The Infinity Eight: Left to Right: Endrance, Ovan, Atoli, Yata, Haseo, Pi, Sakubo, Kuhn
Taking place after the events in .hack//SIGN and the original .hack games, the popular MMORPG "The World" is open for business yet again. Well, the new World. The old one was destroyed when the servers mysteriously burned down. The new world is a bit Darker and Edgier these days with all the Player Killing. The PKK (Player Killer Killer) from .hack//Roots, Haseo, has become legendary in his own right. As The Hunter; he has killed hundreds of Player Killers and has gained the title The Terror Of Death. Yes, the same title the first Boss in the first game series had. He is hunting down a mysterious Player Killer known as Tri-Edge, for this mysterious Tri-Edge PK'd Haseo's friend Shino, and she fell into a coma in real life.After being attacked and Data Drained by Tri-Edge, Haseo is found by a mysterious organization known as Raven, and joins their ranks, unleashing a hidden power in his character data known as Skeith.All the while, a mysterious computer virus called AIDA is threatening the existence of "The World" and quite possibly the entire Internet.Character Sheets are here.
Also the Save Stations: Not only do real MMORPGs not have anything of the sort, but in G.U. you start the next play session at the last save station you saved at rather than your desktop (unless you used that one last, which is itself another acceptable break). This actually helps add some realism to a story event early on in Disk 2.
Additionally there was a disc included with some editions of Volume 1. Written as a personal diary that detailed how The World R:2 came about, how the Epitaph Program came about, the mysterious fire at CC Corp, the fate of Mia from the R1 series, the details of Aura and how she crated the Azure Knights and Rena and Shugo.
Alternate Continuity: The game starts the same way as the novels, manga, and Trilogy. Each medium branches in different ways after the basic premise is set up and acknowledges that they're alternate tellings. For the record, the games are the canon version.
Level 3 Arts in Volume 3. They look awesome, but are generally less powerful and useful than regular skills. note Level 3 Arts takes a lot of time but around Skill Level 28 onward it costs as much SP as of its last regular skill, to the point of costing less than them, and also it's possible to nearly spam them since the more you level the Skill the faster the trigger gauge will recover. However their worst flaw lies in the Beast Awakening, when their (often rather slow) speed isn't amplified, unlike the regular skills. Furthermore, the only Level 3 Art that gets a speed boost during Beast Awakening suffers from it by missing half its hits..
Offensive magic may count, especially since the higher-level spells often consume too much SP to be worth using (thereby making Shadow Warlocks a fairly useless class).note Maybe, but the offensive magics are fairly strong, hits a wide area and makes the setup for Rengeki a lot easier and most of times offensive magic doesn't get interrupted when you perform a Rengeki unlike any other Art used by your allies. The problem of its cost can be partially solved with three Blue Moon Ores or a True Moon Ore (reduces offensive spell cost) and Mind Butterfly (which grants 50%+ SP).
Between My Legs: In the most serious fashion possible in the endgame battle of Volume 1.
Haseo: Give us back... ALL OF THE LOST ONES!!!
Beware the Nice Ones: As a surprise guest character from the previous .hack quadrilogy of games Natsume makes an appearance in Redemption. She has a split personality as the Chaotic PK "Natsume: The Edge-Maniac".
Big Bad: Azure Flame Kite in the first game, "Tri-Edge" Ovan in the second and finally Cubia in the game series ending.
Big Brother Mentor: Silabus and Gaspard. Also, Kuhn. Minor NPCs AppleStar and Renji also fit this role.
BFS: One of the classes is Heavy Blade/Edge Punisher. Their weapons are steam-powered swords, which are twice the size of their characters.
Can't Drop The Hero: Despite playing an MMO where anyone could be the party leader, Haseo can't relinquish the role. It goes further in that even though your party members get gold while you adventure together and can even level up outside the party, they never buy new equipment for themselves.
Card Games: Outside of "The World" is an online card game you can play based off characters and skills from the .hack universe. If you make your way up the ranks, you'll eventually be challenged by the champion, Gaspard.
Cash Cow Franchise: Each game is ridiculously short, full priced, and you need all three of them for it to make sense.
Haseo's opening battle vs. Bordeaux and the other PKs.
It is established quite well in the first game that normal players will experience this against Avatar users who spam out the Phases. Even said in-game that Endrance was originally quite a low-level player, for an Arena Emperor.
Cute Bruiser: Zelkova, the only Flick Reaper you can party with.
Cute Machines: MECHA! MECHA! MECHA! MECHA-GRUNNNTYYY!! *dun da dun!*
Cuteness Proximity: Atoli has shades of this trope, although this is particularly exaggerated in the 4koma strips.
Haseo annihilating a party of PKers in the beginning.
Alkaid, when she came Back from the Dead. She was destroying dozens and dozens of Cubia Gomoras in a cutscene, but when you use her to fight the same Gomoras she barely can scratch them.
Even opponents get this at least twice in the first game. In the first battles with Bordeaux and Alkaid in the Demon Palace Tournament it's made clear that Haseo is getting his butt kicked. In actual combat it's entirely possible for you to wipe the floor with them.
Cyberspace: The entire game takes place in an MMORPG, and its effects on the real world are the major plot point of the game. It also has a more traditional Cyberspace in the AIDA-infested space outside of the normal game areas, and of course hacking is all graphical with avatars.
Dark and Troubled Past: Some have this, but the most notable is Atoli. Her complete lack of self-esteem pushes her to do "good" stuff to gain acceptance even in a game. To twist the knife further, her most trusted friend/mentor Sakaki is actually manipulating her, milking her trust in him and her powers of the Second Epitaph, Innis. She also met him on a suicide website.
Dark Is Not Evil: At first glance on Haseo's◊ outfit after the Time Skip of six months would you still believe he is the hero? More over would you believe he is one of the nicest guys by the time he recovers the very same form?
Deadpan Snarker: Haseo, frequently. (Especially when Atoli or Piros the 3rd are involved.)
Death Glare: Haseo gives one before charging Tri-Edge for the first time and then to Bordeaux when she throws in his face she was the one who PK'ed Alkaid, making her go comatose and nearly killing her in real life.
Eldritch Location: A few of the Lost Grounds, but most notably the Great Temple of Caerleon Medb, which is practically an Amazing Technicolor Battlefield with its floating ruins over a void and a swirling nebula and stream of broken asteroids in the distance. A couple of the others notably involve floating ruins or otherwise impossible architecture like magma "aquaducts."
Elemental Powers: The game as a 6-element system. Several characters are themed along certain elements in appearance or personality and come with unique equipped items that match that theme when the join the party. (e.g. Antares & fire, Endrance & wind, etc.)
Emergency Transformation: When Haseo's character data is critically damaged in the wake of Ovan's defeat, Zelkova repairs it, giving Haseo a new appearance and an additional character class.
Avatars are often unwillingly called forth in response to near-defeat when an Epitaph User has just awakened (and is thus still fairly new to using them). This happens several times to Haseo. The awakening itself is triggered by intense emotional distress.
Unsurprising, since forum posts and emails are a part of the game.
Japanese-style emoticons also appear in Vol. 3 as the faces of NPCs native to the Netslum.
Emotion Bomb: AIDA, which magnifies the emotion of people—be it good or bad. Some examples are Saku with her desire to protect Endrance and despise towards Haseo, Bordeaux with her grudge towards Haseo, Sirius with his desire to stay emperor and Atoli and her terrible inferiority complex.
Engrish: CC Corp's slogan: "Heartful and useful for all."
Haseo is generally not nice in Volume 1, but he holds a particular contempt for Sakaki. Guess what Sakaki does later on...
The scene with Sakaki and Atoli at the Lost Ground is a type of foreshadowing as well.
Atoli and Sakubo being Epitaph Users is also briefly foreshadowed when Haseo Awakens his own. It's stated previously that only Epitaph Users can see Avatars, and it seems fairly obvious that those two can see Haseo's.
In an E-mail chain with Sakubo in Vol. 3, Haseo tells Saku that a White Chrysanthemum means "I'm here for you". This convinces the Saku side of Bo's personality to not abandon him.
Forced Level Grinding: The bigger the difference of levels, the less damage you'll do (if a lower level than your opponent) and take (if a higher level). If the difference six or more levels levels you won't even make you opponent flinch. Unless you have some serious skills, tons of healing items, or resort to hit and run tactics you really shouldn't fight enemies under-leveled.
Friend to All Children: Surprisingly enough, Haseo. It's noticeable in the Vol.1 when Saku keeps yelling irritatingly at him and Haseo just keeps listening and answering normally.
Furry Fandom: At least two guilds and several message board posts in the game play this trope straight (and rather innocuously compared to many Western works that reference the phenomenon).
Gameplay and Story Integration: In Reminisce before the battle against Sakaki, he declares that he will destroy "those who have betrayed him" first, referring to Atoli. Guess who becomes his target during most of the battle.
Even though the game constantly picks on the topic of PK'ers predating on anyone you never actually get assaulted by one unless in story events or if you choose to enter in a Battle Area and face either one or a horde of monsters.
In a cutscene in the first game Atoli prevents Haseo from kicking a Lucky Animal. At any other point when she is in your party she will never complain.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: A partial example, because the flea in question was a major boss in the R:1 games and drove the plot for the last quarter of Redemption, but still had absolutely zero foreshadowing regarding his presence in the story or even that he was still around after R:1. You spend most of the series chasing after Tri-Edge but when you finally defeat him, Cubia suddenly shows up.
Very observant players of the first game series might have seen it coming: Cubia is specifically mentioned in .hack//Quarantine to be the "shadow" of the Key of Twilight, born when it manifests its power. Therefore, when the Epitaphs were referred to as the Key in this series, alarm bells went off in some players' heads.
Guns Akimbo: Haseo's Xth Form has the power to use dual guns.
Gun Kata: Haseo gains this with his final "Xth-Form", where he wields two guns with bladelike attachments. In a typical Short-Range Long-Range Weapon , his special moves using that guns are performed close range as he both slashes and shoots; also used in the one of the last cutscenes. The game's juggle reaction to specific attacks mean that one can use the guns to juggle an opponent continuously until they die. Of course, said ability can only used by Haseo, until one realizes that * somehow* , the in-game Doppleganger is able to replicate his guns too and hence can use said trick back on you. Frustration ensues.
A rather unusual case. When he was younger, Haseo's player Ryou Misaki was the antagonist PK Sora in The World v1, but loses his memory of it when Sora is data-drained by Skeith at the end of .hack//SIGN, putting Ryou in a coma. He later goes on to become the hero of the GU games.
A straighter example would be Endrance, one of Volume 1's main villains, who saves Haseo from being put into a coma in Volume 2.
Also, some of Kestrel's members, including the reviled IYOTEN and Asta, become Haseo's allies toward the end of Volume 3. The Moon Tree captains that had previously sided with Sakaki become "good guys" as well.
Also in Reminisce when Haseo discovers that Ovan is Tri-Edge.
Atoli suffers BSODs a number of times through the first two games. Reminisce especially where she starts killing members of her guild, thanks to Sakaki's manipulation of her emotions.
Hidden Depths: Most characters apply, as many of them are playing the game casually, roleplaying, or quiet about their real life situations. You'd find some surprising things in the bonus materials. If you send greeting cards and raise affection with your allies, they email you more frequently, and tell you more about their jobs and such in real life.
Hijacked by Ganon: Cubia comes a little after Ovan activates the Rebirth, with no indication beforehand that he would appear; the only way you would know is if you had taken a look at pre-release previews and promotional material.
Hot-Blooded: Haseo, Matsu, Sakaki, Saku and the list goes on...
"I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: In the fight against Innis, Atoli's avatar, Haseo constantly yells to her in and between the cutscenes trying to bring her out of AIDA's control without having to resort to Data Drain.
Implacable Man: Dopplegangers. Once they spot you out on a field, they will not stop chasing after you. You can run like hell to another part of the map to get away, but it will continue to slowly walk towards you, one step at a time. Ducking into a Battle Area to fight another monster will not stop it from walking right in after you.
Jack of All Stats: Blade Brandier class. The damage output is somewhere between Twin Blade and Edge Punisher, not as fast as Twin Blade and Tribal Grappler, but faster than heavily armored class as Lord Partizan.
Jekyll & Hyde: The AIDA infecting Ovan sometimes takes over and PKs those close to him. The most notable victims were Shino and Aina.
Joke Character: Adept Rogues are "masters of none", meant to make up for their average stats and slow skill growth by using multiple weapons and being able to deal with a variety of situations. Matsu, however, refuses to use his Broadswords, making him little more than a sub-par Steam Gunner; Kuhn will always be more useful than him.
Lag Cancel: One of the most efficient ways to attack with a Broadsword is to hold the Guard button as soon the hit lands, it will cancel completely the horrible lag it leaves. In Vol.1 this made a Broadsword as fast, if not faster, as Dual Swords.
Haseo. He's possibly the largest ham in the entire series.
Latin Lover: Salvador Aihara wants to be one so badly it hurts to watch.
Laughing Mad: Haseo after he awakens his avatar for the first time.
Master of None: In-universe, the Adept Rogue character class is generally viewed as inferior to those who value statistics over skill; while the Adept Rogues have versatility due to the ability to wield multiple weapons, they have lower stat increases and slower skill gains when compared to other classes.
Haseo is unusually powerful for an Adept Rogue. This is commented on by several people on the forums, who are amazed he's such a high-level player with that class. His power with the class is well justified as he was only one of two people (the other being Taihaku) to finish the Forest of Pain event, a 100 floor dungeon which nabbed him multiple levels and as a reward skipped him right to his final job extension and majorly boosted his stats.
Meaningful Name: Many of them. Justified in that the character names were intentionally picked by their respective players. Lampshaded by minor NPC "angel hair."
Haseo's name especially. His name is an alternate reading of the name of the famous Japanese poet, Matsuo Basho. This is significant because his previous character Sora (of whom he remembers nothing) was named after Basho's disciple Sora Kawai.
Minor NPC Henako's name is a variation on "henna ko" or "weird girl." She lives it.
Men Don't Cry: Said by Shino toward Haseo before she fell into coma in the beginning, and later by Alkaid in Reminisce. More like "Boys Don't Cry", but still.
Happens sometimes when reading the news/forums after tragic game events. e.g. Finding out that Usagimaru & Rei-chan from the last game are a famous comedy duo at the same time that you find out Alkaid's player nearly died when Bordeaux PK'ed her. Made worse if you have a rather cheery background / music set up at the time.
Also present when Alkaid gives Haseo an item that has unintentional romantic implications (her reaction is hilarious) but that causes Haseo to have an extremely melancholy flashback at the same time.
No Export for You: The one-episode sequel OVA, .hack//G.U. Returner, has not been localized officially and there is no indication it ever will be. It's a real shame, since it clears up a lot of confusion in the ending. The games also never saw a release in certain parts of the world.
No Sense of Direction: Based on what happened early in Volume 1, Gaspard. One has to wonder if he is aware of the map function in the game at all.
No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: You know the game really wants you to follow the plot to the next point when it denies you the chance to ask any allies to join your party to go leveling up and doing side-quests. In an exploration sense, some areas really are straight-forward with no alternate paths of exploration.
Not Quite Saved Enough: The original version of "The World" met its demise when its physical servers were destroyed in a fire. What information they could save from the original game's code had to be merged with another game in order to create "The World R:2".
Oba San: Haseo starts calling Pi an old hag after she calls him an unruly child, much to her ire. That pretty much sets the tone for their relationship for a while. Saku gets in on the act later too.
The Obi-Wan: Antares and Phyllo, whose "original" player happens to be dead.
Ominous Walk: Taihaku really likes to do this during the match against him.
Out of Character: Haseo himself has moments like this in Vol.1 if you send cards to people. Considering how much of a jerk he is in that game, it can be strange how nice he acts in some of his messages. This is lampshaded by Atoli in one of her responses.
Paparazzi: Salvador Aihara, who actually stumbles into an important story.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Haseo. The first times he uses his avatar and the rematch against IYOTEN and Asta are notable examples.
Red Herring: The most famous in the .hack series: Azure Kite is not Tri-Edge, Ovan is.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Haseo who wears red and black to Ovan who is in blue and white. One is fiery, hotheaded and the other is calm, logical and manipulative to no end.
Redemption Equals Death: Sort of. In Redemption, Sirius, who lost himself after using AIDA for power in Reminisce, becomes a Lost One after entering the Sage Palace in order to save Taihaku and find a way to cure Alkaid.
Rage Against the Mentor: Haseo towards Ovan, especially after the reveal of his identity as Tri-Edge. Prior to the activation of the Rebirth Haseo gives an amazing speech chewing the hell out of him.
The Red Mage: Macabre Dancers are able to use healing, attack, and status magic, but do not learn the highest level spells of the other magic classes (Harvest Clerics and Shadow Warlocks).
Relationship Values: Each party member gets a Relationship Value, which rises as Haseo spends more time with them or gives gifts. A party member who has maximum affection in Redemption allows you to have a Friendship/Marriage Ending with him/her.
Slasher Smile: The only way to properly describe the look on Haseo's face when he first awakens his powers as Skeith's Avatar and prepares to slaughter Bordeaux and her lackeys with it, even while Kuhn and Atoli are screaming at him to stop.
Haseo's intro to Saku's obsession with "Master En."
Atoli trails glittery sparkles everywhere after her Epitaph is stolen by AIDA. It stops when she gets it back.
Songs in the Key of Panic: When a Doppleganger spawns and notices you nearby, the music will change to what can best be described as exceptionally scary and fear inducing. The tempo of the music increases as it slowly walks towards you (and flashing red screen intensifies as well.)
Stalker with a Crush: Saku claims to be constantly pressing the screencapture button when Endrance is on her screen. This is the least of her stalker-ish behavior.
Steam Punk: Not quite this trope, but clearly inspired by it as Lampshaded by minor NPC Boltz. Steam Gunners are a good example.
Super Robot: Piros the 3rd acts like he can't decide whether he's playing the hero in such a show or the robot itself. One of his running gags it to point to the sky and leap as if taking off with rockets, only to turn and run off once gravity asserts itself.
Some of the AIDA attacks are named after programming languages. Algol Laser, Prolog Lazer, Lisp Tackle are some examples.
Pretty much all of Anna and Helen's attacks are named after programming languages, although a few of them were changed in the English translation for no known reason.
AIDA Victorian, however, draws its names from more royal or kingly-sounding words, such as Elegant Orb or Excellent Ray. It fits with Sakaki's over inflated self-view.
All of the leaders of Moon Tree are named after various trees in Japanese (with Sophora and Zelkova switched to their latin genus names in English). The guild name itself is a pun ("Tsuki no Ki") on one of the Japanese words for the tree Zelkova serrata ("tsukinoki"). Some of these names count as Meaningful Names too.
This also applies with members of several guilds in the game, such as the Gem guild.
Three of the forum posters are named after the parts of Cocytus. Judecca, Antenora, and Ptolomea, respectively. They also have an arena team named Cocytus-1.
The members of the Hetero Trio (in Vol. 3) are genetics terms: Hetero, Axanthic, and Leucistic. The latter two are types of albinism.
The game allows you to run over the little blue critters with your steambike. Also on that note, you get more points towards the Book of 1000 if you hit monsters with the bike!
Through trading, you can take back a gift that you just gave to someone, along with some of their other stuff. They'll ask you if you don't want to be friends anymore. Does this count?
The Relationship Values. Particularly the replies you can give in email conversations or forums. An example would be making fun (rather harshly) of Gaspard for liking the card game Crimson VS. And all it costs you is a little extra time putting them in your party to make up for it.
Trickster Mentor: Everything Antares does is meant to teach Haseo something. Everything.
Wise Grunty: "'Good and ill fortune are closely interwoven.' That's a proverb I learned from my master. Nero. "
Nazo Grunty: "I'm telling Master on you! Naru!"
Gao Grunty: "So you want to obtain my manliness for yourself? Haha."
Melo Grunty: "I think I smell Death Grunty on you. Mellow."
King Grunty: Shu.
There's also the Golden Goblins. *gob*
Vitriolic Best Buds: Beatrice, a forum poster in Volume 1, views ωRice and Kaki Leader as this.
Yandere: Madame Insane, one of the minor NPCs wandering Lumina Cloth, became a PK to grief her husband after getting jealous about him talking to another woman. She finds it more effective to torment his character than to scold him in real life.
Year Inside, Hour Outside: Regular players can't see battles between Avatars and with AIDA. They see these epic battles as an "instant-KO" move that just causes Haseo to glow briefly. The time-dilation is more explicitly pointed out after the AIDA server incident in Vol. 2.
Years Too Early: If you send Challenge greeting card to Antares, he will reply with something around this line.