Took longer than I'd planned but I'm back posting, this time I thought I'd go with something which comes up a lot when chatting about various 40k players... Hobby style.
Model wargaming hobbies are split between a lot of different aspects and while I suppose it is possible for someone to care for one aspect above all others the vast majority of players will have their interests spread across many, if not all the different types, which helps keeps things fresh and fun.
Before I talk about myself, I feel I'll explain my thoughts on the different aspects. Remember these aspects represent interests, not skill. You're more than likely to find someone with a high interest in any of the below, who isn't (yet) too skilled in the field.
So without further ado here is a quick summary of the aspects I'm talking about:
This is easily the most well known and talked about, which I've always found surprising. By competitive I don't mean players who disregard what I call the Golden Rule (i.e. that both players should have fun), which is something a lot of players think when they hear about competitive players. Thats not to say such players don't exist and they usually work similarly to true competitive players, just for different reasons.
Instead competitive players are those whose interest lies heavily in the game itself, focusing on learning the rules and tweaking their army lists so they can do their best on the tabletop. Interestingly, a true competitive player is happier when facing a similar player so that their hard work and army list planning is truly tested in a challenging environment. Whether they win or lose, its the challenge of bettering oneself that matters to a true competitive player.
For the hobbyist the game comes to life the moment they open a box and glance over the contents. A number of these players will spend more time tidying up mold lines, removing flash and deciding on the position of the model than many others will spend gluing and even painting. Conversions aren't always necessary as GW does a great job filling boxes with options and details parts these days, to the hobbyist coming up with a unique and strong post for a standard model can be rewarding, many will go further and do conversions however whether this is a simple hand/weapon swap or detailed molding with green stuff or putty.
These players don't always get noticed or respected much, unless they also happen to be highly interested (and skilled) Painters (see below). This is perhaps in part because they (in my opinion) seem to prefer to let their models talk for them in this regard than detail what parts they used etc (I've met some who feel revealing such secrets to be akin to blasphemy). However personally I feel these players arguably push the hobby more than others.
This goes without saying as I'm sure we all know someone (or may be someone) who can spend happy hours with a brush in hand, applying additional details and highlighting beyond what in generally reckoned as tabletop quality. Many of these players likely enjoy talking for ages about paint schemes and highlighting methods, some even going as far as to detail which paints and what mix ratios they used. Of course some other players will find this odd or perhaps irritating, but the same can be said about players who go on talking about tactics and army list optimization.
Lovers of Fluff/Background
While a lot of players will skip straight to the army list or wargear sections of a codex when seeing it for the first time, there are those that will read over the stories and background fluff sections, some will not even glance at the rules at all. Many players will know how many Primarchs existed and could name which one led their favourite chapter but those heavily interested in the fluff of 40k will be those who can come up with a list along with an interesting fact of brief story for most of them.
As with all (except possibly the last) of these aspects, GW does a great job in giving the players what they want and keeping them with the hobby, the large background sections of each codex along with the multitude of books demonstates this well and few of those interested in the fluff will not have a selection of such books at home.
Probably the only aspect on this list which doesn't really have an extreme degree of focus in that you're unlikely to find anyone who only does the hobby to socialise while not having much interest in the other aspects. Chances are such people drift away after a short while.
On the other hand, chances are this aspect is one which almost every player has some interest in, whether you're a competitive player our seeking a new challenge or a painter after opinions or recognition, you'll have at least some interest in the social side of things. Perhaps there are a few who buy and paint the models only to keep them locked away in their study without others knowing, but I'd say they are the exception.
I'll be the first to admit I can be a bit of a cynic at times, so while a lot of others in my position will not include this aspect I feel to be honest I can't leave it out. These players may not admit their interest in this and many may not even realize (and could aggressively oppose the idea) but these players do exist and luckily are quite a minority. *smiles*
There are many types beyond the well known 'false-competitives' who build powerful forces and seek players to squash and defeat. Others include rule-nazi's who will put others down for rule mistakes (not to be confused with players who may instead politely correct the mistake and help their opponent learn), braggers who are so obsessed with their own skill in playing/painting etc that they scorn others and so forth.
Right, now that is all laid out I imagine a few perceptive readers may be able to guess where my interests lie...
Personally I consider my main interests to be hobbying & fluff, although I certainly do have a bit of a competitive streak *giggles* Painting (while I'm not bad) is always a frustration of mine, with my time often spent buying and building various models and then despairing that I now have to paint them.
As for socialness and grief-bringing... My cynicism regarding the second restricts my interest in the first, I've regularly been known to avoid playing someone unless I've either chatted and got to know them outside the game or watched them play someone else.
I do get a bit abrasive at times, my love of the games fluff and competitive streak fighting to the front and occasionally pushing others to learn the rules, improve their army and take an interest in the fluff of their force. Despite this a number of my friends still come to me for advice and to get my opinion on things (as I do with them), so I think I'm nice enough.
When it comes to armies, I have a slightly different outlook than a number of others. I regularly decide on a theme and from there that becomes the armies focus, regularly reaching the point where I reluctantly sacrifice competitive advantage to allow the force to remain tied to the fluff. In addition as a hobbyist I've a number of personalized/favourite models which I've built which I regularly squeeze into armies, to well show off I guess, which also go against the competitive factor somewhat (they rarely go against fluff as I use fluff to inspire my modeling).
Not all my army lists are what truly competitive players will call competitive, in part because of the previous reasons and also because sometimes I enjoy the competitive challenge of using a less than perfect list. I also worry about becoming a grief-bringer to a degree, which prevents me making a totally elite list...
Of course there will be those who'll see my lists and claim I'm highly competitive and they'll likely also be those who read them and see huge flaws. One of the great things about the hobby is that whatever our interest in the above aspects, we all come together and share our thoughts in order to enjoy the game... Unless you're a willing grief-bringer, in which case I do hope you don't live near me xD