Created By: Kindle4Light on May 26, 2013 Last Edited By: Kindle4Light on October 30, 2014

The Three Stats

Measuring one's attack, defense and speed.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Among a selection of character, you may identified one of them as the powerful, yet slow Mighty Glacier, bullet-like, yet vulnerable Paper Ram or the quick yet powerless Fragile Speedster. Or maybe the character is the all-attack, no-defence Glass Cannon or its opposite counterpart, the Stone Wall, while having a confusion on how speed is applied to them. Or maybe he is the Jack-of-All-Stats, its better counterpart Lightning Bruiser or its worse, Master of None.

All of the above have one thing in common, they are compared based on three factors:

  1. Attack: How much damage can your character dish out?
  2. Defense: How much damage can your character take?
  3. Speed: How quickly can your character dish out his, her or its damage?

With that said, these three stats may be split further. For example, Defense may be split into Hit Points and armor defense. Alternatively, there may be another stat to go with the trio, such as Range. Either way, if a character were to be judges by how well they perform in battle, expect the three stats to appear.

It is a Sub-Trope to The Six Stats; with the Attack, Defence and Speed matching Strength, Constitution and Dexterity respectively. For the latter, it particularly refers to the physical nimbleness, fine motor skills and reaction time,.

This is also a Sub-Trope to Competitive Balance, a Sister Trope to Necessary Drawback as well as Crippling Overspecialization, and the Super Trope to the following:

  • Fragile Speedster, having high Speed in turn for low Attack and Defence
  • Glass Cannon, having high Attack and low Defence. Speed is usually not factored in though.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats, where a character is described to be balanced in all three (or more) stats, being neither the best nor worse in any of them.
  • Lightning Bruiser, where a character is specified to have higher Attack, Defence and Speed, in one way or the other. Other stats related to neither of the trio are not accounted.
  • Mighty Glacier, having high Attack and Defence in turn for low Speed.
  • Paper Ram which haves high Attack and Speed, but low Defense.
  • Stone Wall, having high Defence and low Attack. Depending on the style, Speed may be low as well.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • May 26, 2013
    nemui10pm
    The numbered list wasn't showing correctly, so I changed the markup a little bit. I hope you don't mind.
  • May 26, 2013
    Koveras
    Examples? The only games I know that use exactly three stats have strength, magic, and health.
  • May 26, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Civilization units generally have attack, defense, and mobility (how many squares can they move in a turn, modified by terrain or roads) values.

    (Mobility would be synonymous with "speed" in the context of a turn-based game.)
  • May 26, 2013
    StarSword
    The Armor Triangle is a preexisting term for this.

    One method of achieving Competitive Balance.

    Simulation Games:
  • May 26, 2013
    MrL1193
    So this would be a supertrope to all those other stats tropes you listed, right? You might want to add something about that to the description.

    Also, speaking of the description, I'd just like to point out that Paper Ram was a premature launch (0 hats and no clear consensus on a name); people have asked for it to be pulled back.
  • May 26, 2013
    batgirl1
    Seen It A Million Times, but can't remember the names of any of them! :( According to Google, though, Pokemon uses Atk/Def/Speed. Someone who's more familiar with it please double-check me.

    Will you count games that have it as Pysical, Magic, and Speed? If so, you can mention Kingdom Of Loathing (which calls it Muscle, Mysticality, and Moxie, but they function as the aforesaid.)

    Also, I hope you don't mind that I linked to this in a related YKTTW: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=cdfqrw0gy83k81p6zgzctakg
  • May 26, 2013
    UltramarineAlizarin
    Does the game need to explicitly measure the three stats? This is pretty common in Beat Em Up video games, but not every one of those quantifies the stats for the player to see before choosing a character.
  • May 26, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Like Koveras above, the one game with three critical stats that I recall is "The Wizard's Castle," written for DOS in the mid-Eighties. Also known as "Orb Of Zot," the three stats are Strength, Intelligence and Dexterity. Max value of any stat is 18, and if any stat falls to zero, the character dies.

    Curious little aside about this one: finding a book and opening it could render the character blind, or unable to use a weapon. It could also boost the character's strength to 18, or his dexterity to 18. Oddly, it never increased the character's intelligence, needed to cast magic spells.
  • May 26, 2013
    GKaiser
    batgirl1, Pokémon has five stats; offensive and defensive are split into physical and non-physical each with speed being the fifth.
  • May 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Since Mighty Glacier, Fragile Speedster and Lightning Bruiser relate to how fast a character moves, shouldn't #3 Speed be about that instead of how fast it can deal out damage (i.e. attack/firing rate)?

    Non-Video Game example.

    Tabletop Games
  • May 27, 2013
    StarSword
    ^No, 'cause DPS falls under "offense". This is the supertrope to those three, another reason I think this should be called The Armor Triangle.
  • May 27, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    Won't this just include like...near every RPG ever? Well, anyway

    • In many games made by Nippon Ichi, such as Disgaea, there are six main stats: ATK and INT as the offensive stats (physical and magical respectively), DEF and RES as the defensive Stats (physical and magical respectively), and HIT and SPD that affects accuracy. There are also more Stats, though, like Movement range, throw range, and elemental resistances.
  • May 31, 2013
    Kindle4Light
    Now that you mentioned it, I'm starting to see this as Not Atrope. On one hand, if we list examples that includes the three stats being three of the stats measured in the character, we would be listing all of the RP Gs, if not most. But on the other hand, if we list examples where only the three stats are used, it may ended up leading to Too Rare A Trope. Though maybe it's because I'm associating it with RP Gs too much.
  • May 31, 2013
    acrobox
    It feels like it should be an example-less supertrope to Competitive Balance. It's definitely the cornerstone of how to differentiate fighting styles / play styles / strengths and weakness regarding physical activities.

    It shows up in all genres not just RP Gs. Fighting games, racing games to some extent, action games with multiple characters or weapons to equip, sports games etc.

    And it's a decent way of looking at Real Life through that kind of lens also. Offensive prowess, defensive prowess, and agility/mobility/frequency/acceleration (whichever is most applicable to the activity)
  • May 31, 2013
    acrobox
    @ G Kaiser, pokemon example by this template, six stats, Speed, Attack split into Physical and Special, and Defense split into Physical, Special, and Total Hit Points.
  • May 31, 2013
    TrueShadow1
    ^^I support with this being an example-less page
  • May 31, 2013
    Kindle4Light
    ^I'm with making it example-less too. I have edited the page accordingly.

    But for those who still insists on having examples, I think if the game has all of the three (it does not matter if it has more), then it is an example.

    But in the mean time, can a mod please remove the Needs example tag?
  • October 30, 2014
    Koveras
    FYI: The Three Stat System YKTTW has been launched.
  • October 30, 2014
    DAN004
    Discard this plz.
  • October 30, 2014
    acrobox
    seconding discard motion
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=svaisywy7ly8307lsxeijryn