Game meta is discovered, not designed.
The goal of the designer should be to provide all of the components of good game meta, the building blocks. But it is the players that ultimately figure out how those building blocks fit together.
The game designer isn't blind to meta. Units should counter each other. Environmental elements should have an influence on gameplay (size of map, movement obstructions, location of resources, etc). The economy system should have some level of complexity (3 resources is better than 1, different units cost different resources, etc.). All of these things can be planned. But because each of these systems can be exploited in a thousand different ways, it really isn’t so smart to believe they can be perfectly designed before the players arrive.
This is why I chuckle everytime someone asks me “so what are you going to do after you finish your game?” In my mind, the development cycle of an RTS game is only 60% complete on the day it launches. I intend to spend at least 6 months after launch fine-tuning and optimizing gameplay, fixing bugs and countering cheating/hacking techniques. I’m hoping sales of the game will finance those 6 months, and after that time, I will dedicated myself to implementing new features, such as community-driven ranking, friends lists, more advanced end-game stats, etc. There is always room for improvement.
Gone are the days when you could put your game in a neat little package, ship it off, and be done with it. These days, if a game is to succeed, at least an online game, it must constantly evolve into a more perfect form. At least that is my goal with Strike Tactics.