A guild member pointed me at an amazing post on Reddit today and I thought I’d share.
Something that seems to be at odds in the community is the difference between “speedrun meta” and “lfg meta”.
Speedrun meta are the builds that DnT offers- highly calculated, specialized role-filling builds that when used by a well coordinated team, clear content at breakneck pace.
This is not to say that lfg groups with the same compositions are ineffective- rather that without the coordination that being in a set up group provides, these builds and comps may not be optimal or even possible in a pick up group situation.
These two mentalities come to odds against each other because everyone wants to be optimal. Everyone wants to complete content fast. But applying the speedrun meta to arbitrary pick up groups is very risky.
For example, in a lfg group, you’re probably going to get a non-speedrun-optimal group composition to start with. Be it two warriors, a necro, or no thief/engi on a path that is fastest with stealth, or whatever. This is to be expected. You’re not going to be breaking any records with these comps, but provided everyone is skilled and knows what their build is supposed to provide for the party, the run goes smoothly and relatively quickly.
Which brings me to another point. Understand your build. When you see a DnT or speedrun meta build video, don’t just take the build without understanding what role it is supposed to fill. Classes like Thief that need to swap specs sometimes mid-dungeon to be more efficient especially need to know why and what they are doing. You also need to consider that build’s role and how it works with other party members and why.
Then, when you bring it into the lfg environment, you can better decide for yourself what adjustments to make in order to best help your team or best do more damage.
For example, in the context of a Fractal 50: the common speedrun meta Ranger build takes Beastmastery and Quick Draw. But these traits are only truly effective if you don’t need to use your dodges and your pet stays alive. In a random lfg or non-speedrun composition, this can be very difficult. In a speedrun composition, you would either 1. not take the ranger, or 2. if you have the ranger, you’d chain freeze bosses. #2 is key. Chain freezing bosses prevents them from both killing your pet as well as allowing you to dodge less. Which is why the build works well in a speedrun situation. But in a less optimized situation, that build can be immediately rendered useless by the Ranger needing to dodge, or the pet going on death cooldown.
So the Ranger needs to adjust their build for less optimal situations. Instead of Quick Draw, a Ranger can take Light on Your Feet, which reduces the penalty of dodging. Instead of Beastmastery, the Ranger can use Nature Magic, which is not entirely reliant on the pet in order to provide damage.
But that doesn’t mean that one of those builds is overall better than the other. One might be better in a certain situation but the other might be better in a different situation.
It is here that some people may argue that one build is optimal because we can MAKE every situation optimal. If you’re thinking that, please realize that while you can do that, many players cannot.
The “speedrun meta” is not commonly attainable when you lfg or just want to play casually.
But, just because your team is sub-optimal for speedruns does not mean that it cannot be effective, smooth, or even fast.
Look at your build, and look at the role it is meant to fulfill. Look at your team and adjust accordingly.
If you’re not running the speedrun meta, that’s okay. Really, it is. Don’t feel like less of a player for not running it, because you aren’t. You can still be fast and efficient if you don’t run it. Of course, the speedrun meta builds are good starting points, but don’t be afraid to adjust or try new things. This then further extends down to the “Zerker meta” idea. Same thing. Just because you’re not running zerker doesn’t make you any less of a player than someone who does. That doesn’t mean you should go around burning all the “zerker only” lfg groups, just as you don’t go burning down a group that has one spot and wants a guardian/mesmer.
In the end, play how you want to play, but be open minded. If you’ve got a lfg up, don’t insta kick a necro or ranger because they don’t fit the idea of “speedrun meta”. You’re using lfg, presumably without voice comms. You’re already not using the speedrun meta. Speedrun people are either always on voice comms or coordinated and practiced enough that they know what to do and when to do it in sync with their party members.
Don’t ever follow blindly. Learn why things happen, learn how to recover when things go south. Learn why speedrun meta builds are optimal for those situations, and love each other. ’cause really, we’re all here to have fun.