Discussion: Meta-gaming

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Re: Discussion: Meta-gaming

Post  Oleifera on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:45 am

I for one have been getting a little nervous about the whole meta-gaming thing. Since I decided to join the game I don't read anything but the Trilat forum, my planet, and the general threads - no other factions, as much as I used to love reading all the wonderful infighting in the other faction forums (when I thought I would be only a spectator), and I only read the opening mission post before posting - usually I talk things over with my allies anyway.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to set up a big, nasty plot, but all it takes is one non-faction peek into our forums to take the whole surprise away. Just because I called it "encrypted" doesn't technically stop anyone from reading it. The question is, is cross faction peeking common?

Alternatively, if it was so important to keep it a secret, should I have used PMs instead, as much of a mess as that would make of everyone's inbox?

Just curious!

P.S. Don't peek please! ^^
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Re: Discussion: Meta-gaming

Post  OrleosSacrenine on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:53 am

Oleifera wrote:I for one have been getting a little nervous about the whole meta-gaming thing. Since I decided to join the game I don't read anything but the Trilat forum, my planet, and the general threads - no other factions, as much as I used to love reading all the wonderful infighting in the other faction forums (when I thought I would be only a spectator), and I only read the opening mission post before posting - usually I talk things over with my allies anyway.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to set up a big, nasty plot, but all it takes is one non-faction peek into our forums to take the whole surprise away. Just because I called it "encrypted" doesn't technically stop anyone from reading it. The question is, is cross faction peeking common?

Alternatively, if it was so important to keep it a secret, should I have used PMs instead, as much of a mess as that would make of everyone's inbox?

Just curious!

P.S. Don't peek please! ^^

PMs tend to make things a bit messy, because unless it's in the open, only Admin or person you 'supposedly' talked to can verify that, which can lead to nastiness. The only thing that we can do is try to keep encrypted posts from coloring our rping. Which is something I try to avoid, but then again, no one's exactly immune to temptation.

If I do happen to meta-game, I'll give you my address and you can come slap me and do the whole meme thing, "You see this?! Knock this !@#$ off!"

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Re: Discussion: Meta-gaming

Post  blackheartsecurity on Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:58 am

LOL I dunno personally I like stories. I peek all the time, temporal empire and vulfrym may be the most hateful funny stuff I have read.

I dunno while the surprise may be gone there are players who will help you achieve your end goals (IE: DP2 actually getting the shank on prime).

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Meta-Gaming as breach of Social Contract

Post  MaehlHoldings on Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:28 am

Based on the other OOC threads, it's pretty safe to say that there's an overwhelming sentiment of dissatisfaction regarding the actions of players, at least as per my experience. It's been bothering me for a few weeks now, mostly because it appears the dialogue has become counter-productive. Or, maybe, it was never productive at all.

The problem, as I've been experiencing it, is that we have different reasons to feel upset, and completely different series of actions are causing a completely distinctive set of upset between very distinctive groups. In other words, actions A are upsetting Group Z and in the meantime actions B are upsetting group Y, which may or may not have anything to do with each other. It makes addressing, and overcoming, the problem impossible and compounds everyone's upset on some level.

So I'm going to present another way for EVERYONE to look at the issue at hand. My thesis below is heavily based on GNS Theory of gaming, which can be found http://indie-rpgs.com/_articles/glossary.html, as well as http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/ in case you care.

Role Playing, by its nature, is a social interaction. It's when people come together and agree, either implicitly or explicitly, on certain things, which include what game you're playing, how you play, what you do, who talks when, etc. These interactions form a Social Contract. This Social Contract forms the very basis of all social interaction within the group, both within and outside of the game you're actually playing. The Social Contract determines who gets together, how they get together, and to a large extent defines the word "fun." So, for example, the overarching Social Contract here is that there are some moderators, the admin, and the presumption that we're all adults over 18 who are able and willing to play the game. There are the rules regarding posting, who belongs to what faction, and who can "see" what actions of other players. Within the rules of this Social Contract, we "role play" and, in turn, have "fun." We make deals, we fight, we bicker, we grow as characters.

So what is meta-gaming? Meta-gaming, at its most abstract level, is any social interaction throughout the course of play that breaks the Social Contract. It's any action, or series of actions, that purposely empowers or disempowers others for a self-serving purpose, i.e. to either "win" or "screw someone over." Example: Rules-Lawyering or Calvin-Balling, which is the action of using the gaming system or rules against other players for the purpose of preventing actions or ensuring benefits. So, if I wanted to make an acrobatic test, a rules' lawyer would double check my sheet and the rules book and show how I'm not allowed to do so because I don't have the proper skills, or that my skills don't fit the situation. A Calvinballer is worse in that they purposely misinterpret rules for their benefit, or on occasion make them up. This action is meta-gaming because it purposely imposes external limits on play for the purpose of promoting the offender's agenda, irrespective of the group's role-playing experience. It's a breach of Social Contract because it's one person (or people), determining what is or is not appropriate based purely on their perspective and agenda, not on game-play.

The problem that so many players are experiencing and wishing to address with regards to "meta-gaming" is how they are experiencing the actions of others as a breaches of Social Contract. The meta-game behavior, therefore, is when Action A occurs without having prevalent in-character motivation and/or causation, adversely affects the agendas of others, and diminishes the role-playing experience of others for selfish purposes, which is generally to create a "winning scenario." Not because it lets some people "win" a scenario or some people "lose" a scenario, but that it's occurring beyond what is known, understood, or accepted as part of the Social Contract.

To give an obvious example:
Twain. In the mission post for the assassination of Su Maehl, there is little description of what his character is like, how he is armed, why he is involved in the thread, and character motivation. Therefore, umbrage is taken when all of the sudden he's armed to the T, with self-exploding things everywhere, and all of the sudden is in a position to either win or go out swinging and taking everybody with him. Having read short stories with Twain in them, I know that perhaps some of the aforementioned actions aren't outside of the character's norm. However, there are gaps in the presentation of the scenario, back from the original thread to their subsequent actions across other threads, which would link anything together in a way to make the end result appear to be coherent from the beginning.

In other words, there's more to "meta-gaming" than the mere use of information which your character may or may not have, would otherwise do or not do in any given situation. It's about coherence. What I'm postulating here is that upset is not always derived purely from what the actions are, but rather the manner in which they are presented for social consumption.

Positive gameplay, therefore, is about creating circumstances were you, as often as you can, empower others to do well while empowering yourself to do to the same. For my assassination attempt, irrespective of how the admin set up the mission, it would have been breach of Social Contract had I done anything other than allow for the players' actions to come to fruition within the mission, to a great extent of their intent. Had I chosen to stay in the Plane of Awareness, I would have been meta-gaming, no matter how justified I was in doing so, because I would have created a circumstance where all of my peers would have failed in their attempts to get at me. Positive role-play dictated that I set a scenario whereby people were empowered to play and act out their plots. The fact that I won or lost the mission was irrelevant, because despite the fact that I "lost" my hands, at the end of the day I had positive role-playing outcomes due to my actions.

Moving Forward:
I would like the focus of these sorts of conversations to not be about, "you're a jerk because..." (no matter how justified many of us feel those comments may be). Instead, I request all players accept responsibility for the comments we make about each other and focus not on the characters' end results but the **experience** of role-playing. In other words, are our actions solely for the purpose of overcoming a scenario and coming out the victor, or because it's characterful and, more importantly, positively engaging others? By virtue of my "actions", are others empowered to role-play or will they be crushed by my implacable will and superior plans?

I want to illustrate the above point: the "vs" scenario to date has been Prime vs. Palomedes. Both characters went it to it "knowing" they could win, but not having any idea if they actually would or not, or how disastrous it could have been to their respective agendas. However, each was fair to the other in the course of role-play. The end result, as a result, was awesome irrespective of who the "victor" was. Prime used the opportunity of loss to foment good will with the IR, which in some way allowed for the current storyline whereby the Unity is "allied" with the IR against the "E-Strain." Palomedes got to throw it Deer's face (loved that scene, by the way) that he proverbially laid the smackdown on his enemy. Both ended up promoting their characters, despite the loss of one against the other.

As a group of players, we need to do more of that and less of, well, everything else. Because it's not about the victory, the defeat, getting one up on others or screwing others, it's about creating positive social interactions and stretching the limits of our creativity.

I know I'm long-winded, and appreciate everyone who's read this far. A final analogy I'd like to use: we are in a proverbial "mosh" pit, where we're all flailing about with massive amounts of energy with significant intent against others. However, the question shouldn't be about whether or not we'll get punched in the face, thrown down to the floor, or kicked and pushed. It's about whether or not we'll protect each other when the other is down. Do you break the fraternity of trust and kick the person when they're down because it doesn't suit you, or will you make sure they get, are ok, and then continue on with the "violence?" Are you meta-gaming because you want to achieve your desired result at the expense of others and their role-playing experience, or are you upholding the Social Contract?

/end rant


Last edited by MaehlHoldings on Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:56 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : fixed hyperlink)

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Re: Discussion: Meta-gaming

Post  Oleifera on Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:56 am

Exceedingly well written and thought provoking! Thank you for the excellent points on how to be a better player.

Could you check the link to your article? I got a "not found" page.
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Re: Discussion: Meta-gaming

Post  Le-aHiveQueen on Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:18 am

the way I control metagaming is by not looking at other people's post that are not on my faction. All other factions have the yellow icon for me cause I don't read them I have a crazy schedule as it is and don't have the time to sit and read all the other posts the other factions put on

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Re: Discussion: Meta-gaming

Post  F.KalMarx on Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:38 pm

The way I don't metagame is to be in character when I write my responses.

I also try to apply primal scream theory. When someone pissed me off out of character I yell at then OOC and when they piss me off in character I yell at them in character.

It is pretty simple to do. Keep them seperated.



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Re: Discussion: Meta-gaming

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