PSA: Stop misusing Metagaming

Okay this one is a shorty. I’ve been arguing about Smash a lot lately so reading stuff has exposed me to how the community uses metagaming again. They’re not the only ones though. People murder this term. Now, this is purely a definitions argument, so technically it’s a ‘who cares’ topic, but fuck you.

Wikipedia has this example…

In fighting games such as Super Smash Bros. Brawl, metagaming may occur at the character select screen. The opposing character has various strengths that can be avoided and weaknesses that can be exploited more easily depending on the character you choose provided you are aware of those strengths and weaknesses (called a “match up”). For a basic example, a character with a projectile attack has the advantage over a grappler who must be close to the opponent to be effective.

Now I understand how my college professors felt about Wikipedia! This is NOT metagaming. This is knowledge OF THE GAME, not knowledge of the trends surrounding a game. Here’s a good little test to see if something is metagame related. If you locked like, 10 people together in a room in space time for a thousand years to play one game, would they not be aware of the aspect in question? They definitely could know the matchups of every character in a fighting game. Conversely, they would not know the current deck trends of MTG. Or the build order trends in an RTS (though their builds after so long might smash the current metagame. Still, it would factor into their build optimizations). Or whatever is going on in a MOBA at any given time. They might have the knowledge and skills now to adapt to the metagame faster than other people, but thats neither here nor there.

Now, if you’re double blind selecting and you know who someone is playing and counter pick them, you’re quite possibly meta gaming. If you’re playing to a known person’s behaviors, you quite possibly be metagaming. I don’t like using the term in these situations (definitionally speaking, I prefer to use it for macro trends, not personal ones), but it isn’t wrong as far as I can figure. Either way, if you could, in theory, figure it out without the community, it is not metagaming, even if the community helps speed up the process.