Created By: MorningStar1337 on November 29, 2013 Last Edited By: MorningStar1337 on December 9, 2013
Nuked

Tier System

Some Video Game enemies and items are ranked by Tiers.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Tiers are a system commonly used in video games and Tabletop RPGs to denote the power of a given item or enemy. How the items are tiered varies by game and by genre.

For item tiers, usually the lower tier weapons and armor include Vendor Trash and starting equipment, while higher tier items include Armor of Invincibility, an Infinity+1 Sword and Bragging Rights Rewards that aren't Cosmetic. Joke Weapons could be their own tier or be lumped in with the low tier items (except for maybe the Lethal Joke Weapon).

Enemies tend to be a bit muddier, though Palette Swaps and Underground Monkies of older monsters are usually stronger. Degraded Bosses are bosses reduced to Elite Mooks because they were encountered in an area with lower tier enemies first. The chain of progression for these tiers is Mooks > Goddamn Bats > Mini-Boss > Demonic Spiders > Elite Mooks > Boss in Mook Clothing > Final Boss > Bonus Boss > True Final Boss. Of course, it's all relative to the area they dwell in.

Sometimes the tiers are made up by players themselves (such as in (Tabletop RPGs); this is more common in competitive games and usually relate to Character Tiers.

Subtropes include:

Related to Underground Monkey, Palette Swap, Equipment-Based Progression and Elemental Crafting, which are tropes which can be used to help define the tiers.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Tabletop Games 

     MMORPG 
  • Star Trek Online has several interlocking tier systems. Ships have five tiers, with tier 1 being Starter Equipment (the Miranda-class, B'rel-class, and T'liss-class depending on faction), and tier 5 being admiral ships (further broken up into rear admiral, vice admiral, and fleet). Equipment comes in Mk I through Mk XII and also has a rarity system. There are also tier systems in the reputation and fleet grinds, which unlock better gear.

    Role Playing Game 
  • This is the center of the Pokémon metagame. All Pokemon have a spot in Smogon.com's fanmade tier system (one of many such established systems), said to ensure fairness on competition. the Highest tier (Uber) is mains of most of the Olympus Mons you see in the games. The Standard Tier would be OU (Over Used).

     Turn Based Strategy 
  • Weapons in XCOM: Enemy Unknown are divided into three tiers: Kinetic (regular bullets), Laser, and Plasma. Certain class abilities give soldiers bonuses that depend on the tier of the weapon they wield.
  • Disgaea has 3 tiers and 40 ranks for their items. The Ranks denote how powerful they are when you acquire them, and the Tiers (Normal, Rare and Legendary) denote how powerful they can be. You can level up items in the game by going into the Item World, but the tier of the item dictates how many floors you can travel in the item (and thus how many levels the item gets.)
  • Sword of the Stars used several different tiers, usually with three tiers.
    • Planets have a size and a climate hazard, both with numerical values. Size were grouped into small (1-3), medium (4-6), and large (7-10), where each new size allowed larger platforms and more stations. Climate hazard was grouped into nice (easily colonisable), unfriendly (colonisable, but expensive), and prohibitive (not colonisable).
    • Ships are tiered by propulsion and size. Propulsion went from fission, fusion, to antimatter, each one not only giving higher speed and range but also unlocking several other techs. Size went from destroyer, cruiser, to dreadnought. New ship sizes also opened up several new uses for ships.
    • Weapons were also tiered, by the mount size (small, medium, large, and special), and by the propulsion era.
Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • November 29, 2013
    DAN004
    Would Character Tiers count here?

    "this is part index and part trope" - it's called Super Trope. :P
  • November 30, 2013
    Koveras
    This is the alpha and omega of Tabletop RPGs: the whole reason why Character Level exists is so the Game Master can balance the difficulty of encounters with the Player Party's cumulative Power Level.
  • November 30, 2013
    KarjamP
    Underground Monkey also technically counts as a subtrope, given Tiered By Name was originally intended to be a pure subtrope to that before it evolved to be about tiers in general.
  • November 30, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Sir, kinda thinking that Tiered By Name's trope name might sound ambiguous. :P
  • November 30, 2013
    KarjamP
    ^ I know.

    The trope was originally called "Enemy X".

    I don't mind the expansion, and in fact, I'm glad that it grew.

    Er, Underground Monkey's a Sister Trope to this one, not a Sub Trope. *D'oh!*
  • November 30, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Um sister trope to Tiered By Name, or to this trope?
  • November 30, 2013
    KarjamP
    This trope, I meant.
  • November 30, 2013
    Earnest
    See also/compare Elemental Crafting.
  • November 30, 2013
    chicagomel
    This is the center of the Pokemon metagame. All Pokemon have a spot in Smogon.com 's tier system, said to ensure fairness on competition.
  • November 30, 2013
    xanderiskander
    ^ I would mention that Smogon is a fanmade tiering system in the examples though. There are many different tiering systems for pokemon but it's not a mechanic in the games (outside of certain pokemon being called "legendaries" I guess), and none of the fan tiers are officially endorsed.
  • November 30, 2013
    chicagomel
    Oh, this is official, ok
  • November 30, 2013
    Bisected8
    Would Equipment Based Progression be a subtrope?
  • December 1, 2013
    Koveras
    ^ Only if equipment is clearly tiered.

    • Weapons in XCOM Enemy Unknown are divided into three tiers: Kinetic (regular bullets), Laser, and Plasma. Certain class abilities give soldiers bonuses that depend on the tier of the weapon they wield.
  • December 1, 2013
    Bluejay134
    I'd like to add this term can refer to any media with a mechanical basis in Tabletop RP Gs. Usually this is video games, but I believe it is becoming more prominent in other semi-popular roleplaying media. Two of the best examples are Goblins and Order of the Stick, which are based on the more popular D&D 3.5e and/or Pathfinder, the two most popular modern fantasy Tabletop RP Gs. Goblins SEEMS like it fits under Character Level, but as someone familiar with the media, let me tell you that it falls right into this trope. I'm unfamiliar with YKTTW, so correct me if I'm wrong, but this should hopefully at least warrant interest.

    I may be wrong, but this seems like something that could make this a potential normal trope (I'm familiar with Goblins, but not the supertropes of this wiki). I may need to make this especially explicit for those of you uninterested in Goblins, but the obvious "level" tropes are invoked in Goblins, but very subtly lampshaded as it regards tiers. Goblins are notable because they CAN actually fight without levels and win. Notable Goblins have killed adventurers with three levels with a pretty regular frequency, judging by the graveyard in the comic noting that Chief "Kills-a-Werebear" was killed by a level FIVE adventurer, being the strongest goblin of his clan (and you know, the werebear thing), it is fair to assume that level five adventurers WERE actually killed by him in the past, and that one was the exception. If you are familiar with Goblins but not 3.5e, you are probably aware of the huge details Thunt(the author) puts into the comic - this INCLUDES the most stereotypical D&D tropes such as foreshadowing, Chekhov's guns, AND Tiers. This is a classic D&D trope, but popular webcomics have only barely scratched its surface. Stereotypical fantasy with these tropes has made a resurgence lately. I'm almost in college but all my friends play D&D. We play BECAUSE of Goblins, not the other way around. We actually started a rather popular club.

    Like-minded people have created all sorts of media around this "new fantasy" of which I believe Thunt is either first or at least the Trope Creator (Goblins went online in 2001 and is now one of the most popular webcomics around today (although it is VERY controversial, which I find most of the diamonds in the rough are). I would propose a new page devoted to "Tiers of Thunt" changing this from a super to a subtrope. Another good name - "Losing is Kinda Fun" I'm fairly certain Goblins is a toned down version of the reason everyone loves Dwarf Fortress (Probably why it shows up so much in RP Gs, and Dwarf Fortress-esque is becoming a video game genre). Game of Thrones is probably the most popular version of this trope, but other shows like "Once Upon a Time" and "Supernatural" have been VERY popular reimaginings of the trope in television.

    I honestly came here to try to take control of this page. I love this trope to death, and I think I actually understand it rather well, having played D&D, read Goblins and actually PLAYED (not just tried, succeeded!) in Dwarf Fortress. Pokemon may barely be the first example, but I think it is really a very weak one.

    Edit:

    I'm obsessed with the trope and I love the finer details of the media, I just don't know the finer details of actually running a trope. I honestly expected something similar to already be in progress. If someone would show me the ropes, I'd be willing to take this on. My biggest problem is whether it's a subtrope, normal trope or a supertrope. My gut tells me it works best as a normal trope, but if there's overlap, the focus could be changed. As JUST the tiers, it works REALLY well.
  • December 1, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Okay, but the new name (and laconic) Don't seem to fit the trope. I'm Changing the name back. If you wanna help, be my guest.
  • December 1, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^^ On a side note I took a look at the edits you made, and it looks like you need to look at Graceful Loser. (which is unrelated to tiers BTW)
  • December 1, 2013
    Bluejay134
    I was actually thinking the same thing about Graceful Loser, that's why I've edited since. I haven't had the time to change anything yet, unfortunately. I managed to find a bit about naming that confirmed my previous suspicions that the name* was bad, but I'm terrible at names.

    • That is, the name you changed it FROM. Sorry if I'm being dense here, I lean heavily on tropes to explain things in general, and I'm still getting a feel for writing on this site informally

    I'm thinking the best format is probably this as a smaller trope which branches more nicely into everything I blabbered on about above. My blabber seems far too focused for a single trope. In the smaller context, the name was especially bad, so I was thinking Congratulations! You have died! which works a lot better I think. It originates from Dredmor, which is certainly the best example by far, and probably the best Trope Namer though it subverts tropes so much I'm sure we could find something else.

    I like the idea, but it falls a bit too close to the Graceful Loser tree for my liking. It's close though, so that may just be my obsession with a subtrope. As soon as I thought of Dredmor I realised it had to be the Trope Namer. It's by far the most quotable example. As far as me helping with this trope, I know roguelikes, Goblins, and have some very borderline knowledge about Game of Thrones and most other HBO stuff. Honestly I think more of that might fit, but I have a very shallow knowledge of television and the true depth of the Goblins fanbase. If there was a trope to name after Thunt though, it would be this one. Same thing with Losing is (Kinda) Fun (Which is still my least favorite name, just wanted a spot of feedback) I understand dwarf fortress, and if there's one thing I overestimate its the spread of 'Losing is Fun' to this wiki (which is probably where most of my blabber should end up, honestly).

    Of course, I've been spending all day making a (very rough) version of this page which I think works better. I like the Trope Name for the Trope as it is right now, but I think it should evolve into something more about unique tiers like in Tabletop games, with the subtrope thing as a side dish. That seems to be the biggest criticism right now anyway. Also sorry (especially to you Morning Star 1337) if I came of as overoptimistic, this is just honestly what I wanted to contribute to the wiki and I found it looking really great when I got here. I honestly know far too much about Goblins, and have lurked here for a while now. Stylistically I'm rather familiar with TV Tropes, but I'd rather not step on toes too hard. I've made some (rather large) additions and minor revisions if you'd like to take a peek. What is there needs to become two pages though. One subpage for Goblins, the other for the actual trope. I would have posted sooner if I was familiar with the social norms of these comments specifically. It's rather ambiguous, and I prefer lurking most of the time.

    I also don't usually chat on wikis (or forums for that matter), though, so I suppose Your Mileage May Vary. I program and I like to think of myself as an overly verbose wordsmith (though the truth there is up for debate), so I figured I could do something. For now I'll post than revert it. Seems like enough of a compromise for tonight. I'm honestly just not used to the more formal parts of the internet. I figured I wasn't knowledgeable about Tropes last time I binged here, but that was a long time ago (in internet terms) before Dredmor even existed. I actually discovered Roguelikes through the wiki and figured someone would have already beaten me to this trope. Seems like you have in the best way possible.

    I'll check this page in the morning. Thanks so much for all the feedback and advice! I can honestly say it's been very, very helpful.

    • Edit because I realized I was really ambiguous and then because I forgot HTML and asterixes play poorly together. I understand escape characters, but I'm more of an object based programmer.
  • December 1, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Okay but FYI. This trope has nothing to do with losing. Its about games with Tiers (Character Tiers and Item tiers for starters) in them. You may want to make your own draft for that. I'm sorry for the confusion, and you're welcome.

    also, I'm rendering your edits invisible until i can figure out what to do with them.
  • December 1, 2013
    Bluejay134
    One last thing before I leave for the night: The joke about rogue is a jab, but it's true, and if you cut anything, cut that and literally all of the goblins stuff. No need to save it, I write better from scratch anyway. I will post it though, that was a good idea. I just like this trope better. Goblins is still a part of the story, but Nethack should probably be the trope namer, not dredmor (dredmor's quote is a reference to nethack). Dredmor's funniest stuff is incredibly obscure direct references to nethack. If you know nethack and you've played it, I reccommend dredmor. vice versa. Basically nethack is what you get when you mix dredmor and rogue. That's why I was so comfortable bashing rogue. Rogue is literally infamous. Do what you like though, I was going to cut the jab. And with that I leave. I'll check back in an hour or so if I'm still up for some ungodly reason. Good luck! I do actually really like this trope.

    Oh and this was literally the page just after you posted your changes. I do think we're on the same page here. I just don't think having Tier as a supertrope really makes any sense, but you clearly know your stylistic guide. If you want to bring back the name, it's not terrible, but at least leave the other reference to Congratulations. Actually. shortening the name to that would also not be bad... Hm. Something to ponder. Probably a touch too sarcastic to work right. Dredmor REALLY spread the trope though... Your call.
  • December 1, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Uhh.. maybe we should split the trope. Also, your description had a large amount of Example As A Thesis
  • December 1, 2013
    justanid
    How is this related to Its A Wonderful Failure and Have A Nice Death?
  • December 1, 2013
    Bluejay134
    I know the trope may need splitting, and example as a thesis is my writing process. I wasn't going to post it like that but it's late and I should probably be writing a paper right now instead. If you like literally ANY part of the page, keep that and dump the rest. I was doing that myself but shockwave crashed when I submitted and I lost my nice version. Pitch most of it, but if you don't mind taking a gamble, the trope name is actually really good. Even if you literally just have an obscure reference to Dredmor, the entire concept came from games like it. I noticed you had XCOM there. I always called those kinds of games Roguelikelikes. I found out about them through TV Tropes probably a couple of years ago. That should have been my first name suggestion by the way. Whoops. Oh well. Forgot it wasn't a thing here already. Anyway, I purposefully left your paragraphs mostly unchanged. If you want me to fancy up this page a bit right now, it wouldn't be too much effort. I just can't fix grammar and style today. Which is my favorite part. All of your original paragraphs are intentionally left mostly untouched. If you'd like you can cut the rest, they're subtropes at BEST. Goblins stuff is on the chopping block, and that is more than fine, I expected it from the start, but I have a paper and I haven't slept in about a day. I will cut it poorly now though if you'd prefer. I'm gonna be gone most of tomorrow. I just am very unfamiliar with the editing style especially on these pages as it is and I got overexcited. My writing is really bad when I'm tired, so that's why I've got waaay too much exposition. I was going to create two separate articles out of the two branches. Obviously, the main trope is prioritized over the subtrope. And tiers REALLY doesn't work as a supertrope. Take it from someone who understands D&D AND Dwarf Fortress. It works, but badly. Keep the title and dredmor, and I did enough. I'll stop bothering you. I've just been looking for a trope with this name and your examples fit PERFECTLY. Call em Roguelikelikes or keep the current name. And if you'd like to help me out, I'm definitely submitting whichever one you don't choose. They are both good in subtly different ways. I love subtropes.

    Edit: One thing — If it's changing, change it soon. Doesn't have to be this week as long as we progress, but I will throw up the other one as soon as I'm not needed here.
  • December 1, 2013
    Bluejay134
    Alright, that should fix it. Hopefully my newbishness wasn't too annoying. Just got a bit overeager.
  • December 1, 2013
    Bluejay134
    Justanid: Subverted and invoked respectively. That's why I think it needs a page. I think I kind of mucked it up for the night, but you can ignore most of what isn't specifically about roguelikes, I cut it already, and left notes for how to tidy in its place. Also I cannot reiterate how much better these past few names have been. This trope really just needed a change in mindset towards Tabletop (Specifically Table Top RPGS, but just in general too). That happens to trend toward Tabletop's inspiration, the Roguelike. Fortunately, Roguelike is probably my favorite page on TV Tropes right now, I just forgot my pet name for it because I did a binge over Thanksgiving. I think Goblins is an example, but not as obviously. I think it's miscategorised in Goth right now. That's actually why I was looking for a Tier EXACTLY like this.

    Also thank you for asking that question, as I said, I binged recently because I got a week off for turkey day. I happened to realize this trope didn't already exist, and probably got a bit too into it for being so new.

    Edit: Looks like the changes are up now — this is roughly where it should be.
  • December 1, 2013
    Koveras
    Uhm, I barely recognized this YKTTW this morning. Just what exactly does "Rogue Like Like" and "losing" have to do with item tiers??
  • December 2, 2013
    spacemarine50
    I thought it was non-Rougelike games that are very similar in whatever way. The Wall Of Text says otherwise, whatever it says.
  • December 2, 2013
    KarjamP
    This trope's supposed to be about tiers, but someone tried to "help" by changing it dramatically to be about something else, with only a shade of the original article.

    When pointed out about it, he ignored it again.
  • December 2, 2013
    Koveras
    Has that someone been directed to the YKTTW Guidelines yet?
  • December 2, 2013
    DAN004
    Hey hey... I thought this was about tier systems. What happened?
  • December 2, 2013
    KarjamP
    ^ It was.

    This trope's supposed to be about tiers, but someone tried to "help" by changing it dramatically to be about something else, with only a shade of the original article.

    When pointed out about it, he ignored it again.
  • December 2, 2013
    DAN004
    @ Morningstar1337: You are the owner. You can change it back. (Or I'll do it for you, if you will.)
  • December 2, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Bluejay, I know you're trying to help, but I think you're missing the point of this YKTTW. Honestly, you should probably make your own as they're definitely not interchangeable.
  • December 2, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^^ Okay I changed it back.
  • December 2, 2013
    KarjamP
    Bluejay's now banned for hijacking your YKTTW.

    Now we can discuss the trope as what it's meant to be
  • December 2, 2013
    Nocturna
    @DAN 004: No, Morningstar is not the owner. No one owns a YKTTW draft any more than anyone owns a wiki page.

    However, unilaterally changing the name and meaning/description of a YKTTW is not okay. YKTTW is meant to work on consensus, same as the rest of the wiki.
  • December 2, 2013
    Koveras
    Morningstar is the person currently responsible for turning this YKTTW into a valid trope page. Until s/he relinquishes this responsibility either by action or inaction, s/he is the only editor who should apply large scale revamps to this particular YKTTW. :)

    Anyhow, a question to OP: I am pretty sure my original write up for the XCOM example didn't draw a connection between its weapon tiers and its difficulty modifiers. I am kinda interested now in how you jumped from one to the other and what Dungeons Of Dredmor has to do with XCOM.
  • December 2, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    I didn't add the Dungeons of Dredmor example (or the Dwarf Fotress one). Bluejay did. and He likely didn't seperrate the examples...and I realized that I have to remove that part. Thanks for pointing it out.
  • December 2, 2013
    DAN004
    @ Nocturna: What Koveras said.
  • December 2, 2013
    Koveras
    @Morningstar: Oh, I am so sorry, then. :( It's just that the YKTTW history shows your name above every revision, so it's impossible to tell who was behind a particular edit. Which is probably the main reason I don't like people other than OP editing the write-ups here...
  • December 3, 2013
    Koveras
    Hatted.
  • December 5, 2013
    KarjamP
    Let's continue with the discussion on how to improve this.
  • December 5, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    Yeah lets, and before Bluejay gets unbanned.
  • December 6, 2013
    Koveras
    Well, to start off, you could fix the typo in the laconic: it's "enemies", not "emenies". ;)
  • December 6, 2013
    Nocturna
    Gave the description a grammar polish. I swear I didn't change the meaning of anything. :p
  • December 6, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ thanks.
  • December 6, 2013
    Discar
    Tweaked the punctuation on the laconic. There was an unnecessary comma.
  • December 7, 2013
    kjnoren
    Tier systems are quite common in tabletop RP Gs (see character level with associated weapons and equipment, and opponents and adventures), and should be treated as a core part of the trope, not as an add-on. I remember early D&D adventures usually had a note like "suitable for player characters level 4-6" and similar.

    The trope can also appear in non-interactive fiction, though there it's usually more ad-hoc and not as well defined. But I assume it's the rather structured system you're after here?

    • Sword Of The Stars used several different tiers, usually with three tiers.
      • Planets have a size and a climate hazard, both with numerical values. Size were grouped into small (1-3), medium (4-6), and large (7-10), where each new size allowed larger platforms and more stations. Climate hazard was grouped into nice (easily colonisable), unfriendly (colonisable, but expensive), and prohibitive (not colonisable).
    • Ships are tiered by propulsion and size. Propulsion went from fission, fusion, to antimatter, each one not only giving higher speed and range but also unlocking several other techs. Size went from destroyer, cruiser, to dreadnought. New ship sizes also opened up several new uses for ships.
    • Weapons were also tiered, by the mount size (small, medium, large, and special), and by the propulsion era.
  • December 7, 2013
    StarSword
    Needs to be sorted by genre.

    MMORP Gs:
    • Star Trek Online has several interlocking tier systems. Ships have five tiers, with tier 1 being Starter Equipment (the Miranda-class, B'rel-class, and T'liss-class depending on faction), and tier 5 being admiral ships (further broken up into rear admiral, vice admiral, and fleet). Equipment comes in Mk I through Mk XII and also has a rarity system. There are also tier systems in the reputation and fleet grinds, which unlock better gear.
  • December 7, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^Done.
  • December 8, 2013
    StarSword
    Fixed a folder.
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