This guide is here to explain the trends of most commonly used builds in PvE, known as the PvE meta.
What is the Metagame?
The Metagame is the most commonly run build for a given area, usually to accomplish the set task in the most profitable way, which also tends to be the fastest way.
What is the current Metagame?
- Monks have an incredible number of Protection and Healing spells which allow them to tank almost any foe. These builds often require incredibly attentive skill-use in conjunction with clever manipulations of game mechanics use in order to stay alive. Monks are also commonly run for RoJ, which is used to quickly and effectively nuke mobs.
- Necromancers' main advantage is Soul Reaping, which allows near infinite energy against foes which die very quickly in PvE. They also possess several high-damage curses and party buffs.
- Assassins have the ability to do permaform, which grants complete invincibility against all damage except AoE, touch skills, and signets. This invincibility can be slightly inhibiting as well, due to energy requirements and the limited options for damage, but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
The elite areas of PvE are currently dominated by Cry of Pain- and Ray of Judgment-based builds, as both do massive armor-ignoring damage to multiple targets in the area of effect. These builds run some kind of tank (usually a Shadow Form Assassin) who balls the targets, which are then hexed by a caller and spiked by the other casters with various Armor-ignoring damage skills such as CoP, RoJ and ES - effectively killing all balled foes. (It is not uncommon for an N/R or R/N with BiP and EoE to be brought along to assist the nuking process.)
Current PvE Meta
Farming Meta Builds
- SF/Commando - The current best option for permaform Assassins wanting to solo with a hero.
- Perma Sliver Form - Meta for permaform Assassins where you do not need to be bonded.
- 600/Smite - The current meta for monks wishing to do almost any area (small variants required for some areas, such as here and here).
- Perma Tank - The current meta for heavy tanking in PvE. Mostly used with Cryers.
- RoJ VS Farm - Meta for farming Voltaic Spears, which are very valuable
- MQSC Luxon FFF - Meta for farming Luxon Faction, in Mount Qinkai
- DTSC Kurzick FFF - Meta for farming Kurzick Faction, in Drazach Thicket
Elite Area Meta
No underworld build that is meta is currently present
- FoW Manlyway - The current Fissure of Woe Meta
- Deep Cryway - The current Meta in The Deep.
- Urgoz Cryway - The current Urgoz's Warren Meta.
- DoA Caster Spike - A popular build for DoA.
General PvE Meta Builds
The majority of the best general PvE builds use heroes for their quick reflexes and other abilities over humans. Such as the ability to maintain Death Nova on multiple minions easily.
- Sabway - Necro heroes abusing soul reaping and minions for big damage and heals.
- Discordway - Possibly outdoes Sabway. Heroes spam Discord for high armor-ignoring damage spikes while abusing Soul Reaping.
- Spirit Wrangler - Rit-turrets that utilize concentrated firepower.
- N/Rt Soul Reaping Healbot - A hero with big heals.
- SS Nuker - Necro nuker that can rip apart mobs.
- UA/HB Mimicry - A strong backline for most pve teams.
- Imbagon - Big party defense.
Running PvE Meta Builds
Below are the best options for running on each profession.
- D/A Unstoppable Droks Dervish
- Mo/A Blessed Shadow Runner
- P/Me Incoming Runner
- W/any Generic War Runner
- R/any Generic Ranger Runner
How does a Meta change?
Metas are often shifted by skill updates, these updates often nerf skills in the metagame, forcing them out of the meta. On the other hand, skills that were not in the meta get buffed and become a better option over different builds. For example, after the permaform UW Chaos Planes farmer started being overused, there was a significant drop in the price of ectos, which was hurting the in-game economy. Shadow Form was then slightly nerfed and new skills were given to Mindblade Spectres to make the run impossible. Another example of this is the nerf to Ursanway, which allowed any class to tank and deal large amounts of armor-ignoring damage, as well as making Monks, Warriors, and sometimes Paragons the only wanted classes for elite areas.
So why are certain builds "Meta"?
Like explained in much of the above, Meta builds are meta because they simply perform best in the given area. Since monster skills rarely change, the meta usually only changes when there is a large buff or nerf to skills which allow farming.