Gaia Online was founded in February 2003 by Derek "Lanzer" Liu and a group of friends as "Go-Gaia", an Animesque Avatar Roleplaying Community and link list. They've ditched the Link List since then, but Go-Gaia continued to grow, eventually changing its name to "Gaia Online".Initial drawings point of the site were its focus on fashion and collectable fashion items. By posting on the forums, users could collect points, which they could in turn use to buy clothes for their forum avatars. Many forum sub-communities and groups were started, and the shopkeepers and site characters began to star in their own plotlines.Gaia's storyline quickly became one of the distinguishing features of the site. Since the plot's beginnings in 2004, Gaia has had two Zombie Apocalypses, an Alien Invasion, a Vampire Attack, and more No One Could Survive That moments than you can shake a pixelated stick at.It's come a long way since its humble beginnings, going from a simple forum to an enormous multi-faceted community. And with the release of "zOMG!", Gaia has also gained its own MMORPG.Character sheet is here
This website provides examples of:
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Ambidextrous Sprite: Your items will switch hands depending on which way you're facing. Perhaps most easily seen by bumping your own posts.
It also swaps the placing of wings, among other things.
Artistic License - Economics: BOY, DO YOU EVER FAIL AT IT. They've been trying to remedy this as of late, however, through Gold Sink events and shop items, and various nerfs on the features that can be exploited for easy gold (mainly Booty Grab and zOMG!).
There are also the haters of the Gaia Cash system, complaining that the site only ever wants to make money these days. Number One, this is how businesses work, and Gaia is a business. Number Two, the Admin did at one point release an explanation of how much money is needed to keep the servers running and the site afloat, and the numbers involved were not small.
Leon has joined the G-Team in more recent updates. His power? "Um... being really tough, I guess."
Josie then terrifies Leon by demonstrating her earring-fu. "Watch out! She has another earring!" She also used to be an amateur boxer, and until her makeover for Global Imports, she had the buff arms to prove it.
Also Back Alley Bargains, which specializes in power-up items for zOMG!
Items from La Victoire and power-ups from Back Alley Bargains can both be bought and sold on the Marketplace using Gold, though, so you don't have to spend real money on the site if you spend enough time gathering Gold (called "questing" by the users).
In the 2009 Halloween event, certain amounts of followers are needed to perform specific actions. Usually, you get followers by having people on the forums choose to follow you. However, if you'd rather not go to all that trouble, you could buy virtual followers with real money.
2013 saw the release of two new cash items, Flynn's Booty and Flynn's Chest, that instantly generate a random large amount of gold, originally generating up to 100 million gold. Many similar gold generators have followed suit, to the point that the inflation caused by them has effectively turned Gaia into an Allegedly Free Game.
Church of Happyology: In this EI report, Ron Bruise tries to get Timmy into some kind of expensive treatment to get rid of anxiety caused by aliens in his past. It doesn't really work out, since it costs 350,000 gold, and Timmy only gets an allowance of 25 gold a week.
Cuckold: This item. It's notable for being one of the earlier items on the site.
Cult: The "Universal Transcendent Spirit Collective", a group of believers who awaited the emergence of special beings called the Core People, who would take the believers to a paradise in outer space by use of a tremendous golden spaceship. Of course the only way to get there was to drink a delicious fruit beverage.
This lead to a Dude, Not Funny! moment during one of Timmy's encounter with a cultist who offered him the nice refreshing drink, Timmy rejects the offer so in another EI Report it is obvious the cultist took the drink himself. This got a reaction from quite a few people.
Benevolent Order of the Overseer (B.O.O.) and Sentinel's Infernal Nation (S.I.N.), though now discontinued due to interference by Jack (King of Halloween).
Angelic items are usually colored in shades of white, blue (especially this particular shade that's been known as "Angelic blue") and gold, while demonic items are in shades of red and black; Nitemare/Nightmare items, a cousin to the Demonic items, utilize red and purple, although their secondary color switches often.
Everybody Knew Already: Devin's sexuality. Apparently they're not allowed to say that he's gay on a PG-13 site, so instead the comics and some events imply it with all the subtlety of a brick. It's pretty openly discussed on the forums, though.
Vanessa will tell you that Devin is into Lance though if you push the Talk button.
Eye Scream: The new eyes at the salon are not contacts... but at least Vanessa uses anesthesia (we think).
Vanessa:Now operating on your eyes...
Fan-Art: Tons of it. There is even a small industry around creating commissioned "avi art".
Fandom Nod: Players have appeared in the comics now and then.
Fandub: The awful Halloween 2007 animated shorts got fandubbed quite a bit. (This was encouraged by Gaia, who actually provided downloads of the shorts for members to take.)
A group had made a fandub using the plot manga "Gunshow," and nailed the voices pretty well. Needless to say, even Gaia themselves took notice and featured the thread with the original link.
Fan Disservice: When Timmy was aged to adulthood, players were eagerly hoping for a hot bishounen who could woo the ladies. What they were not expecting was a tall, gangly, mustachioed man who resembled Edgar Allan Poe and/or Borat.
Some people actually liked that they didn't turn Timmy into a bishounen, and preferred the Hollywood Homely version.
Lots of items can make your avatar show a lot of skin, from pasties to sling bikinis.
The rampant fanservice is one of the reasons Gaia gets a lot of flack from people who think Gaia is a kids' website.
Some rare item drops that are... the underwear of various hot NPCs on gaia. Frilly bras from the girl characters, and the men apparently all wear bikini briefs.
Fantastic Racism: In the Halloween '08 plot, a group of humans pretty much freaked out when they saw a vampire "attacking" another human and assumed the worst. (In reality, the human was allowing the vampire to bite him.) An elf pointed out that "elves aren't people," implying racial tension (perhaps even oppression?). In which direction is harder to say, since it seemed the elves meant it in a "We're better than people!" way.
Parodied and lampshaded by Louie Von Helson complaining that Twilight references are racist.
Louie: No, I do not sparkle in the sunlight. Why do people keep asking me that? It's borderline racist.
And subverted with Hypocritical Humor in the 2009 Valentine's event, where Louie would reject valentines from users with human avatars.
Fantasy Gun Control: Some characters in the storyline had guns, but players weren't given permanent gun items until January of '08.
Nicolae: Remember to tell all your friends about this place. Unless they're guards.
Instant Fan Club: A lot of characters that become popular, even without ANY background story whatsoever (here's looking at you, Stein) gets a fan club. Even items get fan clubs, especially those with pretty or sexy companions.
After a storefront makeover, La Victoire looks like a genuine store, but it could be placed in Barton judging by its ground and comparing it with Barton Boutique's.
YMMV on that one, but the ground seems to resemble more the one seen on Isle de Gambino's stores...
Again, Back Alley Bargains also qualifies. Justified here, as it's run out of a horse-drawn wagon by an opportunistic con-man.
Sunset Couture doesn't have a known location, either, but then, it is Sunset Couture.
Dernier* Cri definitely qualifies; justified, as it's on an airship and does travel away now and then so its proprietor can design new merch. Eventually averted, as certain D*C items are now used as Alchemy components, and this trope would lead to aggravated players sick of waiting too long or shelling out tons of gold for what they need.
Moe Anthropomorphism: During the Great Plot Drought of 2007, some GCDers decided to start a project by creating their own plot manga. How? They took some of Gaia's many forums and turned them into anthro'd girls ala the OS-tans, each with personalities fitting the general view of the forum they're based on. Examples include GD-tan, who looks rather trashy and talks like it; Exchange-tan, who wears expensive clothing as a result of her experiences... exchanging; and even Chatterbox-tan, who dresses "randomly" and talks semi-literately. (Accounts based on these characters are actually out there and did interact with the forums at some point, perhaps an homage to the old Gaia days where NPC accounts posted in the forums alongside actual Gaians.) It was such a huge success that Gaia took notice and mentioned the comic's website in an announcement. This was the beginning for Gaia's first Summer Festival.
Don't forget the Yaoi Fangirl who invaded the track at the '08 Rejected Olympics.
"Lex is breaking the fourth wall!", from the Lexbox RIG. How is this an example? Well, not only is it lampshading itself, but the art is of Lex using a tablet stylus to draw the stage of the Lexbox (creating an infinite loop)!
No Smoking: On November 20, 2009, as part of an ill-conceived sponsorship deal with the American Cancer Society, all cigarettes and related items were pulled from Gaia shops and owned ones were soulbound to the players so they couldn't be sold in the marketplace. It was repealed three days later by Lanzer, so Gaia has learned An Aesop from this: Censorship = Internet Backdraft.
Despite returning the smoking items, the most common one, "The Cig," now comes with a few new poses which serve as a Take That to the people who demanded their return. They include a certain smoking meme◊, and it's horrendous after effect, complete with bloodshot eyes, dead expression, and tons of black smoke spewing from the lungs.
Either Take That or fanservice. The new poses were generally pretty well received, especially since many users had suggested something like that as an alternative to the poorly-communicated and poorly-implemented ban.
Fanservice, since many users had equipped items to make it look like their avatar was smoking and an sign that read S.O.S. (i.e. Save Our Smokes). Not to mention the fact that it was one employee who implemented the ban. Lanzer removed the ban after the weekend, no one at Gaia HQ works weekends, and most users spent 3 days, as the ban started on a Friday, protesting.
Our Elves Are Better: Christmas Elves have been around for a few years now. Dark elves were introduced in the comic during the '08 Rejected Olympics event. Rather than living underground like typical dark elves, they arethe underground. Elves of a few other shades appeared in the '08 Halloween comics.
Our Orcs Are Different: Although at the moment, not much is known about Gaia's orcs except that some of them smoke, wear leather, and live in caves.
So what you're saying is...that the orcs are Greasers.
Our Vampires Are Different: Gaian vampires have pale skin, fangs, and drink blood. They usually have gray catlike eyes, except when they're at full strength, at which point they turn yellow. They can take a fair amount of sunlight, although according to Louie◊ they get really, really bad sunburns really easily, and sometimes catch fire (and in a 4koma, it makes Louie himself "sweary as $@%#!"). Vampirism also seems to be no obstacle in fathering children.
Let's not forget the Halloween 2K9 zOMG! event. It's not really clear why they were floating around surrounded by rings of blood with which they also attack, other than the fact that it looks cool. It's been suggested that the Big Bad of a future story arc in zOMG! will be a lady vampire.
According to Frontier Skies, vampires can sometimes crave cheeseburgers.
Our Werewolves Are Different: Currently the known way of creating a Gaian werewolf is induced by the drug Gro-Gain Max. When it comes to colors, there are four types of normal, while the others are colorful, in particular the Sparkledog type.
Our Zombies Are Different: There are three species of zombie on Gaia, from the events: the Grombies, caused by infectious bites from the Grunnies, and Glompies, from the failed Serum 3A (named as such because they like to, well, glomp). The original Zombies were all wiped out due to a server problem. And if these skins don't suit you, then there are plenty of zombie alternatives: from the Captain Ara's Nestegg zombies from the bottom of the sea, to the Death Whisper's Drone zombies. The latter looks suspiciously like a Grombie, though.
The original Zombie skin has returned as a bonus pose in one of the Easter 2010 egg hunt prizes.
Product Placement: Various companies help sponsor Gaia in exchange for the right of advertising there, most prominently Skittles and MTV, whose involvement has rubbed Gaians the wrong way most of all. The Facebook promotion also had a lot of users up in arms as well.
It's even present in the report system. Want to report someone for breaking a rule? Be prepared to type in whatever ad the ad wants you to
For a more humorous in-universe example, Jenzee urges you to BUY FREMERE'S GUARD!!!! (Her SDPlus doll even has that in its description!)
Serious Business: Matching and coordinating your avatar just right is extremely serious business to some players.
Also, the NPC characters tend to freak out over rather trivial matters in the comics.
Shipper on Deck: A Yaoi Fangirl invaded the non-canon Reject Olympics and was delighted when Louie got desperate for blood and tried to (suggestively) bite Edmund.
Rina and Kanoko fit the trope in the Ships Happen CI, which is basically one long Shout-Out to Tumblr and its huge shipper fanbase.
Sorting Algorithm of Mortality: If you run a shop, you're functionally immortal, or will have a very low score on the Sorting Algorithm of Deadness. If your name is actually an assigned number and you work for anything that ends in "Corp", start writing your will now unless you join the bad guys.
The players who speculated upon how gorgeous Timmy would be when he grew up got a slap in the face: When Timmy came down with megapuberty, Gaia gave users the option to let Timmy stay a child forever or be instantly aged to adulthood. Most players chose the second option. The results weren't pretty. Literally.
The "cardboard back wings," a jab at the players who keep demanding "back wings" (basically huge, avatar-sized angel/demon wings, which were finally attainable through alchemy in 2012.)
In response the huge backdraft recieved from the removal of smoking items, Gaia returned them, with a slight alteration of "The Cig," which includes new poses showcasing a certain meme◊ as well the horrible aftereffects of smoking, to jab at the people who wanted them back. (This backfired; the fans enjoyed the new poses immensely.)
Admittedly, the smoke ban had been done by a staff member gone rogue, so it might just have been a Take That to them.
Technicolor Eyes: Bright colors in themselves, in an Animesque do-it-yourself character creator like Gaia, are nothing new. However, the artists can be incredibly inconsistent with the NPCs' eye colors from update to update, unless said eye colors are a plot point (Johnny Gambino always has red eyes, vampires always have gray eyes, etc.).
Gino Gambino has been seen with red, maroon-ish, royal purple, brown, or lilac eyes. Since he appears in almost every plot update, it's kind of funny to see what color his eyes will be this time.
It's almost accepted though that his "default" eye color is a kind of purplish-red. Lighting may also be a culprit in the changing eye colors.
Except that his new doll has him with reddish eyes...
Rina's eyes have been purple, Pepto-Bismol pink, brown, or green.
Lex's dark red eyes were light blue for some reason during the non-canon '08 Prom comic. This alone has probably caused more outrage on the GCD than any of Gino's eye-color charades, as Lex's eye color is fairly well-known for such a minor character.
Ian's eyes changing color is handwaved to a certain degree— his brown eyes as a "human" were probably contacts, and until the official decision that Our Vampires Have Gray Eyes, all the Von Helsons were drawn with pale blue eyes. Or they might have been in disguise as well.
Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Around 30% of the members use avatars that doesn't match their gender. The trope comes into play on a regular basis.
There was a time when an avatar's gender was completely distinguishable. Once the kilts and the Sasha wig came out, though, all hell broke loose the staff started making everything unisex after seeing most of the male avatars on all of freakin' Gaia wearing them. Wonder how much extra work it is for the artists...
Meriko, one of Gaia's many artists, is working on this project (although no one knows if there are others); she keeps a journal entry of what she unisexes updated every time new items are available for both genders.
Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The staff have stated that they don't really plan out the plot too far in advance. This didn't stop the ending of zOMG! from tying up four years' worth of loose plot threads and unanswered questions.
Yaoi Fangirl: Buckets full, including one of the sites artists (although denial is involved).
April Fools' Day: Every April 1st, someone explodes. Either the users get an exploding present, or several plot characters get it. Fact: They only update the plot every few months, so we were all left hanging? :P
There have also been two April Fools "takeovers". In 2009, Gaia was taken over by the fictitious company Omni-Drink, which has since been seen in another event. 2011 saw Meowbook, a feline spoof of Facebook.
Cool Airship: Cresento has an amazingly cool airship that he loves to show off. Brennivin's entire store is on an airship. And then you have the Overseer and Sentinel's airship...which probably doesn't qualify until Brennivin helps out.
The entire event of Summer 2k10: Frontier Skies. Which consist of some Tropes such as...
Epic Fail: The situations your Crewmates can get into is just ridiculous. For example: Moth + Airship + Running after said Moth = Too Dumb to Live.
Too Dumb to Live + Carnivore Confusion: If you're playing with Carl as your guide, for the love of life and limb, do not shoot the blue elk while hunting. Curiously, Diedrich says nothing about you hunting Grunnies.
Brick Joke: Playing with Louie/Edmund as the guide, you can play pranks on Edmund/Louie. Playing with Edmund/Louie as your guide, you can suffer the effects of Louie's/Edmund's pranking. Likewise, the Dog In A Shoe (which was rumored to teleport you to the end of the game if your Luck Stat was high enough).
Violation of Common Sense: Just as often as not, the Too Dumb to Live moments actually rewarded you, despite how utterly stupid you would need to be to try any of them in real life. Having a crewmate test out some pills he found in an unlabeled bottle inside a sock, for example, healed him, and cutting some moss off the bilge pump to share with the whole crew healed everybody.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: In Halloween '08, a vampire gets caught biting a human. Both are flushed, sweaty, and quick to insist that "it's consensual! Yeah!"
SIN's portal and BOO's trident. Consider that their leaders are female and male respectively.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Vladmir Von Helson. There was a huge setup for a climactic battle in the Halloween '07 plot... and then he got shot. This is what we get for trying to animate the storyline...
The Demonbusters (Halloween '09) plot was all set up for a climactic finale - then Jack came and stripped the two warring demigods of their powers. And it wasn't even animated this time.
"Freaky Friday" Flip: Santa's mind was swapped with a cow's a few years ago. He's better now, though.
And then it's implied he had the cow for Christmas Dinner.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Several plotlines would simply have not taken place if the Gaians, who are supposed to be citizens of this world, had their way. One example includes the Sentinel and the Overseer being reduced to homeless bums. Any number of Gaians who were their devoted followers during the Demonbusters event would have taken them in.
And then there's the one where they did just that. It's still the favourite storyline of those that could be bothered to participate in it, while everybody else hates it because they weren't handed every detail of the plot on a silver platter like every other time.
Or, you know, because the plot showed blatant favoritism for some fans while alienating others who tried just as hard to be involved?
Saving Christmas: The '08 Christmas event had Gaians raising enough cheer to power a machine to put Santa's mind back in his own body. The '09 event had Gaians raising enough cheer to power the airship of the Overseer, who was attempting to regain his godhood by delivering presents during Santa's mysterious disappearance. The '10 event had users finding safety equipment for a Too Dumb to Live Santa doing various household activities.
Status Quo Is God: The 2009 Halloween event featured an epic battle between two demigods. It was good vs. evil, the outcome of this battle would change Gaia as we know it! Then Jack steps in and hits the Reset Button by de-powering both demigods. What makes this example particularly egregious is that the side of evil did win the event.
Arguably the same thing happens with every Gaia-wide battle. Humans versus vampires, humans vs. vampires. vs. elves vs. zombies, the Gaia Olympics, all of them just pass on after the event is concluded with the manga maybe providing some backstory. At least the demigods are still around.
This Is No Time for Knitting: During the Halloween 2k7 storyline, Liam demonstrates the correct method of dealing with hostile vampires... lame come-ons.
Your Princess Is in Another Castle: The 'cheer meter' in the Christmas 2K9 event managed to get filled up to 75% on its first day ... so Gaia responded by dropping Cresento's airship on the Overseer's and resetting the meter to 0% again. Spawned the "Cresento landed on it" meme.
The Save Our Shops event had an example, too. The devs kept increasing the amounts Ruby and Liam owed because they were planning redesigns and new shops for them, and needed them to fail so these could be implemented. However, the users had been convinced that their beloved characters would be removed from Gaia, permanently, if they didn't make it, and were just as determined to save them. The result? Supposedly, both shopkeepers had debts in the trillions by the time the event ended.
Play-by-Post Games: The Barton Town forum, there are literate RP that lasted over 100 pages, with a lot of fancy thread layouts and even more fancy post layouts
Wild Mass Guessing: And how! The purpose of an entire subforum, Gaia Community Discussion (GCD).
Grail in the Garbage: Dumpster Dive, where Gaians can go and pick through a dumpster for donated items. Functions similar to Daily Chance only having a tad bit more variety as the items are all from user inventory. At times a newbie user will pull up an item and not realize its value and merely toss it back into the dumpster as they didn't get what they wanted.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Gaia Cards aka Blackjack, each challenger faced has a cheat and although the player has one themselves... it isn't much in the ways of an advantage.
Just to clarify, your options are to make the dealer choose a new card or to look at one of their cards to see what your odds against them are. The first opponent has the ability to guarantee an Ace, which he will typically use if his hand equals 10 (guaranteeing him victory), the second opponent has the ability to throw out her hand and redraw, which she will typically use in the case of a bad hand, and the third opponent can use either of those abilities.
Utility Belt of August 2010. Though without the roughness.
Cute Kitten: Andrarer, apparently, to the ire of cat lovers across the site. Unsurprisingly, all three of those have come from RIGs (though later ones have came up with different animals as the rare prize, the kittens are the most well-remembered — some even approaching Ridill status.)
The best item for this trope is George's Pipe. Comes complete with an Improvised Weapon (already well used, given the blood dripping from it), a zombie bite mark, a lady police zombie Heather and a business-casual zombie Harry. When your avatar is standing, Harry is just creeping up behind you. When kneeling and faced forward, Harry will be posed closer with his hand on your head. With your back turned, you get a very lovely pose where Harry is quite clearly nomming on your sweet avatar think tank.
Fictional Counterpart: Gaia tries very hard to have an item for everything, even and especially licensed things.
Fire and Brimstone Hell: The Hell Prison CI featured a maximum security prison for the most evil things in Gaia. Azrael is one of them, and you must help him escape for a shot at a rare prize.
The Four Gods: The Wrath of Gaia CI had the first few stages pit Gaia-tan against the polluted beasts Genbu (earth/trash), Byakko (fire/smoke), Suzaku (air/smog), and Seiryu (water/oil spills) attacking the city. Gaia-tan defeats them by cleaning them up.
Gratuitous Foreign Language: "Centre de la Terre" - center of the Earth in French, although there is no other reason for this than because the poses 'Foret de Champignons' and 'Queue de Ichthyosaure' sound cooler than 'Forest of Mushrooms' and 'Ichthyosaurus Tail'...
The Lucha items are given Spanish names. 'El Dualidad de la Furia' - The Duality of Fury, a black and white lucha outfit.
Her Code Name Was Mary Sue: The Crystal Overdrive RIG took the form of Rina and Kanoko's attempt to co-write a fanfiction. Kanoko tried to center it around her character, an amalgamation of Common Mary Sue Traits, while Rina tried to tone it down (mainly by shifting the focus to her version of Ian) and stick to the original story.
Holy Halo: Many items, though the Angelic Halo was the first and most famous.
Horny Devils: Alruna and Anurla, the female and male forms (respectively) of the Alruna's Rose item.
Idiot Hair: There is an item on Gaia named this and has only one pose considered to be the generic idiot hair. Everything else is based on Hetalia; what made this obvious was the white flag it came with.
Peyo has one, too. His doll refers to it as a "duck curl", which is fitting given Peyo's obsession with ducks.
The Easter 09 item Fondue the Chocolate Bunny had as it's description "Let me coat your strawberries with my white chocolate." It has since been changed due to the obvious innuendo, as was his female counterpart, Sundae's Treat's description.
Note SD Plus #281 Fondue, Fondue's doll, has a description that says "My original offer still stands." Now think back on what his original description said... Oh yeah.
Katanas Are Just Better: The Ancient Katana, one of the earliest weapons, and also one of the most desired (and thus expensive).
The katana from the Yama no Tamago might count, but it's longer and doesn't look as sharp as the very first katana. Nor is it anywhere near as popular/costly.
Gaia-sama, the Bizarro World counterpart of Gaia-tan has a katana as well. Considering that the aforementioned Gaia-tan has a sword with quite the girth...
Let's Meet the Meat: Sundae and Fondue, slutty anthropomorphic chocolate bunnies for Easter. Fondue's item description (now removed) about wanting to "cover your strawberries in my sweet white chocolate" is easily enough interpreted as sexual, but when Fridge Logic reminds you that he's made of said white chocolate, things get a little more disturbing.
Mood Whiplash: After a week filled with weird, rainbow-colored item updates (including one based off of Robot Unicorn Attack,) great EI evolutions and much-lauded site fixes, we got manga! Gambino gets murdered!Goddamn.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Hey, Gaia! You know those Azrael's Trickboxes you were feverishly opening in October '09 in the pursuit of rare cats and dolls? You unleashed an evil demigod◊ while you were at it!
Pimped-Out Dress: Gaia also has a lot of these. What really comes to mind is the white and gold dress from the Enchanted Book, a Cinderella-themed Evolving Item (which also happened to be obvious). The Picolitrosso's Urn also has two parts of a REALLY shiny pimped out dress.
In an artpiece released by the Anima's artist, it shows a girl (her name being Reiko, confirmed by Anima's final evolution) transforming into an Ultraman-like warrior, fighting bad guys and whatnot. Another art piece by the Fremere's Guard artist shows a male warrior standing alongside her.
And in a rather... touching mini-volution of the Fremere, the front reveals a flower with orange and blue petals, the very same found in one of the earlier arts of Fremere. But if you unequip everything except that pose and turn around, you can see both the Power Crystals of Fremere and Anima, one above the other. The name of the pose is "Caret initio et fine", or "It lacks a beginning and end", perhaps to show that the two souls are indeed intertwined.
Another pose involves a hairclip with the regular orange Fremere crystal, and two blue crystals (perhaps to show just how deeply Fremere and Reiko are intertwined). Eventually, it finishes with one of the new poses being a blue Fremere's Guard.
Jenzee, arist of the aforementioned Fremere's Guard, is at it again with her work on some poses for The Nightmare, an EI whose artist is always changing, with poses having quite a few power crystals: a blue-green crystal in the "Invidia" vest, a pink crystal inside the "Gula" beard-thing, and a headdress that is basically an accessory to Fremere (with its signature orange crystal). When the Nightmare ended its evolving, Jenzee snuck in one last pose, the missing "Pride" pose of her Sins theme. What does it look like, you ask? A gold lion head ornament and jewels hanging in the background, of all shapes and colors!
The headress quickly becomes more meaningful when one remembers that Fremere (of Fremere's Guard) is described as vehement and wrathful. The headress pose's name? Ira, the Latin word for wrath.
Gaia has a LOT of these. Phee-chan, the cute little winged animal that comes with the Magical Girl monthly collectible, is a parody of this. Then again, the Magical Girl itself is a parody of the whole friggin' genre.
A staple of RIGs, and invariably one of the very rarest prizes per RIG.
Schedule Slip: If an EI doesn't evolve the day it's supposed to, even with sufficient excuses as to why, expect nonstop bitching. The Case of Pietro is the most infamous example, having undergone five evolutions between it's introduction and one year later(currently at 7 evos), though the Reve Rouille, Lyndexer's Journal and Hidden Ace got hit with this as well near their finales (all have since completed.)
Shout-Out: Man, many of the avatar items are tributes to some anime, game, movie, novel, or comic book. The monthly collectibles and RIG-only items in particular are based off of pre-existing properties and even memes; some are rather obvious, while a few are more obscure.
Signature Style: Sometimes it's easy to guess which artists have worked on which items, due to common recurring elements; pepper-tea's items, for example, are usually filled with intricate gold details, Jenzee has a penchant for Power Crystals, and DrinkyTengu's items are mostly based off of Japanese myths.
Smoking Is Cool: There are a few tobacco-related items on sale in Gaia. A brief attempt at banning them caused Gaia a great deal of Internet Backdraft, mostly because of the poor communication involved in the ban.
Not to mention the incredibly poor implementation. Sure, you couldn't buy cigarettes in the gold shops... but there were far, far more offensive items available across the site. During the backdraft, it was a pretty common sight to see people displaying the most outrageously inappropriate avatars they could put together, while sarcastically claiming that it was obviously okay because at least they weren't smoking.
Space Pirates: The theme for the Neon Core CI. Flynn is the heroine pirate.
Black Comedy Rape: Becky's fear of Halloween comes from getting assaulted by a stallion as a child while in a horse costume with a friend. The horse now appears as the bonus pose in Becky's doll.
Gratuitous Japanese: The storyline comics, which are referred to as manga for no sensible reason.
Instant Death Bullet: Vladimir Von Helson. Averted by Gambino and Ian, excused by a Fusion Dance subplot and by spending the next update bedridden in a hospital, respectively (how Ian's vampirism wasn't exposed at this time is a mystery).
Rosalie in a flashback. Possibly subverted depending on how clearly Ian remembers the event.
Done correctly by Gambino the second time around. The Chunky Salsa Rule comes into play.
Important Haircut: Gino Gambino cut off his yard-long hair in the manga that is conveniently titled "A New Man". Though he failed at making it look remotely decent, he later got it styled at Brennivin's shop.
No One Could Survive That: You'd think being shot and then falling off a tower would kill you. You'd be wrong. And don't even get me started on the people the tower fell on.
How about that Earth-Shattering Kaboom that, with over half a dozen people at Ground Zero, had only one casualty? Or did it?
Lampshaded in the manga "A New Man", in which Gino talks about some of Gaia's history, and states that Gaians are just really hard to kill.
Which still doesn't explain how other Gaians thought he was dead at one point...
Parental Incest: The 2008 prom manga showed Timmy trying to build up the courage to ask Dr Singh to be his date for the prom, and his anger at being pipped to the post by Lance. It was revealed much later that Singh has actually raised Timmy from an early age, which might hint towards an unintentional gender-flipped Wife Husbandry by Singh.
Gino's profile originally included a date of birth for him. Gino is actually in his early twenties, making him college age. After profile format changed, things like date of birth were not visible to general public on the default setting. Most NPC profiles haven't changed the default settings so many forget Gino's age and base in on appearance. It's not that he's not aging, just that the artists are slow on updating his design.
Timmy, who went through megapuberty and was age-accelerated to adulthood.
Plot Hole: A lot of them. It's been joked in the GCD that even the writers don't follow the storyline any more.
Pretty Woman: the mother of Anne and Marie Von Helson was allegedly a "showgirl."
Strip Poker: How does the "plot" behind the LeXBox RIG get kickstarted? This was suggested (and later played on) by, out of all things, the Cardbot.
Stripperiffic: The Overseer and the Sentinel in the "When Gods Fall" minigame.
Somewhat justified; their crash course in Homelessness 101 did involve a search for clothing...however, the game portrayed Sentinel as a compulsive pyromaniac, so they never really got to keep anything they found.
Violation of Common Sense: Rosalie's death resulted from one. Trying to kidnap her babies away from Vladimir is kind of stupid and dramatic, but understandable. Bitching at him about it when she got caught? Less so.
Arguably, most of the comics violate common sense in some way.
Aerith and Bob: The cast of NPCs averted this for a while, mostly consisting of names like Ian and Johnny, with the least "normal" probably being Moira or Anna Corinne. Later additions like Cresento and Nicolae eventually shoved Gaia into this trope. Then you have the vast collection of usernames; many people think of their avatars as characters with some place in The Verse, and even if you only count the three users who have definitively become part of canon, none of them had particularly average names.
Nicolae isn't not too bad, just a variant of Nicholas.
Averted by adult Timmy. Also averted by Timmy. He'd clean up nice, but not bishounen by any stretch of the imagination.
These days, Gino's teetering on the edge between playing the trope straight and deconstructing it— his thinness is caused by poor health, and several references are made to his sunken chest and jutting ribcage.
Bindle Stick: Adult Timmy used one of these when he had to climb a mountain in search of Spirutal Enlightenment.
Bizarro Universe: One of Gaia's RIG's, the "Dark Reflection," shows many AU Gaians, from Rufus being the human and Ian as the cat, to Nice Girl Moira and Punk Sasha (throwbacks to an old thread in the GCD where users would give NPCs "makeovers" by editing their sprites). It also includes "Alrunette," everyone's favorite succubus except nice and innocent, Nicolae as a priest, and much much more. The star of this EI is Kanoko again, except now she plays an Alice-like role, with Radio Jack as the White Rabbit, mirroring the story of Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.
Even more impressive? Being a Bumbling Dad is a step up for Gambino. He'd previously been seen openly abusing/neglecting his son, up to and including sponsoring development of the G-Virus to toughen him up.
Camp Gay: Devin's latest art update put him in a pink blouse.
Canon Discontinuity: The Moira/Louie Relationship from the animated shorts was so awkward that Gaia had Moira take the vampire cure and break up with Louie by the next update.
Though that's since been mended to a "love-hate" relationship; rumor has it Moira's profile lists Louie as both "Like" and "Dislike".
Clingy Jealous Girl: Anne and Marie Von Helson have pretty much been stalking Liam non-stop since he seduced them in '07, driving away any girl he so much as looks at. Since this is Liam we're talking about, they have their work cut out for them...
Evil Twin + Clone = T-Bone aka Evil Timmy, who is currently under house arrest for being an endearing kind of evil who just wanted to take over the world and shroud it in the eternal pain and darkness of smooth jazz.
Similarly, Kanoko was introduced in RIGs months before the luxury shop opened.
Nicolae appeared in the '08 Olympics comics, and again in the comics for Halloween '08, before formally being introduced in the zOMG! intro manga and setting up shop to sell Power-Ups.
The Perfect Tragedy RIG brought with it two SDPlus dolls of characters named Rigel and Mintaka — both named after stars in Orion, and both dressed similarly to Saiph and Hatsya. The "Sparkilicious" manga later revealed them to be their overdramatic older siblings.
Emergency Transformation: Moira was turned into a vampire after falling from a falling Ferris wheel during the Halloween '07 plot. (However, she was later cured.)
Enemy Without: Timmy. He was infected and taken over by pure evil, then later separated from it with a giant centrifuge.
Mr. Fanservice: Believe it or not, among all the macho bishie pretty boys on the site, Edmund is the character all the girls want. Apparently battle scarred old stuffy men is in now amongst teenage girls.
Everyone Is Bi: In 2009's Valentine's Day event, only Devin, Vanessa, and Liam showed any gender preference (Devin and Vanessa refused valentines from users with female avatars, Liam refused valentines from users with male avatars).
Since 2010, a series of Dating Sim-themed Chance Items have consistently had the same partner options/dialogue regardless of the player's gender.
Evil Laugh: Somewhat justified, since Gambino originally was a Big Bad. He's since mellowed somewhat, but is still prone to cutting loose if he's coming up with "a scheme".
Not to mention Dr. Singh, who got annoyed with her young assistant Timmy and put him in a barrel of G-Corp waste, then spent the next few weeks gleefully observing his mutation. And promptly paid the price when he nearly ate her.
Fallen Angel: Azrael. There are also items based on his attire named "Fall of the Morning Star"/"Fall of the Evening Star" (nods to Lucifer, as he is associated with Venus, the Morning Star).
Devin's sexuality. Seriously, guys. He's gay. Can we focus on somebody else now? Please?
Gino started out as a shy little boy who had terrible things happen to him. But then bad things started piling on to him more and more to the point where he's now just considered a whiny Butt Monkey who seems to just be destiny's joke.
Possibly subverted; Gino's the focal point of the current storyline and is trying, bless his heart, to get some serious Character Development.
Fusion Dance: Gambino and Gino fused after one was assassinated (don't ask), which wasn't revealed until Labtech X injected Gino with a catalyst that ultimately separated them. This is the event that resulted in Gino's Plot-Relevant Age-Up.
Gag Boobs: Vanessa. Edmund even alludes to Marshmallow Hell in one of the Evolving Item updates. ("The only danger she poses to anybody is suffocation.")
Hobos: Good Ole Pete, who has a taste for brass polish and discarded sandwichs which he finds on bus seats.
The Overseer and Sentinel were this too after being de-powered but before getting their airship.
Hollywood Genetics: Vladimir Von Helson had dark brown hair. Rosalie had blonde hair. Their sons Ian and Louie have pure black hair. Louie could be explained as dying it for the goth aesthetic, but Ian has stated that this is his natural hair color.
Hot Scientist: Mirai, ostensibly a marine biologist, and Dr. Singh, who specializes in evolution. However, the "scientist" part occasionally comes into question with both of them. There have been female G-Corp labtechs, but they tend to die in Zombie Apocalypses.
Hot Scoop: Cindy Donovinh. She might also qualify for Hot Librarian, since she apparently runs the archives where records of past events are kept.
I Do Not Drink Wine: Averted and explained in "Pie Hard" (Louie and Ian were finalists in the pie-eating contest). Gaian vampires can eat human-style food, they just find it unpleasant. By some miracle, this also justifies an unused storyline where Louie was shilling a soy-based blood substitute.
Let's not forget that she joined S.I.N. in the 2009 Halloween event.
Jerkass: Dr Singh, who often abuses Timmy. She seemed to be turning into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold for a short while after Timmy was separated from his evil counterpart, but returned to her old Jerkass self after Timmy was jailed, to the extent where she left him to walk fifty miles while bleeding from stab wounds, made him continue to present the show with her before he had any medical attention, told him off for his lackluster performance and then claimed he was ungrateful when he called her out on it.
Singh seems to have reached Karma Houdini status since Timmy became an Evolving Item.
Crescento. He crushes the Hoboverseer's puny ship and does not give a flying crap about it or its pilot.
Let X Be the Unknown: Labtech X, who was Gaia's biggest enigma for four years until we learned a bit more about him in zOMG!
Love Makes You Evil: Most prominently, Vladimir Von Helson and Johnny K. Gambino, who went from a rivalry to full-blown war when Rosalie got involved. To a lesser extent, Ian and Gino also got much more unstable when Sasha was on the line (Gino had an excuse).
Plucky Office Girl and Office Lady: Meredith is one. She mentions during Ian's trial that she graduated from college at the age of fifteen, proving that she has the intelligence and motivation to do greater things, but after all these years she's still just a half-forgotten bank teller.
Additionally, one of her lines, back when she had NPC dialogue, stated that she'd developed Super Strength from hauling sacks of gold around. And let's not forget that during Prom '08, she was scripted to be the only one brave enough to dance with Bludeau.
Preacher Man: Pastor Gork, the holy person and follower of the "Universal Fellowship of Nonspecific Worship". He witnessed the awesome power of The Sentinel and was openly honest about telling Adult Timmy he didn't have a soul (due to genetic tampering).
A Christmas event in 2007 had users fostering orphans, who had it so badly at the orphanage that they could only stomach crappy food (or food substitutes: genuine imitation gruel, anybody?).
Liam has apparently been completely on his own since age five. Some fans have theorized that he grew up at the abovementioned orphanage.
Gino Gambino, full stop.
Debatable, since he grew up before Gaia's social services were introduced. He was playing the trope straight at the time.
Timmy being fostered/adopted by Doctor Singh, who abused him and subjected him to zany experiments.
Talking Animal: Rufus and Radio Jack. Subverted with Carl the Elk, who's not even a talking elk, just a regular old elk that runs a thrift store for some reason... (with the exception of stock NPC messages, such as for Halloween and Christmas events)
Twofer Token Minority: Josie, the former real estate agent (now the store NPC for Global Imports,) is black and female.
Devin is nonwhite, vegan, and gay. Threefer!
Valley Girl: Sasha, but only in her shop dialogue. In the manga, she's pretty coherent and occasionally even shows some common sense.
The Vamp: The Von Helson twins. At least, until they were swayed by the power of Liam's "pythons." (For those who are confused, the illustration showed him flexing his biceps.)
Vegetarian Vampire: Almost. An officially-unreleased (but unofficially-released) comic had Louie sponsoring a soy-based blood substitute. Had this comic been canon, Louie would have been a literal vegetarian vampire.
Anchors Away: Anchor Bugs and Sea Anchor Bugs, which can launch their anchor heads at you. You can also get a recipe to make an anchor for your avatar to wield too.
Applied Phlebotinum: Null crystals. They fuel your weapons and teleport you from place to place. One quest even charges you with bringing an Animated-influenced item to the Null Chamber in order to revert it back to normal.
April Fools' Day: The OmniDrink-sponsored quest and new area. The game crashed when you tried to travel to the new area, after the Loading Screen mocked you for five minutes.
Can't forget Airshark can we? It's practically what made the event.
Ass Kicks You: The Bump ring, according to flavor text ("Turn that hip around and bump your enemies away!").
BFG: Guns Guns Guns, mostly as you use 3/4 to all of your rage with it.
Boss in Mook Clothing: Otherwise known as "those damn Masks". The early October 2009 update made Masks of Death and Rebirth extremely dangerous to fight due to their spamming of three status effects depending on its current state. The first pins you to the spot, the second puts you to sleep, the third makes you lose all control of your character and rings while it is free to chip away at your health. Woe to you if you have to fight one (or a group!) alone without the willpower to resist those effects.
Mother Fluffs may also qualify, since they can incite other usually-docile fluffs to attack you as well.
And Jack in the Halloween event of 2010. In Otami Ruins, he has 250,000 HP. CL of 15.0 AND every single attack of yours only takes off 1HP. Even if you use RR4 Hack. He took an average of two hours to beat even with over a hundred players attacking him. Since then, he was nerfed; now his CL is 11.9 and takes less time to beat.
Averted by the female members of the Barton Guard, who wear the same armor as their male counterparts. This CAN lead to Viewer Gender Confusion since some of the male faces can look very feminine and the female faces can look very masculine.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: Power-ups are primarily bought with Gaia Cash, which requires real monies. Though they are also allowed to be resold on the Marketplace, inevitably for high amounts of Gaia Gold. Rings also used to be allowed to be freely sold, before the massive backlash of this trope.
Call Back: Pay attention to the intro, it will be on the exam. While you're at it, read all the old comics too.
Character Select Forcing: In Dead Man's Shadow, a Grue can randomly attack your party. This is not an actual enemy encounter, but a rare scripted event. If you are not carrying Solar Rays when the Grue strikes, you are instantly KO'd.
The best way to get around the Grue is by simply not being in Dead Man's Shadow during the time frame he's known to strike: midnight to 1 AM Gaia time. Avoiding the area for what translates into ten real life minutes allows you to easily avoid taking solar.
Cognizant Limbs: Sealab X. It's got the tail, the body, the left arm, the right arm, and the head.
The body-and-arms phase of the fight is probably the best example, since you fight them all at once. Note that the phase ends when the body is destroyed, whether or not you've killed the arms, so most crews will just aim for the body.
Continuity Nod: The True Believers and the GIB at the Old Aqueduct were both originally founded by players.
Air Shark, originally a fan elaboration on the April Fools' Day joke, has become an actual Animated monster that occassionally drops bombs on Barton Town.
Not to mention the Chyaku Norisu Clan, which was named after a Monthly Collectible scarf. (Which was named after... You know...)
Cosmetic Award: More specifically, often as not quests are rewarded with a "recipe" that you can take to the local tinker to make into some spiffy item you can wear or carry around, but doesn't actually affect your stats.
Done for a reason - they didn't want to go through every single item Gaia Online had and add stats to it.
The repeatable quests include quite a few of this nature, edging into Twenty Bear Asses territory.
The badges. The main site will track the ones for killing certain numbers of each type of enemy, but other flavors (such as finding a certain location of the map) aren't hinted at. There are also the holiday-only badges, which may or may not be Lost Forever depending on whether the same type of activity is repeated next year.
Also with a hint of Guide Dang It: The Tiny Terrors at the Old Aqueduct and the Anchor Bugs on the Buccaneer Boardwalk do NOT count toward their respective kill badges.
Cool Airship: Captain Crescento's airship, which appeared for the April Fool's Day event.
Critical Annoyance: A heartbeat sound if you're low on health, heavy panting if you're low on Stamina, both bordering on Most Annoying Sound. And they don't get muted if you turn off game sounds or turn down the volume in the options menu.
Cute Monster Girl: The Water Spouts, which are all extremely curvaceous humanoid females formed of Animated water.
This is played up to 11 with the pictures of them that are shown on the loading screens.
The vampiresses in Dead Man's Shadow. Few are the crews who can completely avoid cracking at least one suggestive joke about them during a run.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Getting KO'd by Animated, of course. In a more meta example, Word of God is that the death of Johnny K. Gambino in the comic will not keep him from being involved in zOMG! Though this may be a Half Truth, since his clone is plotting to take over Gaia with the Animated, which means he's already involved.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Averted. Once you reach a high enough level, the NPCs handing out the repeatable quests go, "I should stop wasting your time here, you probably have better things to do. I'll handle the rest myself." Then you can suppress your level and they'll conveniently forget that you have better things to do.
Everything Trying to Kill You: The Animated. Bet you never thought you could get killed by a horde of lawn gnomes. This is a case taken to the extreme: if it isn't naturally sentient, chances are it is now and is trying to kill you.
Final Boss: Labtech X and his living mecha, the Mechlab Bot.
First Town: Barton. Also the first town to be created on the site in general.
Game-Breaking Bug: It seems there's always one quest giver or another that glitches up and won't talk to players, preventing them from turning in a quest. Especially irritating when it's part of a quest chain and thus forces the player to grind another way to become strong enough to continue on.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Manages to be averted and played straight at the same time. Nearly every gameplay aspect of zOMG! is explained in the plot itself, from the Respawn Points, to the Socialization Bonus, to the rings themselves. However, the massive changes to Gaia's world that have appeared in zOMG! are rarely (if ever) mentioned on the site proper. NPCs can travel from town to town with ease, despite passage supposedly being impossible. The Animated are almost never mentioned, and everyone can still find time to attend Prom, or Summer Camp without having to worry about monster attacks.
Then, there is also a case of Gameplay And Gameplay Segregation. As Gaia's main site revolves around avatar customization, players can dress up their avatars however they like. However, none of your items offer any bonuses. A player walking around in Powered Armor is just as susceptible to damage as someone wearing nothing but a loin cloth. An Alien with sticks for arms is just as effective in combat as an Orc capable of lifting a car on his shoulder. Vampires can run around in the sunlight and kill Animated Garlic. Basically, players receive no advantages or disadvantages based on appearance.
Which was, of course, lampshaded in the intro comic to zOMG!. A hotshot guard, idolized by everyone else, announces that he will slay the Animated easily with his Ancient Katana!!... The mundane weapon proves totally worthless against the Animated, and judging from the subsequent Gory Discretion Shot, so was his armor. It has to do with Ghi.
Genre Blindness: After you defeat the Chapter Boss the NPCs you've helped through out the game congratulate you, and are under the impression that Labtech X has been killed. ...Even though it's been established that a visit to the Null Chamber makes you functionally immortal. Labtech X has been studying Ghi longer than anyone, and is surely aware of the Null Chamber's existence. Not to mention the fact that he's a clone of the man with the lowest score on the Sorting Algorithm of Deadness in the history of Gaia. Seriously, if he wasn't dead before, what makes you think he's dead now?
Provokes Genre Savvy from the players, as most of them don't buy it, either. Most of the Labtech X fanthread simply believe that Labtech X teleported to a safer place upon the robot's defeat, just like Labtech 123 did earlier.
Green Hill Zone: The Village Greens, a golf course inhabited by psychopathic gnomes and killer plastic flamingos.
Get far enough into it, and you can get rained on by Gnomish flak cannons.
You have to. You're not allowed to get those mushroom tops any other way. I've tried.
Guide Dang It: The beginning in-game tutorials have been altered so much that they no longer tell you much of anything about how to play the damn game.
Holiday Mode: For quite a few major holidays. It gets hectic.
Humongous Mecha: The Mechlab Bot. X plans to create an entire army of these.
Improbable Weapon: To be sure, all of the weapons are pretty much Applied Phlebotinum Rings, but some of their effects are a little... unconventional. Picture lobbing wasp hives at your enemies or coating yourself with a protective coat of Teflon.
Item Crafting: Yup. The items you craft are only for cosmetic purposes, however.
Katanas Are Just Better: Averted in the comic. One of the guards boasts that his Ancient Katana will destroy the Animated... and then it gets sawn to bits by one of the Buzz Saws. A Gory Discretion Shot suggests that the wielder was quick to follow.
Played straight by the Mantis ring, though. Short cooldown time, and a very low Stamina cost.
Debatable, since it doesn't deliver the punch Hack does. Still one of the best melee rings, mind.
Killer Rabbit: Gramsters (killer hamsters) and cherry fluffs. Sweet Joan, the cherry fluffs... After attacking them once, they (and any other cherry fluffs nearby) descend upon you and kamikaze attack with an explosion that can take half the life of a low level player easily.
Also, don't forget the Grunny Subs (Killer Rabbits in submarines)
Lethal Chef: Leon's mother. It's stated that one of the cookies is apparently concrete, the other is poisoned from batteries, and the other... well, you get the deal. Subverted, since Leon not only eats but enjoys his mother's cooking despite apparently being a good cook himself.
Fake Ultimate Mook: An OMG jumps out at you about the time you cross the bridge in Deadman's Pass... but he's a remarkably wimpy little OMG.
Now these wandering encounters each consist of an OMFG with two Bootsnakes. Still not much of a threat due to the universal nerfing of enemies.
And in the (current) introduction, you find yourself facing three OMGs who all go down in one attack. The OMFG you face immediately afterward goes down in two.
Medium Awareness: Your character can, at one point, make a reference to only being able to see one screen's worth of scenery at a time.
Another point at which this happened was during the April Fool's Day event, where your character tells a confused Crescento that the airship "crashed", meaning the game refused to load the area (because it never existed in the first place).
Monster Is a Mommy: Plenty. Kat's Kokeshi Doll originally had some lines suggesting that it considered the lesser Kokeshis its children. Then you have the Shewolf, Papa Saw and his wives, and Mother Fluffs in Bassken Lake...
More Dakka: The more rage used on Guns Guns Guns, the more dakka is produced.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ghi powers the Animated. By using the rings to fight the Animated, you're releasing more Ghi into Gaia, creating more Animated.
No Fair Cheating: For a while, it was possible to exploit a glitch in the final area to gain rings with a level higher than 10. When the devs removed this, they added one of two new rings to the inventory of everyone with Level 10 rings. Those with glitch-obtained rings were given the ring Abuse, which afflicts the wearer/owner with a multi-stat debuff.
Description: You didn't think your questionable behavior would go unnoticed, did you?
Randomly Drops: Lots of random drops. In fact, even the items that allow you to level up are random drops, which makes the entire level system a Luck-Based Mission.
The devs have attempted to mitigate this with repeatable quests, since nearly all quests feature the level-up items as rewards. Also, the further you are in the game, the more of the item you get when a monster drops them or you complete a quest. Now the problem is stopping players from farming the items to grind past the game's content...
This problem is still in full force when it comes to quests in the vein of Twenty Bear Asses. Gramster Goo, Mushroom Tops, and Iron Ore seem to be the items that cause the most frustration on the forums.
Read the Freaking Manual: ALL YOUR RINGS ARE SOULBOUND. YOU CANNOT SELL THEM ON THE MARKETPLACE/GIVE THEM TO YOUR FRIENDS ANY MORE. Half the threads on the zOMG! forum are STILL people who don't understand this. (This is because rings created before a certain date can still be sold/traded until they're equipped).
There's also "How do I get stronger?" and "How do I unsuppress my CL?" Though the latter isn't/wasn't readily available in the in-game help, but there are enough existing topics for this to become Search The Freaking Forums or Read The Freaking Stickies.
Hell, just go to your inventory. There's a note there, saying "Rings are soulbound and cannot be sold, with certain grandfathered exceptions".
Retcon: You used to begin the game on a train, greeted by a character named Frank who gave you your first rings. They took that beginning sequence out, and now it makes no sense that a labtech with suspiciously similar bandaid and glasses greets you with "Hello again!... I mean, hello!"
This also spoils what was probably the most awesome reveal in the game.
The best one has to be the symbol for the willpower boost: A drill.
There are entire threads devoted to identifying these in the zOMG! forums.
Shoot the Medic First: Healers tend to garner a lot of aggro in crew play, making Combat Medic builds almost necessary in the absence of tanks. Diagnose is particularly dangerous for this; using it at Rage Rank 4 will result in Everything Trying to Kill You. Averted so far with the Animated, since none of the bosses have Mook squads that are capable of healing (though healing-capable Demonic Spiders do exist, and they are a priority target in most cases for this reason).
Shown Their Work: Most of the plot is a huge Call Back to a story arc from 2004. Almost none of the people who worked on zOMG! were around during the 2004 storyline. 'nuff said.
Socialization Bonus - The game practically requires you to interact with other players in order to proceed. Several quests require cooperation between players, and the game generally is much easier when in a group. In addition, Ghi bonuses can be obtained by interacting with other players. But if you stay isolated for too long, your bonuses will vanish until you recharge.
The developers have confirmed that certain parts of the game, such as the Shallow Seas, are in fact impossible without a group.
Very difficult, perhaps, but there is only one part that is 100% impossible to solo. Which, of course, is the part you need in order to get into the endboss chamber.
And even then, once past that part, there IS a video of someone soloing the endboss.
Sprint Shoes: The Fleet Feet ring gives you a huge footspeed boost for 30 seconds. The Coyote Spirit ring and the Medic ring set works as well.
Super Prototype: Labtech X's Humongous Mecha, Sealab X, is intended to be the prototype for an army of Sealab Animated, which are programmed to obey him.
Throw It In: The first stage of the battle with Sealab X has its enormous tail descend to attack the players, who are randomly scripted to shout lines like "Look out! It's huge!" Enough players replied "That's What She Said" that eventually the devs added that to the script, too.
Underwater Ruins: The fallen remains of Gambino's tower are scattered through the final three areas, which are at the bottom of the ocean.
One of the Believers at the Old Aqueduct is named "Hairy".
And is conveniently located right next to a Believer named "Dick". Whups.
Who is standing beside someone named Tom. So take joke as you will...
Kamila is the boss of Dead Man's Shadow (and thus, the game to date). Her name is also a porn actress' stage name, something that was incredibly easy to discover before Google filtered out most of the obvious porn from their image search results, usually when someone forgot to specify "gaia" or "zomg". Uh, oops.
Unusual Euphemism: In the zOMG forums, expect to see "fluff" used instead of an F-Bomb. Especially in the form of "motherfluffing-!" (Considering how innocent the various fluffs look and how much damage they can do the further you get through the game, this makes some sense.)
Useless Useful Spell: Averted. Crowd Control rings and debuffs have a decent chance of working on everything in this game save for a few select bosses, and using such rings is encouraged as you advance through the game. Players are usually very outnumbered by enemies towards the later areas of the game (and by outnumbered we mean 1 VS 3+). Likewise, enemies tend to use the same effects against you.
Knife Sharpen and Adrenaline play the trope straight. They used to be good buffs for you and your allies; now they're mediocre debuffs for the opposition.
Subverted now with the release of Deadman's Shadow. Turns out Knife Sharpen and Adrenaline are very useful against vampires. Even Diagnose is now useful, since its massive aggro-drawing power enables one brave soul to take the heat off the other players while they kill the monster.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: One minigame has you catching mutant/zombie green chickens and throwing them down a well. The chickens scream when you throw them down the well.
Similarly, the living enemies you encounter in the (underwater) last stages of the game visibly drown when defeated.
Early on, one of the quests involving the gnomes in Village Greens includes a mention that the gnomes are learning tactics and behaviors from observing Gaians. The player inquires if they've learned violence from humans, too, and the NPC replies that while that would be great from a philosophical angle, Gaians originally found the gnomes adorable, but the gnomes began "the ankle-biting."
When you rescue Marshall from the Sea Spouts, he suggests that they were about to seduce him, drawing a comparison to sirens.
Willfully Weak: You have the option to suppress your charge level so you can play in lower-leveled areas. Boss instances now automatically suppress your level to the maximum for that boss.
The auto-suppressing for bosses happened because people would take off their rings to have a lower CL then put them back on inside the bosses den.
Wutai: Zen Gardens and the forest where the Chyaku Norisu ninja clan dwells.
Zerg Rush: Most boss fights usually start like this, before getting to fight the actual boss.
Who continues to throw mooks at you even while you're fighting it.
The Hive area is basically this: wave after wave of aliens, and it only stops when all your team members are all Dazed.