Meta explained


What does meta mean?

There are many different interpretations for meta, but we consider urbandictionary's definition to be the most accurate one: meta is "a term used in MMO meaning the Most Effective Tactic Available. It's basically what works in a game regardless of what you wish would work."
Many players are using certain compositions - non meta ones - on a daily base, which does not elevate them to meta. It might work adequately for their goal - a wipe-less and safe clear - however, it is not the fastest or the most efficient way to play.

The meta for fractals therefore not only subsumes what classes and builds are most effective but also how to play - in other words - what rotation should be used. Example skill rotations for every metaclass can be found in their respective build pages.

What is necessary to clear fractals efficiently?

It boils down to three important concepts that need to be fulfilled permanently while in combat. Failing one of these will decelerate the speed and smoothness of the run:

  1. Breaking CC bars immediately to gain the 50% damage modifier from Exposed.
  2. High single target burst potential.

It is vital to understand that this three concepts in conjunction create massive amounts of burst causing phases to only last a few seconds. This is also due to the fact that the 50% Exposed modifier stacks multiplicative with many other damage modifiers.

The gameplay is therefore much more fast paced compared to raids and requires different thinking and rotations that are tailored around the Exposed window.

For T4s there are several other concepts important:

  1. Reflections and Stability
  2. High cleave damage.
  3. Movement speed with leaps, blinks, and teleports.
  4. Stealth to skip trash mobs.

What is the current fractal meta?

It is important to note, that each challenge mote encounter has a different most effective tactic available (meta), which never equals to the proposed composition below. Discretize focuses on clearing daily fractals efficiently, and the proposed composition brings enough utility to deal with all situations, that are occurring in fractals.

Most fights in fractals are so short, that Condi classes or power damage classes with a longer ramp-up time (e.g. Chronomancer) do not get to the point, where they unfold their potential. Also slaying potions such as favor power burst classes over Condi.

This composition is often called the "daily comp" or also "rainbow comp" .

  • Provides permanent Alacrity and around 10 stacks of Might.
  • Knocks out large chunks of the CC bar, however, is not solely responsible for CC!
  • Provides a unique damage buff , which increases the entire group's ferocity by 100.
  • Provides , which also boosts the entire group's damage.
  • Deals about half the damage of a DPS class.
  • Has blinks on and .
  • Provides Stability and projectile destruction on demand.
  • If No Pain, No Gain or Vengeance instability is present it can strip boons with ().
  • Provides permanent Quickness, on demand Aegis and Resistance.
  • Contributes to CC with .
  • Provides a unique damage buff , which increases the entire group's power by 216.
  • The damage depends on the encounter. In 99CM Guardian or Dragonhunter can be played resulting in very high DPS; in 100CM as Firebrand 1/2 up to 3/4 of a DPS player.
  • Provides instant Vulnerability application with , which helps immensely to kill adds quickly at Mama, Siax and Skorvald.
  • Has blinks on and .
  • Can provide situational Stability for T4s or Artsariiv.
  • Contributes high amount of CC with and .
  • Provides unique buffs with and , which increases the entire group's power, precision, and ferocity by 100.
  • Blasts fire fields to keep up Might during the battle.
  • Is a third DPS class on most bosses, which makes it in conjunction with banners a non-brainer to bring.
  • Provides very high cleave DPS in T4s.
  • Contributes to CC with , and .
  • Provides the strongest unique temporary DPS boost, , which helps to meet DPS checks.
  • Provides a unique 5% damage modifier with
  • Deals very high damage.
  • Contributes to CC with .
  • Deals very high burst damage, is top DPS on most bosses.
  • Provides and blasts fire fields to keep up Might during the battle.
  • Provides conjures (, and ) for the team.
  • Provides AoE Blind for T4s via .
  • Can execute various T4s skips with .

Removing one of these 5 classes will introduce new issues or be strictly worse.

Removing Firebrand + Renegade: the only other class, which can provide Alacrity is the Chronomancer. However, Chronomancer needs to play perfectly to keep up 5-man Quickness and Alacrity and is therefore considered an unreliable boon provider. CC is comparable to what Renegade provides but lacking and ! Also Might becomes a bigger issue without a Renegade.

Removing Berserker: without the extra precision from the banners the party would be required to run either more assassins gear or another Soulbeast with . Berserker provides high CC and DPS in CMs and very high cleave damage making it irreplaceable in a daily clear.

Removing Soulbeast: indisputable the worst idea as it provides the strongest damage buff in the game (), a unique buff () and the highest burst in the current revision of the game. Also your party loses Stealth for T4s.

Removing Weaver: Not a terrible idea. The Weaver could be replaced with a second Soulbeast. Double Soulbeast works well on most encounters in CMs, requires some fiddling at Siax but is not terrible overall. However, with that composition you will run into cleave problems in T4s. Also missing some blasts from the Weaver and the AoE Blind.

This shows how well the current meta builds synergize with each other and how important it is that every single player maxes out their role.

What and how do I play in PuGs?

PuGs rarely play the meta builds causing people who play meta to deal lower damage. If you are one of those that seek to improve we highly encourage you to seek a static via our #looking-for-static channel on discord or apply to Discretize. Please note, that we of course encourage the fractal community to strive for self-improvement and help in any possible way on our discord server or in-game, however, we are very well aware that the proposed composition does not work well in PuGs.

Generally you can even play Condi builds in PuGs, especially well performing is Condi Firebrand. Worth mentioning is that the provides 15% increased condition damage attribute and 15% increased outgoing condition damage. Also Power Chronomancer is flourishing in slower groups (PuGs).

Some people are for what ever reasons not able to find a static or not committed enough to put time into a game (which is totally understandable) and just want a fast and wipe-less clear. For those we recommend following team composition:

The Renegade's role is to provide 100% Alacrity uptime, and some Might uptime, strong utilities in terms of heavy crowd control, for extra team DPS and low to medium power DPS. Renegade has party heals with and . It can also give Stability where needed with . If No Pain, No Gain or Vengeance instability is present use () to strip boons.

For Tier 4 fractals or if you need stronger heals in Challenge Modes we recommend Heal Renegade.

The Firebrand is perfectly viable in pugs and it's role consists of providing 100% Quickness uptime, utilities in terms of crowd control, reflects, shared Aegis and medium power DPS. It can even provide Resistance for a short time with tomes.

For Challenge Modes Heal Firebrand is usually the go to build for firebrands in PuGs, making them effortless with very bad instability combos or if you run with people who do not know mechanics. Remember to use share variant found in our builds section!

Banner Berserker
The Banner Berserker is the strongest build for Warrior in fractals, essential to any team, providing party buffs in the form of , . Furthermore, it has excellent single defiance bar damage in and , the build also has relatively high burst and excellent sustained damage.

Spellbreaker is not used, only in some T4 encounters like Molten Boss Effigy and Twilight Oasis last boss Amala if you don't have a Power Reaper in your group or your Renegade can't fulfill it's boonstripping role properly with or you are specifically asked to run it.

Pick any of the meta or offmeta classes as damage dealers offered in the What Should I Play section

Pick any of the meta or offmeta classes as damage dealers offered in the What Should I Play section

What are the differences between the meta and how PuGs play?

One of the biggest difference is, that they don't always understand how their actions translate into the game. Learning to do the mechanics correctly, flawlessly, and reliably is - in the beginning - the most important task. PuGs assume the worst usually, so one player in the party is a healer instead.

Another difference is that PuGs often claim, that CC is solely the job of the Renegade. That is not true since Renegade can only knock out about half of the bars. CC is a group effort involving all party members!

Many PuGs like to play Dragonhunter. That is just fine as you don't know what to expect of your fellow PuG mates and you prefer to be self-sufficient. But please use with to CC and provide a huge party-wide unique buff! It is more worth it than the +500 DPS you gain from pressing an auto-attack instead.

What now?

If you do not know what to play yet we can help you with very basic description of the classes here or if you already read we recommend reading how you can utilize the Defiance bar by breaking it here!