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Stimulating Intellectual Discussion [This Week: The Metagame]

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Whale_Tosser

Sergeant
This Week's Topic (5/03 to 5/10)
"Are Metagaming rules necessary?"

This one is simple. Does your average Roleplaying server require rules governing the use of the metagame? Should players be allow to transcend the knowledge of their character to speed things up a bit? What are the negatives and positives of removing these rules?

Definitions
    roleplay- In essence, "playing a role". It is acting out a specific character or entity in a controlled environment: In this case, Mount & Blade: Persistent World.
    roleplaying server- Any server, in this case a Persistent World server, that either has "Roleplay" in its name or whose admins support rules akin to roleplaying.
    out-of-character (OOC)- Something pertaining to real life or the player(s) as opposed to the in-game roles/story.
    in-character (IC)- Something pertaining to the in-game story or roles.
    metagame- The metagame of any roleplaying environment are the real-life rules pertaining to the game's imaginary environment.
    metagaming- The act of using out-of-character (OOC) information in the in-game environment, whether for streamlining, personal gain or by accident.




So, you've come to argue!
Jolly good. This is a "controlled" argument thread, created by yours truly.
It all started with an idea relayed to me by a friend... developed in a chain-letter... and then this.
I usually try to keep my own opinion out of the debate.
Start by reading the rules below than this week's argument above. Good luck!

What is this:
Stimulating Intellectual Discussion, silly! Didn't you read the Thread Subject?
In all seriousness this is a weekly, open but moderated discussion on a "Persistent-World"-related topic including but not limited to roleplaying themes, in-game mechanics and player psychology.
As the week's discussion goes on I will post points from either side (or sides) of the argument in the following post.



Rules:

- No single-sentence replies or comments.
Everything posted is expected to serve as a constructive addition to the discussion. The only case in which a one-liner is permitted is a note of agreement with another poster.

- Have some knowledge of what you're talking about.
Usually the definitions established above are more than enough of a source to start putting your opinion and its basis in the topic. But personal experience is definitely a plus.

- Don't make up facts.
You will be held accountable for every bit that comes out of that shiny pie hole of yours. Rough estimates and common knowledge is perfectly acceptable, but if you're mentioning anything that could be construed as "far-fetched", provide a screenshot or link.

- No bickering. Period.
If the topic is going as planned there should be none of this. You will not try to disprove another person; if their comment contains bigotry, mistruths or poor logic it will not be put up as a "credit" on the front page. I repeat, do not attempt to point out fallacies in another's post(s): I will take care of it.

- Subjects for debate will rotate weekly,
usually pertaining to a current event or "hot topic". PM me if you have an idea



Original Text
Whalen207 said:
Dear Intellectuals, Administrators and...
...others, of the Persistent World Community,


        I come to you humbly as a mere man. A man that simply loves a good argument. A good argument can resolve conflicts in a jiffy. But what is a good debate without structure? Any halfway-decent deliberation requires the two (or three, or four) sides to be "on the same page" -- That is, using similar sets of definitions to govern their argument(s). But in the confusing, hectic world of the internet, how can this ever be accomplished? Why, in a controlled thread, of course!

        For those of you with the attention span to have reached this point, congratulations. You're a likely candidate to argue your opinion in a thread I will post up tomorrow,  the topic of which will change (usually) weekly. Important Definitions will be established on the front page, and as the argument develops I will post points from either side(s) and, thankfully for you all, try to keep my own opinion(s) out of the debate. Now you might ask yourself, "Why would I waste my time on such a trifle?" Well good sir, aside from an opportunity to make yourself appear as a "total smartass" to the community, you will also have the chance to prove once and for all who is right and who is wrong. Points will be weighted, tallied and all that whatnot at the end of a week's worth of debate and the opinion of the victors will be logged for future generations to forever fawn over. So bring your friends! Bring your family! Spread this Mass-Mail around everyone on the Persistent World forums!


Notes:
- Topics may be visited more than once, but not so in less than a month.
- People who don't keep on topic will be, erm.. Shunned. You will be shunned.
- Topics will not be limited to Persistent World-specific subjects.

Sincerely,
      That annoying guy,
            Guard_Whale_Tosser
 

Whale_Tosser

Sergeant
Points in Favor of Metagame Restrictions
  • "It may speed things up but if you want to rp you don't rush through it..." ~OwenX
  • "It supports the RP world of the game. ~Bluflash
  • "It also makes PW a horrible environment for new players" ~PopsMauler
  • "There is no way you can have a good roleplay environment and ALLOW metagaming. RP and Metagame are antonyms." ~Khufu
  • "[mappers could] add fire beacons to the forts in their maps to facilitate easy ingame messaging over long distances" ~xombie5
  • "make an faction of Couriers to avoid metagaming" ~Fenix_120
  • "if this rule is absent it implies freedoms that role-playing environments should not allow.  The integrity of a world is only as strong as its semblance to reality and shortcuts can cheapen the experience." ~Morgana_Grey [sic]
  • "Meta-game rules are necessary, though they are nigh impossible to enforce." ~Morgana_Grey
  • "Set a good example and others will follow suit." ~Whalen207
  • "I am severely disappointed when an admin has the nerve to host a server titled "Hard-Core Roleplay" and yet remove the infrastructure that helped catalyze such roleplay because enforcing it is "Just too hard"." ~Whalen207
  • "no one said being an admin is ever easy." ~Whalen207
  • "I think there are benefits to be gained by at least laying a constructive framework." ~Bluflash
  • "make the player base accountable." ~Bluflash


Points in Favor of Metagame Freedom
  • "It is impossibly difficult to control and regulate." ~Bluflash
  • "a continuing source of drama/rage" ~Bluflash
  • "Any try[sic] to enforce metagaming will lead to the "You are not suppose to know that, so i'm going to call an admin so he can slay you because you know things you are not suppose to know" ~Aldric
  • "being able to communicate with your friends easier also helps those involved have more fun" ~xombie5
  • "It can't be stopped." ~Fenix_120
  • "it's not easy to stay "IC", even if you are an experienced player, sometimes it's hard to distinguish emotions and not get happy, mad or sad when something nice or bad happens to your character" ~Dark_Hamlet
  • "If the world calls for little continuity and stands more so as an intermediary experience before war, Meta-game enforcement is probably not such an issue" ~Morgana_Grey
 

xOwenx

Sergeant
WBWF&SNW
A negative is that this will lead to lots of randoming and people lieing. Also, I use metagame to rp as I don't that person. It may speed things up but if you want to rp you don't rush through it...
 

Silversword

Sergeant at Arms
My not-so-intellectual opinion says that people will always complain. If they won't have reason, they will complain that they don't have reason to complain.

Ergo, what does this discussion change?
 

Whale_Tosser

Sergeant
I did not intend for the weekly verdict of this topic to make a lasting impression on anyone -- If it does it is no fault of mine.
If this discussion continues to stagnate later today I will be forced to start posting.
 

Serann

Master Knight
Silversword said:
My not-so-intellectual opinion says that people will always complain. If they won't have reason, they will complain that they don't have reason to complain.

Ergo, what does this discussion change?

For the same reason you write your opinion here, despite it not changing anything: entertainment
 

Bluflash

Recruit
Ill share a few points:
Against metagaming restrictions-
It is impossibly difficult to control and regulate. Like TS, Vent, Steam Chat ect it exists beyond the physical code of the server. It is even more opaque though because it exists in the mind of an individual. It is an attempt at proving character motivations, but evidence is next to impossible to prove. Because of this it will be hard for admins to properly regulate (even using the log) and impossible for a player to show.

What is the point of having an unenforceable rule? Especially one that has shown to be a continuing source of drama/rage?

In favor of metagaming limits-
It supports the RP world of the game. You must be close to call for help. You don't know who just killed your friend, if you didn't see it happen. It makes you react to the world more realistically.

Comments?
 

PopsMauler

Sergeant
I think they aren't necessary to a certain degree, they just need some reforming. Almost everyone is using a TS server, and it's already very old when you're rping with someone and 10 of his buddies show up out of nowhere. Then it turns into a robbery... It also makes PW a horrible environment for new players, especially ones that would like to play without a roving band of friends.

Though still requiring knowledge of the character's name should stay.

I agree it's impossible to enforce as well.
 

Khufu

Recruit
There is no way you can have a good roleplay environment and ALLOW metagaming. RP and Metagame are antonyms.

I believe its just pure laziness if metagaming is part of an RP server. You might as well go and DM, or make a server that is not RP and just have a grindfest type server, where you can chop wood and buy the "coolest" armour as much as you want, without worrying about RP.
 

Aldric

Grandmaster Knight
WB
Now the epic question.
How do you enforce metagaming AKA. How do you prevent people from using out of character information to get an advantage over players.

Knowing how to craft is Metagaming.
Calling friends on teamspeak for a faction is metagaming.
Knowing the map is metagaming.

Unless we can find answer to those problems metagaming will be a player side feature. A good roleplayer can prevent himself from Metagaming.
Any try to enforce metagaming will lead to the "You are not suppose to know that, so i'm going to call an admin so he can slay you because you know things you are not suppose to know "
 

xombie5

Sergeant Knight at Arms
M&BWB
Well, unless mappers add fire beacons to the forts in their maps to facilitate easy ingame messaging over long distances i dont see much of a problem trying to call people far away.

and being able to communicate with your friends easier also helps those involved have more fun - so having advantages against another player arent really a problem - all that matters is if you exploit those advantages, so its more how the players handle the power they have than it being a bad thing.

and in my personal opinion, until server rules become more lax (since i dont actually play  i dont know if all the strict rules i see on server threads are enforced) people are going to stick to themselves and their close circle of friends/allies on teamspeak even more.
 

Fenix_120

Sergeant
Not that I am in favor of meta gaming but It does have one quality (debatable word) that cannot be denied, It can't be stopped.


In all honesty,  if you create a script that somehow allows you to disable team speak and steam chat ( im not certain but such a thing would actually probably be illegal ) what about other third party options?

Before the days of Team Speak, my old TFC crew used MS chat if we had to share information that was to delicate for team chat.

Hell, you could even use facebook for such things.

And even if you could even prevent people from using these things(And once again doing so would probably be highly illegal), what about cell phones?  If I wanted my team to win I would not be to holy to send text messages to give my team an edge.

I would rather see admins spending more time role playing with us normal players or enforcing the rules that are already their than make new ones.

My three pennies.


EDIT: I had an idea to make an faction of Couriers to avoid metagaming, never really made it past the thought process though.

EDIT2: Mostly due to the fact that how would said Messengers avoid brigands?
 

Dark_Hamlet

Master Knight
Hey Whalen, let me add something to the discussion:

The problem with any metagaming rule is that you can't force players to stay "in character", it's not easy to stay "IC", even if you are an experienced player, sometimes it's hard to distinguish emotions and not get happy, mad or sad when something nice or bad happens to your character. Now, imagine kids, add a set of metagame rules and add tools like TS, Steam, MSN, etc. and it will be like having a prisoner with a bomb near a wall and the only thing preventing him from escaping is a sign near the fence with "Don't use the bomb" written in it and few guards that can't watch all of the prisoners and that can't see the bombs. The prisoner will escape sooner or later. Players will break the metagaming rules, because the administrators can't know if they are using a tool like TS or not and even if they can prevent "OOC" in global chat, they can't prevent all the other methods (the tools again). And it will bring disadvantages over players who try to follow the rules, making most of them break the rules because everyone else is breaking them.
 

Morgana_Grey

Veteran
It is basically impossible to enforce a rule of "No Metagaming". However, if this rule is absent it implies freedoms that role-playing environments should not allow.  The integrity of a world is only as strong as its semblance to reality and shortcuts can cheapen the experience. The simplest example would be of a characters deeds, known about by many players. It would be against etiquette for a character who has never had opportunity to hear about said players deeds to approach him/her and say ," I have heard much about your escapades".

Though the intended environment for role-play should be noted if one is to decide whether the rules are necessary. If the world calls for little continuity and stands more so as an intermediary experience before war, Meta-game enforcement is probably not such an issue. If the expectation is for more serious role-play, then OOC knowledge should be restrained to offer no advantage or disadvantage and promote credibility. As always, this is far more reliant on the player than the administration. Seasoned role-players who enjoy commitments to their characters will actively suppress Meta-game. These are those individuals who call you out when you call them by name before ever having met :grin:  TS, Skype, or other tools are irrelevant if coupled with mature players.


So my position would stand at Yes. Meta-game rules are necessary, though they are nigh impossible to enforce. It should be noted that without the suggestion that players should not Meta-game the implication is made that Power-gaming is acceptable as well.  The lack of Meta-game rules further implies that there is no reason to be IC in the first place, and therefore any serious role-play environment will include these rules.

PS: If the above is to be agreed with then it should fall hand in hand with the notion that Meta-game is a fluid thing. Aldric mentions above that knowing how to craft or even your way around the map are Meta-gaming. I would disagree and offer that to restrict yourself too much is to expect something unrealistic out of a game. Certain things are going to be unspoken in their understanding and its up to the player to use discretion so that it isn't blatant Meta-game.
 

Whale_Tosser

Sergeant
Wow. Lots of great posts out there.

Well the way I see it, Persistent World is by no means a mod for strict roleplay. However I am severely disappointed when an admin has the nerve to host a server titled "Hard-Core Roleplay" and yet remove the infrastructure that helped catalyze such roleplay because enforcing it is "Just too hard". Roleplay itself requires metagaming rules be put in place: Without these rules, it's not roleplay at all. Sure, some would accuse them of being difficult to enforce, but no one said being an admin is ever easy. If evidence points to a character going above and beyond his usual knowledge to commit some dastardly deeds, by all means let there be punishment.

This is something that can either be incorporated from the top down or the bottom up: Either admins could rain terrible penalties down on those that could not prove their knowledge was gained IC, or players could individually try to metagame less, regardless of the rules set in place. Set a good example and others will follow suit.
 

NOVICIUS

Master Knight
I know it not sopuse to be one sentence (so it will not be):

TS(Team speak and plenty of others form of team communication).

Unstopable way of making any sort of metagaming rule irrelevant. This is it.
 

Whale_Tosser

Sergeant
NOVICIUS said:
I know it not sopuse to be one sentence (so it will not be):
TS(Team speak and plenty of others form of team communication).
Unstopable way of making any sort of metagaming rule irrelevant. This is it.

So you're saying roleplay can never exist in any computer game medium because there are ways to go around it? I've been in many a fine RP with the denizens of the internet; just discourage metagame to the point where it will not be used. As mentioned before, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the players.

People say it's hard to prove someone has metagamed when actually, with a bit of sleuthing from the administration it's a snitch! If they lie to you and say "Well sir, I did talk to that guy and tell him to come to my side of the map." then you can ban that bastard twice for lying to your face should you find out.
 

Domhnall mac Raghnaill

Knight at Arms
NW
Whalen207 said:
However I am severely disappointed when an admin has the nerve to host a server titled "Hard-Core Roleplay" and yet remove the infrastructure that helped catalyze such roleplay because enforcing it is "Just too hard".

HCRP has both metagaming and NLR. It's important to check facts before you present them in an intellectual debate.
 

Whale_Tosser

Sergeant
Domhnall mac Raghnaill said:
Whalen207 said:
However I am severely disappointed when an admin has the nerve to host a server titled "Hard-Core Roleplay" and yet remove the infrastructure that helped catalyze such roleplay because enforcing it is "Just too hard".

HCRP has both metagaming and NLR. It's important to check facts before you present them in an intellectual debate.

Not only did I not even mention New Life Rule in my post, but if your server thread's main post is a reliable source than apparently at the moment there are no rules restricting metagame. All I see under the rules section is a small spoiler defining it. I'm deeply sorry if I was under the false impression that HCRP had temporarily removed metagame restrictions... I've just heard chatter regarding it recently.
 
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