Main The Worf Effect Discussion

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01:06:57 AM Apr 14th 2014
edited by
Newbie in need of reassurance. Isn't this trope badly squared right now?

It appears that there's little attention to the knowns and unknowns condition in examples at the moment. After a quick scan of Fate/stay night I thought there's not a single entry with an instance of Worf Effect. All servants are supposed to be powerful, power comes in different packages. E.g., sure, Berserker's informed strength doesn't get him through on more than one occasion, but is he really a known-to-the-player accomplished powerhouse before he is portrayed getting in a fight? No.
01:51:47 AM Apr 14th 2014
"Playing with" seems to dismiss such worries. Either it's a victim too, or, "Meh. Isn't nearly every 1-on-1 conflict about odds vs. outcome plays then?"
04:28:00 PM Jan 24th 2014
Here's a thing Real Life: Practically the entire reason the Mongol Empire is remembered as it is, an unstoppable horde, is this, they fought disparate subpar remaints of china, disparate tribes all the way to europe in favorable terrain to them, then fought the very weak nation of Hungary, they never successfully fought a major power.

And no, the small subsections of china were not major powers.
08:11:12 AM Jan 25th 2014
06:18:00 PM Feb 26th 2013
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, Glon the half-orc and Clover Firelight the halfling are the series whipping boy and girl, respectively, despite being exceptional fighters. (This also works verbally.)

Glon wasn't shown as particularly strong or skilled until long after he'd come to Black Mountain. Clover was considered an exceptional rogue, not fighter. Her Butt-Monkey status comes from constantly getting captured because someone else would blow her cover. Though I suppose "master rogue who keeps getting caught" counts for this trope's purposes.
06:33:17 AM Aug 30th 2012
Regarding Shepard and Kai Leng: At The Citadel, Kai Leng runs. At Thessia, he beats Shepard because he's got frikkin' gunship support.
05:47:14 PM Apr 2nd 2012
The Russo-Japanese War, in 1904 and 1905, really seems as if it would make a good example of this. Why is it that there are no real life examples for this trope?
08:57:28 PM Mar 6th 2012
In the article on the next series of Doctor Who, Moffat says the Daleks will not be included because they're the most readily defeatable enemies. So would they fall under the Worf Effect?
09:08:48 PM Mar 6th 2012
That sounds more like Villain Decay—a villain becoming less of a threat over time.
02:49:28 PM Oct 12th 2011
Sooo many justifying edits on this page, please stop adding them.
10:38:32 PM Jun 23rd 2011
edited by AP
I restored the film section. While some of those examples showed single wins, there were still a few clear examples of this trope at work. In fact, one example even included Worf himself.
05:52:18 PM Mar 19th 2011
Is this the idea behind "when you get into prison, find the biggest guy and knock him out so you'll be safe" ?
11:01:38 AM Nov 1st 2010
Took out "Rei's fatal loss to Raoh in Fist of the North Star was done to show off how much of a threat Raoh was compared to Kenshiro's previous adversaries." because it clearly violates the "series of defeats" rule. If someone more familiar with the series can point out Rei losing several fights like this, feel free to put it back.
02:16:05 PM Oct 26th 2010
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh, Mai loses almost every onscreen battle despite qualifying for various tournaments.

"When the Monster of the Week or the Big Bad shows up, it invariably picks up the toughest character among the heroes and hurls him across the room (or otherwise takes him out in one blow)""On the analytical side of things, it can be difficult to portray someone as being strong yet outclassed. If they give the villain too good of a fight, it makes the villain not look quite as powerful. If they give too poor of a showing, then they end up getting a trope named after them." Considering that Mai was one hard opponent and with one clear advantage by more of the fight in ALL her battles, she not qualifies.
10:33:41 AM Mar 25th 2010
Maybe there should be another trope for when A defeats X to demonstrate being Bad Ass but without an assumption X makes a habit of being so defeated?
06:52:47 AM Apr 29th 2010
edited by
I was thinking the same thing. The Worf Effect seems to me to apply to a character that has this happen often enough to ruin his Bad Ass image. Instances where the villian/hero offs some known Bad Ass once to demonstrate their badassness shouldn't be part of this.

An example of this is when DS 9 introduced the USS Odessey (identical to the Enterprise) and had it blown up by the Jemhadar just to show their badassness and so that the USS Defiant have a proper Bad Ass level on its introduction.

Early DBZ was littered with this. Characters would struggle to fight a Big Bad and then someone (usually goku) would show up and destroy the Big Bad to prove his baddassness (ie. Nappa, Ginyu force, Freeza).

Maybe we should call the New trope the 'Badass Test'. Any Big Bad that passes the 'Badass Test' would be a 'Certified Badass' (as apposed to a supposed Bad Ass that never seems to do anything).

Repeated application of a 'Badass Test' to a single character would then be The Worf Effect which could then lead to Badass Decay.
08:44:07 AM Jun 16th 2010
I think goku is the inverse of worf. possibly making a new trope in his name.
09:11:22 PM Dec 2nd 2010
Wouldn't the "loss to new Bad Ass" thing count as Jobbing?

Really, Jobbing is the lighter form of this trope. If you lose once (or once in awhile), you're jobbing. Losing consistently means that you suffer this trope.
10:33:48 PM Mar 28th 2017
edited by Imaginos1892
I may have instigated this trope. Majel Barrett was on a convention panel back in 1989 or so, and I stood up and asked her, "Why does Worf keep getting beat up?" I think this was during the second season, when he seemed to get stomped in every second or third episode.

Her answer was pretty much the trope: "To show how bad his opponent was."
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