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Crippling Overspecialization

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Let's hope he never gets jock itch. note 

"It's simple: Overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It's slow death."
Major Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell

Competitive Balance exists so that there is some symmetry between specific advantages and the Necessary Drawback. If someone can hit hard but is easily hurt, they are a Glass Cannon. If they are unstoppably strong but slow-moving, they are a Mighty Glacier. If they are incredibly fast but go down quickly when hit, they are a Fragile Speedster. A crippling overspecialization occurs when an obscenely powerful advantage makes a trade-off that limits how effective it is.

In some Real-Time Strategy games, unit types are often specialized beyond all reason. They often have only one weapon, effective against just one particular kind of enemy, and usually cannot defend themselves at all if their particular weapon is ineffective. The most prominent examples can be seen in this genre: explosives will deal low damage to infantrynote , while Anti-Aircraft cannons can't defend against ground units. This is usually a result of game balance. After all, if tanks are effective enough against other tanks and infantry, then why build anything else? Additionally, units in games are traditionally depicted with only one weapon. A few might have a second gun used for attacking enemy fliers, but that's about it.

Can result from a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors design scheme, from intensive Min-Maxing in a character build, or a case of Highly Specific Counterplay. People who do this for Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors are suffering from Poor, Predictable Rock. Damn You, Muscle Memory! may come into play, as attempts to diversify a skill set is rendered more difficult because you are leaning back on what is familiar and comfortable.

See also Anti-Air, Cumbersome Claws, and Strong Flesh, Weak Steel. Compare to An Adventurer Is You, where this is used to force players to work together. See also Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training for a characterization equivalent and Single-Task Robot for a robot equivalent. Severely Specialized Store is a comedic variation. Diminishing Returns for Balance is when a game forces this by having a combat build that invests everything into one aspect being less effective than a more well-rounded playstyle.

This trope shouldn't be confused for "having an Achilles' Heel," "not a Master of All" or "Can't Catch Up with the others." A crippling issue is exactly that, an explicit issue that prevents one from doing simple tasks that more general-purpose strategies don't struggle with.

The opposites of this trope are The Red Mage, Jack of All Stats, and Master of All. At the other extreme that loops right back is Master of None, where the character has no great specialization... but sucks at everything anyway.



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Alternative Title(s): Crippling Overspecialisation, Cripplingly Overspecialized


Goku vs. Caterpy

Goku's first opponent in the Otherworld Tournament is a giant caterpillar man, whose specialty is tickling his opponents into submission.

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Main / TickleTorture

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