Playing With / Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards

Basic Trope: Early on, physically-oriented classes dominate. Later on, magic rules the day.
  • Straight: Early on in the RPG Legends of Troperia, the heroic knight Bob is a much better character than the Squishy Wizard David, but later on, David rapidly begins to outclass Bob in damage potential.
  • Exaggerated: Bob starts the game as a virtual One-Man Army, whose relatively high defense and attack stats mean he can take out just about anything until mid-game. David, meanwhile, is practically a One-Hit-Point Wonder who falls to all but the weakest enemies. In the later parts of the game, Bob is Demoted to Extra while David is a full-blown Reality Warper.
  • Downplayed: Though magic-users can damage multiple targets and cause various effects, fighters are still necessary if you want to be effective in combat.
  • Justified:
    • Physically-oriented classes can't bend the laws of physics and only have a relatively limited repertoire of attacks - while this works for the early game, the enemies later on require more knowledge and versatility in the player's approach - knowledge and versatility that are both offered by magic.
    • It's much harder to use spells than a sword. But once you're skilled enough with magic, you're nigh unbeatable.
    • Magic users eventually learn how to strengthen their own bodies for physical combat, making fighters obsolete.
    • Magic users have wide access of summons, which they can arrange a Zerg Rush while fighters cannot.
  • Inverted: Early on, David's magic will win the day for you; later on, Bob's sword will kill anything.
  • Subverted:
    • About two-thirds of the way through the game, David seems to be vastly outclassing Bob in damage potential - but then you get the Infinity +1 Sword, and Bob yet again regains his status as "party badass".
    • Equipping Bob with the Legendary Shield allows him to catch up again.
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied: David has been a Butt-Monkey for most of the game from being so weak. Once he upgrades, his spells get much stronger and his quiet chanting turns into shouting lines like "DIE!" or "FALL BEFORE MY MAGIC!"
  • Zig Zagged: The last two-thirds of the game are a Lensman Arms Race in power increases for Bob and David. You'll gain an awesome new sword for Bob, who'll rule the day for a bit - until David gets an awesome new spell. But then Bob gets a new armor upgrade...
  • Averted:
    • Both characters remain fairly useful throughout the entirety of the game.
    • Carol, Alice, and Edgar are also party members. The Five-Man Band add much more depth.
  • Enforced: It is a deliberate choice to make playing a wizard harder, yet more rewarding, to create party members that are forced to rely on one another.
  • Lampshaded: David: I'm telling you, Bob, while you might come out ahead fresh out of training, I'll surpass you when things really start to matter.
  • Invoked: David, a puny mage, studies long and hard every night in hopes to turn into a powerful wizard.
  • Exploited:
    • The story revolves around Bob protecting David, a totally useless mage, on a quest to get him a game-breaking power.
    • David spends most of the time hiding from Bob, then one day he finds a spell-book...
  • Defied:
    • The game makes sure to reward players who develop the characters evenly.
    • Bob shoots David at the beginning of the game knowing that he will grow up to become a threat.
    • In the late game, all encounters are against multiple enemies at once, all of whom are immune to splash damage, thus making mages just as useful as fighters would be.
  • Discussed: "David, are you ever gonna catch up?" "Don't worry. I might be a liability right now, but once I get my Disc One Nuke, we'll see who has to catch up."
  • Conversed: Two Gamers on a Couch argue about how unfair it is that Bob's character totally beats out David's. Come back later and see Bob's player bashing away at the controller just to keep up with David's player, who calmly handles the game.
  • Deconstructed: The process of David outclassing Bob throws most players for a loop; they spend most of their time and energy training up the (in their minds) more useful character of the pair, neglecting David's development in the late game...so when they encounter enemies against whom physical attacks are ineffective, they're pretty much screwed.
  • Reconstructed: The game makes this clear from the outset, and employs sidequests that specifically focus on developing David's powers, making it a story element while also ensuring that both characters get development time.

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