These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
YMMV: Ravages Of Time
Anvilicious: Yuan Shu's advisor. A caricature of the typical old-fashioned learned man in this era: misogynistic and of the opinion that women should Stay in the Kitchen, loyal to his master and prioritizes the master's interests well over his own, and can die very young without making a name for himself.
Badass Decay: Crippled Legions are considerably less badass as a team after Liaoyuan Huo left, and are reduced to a legion of mere Mook after the Sima clan extermination.
The Mook part is somewhat justified, since its best fighters are either dead or permanently put out of action.
Compared to the book and history, several characters get this treatment, mostly the tacticians that work on the same side as the Genius(obviously to show of the skill of the Geniuses). Cheng Yu, one of Cao Cao's most brutally effective tacticians literally fall to his knees to worship Sima Yi pretending to be a God.. Cheng Yu were more accomplished than any of the militarily inclined Geniuses.
Cao Cao himself falls under this same problem, due to Guo Jia and Jia Xu stealing his feats. Guo Jia gave very few plans during his work for Cao, while Jia Xu's entire military achievement list under Cao was causing a dispute between the Xi Liang warlords.
Note that while Ravages of Time's notably mixed with some realistic touches of various canon historical texts, it's still is an adaption of Luo Guanzhong's Romance of Three Kingdoms, a romanticized version of canon history which loves to exaggerate the "wisemen"'s intellectual feats and put down the warlords's. The Badass Decay with Cao Cao or Cheng Yu is just this series staying true to the source material.
It should be noted that Cao Cao badass decay wasn't come from his adviser only. It also come from the fact that Chen Mou cut most(if not all) of his Establishing Character Moment (his first meeting with Guan Yu for example)and often thrash him and his army to make others look good, especially his battle with Sun Ce and his humiliation from Emperor Xian OF ALL PEOPLE!!!
Sure it's some lamentable Badass Decay for him, if you don't count the fact that whoever humiliates him ends up getting pulled off their mighty horse, and Cao Cao will get the last laugh no matter what.
Evil Is Cool: Most fan probably forget of inhuman nature of several character(Guo Jia, Jia Xu, Sun Ce, Sima Yi, etc) but remember how cool they was. Being a group of Bishonen certainly help them too.
Fridge Brilliance: Liaoyuan Huo loves steamed buns, which generally doesn't have a lot of nutritional value (especially if it's made with fine flour so that it is pure white in appearance), but as recently as the end of the Second World War it was considered a sign of financial stability (and even prosperity) to be able to afford eating them regularly. Having grown up in poverty even before he became an orphan, Huo has ever since subconsciously indulged in (literal) Conspicious Consuption.
Hilarious in Hindsight: In volume 3, when Dong Zhuo's puzzle was presented, until Sima Yi and the Seventh Genius solved it, the entire bunch of Guandong advisors spent a whole evening trying to decipher it but couldn't. In frustration, even Guo Tu (Yuan Shao's famous personal advisor) stomped out, declaring that the puzzle was unsolvable and urging everyone to not look into it any further, lest it be a trap of Dong Zhuo. Know what, dude was right! Of course it was not unsolvable, but indeed it was a trap to lure Yuan Shao to Luoyang.
Most of the men who lust after the beautiful eunuch Xiao Meng do so while he is disguised as a woman, but Liaoyuan Huo AKA Zhao Yunknows that he is a man, and seems pretty clearly in love with him anyway.
Lu Bu probably is also in the "know but doesn't care" camp; his daughter outright says that Lu Bu likes Xiao Meng while she and advisor Chen Gong both know by the time he's trying to break the siege of Xiapi to deliver said daughter to Yuan Shu, so there's no reason to think he doesn't know as well.
It Was His Sled: Some of the twists in earlier volumes is this for initiated readers, making the characters involved Walking Spoiler to newcomers in Ravages fandom. Beware of spoilers.
'Yuan Dang', the insider of Guandong alliance in Dong Zhuo's camp who rescued Xiao Meng from several rape attempts by Dong Zhuo's sons and nephew and escaped with him when the hostage rescue arc reached a climax, is Lu Bu.
Xiao Meng is Diao Chan, and Liaoyuan Huo will eventually play the part of Zhao Yun in canon history.
'Sun Fu', Sun Ce's cousin appearing in volume 16-17, is actually Sun Ce. The one Yuan Shu believed to be Sun Ce and killed is Ling Cao, Sun Ce's subordinate.
The identities of the Eight Geniuses up to the Seventh, Zhuge Liang.
Anyone who read Romance of the Three Kingdoms is certain to be aware of the outcome of major campaigns and the fates of almost every major characters. Anyone who didn't needs only look at chapter one to find out the answer to the most important question: it will not be Cao Cao, Liu Bei or Sun Quan who wins the war of Three Kingdoms, but Sima Yi.
Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Guo Jia, Guo Jia, Guo Jia. Guo Jia/Jia Xu, Guo Jia/Xun Yu and Guo Jia/Huo Tuo are probably among the most popular pairings in Chinese fandom. Given their interactions, Guo Jia/Sima Yi is not without supporters.
Cao Cao. He feigned defeat, even using himself as a bait, to train his troops and test his generals so that they could become a Badass Army, and at the same time make them appear weak, so that Yuan Shao won't see him as an immediate threat.
Sun Ce. He dug up the grave of a loyal subordinate, and blamed it on the enemy, to incite his army to fight at their best
Yuan Fang. He's Yuan Shao's.
Mary Tzu: Almost everyone. Especially Sima Yi, and Jia Xu who so far never lost any battle. Yuan Fang also have a lot of this during early part in Battle of Guandu.
Not just everyone. Precisely, the Eight Geniuses or on a lesser level, competent strategists like Chen Gong or Lu Xun. True, they all have their bad days, but these guys are the only ones who can possibly out-gambit one another or defeat them in a way that isn't already accounted for in some crazy gambits. Chen Gong, in particular, is specifically admired by Xun Yu, who says he's the equal of the Eight Geniuses. In fact, it took TWO of the Eight Geniuses to out-gambit him.
The Scrappy: Yang Qing aka Yang Xiu. Many fans are not happy when such a seemingly trivial character turns out to be a big shot who pretty much brings about the ruins of Yuan clan with his assassination of Yuan Fang and manipulating Yuan Shao to death. His Smug Snake attitude doesn't help his case a bit, though his being introduced as on Cao Zhi's side as far as contention over the succession or over Lady Zhen, while Jia Xu is on Cao Pi's side in chapter 390 suggests that one day, he's going to get his.
Worry not, Yang Xiu haters. In both actual history and The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, he is put to death by Cao Cao when he proves to be too clever for his own good.
The Stations of the Canon: The side novels, when dealing with events that happen in the comic, describes them exactly as they happened, and repeats all of the dialogue word-for-word.
Meanwhile, the main series is truer to actual history than Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but it still often alludes to events in the novel and/or puts a new spin on them.
Too Cool to Live: The list is long. Dong Zhuo, Lu Bu, Gao Shun, Chen Gong, Sun Ce, Yuan Fang, Guo Jia...
Wild Mass Guessing: A lot, considering the number of plot twists the author has pulled on us over these years.
The Eighth Genius's identity, oh boy. It's likely the most commonly asked question in the fandom to date.
Following the clever twists with apparently original characters like Liaoyuan Huo and Xiao Meng turning out to be Historical-Domain Characterlike Zhao Yun and Diao Chan, fans have taken to speculating other possible "identities" of characters who are fated to exit the stage early like Yuan Fang and Lu Bu. Many readers have theorized that Lu Bu will assume the identity of Lu Meng, which sounds plausible enough until Lu Bu officially kicks the bucket by a can't-get-any-deader decapitation after volume 32. But the Yuan Fang conspiracies are where things get ridiculous: a very popular fan theory is that he will become Cao Pi, which is impossible as anything more serious than blind Wild Mass Guessing. It's even outright jossed by the author.
Yuan Fang was a plot device/character he created to make Guandu cooler, while shooting down the idea of Yuan Fang as later becoming Cao Pi as "impossible to make it logical/plausible. Unless we involve aliens, or Cao Cao loses his mind while practicing some martial art thing..."