What Does Meta Mean In Gaming?

By Alex Mercer

February 23, 2022

If you play online games, you must’ve heard the word “meta.” It is a very common word used across all multiplayer games, regardless of the platform. If you are a seasoned player, you already know what it means. But for someone new to competitive gaming, the word “meta” can be completely alien. So, what does meta mean in gaming?

“Meta” is an abbreviation. Meta stands for “most effective tactic available.” No matter which game, game mode, map, situation, etc., the term “meta” is universal. It denotes any most common tactic and works invariably if perfectly executed. Professional gamers use this word the most.

There’s a lot to learn about meta. In every game, countless metas arise, some stay, and some diminish. Before you start playing any competitive games, you’ll have to learn the common metas. So, without further ado, let me break down the world of meta for you.

What Is Meta In Gaming?

Meta isn’t a word; it’s an abbreviation. As I have already said above, “meta” means “most effective tactic available.” In short, meta. This term is common in multiplayer gaming, and professional gamers use it the most.

Multiplayer games are about winning against other players. It’s all about strategies, tactics, teamwork, and coordination. Every team has different tactics, and you have to have your own to get the better of your opponents.

So, to indicate a common tactic, the word “meta” is used. A strategy means the whole plan and tactics are part of a strategy.

The Meta is the most optimal and commonly used tactic to do whatever you need to do in a multiplayer game. It isn’t a winning strategy. Instead, it’s part of a strategy, like using a specific weapon or a character, the meta.

Why Is It Called Meta?

You will understand why it’s called “meta” if you look at the words and put some thought into it. Let me break it down for you.

First, discuss tactics. There are lots of different tactics in every single game. Online shooters have so many different maps. Each map offers multiple strategies. Each strategy consists of several tactics.

It depends on your playstyle, map layout, game mode, etc. It also depends on your current rank because every rank has a different skill set. In coordination with your teammates to win a game, everything you do is called tactics.

Now come to the “most effective.” The adjective “effective” is modified by the adverb “most.” So, what does it mean? As I have already mentioned above, there are multiple tactics present in every game. But not all tactics are equally effective. Some tactics are not effective at all.

On the same map, low-rank players use one tactic, high-rank players resort to another, and professional gamers’ tactics are out of this world. So, which one do you think is the most effective? I don’t know; you be the judge. The most effective one goes into the meta.

Now let’s talk about what it means by “available.” As I’ve said earlier, meta is used mostly in pro gaming. Because professional gaming has a lot of restrictions, there are usually two game modes in multiplayer games; casual and ranked.

But when the same game is played at a professional level, various settings are changed to ensure the highest level of competition. The pro scene of a game defines the meta.

Even the highest-ranked players seem like novices to pro players because the competition level doesn’t match. There are many things available in normal game modes that aren’t in pro gaming. So, they have to make do with what’s available.

Now, do you see the whole picture? Everything you do makes a tactic; the effective ones belong to the high ranks.

Their availability depends on the pro scene because most developers focus on the professional level. The pro scene influences the regular updates and changes of that game most of the time.

What’s An Example Of Meta?

The professional gaming scene is all about metas. Some of these Metas are very common, while some are out of this world. However, the flashy tactics don’t stay in the meta for long because either everyone knows about them or changes in the game. Let’s take a look at some metas in some popular multiplayer games:


Counter-Strike is the longest-running first-person shooter game. The current game in this franchise is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or CS: GO in short. CS: GO has strongly held its spot in Tier 1 for a long time. Some common CS: GO metas are smoking mid doors in CT spawn in Dust II, using boost to reach high spots, using flash grenades, etc.

Rainbow Six: Siege

Although quite popular as a game, the professional scene of Rainbow Six: Siege hasn’t been able to gain traction. It’s mainly because this game has a steep learning curve, high graphics require a high-end computer to play, etc.

However, Rainbow Six: Siege has an enthusiast and dedicated fanbase. Once you start to learn the game, it’s so much fun.

Common meta in Rainbow Six: Siege is using a shotgun with smoke and mute to make rotate holes, roam clear when attacking, placing flank drones, playing smoke to deny plants, play long angles, etc.


PUBG took the world by storm back in 2018. This game is why thousands of new players were drawn towards the battle royale genre. You land on an island from a plane, loot some gear, and compete to be the last man standing against other players. 

Some PUBG metas are playing near the edge of the circle, health boost in late rounds, avoiding hot dropping, AKM is not the weapon of choice, etc.

Apex Legends

Apex Legends is also a highly popular battle royale game from Respawn Entertainment. You can play with different characters with different powers, unlike in PUBG. Like any other game, Apex Legend also has meta weapons, meta characters, etc. Some of the meta weapons are mastiff, VK-47 flatline, etc. Some meta characters are Wraith, Caustic, Octane, etc.

Why Is Meta Used In Gaming?

The primary purpose of meta in games is to win, plain and simple. Meta means the most effective tactic available, which I already mentioned.

Why would you choose to resort to the most effective tactic instead of a useless one? Yes, to win. It’s a no-brainer. As I have already mentioned, meta indicates tactics that combine to make a strategy.

Also, know that metas change constantly. No meta is eternal. What was meta last season could become an outdated tactic next season.

Multiplayer games are changing constantly and continuously evolving. So, you never know what the developers have in mind for the next update.


While the genre defines a game, various meta makes the game fun for both players and spectators. You might wonder how multiplayer games like League of Legends, CS: GO, DOTA 2 keep running year after year, yet they are super exciting. It’s the ever-changing metas that define how gamers play the game. Now that you know what meta means in gaming, it’s up to you to decide how you will play your favorite game and make it more exciting.

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

Our work has been featured on platforms like Mashable.com, SVG.com, and XXL.com.

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