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Author Topic: Preventing the Metagame  (Read 7832 times)

Stryc9Fuego

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Preventing the Metagame
« on: 28 Oct 2008, 12:52 »

I was having some thoughts and I wanted to get them out on the inter-webs, and the main thought is that metagaming can be bad. You know what I mean, someone who isn't playing for the fun of the game, but just for the pluses and minuses situated with a game.

I wanted to open a discussion for ideas on ways to prevent it.

One idea that I had is for set items to impose a stiff penalty for owning the entire set of rather than a bonus. The IRL idea for this being that items like a goofy red squeaky nose, funky shoes, or a loud plaid vest are silly and humorous on their own (adding pluses to some undetermined 'fun' value), but the full clown outfit is creepy and disturbing. Or a white shirt and tie or a blazer by itself can be a sign of trust and professionalism, but a full-on 3 piece suit makes you think "attorney" or "politician".

The second idea would be to hide the numbers. Don't make it obvious what the various bonuses and penalties are for an item. I got this idea while playing through an absolutely ancient CRPG, Dungeon Master. There are 2 special sets of armor there, called the Plate of Darc and the Plate of Lyte. What makes them so special? I had no idea. They just kind of looked cool. I couldn't tell you how they adjusted any stats, or how much they protected, or anything like that. I just know that I felt better about my fighters wearing them.

Somewhere along the line, though, it became less about looking cool, and more about numbers. Less "game", and more "math puzzle".

That's my 2 bitz. What do you think? Any ideas for putting the brakes on metagaming? Thoughts on if it's a good or bad thing in the first place? Let's open the floor.

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #1 on: 28 Oct 2008, 13:05 »

Min/maxing has been around since games existed.  Most people never played a serious game of Wizardry 1 (which came out in 1981) without patiently re-rolling all their characters until they got a fluke double amount of stat points.

It's not going anywhere.  I don't like it because sometimes it makes me think too hard in unintuitive ways (JRPGs are sometimes really annoying in that way), but at the same time, it's there and it's not going away.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #2 on: 28 Oct 2008, 13:21 »

Are we primarily talking MMOs here? Computer RPGs in general? Table top games? All of the above? In any case, for some people, the mathematical puzzle is a large part of the fun. Some people really enjoy crunching the numbers and finding that combination that hikes that one stat up as high as it will go. I can see the appeal of a game that doesn't let you do that. In table top gaming, we call that a "closed sheet game." The GM is the only one who ever sees the character sheets and everyone else just has a vague idea of what his or her character can and can't do. It's fun, but it's not for everyone. I think if you were to do something like that in an MMORPG, you'd just get a bunch of people experimenting to try and figure out what everything does. The math might be hidden, but that doesn't stop me from figuring out that goblins die faster when I hit them with sword A then they do when I hit them with sword B. And again, there's nothing really wrong with that. Some people like crunching the numbers. Unless they're seriously detracting from other people's ability to enjoy the game, then what's the harm?
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #3 on: 28 Oct 2008, 13:54 »

This is why I like something like White Wolf's storytelling system in the case of pen and paper games. The game isn't about stats, or at least isn't if the storyteller is any good. You try and actually role-play rather than maximizing your character. Of course, in that case it always depends on the player/storyteller relationship.
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snalin

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #4 on: 28 Oct 2008, 14:01 »

I'm playing a text-based MMORPG named Marcoland, and the shear amount of time people put into breaking the numbers, finding monster stats, making calculators, figuring out the best combination and ways to grow... It's staggering. Some people love the feeling of having understood something and sharing it with someone else.

Metagaming is usually (in MMOs) just an endgame thing. And endgame stuff takes another kind of gamer than the average bunch, collectors or pvpers. And collectors love metagaming. The problem comes when people that just want to hang out and fight has to spend hours of grind just to be able to do what they want. But even if you hide the numbers, people will crack them. RPGs are not supposed to be skill-based, they are about numbers.

If you want an MMO where grinding for equipment doesn't matter, wait of Darkfall
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #5 on: 28 Oct 2008, 14:09 »

(Dungeon Master was a great game. I miss it dearly)

But yeah, I've always thought stats were a bit ... off. Role playing, I figured, was about playing a role. And that shouldn't mean having to play a role to death by having to level and get better stats, just so that you could be the character that you had in mind from the outset.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #6 on: 28 Oct 2008, 14:12 »

I refer to this as power gaming, the notion that knowledge of what the best items are and how to get them to me undermine the suspense of disbelief which is the core of 'fun' in vid games.  Though I will admit in MMOs esp, power gaming is built into its core, as well as arena style multiplayer games like halo in which battles are one by increments and specific knowledge.  But for the vast majority of single player games I have to consciously avoid hints/tips or guides and cheats etc to get the most out of the game.

As we speak Im playing Ragnarok online in which its virtually mandatory to have a database on in one window and maybe a character creator in another, and I get off on hair brained outside the box schemes to be the best at whatever niche best suits what I like, as opposed to what is strictly the best.  That being said, I want to create the absolute best niche character that there can be, which does involve planning and forethought.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #7 on: 28 Oct 2008, 14:24 »

man I rock at Halo and never look at no damn numbers.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #8 on: 28 Oct 2008, 15:04 »

This is why I like something like White Wolf's storytelling system in the case of pen and paper games. The game isn't about stats, or at least isn't if the storyteller is any good. You try and actually role-play rather than maximizing your character. Of course, in that case it always depends on the player/storyteller relationship.

As you sort of conclude, the relative levels of roleplaying or powergaming in any pen and paper game has a lot more to do with the GM and the players than the game engine. If you all want to powergame, you can go right ahead - even in White Wolf games. If you want to roleplay, you an do that, even in D&D.

If you want a gaming engine that really encourages roleplaying over roll-playing, try a diceless system.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #9 on: 28 Oct 2008, 16:07 »

If you want an MMO where grinding for equipment doesn't matter, wait of Darkfall

Man, I read all the things about it and got kind of excited.  Then I looked at the screenshot gallery they have on their site and realised that I couldn't play the game because the art direction and rendering tech on it is fucking pitiful and reminds me of EQ2.  How the hell can the developers think that plastic skin, shiny, plastic armour, hard lighting and hard, jagged shadows is acceptable?  It's like, ok I understand you've spent a lot of time on the textures because the textures actually look quite good.  Could you not have spent a little bit more time on the quality of the models and licensed a decent fucking engine for the game?  Or if you are using a decent engine then what the fuck are you doing?  Why does it look shit?  Why is the bloom lighting only working on some models and not others, making the whole scene look like a conglomerate of objects photoshopped together badly.  I wish I could work as quality control for some of these fucking games so I could yell at them and ask what the fuck they think they are doing.

So anyway, meta-gaming.  The way I see it is this.  If you were an adventurer/warrior/wizard/whatever in these game settings you would be able to gauge an item's quality by looking at it and testing it and feeling it and suchlike.  We can't, because we are not there and don't have the relevant skills/knowledge to know how to check the item's quality, so we get stats to tell us what's up.  You think that a ye olde adventurer wouldn't care about the quality of the gear that was meant to keep them from dying?  Bullshit, they'd try to get the best their money could buy them, and if they heard tell in the taverns of some legendary armour they could get by killing a den of ogres over the hill they'd be devising ways of doing so or at least tricking them out of it somehow.  For adventurers gear would be like gadgets.  Some people would be content with what stops them from getting killed, but others would only be happy one-upping their adventurer buddies so they had something to show off/brag about.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #10 on: 28 Oct 2008, 16:29 »

exactly.

i've been playing around with an idea in my head for a game (some kind of rpg, online or otherwise; doesn't matter) where all the weapons and armor have the typical stats you would see in these types of games, except they are all hidden until you've actually tested that particular stat.

say you pick up a sword. you have no way of knowing how effective it is until you chop something with it. maybe you chop something to test it out only to discover a fire enchantment or some such magic mumbo jumbo. ya dig?
found some new armor? well the only way to know how well it protects against fire is by setting it on fire etc. etc.

anyway, i thought it sounded like a pretty good idea.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #11 on: 28 Oct 2008, 16:36 »

Yeah, I like that idea. That is actually the way that a lot of games do it, but they have say, a base set of stats for the underlying item (sword, axe, whatever) and then if you get it checked out you'll notice it's got magical properties.  I really disliked the way that Baldur's Gate and NWN (and therefore I guess, D&D in general) implemented it in that you couldn't actually use the item until you got it identified (I think it was those games).  In my opinion you should be able to sense that there's something special about it, then certain things will become apparent as you use it.

In addition to your idea you could probably also get it divined by a wizard or something like that.  If it's got multiple layers of enchantment on it then perhaps the wizard would only see/sense some of them, or perhaps if it's enchanted at a higher level of power than he/she has then they won't understand what the enchantments are at all.  There's so much potential in the idea.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #12 on: 28 Oct 2008, 16:47 »

indeed. i espescially like the potential for surprises if, for example, you pick up a peice of armor and figure out that it offers pretty good protection for most things but then sometime in the future you encounter something you didn't test for/encounter and realize it has a huge weakness to that particular thing.

espescially if all loot was randomly generated with random stats. you'd never be able to count on a certain item, everything would be a mystery.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #13 on: 28 Oct 2008, 17:08 »

That would probably be harder to store stats for in-game, though I guess?  For a single or even small multiplayer game that wouldn't be much of a problem, but I am guessing that for an MMO it would become troublesome.  Although, it would probably be a good thing in regard to both time-sinking and item variety if even the higher level MMO items were at least in some ways randomly assigned stats.  Maybe your high-level warrior item has high armour, high constitution, high strength or gives bonuses to crits or to-hit.  But maybe there would be ranges in these areas, and not all things available on all items.

One thing I dislike about itemisation in a lot of games is that there is generally one or two sets of items that are the duck's nuts and that's it.  If there was a bit more controlled randomisation (ie: no uber stats randomised onto level 1 gear) of some of the stats on items it would feel a bit better and there will always be the chance that items that you already have might drop again with better stats.

Something else that bothers me about some RPG style games is that you can kill like, 10 dudes and none of them will have armour on them despite looking like they are wearing some.  What the fuck is going on there?  If I kill a dude wearing armour I should see all their armour as lootable.  I don't care if it's shit, I should be given the option to take it and wear it, or take it and sell it.  If I am a level 1 character with shit gear and I kill a bandit then the chances are that that bandit will have slightly better armour than I do.  Let me wear it you fucking pricks!

To me, if itemisation was done in a more realistic fashion it would not be such a Big Deal as it is currently.  Higher drop rates but with partially randomised stats for even the highest level magical items would move things toward being more realistic without losing the time-sink factor that MMOs seem to like subjecting their players to.  Casual players will still be able to get "good" gear, but the more devoted players will have more time to re-run instances as they currently do in order to get second or third or fourth versions of the gear that drops in an effort to get a version with better stats.  Or perhaps they could take all the versions to a high-level smith or tailor or such and have that person combine the best attributes of all into one version?  Hooray for giving high-level crafters a decent, in-demand job.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #14 on: 28 Oct 2008, 17:17 »

Oh anyway, metagaming.  Can someone please tell me why exactly metagaming is bad?  How is "I will equip this sword because it's got +2 more strength than my old sword" worse than "I will equip this sword because goblins seem to die quicker when I use it" ?  Like I said earlier, if I were an actual warrior holding the two swords in question I could heft them for weight and balance, try out how sharp they were, use them on attack dummies and so forth to see which one felt better.  But then again if I were an actual warrior I would also need to train the fuck out of new equipment and skills, eat really shitty trail mix, hunt for food pretty much every goddamn day, bandage my wounds, walk with a limp and sometimes die horribly at the hands of asshole bandits.  I don't have time for most of that, so looking at the numbers on two swords and saying "Ok, this one is better, I'll equip this one" is a superior use of my in-game time.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #15 on: 28 Oct 2008, 18:03 »

In small groups, meta-gaming can be bad.  I remember last time I DMed a 2nd edition D&D game.  This was back in my frat days and most of the guys just wanted to play for fun.  One guy was a metagamer and took advantage of my laxity to pull out every rule book available and create a first level fighter capable of churning through 20 gobs like he was the proverbial hot knife.  It ruined the game for everyone else.

Metagamers can ruin the game in several ways.  The first is the above-mentioned example, wherein they can just suck all the fun out by being the uber-power house.  Combat is a significant portion of most game systems and totally dominating combat ruins the significant potion for the other players.

To select another obvious example, there's the rules-lawyer aspect.  The metagamer knows all the rules and thus is willing to argue with the DM into infinity in every situation.  Where's the fun in watching some asshole attempt to browbeat another asshole into submission?  It's worse if your DM is cool and wants to give the group the benefit of the dice; the metagamer becomes a god.  Worse yet, the DM shuts down and rule as precisely by the book as possible.



If you play for fun (and I usually do), the meta-gamer just plain ruins it.  He criticizes your choices for being suboptimal (by the by, the metagamer's usually a dude).  He pulls the focus of every encounter, combat or non.  He whines.  He agitates.  He's a stereotype.

The metagamer isn't a problem because he's a stereotype (most of us are stereotypes of one kind or another).  He's a stereotype because he's a problem.
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Dimmukane

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #16 on: 28 Oct 2008, 18:13 »

It's not quite the same as just equipping better armor, it's learning and exploiting the system in your favor in a way that skewers everyone else's experience.  Like in Oblivion, you were undetectable if you had high enough sneak/invisibility, and could walk all over any enemy because you were doing nothing but sneak attacks.  Take that and put it in a group setting, and the asshole that's doing it and taking all the fun is a metagamer.

At least, that's my understanding.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #17 on: 28 Oct 2008, 19:25 »

Metagamers (or any other annoying player stereotypes) can be trained like puppies. It's all about reinforcement.

If they do something bad, like be a rules-lawyer or build a stupid character, punch them in the arm or spray them with a water pistol. Or if you're not as violent as my friends, punish them in game by killing their character in a way that they could have avoided if they'd been roleplaying properly. Preferably in a way that is amusing for all the other players.

For example, for clerics, tell them that they lost all their memorised spells because their god thought they were being a dick. For warriors, get one of those nice monsters with acid attacks to melt off their armour and/or weapon so they have to survive without for the rest of the adventure. Etc etc.
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Alex C

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #18 on: 28 Oct 2008, 19:25 »

I think we need to define our terms a bit before going forward with this discussion.

Here's the terms as I understand them from my years of experience in tabletop and MUX enviroments:

Metagaming & OOC crossover: Basically, when you use Out-Of-Character (OOC) information to your advantage in the game world. It's inevitable to a certain extent because your understanding of your character's capabilities affects the way you percieve the world and how you gauge threats. If you're playing a powerful warrior, it's probably acceptable for you to realize whether or not you have a decent chance of killing those kobolds. However, if you're playing a naive, level 1 peasant-turned-reluctant-hero Fighter, but keep trouncing everything because you've memorized the entire Monster Manual and bought the module the GM is running, then well, obviously, things aren't going to be as fun as they could have been for everyone else.

Power Gaming: Full on min-maxing and treating the game as a challenge to be defeated. Power gamers tend to value games as an exercise in collaborative problem solving rather than cooperative storytelling. Personally, I don't have much problem with this kind of gaming, but it's not everyone's cup of tea and is the kind of thing often best done only in single player CRPGs (in my case, preferably after I've already experienced the story line in "normal" play once or twice). Power gaming is a seperate (but related) concept from metagaming primarily because it is possible to work efficiently within the game system without really taking advantage of any information they shouldn't be privy to.

Munchkining/Munchkins: People who do more than dabble in the previous two activities and adds in a healthy dose of plain ol' douche baggery. Most players will make decisions that benefit them in the game world. The Munchkin takes things to ridiculous extremes and uses metagaming and number crunching to hog the spotlight at every turn. I am often a bit of a "stealth" power gamer at my tables; I'd keep a few powerful tactics in my back pocket for a rainy day but would for the most part let the other party members run the show and rp as much as possible. A munchkin would take the same aces in the hole and use them at every single opportunity, patting himself on the back every step of the way. They also tend to be arrogant enough to think that people who find them annoying are just jealous, stupid, or both.
« Last Edit: 28 Oct 2008, 19:47 by Alex C »
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #19 on: 28 Oct 2008, 19:37 »

Yeah ok, by those definitions I am a powergamer, not a metagamer.  Carry on.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #20 on: 28 Oct 2008, 19:52 »

Yeah I dont have time to metagame, Ill stick to not wanting to but sometimes doing it anyway powergaming
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #21 on: 28 Oct 2008, 20:07 »

Yeah ok, by those definitions I am a powergamer, not a metagamer.  Carry on.

i am one too.
i really don't care for rp.
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Stryc9Fuego

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #22 on: 28 Oct 2008, 20:38 »

Iin a pen and paper setting, I personally tend to go more for a fun character. Yeah, the bard I rolled up COULD wear some sort of armor, but he's a performer. He dresses in loud, flashy clothes. Yeah, it would probably make good sense to give him a large sword, but I prefer using a saber. And yes, because he's an Elf, he could use a bow, but he doesn't roll that way. I picked what made sense to the character. I'm not that great in combat, but I'm awesome once we hit a town.

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #23 on: 29 Oct 2008, 03:19 »

As far as games and mmo's go, winning is fun. I play for fun. Knowing stats and strategies and special cases and builds an so on helps you win which helps you have fun. Metagaming is only "bad" when your enemies are better at it than you are.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #24 on: 29 Oct 2008, 08:38 »

Man, if you hate metagaming Disgaea must be like the worst game ever. That game only exists to have its rules exposed and then exploited to breaking point.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #25 on: 29 Oct 2008, 10:01 »

Yeah, I'm a big believer that metagaming only is a problem in multiplayer or tabletop contexts when people have different expectations of how the session should go or when a select number of tactics are so powerful that the game inadvertently centers upon them. Meta and power gaming can also make life a bit difficult on the GM since he'll have to work that much harder to provide his players with a challenge. In a single player context such thing don't even qualify as victimless crimes, much less evils to be avoided.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #26 on: 29 Oct 2008, 10:56 »

Yeah, I like that idea. That is actually the way that a lot of games do it, but they have say, a base set of stats for the underlying item (sword, axe, whatever) and then if you get it checked out you'll notice it's got magical properties.  I really disliked the way that Baldur's Gate and NWN (and therefore I guess, D&D in general) implemented it in that you couldn't actually use the item until you got it identified (I think it was those games).  In my opinion you should be able to sense that there's something special about it, then certain things will become apparent as you use it.

Regular D&D handles this better; you can try as much crazy shit as you want to figure out what an item does. Identify is useful a) for being sure, and b) for figuring out subtle stuff. Computer adaptations of tabletop systems almost always destroy all the freedom :(
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #27 on: 29 Oct 2008, 12:02 »

I'm somewhat confused as to what it is we're all talking about. Are we talking about metagaming, or powergaming (metagaming being using player knowledge and creative stats to give edges to characters, powergaming being, well, building a character towards the singular goal of in-game power to a ridiculous degree)

In small groups, meta-gaming can be bad.  I remember last time I DMed a 2nd edition D&D game.  This was back in my frat days and most of the guys just wanted to play for fun.  One guy was a metagamer and took advantage of my laxity to pull out every rule book available and create a first level fighter capable of churning through 20 gobs like he was the proverbial hot knife.  It ruined the game for everyone else.

Metagamers can ruin the game in several ways.  The first is the above-mentioned example, wherein they can just suck all the fun out by being the uber-power house.  Combat is a significant portion of most game systems and totally dominating combat ruins the significant potion for the other players.

To select another obvious example, there's the rules-lawyer aspect.  The metagamer knows all the rules and thus is willing to argue with the DM into infinity in every situation.  Where's the fun in watching some asshole attempt to browbeat another asshole into submission?  It's worse if your DM is cool and wants to give the group the benefit of the dice; the metagamer becomes a god.  Worse yet, the DM shuts down and rule as precisely by the book as possible.



If you play for fun (and I usually do), the meta-gamer just plain ruins it.  He criticizes your choices for being suboptimal (by the by, the metagamer's usually a dude).  He pulls the focus of every encounter, combat or non.  He whines.  He agitates.  He's a stereotype.

The metagamer isn't a problem because he's a stereotype (most of us are stereotypes of one kind or another).  He's a stereotype because he's a problem.
This. The group that I ran with in high school was full of meta/powergamers, and it sucked. Since there wasn't a very large pool of potential players to pick from, I was stuck with them, and invariably by the time our D&D characters hit level 4 they were either engaged in activities that were generally reserved for characters in their late teen / epic levels (constructing keeps, encountering God avatars, running entire nations) or we weren't playing at all, because the metagamers were struggling against the iron hand of the DM so hard that it just stopped being fun.

The problem with metagaming is all about balance. Metagamers unerringly gravitate towards the exotic and powerful, and as a general rule (with D&D, anyway) the more exotic and powerful something is, the harder it is to balance. Just play any epic level D&D game, tabletop or otherwise. Players are so powerful the DM can't really do anything against them without being cheap (say, a horde of vampiric dragons) or cheap but creative (the Hunger in Mask of the Betrayer) For this reason, most avid roleplayers I know don't play games past level 16 or so. It just becomes a chore.

With metagamers, those problems with epic levels tend to bleed into the lower levels as well. If you're playing 3.5 D&D, for example, what most DMs do is restrict starting races and classes to a few basic books, usually just the PHP, and then only allowing a small number of prestige classes per base class.

Thinking of it in terms of "I've got this sword, what's the difference between using it because it's +2 and using it because it's better against goblins?" doesn't go far enough. The problem with metagaming, as it relates specifically to D&D, at least, is that if you look at it, a lot these things don't really make sense from a roleplaying perspective, and the blame lies at the feet of Wizards of the Coast. I should preface this by saying (and really, I think this gets to the heart of the matter) that if you're looking for actually roleplaying, you probably shouldn't be playing D&D. D&D is a combat simulation game with a myriad of player options and some allowance for light roleplaying mainly used as ligamentation between and preparation for fights. It is not actually built for roleplaying. If it's going to be discredited it should be because it puts on all these airs of depth in denial of its simple, retarded, WoW-y heart. WoW is D&D cooked into crystal form.

An example of how metagaming is encouraged is the implementation of prestige classes. They all have prerequisite stats and requirements, all of which require many levels (and many play hours) to acquire. The great majority of the characters that I make for 3.5 are started with a specific prestige class in mind. Characters do not take prestige classes as a function of their actions in the gameworld but as a function of abstractions and numbers that never really factor into the game. Say I want to become a certain prestige class that requires the feat "skill focus: spellcraft", which as feats go is pretty negligible. When the time comes that I can take that feat, I could also take any number of feats that could be much more useful to my character. But I take the lesser feat, not because it's useful to me now, because it isn't, it never really will be, but because 5 or 6 levels and many weeks of play later it will unlock the door to a more powerful prestige class. From a perspective of roleplaying, how does that make sense? It doesn't. It's the worst sort of metagaming, but the game requires it if I'm to have that class.

Roleplaying is dying out, slowly but surely, as they become more and more adherent to video game poindexterism, and it's sad. For all the odiousness of the geeks who play White Wolf games and attend ren faires, I'd take them any day over your WoW geek. It's like the difference between Afrika Bambaataa and Soulja Boy.
« Last Edit: 29 Oct 2008, 12:15 by KvP »
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Catfish_Man

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #28 on: 29 Oct 2008, 13:03 »

KvP: the players in the D&D games you've been in suck. The fact that D&D doesn't have *rules* for roleplaying in no way precludes it, and many of the games I've been in have been quite heavy on it (to the point of several sessions I can remember not having any combat encounters).
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #29 on: 29 Oct 2008, 17:55 »

That's actually how our DM's running our current campaign.  It's pretty much straight-up roleplaying a character/combat and dungeons every other session.  Keeps us from going too crazy with power.  We already broke his story anyway, I managed to get a natural 20 and kill a Tiefling Warlord 5 levels above me who was the leader of two warring families in a town we're trying to take over.

In my experience, alternating sessions like that is pretty effective.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #30 on: 31 Oct 2008, 00:39 »

The way I have heard it, Munchkins are the people that aren't satisfied with making something the best the rules can make it, they break the rules or ignore them in order to make their character better. I know some min/maxers that wouldn't be too happy if you called them munchkins, because no matter what kind of abomination they may make, they stick to the rules.

I think it is important to communicate, and make sure everyone knows what kind of power level to build your characters at.

KvP, you can have characters have to enter certain prestige class orders, but most people don't do it because it slows everyone else down while one person is off doing it, and you don't want to have to run back to the city every other time someone levels up.

In D&D, it really comes down to the DM to make some rules, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, the rule that the DM is always right helps a DM that wants to set something special up, but if you aren't careful, someone might make pun-pun (though that is a product of a really unbalanced book, as I understand it).
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #31 on: 31 Oct 2008, 10:09 »

KVP: Your definitions of metagaming and powergaming are subsets of what I am talking about in regards to metagaming: You're not playing the game to role-play. For a metagamer, your character isn't put together the way he is because he matches your personality, or he's a character you're really interested in building a story behind, or whatever... your character is just a filthy pile of stats, set only to be MIN/MAXed at the cost of everyone else's fun.

Dimmukane: I think your DM should have been able to plan for that Tiefling Warlord being killed by that 20, maybe by changing the outcome so that he wasn't "killed" but mortally wounded, with 2 of his aides dragging him away while the rest of his men fight on. That way, he would be "defeated" (so you'd get the XP for the enconter) but the "flavor" of his campaign isn't ruined.

That's just an example of how I would have done it if I were in his shoes. I don't know the full details behind what was going on, so that would need to vary depending on the situation, but a GM should never take [Natural 20 = DEAD], particularly at the cost of the greater campaign. The rules are unimportant when it comes to telling a good story.

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #32 on: 31 Oct 2008, 10:37 »

It was more than that...I kept getting high rolls and just kept shooting at him, and most of the party shot at him instead of alternating between him and the opposing warlock, who we managed to bloody.  He would've gotten away had I not gotten that 20.  Which ended up being about 38 damage.  The story's not completely broken, really, it's just that we kind of ended up skipping a large portion by accident.  He's used to us messing up his plans, but never that badly.  It's not because he's a weak DM, it's because we have a tendency to try to break the rules by trying new things.  That's how we defeated a dire celestial spider with just a cockslap.  And a lich thirteen levels higher without actually fighting him (the DM's little brother was stoned and decided to attack a pool of blood on the floor, got a crit, and just happened to destroy the lich's philactory (sic)). 
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #33 on: 31 Oct 2008, 11:03 »

KVP: Your definitions of metagaming and powergaming are subsets of what I am talking about in regards to metagaming: You're not playing the game to role-play. For a metagamer, your character isn't put together the way he is because he matches your personality, or he's a character you're really interested in building a story behind, or whatever... your character is just a filthy pile of stats, set only to be MIN/MAXed at the cost of everyone else's fun.

Dimmukane: I think your DM should have been able to plan for that Tiefling Warlord being killed by that 20, maybe by changing the outcome so that he wasn't "killed" but mortally wounded, with 2 of his aides dragging him away while the rest of his men fight on. That way, he would be "defeated" (so you'd get the XP for the enconter) but the "flavor" of his campaign isn't ruined.

That's just an example of how I would have done it if I were in his shoes. I don't know the full details behind what was going on, so that would need to vary depending on the situation, but a GM should never take [Natural 20 = DEAD], particularly at the cost of the greater campaign. The rules are unimportant when it comes to telling a good story.

Remind me never to play an RPG with you. There's ultimately 3 major ways to approach RPGs: As a game, as a simulation or as a story (my preference is a story, but one that isn't too scripted at the onset). I've had fun with each style, but never with a GM that was partisan or angry about the ways a campaign can develop. The best GM I ever encountered had a knack for checking his preconceptions at the door and altering his campaign to fit the interests of his group. I mean, what if you run into a group made entirely of power gamers or even just feels like powergaming for a few sessions? Are they really ruining everyone else's fun if everyone is of the same mind? I've had all power gamer groups before, and we had a blast. Power gaming is not necessarily the same as a lack of regard for other players.

That's how we defeated a dire celestial spider with just a cockslap. 

That was a great story, btw. I took the liberty of digging the first time you told us about it out of the archives.

Alright, so I was playing DnD last night, and our characters were involved in an orgiastic ritual that was interrupted by a huge Lolth-Touched spider.  Our cleric is currently naked as part of the ritual, he casts Dispel Evil (a touch attack), and runs up and cockslaps the spider into another dimension.  I know this is irrelevant, but it had to be said.  Our cleric cockslapped a huge Lolth-Touched spider into oblivion. The best part though is that our DM made him role a Con check for dick size (d12) and he got a 12 with a +2 modifier.  So it was a two-handed cockslap.

See, THAT is GMing. Would that fly with another group? Maybe, maybe not. But the important thing is that Dimmukane's group likes to get stoned, kill monsters and laugh their asses off in the process-- and their GM knows it. A GM who's busily turning things into a drama school production could actively harm that dynamic. A GM who adlibs dick size checks and a "Saving Throw vs. Priapism," however, is an asset in this case.
« Last Edit: 31 Oct 2008, 11:35 by Alex C »
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Dimmukane

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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #34 on: 31 Oct 2008, 12:03 »

I didn't tell you that afterwards he let our characters actually have the orgy part of the ritual, and we rolled con mods again for endurance.  I had a threesome all night.
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Re: Preventing the Metagame
« Reply #35 on: 01 Nov 2008, 01:48 »

I've always figured the best way to solve the problem with armor having a number system, weapons having a number system, and every other damn thing in the game having a number system is to just base it off on real life: the thickest armor tends to be the heaviest, but the strongest, while the thinner armors aren't as sturdy, but also much less restrictive in the movement area. Meanwhile, weapons would be more complicated. Heavier weapons would work better for strong, stiff armor I.E. plate mail, while in certain cases weaker against more flexible armor, while smaller, pointier weapons, i.e. a rapier or thin sword, could work better against flexible armor and light armor, it would be close to pointless to attack heavy armor using these. And ranged weapons, well, gets even more complicated, with weapons like long bows good for long range, yet can't pierce heavy armor. Similarly, their cousin, the short bow would be faster and shorter range, yet also couldn't pierce thick armor. Crossbows, on the other hand, would take longer to load, have shorter range, yet more easily tear through heavier armors, and rend flesh from bone. Add magic to the mix, and the whole soufflé just toppled over into the casserole.
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