This guide is here to explain the PvP meta for anyone who does not understand what it means.
What is the Metagame?
The metagame is simply the collection of builds and methods that are favored at any given time. There have been many different forms of Meta: hexway , blockway, spike metas, etc. Meta shift occurs as different builds become favored over other builds, usually because they outspec/overpower several other meta builds. The metagame arises as a result of this changing of builds in order to gain an advantage. Meta shifts can also be driven by buffs and nerfs, usually desiring to abuse overpowered skills.
What is the current Metagame?
(Needs to be updated)
What is meant by a Power Creep?
Power creep is the gradual unbalancing of a game due to successive releases of new content. As new expansions or updates are released, new game mechanics or effects are introduced making it increasingly difficult for older content to remain in balance without changes. Usually, this means new content releases grow successively more powerful (hence "power creep") while older content becomes relatively underpowered. Currently, there is a rather large amount of power creep in the meta due to increases in the power of older skills to bring them in line with new ones, as opposed to lowering the power of newer skills to be in line with older ones.
GvG Meta Builds
HA Meta Builds
Click here to view a full list of the current meta builds.
How does a Meta change?
Metas are often shifted by skill updates, these updates often nerf skills in the metagame, either forcing them out of the meta, or bringing them in line with alternatives to increase build diversity. Or on the other hand, skills that were not in the meta may get buffed and become a better option over different builds.
Alternatively, the meta may change due to the need to counter the current meta builds arising. Once a way to counter the meta has become popular, it in turn becomes the new meta. A good example of this is the Blinding Surge Elementalist, which while weaker as an anti-melee template than the Fast Cast Water Mesmer, is for the most part unaffected by the powerful hex removals such as Peace and Harmony that have become available, and is able to take both Weapon of Warding and Protective Was Kaolai to help deal with many of the main elements of the current meta builds.
So why are certain builds "Meta"?
Like explained in much of the above, Meta builds are meta because they simply perform best against what is popular (or meta) at the given time, meta builds often abuse the most skills or techniques to stack the odds onto their side.
Build Wars is where certain builds are specialized to beat other builds (often meta ones). Build Wars is usually seen during AT's or mAT's where you know who your opponent will be and you will know what their common build is. For example, during many mAT's people have counterspecced against Rawrspike by using extra defense (usually with a mid-liner maintaining Vital Weapon on low AL targets) or versus Blood Spike, VoR or some forms of AoE damage are used.
Build Wars can occur at even lower forms though, where by simply speccing against a very popular meta build will often lead to victories. For example in HA, a common counter to Teaseway is IWAY where there are too many high AL targets to spike down and high amounts of energy-denial. Or by simply taking a PnH Support Monk you will be specced against various Hexways (although they are much less common).