Many years ago I was playing a Star Wars themed multiplayer arena game. Two players would duel and others were waiting in the queue and spectating. Only once a player had been defeated, another one would take their place.
You had three lightsaber attacks: quick and weak, slow and strong and an average one.
There was one player who used nothing but the slow and strong attack that would kill a player in a single strike. And this looked kind of dumb/boring/uncreative and the mood was darkening and people were complaining because that player kept felling his opponents with that tactic, since he only had to hit them once to defeat them.
But since this was according to the game’s rules, so there was nothing we could do but leave, at some point I realized what to do:
I had to get that part of my mind out of the way that complained about a supposed unfairness or the bad style of that player.
So I did and became inventive. Once I got past said point, it was easy to figure out a suitable counter-strategy: Not getting hit had highest priority, and since his attack was slow, that was actually not that difficult. To nicely balance things out and become his nemesis, I used nothing but the weak and quick attack, and I combined it with many feints. He couldn’t adapt to that strategy, and that made me consider that he probably played the way he did because he wasn’t very bright.
Thus, while it took me many hits to defeat him, I did so, step by step, controlling him, fooling him, wearing him down.
And when he finally collapsed to the ground, there was loud and triumphant cheering in the voice chat!
You would never have gotten that kind of reaction from just some ordinary online multiplay, but this included a component of meta-gaming. This had turned out to be an almost epic struggle against an enraging villain (who incidentally was also using a red light saber – I used a golden-yellow one).
Man! What a triumph and a life lesson learned!
I felt like writing this down for all the gamers who are complaining about “campers” and “snipers” in FPS games. Not only does that complaining happen a lot in shooters that are about modern warfare and its battlefields where anything like that is realistic and thus actually skillful, but regardless of this, don’t fall into a habit of complaining about every bit of unfairness in games, because that habit is often born out of convenience, and if it escalates, then a game design can become boring, because everything is totally equal in every way, taking away some of that sweet metagaming magic. 😉
It can be quite alright to have an ideal of fairness in mind, but if you expect it to already exist everywhere, you will inhibit yourself.
Overcoming a challenge with the odds against you is VERY rewarding and empowering. If you are confident that you can overcome ‘unfair’ obstacles, life itself will start to feel more easy to master, and that moves you into a better position for bringing your ideals of fairness into the world. … That is… If you don’t allow yourself to become corrupted by the unfairness you overcome. 😉 Remember: We’re talking about strength of character here, not weakness. Don’t try to struggle with your opponents, don’t try to face them using their mindset, or you will become the problem. Instead, just leave them in the dust. 🙂