Metagaming is the act of using out of character information to influence in character decisions or actions. When player knows things about the world that character has no way of knowing, yet the character still exploits this knowledge and acts upon it.
Knowledge that character uses should be acquired by roleplay with other characters and interaction with world in game. Not from tells between players, or articles on forum, wiki and other sources. There is some general knowledge that characters have already when arriving on Arelith, but that will certainly not include details about current happenings in game.
If your character has knowledge of a major world event, ensure that there is a plausible way in which they could have learnt of it. Players often react negatively to characters who just seem to know too much.
It is also not possible to pass any knowledge between the characters of one player without involvement of other characters that transfer said knowledge. Players can not claim that their characters met while they were both logged off or that their send each other letter, unless such happened mechanically in game.
The following is a partial list of some of the things that are considered metagaming:
- It is never allowed to send IC information via a Tell
- After or during an encounter, some epic level buddies of one of the participants suddenly show up, having been told in tells what is going on.
- After dying, a player alerts another telling them where their corpse is located so it can be found and raised.
- One character knowing the name of another not from anything that has happened in character, but by the name floating above their head.
- An animal found in a natural setting appears just like all the others. But a character knows it's really a shapeshifted druid because of the name, and the fact that the mouse cursor changes to a hand when over that animal.
- A player knows perfectly the geography of Arelith, because he or she has been there before... with a different character.
- References to character statistics, levels and abilities. Characters do not know that they have 134 hit points or strength of 18. These figures are part of the game mechanics, not the lore. There are other ways to describe those in character.
- Heightened or extraordinary senses. Just because player is in party with someone or receives a tell from them doesn't mean that characters have all the information that player has. For example, character does not know that other character id dying one area away.
- Psychic Powers
- Unusual knowledge of world events. It's unlikely that a human born 20 years ago would have an indepth understanding of events that took place 3000 years previously on the other side of the planet or other plane. Even in modern times, most people have a very limited knowledge of world events beyond their immediate circle. It's more realistic for your character to know little of most events, or to hold a distorted version of the story.
- Knowledge of the future.
For more examples see article about roleplay rule.
The fourth wall
- from wowwiki
In the theatre, the fourth wall is an imaginary wall around the stage through which the audience watch the show. The idea is that this wall separates the two worlds. A common example of the fourth wall being broken is when a character directly addresses the audience, such as a character in movie talking directly to the camera.
In roleplaying, the fourth wall is there to separate the characters from the mechanics of the game, but also from information they couldn't possibly have. This is more typically described as meta-gaming.
Good and bad metagaming
- written by Jjjerm
"My simple thoughts: I generally think that most things in role play will have some degree of 'metagaming', and that some metagaming assists in role playing. This is going to be taken out of context, and when it is, I apologize to the person that I'll be banning in advance. Read carefully, and read the whole thing before you quote any specific bit in this post, or suffer.
Keep in mind that we're a community, and every other character has a real human being behind it, and act accordingly. Most of the rules (in game, in society, etc) are created so that it operates functionally. Be decent to each other, you have at least SOME common interests. There's some 'metagaming' that can be good, and some that's either stupid, detrimental, or unfair. Read on.
Here's an example of what I'd consider 'good' metagaming: I've played with a consistent party in the past of about 5 guys. When we'd log in, we'd party up, and in ooc tells arrange to meet up at a specific location. Is this OOC/Metagaming? Assuredly. Is it beneficial to the RP? Absolutely. Since we played one night a week at a specific time, and only had about a 5-6 hour window, it meant that we could play as a party for longer if we just started out together. Not technically "in character", but we didn't really gain any unfair advantage by our metagaming either, just made it a funner experience by being able to play as our party a bit longer.
Where I draw the line is if it's just blatantly so ridiculously "cheating" metagaming that doesn't have any attempt at benefiting the RP. So...if I'm on as a DM and I see someone running through 7 areas at a full sprint to a fallen comrade...yeeeea...that's not really even an attempt at RP is it? Conversely, if I see a party of 4 that are moving slowly, rp'ing and interacting, and who eventually stumble across the body...I'm probably not going to look too closely or at all, because they have RP'ed (see rule 1, read the actual rule). The rules aren't so we can go "GOTCHA!", it's to stop people from acting like twits. Or, put simply, "Don't Do Stupid Stuff".
You're probably shocked to hear this, but I think that some degree of what's defined as "metagaming" is bound to occur, and some can be beneficial. There is some metagaming that assists the flow of play on the server as a whole, and some (bad) that can be harmful to the flow of play (the Role Play) on the server as a whole. Sometimes folks get too caught up in the particulars, but here's a very good rule of thumb: generally, I don't care about some of the little metagaming stuff IF it contributes to the flow of the server AND you're not gaining from it unfairly.
All of the rules are really just specific sub articles that we had to clarify on one simple rule, "use common sense" because...well, common sense isn't. We generally only get punitive is something is stupid, detrimental, or unfair; simply because those are the things we'd like to stop. Common sense, eh?"