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Mattkancode

Metagame in Competitive FPS

4 posts in this topic

I've been looking at a lot of FPS games recently and have seen how the metagame actually controls how the game will turn out. This is obvious of course but whether metagame is a successful method of play or not isn't the concern. Instead, if it is something that should be brought to the players' attention or if it should be kept under the radar. 

 

In most games, understanding the meta undertones comes with time and experience. But what if we removed those factors? These are just some of my thoughts and I'd love to hear from others on the topic.

 

Note: these examples are in regards to objective based gameplay of non-persistent games (COD Domination, BF, TF2, Counterstrike, etc.)

 

Obviously there are multiple levels of gameplay.

A: Run in. Try to win. (Base level. Based on player skill. no understanding of the undertones of play or the meta at all. Lower reflex and skill yield lower probability of success.)

 

B: Comprehensive assault. (Moderate. Player uses skill and understanding to achieve team's goal. fairly effective. Player uses prior knowledge of other player tendencies and game mechanics to maneuver and succeed. Can communicate but usually relies on personal skill to succeed. Player can hold his own but does not control any meta. Usually a lone wolf. Effective teammate. But still does not control the battlefield in most cases.)

 

C: Full control of meta. (Player understands advanced game mechanics and uses skill as well as coordination with other players to achieve the goal. Best chance of success due to control of the ebb and flow of the field as well as communication with a full squad or team.)

 

Note: I'm am only categorizing these in such a way so that it can be seen as a simple, quantifiable measure of player skill and experience.

 

My question is; Would introducing the metagame openly in a game such as this (Ex. Introducing the player to extensive weapon charts and stat values, giving the player advanced strategic information firsthand and allowing them to use this immediately, and allowing the players to be able to start with at least half of the understanding that someone would only understand after quite a few hours or even days of in game play) break the flow of the game? Imagine if Battlefield 3 upon release had introduced players to all of the weapons damage, drop off, accuracy and reload times descriptively. Do you think this version of BF3 would compare or would it be entirely different?

 

I understand that time slowly allows this progression to sort out. (Ex. Telling people that the M16a3 is one of the most reliable guns from day 1 would increase the usage exponentially from the start. Whereas only after a few months of play, did everyone decide this was the best choice based on experience.) But what if we cut out time? What would be the pros and cons? Would every player have the ability to control the meta? and if so, would this completely alter the gameplay?

 

I'm primarily asking this to get some insight from others. Bounce ideas and such. I am fairly new to design in general. A "beginner" so any information is valued and I like to hear opinions from my piers. So what do you guys think?

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I don't think introducing people to the metagame will break the game. But it might change the outlook of it and the audience.

One downside is that if you introduce the metagame, your game will have less community around it because communities tend to be built sometimes to figure out a game. One positive is that some people may very well be thankful that they don't have to learn every abstract concept of the game, and are pretty much, in theory at least, given a level playing field.
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I don't think introducing people to the metagame will break the game. But it might change the outlook of it and the audience.

One downside is that if you introduce the metagame, your game will have less community around it because communities tend to be built sometimes to figure out a game. One positive is that some people may very well be thankful that they don't have to learn every abstract concept of the game, and are pretty much, in theory at least, given a level playing field.

I see what you're saying. I agree. The community would probably never be at the numbers that the game would be without which is an issue. 

 

I can also see it affecting gameplay as well. I can imagine the community would be more conservative with their playstyle. Although I can see a rock paper scissors mechanic establishing itself. As 1 on the groups of players becomes more conservative, another will become more aggressive to counteract the conservative players and so on and so forth. I'd like to see how players would react in game to such a revealing concept. 

 

Possibly you could have a completely new game. Which kinda shows you the impact that tutorials and instructions truly have on the experience of the player. its kind of like 2 students with 2 different teachers.

 

Teacher A teaches Student A: Method A

Teacher B teaches Student B: Method B

 

Now we have two completely different methods to tackle a situation. But also it can be possible that the community would eventually level to a general style of play (Most likely the playstyle the game is designed to be played as.)

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What you are describing is not metagame, it's only the layering of "scientific" learning (weapon data) and advanced team skills (tactical awareness, communication) over basic single-player skills (running, shooting). All this knowledge, and all skill layers you describe, apply strictly to the game itself. Metagame, on the other hand, is outside the scope of the game's rules. For example, knowing how and when and where and why you should use various kinds of anti-tank weapons is a game skill at all level of sophistication; equipping your team with a lot of anti-tank weapons because you expect the other team to use a lot of tanks is a metagame decision. So the real question is whether, for players, figuring things out for themselves is fun and/or instructive (how do you ensure that they learn from expert players but have fair fights with someone at their level?) and whether the things to be figured out are worthwhile (for example, if your M16A3 is so good, maybe you should remove other disappointing assault rifles, or explicitly demote them to handicap weapons that nobody should use competitively, or nerf the M16A3 to make the choice of assault rifle more difficult and important).
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Perhaps you could combine these things into a system where the community can write instructions/cheat-sheets and set up coordinates for attack plans to help beginners cooperate better with more experienced ones. 

 

EDIT: the attack plans and sheets would show up in game. 

Edited by mippy
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