When someone uses means of climbing their way to the top that other would deem cheap or unfair. Usually (but not always) refers to online games with a ladder ranking system. People who "take the elevator instead of the ladder" will use powerful characters, weapons, or tactics that they know all too well are soon to receive the ban hammer or their bullshitly high power to skill ratio in order to get as high up on the ranking ladder for the game as they can, usually for fame, respect, and power in the community.
David took the elevator instead of the corporate ladder to become VP of his company by brown nosing the boss.

Many of the newer or less experienced players on Pokemon Showdown were taking the elevator instead of the ladder by abusing the fuck out of Mega Gengar before its imminent ban from OU. The ladder gets reset after each ban anyways, so the joke is on them.
by FatherofGray October 20, 2014
The act of stooping to someone's level (Meaning lowering your maturity or intellect momentarily) which is so far below what you would usually go.

Can also be used to indicate to the offending person that they've gone too far down.
EX 1: "I'd stoop to your level, but I don't want to Take The Elevator."

EX 2: "I didn't know you liked Taking The Elevator. Now even I don't want to hang out with you."
by Rohcnahtaed March 14, 2011

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