Oh, dearest Don, that would require competition to not exist. Or any optimal strategy whatsoever. It would require a game to not only be non-competitive, but also require competitive players to not exist.
The “Meta” is simply the “most effective tactic available”. No, that is not where the term came from, it has its own roots, but that is a good way to conceptualize it and explain what it means. And it fits as an acronym. Which is a coincidence. But this is NOT a post about linguistics, it is one about the metagame, the concept of metagames, and the inevitablity of one.
Incorrect. You get metagames in a game that lacks perfect balance. In order for there to be no most effective tactic, all tactics must have the same exact value, result, outcome, odds of winning, etc. This is just not possible, without having a game that only has one single tactic or way to beat it, like a block-pushing puzzle from Legend of Zelda. There must be only one correct answer. Otherwise, there will be different answers, and where there is diversity, there is difference.
While I would like to say that it is possible for two completely different situations to be equal, that would simply be impossible. One will always be better at doing something than another, or else they are the same. Unless you’re talking about Mass Effect 3’s ending. I’m not getting into that. That leads to a very depressing thought train about inevitability and I don’t want to go there.
But my point is still that if things are different, which they must be, there will always be times where one is more effective than the other. And that, in itself, is the birth of a meta. Given two roads, one longer and one shorter, would you choose the longer to get to the same destination? That is why metas exist.
A metagame is not a sign of not having balance, but rather not having perfect balance, which is unobtainable, and even if it was, it would stagnate games.
Quite frankly, saying “tl;dr” about someone else’s posts is hypocritical of me, but you wrote a lot and seem to be repeating the same stuff, so I skipped everything you said after that quote. Just like you probably skipped this part as well. (Hi, Zubo!) But my stuff is incredibly long and I know this is hypocritical but I don’t have the attention span to continue reading this. Instead, I will point you in the direction of an Extra Credits video about the concept of “perfect imbalance”.
Also please have a nice day