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04:06:58 AM Apr 5th 2014
So... can someone explain the reasoning behind the name? That "How" feels rather random.
01:40:15 PM Apr 16th 2014
It's a play on the film Apocalypse Now.
06:37:18 AM Aug 27th 2013
Shouldn't we include interstellar between stellar and galactic? If something takes out everything within a 100 lightyear diameter, they've gone way beyond stellar, but it's nowhere near galactic.
06:11:29 PM Dec 31st 2012
Why has the scale been changed? Seriously, why? The old scale was simple, intuitive, and easy to understand (well, I thought that there was not enough difference between Class 5 and 6 to be necessary, and that we should referred to X4 and X5 as Y1 and Y2 instead, but those are minor gripes) but now we've got an overly elaborate table full of obtuse terms divided into two sections for no real reason. Seriously, what was wrong with the old system? Don't fix what isn't broken.
03:36:28 PM May 28th 2013
Agreed, this is just a mess compared to the old one. Same problem with cutting the Anti Hero scale. Making it longer to write doesn't make it better.
11:23:41 PM Dec 22nd 2012
So if we're not supposed to identify by the numbers anymore, shouldn't we change the subpages over?
06:20:06 PM Dec 31st 2012
Why bother? Using the new scale would require a subpage for every single combination of scope and severity, and there are quite a few levels of both, so it would be an awful lot of work. Besides, examples on works pages would still use the numbers, unless someone feels like hunting down every single use of the trope on the entire website. The new scale is pointless and dumb anyways.
06:36:49 PM Dec 15th 2012
I think that we should add numbers and letters to the severity and scope, respectively. This way, we can easily refer to each kind of apocalypse as something like D-4.
09:39:56 AM Dec 18th 2012
An interesting point, but the entire reason we ditched the numbers system for descriptive labels is so that people on other pages wouldn't have to go out of their way to look up obscure number / classification codes.
06:26:40 PM Dec 31st 2012
Well, just like we don't explain what the trope means in every single example of it on every page where it appears, so we shouldn't explain this either. The contents of an example aren't going to make sense to someone who isn't familiar with the trope.
01:13:26 AM Jan 1st 2013
False; Zero Context Examples should be fixed whereever you see them. All entries should contain elaboration so that someone unfamiliar with the series can at least see if they fit the trope.
05:54:05 PM Jul 3rd 2012
Is there a way to make the table more specific? The old one was too specific, but even that was better than the vaugeness we have now.
01:25:56 PM Feb 13th 2012
You know it might make more sense to reorganize this into a table like the sorting algorithm of deadness. The scope could be on the side and the severity could be on the top. Most meeting of two of these are a trope in themselves. like after the end of regional society collapse.
03:19:37 PM Feb 6th 2012
edited by MadCat221
The severity/scope split helps a bit... However, it's a bit long-winded to refer to them.

Perhaps a code system could be instituted? First character is the severity, and the second is the scope? The scope has the concidence that none of them share the first same letter, so that's easy... Severity not so much. But they all have two words, and combining them could serve as the severity code.

For example, continental species extinction... SE-C
04:11:44 AM Feb 9th 2012
Honestly I don't think that would help. I'm in the middle of reformatting all the examples at the moment to put them under genre headings with correct classifications, and it's amazing how unable I am to remember what "Class 5" and "Class X-2" specifically represent even when I'm working on just the examples from that section. Just writing out the descriptions is making it much easier to immediately get a feel for the example. I think using shortcut codes would undo all the usefulness of the new system - you'd have to keep looking back up to the top of the page to try and remember what they stood for, and on works pages they'd be close to meaningless (as the Class system already was, to be honest).
06:15:36 PM Dec 31st 2012
Or maybe we should reimplement the old system, because there's no time when we're going to be this specific about the severity and scope of disasters in fiction. If you can find me any examples where it would be necessary to list the exact size of the zone where an exact amount of stuff died rather than just saying "a bunch of stuff died, but only in a certain zone", maybe I would be willing to listen.
09:48:23 AM Feb 1st 2012
edited by Atalan
I'm confused - the page says not to use the numbers any more, but all the examples are still filed under the numerical scale. Should they be moved? If so, where to?

Edit: Never mind, I found the special efforts thread.
07:37:47 PM Dec 31st 2011
edited by Saturn500
Uh, why was the scale changed? It was perfectly fine before.

Actually, how about we assign numbers to the scope, and letters to the severity?
12:01:27 PM Sep 28th 2011
Here's the old scales, to help with example re-sorting:

  • Class 0: Regional Catastrophe - A big disaster that takes out a sizable part of civilization, but leaves most of it largely untouched.
  • Class 1: Human Die-Back - Civilization as a whole is pretty much knocked back into the last century, but a good portion of humans survive, and it's pretty clear that humanity will get back on its feet. This is the typical Back Story to an After the End scenario. Back before the '80s, nuclear war usually kicked it off. However, most recent fiction relies on the classic Zombie Apocalypse scenario.
  • Class 2: Civilization Extinction - Global civilization knocked out; humanity is literally knocked back to the Stone Age. It's quite possible that humanity could ultimately recover, but not anytime soon unless they reproduce like rabbits. This is the realm of the Inferred Holocaust and Depopulation Bomb.
  • Class 3: Human Extinction - Two flavors:
    • Class 3a: Engineered Human Extinction - We blew it up! Damn us! DAMN US ALL TO HELL! This type of extinction is a human-caused extinction that only wipes out the humans and leaves most plant/animal life intact. This is actually used quite often to paint an optimistic picture afterwards, because Humans Are Bastards. To be fair, though, as you'll see from some examples, it isn't always the humans' own fault. Indeed, the destruction of the human race in the name of nature is the goal of any and every environment-themed Well-Intentioned Extremist and Knight Templar. A common subset designed to appeal to teenage boys is a Gendercide, where all the men die and the females are left to survive for instant Les Yay (when it isn't an Author Tract about how much better things are without men).
    • Class 3b: Natural Human Extinction - A natural disaster causes all of humanity to go extinct, but spares most other critters. The classic The End of the World as We Know It scenario.
  • Class 4: Biosphere Extinction - Not only are humans gone, but most critters with them, leaving only a select few to evolve and refill the biosphere (or, as the name suggests, what's left of it).
  • Class 5: Planetary Extinction - Humans go extinct, all or most critters go extinct, and the Earth is pretty much done as far as complex, multi-celled life is concerned with perhaps only single-cellular life surviving. But hey, at least it's still there. Every Omnicidal Maniac has this as their minimum aim. However, it is still possible to recolonize the planet with relative ease.
  • Class 6: Planetary Desolation - There is nothing left. Nothing. The planet's surface is a barren, uninhabitable wasteland or even a pile of molten rock where not even bacteria would survive. Oh, the actual planet itself is still there, but it is completely, for all intents and purposes, dead. Recolonizing this planet would take a miracle.
  • Class X: Planetary Annihilation - The destruction of the planet with an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. This one shows up in fiction arguably more often than any of the others, because, hey, what's more Bad Ass than blowing up a whole planet? Variants, such as strip-mining a planet down to its core or eating it (same difference, really) are available, but the general result is the same: The planet itself is no longer there afterwards.

The following, while not original members of the list, continue the scale even further:
  • Class X-2: Destroying a solar system - Whether the means is natural (such as a star going supernova) or artificial (such as a superweapon or spectacular failed experiment), there won't be any planets remaining near this star (or near where this star used to be). Anything that destroys multiple stars individually will be a parallel X-2.
  • Class X-3: Galactic Scale Destruction - Affects a whole galaxy, or a significant chunk of one. Comes in multiple sub-form of varying softness. The softest X-3s simply inflicts a class 2 on billions of planets, while the hardest subject every single solar system to an X-2. All the possiblities in between also exist.
  • Class X-4: Universal Destruction - Going beyond the scope of a galaxy, this destroys anything up to an entire universe. The only things to survive are alternate universes (in settings where such things exist).
  • Class X-5: Multi-universal Destruction - Destruction across multiple universes. If you can do this, you can pull off a Class X-4.
  • Class Z: The (theoretically) ultimate goal of any true Omnicidal Maniac is nothing less than THE DESTRUCTION! OF REALITY! ITSELF! The very fabric of reality itself is annihilated, and nothing is left over to rebuild from. Ever. This also covers including the destruction of history, meaning not only is everything gone, but it never even existed in the first place.

02:55:49 PM Jun 19th 2011
The attribution of the page quote is odd, but Iím not sure if Iím missing something. The quote is from a traditional spiritual called Mary Don't You Weep. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Don't_You_Weep
03:37:46 PM Aug 17th 2011
You are correct. Someone edited it to attribute it to a much more modern musician without first doing the research. It should be fixed now.
06:34:04 PM Jun 2nd 2011
I thought of my own. On December 30, 2068, Justin Bieber dies, and every female on Earth screams the hell out of everyone and a series of events happens, leading up to two months after that, when the last human dies. A day later, video game characters soon take control of our world, size it to a good size to hold at least seven Earths of people, and take it back to their dimension. Cue us reviving as zombies two days later, not intent on eating brains.
12:37:38 PM May 16th 2011
In the finale of season 5 of the new series of doctor who, reality was not only being destroyed, but it would have stopped ever having existed. Isn't this even higher than a class Z?
11:15:55 AM Dec 10th 2011
there WAS a class Z-2 briefly, but it was deleted due to there being no actual examples.
03:17:19 PM Jan 31st 2011
Do we have a minimum standard to determine a Type 0? City-wide disaster? Country-wide? Continent? Or is it the death toll that sets the minimum to be counted as Type 0?
01:16:12 PM Feb 20th 2011
Maybe Type 0 should split into subtypes:

Type 0-I: Neighborhood to small town. The plot from the Hey Arnold! Movie involves preventing this.

Type 0-II: Large Town to a County (Or your local equivalent)

Type 0-III: Anything slightly larger than a county, up to State/Province/Prefecture Etc.

Type 0-IV: State up to continental (Only one continent, often a relatively uninhabited area if on the heavier end of the spectrum.)
06:02:57 AM Jul 12th 2012
Further to the above, I propose the creation of a new Division "Class 0/Local Inconvenience", perhaps covering everything up to the size of a single city. Multiple cities should perhaps become Class 1?

Death toll idea is good in theory, however it's inconsistent with the rest of the scale and may lead to petty arguments regarding continuities where death tolls aren't stated...
04:57:35 PM Oct 23rd 2010
  • (Class 3b) Subverted by Doctor Who (and the only category on this page that the show doesn't really fall into): the human race is explicitly stated, on several occasions (most recently "Utopia") to outlive the universe.

Where did it say that?
11:53:27 PM Oct 1st 2011
,,,In the episodes themselves.
07:25:48 AM Oct 2nd 2011
What episodes? They never said anything about outliving it in Utopia, or Last of the Time Lords.
11:28:26 AM Oct 20th 2011
That was the entire POINT of the Utopia they were trying to get to!
04:35:34 AM Oct 7th 2010
Anyone else think that Classes 0-4 need reworking? IMO, they are too restrictive and do not adequately reflect the potential range for sub-"planetary extinction/annihilation" disasters in fiction. Case in point: The Second Impact from Neon Genesis Evangelion. It is worldwide in extent, with practically all coastal areas being devastated, implications of massive outbreaks of natural disasters (tsunamis are confirmed; volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and others appear to be an implicit given), and subsequent wars and civil strife, altogther halving world human population from the pre-Second Impact estimate of 6 billion. Nevertheless, human civilization is not knocked back to the previous century, and by 2010 (i.e. pre-series) it actually has already surpassed Real Life (Humongous Mecha, 7th-generation AI-capable supercomputers, and too many other stuff to mention).

Why are we copying the "Eschatological Taxonomy" scale verbatim, anyway?
03:21:09 PM Sep 3rd 2010
Uhh, I'm gathering not all of humanity was wiped out in Final Fantasy VI. I haven't played it though, so I can't be certain.
08:09:10 AM Aug 22nd 2010
How many humans are still alive in Evangelion? Because it sounds closer to Type 1 to me. Doesn't biosphere extinction mean the ENTIRE biosphere?
02:35:48 PM Sep 14th 2010
edited by MarqFJA
In the original anime and manga, the global outbreak of natural disasters caused by Second Impact itself killed off about 1 billion people, with 2 billion more dying due to the post-Second Impact wars, civil strife, famines, etc. Given that the world population had reached 6 billion by 2000 in Real Life, I think it's safe to assert that the same estimate is true in NGE; i.e. Second Impact ultimately halved the NGE world population. And since humankind appears to recover enough that within 15 years they actually surpassed their original pre-2nd Impact tech level, I think it's more of a Class 0.5 than Class 1. Of course, it's heavily implied that the First Angel was actually aiming for a Class 3 (Human Extinction) or 4 (Biosphere Extinction).

However, it appears that Rebuild of Evangelion takes the original Second Impact Up to Eleven and has the entire aquatic biosphere killed off, Or So I Heard.
02:38:01 PM Jul 28th 2010
Is it REALLY fair to compare the oil spill to other disasters like...nuclear detonations and the like? Correct me if I'm wrong, but hundreds of thousands of people are not dying due to an oil spill, even a large one.
03:23:40 PM Jul 28th 2010
Removed it. It'll have an effect on wildlife, but the bodycount here is for sentient/sapient/whatever life.
07:58:22 PM Jul 10th 2010
edited by OldManHoOh
While going through the To be sorted into X-2 and upwards section, I came onto these

  • In the second Back to the Future movie, this is listed as a possible outcome of encountering your past or future self.

Can't tell what this means from context.

  • In Deep Storm, this is what would happen If the anti-matter bomb storage facility went off

  • In ''Raven Rise'', The Convergence is essentially all of the flume pathways and barriers between territories completely shattering in a spectacular manner, resulting in some Spatial and temporal clusterfuck this troper can't even begin to wrap their mind around

Can't tell from context which one these fit into. Also, This Troper.

  • Not Thrawn Zahn! Mara Jade ridicules the superweapons in Vision of the Future, too.

This is in context with the Star Wars Expanded Universe's sun destroying superweapons and a lampshade hanging, and I can't tell what it's trying to say. Like, at all.

  • The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect - Caroline and Lawrence kill god (essentially), which collapses cyberspace and wipes out countless simulated worlds, (possibly) the "static copies" of 429 real worlds harboring sentient alien life (depending on the method of storage), and every other human besides them. The story ends with an Adam and Eve Plot well under way, but real-world genetics would condemn humanity to extinction.

I have no fucking clue. Too much hard sci-fi and "what is a soul/makes us human" for me to gather.

    Live Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider Decade is clearly heading in this direction at the series' start, with its status being uncertain at the moment. Multiple worlds smashing into each other and breaking the dimensional boundaries is not going to end well.

Not Self-Explanatory. Too vague.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Not in any specific game, but a GURPS Space discussion in the USENET group rec.arts.frp.gurps back in the early 1990s posited that a 10-mile wide asteroid, accellerated to 0.9999c and targeted at a star would create a gamma ray burst that would annihilate all life in a 50-light-year radius.

WHAT? If...WHAT?!!!

  • In the play "Marisol" by Jose Rivera, this is in the process of happening as God goes senile. The moon has not been seen in months, apples are pure salt, locations no longer remain permanent, and men get pregnant. Meanwhile, angels prepare to battle against the apparently Alzheimer's-afflicted deity to keep the universe from being destroyed.

Look, I know it's 3am, but come on. Throw me a bone.

    Video Games 
  • Sephiroth's One-Winged Angel form in Final Fantasy VII has a move that seems to be one of these — a comet destroys Pluto, Saturn's rings, and Jupiter, then hits the sun, causing it to explode, engulfing Mercury, Venus, and Earth in the process. Subverted in that this has no long-term repercussions — your party can't die from it (the damage is always a percentage of your current HP), and the whole process can repeat itself several times over the course of the final battle. In other words, used entirely for coolness. That, and getting a sandwich.

It's a visual aid, and Gameplay and Story Segregation. I haven't played FFVII, but isn't the final battle supposed to be inside the planet?

No idea where this fits. It doesn't even mention the devastation, just that they "are" an Omnicidal Maniac.

  • [The Space Quest series' Star Crusher, moved the first half to Class X-2] [...] ...Interestingly, the Star Crusher design itself then underwent a sort of Heel Face Turn, repurposed as the Star Generator, capable of creating stars by igniting dead planetoids. (This, of course, sets it up to become the MacGuffin of the first game in the series.)

Is this really necessary?

  • This troper remembers doing this by accident in a very old game called Captain Blood. Apparently, your ship comes with a weapon that allows you to do this any time you want.
  • Live A Live Fight, Item, Pass, Armageddon

Neither are self-explanatory. Again, This Troper.

  • Raiden takes extra precautions to prevent anyone from threatening earthrealm in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

Sorry, no idea what "Earthrealm" is.
07:59:10 PM Jul 9th 2010
edited by
Does anyone else find X-2 to be rather useless? Ignore.
08:24:07 PM Jul 4th 2010
I thought about the new Class 6. Turns out, as I see it, it's really just a better description for Class 5. If a few microbes are left over, it's a Class 4.

Should we merge Classes 5 and 6, with the Class 6 description?
07:10:21 AM Jun 29th 2010
Is there really enough distinction between planetary desolation and extinction to separate them? The only case where the difference matters is when all that survives is bacteria, but that seems pretty rare compared to the other categories.
01:17:41 PM Jun 30th 2010
edited by LurkingGrue
It's a question of whether waiting billions of years or introducing extremophilic bacteria will be able to reintroduce life to the planet.

More at issue is whether a condition of only bacteria left is Class 4 or its own Class 5.
04:00:41 PM Jun 30th 2010
That doesn't answer the quest I asked. How often does the difference actually matter?
04:13:23 PM Jun 30th 2010
It matters primarily to terraformers. If you intend to clean out someone else's biosphere to make room for your own, and if your lifeforms are at all similar to theirs, then a Class 4 is exactly what you want — you've gotten rid of all the native stuff, now there's room for yours. A class 5 means that you can't just put in your stuff, since the lingering effects of the disaster will clear it out as well. Terraforming a planet that went through a Class 5 might be harder than terraforming a planet that never had life in the first place.

In general, if you intend the planet to be inhabited by anyone, you can't go past Class 4.
04:32:35 PM Jun 30th 2010
Speaking of terraformers, someone who sufficiently terraforms a planet that already has life on it can cause a class 4 from the natives' POV even if the planet never technically becomes unlivable.

I am thinking of an old novel (by someone named Dixon, I think) called The Genocides, which depicts a Class 4 in progress. Some aliens have seeded the earth with a fast-growing plant that crowds out all the native life, drinks all the water, and eventually covers the whole planet with itself. By the time the story starts, most of the native biosphere has already gone extinct. The aliens do send machines to speed the extinction of the native biosphere along. Now, the air remains breathable; and the plants do have a little nutritional value to humans, though they aren't exactly healthy. Anyhow, at the end of the book, there are precisely ten humans left on earth, and hope of the native biosphere replenishing itself has just been wiped out because a second crop of the alien plants has been seeded...

That might be a class 5 eventually, but it is definitely a class 4.

04:40:15 PM Jun 30th 2010
It may matter to terraformers, but that's not what matters to us. The question is whether it's a useful way to classify stories about apocalypses. At a minimum there should be a reasonable number of stories falling in both halves of the split category.

Also, no planet is unlivable for sufficiently advanced terraformers. Venus has had its entire surface melted, and is currently completely uninhabitable, but we know now how it could be terraformed, including ways of moving it further from the sun
08:43:28 PM Mar 12th 2011
Removing all plant life and most single-cellular life would dramatically change the atmosphere and living conditions of Earth so that it would soon be practically unrecognizable by today's standards. Any Class 5 is necessarily going to become a Class 6 is short order. Having a class for every subtly different shade of events is making this article clunky. This discussion seems to have petered out, but unless anyone objects I'm going to remove class 6.
07:09:00 PM Jun 27th 2010
Somewhat overkill, but how about more formulaic definitions for higher order apocalypses, e.g.
  • X for these three dimensions now (the universe)
  • X-X for that plus time or multiverses/alternate realities
  • X-X-X for all of time and all spaces (all of the above)
Can't really interfere with X though, as planetary destruction is too common and in other articles, stellar (X-2) is in some articles as well. Maybe doable though.
11:48:01 AM May 28th 2010
Changed line 94 from:
  • Jenova's landing 2000 years ago was a Class 2 to the Ancients/Cetra peoples that inhabited the Planet before the humans.
  • Jenova's landing 2000 years ago was a Class 2 to the Ancients/Cetra.

Word of God states that the Ancients were humans (and descendents of Final Fantasy X-2's Shinra), the ones called "Cetra" are humans who had not lost the ability to hear the voice of the planet.
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