sometimes I have to heal you through stuff. That’s funny and it’s always lighthearted, but it also creates a challenge for healers sometimes.

One of the things that’s true about video games is every boss fight you do is a gigantic math equation that is happening on the screen involving multiple people versus the math that the game is calculating for itself. Every health bar, the Black Mages, the other DPS, the healers, and the tanks are mathematical numbers. The health bar for the boss is a mathematical number. The goal in every fight is basically to make the boss’s mathematical number be zero before all of our bars are zero. Why am I going into such a weird description of something fun?

I will tell you. For the Black Mage, we have a spell where we cast what are called lay lines on the ground. When we are standing in that magical circle of runes and light, the math behind all of our spells is increased. It’s multiplied. If I cast the same spell outside of those lines, I’m reducing my damage. The question becomes, “Do I want this percentage to increase and get hit by whatever the boss is about to do or do I voluntarily end the great multiplier of my impact on the fight, but survive unscathed?”

We make decisions like this all the time in life, some of the things that make people the most frustrated come down to the old adage of wanting to have our cake and eat it too. We can argue about what the correct way to say that adage would be, but everyone reading has gotten their point. We want to succeed without blemish.

To play Black Mage, you have to be calculated and decide, “When am I going to get hit? When am I going to aim not to get hit?” Let’s go into our Black Mage spells for successful mental health. The first thing that I think of when I think about how does playing the Black Mage aid my quest to have good mental health in my day. The first thing that came to my mind is to know your potential and be patient while you work towards your goals.

That might seem like a weird tip because Black Mages are known for having good bursts. When we are able to drop all the big spells into one go, the amount of damage in that isolated small moment is epic. In order to get that epic moment to happen, you have to plan out a lot of different things. Before we go to the other bullet points, let’s apply that to life a little bit, Jenny. How does a spell-like that help you with the kinds of things you try to accomplish with having good mental and good self-esteem during your day?

TGP 25 | Black Mage
Black Mage: Whether it’s reading a book or choosing to work out, a lot of people do not make those goals happen because they have restrictions in their minds. And, they don’t even notice it.


When I think about knowing my potential and being patient, a lot of times when I’m working towards something, it’s easy for me to get frustrated if something doesn’t come supernaturally. Not like supernaturally in a magic way, but naturally to me. I know what I’m capable of. I know who I am and my work ethic. Sometimes goals are a little bit harder to achieve. We need to have the patience and the knowledge that things are going to work out. Just keep doing what we need to do and we’ll get there.

A lot of times, we want the hugest successes now, immediately, when we can get a lot farther with a “something is better than nothing” mentality. Whether it’s reading a book or choosing to go workout, a lot of people do not make those goals happen in their day because they have restrictions in their minds that they aren’t even noticing, such as, “Workout is not worth doing unless I workout for two hours. I don’t have enough time to read 75 pages, so why bother reading this book?” If you read ten pages, then you only have 65 pages next time. If you go work out for fifteen minutes a day, but you do that consistently, you are in a much better spot after a few days than you were skipping on it every day and not even starting.

It comes down to how we measure time and effort. We are looking at our potential like it must be fulfilled completely. Otherwise, we let ourselves down or we fail. Black Mage begins with a mentality of, “How do I chip away at this? How do I set myself up? How do I stay organized in a way that will make a difference in the end?” That leads to our next tip. Find a safe space where your mind can see everything clearly. I was feeling a mindfulness vibe when I wrote these for sure. It’s jumping out of the image at me while we are looking at them, but that safe space is the lay lines.

It’s about finding a safe space. When you are in a fight, there’s going to be lots of AOE damage. There’s going to be lots of things happening and damage happening, so you have to find the spot where you can put down those lay lines and be safe.

I want to comment on that safe space, possibly for me being right where I’m sitting at this moment doing the episode. There are several things I’m working on right now. I can talk about them at different amounts, but it doesn’t matter specifically what those things are. It comes down to writing things, doing some data analysis, and then also all the effort to keep the website building since it’s new and it’s early in creating that content.

Right where I’m sitting has all that energy. Those goals pop up in my mind when I sit here, just like the goals from video games I’m involved in also pop up. It’s the same spot. By sitting here, it’s like the flow state is most possible for me in my life in this chair, and my mind knows that. It’s like having a smart device where you look at it for the first time after sleeping, and all the notifications pop up. That can be overwhelming. At the same time, my brain knows what I can do right here, and then it’s all about how do I organize it? What do I want to be today?

Black Mage has different spells that are linked together in different ways. There are single-target fire spells, AOE fire spells, single-target ice spells, AOE ice spells, and then also same for thunder, and then there are the big burst moves like Xenoglossy, flare and despair. You earn those by consistently linking all these other spells together. It’s like a big payoff by doing things well.

That’s what I feel in my workday. Ironically, despair is one of the best moves that you can cast of the Black Mage. When you get to cast that spell, it means that you have played the class correctly for over a minute. How cool is it to think about the things we do in our day where if we look at these things like they are rewarding, and they are signs that we have done things well for 30 minutes, for an hour, for half a day? It’s like recording this show. It’s a sign that I have done things well on Tuesday for a complete workday.

This is like a treat every week. It’s something we get to do. I usually work pretty much like 30 minutes before we record. I like that. I feel like you also mentioned a lot of different spells and things you can do, and that probably brings us to our next point.

The different roles that I have require me to be creative when I look at my day. That’s the core value of this final mental health tip or the final real one. Be creative. There are so many ways to burn down the biggest challenges in life and reach that moment of success. Black Mage is a very methodical class. It’s not spontaneous and it’s not easy to feel effective at. You have to understand a lot before you start seeing how Black Mage can be fun in Final Fantasy XIV. That’s part of the reason that I’m drawn to it. It feels like I have linked together complex things in order to do it well for eight minutes straight or if the bosses we are working on are over ten minutes long.

It’s probably enough challenge for you to be able to reach your flow.

With the low challenge, you can have all the skills in the world and you’ll still end up being filled with apathy or boredom. I am not good enough to feel bored when I’m playing the Black Mage. It’s about taking that anxiety and that tension and trying to squeak it into the psychological flow.

Find a safe space where your mind can see everything clearly. Click To Tweet

I remember before, I’m not great at names of moves, but I have a feeling it has something to do with the Aetherial Manipulation where before you put those pieces together, it was the Savage Leviathan fight, and it was very challenging for you. Having that extra little tool in your belt made it so that it looked like it helped.

Adding the additional macro to where I can hover my mouse over one of my teammates and then use that move to shift over to them. My feet will lift off the ground and I will get carried by the Aetherial current to my teammate. That completely changed the way the class is. Before, I knew you could do that, you just die a lot. That’s it. You have to choose not to use your magic spells all the time because you are running all over the place to survive.

In the higher levels of strategy in the game, when you are trying to cover the intense challenges, you have to be able to use Aetherial Manipulation because that allows the Black Mage to shoot all over the battleground and get out of some nasty acts of violence before it kills them. That is a good memory for me that is from our one-year anniversary show that we did live. That was the night that we beat Leviathan the first time.

That’s another example of you being creative. There are a lot of different things you can do in games to beat the bosses and avoid the AOEs. There are a lot of things you can do in real-life to reach those goals and avoid pitfalls.

The real-life connection to what we are describing with Aetherial Manipulation is you may have a skill, talent, ability or a piece of knowledge inside of you that absolutely factors into a challenge you’ve taken upon yourself. You want to succeed. You want to be able to be this new thing within yourself in the life that you are living.

A lot of times, just having the knowledge or having a strategy is not the same as executing it. Sometimes when you are trying to apply something, you have to go outside the box a little bit to make sure it fits into your day in a way that’s usable. Aetherial Manipulation as a spell for my avatar is a skill that I always had once the spell unlocked at whatever level it does, but I didn’t know how you use it correctly.

Only by looking at all the different things I could connect it with that are outside-the-box tools did it become one of the most important spells that I rely on to be effective. We have so many of these things in corporate life, employee life, or even if we are trying to start a business and be entrepreneurial. There are so many different things where we absolutely could do it manually the hard way, but by thinking outside of the box, we unlock all kinds of potential for ourselves.

It reminds me of the first time I realized that Lightroom was a thing because I edited my photos in Photoshop exclusively. This was many years ago, but Lightroom makes editing so much faster and easier. It was life-changing for me.

For me, and people who follow me on different things probably have noticed that I have become a lot more present every day, sharing the different things from the website and the full width of everything that I do. That’s because I added Hootsuite to what I have included in my private practice/online presence business.

That has opened up opportunities for me to take the time and include LinkedIn and Instagram more in sharing the information that we create both in the show and also in general, Dr. Gameology content. Before those two websites, I would always leave them out because it felt like a clunky little bit of extra work, but we got creative. We added them in and it turns out that I get a lot of interaction in those two places.

Figuring out social media is pretty business-changing. I will say that.

The final tip. The most important but maybe not, is whenever you can enjoy your cool hat. One of my favorite things was when we got to go on MegaCon and I got to wear my Black Mage hat all day. I can’t wait for the next fan convention so I can do that again.

TGP 25 | Black Mage
Black Mage: Look for signs that reward you for having done things well for 30 minutes or for a day. Like recording this podcast, it’s a sign that I’ve done things well.


It made it easy to find you when you were on the floor.

That was part of the deliberate creative strategy. We were there with a specific job. Let’s talk about Final Fantasy XIV Online. There’s no other way that anyone should meet me then that way with the hat. Let’s go on The Ascent. Elevate the topic if you can imagine that we have more things to add to playing ranged magic DPS.

We are going to keep this pretty simple, as far as The Ascent goes, even though there is a lot of material here. It comes down to there are some things that we haven’t talked about. I want them to be on the show. I want everyone to start thinking about when you create a character and play these role-playing games in the ways that we choose to, how deep is the connection with who we are as people, and the way that we have created our characters and set them up in the way we find success with them?

There are three concepts that we are going to hit 1, 2 and 3 for The Ascent. The first one is in the form of Richard Bartle and the player types that were used to explain the way we do MUDs, Multi-User Dungeons, D&D Dungeons & Dragons, and other role-playing games. Inside Bartle’s Player Types, there are four basic types of players.

There’s the achiever, the explorer, the killer, which sounds like it’s you when you were playing World of Warcraft, and the socializer, which sounds like you now. Meanwhile, I’m the achiever. Bartle’s Player Types are still pretty solid as a starting point. It keeps it simple and it gives you a starting point for understanding two things. What is your focus on and how do you engage?

If you look at this grid, it’s a quadrant grid. If we focus on ourselves and the other players, then we are going to focus our change on the way we interact with other people, but there’s also the focus on the structure of the world, which are going to be things like finding the achievements so we can accomplish them like the checklist that we talked with West about in terms of the open world that is Elden Ring.

Whereas if you are player-focused, you are going to be more involved in looking at other characters in the world, finding them and deciding whether I’m going to aid them or whether I’m going to destroy them. The left and right parts of this quadrant grid are, “Am I going to act on the world around me or am I going to interact with the world around me?” Meaning am I going to do things that are going to change the situation I’m in or am I going to engage with the things that will give me new experiences with this game that I’m in?

It’s so cool to talk about this because it’s such a new twist on that gaming persona idea that we are always talking about. Ranged DPS, with magic or the force or any form of aether, weave, or what is it in Elden Ring, Glintstone? These are things that I use to accomplish my goals. They are not about war or conversation. They are the most efficient way for me to stand outside the swinging range of those swords, axes and destroy things with things that equate to knowledge, intelligence and strategy for me.

We have an achievement-based world structure with me seeing the best way for me to accomplish goals as I define them. What we have is a security-seeking achiever with a logistical connection to the game world, but because of the range, it shifts over to being a strategic connection with the game world.

I am always in this battle on this quadrant between the left side and the right side, but because I chose ranged, you could argue that I have bits of that achiever but I ended up being more rational, strategic and focused on what my character becomes. I spent all this time talking about the right side, and then because of the combat style, you end up being on the other side, Jenny.

You’ll notice on this chart too, that the personality types from the Myers-Briggs are listed. This chart that leads to the third chart down is called the DGD 1, Digital Game Design 1. This is from a book by Bateman and Boon called 21st Century Game Design. This whole structure is how my research life was born. It’s this idea that games are designed to appeal to casual and hardcore players in certain ways, killers, socializers, explorers, and achievers in different ways, and that those ways consider your personality type in constructing what we call the gamer persona.

I’m trying to see where I fit in this. It seems a little bit obvious to me that I am a socializer. It’s further solidified by the fact that my personality type is listed there. That seems pretty cool. The 2nd or the 3rd graphic on our notes is a little bit confusing for me because are you supposed to fall in line with hardcore if you are a socializer?

Be creative. There's so many ways to burn down the biggest challenges in life and reach that moment of success. Click To Tweet

It is a way to consider how do you consume content in games? Do you go for the deepest challenges? Do you go in with the goal of having a good time and doing what comes to you? Are you going to continue fighting bosses that have killed you 45 times? Maybe some of this conceptual design of games that are going to appeal to you is for more of a casual play style.

This graphic leads to all kinds of other game design decisions. It’s not an end-all be-all. It’s more of a roadmap that you deviate from based on the game that you are designing. I’m not a game developer. I’m talking a little bit outside of my scope, but I’m talking as a lifelong fan of video games and a person who has researched them and used instruments to understand game-playing populations that use some of these letter designations and use some of these categorizations for online game motivators.

This model predates a lot of the things that have come out that are new, especially with Bartle’s Player Types. It reaches back to the history of role-playing games and explains how we got to where we are. I find it interesting that I connect with certain words like achiever. When you look at INTJ and you look at what stats I like to boost in my characters, intelligence seems to be a knowledge-seeking stat style. What’s my combat style range? Why? I don’t want to get hit by all the melee moves that easily.

We end up with this hybrid me. I’m not an explorer in the extreme. I am gravitating closer and closer to the way I play to the guardian achiever logistical types. The ISTJ or the ISFJ. Even though in my personality, I would never get an S for that second letter. The only times where a T might flip to an F is when I’m focusing on mindfulness and compassion towards other people. Sometimes my role as a counselor and as a grad school professor has resulted in me taking questions that are of that thinking feeling type, and getting a slight feeling preference.

It doesn’t last long, but it can happen based on circumstances where I’m so far out of my comfort zone. Having to grant accommodations to people and not acknowledge the rules and the expectations. My way of thinking shifts into, “You can’t be a thinker here because people let you down so much, you have to feel for them.”

Sign up for a class with me, everybody. Hearing me wrestle with how these are not extremes. They occur on continuums and they are continuums that overlap with each other. You can be 30% something and 70% something else. How do you think that changes the way you are seeing this content with the DGD 1 and the Bartle player types?

One of my greatest motivations is the socialization aspect of games, but I also enjoy achieving things. I like getting all the things and collecting all the things. This is funny because my personality type is also in this area, DGD 1 participant. If I move along the line towards the achiever as the socializer, it coincides with the participant, which is diplomatic and logistical. That sounds right to me. I have always known that these are the two things that keep me playing a game. It is something where I can achieve things and something where I can enjoy the players in the game.

It’s almost like we are more than one thing, even though we are doing things together with other people. Every person involved in that activity is more than one thing as well, which is why MMOs are so exciting for me because you can fulfill so many different motivations by playing just one game. In terms of developing empathy and awareness for other people or maybe even emotional competence, when you join a group and you are on comms in Discord, and you are all together for that evening to work on a raid, every single person with their microphone and headset had a day that happened to them.

When you think about all the things it took for you, and when I think about all the things it took for me to be on that call right now to focus on this boss and this strategy, every person in that Discord channel can say the same thing, the events are different and the way we reacted to them are unique to us, but we all had just as many things occur. That is true when we pass every single person on the sidewalk, grocery store or in a theme park, every single person has a whole life that they are living.

When we form judgments or decisions about how we look at them or things that are flashed judgments about how they are impacting our little comfort zone bubble that we are walking around with, it’s fascinating to multiply all the little events that occur for us by the number of people that are around us right now, and realizing that is what reality is. When I look at all the little boxes on our grid like this, it feels cool to me that video games are an approximation of the metaphor of what societies are.

With that mind-breaking thought in mind, let’s go on The Return, where we get back to our daily lives and take our next step forward. Jenny, we crammed so many cool things into our episode. I’m going to say that those are facts. We started with the Black Mage mental health spells, and then we added in Bartle’s Player Types, Keirsey and temperament, and also the DGD1. What do you think are the most rational things to take with you? That’s a buzzword from the Keirsey and temperament. What do you think are some of the biggest things you are going to take with you during your journey?

I’m going to channel my inner Black Mage.

TGP 25 | Black Mage
Black Mage: You may have a skill, talent, ability, or piece of knowledge inside of you that factors into a challenge that you’ve taken upon yourself. But you have to learn how to execute that ability correctly first.


What level is your Black Mage?

She’s level 35.

That’s higher than I thought by 34 levels.

I did resonate with a lot of the tips that we talked about in the Superpower Toolkit post that you made. I have got a busy week or a couple of weeks ahead of me, so I’m going to stay creative, find my safe space, and understand that I need to be patient to work towards my goals.

I also will continue doing all of those things. I’m excited to be able to jump back into the raid team because I hadn’t been able to fit it in scheduling-wise and energy-wise and be able to jump back in and be with friends during a game. Those things are all important to see my context but also to be aware that it’s also impacting the context of other people. That’s a fun part of video games. The final quest for everyone to take on as we move forward with our day is to enjoy the epic hat and continue the journey.

See you next episode.


Important Links


Bateman, C., & Boon, R. (2006). 21st century game design. Course Technology. 

Keirsey, D. (1998). Please understand me II: Temperament, character, intelligence. Prometheus Nemesis Book Company. 

Kaufmann (2020). When We Play Games: An Overview Using Personality and Gaming Motivation. Presented for Geek Therapeutics on December 5th, 2020.

More Episodes