Community Discussion about Following the Meta

(Please note that even though this topic is marked as Chit-Chat/Rumor Mill, I would like this to be a community discussion, not a meme space. Thank you.)

In Grant Cox’s webinar on May 20th, He says how he feels about “following the meta”. He also notes his TED talk from April 12, 2013. (and wow does he look different with that goatee)

I am wondering how the VEX community feels about following the meta.

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the meta exists for a reason. I learned the hard way that running from the meta is pointless.
I’ve come to realize the best thing to do is try to pave the way for the meta, rather than follow the road others have made. if you aren’t at least trying to improve the meta, you are following it. but if you are improving the meta and adapting it to your own strategy and design, then you can certainly have a meta robot without following the meta.

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I think you can have a bot that is the meta, without “Following the meta”

This is how I’m looking at it:

If you have a bot that is the meta, but you aren’t following the meta, then you did your own game analysis and came to the solution that became the go-to design.
You didn’t have to be the first person to build one, or to figure it out 100% yourself. You just came to the same conclusion of “which design is the best” as many others did.

If you are literally “Following the meta”, then you are just using a design that you found online without doing your own game analysis to know if it was truly the best one. You saw an idea online that looked good, and built it without understanding why it’s the “Best Bot”.
These bots are often (but not always) hole-counts of another robot, and typically don’t perform as well as intended.

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I think that the meta Idea should be followed but each team should strive to make their own robot better than there neighbors. this is unless you see a major flaw in this design or think of a design that will blow away the current meta. but if you find a design like this it must be extremely well guarded because other wise someone will show it to the world and it will become the new meta. Following the meta is very good for starting teams because it will allow them to compete at a high o moderate level and will give them experience but those that only follow the meta will not be the world champions. and yes the world champion teams will have robots very similar to the meta but they will have some defining factor.

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Some years the game is easier to have an Off Meta design in, some years it’s impossible to stay competitive.

Take wallbots for example, Last year we had a very interesting design from NorCal that blocked off the opponent’s goal zones.


One of the problems with this is that your opponents will be able to play defence on your ally and will be doing just that for the whole match because they can’t do anything else. That is, if they even let you get close to their goal zones. Another flaw is that you have to deploy during driver control, and your opponents will be ready for it.
Another (not very viable) option would have been to just split the field in two. This also isn’t a good solution in many aspects.

Wallbots weren’t very viable in TT, but they might be this year. You just have to think outside the box a little bit. I have a design in mind that might work, but will be a whole lot more complex and harder to perfect than a snail-bot would.

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Improving on the meta is the only way to do well. You might win innovate by sticking to a unique design, but the meta is the meta for a reason. My team did well early in tower takeover, but we didnt start sweeping until we built a metabot with some innovations of our own.

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If you’re wanting to research to improve VEX as a whole to help the community, as well as to test and maintain your creative spirit over time, avoid the meta but be warned you likely won’t be as competitive as if you did follow the meta. But if you want to focus solely on improving yourself within VEX and doing well at VEX, follow the meta and spend your time practicing.

To simplify, following the meta improves your competition spirit and performance within VEX. But running away from the meta continuously tests and maintains your creativity.

They have their pros and their cons, but I’ve done nonmeta because I wanted to help the community as well as to maintain my creative spirit. But, its nearly impossible to do well at worlds by not following the meta.

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Sticking to the meta is probably the easiest way to do well, but sometimes it’s not the only way.

2W won worlds with a Wall / Cap bot during gateway


as I stated earlier,

This year I can see wall-bots being viable if you use it a certain way.

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I would like to see a chart on how many wallbots won worlds vs. how meta design every season won worlds. The same applies to almost all nonmeta designs as well. Meta refers to one single design, while nonmeta refers to a multitude of designs. So the assumption of nonmeta improves chances at making Round Robins/winning worlds is based upon the ignorance of the existence of multiple nonmeta designs, which, in short, creates an “ignorance is bliss” mindset that is certainly not bliss once you get smacked by a bunch of meta designs.

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Theres no simple x or y is the perfect option. If you decide nonmeta you will be sacrificing your competitiveness for maintaining and testing your creativity generally. But by picking meta you will be sacrificing creativity for competitiveness generally.

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Something I hear quite often from the forum is how having a well defined meta is somehow an inherently bad thing that can be counted against the game.

Feel free to disagree, but I think it is almost hopeless to try and design a game within vrc that survives a season without a meta. Due to things like more restrictive parts and sizes narrows the areas in which teams can make advancements. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the available parts as it is, with only a few things I wish could be added. But in any restricted competition the level of advancement and innovation is often restricted in a non-negligible way.

There are of course other things which effect how defined a meta becomes related to the game design itself, but I don’t think any of these hold a candle to what I believe is the root of the issue.

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there is always going to be a meta. the nature of the game often determines how strictly the meta is followed. tp had a lot more variation for example than TT. I think this season will be somewhere in between.

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I don’t think that a wallbot is the best way to go for every game. Some games don’t lend themselves to wallbots (TT). Sometimes the rules make it so it is literally impossible to create a wallbot (NBN). But what I am saying is that it might be a valid option for this game if built / utilized right. \

I think I already know the answer to this question, but Y’all want some leekz?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

competitive wallbots are definitely possible this year. They aren’t going to be able to consistently beat the best meta bots though.

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I think that to be competitive early on, you need to follow the meta. I think, though, that if you aren’t going to add to the design, you shouldn’t bother creating it. The meta should be like a vex forum topic, not this:

⊂ヽ
\\ Λ_Λ This is Memecat. Help
\( ‘ㅅ’ ) memecat take over
> ⌒ヽdiscord by pasting her
/ へ\ in 10 other servers
/ / \\ or she will never
レ ノ ヽつ be a meme
/ /
/ /|
( (ヽ
| |、\
| 丿 \ ⌒)
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⊂ヽ

I think that people who don’t add to the meta will naturally be weeded out by those who do, but many who make original designs will be knocked out because of those who actually try to be creative.

The only possible way for nonmeta designs to do well is based upon the publics eyes. If the public does not pick you with your walbot (since you cannot prove yourself in quals since you’re a wallbot), you are screwed. Google tournament showed that happening to us in Turning Point with our cap bot.

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Well, or by placing well at tournaments. In the case of the wallbot that’s not always possible, but other non-meta designs can do well.

the main reason I think that non-meta robots don’t do very well is that while there theoretically may be faster designs than the meta, they are always more complicated, and that combined with the fact that you have to essentially invent the entire thing yourself (as opposed to improving upon the meta where you can just stand on the shoulders of everyone else before you) means that a competitive off-meta robot is very hard to pull off.

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Exactly. You will be wasting your resources as compared to resources already invested in by the community. Using community resources is a good way to have spare time for driving practice.

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Back in Turning point, the meta was starting to lean towards catapults and good punchers, but we built a flywheel. It was a solid robot, it also had a pretty good auton and we placed really well in competitions. We also took pride in being a non-meta bot, but we started to realize that, just because its different, doesn’t make it better. Most good teams in Tower takeover built a traybot, and each time had a slightly different version of a traybot. Just because something is the meta, doesn’t mean that everyone will have the exact same robot. People should be looking at a meta, and seeing what little or big tweaks they can add to improve the robot. Then they make a reveal and everyone is like “Wow, we need that” and then they improve upon that concept. The original traybot (Goofy) now looks like an ancient robot, but it started the meta. Then people decided to add a 3 ramp, and then people started to add an extending tray on the 3rd tamp. Then teams like 7K show’d the world the cube lock (Well… the concept of it because they blurred it) and then people started to improve and add cube locks. Meta’s aren’t a bad thing, people will naturally improve things overtime which is the beauty of the internet and reveals. Trying to be different will most likely not be better, there is a reason a meta appears. If a meta is bad, why would it even be a meta? I’m not saying that you must build a snailbot, but right now there is a reason why it looks like a pretty solid robot that people want to build. Right now, we have 9999999999999999v’s indexer/sorter/pooper thing and people will probably build upon that.

TL:DR : Meta is good because people will improve upon it. The meta is a meta for a reason

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