Metagaming

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Metagaming in the context of Urban Dead essentially boils down to using out of character perspective or communication methods to coordinate in character actions.

In its most primitive form, it simply consists of in game characters communicating valuable game information via an out of game medium (e.g. this wiki, internet forums, or instant messaging/email).

Within MMORPGs, metagaming is generally viewed as an enhancement to the game's experience. The limited nature of the medium limits the ability to fully immerse one's self as a character because possible character action is rigid and unrealistically defined, lacking the free-form possibility of action apparent in many RPGs. One key aspect of this within Urban Dead is that communication methods which might be possible within the game's universe are unavailable within the game mechanics themselves. This quality leads MMORPGs to be treated as games with roleplaying aspects rather than a roleplaying game.

Controversy

What one person sees as legitimate metagaming another may view as unfair advantage or even cheating. If a metagaming action is particularly powerful, difficult to explain in character, or unusual, it is more likely to be viewed by some as unfair. Unsurprisingly, any complaints there are most often come from those not benefiting from the action.

Some view the exploitation of bugs and quirks advantageously to one's character as metagaming. Others view it as cheating. Often common acceptance of an exploit depends on developer reaction and the spirit of the game. There have been numerous cases where developers embraced bug exploits and revelled in the unexpected use of a game's "quirks" such as rocket-jumping in Quake or skiing in Tribes.

Another example that has proved controversial is the DEM's use of their DEMON information sharing tool, which allows characters running the tool to share information with one another. When first released, it made no checks to ensure that only DEM members were using the tool (e.g. an alt of a DEM character could use it to gain access to information from the DEM alt), and allegations that it was a form of multi-abuse were levied against it. A revised version of the tool was later released which addressed these allegations by automatically disabling itself for all non-DEM characters or DEM characters in zombie form.

That said, DEMON is by no means the only controversial tool or resource. Other examples include UDBrain, UD Automapper, and even the wiki itself, which is said to enable sharing of information between characters that should not be shared.

For those who seek full character immersion, the term "metagamer" may be considered an insult.

See also

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