When playing modern games, we often come across such a concept as a metagame or meta mechanics. You can often hear a popular weapon or a character in the meta. So the developers have introduced additional mechanics into their games that are not related to the main gameplay. Although it appeared in casino games even earlier: if you take a closer look at the rules of the best online casinos in UK, it will become clear that most of the bonuses are a metagame. And although it seems that this concept appeared quite recently, in fact, it existed at the dawn of computer gaming and actually had nothing to do with computer games. The fact is that many RPG games are based on D&D rules. This is a board game that does not require a computer, but it was there that the concept of metagame was first used.
What is a metagame?
A metagame is any event related to a game outside of gameplay. This may be discussing the game with friends or thinking through the strategy of the game in your head. Therefore, the most popular weapon in the metagame is the most discussed or most effective weapon in terms of strategizing. When game developers realized that players could be interested not only in gameplay but also in mechanics outside the game cycle, meta mechanics appeared. The most obnoxious of these are the loot boxes that have made the concept so popular.
Also it can be:
- Limited amount of activity or energy in a real day (pay to pay more)
- Artificial and not explained by the plot restriction on the use of items or skills (flexible builds like in Witcher 3 or Binary Domain)
- Gacha mechanics (Genshin Impact)
Where did this come from?
However, in the original understanding of metagame mechanics, there were situations when D&D players stepped out of the image of their characters and discussed the gameplay, not on behalf of the characters.
These events include:
- Discussion of game mechanics
- Using Setting Information
Since immersion and roleplaying is extremely important in DnD games, therefore many players do not like the metagame and excessive focus on discussing mechanics during the game because it ruins the whole immersion. After all, the main task of any game is to bring pleasure, and what kind of pleasure are we talking about if there is a bore in the party who will be ready to argue with the dungeon master for half an hour about how to correctly calculate the initiative of opponents according to the 5th edition.
However, the only mechanic that improves immersion is Peeping. This is the moment when, according to the plot, the dungeon master must reveal some information to all the characters in the game except for one. Then, in order for this to work correctly, you need to hide this information from the player who plays this character, so before voicing the information, the player is asked to leave the premises for a while.
Thus, peeping makes the game more interesting because it would be boring for the player to try to play a character by pretending not to know anything. So with this meta mechanic the game creates much more engagement when such a player really does not know something.