However, metagaming is thriving right now. The fighting genre is making a massive comeback, with new titles in the Marvel Vs. Capcom, Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and Dead or Alive franchises all out this year. The fighting genre is very heavily dependent upon metagame. A player who wants to fully master a fighting game will not just learn a couple characters and get good with them; the real fighting game champion will learn to play every character, thus knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each and every one. The good fighter will also stay on top of which characters are currently winning the most often and will develop counters to their most effective strategies. In doing so, metagamers will be able to have an answer for everything that is thrown against them.
A good example is found in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. Certain characters have beam skills that are difficult to dodge, can hit all the way from the opposite side of the screen, deal a fair amount of damage, and are spammable. Two moves that instantly come to mind are Sentinel's heavy attack and Dr. Doom's Plasma Beam. Spamming these moves is an easy strategy that allows newer players to rack up some online wins. Players who keep up on their metagame, however, know that Sentinel and Dr. Doom spammers generally find it difficult to battle at close range and can easily be taken down by any character fast or small enough to dodge the beam attacks. My personal favorite spam counter character is Chris Redfield, who can get into prone position and fire his pistol, forcing spammers to get a lot closer than they are comfortable with.
As more and more players learn the counters to these spam moves, the whole Dr. Doom/Sentinel spammer thing will die out when the spam counters become commonplace. Out of necessity, players that rely on these spam moves will be forced to adopt new strategies. Other players, in turn, will be forced to come up with new counters to these strategies. A well-implemented metagame will be constantly evolving. The strategies that are currently the most popular in Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 will most likely be obsolete in a couple months. It's safe to say that in MvC3, metagame is a fairly important factor in online or tournament play.
And it's not just the fighting genre that is keeping metagaming alive. The RTS (Real-Time Strategy) genre has been given a fresh boost with the sequel to the RTS king StarCraft. And StarCraft II is not even fully out yet. The first chapter came out last summer, but there are two expansions in the works right now, extending the playable life of this product by years. It's safe to say that StarCraft II has a long and healthy life ahead of it.
My prediction: Metagaming is still an essential part of gaming. It is now seeing a healthy spurt of growth due to the popularity of the fighting genre and the persistence of StarCraft. While eventually developers may opt out of building this sort of gaming experience for something a lot simpler and cheaper to produce, I think metagame will continue to survive for the foreseeable future.
Now if you'll excuse me, I must get back to YouTube to figure out some new Marvel Vs Capcom 3 strategies.
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*