How do meta mechanics manipulate the player?

12 January 2023

A game becomes a game the moment it’s possible to lose, but another vital part of gaming is having fun. When advertising Nintendo games, Reggie Fis-Aimé once said, “If a game isn’t fun, why to play it?” He was absolutely right. We get pleasure at the moment of victory, and to win, you need to be able to lose. And the more complex the game, the higher the stakes for losing, which means more fun from winning. That is why many games cause excitement in us. Challenging games test us, our skills are a bet against the game, but those players indifferent to gameplay and skill-test could be interested in highroller casino review.

Of course, developers are aware of such reactions and supplement games with mechanics that do not relate to the main gameplay but evoke the same emotions. This is called meta-mechanics. In the following, we will talk about them and how they affect the emotions and involvement of the player.

The original meta-game concept is about gamers’ mind imagination of gameplay. This is a metagame when they think about the strategy and tactics of passing the quest, tell their friends about in-game situations, and plan their leisure time in the game. A little later, the concept of a metagame was transformed into a situation where the player applies knowledge from the outside world inside game one. For example, if you need to properly develop your character to effectively destroy enemies in Skyrim, the thematic Wiki will help you plan development. 

Finally, now more and more often, you can meet another concept. In it, meta are mechanics and tricks that extend the user’s gaming life without using much additional content. That is, the player will come back and play more because the developer has used special techniques to keep his attention with the help of the metagame.

Metagame mechanics are different:

  • Non-gameplay – implies the initial definition of a metagame as a mind game – a game in the head. The player independently analyzes the game’s mechanics and builds his own strategy. There are no artificial restrictions for the player here. The players make a framework for themselves even before the game; for example – they choose the future profession of the character and the line of his pumping, the type of weapons and clothes, and then test the theory in practice.
  • Clean – is the principle that the developer uses game conventions to restrict the player to narrow environments, where the player with a variety of items can only use a limited number of development perks. In The Witcher 3, you can upgrade and find many abilities, but you can only use a limited number at a time. It is essential to understand the difference between a game convention and a logical decision here since, usually, you can collect many hats and wear only one. In turn, why in the witcher you can only use some skills at a time – is not explained.

And the third mechanic, which interests us especially:

  • Dirty – is a metagame mechanic that limits your progression without getting involved. In Genshin Impact, you must earn or buy crystals to unlock a new character. The variety of playable characters as the main mechanic is not in the main gameplay but in the internal one. Another example is the introduction of energy limits to open chests or actions that directly affect progression. Duolingo uses gamification in their system and limits the number of lives I take for mistakes, but offers to buy them for crystals, which you can both purchase and earn.

The problem with the third type of meta-mechanics is their manipulativeness since the game can have an especially prolonged gameplay part in order to wait until the players get bored or difficult. And then offer to play in the meta, which means buy an in-game currency and increase your chances, or continue to grind it just as boringly.

Their use is normal for free, especially mobile games, but in large titles, such systems are extremely annoying, especially if the metagame also has a chance of winning. In normal gameplay, it is controlled by the player’s skills. In the meta, this chance is random

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.



Go toTop