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The Many Layers of Meta

SirAston October 24, 2013 User blog:SirAston


Greetings, Citizens of the Internet!

Everyone's talking about meta, meta-sheeps, anti-meta, breaking the meta and basically everything else where meta is somehow involved in the community. But why is everyone right and wrong at the same time? I don't know, but I have envisioned a small tool that may help us to understand the following question: "What is meta, what is not meta and can I eat it?"

Layer 1: Traditional Meta

It doesn't get more meta than this: Stuff that the progamers says that it works pretty well (but just don't copy it, learn WHY it works, Blitzcrank dear Ezreal ignorant Zyra meta-sheeps). Our classic interpretation of "ADC/Support duobot, APC/Mage solomid, Bruiser/Assassin Solotop and Bruiser/Assassin Solojungle" (which is, surprising for many, still a "young" meta; just ask any neckbeard here what S1 and Beta was like) is the most visible example for this layer of Meta.

Layer 2: Community-driven Meta

Remember Master Yi old!Master Yi? One guy on Youtube (if I remember correctly) showcased the potential of MAPster Yi and something that was intended to be a melee ADC suddenly became an AP Bruiser that especially plagued lower divison plays. The keyword here is "lower division plays", since that's where the major part of the community and therefore the major part of the "meta-whiners" are. I'm looking at you, below-average blog post writers who are only raging in their posts... I just won't tell everyone your names. The community here will still know which people I meant anyway.

Sub-layer: Expanding the Meta

While still following the current meta, people in this sub-layer are doing something different. It feels different, but isn't there to oppose the meta. No meta-breaker in any way, they just explore champions in a (radically) different way. Quinn Quinn and Morgana Morgana as Jungler would be an example for it, since it doesn't want to make things different, they are here to expand the possibilities of champions. This is different from the old Master Yi Eldritch Abomination in that the Meta doesn't shift, it only expands. It's a sub-layer because they only have a small impact. Unless the community notices it and are enlightened by the sheer awesomeness of it, then it'll become Layer 2.

Layer 3: True Meta-Breakers

Most people get stuck in a premade-team that is all about doing non-meta stuff at least once. Some people even want to break the meta every day. When one strategy works well often enough, it could be in this layer. Some Meta-Breakers fail to see that their greatest strength lies in the element of surprise, though (see below). Still, if your strategy grabs the attention of pro-players, there is a chance that they will learn from it and use a refined version of it in the big tournaments. Of course, the Meta-Breaker must then pass against the enemy pro-team, which is the single hardest achievement for a competitive game. Only few meta-breakers will then arise to the first layer (like today's meta for lane-distribution). For me, this is the blurred line between meta and non-meta.

Layer 4: Pseudo Meta-Breakers

Similar to layer 3, the Pseudos gain their strength only because of being able to catch their enemies off-guard. It's a take on breaking the current meta without a long-term goal, it only exists to screw the current meta, but has no vision of a better gaming experience.

Layer 5: Desperate Meta-Breakers

Meta-Breakers born out of desperation because a meta-whiner wants to change a single, specific topic (or several of 'em that aren't tied together), something that is felt as "broken". In the end, it's absolutely non-meta since it's not about setting a better standard or having a long-term vision... It's just because the desperate meta-breaking person is pissed off and gets creative at it. But, hey, maybe it works. Just don't expect too much of it.

Layer 6: Trolling

They don't want to change the meta. They just use the "Let's break the meta"-cover to Dr. Mundo do what pleases them. Naturally, they don't care for the meta in the first place and are playing it for selfish fun.

That's all, folks

A rather quick post about something that grabbed my attention. I feel that this is incomplete, though. And just as the current meta is driven by experts and the community alike, I want to hear you out, critizising me, but also getting interesting input for new layers or for a better definition of them. Heck, maybe there are sub-layers somewhere. Anyway, as blog posts should have some meaning... ... Ah, I don't really know the meaning of this. Maybe I want to enlighten some people, that one person speaking about "meta" is not equal to another person speaking about "meta". Maybe that. Or I just want to waste your time. Hopefully, I didn't.

Happy Leagueing!

Bonus: Meta Drinking Game

Get some beverage if you are legally allowed to drink and want to. Every time you read "meta", replace it with "PETA" and read it out aloud (especially when you have some nerdy friends joining you). Anytime you have to at least snicker about it, DRINK LIKE YOU'RE IRISH! XD

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