Defining metagaming, powergaming, and exploiting

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Red Golem
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Defining metagaming, powergaming, and exploiting

Post by Red Golem » Sat Nov 22, 2003 2:48 am

Here's a great post from the Avlis forums about metagaming, powergaming, and exploiting. Here's a link to the original thread posted by Vanor. I'd encourage all folks who want to maintain a good roleplay server to read it.

For your convenience, I've pasted it here below:
We?ve been getting quite a few questions about this lately, people worried that something they are doing is one of the three. Even to the point that PC?s are asking DM?s to remove exp?s because they worried that they got them via an exploit. There apparently isn?t much info out there on what we the staff consider metagaming, powergaming or exploiting, so I will attempt to explain the three as well as give examples of each type of behavior. I will also try and explain when each is acceptable and when it isn?t.

The three things I will address in many ways are a scale from not so bad, or even acceptable, to something that will get you banned from Avlis. With Metagaming being the lesser of the three, and something that is sometimes necessary to exploiting, which can get you banned if you?re caught doing it.


Metagaming is simply another term for using OOC information. The term loosely means ?Game with in a Game? In the case of Avlis, this means the game of NWN, within the game of Avlis. Avlis is in many ways a game unto itself. It?s a D&D Campaign world, with it?s own set of rules and history. When playing on Avlis things work differently then in stock NWN, like death, treasure, exp?s ect.

Metagaming is when you think more about the way NWN works then how Avlis works. Or OOC vs IC.

Picking stats, skills, feats, and so on are all examples of metagaming. When you level up, you again are metagaming, because you pick skills, feats, and so on. There can be IC reasons for what you decide, such as muticlassing because of something that happened to your PC. But most character development is done though metagaming. So metagaming is not always bad.

But it can be a bad thing, if it?s done in a way that harms or effects other PC?s. The best example of this, being the whole floating name issues, that has been gone over many times. The floating name is completely OOC information, and using it to identify someone you don?t really know or couldn?t identify normally is considered a ?sin? on Avlis.

Some examples of both good and bad Metagaming or OOC behavior; (these aren?t hard and fast rules, just examples of the type of behavior so you can judge if what your doing is acceptable or not.)

? Increasing your Int/Wis/Cha score so you can cast higher level spells.
? Taking levels of another class, for IC reasons. (i.e. you had a religious experience and decide to take levels as a cleric.)
? Increasing a stat, that isn?t of primary use for your class, to qualify for feats that are useful to you. (i.e. Increasing Int to 13 so you can get improved knockdown)
? Taking a feat, not for the sake of the feat, but for other feats you can now qualify for.
? Using the floating name to identify someone you know well, but whose avatar looks like other PC?s.
? Using the Player list, to see if a friend is online at the time.
? Using the examine option to read the bio someone has put in there.

? Taking levels of another class with no logical IC reason for doing so. (i.e. Your PC isn?t religious, but want to be able to cast blufs so you take levels as a cleric.)
? Canceling out of a level up process to get a better HP roll.
? Using the floating name to identify someone you?ve never met before.
? Using the Player list, to see if PC you want to attack is online at the time.
? Using the examine option, to see what bluffs someone has or what level they are.


Powergaming is the middle ground of the three things. Almost all forms of powergaming are frowned on, here on Avlis, but powergaming isn?t normally enough in of itself to get you banned from Avlis. Extensive powergaming may do that, but you would have to do it a lot before it becomes an issue. However if you?re busy powergaming, it?s likely you?ll miss out on opportunities to roleplay, which is the focus of Avlis.

Powergaming is generally defined as doing things for purely OOC, mechanical advantages, or in game actions that are done to increase the power of your PC, that makes no IC sense. It?s related to metagaming because your approaching your character from the stand point of how to make her more powerful, rather then as a someone growing based on events that happen to her. Like metagaming, powergaming isn?t always bad, it?s frowned on most of the time on Avlis, but there are a few cases where it could be over looked, or even approved of. These however are rare cases, normally reserved for low level characters. (i.e. level 1-3)

Some examples of acceptable, and unacceptable powergaming actions. (Again these aren?t hard and fast rules, just examples)

? Doing low level quests over and over again, to get your PC past the first few levels. Like the Fedex quest, or the firebeetle quest. (Doing a quest more then once isn?t powergaming. But a mid to high level doing it like 10 times a night is.)
? Hanging out in one area to kill monsters or other NPC?s over and over again, at low levels, to complete quests or gain some money. Again like the place that firebeetles spawn in the Mikona docks.
? Going back into a area you cleared out, or respawning something you just killed, to get the final 50exp?s you need to level up, when you should have been in bed an hour ago.

? Taking a single level in a class, because of some benefit you get for having that class. (i.e. 1/19 Paladin/Sorcerer. Or taking a single level of Rogue, for the ability to pick higher then DC25 locks)
? Finding an area that allows you to make a lot of exp?s rather quickly, then spending several hours every day there, for no other reason then to gain a lot of exp?s quickly. (There?s nothing wrong with monster hunting, or spending several hours doing it. It?s only when you stay in the same area for hours that there?s a problem.)
? Going to an area to kill NPC?s or grab loot that would be against your characters beliefs in some way. (i.e. A paladin breaking into houses, or a dwarf looting the Dwarven Quarter under Mikona)
? Rushing off the moment the server restarts to kill NPC?s or open chests that you know drop good loot.
? Prior to changes in how exp rewards work on Avlis; Taking lower level PC?s with you when you kill stuff, for no other reason then to get more exp?s for yourself.
? Spending every moment you are on Avlis, killing monsters and gathering loot. (Again killing monsters and gathering loot, isn?t bad. But if that?s all you do, then there?s a problem)
? Having a really low score in one stat, so you can have a really high score in a different one. But not playing as if you had that really low score. (i.e. Having a 8 wisdom and charisma but acting as if you had a avg score in both)


Exploiting, is in many ways, the same thing as cheating. It is the practice of doing something you know you shouldn?t be able to and then repeating it as many times as you can. In nearly every case exploiting, involves a bug of some sort, be it one from the Avlis staff, or one from Bioware. Anyone found exploiting, will be put on the watch list, and is likely to be banned from playing on Avlis.

If you ever find yourself thinking ?That seemed way to easy for what I got? or ?Odd he already gave me a reward? because you got a reward you didn?t earn, then it?s likely you found something that could be exploited. We try very hard to make sure that the rewards you get are fitting to what you did. A different form of exploiting is using a trick to avoid something really bad happening. In either case you are doing something that shouldn?t be able to happen, to benefit you in some way.

There is one and only one case where doing something you think is an exploit, is acceptable, and it will be clear to us if you?re doing this or not. That is testing something you think might be an exploit, to make sure what you think just happened, did in fact happen. Provided you only do it that one more time, and report it, then you won?t be punished for exploiting. However a DM may still take what ever you got from it away from you. It?s important to note that if you had benefited from something you think may be a bug, doesn?t mean you?re guilty of exploiting. It?s when you keep doing it, over and over again, that you?re guilty of exploiting. If you run across something that you think might be a bug, please report it so we can fix what ever is wrong.

Some examples of exploiting.
? Hitting esc and quitting the game, when you?re at negative hit points, to avoid dying and going to the after life.
? Giving a NPC a quest item, then finding you have the option of giving it to him again, even though you don?t have it any longer.
? Dying, and having someone grab your gear, then crashing the server so you can come back before your character is saved, so you have all your gear back, but your friend still has everything he grabbed off your corpse.
? Logging in with a character that doesn?t belong to you. (It can happen by accident, but you need to quit as soon as you realize your not using one of your characters)
? Giving all your gear to a friend, or leaving it in a chest, then logging into a different world, and coming back to Avlis via a portal, so you have all your gear, plus copies of it in your chest or with your friend.
? Using a low level animal companion and the darkness spell, to get a ton of exp?s from killing a NPC.
? Finding a chest that spawns in an item that should never be there (i.e. +3 flaming long sword), and going to it every chance you get.
? Collecting the reward for a quest you never actually finished, or even started. But because of a bug in the dialog you can collect the reward anyway.
? Getting into a really bad situation, and logging out rather then sticking around to take what?s coming to you. (i.e. surrounded by a bunch of really tough NPC?s you know will be able to kill you).
? Logging out, then logging back in again, to restore your lost hp?s and spells.
? Finding an item needed to complete a quest, you were given some place else, logging out and logging into that server to finish the quest, rather then walking there.
? Finding out that by doing X, Y, and Z, or because of some server glitch you become invincible, then running around and killing NPC?s you would normally never stand a chance against.
? Asking high level PC?s to take you places you have no place being, then hanging way back so you can get massive amounts of exp?s with doing no real work.
? Asking low level PC?s to go with you to places they have no place being, then having them hang way back so you can get a massive amount more exp?s then you should normally.
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