Life as an INTJ Gamer

Both Incarnica and I test reliably as INTJ on the Myers-Briggs based personality tests. I might sometimes drift into the INTP zone, depending on the test and my mood at the time, but more often than not it’s INTJ. It can be difficult at times being out of step with 97%-99% of the world’s population, yet because of the nature of the personality type, computer gaming is a regular haven for me. However, MMOs offer a special set of challenges which I think are worthy of sharing.

What is an INTJ?

You can read up on the full Myers-Briggs test yourself and even do one of many online tests here if you like. In short the INTJ represents four basic elements which add up to create one of sixteen basic personality types. In my case they are:

Introverted: I always score exceptionally high in this department, though gaming does appear to offer me the ability to be more extroverted.

Intuitive: I have the ability to see the big picture, intuiting the pathways when otherwise lacking required information.

Thinking: Rather than relying on gut feelings and intuition, I think things through carefully before reaching a conclusion. This is one reason I don’t like to jump into things without at least some planning.

Judging: I tend to put greater trust in how I’ve thought things through rather than using the intuitive side. This is the weakest of my preferences and there are times, especially when unable to take the time to think, that I fall back more on the intuitive side.

Now I want to be clear that there is no one personality type that is special or better, but there are certain personality types which are better for certain things. You would not invite an INTJ to a party as your +1 if you had a choice, but you would ask one if they can fix your computer. Some people think that INTJs are special because we are a less common personality type, but those people are idiots. We are less common because we simply don’t fit into the moulds created by a social environment, so most people train themselves away from the INTJ mindset to conform to others. At least, that’s my opinion. Personally, I’m comfortable with who I am.

Why do INTJs play MMOs?

I have often asked myself why I play MMOs at all, especially when I am so crushingly introverted. It’s not as if the MMO games are better made or offer a more immersive experience than single player games, that certainly isn’t true. I have two theories on the issue, only one of which I will share.

Introversion, especially to the degree I have it, is a disability. One day spent out shopping might cost me a week for recovery. The logical thinking part of my mind recognises this disability and seeks to challenge it, but in a manner whereby I am in control of the environment. Ultimately, no matter what happens in an MMO, I can just log out. Sure, I might carry the impact of a bad social engagement for days or even weeks, but I am still able to break off the contact at will and take time to process what I’ve just experienced.

So in effect, I play MMOs as a way to improve myself. Over the years it seems to have only reinforced why I’m introverted, but it has still allowed me to learn new skills I can use to hide that aspect of my personality. These days most people would have no idea how introverted I am and if I tell them, they don’t believe me.

To more fully answer the question I posed above I should also add one more reason why an INTJ might like the MMO environment; we like mental challenges. When playing a single player game you reach a point where you suddenly ‘get it’. The workings of the system fall into place and suddenly the entire game loses any form of challenge. In an MMO world there is a constant ebb and flow, not just introduced by other players, but by the regular rebalancing each patch requires.

Understanding what the INTJ wants from you

In short an INTJ wants two things from you; a different point of view and a placeholder to allow access to content otherwise denied. I’ll start with the later point.

Every MMO has elements which require more than one player. While I can and have developed my skills and characters to function without the need for others, it has limits. Sure, I can solo most champs in the game, but I cannot enjoyably solo the dungeon content. At least not yet. Maybe once I run through successfully a few times I’ll be able to, but it takes experience.

We need others to help explore those parts of the world that still hold a challenge. In trying to work though the Exploration mode of some dungeons in GW2 Incarnica and I can do most of it, but would love just one more body to perform some small thing here or there to take us to that next step. Yet we do not tolerate fools, and the thought of a PuG is just impossible for our distrusting introverted selves to fathom.

As philosophers of a sort we also value alternate opinions. I fully accept that I do not always know the best way to do things, so I want to see how others do things. I often marvel at the approaches a new player will find to complete a task, and I find I can learn equally from old and new players. I also like to have someone to discuss things with, someone to ask me ‘why’ when I’ve forgotten to do that for myself. I often learn a great deal about some things just by trying to explain it to someone else. In short, it’s good to have someone to share the experience of gaming with if only to have another set of eyes to see the world through.

What do you get out of it?

Knowledge. INTJ personalities won’t always be able to provide genuine emotional support but within the confines of cyberspace we can usually make a good pretence at it. What most INTJs should be able to give is insight into unique ways of doing things, perhaps even methods which are otherwise arcane and unknown. INTJs can also offer unique ways of playing and experiencing the game, because we will have developed a point of view outside the general Meta.

While you remain useful, the INTJ will also tend to make a loyal friend. While I have grown used to people coming and going from games, for those who have stayed long enough I will give a great deal to see that person prosper. I don’t just give away gold and items, as freebies are not real lasting gifts, they are the gifts of the insecure because they stifle a person’s ability to learn how to gain things for themselves, and they foster dependence. Yes, an INTJ is very much in the ‘teach a man to fish’ camp of helpers.

Why INTJs cannot maintain relationships

While I have developed many valuable connections online, I do not need friendships in order to enjoy my gaming experience. As a result, if a person puts more ticks on the disadvantages column than in the advantages column, then I am not shy in distancing myself from them. Given Incarnica and I are both INTJs, this means if just one of us finds someone unsatisfactory, their disconnection with either one of us seems to force that person to feel obliged to disconnect with the other one of us. In more simple terms; if one of us falls out with someone, both of us fall out with them, even though we personally are capable allowing the other person to keep a friend we don’t want.

For myself I can cite many times people have simply moved on and because I don’t do the social media thing I’ve simply lost contact with them. There have been a few times where I found someone’s behaviour changed over time, so I terminated the contact because I no longer found value in their company. Last of all I can cite one time where I thought I had found an actual genuine friend, only to have to walk away from her because I couldn’t stand by idle while they chose to destroy their life rather than save themselves. Remember, INTJs operate more by logic than emotion, so common methods of emotional manipulation simply don’t work on us.

Disadvantages of having an INTJ friend

I admit it; I’m a complete bitch. Not because I seek to be a bitch, it’s because I operate on a basis of honesty and lack of understanding about the emotional states of others. In my case I have a personality disorder which adds to that so perhaps I’m not representative of the average INTJ. Still, I’m the sort of person who if you asked me, ‘does my bum look big in this’, would respond with such deadpan certainty that you might be deeply insulted and think I mean you harm.

It takes time to understand how an INTJ views the world and the way we express ourselves. INTJs tend to want honesty, so if we respect you we’ll be honest with you, and that’s something that tends to put people off. One thing I struggle to deal with in my interactions is how dishonest most other people are all the time. You are so accustomed to constant dishonesty that you fail to even recognise when you are doing it. As a result, when faced with unrelenting honesty from someone, you tend to view it as an attack upon your person. It’s tough, both ways.

That one time we do mean you harm, you’ll know it. In our heads we’ve already prepared for the day when you turn on us. We’ve already played through countless scenarios and have our strategy ready. When you decide you no longer want to be our friend my advice is to be upfront about it and just walk away. Leave it at that and we’ll likely be able to leave it at one scathing counter attack and we’re done. Enter into a war and suddenly all those little emotional confessions you’ve made, all those dark secrets you’ve revealed, will come out. It simply becomes logical for the INTJ to use those secrets as weapons in the arsenal. So walk away, don’t run, just walk, and leave it be. That way the INTJ can walk the other way and your secrets will remain safe.

Should you look for an INTJ companion?

As I said at the outset, it depends on what you want as to which personality type suits best. What I can say is that most people will want more socially competent friends than the INTJ can be. If you have an INTJ friend, there is a good chance she won’t want to hang out with your other friends much, relegating her to ‘backup friend’ for when no others are online for you. Yes, it is hurtful to me that you should treat me as your friend of last resort, but by the same token, I understand.

Yet what the INTJ will be able to offer is everything that most other friends cannot. You can talk to us about anything and get intelligent and honest feedback. In fact, honesty is what we do best. Rather than pander to what we think you want to hear, the INTJ provides a well thought out logical response to your issues. We also adapt well to new situations and can swiftly evaluate scenarios we have thus far had no experience with, making us excellent advice givers. We’ll even tell you what areas we are uncertain about rather than gloss over them.

Whatever it is about me, and maybe it’s not just the INTJ thing, I have had a lot of people come to me with some very deep dark secrets. People can intuitively tell they can trust me, and they can, because to me it is simply illogical to share information held in confidence. Assuming I even had friends to share the information with. I’ve talked down at least three people from suicide, not by getting all emotional about it, but by accepting suicide as a logical choice and discussing the benefits and ramifications of the choice.

In short, an INTJ can be treated like an old loyal friend for life right out of the box, and when you are invariably done with them, they tend to be easier to discard than most as we are not, generally, the stalker type.

Final Word

As an INTJ, what I get out of a game tends to differ from most people. I’m not there for the people, the people are there for me. Other players are a logical requirement in order to experience certain gaming aspects, as well as handy tools through which to experience the game and add data to my exploration. They also exist to help me learn skills I can use to deal with other real world people.

Don’t be afraid to adopt an INTJ today, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. If you are INTJ yourself then know that it is not only you who has a morbid fascination with how the other 99% of the world lives. Maybe try to find other INTJs like us and we can compare notes over the corpses of a dungeon boss or two.