What is metagaming?

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Postby Baine Coolwater on October 18th, 2011, 3:58 am

Aidara,

Thanks, XD Can't anyway. :P Seems you can't delete from her scrap... or another's tread, or a founder's thread. Anyway, it's there. Just wanted Gossamer to know that she's appreciated and valued by newbs as well as the old guard. She, along with the other founders have built a world like I've never seen. It's magnificence is mind blowing.


As to metagaming:

Even though I have some game experience, this type of gaming...what is here on Mizahar, is different, like I said. That doesn't mean it's easy to switch from going great guns towards the goal.

I mean, I know I've for one, sat for butt-numbing hours ranking up a character in video games. Here, I have to keep reminding myself, "It's the journey, stupid!"
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Postby Zandelia on October 18th, 2011, 10:22 am

It is true that there are differing types of 'metagaming' within any writing roleplay site such as Mizahar. It's something that is largely unavoidable. Sometimes it's down to not having the correct mindset, or as Baine put, its a difficulty in transition from other - perhaps different - forums. Such things can be understood, helpfully changed/guided in the correct mindset and forgiven for the most part. Everyone makes mistakes after all.

I know for a fact that I have caught myself writing with touches of 'metagaming' in the past, despite a very strong desire not to do so, which makes me think that perhaps in some way it might also be said to be partially societical. We live in a world where information can be aquired at the touch of a button, the click of the keyboard or the ringing of a telephone. It is not overly surprising to me then that sometimes, unintentionally or not, we find characters (even our own) displaying such traits too. In terms of the 'knowing the unknowable' point made above, of course.

In terms of 'metagaming' outside of the 'knowing information' point I have to say that I haven't encountered or read much in the scenario of 'I killed you because I'm awesome' or a 'My character has a 100 skill in Longsword from the start'. The ones I have consistantly seen have been in the CS forum, and have been firmly but fairly stopped as appropriate - so I can only say well done to the admin of Mizahar on that score :)

I think, though, that everyone is guilty of 'metagaming' a little bit. That extra few points in Longbow you might of acted out in order to make a shot for story purposes, that dash of running that allowed you be a bit faster than those pack of wolves or the time you should probably have Overgiven more but didn't have the heart to write it out. We all love our characters, and as such we do 'help them out' a little bit now and then.

I suppose, on that regard, it's more about how severe the 'metagaming' is and whether it's motivated by a desire to 'be the best' or just 'continue the story' as to whether it's overlooked or taken to task.

Those are my current thoughts, after waking up and reading the thread. Thy may be a bit jumbled. Feel free to tear them apart, as is your right in the site :P
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Postby Verilian on October 18th, 2011, 12:41 pm

My Thoughts

Okay, first off, I'd like to address something I saw in the previous post. Something about giving yourself a few extra points to make a shot for story purposes. I don't think that's really metagaming, for one, and I'm not condoning it but I am going to quote a discussion from the Staff Lounge in regards to magic. "For the rest, I try to evaluate how the spell impacts the thread. Magic is just a narrative tool to me, so I can bend the rules a little to make a great story rather the other way around." -Tarot

Now.. this doesn't mean you can just do something because it is cool and makes you look better, that isn't helping the story, it's just helping you. But this does mean that there is a little bit of leeway on skill points. Who can say what the difference between a 23 point skill and a 27 point is? Yes, one is Novice and one is Competent, but if you really really need to make that shot for the sake of the thread then go ahead and make it. Even novices get lucky every now and then. The key is to never overdo it, don't always make the shot, and remember that novices (and even masters) do miss sometimes.

Now.. metagaming. As a dungeon master of many years with a party who loves to tweak their characters into the most powerful beings possible (they once took down an iron golem with their level 3 characters using clever placement of ropes), I have a lot of experience dealing with metagaming. Unfortunately there is no real way to stop it, you can only correct it when it happens. Sometimes the offending player will listen and change their way, but usually they will not. In these instances, unless you are a storyteller and it's your job to deal with it, I recommend just moving on. Submit your complaint to your local ST and they will deal with it, but don't let it ruin your gaming experience.

And for those of you out there who do metagame, don't feel like you are a horrible horrible person. We all do it, even when we try not to. It's impossible not to do it, so you just have to be conscious of what you are writing, try to put yourself into your characters shoes, and please if someone criticizes your post and says you might be metagaming, don't get angry. Just reread your post, think to yourself, "Would my character know that, or do I just know that?" And if the answer is no, your character wouldn't, then change it. Simple as that. Don't get angry, because then not only has the player who complained had a bad experience, but you will too.

And I have to leave for work now so I'll leave it at that.

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Postby Jonathon DuFraine on October 18th, 2011, 12:56 pm

Lightning! I have that game. Had the gameplay of a controller without any buttons, and enough emo in it to make a million burly lumberjacks cry and start wearing black, but I kinda liked it.

Ahem. I mean, uh, serious conversation!
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Postby Zandelia on October 18th, 2011, 1:22 pm

That's exactly what I meant Verilian! Thanks for putting my garbled words into a more understandable context in terms of my skill points bit. I blame my lack of clarity upon my lack of coffee at the time :P

All great writers do it, even the best authors - of ours and any age. The concept 'deus ex machina' springs to mind on the story plot point. We all wish we didn't have to use it, it is something that perhaps some wish didn't exist - but all writers have to use it at some point. Even the best ones. Realistically it's only the way in which it is employed, and the extent of its usage, that should be questioned and monitored.

At any rate, I have coffee now and I'm a bit more energetic. Time to try and post ;)
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Postby Caelum on October 18th, 2011, 1:56 pm

My dollar plus change is that a) I find myself in complete agreement with Verillian (not a big surprise) and b) the fact that an entire prong of our rules system has been abused for the sake of entertainment, the end result being the severely diminished integrity and useful application of it at all, does not in any way help the metagaming situation in forum. This is pretty ironic considering that said prong essentially exists for that purpose.

*Yes, I am referring to the Lore system.

Back to work now,
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Postby Seven Xu on October 18th, 2011, 2:06 pm

Katie's got a very sharp point. That's why I love her.

Lore should be a database of information that your character knows and is unique to them. Lore is a part of who your character is, a list of 'been-there-done-that's that you should be proud of. Things such as religious mythology, pertinent worldly information, and other facts and fictions not attributable to skills. In fact, they should be just as important as skills, but a lot of mods make them some sort of frivolous "prize", that isn't rewarding at all. In fact, when I spend hours and hours writing and get a joke reward, it's a little insulting. I'd rather get no lore at all. You don't give out experience in 'being silly hurr +5', do you?

I don't want to get on a dog the mods rant, because they all do a great job at running this vast world. I do just want to throw a word to the wise GS/AS/DS/RS/Founder (as most of you are, or else you wouldn't have such a title) that (from my humble opinion) Lore should not be a list of random silly facts or jokes (durr getting punched hurts; okay, well, most people could assume that, I don't need it listed on my CS), and players should be just as excited to aim for certain lores as they do with skills. Keep in mind it's entirely a two sided coin, most often people get what they deserve; time to time I just find myself picking and choosing through lore when I know I'd never do that with skill points. Could this be a personal thing? Am I a minority in this? Maybe. It's just my opinion.

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What is metagaming?

Postby yingxuy on December 5th, 2011, 2:39 am

Just hellishly busy with work, I would be more appropriate humor response. I am not mad, but found the whole thing very interesting.
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What is metagaming?

Postby Kvar Driftweaver on December 5th, 2011, 1:56 pm

Didn’t see the initial discussion but here goes. First and foremost for me the most fun in long term character development, is probably in order of preference.

1, Character Family/Friends/Rivals and bitter (mature, well written) enemies.
2, Epic Plot Arcs that stay with you for years. My favourite lasted 2 years, that was something to see, really was engaging and deep.
3, Passionate, important, or driving reasons to do what a character is doing.

If my character has the above he is as strong a character as he’ll ever be, he is 100 in all skills in my book, even as a beggar, a child or someone who has never even picked up a weapon or cast a spell. That is how I rank them up, always have, it’s what hooks you to a place, or story, past the intriguing lore and chance encounters which you have to work at writing well. If you tick the above boxes, plots just stream and you hit this zone with your muse that carries it.

More specially on meta gaming, I don’t know what it is here yet, but I am reading as I go:

In the many years I have roleplayed, honestly I just play with what I am given. You can learn to work with anything eventually even mary sue’d characters. Which after you’ve done one overpowered PC, for instance a diety, dragon etc in any setting, you’ve done them all, they are inherently boring long term as there is no danger or suspense unless you create that too. In the end if its all your own manufacturing you might as well write a novel, it feels forced or fake.

The critical balance imho is to always give a negative for any positive, it is the core sign of a really well thought out character. If you always have that dynamic going on you’ll have interesting concepts to explore, personal arcs to develop and a reason to write them long term.

For instance, if someone is a mind reader, my character will react as you would if someone read your thoughts. Depending on their temperament it would be fear/panic, deep suspicion, or an axe to the gut, they seem the most likely in this setting out of civilisation anyhow. I’ll still maintain a decent flow, and not mind too much even if the character who meta gamed looks a bit silly.

If someone bunnies/godmods combat as another example, I can just roll with them being delusional or tricked into thinking they hit my character, you can communicate just about anything IC with enough practice at it.

Anyway just my 2 pennies, or in this case a solid pound :), hoped it helped anyone new to roleplaying. Looking forward to learning the individual skill dynamics, as that is next to impossible for a new writer to know if the skill isn’t described in detail. Breaking longsword down into 4 skill levels for instance is always going to be hit and miss as to taste.
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