For frequent visitors of the PAD subreddit or avid gamers, you probably know what the word “meta” means. For those of you who don’t, or want a deeper explanation on how the Puzzle and Dragon meta functions, this post is for you. I’ll be going over the definition of meta, it’s occurrences in the game, and how it affects gameplay as a whole.
Defining Meta: How it works
Meta is an abbreviation for “Most Effective Tactic Available”, used commonly in multi-player games. In games like PAD, a mostly single-player game with no PVP (as of now), the word is referenced in several different ways. The main way “meta” is used is to define a leader or team’s capabilities in clearing content- especially new content. The word can stretch to a single leader, team, or even an entire category of leaders. Difficulty inflation is a term I use when describing the increase in difficulty as time passes. Gungho will always increase the difficulty of newer dungeons, and to match them, stronger cards are released.
The meta’s pace compared to this difficulty inflation basically defines how the game is played, and how much the game is played. It is in Gungho’s best interest to keep things interesting by advancing both the difficulty inflation AND the meta. If the meta’s pace is too fast compared to the difficulty inflation, then the game becomes boring. If the meta’s pace is to slow compared to the difficulty inflation, the game becomes far too hard to play. Let’s say that PAD never got past the starting descended dungeons, such as Goddess Descended, Satan Descended, etc. Let us also imagine that all the cards here today (Myr, ALB, ACC) are also here. The game would be quite boring, wouldn’t it? On the other hand, if we never got past the Awoken Egyptians (Horus, Ra), and Gungho released dungeons like Arena 3, close to nobody would play the game. It would be far too hard to play, and basically forces you to stone in order to clear something.
While I wasn’t present for the first half of the game’ s existence, I am aware of the meta’s status during that time. It began with tank leaders like Lucifer, with 2x HP and RCV, where nothing hit hard enough to kill you. Then, the meta began to favor damage and tankiness, and kept shifting back and forth between damage and tankiness until now.
For a meta snapshot of the current PAD, The “Heart Cross” meta was sparked by the introduction of Myr, arguably the strongest farmable leader, even still placing high on tier lists. After Myr’s release, several other heart cross leaders began to increase in power and usage, including Kaede, Sumire, Gremory, etc. This “meta” continued strong until quite recently, when Gungho placed tremendous effort into their dungeon design to counter heart cross. Combo absorbs, elemental resistance, and many other dungeon mechanics all weakened the heart cross meta overtime. As heart cross slowly falls, a new meta that is more capable of clearing new content will appear.
The meta is always changing. As long as new mechanics continue to come out that other cards can bypass more easily, or new stronger cards get released, the meta will always shift. Currently, we’re starting to evolve from heart cross onto a more glass canon type of meta. Gungho is releasing enemies with crazy amounts of HP that teams like Myr just can’t hit, and the amazing survivability Myr brings is less of a necessity given new mechanics such as the 15% HP badge, extra stats from inheritance, etc. Leaders like Revo Anubis do great in this meta, as they have good tankiness, amazing damage, and fair damage control. As the current glass canon meta reaches it’s peak, Gungho may begin adding big frequent preemptive hits or HP cuts, or other mechanics to counter glass canon leaders.
This was just a quick summary of how the PAD meta works, there are many much deeper aspects to it that relies on psychology as well, but I won’t be going into that (in this post, at least). I’m planning on releasing a series of post that outlines the current meta and predictions on the future meta. I don’t know how frequent these will be as the meta’s shifting pace may change, but I will whenever there’s a decent sized shift. That’s all for this post, I’ll catch you all on the next one. Potato-PAD, out.