Created By: WaxingName on December 19, 2012 Last Edited By: WaxingName on January 26, 2013
Nuked

Quality over Quantity

In a match of Quantity Vs Quality, Quality wins.

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It's no secret that there's always an inverse relationship with quantity and quality. For whatever reason a lot of writers tend to take the side of quality.

It's likely because it's commonly viewed as being easier to produce many things with little effort than producing a single thing with a lot of effort. At times, this is often intended as a Take That towards companies who subscribe to the above theory by making cheap but low-quality products.

Most commonly the protagonists in a given work are a small elite group pitted against a large group of weak mooks. Possibly because throwing away the lives of people on your own side is seen as unethical.

Zerg Rush is a specific inversion of this trope.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • A dilemma that Section 9 has to deal with in Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The Big Bad of the second season points out that no matter how good the members of Section 9 are, they would still lose if they were out-numbered. Batou later has to decide whether he should decrease the difficulty for new recruits to join S9, knowing that doing so would reduce the overall quality and potential each member has. Ultimately, in Solid State Society, Section 9 has expanded it's ranks.

Film
  • The good guys in Star Wars tend to subscribe to this philosophy: a highly trained and well-equipped clone army in the prequels, and better-armed and -defended fighters in the original trilogy and EU.

Literature
  • The novelization of The Karate Kid (the original one) had Daniel complain to Mr. Miyagi before the tournament that he didn't know very many moves. Miyagi replied that he was better than the Cobra-Kais at the ones he did know.

Live-Action TV
  • Doctor Who, "Doomsday."
    Cyber Leader: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.
    Dalek Sec: This is not war - this is pest control!
    Cyber Leader: We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?
    Dalek Sec: Four.
    Cyber Leader: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
    Dalek Sec: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek! You superior in only one respect.
    Cyber Leader: What is that?
    Dalek Sec: You are better at dying.

Meta
  • Nintendo Power once had a debate on which was the better series, Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda. Zelda essentially won with the rebuttal of quality over quantity, arguing one Link To the Past was worth far more than multiple Mario Partys, despite the long time between Zelda games.
  • This trope was Nintendo's whole argument during their dominance in the 80s and early 90s before they changed their policies after being accused of monopolistic practices with their licensing agreements. The original agreement was that licensees could only make up to five games a year; the reasoning behind the decision was that it was better for the developers to focus on creating a few smash hits than to flood the market by churning out mediocre games, as was the case with Atari before the crash.

Tabletop Games
  • In-universe with Warhammer 40K: the Imperial Guard fields literally billions of men, whereas (most) Adeptus Astartes chapters are limited to a thousand soldiers. However, your average Guardsman is equipped with a lasgun and flak armor (aka, flashlight and a t-shirt) while a Space Marine has a rapid-fire micromissile launcher, Power Armor, and is genetically engineered to be seven feet tall, spit acid, have Super Senses and a Healing Factor.

Video Game
  • In the WarioWare series, this is the contrast between Mona Pizza and Pizza Dinosaur. While in their shared theme song, Mona Pizza boasts about how great their pizzas are, Pizza Dinosaur only boasts about how they're everywhere, while acknowledging that their pizzas are terrible. In WarioWare: Twisted, Pizza Dinosaur has its business being taken away by Mona Pizza, driving them to use more aggressive measures of competition.
    • The WarioWare series in general is about a small team of people cranking out games on a per-minute rate. Each game is about 4 to 8 seconds long, and hundreds of them pour out at a time. Wario has seen much success with this model, both in the stories for the games and in real life sales of the video games in this series. (So basically, this game is an aversion where quantity wins out.)
  • In Mass Effect Saren tries to cure the Krogan Genophage so he'll have a Krogan horde at his back. In Mass Effect 2 Krogan warlord Okeer derides the idea of sheer numbers, calling it the mistake of an outsider. He himself has created Grunt, a perfect Krogan warrior.
  • Invoked in universe by Donna in Final Fantasy X. She berates Yuna for choosing a large number of Guardians (AKA the rest of the cast) over one quality one. She even says "Quantity over Quality, what were you thinking?" (She herself only has her Lover Bartello). And in the end it's averted because Yuna ends not only Beating Donna to Zanarkand, she end up saving the world for good.
  • Warcraft III: both Necromancers and Dark Rangers have spells that allow them to raise skeletal minions from corpses. The Necromancers create two weak skeletons from any corpse, while the Dark Ranger creates a stronger skeleton from an affected enemy.

Western Animation
  • In Spongebob Squarepants, King Neptune challenges SpongeBob to a frycooking competition where whoever cooks the most Krabby Patties wins, but he concedes to SpongeBob when he finds out that his mass-produced Patties are terrible while SpongeBob's singular Patty made with love is superior.
  • Seen in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic when Sweet Apple Acres gets into a cider making contest against some slick salesponies and their Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000. This trope is Double Subverted because the machine is shown to make good cider, but when the Apple family, along with the Mane Six, start pulling ahead the sales ponies turn up the power and turn off the quality control, which lets them churn out far more barrels of cider but it's the kind no one wants to drink.
Community Feedback Replies: 18
  • December 19, 2012
    Astaroth
    Sounds a lot like Conservation Of Ninjutsu to me

    Edit: Nevermind, just looked at the ykttw that led to this
  • December 19, 2012
    WaxingName
    Tagged Description Needs Help because I can't think of anything else.
  • December 20, 2012
    StarSword
    I've seen tropes launched with much less. The description seems all right to me.
  • December 20, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    • Nintendo Power once had a debate on which was the better series, Super Mario Bros or The Legend Of Zelda. Zelda essentially won with the rebuttal of quality over quantity, arguing one Link To the Past was worth far more than multiple Mario Partys, despite the long time between Zelda games.
  • December 20, 2012
    zarpaulus
    Most commonly the protagonists in a given work are a small elite group pitted against a large group of weak mooks. Possibly because throwing away the lives of people on your own side is seen as unethical.
  • December 23, 2012
    Cider
    I don't think this is trope worthy. It opens up the obvious "subversion" of when they other way wins and Zerg Rush, its supposed inversion, does not require the swarm of units to be effective to be an example. Just keep quality vs quantity and drop this one.
  • December 23, 2012
    King9999
    This trope was Nintendo's whole argument during their dominance in the 80s and early 90s before they changed their policies after being accused of monopolistic practices with their licensing agreements. The original agreement was that licensees could only make up to five games a year; the reasoning behind the decision was that it was better for the developers to focus on creating a few smash hits than to flood the market by churning out mediocre games, as was the case with Atari before the crash.
  • December 24, 2012
    Tallens
    ^^ As it stands, I think this one has more examples than Quality Vs Quantity.
  • December 24, 2012
    WaxingName
    ^^^I've determined that Quality Vs Quantity is a Trope in Aggregate for the time being, since all of the examples there fit into specific subtropes instead of the trope itself.
  • December 27, 2012
    DRCEQ
    • A dilemma that Section 9 has to deal with in Ghost In The Shell Stand Alone Complex. The Big Bad of the second season points out that no matter how good the members of Section 9 are, they would still lose if they were out-numbered. Batou later has to decide whether he should decrease the difficulty for new recruits to join S9, knowing that doing so would reduce the overall quality and potential each member has. Ultimately, in Solid State Society, Section 9 has expanded it's ranks.
  • December 28, 2012
    Someoneman
    The My Little Pony example is actually a Double Subversion since the machine is capable of producing cider equal to that of the Apple Family at a much faster rate, but in the episode's climax they stop caring about quality in order to produce cider even faster.
  • December 29, 2012
    Tallens
    • In Mass Effect Saren tries to cure the Krogan Genophage so he'll have a Krogan horde at his back. In Mass Effect 2 Krogan warlord Okeer derides the idea of sheer numbers, calling it the mistake of an outsider. He himself has created Grunt, a perfect Krogan warrior.
  • January 8, 2013
    Lego3400
    Invoked in universe by Donna in Final Fantasy X. She berates Yuna for choosing a large number of Guardians (AKA the rest of the cast) over one quality one. She even says "Quantity over Quality, what were you thinking?" (She herself only has her Lover Bartello). And in the end it's averted because Yuna ends not only Beating Donna to Zanarkand, she end up saving the world for good.
  • January 8, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Doctor Who, "Doomsday."
    Cyber Leader: Daleks, be warned. You have declared war upon the Cybermen.
    Dalek Sec: This is not war - this is pest control!
    Cyber Leader: We have five million Cybermen. How many are you?
    Dalek Sec: Four.
    Cyber Leader: You would destroy the Cybermen with four Daleks?
    Dalek Sec: We would destroy the Cybermen with one Dalek! You superior in only one respect.
    Cyber Leader: What is that?
    Dalek Sec: You are better at dying.
  • January 14, 2013
    ZombieAladdin
    To elaborate on the Wario Ware example, the series in general is about a small team of people cranking out games on a per-minute rate. Each game is about 4 to 8 seconds long, and hundreds of them pour out at a time. Wario has seen much success with this model, both in the stories for the games and in real life sales of the video games in this series. (So basically, this game is an aversion where quantity wins out.)
  • January 14, 2013
    Chabal2
    • In-universe with Warhammer 40 K: the Imperial Guard fields literally billions of men, whereas (most) Adeptus Astartes chapters are limited to a thousand soldiers. However, your average Guardsman is equipped with a lasgun and flak armor (aka, flashlight and a t-shirt) while a Space Marine has a rapid-fire micromissile launcher, Power Armor, and is genetically engineered to be seven feet tall, spit acid, have Super Senses and a Healing Factor.
    • Warcraft III: both Necromancers and Dark Rangers have spells that allow them to raise skeletal minions from corpses. The Necromancers create two weak skeletons from any corpse, while the Dark Ranger creates a stronger skeleton from an affected enemy.
  • January 22, 2013
    Tallens
    I've been given to understand that Pixar made this argument when Disney demanded that they produce a film every year, and were allowed to continue making films up to their standard in their own time.

    Can anyone confirm that?
  • January 22, 2013
    StarSword
    Further note on the 40K example: The Imperial Guard and Space Marines serve different functions. The Guard is the regular army and provides the numbers and firepower, while the Space Marines are primarily elite units organized around surgical strikes. (Compare regular Army versus Delta Force.)

    As such, that one may go better under the supertrope.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ps2skzy8b9nbbkg9hibsoamc&trope=QualityOverQuantity