The end of the World War II arc, all signs pointed to the Americans and the Russians launching a massive invasion of Japan and her surrounding islands, carrying on the arc for another year at most. Ending Fatigue eventually dropped this for a Deus Ex Nukina ending.
It has an annoying tendency to kill off characters seeminglyat random, sometimes just as their stories are beginning to get interesting.
The "Korean Conflict" arc, originally. Although originally criticized when it seemed to end over fifty seasons ago with no satisfying resolution, the writers still devote an episode or two per season to the lingering tensions in the region, leaving viewers hopeful that it will eventually be resolved properly.
Much was made of the "December 2012" arc; there were even rumors that it would lead to the cancellation of the series. These rumors proved to be unfounded, to the delight of fans everywhere.
Sadly, the 'Space Race' arc - despite critical acclaim and many well-wishers - turned out to be so thematically linked to the unpopular Cold War plotline that it fizzled out, leaving only a reality show about a handful of astronauts living in Earth orbit. There is occasional speculation about 'sending someone to Mars', but Moon cities and space empires have been ruled out for budgetary reasons.
History textbooks. Of course, all of the original series is lost, not counting the occasional piece of text or picture describing it, so that's the only source for things that happened before you got into Real Life. Vast periods of the series can be abridged into a Flashback Cut, particular examples being the history of Great Britain between the end of Roman rule in 383 and the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and the entire Ancient Egyptian era. It is assumed, perhaps, that few viewers will be interested.
Absent Aliens: So far...unless the UFO folks are to be believed. Though, given the scale of the Universe, chances are that they do exist somewhere, too far away to be contacted from the Earth servers. Yet.
Action Girl: Becoming more common. Plus Real Life is one of the few works to avert Stripperific. (Most of the time, anyway...)
Aerith and Bob: With this many languages, one culture's Aerith is another culture's Bob. In many locations, characters named "Sakura" and "Antonio" are mixed in with "LeShawna" and "Ali". Tends to be played straighter in large cities, averted in small villages.
It's usually justified these days, since few (or at any rate less than previously) players remain in the area where their character spawned for their entire game. Aerith may have moved from India or Scandinavia to New York, where Bob is.
Air-Vent Passageway: Some players have pulled this escapes off this way. In general, creatures of the smaller animal classes tend to be more successful at it than humans.
Alien Abduction: Some players like to claim this happens (or even happened to them), although most others are pretty skeptical.
Alien Invasion: Averted as of 2015 but many players believe that a future update may have this happening.
Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Alcohol consumed in sufficient quantities can impair judgement/reasoning, and said impairment can sometimes lead to the affected player getting a Game Over.
Allegedly Free Game: Much is made of the lack of a monthly fee, as noted in the page image. However, good luck getting anywhere without forking out serious amounts of money on basic living costs. However, it's all in-game currency.
All Deaths Final: When a character dies, they stay dead. There may be some case of exception, but the fans and even the cast can never agree on whether it really happened.
All Love Is Unrequited: Sometimes yes. Some never find a partner or fall in love with people they could never be with.
All Planets Are Earth-Like: Averted. Many hundreds of planets in other solar systems have been discovered, but only a very few of these (six, as of February 2011) are even possibly Earth-like, in that they roughly match our planet's size, and orbit at the right distances from their stars to potentially support life. Nothing is yet known of these planets' atmospheres or whether any have water on their surface.
In February 2011, NASA's Kepler mission announced the discovery of 1,200 possible (the findings will take time to confirm) extra-solar planets, of which five are about the Earth's size, and orbit at the right distance from their stars to support life. Of course, this represents a survey of only a little, tiny fraction of our galaxy's hundreds of billions of stars.
Ambiguously Brown: There are many people of mixed and unmixed descent who end up looking like this.
Ancient Conspiracy: Some players think this to an extent that they are shunned by other players, who dismiss them as paranoid. If the conspiracies are true or not has yet to been released by the developers.
And I Must Scream: Some religions teach that you get tortured forever, either in total darkness or surrounded by mind-bendingly horrific imagery if you "lose". Also: Swirlies, and a degenerative nerve disease known as ALS.
Anime Hair: Played straight when a character just wakes up or pulls off a toque, beanie, or other tight-fitting headgear. Most people call this "Bed Head" or "Hat Hair", depending. Often deliberately invoked for style, which may involve heat and petroleum-based compounds applied to the hair.
The Antagonist: Due to a Friends and Enemies system implemented in the Languages expansion, you can have anyone you want be an antagonist. Or you can be this as well.
Sleep. Your player character can even die without it. Whether the Developer did this on purpose or it came as part of the "death" bug is unknown to players.
Characters take massive concentration debuffs after missing a night's sleep, as well as motivation and temper debuffs. Loss of further sleep will result in paranoia, and finally, characters closing in on dying will begin to hallucinate. That said, some characters can resist these debuffs remarkably, the amount of sleep required differs from character to character, and a few characters even get the "hyper" status buff towards the end of the evening.
Powerups are available that temporarily remove the need for sleep. Temporarilynote The game will keep an account of missed sleep, and this will sneak up on you if you never take some time to make up for the deficit. One of the most popular and easily acquired ones is caffeine.
There is a very rare occurrence, most likely a glitch in the character creation, where a character will not suffer penalties or debuffs from not sleeping. Some players are looking into the benefits of this ability/glitch, though it's so rare that they're still trying to nail down exactly what causes it.
There are also several methods of munchkinist optimization that exploit the loopholes in the sleep mechanic to squeeze some extra hours of daily activity. One involves taking short naps several times a day.
Strangely (yet happily) subverted... for the most part (for now). In spite of numerous viruses (some engineered), natural disasters, and the Trope-Codifier, nuclear weapons.So far in the game, we've had:
In the early stages of the Earth addition, a planet colliding almost caused a Physical Annihilation of the expansion before it had even been populated. In the distant future, Total Extinction will occur due to the Sun, which may go on to Annihilate itself. The Series Finale ends with a complete Universal Destruction, though two possible endings will start a new game.
Total Stellar Annihilation was feared by many of the characters, but was averted, when the Large Hadron Collider was brought online.
There is a liquid substance called "oil" which is the energy source of almost every sea, air and ground vehicle and is also required to manufacture various useful chemicals and materials (like plastic). Bloody conflicts over its control ensue. It also turns out to be formed from the bodies of ancient dragons micro-organisms.
Water. The sheer abundance of water in all players and species has led many players to believe no species can exist without it. Then there's the fact that so little can actually be used, since most is either in the air, or mixed with salt. Wars are also fought over this, primarily for access to it, although this was more common early on in the human arc.
Photosynthesis. It's a massive handwave (plants can make food out of nothing but water, light, and carbon dioxide? Come on...), but it allows the existence of intelligent life, as well as creating an excuse for lush green Scenery Porn.
Carbon. Let's see... The above-mentioned oil cannot be created without it, it's necessary for life on earth, you can make it into crystals that are one of the hardest substances ever, you can make stuff called "nanotubes" that may be the key to space elevators, "graphene", which can be used in a Mono Molecular Blade, plastic, which pretty much everything is made of, and CO 2 gas, which is slowly burning the planet to death.
Arbitrary Minimum Range: Generally, the larger the weapon, the harder and/or more dangerous it is to use in close quarters.
Arc Number: A lot. 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 23, 42, 108, and 666 pop up the most often. The most important number of all might be 10, given that most counting systems are based on that one (probably because the handiest counting aid available to humans is their fingers). There's even a Character Class devoted to it. They have pretty suckysanity stats, though.
Pi (3.14159... going on forever with no apparent pattern) also seems to show up a lot.
Phi (1.618033...) aka golden ratio pops up often, and often unnoticed by untrained eyes.
With the recently added "computer" expansion the numbers 2, 8, and 16 have become this for the new Character Classes.
Arc Words: "Weapons of mass destruction" was the most recent. The 2008 season finale was a "Financial Crisis" miniarc that carried over to the next season, with the next big arc beginning in late 2010, the "Arab Spring".
Arch-Enemy: Because it's a Long Runner, there have been innumerable opposed duos. The epic Cro-Magnon vs. Neanderthals arc unfortunately spawned a mass of inferior sequels collectively thought of as the Xenophobia or War meme. Despite repeated cries of Arc Fatigue from many quarters, the meme has produced a lot of dramatic tension and Arch Enemies (some of whom have gone on to Enemy Mine or Not So Different relationships):
Sparta vs. Athens; Rome vs. Carthage; Aztecs vs. Maya; England vs. Scotland; Britain vs. France (despite numerous seasons of Enemy Mine); Cowboys vs. Indians; India vs. Pakistan; Arabia vs. Persia; China vs. Japan and Korea; IBM vs. Apple; Coke vs. Pepsi.
The United States has at different times been the Arch Enemy of Britain, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Japan, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (back when the States were The Big Guy for the NATO crossover in the Cold War arc.)
Many regions - Scotland and France among them - have divided up into smaller teams so they could be their own Arch Enemy. The United States' one effort at this was a four-season arc that produced so much Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy that they've avoided repeating the experiment.
Pretty much every paleontologist makes at least one other paleontologist cry. Debates still rage about results, methods and data used, validity of the science, pet theories... and honestly, that helps keep research going. So, in a way, this trope isn't all bad.
Ascended Extra: Most famous and historically significant people spend their childhood (and sometimes early adulthood) in complete obscurity. Inverted in the case of certain royalty, who become famous as babies and then do nothing significant for the remainder of their lives.
Asskicking Equals Authority: In servers with low in-universe moderation which are run by groups of PC's from the mercenary, bandit, and soldier classes, the groups best at PvP will become the regional rulers.
Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Some characters get stuck with this passive trait at character creation. It typically decreases certain skills, most notably Concentration. It also gives bonuses to the Hyperactive skill set, but this isn't always a good thing. There are consumables that can reduce the penalties, but it's debated whether noobs should have access to those consumables.
Author Avatar: A few characters throughout the story supposedly were identified as Author Avatars. Whether or not any of them actually are, or even if there is an author, is the cause of much controversy, Fan Wank, Epileptic Trees, and Internet Backdraft. Several theories even hold that every character is an author avatar (at least to a certain extent).
Author's Saving Throw: Christians refer to three - the Expulsion from Eden, the Biblical Flood and the Crucifixion - as efforts to forestall anticipated Seasonal Rot. Physicists are divided on the question of an 'author', but claim that the laws of physics were a last-second rewrite during the very first episode in order to prevent the whole project from collapsing under its own complexity.
Badass: You'd be shocked how many characters, and not just the human ones, can fit into this.
Badass Bookworm: Pretty much every human being relative to other species. Even the dumb ones are a lot smarter than any member of any other known species and it's our brains that let us beat species with superior strength, speed, toughness, natural weaponry and even faster breeding.
There's an in-universe movement now to "nerf ourselves before we get nerfed," but most Human players want to keep on powergaming.
Badass Crew: Oh, so many. Motorcycle gangs, SWAT teams, and every single military special operations force ever created. (Otherwise they wouldn't be qualified to be special forces.)
Emulated by many players in the years since, but the prevailing opinion is that very few manage to live up to the originals. After some violent incidents involving players wearing trenchcoats in recent years, younger players wearing trenchcoats now may receive flak from others.
Bag of Spilling: Played straight with reincarnation. Partially averted with inheritance (which is semi-frequently subject to tax).
Beach Episode: The "summer" phase, when the Daystar is at its meanest, makes some players to go to nearby bodies of water wearing as little clothing as possible to cool themselves off. This is usually also a time of breaks from tutorials.
The Beautiful Elite: Far fewer, relatively speaking, than you'd think from reading or watching fiction, but a prestige class of this type of character does exist. Maintaining the requisite levels in Wealth, Comeliness, Publicity, and Charisma is daunting, and it's surprisingly easy to lose the prestige class.
Best For Last: Billions are involved with various religions because of this trope.
Beware Of Vicious Dog: Trope Namer. Many a sign on front-yard gates exists that will bear this warning, although the exact wording varies and is usually simply "Beware of Dog."
BFG: Formerly available only to the soldier characters in limited zones or during a War event; some servers now allow very restricted civilian ownership and/or use. Check local regulations carefully, since having an unauthorized weapon in inventory - even if you never equip it - can lead to game-ending bugs!
'Open' PvP zones allow a BFG to anyone who can buy, steal or loot one, but those zones are not recommended for anyone to enter.
BFS: Once-popular, but this weapon category has been in decline for a long time. Notable examples include the Claymore branch of swords, and the Zweihander, used by the "Landsknecht" prestige class in the Renaissance module.
Big Eater: Humans' advanced brain metabolism causes them to require more food than would be expected for an organism of their size. The human brain's 25% consumption of total caloric intake is impressive, and shows why other animals haven't bothered to grow such enormous, hungry brains. But as for Big Eating, try shrews, which eat their own weight in insects daily, or hummingbirds, who can starve after 15 minutes of activity without their sugar water. Or blue whales, which need an estimated 1.5 million calories daily and get it by eating two or three tons of itty-bitty plankton. Per day. Or tiny rodents that die from heat loss if they don't spend 23 hours per day eating.
Blob Monster: Amoebas to anything smaller than them, and White Blood Cells to foreign tissue.
Body Horror: Averted in most cases, played absolutely straight with a few diseases (like the flesh-eating disease and Ebola) and other unfortunate events, like vehicle crashes, or birth defects.
Bonus Dungeon: College may be considered one, the rewards are worth it but not many players meet the requirements to enter one. Expect your character's funds to drop dramatically and stay that way for a while.
Booze-Based Buff: Mostly averted, but used in moderation, the Red Wine item mildly increases your CON and Radiation Resistance stats.
To many player characters, any kind of booze moderately increases Fear Resistance (players should keep in mind that this is not always a buff, as it occasionally causes the affected to be Too Dumb to Live). When given to the opposite sex, the Beer item raises your CHR stat instead.
Alcohol also gives a temporary boost to your Pain Resistance and Limber stats, making you more likely to survive a car crash if you have these buffs. Unfortunately, your Driving skill also drops to one-third normal.
Bonus Stage: Vacations. A comfortable retirement can count as well, since you've beaten the main quest. All that's left to do then is enjoy some side quests and help the next gen gamers (who you've likely helped to spawn) get through their own questing.
Boring but Practical: Schooling and work, which help you get the better classes and earn money, respectively. Most of the time, the practicality of something in Real Life is inversely related to its awesomeness. Some theorise that this is due to the Law of Conservation of Detail. Sometimes though, a stroke of bad luck may make this all for naught - in particular, a bug in the economic program can bump players that went through the Higher Educational levels into the same Job-Search quests as everyone else.
Boss Rush: Final exams, and (much later, and with a foregone conclusion) old age.
Bragging Rights Reward: Subverted. Most awards you earn can be used to level up incredibly fast, gain massive amounts of prestige, and/or win even more awards, and more! There are things that play this straight though.
Vocational degrees tend to be very useful. Theoretical ones... not so much.
Many theistic religions revolve around talking to the author(s), many claiming that said author is willing to retcon it or tweak the gameplay on players' requests to grant them heals or buffs. Deists meanwhile say that the author just started the game and is watching it play out For the Lulz without interfering.
Tropers who play this game may find themselves and others like them doing this in conversation. This is likely to make non-tropers regard them as strange or disturbed.
Invoked in one of Nintendo's slogans "life's a game". Most players claim to disagree, mistakenly assuming games and Serious Business are mutually exclusive.
More generally, the vast majority of characters seem to be quite aware that they're involved in Real Life. In fact, a few people have suggested that all the viewers of Real Life are also characters in Real Life.
Breath Weapon: Halitosis. Also, in the camping activity many people use their breath as a firestarting tool. In addition, a far more usual fire breath is available as a feat. Surprisingly, it has little use in combat and serves mostly as a trick for the Performer class.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: Not so much for themselves, but some players have the ability to grant the "silver spoon powerup" to new players whom they help enter the game. The silver spoon powerup is very nice but carries a responsibility to carry it on the later players. A player with the silver spoon powerup often feels obligated to continue it and does not want to be the one to break the chain.
Averted in ex-Communist countries where said money probably won't get you past the bread line.
Played straight for characters who manage to reach the highest bracket on personal wealth. You can spend money to complete quests or acquire perks that are not available to other characters, regardless of their level or karma - and you enjoy reduced costs on virtually everything else. Unsurprisingly, many players have attempted to hack themselves into this category.
Buffy Speak: Most common with the teenager character level, but some adults use it, too.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Rare, but not nonexistent. The trick is you have to achieve a very high level of competence in some useful skill if you expect people to tolerate—and indeed, cater to—your eccentricities.
Although this depends a lot on the field; software engineers tend to play this one straight.
Burger Fool: Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you can probably recall having just such a job.
Canon Discontinuity: The Flu Epidemic of 1918-19. Since this epidemic occurred just after the end of WWI, the struggles of undergoing it and the gravity of the world's first world war made many fans to strike it from the history books, in an attempt to forget how painful the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918-19 had been.
Can't Catch Up: Don't have experience? Less likely to be hired, and thus less likely to gain experience.
Players who have not made certain achievements in romance and reproduction by certain points find it much more difficult to reach those milestones in the first place. Inexperienced males have a particularly harsh time breaking into the romance levels as time goes on. Females will also have a tougher time spawning new players on the advanced romance levels as time goes on, until it becomes physically impossible for them to do so. In previous generations, a woman who did not marry by age 20 became increasingly unlikely to do so. In some parts of the world, that still holds true.
Captain Obvious: The most sorely needed of fictional superheroes in Real Life, ten times as sadly MIA as Superman. People make jokes about the Cap'n all the time but it's funny how seldom he actually does show up, given the phenomenal adeptness of humans at missing the obvious.
Cast Herd: Due to the more than seven billion characters, it's not so surprising that they organize themselves. Common headers include gender, age, ethnicity, language, nationality, religion, profession, political affiliation, personality type, hobbies, etc., which makes it much easier to keep track of them.
Cast of Snowflakes: Hoo boy. The character page for Real Life has yet to be created, though some argue future patches will reduce character detail to a point that guides can finally be written. Whether this is good or bad is still a debated question on some servers.
Catapult Nightmare: Averted due to the way "sleep" and "hormones" code is handled. It can happen, but it's usually a glitch, happening maybe once or twice per lifetime.
Cat Girl: Averted, except in the Comic Convention cutscenes.
Celibate Hero: Required for a few character classes, such as Monk. Not all characters with such classes actually stick to the prerequisites, however. Unless you plan to enter one of these restricted classes, you're better off gaining at least a few romance points (and some people won't stop yelling 'noob' until you introduce at least one new player to the game.)
Chaos Architecture: Since the environment is fully interactive and there are so many events that can alter objects, every level can be greatly different between each revisit. Plains levels become flooded after long period of raining. Ghibli Hills reduced to Scenery Gorn after countless players vandalise it. And many more...
Character Development: Strictly speaking, it's optional once you're past the tutorial. But it's highly recommended.
Cheat Code: Inoculations can exempt you from several very unpleasant Disease debuffs, if you can arrange it. Piracy and train robbery have been patched out as cheat codes, although insider trading is still an option. Steroids are a risky cheat since they can crash your character. Genetic engineering is expected to become one, although the prevailing attitude seems to be that there is No Transhumanism Allowed.
Chekhov's Gun: If there's one area in which Real Life easily exceeds its competitors, it is in the placement of thousands of Chekhov's Guns which seemed completely coincidental up until they became plot-relevant.
Democracy was briefly a plot point during the Athens mini-series, then dropped into invisibility until well after the New World expansion was revealed.
Fire was just a rare environmental hazard until some of the early players discovered it was key to many, many kinds of item creation.
The moon was seen in the background art of most night time levels for many thousands of years before becoming significant in the moon landing story arc.
Chekhov's Gunman: Many characters that turn out to be crucial to the relationship subplots are first glimpsed as unimportant classmates during the tutorial levels.
Chick Magnet: A skill set usually reserved for males with high CHA scores.
China Takes Over the World: Implied Trope. Also Trope Namer. China has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is rapidly increasing its military power as we speak. Also India to a lesser extent. Both were ganked by the British Empire guild/Cast Herd. And poor guild leadership and/or defense. They since have gotten better. Except they owe China an insane amount of money, leading back to the above trope. The United States, one of the youngest Cast Herd, has become the leading power after the WWII arc, leading through the Cold War arc, and for a bit after (the Internet Bubble arc as was called by Wall Street.)
Christmas Carolers: An activity that players can participate in during the Christmas event. Musically inclined classes will sound better, but it's open to all players, regardless of talent.
Circle of Standing Stones: Many of them scattered throughout the servers. Most of them were added way back before patch notes really took off, so no one remembers why they were added and what they're supposed to be for. Players find them fascinating, though.
Of course, when some are added, others become nerfed out of existence, particularly those that weren't all that strong in the first place. Not that many people playing the Chimney Sweep class these days, are there?
Some levels have tried to avert this; so far, no such luck.
Occasionally people do go back to play the older classes, such as Civil War Soldier, but usually this is done with an Alt character between grinding sessions.
Clock Tower: Many around the world; the most famous is in the London server. May be going out of style these days, since clocks are so ubiquitous in the Cyber Punk era.
Closed Circle: There have been many mods over the years, but it's still not possible for characters to leave the Earth setting (and many cannot travel from server to server).note Some classes, such as astronaut, can leave the Earth setting, but they are then restrained to their almost-entirely-useless vehicle.
There is a dwindling but still unfortunately large group who believe this to be true in regards to characters' skin. Most people, however, consider this Epileptic Tree to have been thoroughly cut down.
In the politics subgame, this is heavily subverted. Red means conservative in the U.S. region, but denotes Communists or other left-wingers everywhere else, black can be worn throughout the game by either fascists or anarchists, soldiers on both sides in any conflict wear either brown and green or light brown...
Oddly enough, in their coverage of the 1976 election in the U.S. server, NBC's map had the conservative states color-coded blue and the liberal states red. That was changed before the next election, possibly due to unfortunate implications.
Common PCs (usually around the teen years) sometimes purposely use their in-game currency to purchase clothing of only one color. Mostly associated with the Goth class, who are known for wearing all black.
Used in the sports mini-game to differentiate between two teams— the NBA class, for example, uses all white garments to represent the team that is playing on their home server, while the NFL class does the opposite, although both classes sometimes invert the rule.
In the United States, wearing clothing of specific colors in certain places can sometimes cause a player to be attacked or even killed by extremely violent, territorial human PCs who form (sometimes massive) clans known as "gangs" based on geographic affiliation alone. This mostly, and stereotypically, occurs in dangerous areas of California and New York state.
The developer has given some non-human PCs color patterns on their skin that warn others to stay away. For example, coral snakes have red, black, and yellow scales, which both human and non-human PCs have long since learned represents the potency of their venom. In an interesting subversion, the developer has given similar color patterns to other species of snake who aren't dangerous at all (this is presumably to keep the game balanced, as these non-dangerous snakes have no way to defend themselves other than scaring off predators by mimicking venomous snakes).
Commie Land: Popular during the Cold War arc; however, writers have kept a few pieces of the old arc alive (like Cuba, China and North Korea) for the sake of nostalgia. Was once supposed to feature big in the Armageddon expansion.
Cosmic Horror Story: Sadly enough, although a wholesale crash of the game is inevitable, very few players put even the slightest effort into devising plans or reserving resources to avert a premature end to Real Life. Then again, nobody's advanced high enough up the tech and resource trees to do anything even if there were plenty of advance notice of, say, an incoming planetoid or super-volcanic event. But the characters aren't even trying, preferring instead to unlock tech achievements like 'Faster Downloads' or 'Miracle Weight-Loss Pill'.
Cosmic Lottery Winner: In a technical sense, everyone who gets to start a character qualifies - the odds of coming into existence are pretty long ones. Played more dramatically and rarely if it happens again: while death in this game is final, there are some extremely lucky players who survive situations that would normally kill them, without any permanent stat decreases or debuffs.
It's pretty much essential for the Doctor class to go through this.
Crisis Crossover: There were a few instances (the Introduction of Agriculture event was probably the earliest.) Not particularly common until the Worldwide Travel and Worldwide Communication patches were installed. A few major events in the 19th century qualify: several more arrived in the 20th century and a few have already happened in the 21st.
Critical Annoyance: Shortness of breath, heart attacks, and other such symptoms of impending death. Wheezing, and allergies, which is your immune system being messed with.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Common enough that things like chivalry and the Geneva Conventions were developed to avert it. They're not always obeyed, of course.
Cut-and-Paste Environments: Played straight with the ancient Romans, who are said to have built the same city (and the same fort, with the same floor plan) hundreds of times. The same principle became popular more recently for hotel and restaurant franchises.
Hoover housing picked this up again for a while.
Communist countries frequently do as well.
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: So far averted; the Tech Tree hasn't progressed far enough for neural cybernetics, but stuff like Iron Lungs and Pacemakers, as well as mechanical prostheses, do not affect a character's charisma score. Indeed, prostheses might increase said charisma score.
Some think our humanity will become more robust and nuanced with these upgrades.
Cyberspace: Known in the previous season as "ARPAnet", nowadays known as "Internet".
Cyanide Pill: Perhaps well known for being the way many of the high ranking players of the ill fated "Nazi" faction killed themselves during the end of the World War II arc and post war spy plane pilots and special forces class players were issued them to avoid interrogation.
Innumerable examples in chemistry character class and the minigame in the education tutorial.
Basic laboratory safety techniques include diluting acids by adding the concentrated acid to water, not water to acid. Sulfuric acid in particular reacts quite violently with water, and may boil and spatter.
Some medicines can interact in ways that are harmful to the body, depending on the chemical substrates of the medicine.
The Day of Reckoning: Many have been rumored, some having been around since the server first started. However, thankfully none of them have occurred.
Deader Than Dead: Fairly common in war and disaster arcs, even though it's not really necessary since in this series, everyone who dies stays dead.
Deadly Gas: So much was used during the World War I arc and caused so much death and destruction, that mods across the game world banned them from future use in warfare and stockpiles are still in some country's arsenal while others have long destroyed theirs. However, such weapons will occasionally make a return, illegally.
Death by Childbirth: Many insects reproduce this way, though it's not birth so much as laying eggs. Was common among humans until the last 100 years or so, and is still common in countries that don't have modern medicine. Note that most vertebrates have few problems with it; humans suck at giving birth because they converted a quadruped skeleton to a bipedal design while concurrently enlarging the skull.
Death by Pragmatism: Subverted. Screwing another player over to save your own ass may work out for you in the short run, but it by no means precludes your karma catching up to you later in the game.
Animals with the Pack Animal mechanic avert this, as do eusocial insects. Some players emulate this behavior to varying degrees.
Death Takes a Holiday: Averted very, very hard. Death is so busy that if it took even a half-day off, people would notice.
In fact, it's become increasingly obvious that death was hard-coded for very good reasons of game balance. Longer life expectancies have led to problems like overcrowded hospitals and a large portion of the population in developed countries being dependent on the state for their income. New players are being introduced into Real Life in an unending stream, while efficiency in harvesting and re-using the resources provided is no longer keeping pace.
Death Throws: Played straight with depressing frequency in high-speed vehicle crashes. Fairly easy to avert with a safety device known as a seat belt.
Deathworld: Almost all of the Universe, with the exception of a tiny planet, orbiting an insignificant star in an unexceptional galaxy, called Earth by some of its inhabitants. Used to create an unsurmountable barrier separating the released content from one that is announced but still under construction, only available as distant LOD. Even on Earth, it used to be played straight, though humans are the most powerful (and dangerous) part of Real Life on Earth these days. Some parts still remain pretty dangerous, though.
Deconstruction: Your view of the world and the people you know can change quite significantly as you get older.
Human spaceflight, after an initial foray to the Moon, has been stalled in low Earth orbit for 40 seasons, with returning to the Moon and on to Mars delayed at least another 15-20 seasons. So far it seems that the Soviets were book-ending the whole arc when they launched a beeping metal ball, since the only perceptible activity in this area for some time has been the launch of slightly more sophisticated beeping objects.
The Medicine professions have been engaged in a long struggle to glitch all Disease debuffs, but they weren't able to eliminate them all. Worse yet, new patches on the Disease codes have allowed them to overcome the original glitches.
Particularly impressive is the way that every single area is uniquely rendered.
Sadly a surprising number of things are arbitrarily ruled as impossible. As a result people have created alternate rule sets which are lumped together under the genera of "fiction." Although often what was thought impossible turns out not to be, as Science Marches On.
There are a few surrounding the apparent incongruity between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity.
Dialogue Tree: A very important aspect. What you say to other players very much influences the way they act towards you - the possibilities are endless! But be wary of the other player's personality, so you don't pick the wrong options. For example, speaking like a baby to another baby might make him/her like you, but if you say that to a particularly grumpy short man, the result will be very different.
It's very difficult to live in the Arctic Circle, and it's even more difficult to stay in or even get anywhere close to Antarctica, though you can visit the place for a while thanks to compensatory technology.
It's speculated that even if a character was successfully transferred to the Moon server, her code would eventually be overwritten to the point where Earth gravity would cause bugging if the character ever returned to her original server.
Also, life as a whole becomes much harder as you grow up (from sleeping in daycare, to cramming for a test, to paying taxes, etc.)
Dirty Coward: Every bully you know wouldn't be half the tough guy they are without back up or their big muscles.
People (especially teens and children) in general choose to let bad stuff happen and do nothing about it. Becoming The Hero earns so many social benefits in part because so few characters are willing to do it.
Disc One Final Dungeon: College. The seeming final-ness goes especially to schools of law, medicine, and pharmacy or universities that have great prestige.
Disc One Nuke: Child Prodigies tend to have high intelligence stats that make certain aspects of life a breeze.
Disproportionate Retribution: Played straight with far too many law codes, typically erring toward either excessive or mild punishments as a whole. Also a common consequence of zero-tolerance policies, which intentionally remove human judgment from their application.
The Pakistan region has become infamous for its Blasphemy Law that kills players for speaking against their particular idea of the hypothetical author.
Players with the Vengeful or Abusive traits frequently invoke this.
Doing In the Wizard: Has become incredibly common in the last two hundred seasons, or so, with science retconning various miracles. Debate over the value of these retcons has resulted in a severelyBroken Base.
Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Eras of backstory are often demarcated in terms of wars and conflict. They may be tragic, but also very memorable and interesting (perhaps because most students of the backstory do not spend a great deal of time discussing the suffering of soldiers and war victims).
Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: If you disobey safety precautions, you're likely to find out the hard way why they were there in the first place. Remember that this physics engine can emulate Ludicrous Gibs if you encourage it to!
Doomed Hometown: In any region with an ongoing war, this happens to a lot of people.
Doomsday Clock: It stands at 5 minutes to 12 as of 2015, and has done so for several years. This has happened in many previous arcs as well. Seems that the end of the world happens often, and none of the characters notice.
Door Dumb: Just wait around for a while at a door that can be opened by pushing but not pulling, or vice-versa, and chances are you'll see this trope in action sooner or later.
Downer Ending: Happens so often the possibility of it happening to you borders on Nightmare Fuel.
Down the Drain: Occasionally subverted by deep sea diving tours. In general it's harder to survive the water levels than the surface levels.
Draft Dodging: It's about as old as the draft itself and was practiced heavily by players in living in the USA server during the Vietnam War arc. It got so bad that mods weren't even able to crack down on it in many cases..
Driving Game: The driving ability is unlocked when the player reaches level 16 in most servers.
The "Patrol Officer", "Taxi Service", "Bus Driver", "Trucker", and "Racer" classes reward the player with in-game currency for driving on a regular basis.
Dynamic Loading: Elevators, commercial flights, and public transportation are all examples of this trope.
Although hopefully it doesn't get too dynamic, as hostile NPCs will still occasionally spawn in these areas.
Early Installment Weirdness: "Proto-Earth" prior to the formation of the moon. Scientists theorize that after Earth left it's Lethal Lava Land stage, it entered into an Ocean World phase, likely with early life. Then, it collided with a smaller planetoid, killing any life that may have existed at this point, and creating the Moon. After this, life took the path we are more familiar with.
Egopolis: See Alexandria, Ho Chi Minh City, Stalingrad, Tenochtitlan, Constantinople, Istanbul.
Easing Into the Adventure: Some species hit the ground running, ready for survival within moments of birth. Humans, on the other hand, take months to acquire physical coordination, years to learn how to walk, more years to reach reproductive age, and even more years to acquire all their survival skills.
Some humans skip the later years of the tutorial and go straight to the main game, by choice or necessity. Sometimes higher-level characters forcibly bring them back to the tutorial areas. On the other hand, some prefer the relative safety and comfort of the tutorial levels.
Easy-Mode Mockery: The stigma that comes with being an adult and still living with your parents in times and places that put a lower emphasis on the extended family, let alone relying on them for money. This applies especially to trust fund kids, many of whom are rich bitches.
Making things damn difficult for trust fund kids who don't fit that type.
Restaurants that give the smallest portion or drink sizes "kiddie" names. Can especially come off as a bit of an insult to those watching their calories.
Earn Your Bad Ending: Receiving a life-sentence requires the PC to cause a heinous crime such as murder which requires more planning to pull off successfully than simply living a normal life.
Unless you get a life-sentence because you've been wrongly convicted of a heinous crime, either through mistake or because of Dirty Cops and other corrupt members of the legal system. Take, for example, this case of wrongful accusation of two mentally handicapped player characters.
Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: Averted, with the help of over 100 different elements and potentially infinite combinations (and everyone has a completely unique, customized chemical Character Sheet!) Ancient Greece arc notwithstanding, water, air and earth are not elements, they are mixtures, and fire is a process, not a substance.
Emergency Broadcast: Usually a few every day at some places throughout the world, whether system tests or warnings of actual disasters.
Emergent Gameplay: All over the place. Modern civilization is built on loads of emergent gameplay features. Much of it made possible when the players started focusing less on combat and more on the trading aspect of the game. Humans excel at finding these.
Empathic Weapon: Inverted for players who have the gunny or hoplophile traits.
The Empire: A recurring plot element. Due to corrupted archives, often portrayed as villains by the groups that eventually overthrew them. At this point in the game, there is no 'classic' Empire: the United States is a Hegemonic Empire, ostensibly to prevent a 'real' Empire from surfacing.
Endless Game: It just keeps going and going. Individual characters, however, do not get endless play time.
According to most experts in the physicist and/or religion classes, the game will eventually stop and the servers shut down altogether. However, the game has been going quite a while already, and shows no obvious signs of stopping any time soon.
Equivalent Exchange: Present in the form of the First Law of Thermodynamics, and Newton's Third Law, plus a gaggle of other Conservation laws. All machines and lifeforms, and heck, just about any process in the Real Life 'verse follow the Equivalent Exchange principle.
Escort Mission: The (thankfully optional) Parenthood campaign. As well, there is a Babysitting minigame and Childcare class that revolves around this.
Bodyguarding and courier classes also have to deal with this. Although generally the AI of the Bodyguard's escort is relatively high.
Eternal Engine: Certain boats, oil platforms, factories, towers, and whatnot can fall under this trope, but certain cities, like the Energy Corridor of Houston Texas, or Pittsburgh before the 1960's also can be considered.
Everyone Is Bi: Some Psychologist and Philosopher class characters have claimed this. Others disagree.
Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: They were the most successful group of terrestrial vertebrate animals for more than 160 million years. Unfortunately, nine-tenths of the species were subject to extinction, though the rise of Player Characters was only possible without them.
Everything's Better with Penguins: There are many penguins in Antarctica, which is in the southern hemisphere of the main game world. Their game function seems to be uncertain. Certainly they don't make 'everything better:' in fact, the only thing they seem to be able to make is a strong odor of digested fish.
The subtrope When Things Spin, Science Happens has been particularly common in the last few hundred seasons. In fact, the mere presence of a centrifuge is often sufficient to communicate to the viewer that a scene is taking place in a science lab.
The planet itself spins, although we didn't learn of this awesome spinning until long after the invention of the wheel.
Evolutionary Levels: Shockingly averted. "Evolution" seems to describe a perpetual transitional process by which the members of a species least fitted to their environment die without reproducing - as opposed to an incremental process by which living beings get bigger, smarter, and more powerful over time. This design feature has produced a great deal of controversy.
Expansion Pack World: Originally, quite a few Real Life servers existed in complete ignorance of each other. They were essentially running smaller regions with characters who had no idea the rest even existed, let alone could be accessed without special codes or additional fees. The Writing protocols essentially helped Explorer characters increase awareness of the size of the world (leading to the Europe/Asia/Africa link-ups.) The New World arc (and its many, many sequelae) brought the Americas into contact with the active servers, originally through a backdoor in the Scandinavia travel codes: unfortunately this wrought absolute havoc on those regions.
The first real Expansion Pack was Australia around 15,000 BC, but it was a Hard Mode region and only a few dedicated Aborigine players were willing to play there until a few Explorers bent on gaining exploration achievements 'discovered' it.
The Polynesia and Iceland mini-campaigns added small areas to the core world. Antarctica was added too, but never gained much interest after its initial Race to the Pole crossover event was wrapped up.
The 20th century saw new Orbital Space and Moon expansions added, but - just like Antarctica - there wasn't much to do except gain exploration achievements, particularly since you had to advance into Astronaut just to get there.
Several grass species were adapted into wheat, rice, and maize. A selection of early primates were polished up, given new appearances and a lot of new powers, and appeared in later editions as humans.
Some religions also believe humans are reincarnations of past lives.
Explosive Stupidity: When it comes to handling explosive devices and/or volatile substances, there's very little margin for error. Being careless while doing so is a surefire way to get a game over.
Expo Speak: History, biology, physics classes all show a lot of the world building.
Eye-Obscuring Hat: Plenty of people try to pull this off, particularly with Indiana Jones-style hats. The issue is in actually seeing when you wear a hat over your eyes.
Eye Scream: Happens enough to make some players want to wear protective eyewear 24/7.
Failed a Spot Check: Happens all the time, most frequently with small oft-used items such as keys, eyeglasses, and marbles. Many animals have camouflage coloring whose purpose is to invoke the trope deliberately, for catching prey or avoiding predators.
Fake Difficulty: You get only one life, no save points, and quest items/paths can easily be lost forever. Though, according to some religions, you get multiple lives, taking the form of a different character with each respawn, and in others, you can respawn in anotherserver, depending on the achievements you get, the guilds you join, or even by believing in the server's programmer. In addition, there are countless quest paths/items/what have you, to the point that no one will ever be able to write a full strategy guide (though many partial ones are in the works). Unless you mess up some early story arcs, you can usually have a decent score by the end.
Fake Longevity: Considering how Real Life boasts years of play, it's no surprise that almost a quarter of your time is spent either being in school/work or doing work that you've been given to take home from school/work. Also, you spend quite a bit of time doing things such as eating, sleeping (which takes an average of a third of your time), and bathing. And exactly what you're doing at this moment.
Falling Damage: But of course. This being Real Life, however, you can't just walk it off. The damage will be long-lasting, or, if high enough, instantly fatal.
Fan Fic: Fiction based off real life is a multi-billion dollar industry. Real Life Fan Fiction often has very little to do with the source material, and is popular enough that there exists a wiki dedicated to categorizing common tropes.
Bio Pic: Fiction focusing on particular characters.
Final Death: You die, that's it for your character. What happens afterward is unknown, but there are three basic campsnote These are not the only beliefs, just the three most well-known.:
If you were good, you go to Fluffy Cloud Heaven, but if you were bad you go to Fire and Brimstone Hell. Where the dividing line is believed to be varies—some believe that only really evil people go to hell, others believe that only characters with Incorruptible Pure Pureness get heaven. Many ancient religions also had a third level in-between the other two.
You start over with a new character. Details vary, but generally depend on your Karma Meter in the life you just finished. Some believe that, eventually, you play a different game entirely.
Final Exam Boss: Parodied in the school content with bosses that are literal final exams. Can be averted in the college and graduate school levels, where exams are occasionally replaced by presentations. (i.e. the student briefly becoming a teacher.)
First Town: Every town could qualify as this, as there are billions of protagonists throughout the world.
But most of the designated spawn points are in larger cities, so some small communities might not be.
First-Person Shooter: The "Terrorist", "Soldier", "Shooter" "Hunter", "Militia" "Gang Member", "Mercenary", "Policeman", and "Gunny" classes.
Note that certain servers make "Armed Policeman" a prestige class, requiring the player take several levels in "Policeman" first.
Just about any character class with thumbs can wield firearms, although Firearm Proficiency is a highly recommended skill to have when dealing with guns.
Almost all characters are capable of wielding firearms. The above classes have this as a core requirement. It is very easy to cross class with firearms training, especially in Eagle Land servers.
Flame War: Both figurative and literal applications.
The entire skill and level system is based upon this. Gaining a level in anything will require large amounts of study and repetitive "practice".
Required previous work experience, including for entry-level jobs, increasingly requires newer players to level grind for free at menial, volunteer tasks before anyone will hire them. Others try to skip this section by making their EXP look higher than it really is.
Forced Tutorial: School, in places where compulsory education is the law. Some servers have enforced tutorials lasting 12 years or longer. Also, people who have completed their schooling in other countries may have to go through it again when they immigrate if their credentials aren't recognized in the new country. If you are playing in the Great Britain server this is until you are 18! Further, said forced tutorial tends to make assumptions on what the student is capable of doing, and is inflexible due to lack of performance.
Though, depending on the server, the tutorial isn't really forced. It is very much possible to quit the tutorial and go into the main campaign. However, not having either the "public schooling" achievement or the "home schooling" achievement has dire consequences. The player will most certainly not have access to many skill trees, abilities, and class titles. Maybe it's a glitch, but there are ways to bypass that problem. The player will need either the "prodigy" ability or have an incredible intelligence stat.
A few servers avert this entirely, although these tend to be regarded by other players as quite Nintendo Hard.
Foreshadowing: If you watch real closely. Alternatively, you may consult a self-styled expert in Divination, but many players believe this is not a real skill. Nostradamus' strategy guide is believed by some to be canon but it can be interpreted in so many ways that proving it requires Epileptic Trees in its own, so others argue otherwise. Global Warming, running out of Fossil Fuels and Overpopulation arcs have been pretty much this for the last few decades. Commonly believed that those will cumulate in a big event to herald the arrival of the Interstellar Space arc where the human race can finally explore the Universe in person.
Freakiness Shame: Played straight, subverted and averted for many people with birth defects and other things that make them special, and some of the body modifications available... though not yet with things like wings.
Freemium: Most servers will give the player enough in-game currency to prevent them from dying. But if you want to acquire any good items or join any prestige classes, you're going to have to do a lot of level grinding.
Functional Magic: Rule Magic (the laws of physics) is slowly and laboriously decoded and verified by science and arcane mathematics, and implemented into Device Magic (technology) which anyone can use provided they can afford to buy it. Most players take this for granted. Also, Vancian Magic is the case for some of the particularly restrictive aspects of Real Life's Rule Magic, like thermodynamics and the conservation laws.