If you’re an avid gamer or a gaming enthusiast, you might have heard of the term “meta” countless times now. But what does it exactly mean?
Simply put, META refers to the most effective strategy to win a game. It is often well-received by the majority of a playerbease because it’s effective in minimizing negative plays while maximizing a player’s strengths.
In competitive multiplayer games, the META often refers to the best weapon, hero or character, technique, or unit to use to win almost every match in the current patch.
What does META mean?
In the world of gaming, META is widely believed to be an acronym for “Most Effective Tactics Available.” It is the most effective strategy or way to achieve a game’s goal, whether it’s to best other players or beat the game itself.
Following the meta is a common norm in most multiplayer games, where you have to play against other players and outplay them to secure a victory. For beginners, checking out the meta is greatly advised since it will help them find their way in winning their games.
Meta in MOBA games
In MOBA games like Dota 2 and League of Legends, the meta can be in the form of hero picks and rotation strategies. Whenever a certain character gets buffed, it’s only natural for the rest of the player base to “spam” pick the said hero especially when it’s at its prime.
Sometimes, this leads to auto-picking meta heroes even if it sacrifices the overall team composition. This is primarily done by players who strongly believe a meta hero would immediately translate to an easy win. Be wary though, since that’s not always the case!
If a certain hero is considered a meta pick for the season, it won’t hurt to give it a few tries in some pub matches. Maybe you can actually work with the said hero and give it a go on rank after familiarizing the skill set, possible combinations, and quick plays.
Team composition can also be considered a meta in most MOBA games. While you can almost always secure a win having two carries in a team (which is often common in fast-paced mobile MOBAs), there are times it’s much more ideal to fill the support or healer slot instead to help assist the team.
Meta in FPS games
When it comes to FPS and shooter games, meta picks are commonly in the form of guns or weapon type.
In a particular season, some guns and weapons are either buffed or nerfed. If devs notice that the majority of the player base are spamming a certain gun and the community feedback about it are rather negative, they are inclined to tone it down a notch to make way for other guns or weapons to be used instead.
So, don’t be surprised if your favorite guns or weapons get nerfed after you notice how easy it is to get headshots or one shot, one kill. The developers would normally want to maintain some sense of balance in the game, after all.
A certain build for a gun’s attachments can also be considered a meta. Many content creators share their gun builds in the form of videos, where they can also show the gameplay of the said gun afterwards.
If you’re still figuring your way around competitive, multiplayer FPS games, you might want to check out which meta guns can help you win your games for the season! It won’t guarantee a win, of course, but you can use it to your advantage at the very least.
Merely using the game’s META won’t make the cut. You have to constantly keep up with the “current” meta to effectively use it to your advantage, since the meta changes after every patch or game update.
A certain hero or weapon might be in the META this season, but for the next update these picks might be heavily nerfed.
Developers will want to patch and re-balance the game as the player base knows it, and when the meta shifts— it won’t take long for players to figure out what the optimal way to play is in the new environment.
Some underperforming or under-picked heroes and weapons might also be adjusted or buffed, hence it’s always possible for the less fan-favorites to make it to the meta at some point.
Tips to master the meta
We all want to have win streaks in our games; anyone who disagrees with this statement is 100% lying or simply a masochist. There’s no secret formula when it comes to rapidly picking up a game’s meta and immediately using it to your advantage.
But, there are some tips you can follow to speed up that process:
Study the pros
While many tend to watch competitive plays believing that pro players follow the game’s meta— what’s overlooked is that these players tend to shape the meta themselves.
Pro eSports players might pick off-meta draft, but then they manage to outplay their opponents during late game. Take for instance a great move by two-time The International champion OG’s Ana, who picked the support hero IO and turned it into the team’s carry.
But what’s important to note is that not everyone can pull off what the pros do. After his controversial pick and high-profile win, many players and fans took IO carry to their pub games even if they had zero idea to play the little ball.. which only caused a lose streak for some.
Instead, it’s better to study how the pros play and determine if their “meta” gameplay is something you can work with.
Watch content creators
Many content creators who are heavily reliant on gaming content almost always feature if the game has a new meta. This is usually observed whenever a new season drops. Whenever a new season approaches, a new meta is also about to rise on the horizon.
In fact, these creators often gain more following because they’ve established their prowess in the said game— making their verdict trustworthy. Plenty of players try out their shared information almost immediately after watching their videos.
So if you’re looking into trying out a game’s meta, check out relevant content creators on platforms like YouTube and Twitch. You might even learn a thing or two from their gameplay, HUD lay-out, and meta picks for a particular season.
Join specific communities
Most of the time, your games have active online communities in social platforms like Discord, Reddit, or Facebook Groups. This serves as an avenue where players can collectively share funny memes, game tips, or even personal meta strategies to help get some wins.
Upon joining an online community that’s exclusively about a game you’re playing, you might want to take the opportunity to ask around for tips to help you better improve your gameplays and in-game skills.
There might be other players who are willing to help you understand the game’s current meta, which you can then apply to your own matches. Always remember that there’s no harm in trying or experimenting— just don’t do it on rank.
Put it into practice
There’s no use knowing the meta if you won’t put it into practice. Sure, you can be confident about how effective the current meta is, (either hero pick, weapon type, etc) but you can’t be so sure if you actually haven’t put all the things you’ve learned so far into play.
So, the most ideal thing to do after knowing a game’s current meta is to play the game and practice doing it. You might even discover that you need to do some adjustments in your typical gameplay if you want to effectively pull off the meta.
As what was previously mentioned, a meta might work for the majority of the player base but that does not include everyone. Don’t force it if you don’t see yourself getting good plays if you constantly go with the meta, but also try not to give up too quickly in practicing it.
Beware of counter picking
When a majority of a game’s player base are using certain strategies that have been proven to be successful for a variety of reasons, there will always come a time where counter picks will emerge.
Players will always find a way to effectively deal with those who are using meta picks and defeat the popular strategies with a unique play style or counter picks. While it’s okay to use the meta, just don’t completely rely on it.
This is especially true in the field of competitive eSports, where there are banned heroes, weapons, and maps. Relying entirely on one meta won’t count.
One thing worth noting about the Meta in any game is that it is always changing. Even in games where it’s arguably well-balanced, there’s still some sort of Meta that heavily influences the game’s outcomes.
As a true gamer, it’s our duty to adapt to the current Meta and use it to our advantage. It will greatly help us win our games, after all.