YMMV / Worm

  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": Go into a Worm thread on a forum somewhere and see how long you can go before someone casually spoils any of the major twists, like Behemoth's destruction leading to the emergence of three more Endbringers, Dr. Manton being responsible for the Siberian or Scion being the final villain. Go on. We'll wait.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Taylor. Is she an Anti-Hero who is just trying to make the best possible choices in a Crapsack World that's filled with Jerkass superheroes? Or is she a Well-Intentioned Extremist who considers herself Above Good and Evil by using methods similar to her former bullies for justifying ends similar to Cauldron's? Is there a difference to begin with?
    • Marquis' involvement with Iron Rain, and Jack Slash's assertion that he did not kill her, have lead some readers to speculate that he did not kill Iron Rain, but blamed himself for her death. (Interestingly, Panacea's mother has never been named. Some speculate that Iron Rain was Panacea's mother, and that Marquis blamed himself for her death, possibly at Allfather's behest.)
    • Really, the story is filled with this. A common comment on Wildbow's writing is that he rarely ascribes purely negative or purely positive qualities to his characters, making their moral position whatever the reader ascribes to them.
  • Archive Panic: The author's regular schedule of posting seven-to-ten thousand word chapters at least twice a week, frequently thrice, led to this very quickly. On May 25th, 2013, the story was already 1,188,277 words longsix months before the story ended. While the serial nature of the story makes it relatively easy to spread out an Archive Binge over weeks or months, that's still enough words to make a shelf of Doorstoppers.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Saint. Any mention of him in the comments is likely to start a long and sometimes heated argument about whether what he did to Dragon was justified.
    • The protagonist Taylor as well. While some would argue her actions were justified, not everyone can agree on the more terrible ones.
    • Cauldron. Any debate on their actions and competence is likely to draw close to if not outright ignite Flame War.
  • Broken Base:
    • Taylor's actions in the penultimate chapter. Did they count as bullying or not? If so, were they justified given the threat humanity faced? (And the billions said threat had already slaughtered?) Has Taylor fully transitioned into a monster like those who tormented her, or were her actions a necessary evil against a threat that could be stopped no other way? All of these questions are brought up in-universe in the final chapter.
      • Though to be fair,the vast majority of the base seems to think that,at least she was justified.
  • Complete Monster: Jack Slash, full stop. The man's spent his life murdering his way across the country, and his personal bodycount has to be in the hundreds at least. That's not to mention everything he leads the Slaughterhouse Nine in doing, like attacking a hospital and targeting the maternity ward first. He eventually embraces his role as the catalyst for the end of the world because he wants to be remembered for generations as one of history's greatest monsters.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: From several angles.
    • Per Alternate Character Interpretation, some readers find that twenty arcs of the main protagonist doing very morally questionable things that she believes are justified simply too much to swallow (and/or her status as The Chew Toy).
    • Toward the latter story arcs (e.g. when a new Endbringer designed to counter what they used to kill Behemoth appears), some readers have fallen into this state on the grounds that humanity is simply too overmatched by the evils that assault it. And this is before Scion decides to start annihilating everything in its path.
    • There are distressingly few true heroes in the setting, with almost all the rest being people who are at best high in the "hero" scale of Anti-Hero (and can still be pretty lousy human beings, just falling under the In-Universe classification of "hero") and at worst people who get put through the wringer because this setting LOVES No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
    • Often the pace of the story is such that the characters are never given a chance to breath or relax. This leads to the major characters in life or death struggles every few days with no light relief to break up the near constant angst. This can lead to readers burning out since it never seems like the characters' lives get better in anyway.
  • Don't Shoot the Message: Those readers who believe A.I. Is a Crapshoot in Real Life are in the unfortunate situation of having to argue that Dragon — a Ridiculously Humanlike Artificial Intelligence and one of the greatest and purest superheroes in the world — is simply and innocently mistaken about the risks of AI, while Saint — a known thief, mercenary, and killer, who uses his knowledge of Dragon's AI-nature to first steal several of her Mini Mechas and then attempt to kill her outright — has a realistic and accurate appreciation of the dangers. Especially given that Saint doesn't even consider Dragon a person.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The Slaughterhouse 9 and the original 3 Endbringers are the story's iconic villains and tend to overshadow all of the others. Among the Endbringers The Simurgh is generally viewed as the coolest/scariest.
    • Assault and Battery for adding humor to a dark series. It's part of the reason for the He's Just Hiding below.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Almost any chapter with both Taylor (Skitter) and Dennis (Clockblocker) will have at least one, and probably several, comments to the effect that they should hook up.
    • Lampshaded, post- Time Skip Clockblocker complains that all the rumors about him having a crush on Weaver have put a major damper on his career.
  • Failure Hero: The heroes have zero on-screen wins and never seem able to make any headway in their goals. They also take some of the biggest losses over the course of the story. Add to this their seeming lack of personal improvement or tactics, especially while the Undersiders themselves gain several levels of badass, and they come off as losers.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Knowing what is going to happen to the two sisters makes Glory Girl's interlude much tougher/sadder to read.
    • The reveal about just what Noelle can do changes how you read The Extermination Arc and Dinah's Interlude. Theoretically, the world's end almost started right there!
    • In Drone 23.5 it's joked that Taylor's lovey-dovey speech to the Undersiders will get her killed. But it's not her who bites it in the subsequent Behemoth fight...
  • He's Just Hiding: Some fans reactions to the news of Battery’s death. Also, nearly everyone's reaction to Clockblocker's... disappearance. Though the latter character did survive. Sort of.
  • Hype Backlash: Some of the readers coming in after the story's completion are scrutinising it with a more critical eye than the readers there while it was in progress, and not all of them agree with how things pan out. The darkness of the Crapsack World is a common contention.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The title Worm seems to refer to Taylor/Skitter's abilities to control bugs, supported by a minor villain even referring to her as "the worm" at one point in the narrative. In actuality, the 'Worms' refers to the reality-spanning entities (who create/use wormholes hence the name) that are the source of parahuman abilities... and are Omnicidal Maniacs to boot.
  • Inferred Holocaust: While the numbers aren't given in-story, Behemoth's attack on New Delhi probably killed millions of people.
    • Scratch "inferred"; Behemoth levels at least half the city (which has a population of 10 million), and it's explicitly stated that the majority of the people there did not get out in time.
    • Also happens with other catastrophes. The Slaughterhouse Nine killed at least a couple hundred people when they hit Brockton Bay, and trying to calculate how many people they've killed over their 24-year-plus career produces a body count in the high tens of thousands. Their clones probably took out a couple thousand civilians as well. Averted with Leviathan, Echidna, and Scion; the first two didn't kill that many people because civilians were evacuated, and Scion's rampage is so catastrophic that all of humanity is directly affected in some way.
  • Invincible Hero: The Undersiders almost always come out on top of every challenge without any major loses and often in a stronger position than anyone else. Often making the people they are fighting against seem weak and non-threatening by comparison.
  • Karma Houdini: The Number Man. All of the other Cauldron Capes ultimately suffer some kind of comeuppance for all the reprehensible things they've done. He never gets so much as a Heel Realization despite the fact that he's arguably the worst of the lot.
  • Kick The Bitch: The cold, systematic way Shadow Stalker is forced to watch as her life is destroyed is utterly horrifying - but she's such a vicious, bullying sociopath most readers agreed she had it coming.
  • Les Yay: Bitch sleeps cuddled up with one of her female minions, there are also several points in the story where Taylor suspects Bitch is about to kiss her.
  • Magnificent Bastard: The Simurgh. Let's start with the fact that, despite being completely unable to communicate in any meaningful fashion with anyone apart from other Endbringers, she was able to fake a weakness...
  • Memetic Mutation: Here.
  • Narm: A brief example: Scion's Villainous Breakdown has the comical image of him curled up in the fetal position and spinning around in the air with an angry look on his face.
    • Bonesaw's S9 interlude also has a case of this. It abruptly changes from vast swathes of Body Horror to the dramatic reveal that Panacea has a lesbian crush on her sister. The situation makes complete sense in-story, and it's understandable that the characters would be squicked out about it, but its sheer absurdity makes it seem like something out of a bad hentai. The fact that Bonesaw somehow worked this into her evil plan only makes things sillier.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Many examples.
  • Paranoia Fuel:
    • Bonesaw's miasma makes it so you can’t tell who is an ally or who is a member of the 9.
    • Simurgh is this In-Universe.
  • Ron the Death Eater: While Armsmaster does have No Social Skills to the point of being abrasive and blunt, a lot of less well-written fanfics like to turn him outright antagonistic.
  • The Scrappy: Greg.
    • All of the new Endbringers that showed up after New Delhi are generally viewed as much lamer than the original three. A big part of this is probably that they didn't get enough screentime to make any sort of impression. Compare Tohu and Bohu being introduced and then largely forgotten about within a single chapter to Leviathan getting an entire arc to himself.
  • The Woobie:
    • Garrote. A Case-53 whose tentacles instinctively want to strangle any stressor. Points to trying to reach out through the internet to find a friend.
    • Bitch. Decidedly the Jerkass subclass: she's angry, hostile, anti-social, whatever you want to call it ... but only because she got screwed over by her power and she never had a real friend in her life.
    • WagTheDog. We knew from Interlude 19 (Donation Bonus #2) that she really wanted to become a minion to Bitch, but when we see her in 21.6, the way she lights up whenever she gets praise from Rachel and the way she sleeps curled up with Rachel ... she clearly came from some terribly-dysfunctional place.
    • Taylor herself gets this on occasion when life decides to screw her over. She's of the Iron subclass, but it's hard not to feel really, really bad for her past and the general hell she goes through, combined with her self-loathing. Indeed, even many of the people who ascribe to the Alternate Character Interpretation and say she's become a bullying villain herself at the end of the story still find her sympathetic, because she didn't entirely have a choice in what she became.
    • By far the worst is Panacea. Her problems literally started almost when she was born, being the daughter of supervillain and Affably Evil drug lord Marquis. This was not an issue, Marquis being literally the most caring and psychologically healthy figure in her life. It really started when New Wave, out of moral obligation after sending Marquis to the Birdcage (more because of the three strikes law than being a true monster like everyone else in there), but Photon Mom, in her infinite wisdom, gave her over to Brandish (who openly admitted to the fact that she wasn't an ideal candidate at all due to the coincidental resemblance Panacea has to the cause of own trigger event). Cut to the present, and Brandish's inability to foster a child have resulted in her daughter becoming a self-loathing, overworked, and embittered mess terrified of her own (admittedly nuclear-level) power. And that's not even getting into the aura-induced romantic affection for her older sister, which is about 40% of her self-loathing right there. And it never gets better, unlike everyone else under this trope.
      • Doesn't get better if you subscribe to the theory that her mother might be Iron Rain as put forth further up this page.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Slaughterhouse Nine under Jack Slash likes to recruit and/or create these. Though many of them have no such excuse or cross the Moral Event Horizon shortly afterwards.