Main Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards Discussion

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11:05:35 PM Jan 4th 2015
Pulled this for now:

  • In Kingdom of Loathing, this applies less to magic users (Mysticality classes) and more to rogues (Moxie classes). Because the Moxie stat determines your character's chance of dodging regular attacks, thieves may be the weakest characters offensively, but with high enough moxie, enemies can only damage you when they land a critical hit (about 1 in 11 chance).
    • Though it does apply to the other classes as well, in a "Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards, Half-Ass Thieves" manner. Mysticality classes are difficult to play at low level, with low hit points, lack of skill with weapons, and weak spells, but they dominate the high-level content, with massive damage and the ability to target elemental weaknesses. Muscle classes start off pretty decent and remain pretty decent all the way through. At high level, they don't do quite as much damage as Mysticality classes, but they're much more survivable due to massive HP and good defenses. Moxie classes are easy to play at low levels (because nobody can hit them), but are considered to be underpowered at high levels (though they still excel defensively, ranged weapons are weaker than melee weapons, and they have no high-damage attack skills or spells, so killing high-level monsters can take a while).

I take it that either KOL was once an example of the trope or that it's just not an example.
10:23:45 AM Apr 14th 2013
Not gonna let this get auto-deleted - it's the most realistically relevant part of the page.
    Real Life 
  • If humans are the Squishy Wizards of nature, then we are in a serious Linear Warriors Quadratic Wizards situation. A life-form can have awesome wings and talons, or deadly claws and fangs, or have super-swimming skills and scary teeth, or even be big and extremely muscular and terrifying...or it can be pathetic at all of the above with a giant brain and the potential to grow a bigger brain...and end up modifying almost everything around them into all kinds of eldritch forms, while eating every other animal as delicacies. Technology allowed us to rule over pretty much every other living creature on the planet with an iron fist while also allowing us to be capable of inventing even more novel forms of technology. Who knows where it will end?
    • Even better, soldiers have been kicking ass since the first wedge became the first knife...then this guy figured out how to flatten a city with a single bomb. Jerk Jocks have been attempting to drown nerds in toilets ever since; break 'em when they're young, or muscles will truly become obsolete!
    • Speaking of physicists, to quote Mass Effect 2, "Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son of a bitch in space." Throwing stuff really hard and counting on it not slowing down may be a warrior move, but it took a wizard to come up with it (and more wizards to implement it).
  • Education. The more you get, the longer you wait to start your career, and the more you'll be living on Ramen Noodles. But the earning power of a bachelor's degree is considerably higher than a high school diploma, and a Phd makes a bachelor's look like nothing. In comparison, you could run around and lift weights, hoping for a sports scholarship or to join the military, but even if you succeed, that's a capability that will decrease in value as time passes and your body shows its fragility and breaks down, then people may just forget about you. And in the military, you'll never make officer unless you finish your education, meaning once you get hurt badly enough it's the trailer park for you. Made even worse by the invention of automation, which made slavery obsolete, but is now making almost all manual labour more dependent on thorough education about using machines instead of simple physical strength.
    • Honestly, these days, this is more of an 'in theory' thing, depending on where you live... Unless you really are going for the best of the best and you're going into a very specific career, you can come out of university at 20-something and be getting the same jobs (or, well, not getting any jobs) as someone who dropped out of high school.
    • It bears noting, though, that that only applies for professional degrees that have high demand; a business, engineering, or hard science degree will make oodles of cash, while degrees in Liberal Arts, Beer Bongs or Weed Appreciation are less likely. That's leaving aside how many degrees are only useful in academia and the arts.
      • Of the three you listed, only engineering is a professional degree. Among the hard sciences, biology and chemistry have plenty of jobs but physics is more academic and mathematics is mostly academic unless you apply in it something like statistics or actuarial science. Business at the undergrad level is no more useful than English. Also, some of the joke degrees are surprisingly profitable. Turns out baskets made using techniques from underwater basket weaving sell for a high price, probably because so few people looking to make money think of taking that class. Also, oodles of cash is relative. It's rare for any career path to make you a millionaire, but you can live comfortably with many jobs like engineer, computer scientist, medical doctor, psychologist, nurse, lawyer, actuary, etc.
      • Income comes from work and the demand for your profession, not education. You may have no education at all but if you are intelligent and learn some professional skills you can make heaps of cash by delivering services that are in high demand, therefore high value, in a particular area. Formal education is irrelevant but the trope is still valid: most such professions are based on knowledge, not physical prowess.
    • Inverted in some Canadian communities. The Free Health Care allowed for a large number of doctors to obtain work...but now there's too many doctors. Currently the most profitable jobs in Canada are manual-labor type jobs, like construction work.
      • And the best way to make sure you're not staying on the bottom of the totem pole, or the cleanup crew is to take an engineering course or three, and a management course or two, bringing the trope full-circle.
  • This happens a lot in Policy (CX) debate: Novice year, kritikal debaters are almost unstoppable. The next year, they're only ahead by a bit, and after that, normal Policy debaters tend to be far ahead because they generally do much more research and are able to easily take out the Heidegger/Nietzche/Virilio kritik that the kritikal debaters have read without change for the past few years.
03:55:56 PM Mar 27th 2013
Can we give the Dungeons & Dragons section it's own folder? It's getting rather long. Plus it's probably the Trope Namer.
12:00:14 AM Jul 17th 2011
D&D spellcasters can make magic items for the rest of the party. At the expense of gold and exp. But gold grows on trees in D&D, if you're an adventurer. A high level group has more gold than the entire nation. Of course it has to, as everything more useful than a torch costs something like, at least 1000 per stat bonus value (or equivalent), but gold grows on trees (or monsters poop it out)... and the higher level they are, the more capable they are of leaving a crater in what used to be a thriving port city... so they can adventure more and get more gold, to spend on loot to get more powerful... singularity ensues.
05:24:35 PM Jan 22nd 2012
Everyone else is growing more powerful from experience, while the wizard is making them more powerful with his magic items and 'not growing stronger' because he's burning experience.
11:30:29 AM Feb 1st 2014
Except since he's part of the fight he gets utterly ridicoulous experience every fight due to being underleveled.
12:22:56 PM Apr 10th 2011
edited by AOTKorby
Just a note, but Dark Heresy is mentioned twice in the examples with conflicting explanations. One says that it averts it while the other says that it plays the trope perfectly straight. I don't know anything about the subject, so I don't feel comfortable trying to merge the two into a coherent example, but I felt I should bring it up.
06:14:35 PM Oct 19th 2011
Dark Heresy kinda averts it and kinda plays it straight.

A high level psyker can kill almost anything, but with the corresponding chance of having a truly awful effect. A bad enough roll TK Os the ENTIRE PLANET. This is not an exaggeration. The ENTIRE PLANET. The result is that cautious players have been known to kill their own buddies as soon as they think they're growing too powerful. Paranoid players have been known to do this instead of shaking hands when they're introduced.
01:40:06 PM Dec 11th 2010
Does anyone else think the introduction could use a tad bit of work? The third reason could use a bit of a revize, since it ruins the tone of the rest of the article, to the point someone had to add their own little "yes, I would like that!" into the article.
08:27:38 PM Nov 5th 2010
Possible new additional entry for Tabletop Entries:

Played mostly straight in Shadowrun 2nd edition. Through manipulation of the priority system, a Street Samurai, Mercenary, or physical character can start with an enough amount of resources, allowing him to buy idiotic amounts of cyberware/guns/pointed sticks of various sorts and still have money to burn. While the resources were important for Mages and adepts as well, the inability to by cyberware of almost and lack of skill points saw them with a pistol and a basic skillpoint. However, Street Samurai-style characters would hit a 'wall' in that they could only buy so much cyberware—once they hit the essence limit, they were effectively done. Meanwhile, Mages just kept on growing...
04:18:16 AM Oct 22nd 2010
edited by TheNifty
Anyone think we should change the page quote? it's not only incomprehensible if you aren't familiar with pokemon (which doesn't have any relation to this trope), but a fairly crappy way to explain it. I like this one from the Quotes page:

Now if you don't mind I'm somewhat preocccuiped telling the laws of physics to shut up and sit down. Varrsuvius, Order of the Stick

But really, anything else would be better.
05:22:50 PM Jan 22nd 2012
Simply not having the quote would be better.

Especially since the quote doesn't even come close to getting the point across. It's not "Magikarp evolves into Mewtwo" so much as "Magikarp finally learns an attack to make it as good as Caterpie."
08:10:52 PM Aug 20th 2010
soulution: pick a rogue character. Cant do much with a poisoned knife inserted into the base of your skull, warrior or mage. The super knife that you just stole from the store your broke into at night after pickpocketing the shopkeeper.
12:55:15 PM Jan 15th 2011
05:47:30 PM Jun 28th 2010
I think that "quadratic wizards" does a horrible job of describing the power of a wizard in relation to their level. If the power of wizards was actually like a quadratic graph, wizards would gain a massive amount of power when they got to level two, then gain less and less power per level until a certain point where their power would start dropping, losing more and more power with every level. The word you're looking for is exponential.
08:29:46 AM Jul 1st 2010
"quadratic" is a description of any function with the form f(x)= ax + bx + c, where a is <>0. This means the "power function" for wizards may actually be something like y=0.1x - which doesn't surpass the power level of '1' until x=4. "Quadratic" and "Linear" is the growth of the function. It means that at an infinite point, quadratic functions will return higher values than linear ones.
06:09:41 AM Jul 6th 2010
Yes, but sentences like "Much like the trope name references ... a wizard's power is exponential" are grating with the "quadratic" in the title. Just as quadratic functions are different from linear ones, exponential functions are different from either.
07:27:44 AM Jul 6th 2010
However, I would say that quadratic describes their increasing power better than exponential does, because whilst quadratic means "if you double the level, you quadruple the power", exponential means "if you increase the level by some constant amount, you double the power". If their power is exponential, then if increasing from level 1 to level 2 doubles your power, then increasing from level 25 to level 26 also doubles your power.
04:41:56 PM Jul 7th 2010
No offense, but have the above posters ever taken high school mathematics? This is a quadratic graph, and this is an exponential graph.
06:35:03 PM Jul 22nd 2010
I think that either the name of the trope should be changed to "Linear Warriors Exponential Wizards" or every reference to exponential in the article should be changed to quadratic. As several people have mentioned, the two are mutually exclusive.

Personally, I side with quadratic. The way to envision the power of a warrior can be y=x. Eg, . The way to envision the power of a wizard could be y=(x^2)/2. Eg,^2)/2+from+0+to+2 .
09:14:19 PM Jul 22nd 2010
Look, the trope name is rather misleading, because all this trope implies is that, at high levels, wizard classes grow at a faster rate than melee classes, and thus that they will inevitably eventually become more powerful, even though they may well start off weaker. The exact formula for their growth depends on the series. So, whilst you're right that exponential growth is very different from quadratic growth (substantially more so that quadratic growth is from linear growth, in fact), both fit into this trope.

Having said that, it's probably sensible that the article itself should be self-consistent in terminology, even if the examples don't have to be.
06:47:03 PM Apr 28th 2011
I don't see why people think wizards are powerful in these games. Compared with fighters, clerics, or kung-fu monks, they're like joke characters, with maybe a spell or two in the top tiers to turn them into lethal joke characters.

[[Exponential Potential]]? Yeah, they gain a lot of versatility, but the difficulty in choosing your options is itself a drawback.
12:36:19 PM Oct 19th 2011
Are you kidding me?

9th level spells in D&D contains a spell that instantly entombs a single target beneath the earth for the rest of time (until a wizard fetches him out). A high level fighter can... hit a lot.

Like... instantly entomb a target or two FOREVER, or whack things with an axe? You might say the axe is more consistent, but when the fighter is 50 ft under the ground, consistency is not a virtue.
03:55:19 PM Mar 27th 2013
In D&D3.5, exponential is probably a better description than quadratic, given the power of 9th level spells.
04:45:56 PM Mar 27th 2013
If you want to change it to exponential, it's fine as long as you maintain the general point; magic or superpowered characters tend to become absurdly powerful compared to badass normals at a similar stage. It seems natural that the power levels just become more rapid
08:05:15 PM Mar 31st 2013
@storyyeller 9th level spells aside, growth is exponential vs linear. A fighter gets +1 to hit per level and that's it. Yes, there are feats but they don't really modify the power progression curve a lot, and extra attacks are small spikes. Linear is a much better approximation of how a fighter progresses.

Now, take wizards - each level their spells increase in potency. Or most of them, at least - some get +1 to hit (or are harder to be resisted - same thing), others get +1 damage, others still get +1 die of damage. Also, they get NEW spells to their spellbook. So they grow in both power AND flexibility. Moreover, while a fighter would get +1 damage, wizards get one more spell and stronger spells. Also, fighters get feats that mostly improve him with a flat bonus, the wizards get metamagic which changes the fundamental math of their abilities, so while a fighter just adds X to the attacks, a wizard multiplies. Consider the following - a fighter obtains a +10 bonus to damage - that stays true whatever damage the fighter does be it 1d4 or 3d20. At the same time, a wizard who Empowers a spell, gets to multiply the damage by 1.5 - if the spell gets another die of damage (which is likely to happen on level up), the bonus now is greater.

And now we can also consider the power of the spells themselves. Let's start with reach - spells can affect every aspect of the game - exploration, research, social, combat and so on. Fighters can only reliably affect combat, thus wizards get more and more control of everything, while fighters only refine in one direction. And then there is the actual power, too.

Short version, wizards get more power both vertically (better effects) and horizontally (more effects) and with time they increase the rates of progression of both, too. Fighters only grow vertically and at a rather static pace.
10:33:12 AM Aug 17th 2013
I agree. Quadratic describes a parabola, so a better name would be Linear Warriors, Exponential Wizards.
12:28:40 PM Feb 1st 2014
But given the Grandfather Clause applies here and just how many times we've used this trope, it'll be more effort thant it's worth to change it.
02:50:21 PM Feb 1st 2014
To me, "quadratic" already implies "faster than linear", also I doubt that we ought to be stingy about mathematics here. Plus, it seems to be fairly popular with 11500+ inbounds. I would not support a rename.
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