LEAGUE OF LEGENDS META DEFINITION
Meta is a popular word among League of Legends players and usually it refers to metagaming term. Let’s see what is metagaming exactly. To begin, let’s quote the wikipedia: Metagaming is any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself. Metagaming differs from strategy in that metagaming is making decisions based upon out of game knowledge, whereas strategies are decisions made based upon in-game actions and knowledge.
As you can see a lot of things fit the definition of metagaming. Briefly meta in League of Legends is information that comes outside of the game which affects ingame decisions (strategies, patch notes, item builds, pro players picks etc). More about mega-game you can learn from our league of legends coaches.
Let us give some examples of the use of meta to finally clarify everything:
- During big League of Legends tournament new champion picks and team setup combinations were shown by a pro players. Since a lot of ordinary players who were watching it would like to repeat these picks in their games – meta is beginning to change in side of these champion picks. Tournaments are main cause formation of a new meta.
- You know what you matched against a pro Zed player therefore you ban Zed. This is also can be called metagaming.
- You have read guide and decided to change your playstyle.
- Teleport on top lane as default choice instead of Ignite.
- Attack damage item build on Fizz which is also one of the latest trends.
Even default team setup (solo top lane, mid lane, jungle and two people on bottom lane) is part of metagaming because there are no directions for players to stick to that setup. At League of Legends first years you could often see Ashe, Pantheon at mid lane or two random champions at top lane/bottom lane both of which are trying to creep slain chaotically. Players who are starting to play League of Legends pass through the same stages which you can see in games with players whose summoners level is below 10.
Meta can be different at each region. That’s why picks and strategies on different servers may vary significantly. However meta is able to transfer from server to server. There is a story that proves it: when Lucian was released no one was playing him for first months until korean teams started to pick him on proleagues. After that he is become incredible popular, initially at korean server and then on the rest. Since that Lucian survived the several solid nerfs and his popularity went to the abyss. But few days at IEM Katowice he was one of top picks thus his pick rate is growing up again.
WHY PEOPLE FOLLOW META IN LEAGUE OF LEGENDS
There are several psychological reasons why people following League of Legends meta, let’s list them:
- We want to feel part of the majority. Thus people tend to copy the dominant trends they see. Also some people fear that they will be condemned if they do not follow the general course.
- We tend to believe the authorities. When pro team shows new picks on popular league, these picks are at the same time becoming popular among ordinary players.
- It was proved that most people can only keep in mind 7±2 objects in their mind simultaneously. This leads to a very limited pool of popular champions for each role among majority of League of Legends players.
META IS NOT THE UNIVERSAL KEY TO ALL DOORS
Metagaming brings common logic in League of Legends and helps to avoid chaos during the regular games. However this doesn’t mean that following meta is best way to win the game. Even if you freeze current game balance most popular picks and strategies will not stand still and would change over time. League of Legends has too many variables to make the path of finding the ideal strategy easily found.
For example, after Ziggs release almost no one was playing him for a year. Should be mentioned that during this year there were no balance changes for Ziggs. Then one of the most popular streamers started to play him a lot and also Ziggs appeared on LCS. Guess what? Ziggs become incredible popular for a long time and after that survived several significant nerfs. Main thought of this story is that Ziggs was a very strong champion long before he came out of shadows. However most players paid attention to him only when pro players approved him.
There are champions who constantly jumping from top of the popularity to the abyss and back: Ahri, Graves, Fizz, Jarvan IV, Katarina, Renekton, Kha’Zix etc. There are may be for various reasons for this. It can be balance fix or new champions who are coming to the top of popularity to replace old ones in people’s minds (7±2 objects rule).
Another trend which appears time from time is a Teleport on top lane as default summoner spell choice. Teleport is a good choice for team ranked but rare person can use it effectively in solo queue. Most times player who have chosen Ignite wins lane because it provides too big advantage in the fight.
LEAGUE OF LEGENDS META CHAMPIONS AND MATH STATISTICS
Let’s use lolking data base to look at the twenty most popular / meta champions in ranked games at the moment:
Exactly half of them have negative winrate (below 50%)! This means that significant part of champions who are popular among ordinary players and what are supposed to be game breakers actually have negative affection on winrate. For example. Zed whose mechanics are really hard therefore he is needed good practice to provide decent performance, has strictly negative winrate below 48% for ages. However he is in the list of most popular picks, moreover he is banned in 35,96% of games. In terms of simple numbers this is complete nonsense. Why would someone tend to pick or ban a champion who are more likely to lose than win. But most people don’t know these numbers thinking that Zed would bring them victory and no matter how they are good with him. Why? Because meta.
Zed is bad at team fights and should stomp his lane to affect gaming trend positively that’s why his winrate in solo queue is so low. However he can be the champion who carry game hard but you should be really good at his mechanics.
Also let’s look at champions with highest winrate:
Half of champions in this list aren’t part of meta picks (they appear less than one game of ten). This means that there are many underrated champions which are actually stronger than most people think. This is a another proof that metagaming is not the universal key to all League of Legends doors.
SHOULD I FOLLOW META?
At least you shouldn’t do it blindly. Obviously it’s better to be aware of current League of Legends meta to adjust to it. Don’t pick champion only because it is good according to most, much better to choose a champion on which you are good. Zed example mentioned before proves it.
Also you have to be tolerant to unusual picks and according to our observations the higher league the more more varied picks you will meet. It’s very rare when someone start to resent when you make uncommon pick on diamond league while it can often happen on silver – platinum leagues.
Metagaming is the main driving force behind the evolution of League of Legends and we should appreciate it. Also it brings order to the game and we don’t see people chaotically running around the map like it happens with people who are just starting to play the game. However we have to be critical and most importantly to think for themselves rather than blindly follow general course.
P.S. This video about history of meta im League of Legends can be interesting despite it’s old (29 november 2012 year).
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