The Metagame is the game-outside-the-game that players engage in, as they attempt to outplay, out-strategize, and outguess what their opponents will do before a match begins. In Guild Wars' context, the meta primarily refers to the most popularized and/or consistently utilized builds, skills, and tactics that are used in PvP. However, meta can also refer to the same types of things in PvE.
Examples of the meta
On any given day, certain team builds and tactics dominate particular areas of the game. Winning teams are observed to use Tainted Flesh, which spreads disease to opponents while offering immunity to the target ally. Other teams start to carry the same spell, since it counters itself. Now, the use of the skill is so common that successful teams must be able to spam anti-condition skills (e.g. Restore Condition). This ends up reducing the original game-changing skill (Tainted Flesh) to a wasted slot.
In response, innovative teams might start to add hexes to pressure opponents, who are now ill-equipped to deal with the changes. And the process repeats itself: more teams bring hexes, more teams bring hex-removal, and again, after a period of time, the team builds and tactics once common will disappear, to be replaced by the next combinations.
The metagame in PvP
Reading the meta
Serious PvP players must be able to read the meta. This can be done in a combination of ways: playing matches, observing matches, communicating with others in-game in PvP outposts or off-game in PvP-centric forums.
Flavor of the month
A Flavor of the Month is typically a gimmick build, which cannot be easily countered; these builds often dominate the metagame quickly. However, once teams begin to figure out how to defeat a given FotM, it will quickly go out of favor, or mutate. For example, IWAY went through several generations of development, but somehow manages to persist despite several game updates that drastically affected the build's critical skills.
Evolution of the metagame
Drastic changes in the metagame are rare. They happen after large game updates (such as the release of campaigns), or when a new viable FotM build is discovered.
The metagame in PvE
In PvE, the metagame refers to the most popular techniques, e.g. player builds, team compositions, or speed-clearing strategies. However, the term is a misnomer because there is no game-outside-the-game for PvE: players do not have to respond to pressure from other players. Instead, the PvE meta places emphasis on effective usage of hero builds and represents the community's best guesses as to the most efficient way of playing Hard Mode. In contrast to PvP, good PvE players do not have to read the PvE meta, although most min-max practitioners believe it is foolish to use any but the most efficient tools.
- Metagaming, a Wikipedia article on metagame across various platforms.
|Team roles (edit) (category)|
|Type||General team roles||Specific team roles||Hero team roles|
|Damage||Spiker • Nuker||Bomber • Dagger spammer • Touch ranger • Starburster • Trapper||Signet of Spirits hero|
|Pressure||Lineback||Barrager • Beast master • Cripshot Ranger • Pressure Ranger||—|
|Support||Healer • Protection||Battery • Bonder • Flag runner • Hybrid monk • Imbagon • Infuser • Orders||Necro healer • Soul Twisting prot|
|Control||Shutdown • Tank||Minion master • Perma • Spirit spammer||Mesmer Midline|
|Utility||Caller • Toolbox||Gimmick||—|