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Master of None

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"A Jack of All Trades, who is incompetent in all of them."
Black Mage (on Red Mage), 8-Bit Theater

One of the classic and most common character types in gaming is the generalist, a jack-of-all-trades with capabilities in all fields and no particular weaknesses. But specialization has advantages, so it takes a deft touch to ensure that the generalist has reasons for being used.

Sometimes it simply doesn't work. They aren't completely useless at anything they try, but they're not good at it either. They have no particular weakness or vulnerability that can be easily exploited, but that's offset by the fact that they're kinda vulnerable to everything. That character is a Master of None.

Master of None is the dark side of the Jack of All Stats, where their weakness is the fact that they have no strengths that they can capitalize on. The Magic Knight is easy to make into this, if the developers want to encourage specialisation in magic or physical combat. If the Master of None is part of a band or Multiform Balance, it often has some useful ability (for example, Super Not-Drowning Skills) that prevent them from becoming a Joke Character, it's just that the ability isn't very versatile.

However, there may be some incentive to use the Master of None in circumstances over the Jack-of-All-Stats beyond the merits of the characters themselves. In an RPG setting, they're the easiest to mold and grow, and can grow themselves with less effort than the other classes or origins because they might have started in Level 1; therefore, they're more useful for experienced players who know how to spend their skill points more wisely. In a Metagame setting, the Master of None has a niche in their surprise factor and lack of predictability: not only will opponents be caught off guard at seeing an unfamiliar character, but they may not even be aware of - let alone predict or prepare for - what they can pull from their arsenal of equally viable options. While an AI opponent would be indifferent towards which playable characters are used beyond what strategies to use against them, the psychological effect a Master of None can have on human opponents may be enough to turn the tides of a match.

The difference between why a Jack-of-All-Stats is useful in one game, but becomes a Master of None in another is often tied to how large the party or units are in the game. In a game with only one character, the character needs the capacity to handle every situation themselves, and in static parties with no ability to switch characters out, the ability to just be very good in one situation means being The Load in other situations. In a strategic RPG with dozens of characters you can swap out any time you need a specialist, however, there's no reason to swap in anything but the specialist best at this particular specialization. If you can only send 4 characters in, any character 5th place or worse in your roster in that situation is a sub-optimal choice. Even if there's a character that can do nothing but use poison spells that deal more damage than normal, that's a specialization that makes them stand out from the faceless crowds sometimes. If they're not in the top spots in any situation... why ever use them at all? Some games - especially much harder ones - answer this by requiring the player to deploy the Master of None, so that they'll be using them anyway if they don't want them to be The Load.

Compare a Vanilla Unit, who is limited to doing things that don't require special abilities, and can fall victim to this trope if they have evenly distributed stats that are too weak to make up it. Also compare with Crippling Overspecialization at the other extreme, for the character who's great at one thing, but horrible at everything else. Contrast with the Master of All, who is very good at everything. Occasionally a Master of None is made intentionally as part of Multiform Balance, as a stepping stone to stronger forms, including a true Jack-of-All-Stats. See also Giftedly Bad.

For the novel, see here. For the Netflix series, see here.

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Gaming Examples:

    Eastern RPG 
  • Chest: Capulet starts at a fairly high level, but his stat growth is mediocre compared to the rest of the party and he doesn't excel at any combat role.
  • Faize of Star Ocean: The Last Hope. He starts off well enough, being your first offensive symbologist and having some melee skills, but he's soon overshadowed by Lymle and Myuria in attack symbology while Edge and Meracle outclass him physically. The Bradygames strategy guide actually recommends leaving him out of the party for your first playthrough due to how hard it is for him to pull his weight since he later leaves about 5/8ths of the way through the game. Even if you keep him for a second playthrough when he has the opportunity to learn much more useful and unique symbols, he's still shortchanged in the weapons department, with his best being a coliseum prize until you get to the second bonus dungeon.
  • Kratos/Zelos in Tales of Symphonia remain somewhat competent melee combatants throughout the game thanks to having the stats for it and ability to pull off a full combo, but they quickly lose in spell casting because they stop at level 2 spells (opposed to the exponentially more powerful level 3 spells Genis has) and casting does not synergize well with melee due to the rather lengthy start up times. They have decent supplemental healing though, thanks to it being based on percentage instead of fixed numbers.
  • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard: Two of the classes suffer from this. Thankfully, the game's remake makes major improvements to both classes' abilities to make them viable choices for your party.
    • War Magi can use healing and support magic as well as sword-based attack skills, but their healing doesn't stack up next to that of a dedicated Medic (though since they can use swords instead of staves, they are significantly faster, at least), their buffs are less useful than a Troubadour's, and their attack skills are woefully situational (stunning an enemy afflicted with Sleep?). Add to that their overall unimpressive stats and there's no real reason to use a War Magus over one of the specialists.
    • Beasts have a variety of defensive abilities and strong offense, but due to a number of flaws with their skills as well as a lack of decent armor they usually end up being more of a liability than anything else.
  • Shining Force: Arthur starts out as a Master of None, at least until his Magikarp Power kicks in. He's a fighter with some spells, but for the first several levels after getting him, he dies in two hits, barely does more than Scratch Damage, and has only level 1 spells.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Red Mages in most games after the first tend to lose effectiveness very quickly. While they can use swords as well as cast both black and white magic, the spells they learn are never as powerful as dedicated black or white mages, their armor level is just okay, and their damage output is outdone by multiple other classes. And since Final Fantasy III, games that use a job system also typically give you the ability to switch to different ones, meaning the Red Mage's advantage of being potentially useful in any situation doesn't really matter when you can simply switch to something actively specialized for that situation. Final Fantasy V even taunts you by not only making the Red Mage's skills more expensive to learn than their counterparts, but by making their final ability (which is the only reason to be training a Red Mage) be the most expensive in the game at 999 Battle Points.
    • In the NES version of Final Fantasy, the Thief has durability and damage output a slight step above the White and Black Mages, but without the casting prowess that makes those jobs viable. They also lack stealing, the main Thief utility in later games, which gives them even less to offer. In theory, they can escape from battles more effectively, but running is infamously buggy in the NES version, so while this can be used, it isn't reliable. On paper, their class change to Ninja should boost them up by giving them better weapon and armor selection and black magic, but the low-level offensive black magic the Ninja can learn is useless at that point, while the buffs are also bugged and don't work. By contrast, the Knight gains white magic, including healing spells and a buff spell that actually works in RUSE, the Master's damage output has ascended to absurdity, the Red Wizard already fills the role of a tanky black magic user that can also use white magic, and the Black Wizard can throw around more magic than the Ninja can ever dream of. What it does have going for it is that, at least by the Ninja class upgrade, is its high agility stat, allowing it to score multiple hits, and being able to use any weapon in the game. The remakes also helped the Ninja out a lot by fixing its skills to actually function, as well as the Temper and Saber spells, which as a bonus, became available as castables from late-game weapons, allowing them to buff their damage to extremely high if not game-breaking levels.
    • The end-game Sage class in Final Fantasy III was the best casting job in the original NES game, boasting high stats and the ability to use all types of magic. In the 3D remake, however, it's considered this since it has lower intellect and mind stats than the Devout and Magus (upgraded White and Black mages respectively), can't use the powerful high-summons, and has fewer casts of level 6-8 magic, which is what you'll mostly be using in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon right after you get the last set of jobs.
    • Final Fantasy VI:
      • Gogo can use almost any ability worth using in the game, and the player can customize which abilities he uses. However, all of Gogo's base stats are low, and unlike most of the other characters, he can't raise them because he can't equip Espers. So Gogo can do anything, but no matter what you have him do, he'll be bad at it.
      • Setzer. He's not as strong as Sabin and Edgar, not as magically proficient as Relm and Strago, and worse all around than fellow Jack of All Stats characters Terra and Celes. He shares his ability to attack with full damage from the back row with a lot of Locke's best weapons, but without Locke's speed. Setzer's Slot ability has a wide range of useful (and non-useful) effects, but being luck-based and with poor odds reduces its utility. The accessory that turns Setzer's Slot into GP Rain has the potential to do unblockable damage, but it costs money every time it's used, and you'd need to spend tens of thousands of gil to reach even halfway-decent damage, all in one of the few games in the Final Fantasy series where money isn't useless past the halfway mark. In all cases, anything Setzer can do is something that someone else could do better, and without his drawbacks.
    • Kimahri Ronso of Final Fantasy X suffers from this. His section of the sphere grid is rather small, forcing him to go through someone else's to remain useful. This was meant to allow the player to use him as a flexible character. The problem is that Kimahri doesn't do anything better than anyone else. His stats are just okay in everything (even when sent to someone else's section of the Sphere Grid), and his piercing spears pale in comparison to Auron's katanas, which do the same thing but cause more damage. The Lancet ability drains HP and MP from enemies, but it's so weak that it'll probably be used only to learn enemy abilities and nothing else. Not even Kimahri's Overdrives are all that special; while he can use enemy attacks, the ones that do damage all only hit once, leaving him far behind everyone else's Overdrives as early as the mid-game. Even Rikku's Overdrives are far more useful than anything Kimahri can do since Rikku's Mix Overdrive has all sorts of Game-Breaker effects when applied correctly. On top of all this, expanding into other areas of the Sphere Grid requires Level 3 Key Spheres, which are incredibly rare, discouraging most players from considering this method. In short, Kimahri's flexibility is unnecessary and leaves him without a proper place in the party.
  • Pokémon:
    • Smeargle from can learn any move in the game, but their poor stats mean that there's no point in teaching them 96 percent of them unless you're using them for breeding purposes. Granted, there are a few combinations of moves they can get that no other Pokémon can, but outside of those combinations, you're better off just using a more specialized Pokémon.
    • There are several Pokémon that aren't useful as their stats are often too rounded (leaving them without enough speed to go first, without enough bulk to survive many hits, and not enough attack to break through walls), but Glalie is a good one. Apart from awful typing, all of its stats are an average 80. Other Pokémon with equal, below-average numbers in all stats are Ditto (48 each), Spinda (60), Castform (70), and Phione (80).
    • Prior to obtaining a Mega Evolution, Pidgeot was this. Its stats were well-rounded, but not high enough to be particularly good at anything, its typing was pretty generic, and it didn't have any real gimmicks to save it. Worse, its typing meant that it was under constant competition from more specialized Normal/Flying-types. Even in the first generation, it was surpassed by Glass Cannon Pokémon Fearow and Dodrio, and the second added Stone Wall Noctowl, the third gave Fragile Speedster Swellow, the fourth revealed an even better Glass Cannon in Staraptor, and so on. Mega Pidgeot, though, finally broke out of this by moving its stat boosts to Speed and Special Attack, and providing it a niche in a 100% accurate Hurricane.
    • Many of Gen 1/Gen 2 Pokémon have fell into this as newer Pokémon have higher and more specialized stat spreads, and what used to be a Jack of All Stats in Gen 1 is this trope nowadays. Poliwrath for example has balanced stats, but none of them are particularly impressive, with it's highest stat being a Defense of 95.
    • Pokémon with decent mixed attacking stats may seem like capable Glass Cannons, but they usually end up closer to this trope. Running a mixed set in competitive play can sometimes work, but Pokémon need to have Effort Values (EVs) invested into their stats to make them high enough to be useful, and you only get enough to max out 2 stats and increase a third by a little bit. Pokémon with only one high attack stat can just invest into that stat, then pump the rest of the points into speed or bulk depending on their stat spread. Mixed attackers, though, have the unenviable choice of either fully investing into both attack stats at the cost of being too slow or too fragile, investing into one offensive stat and wasting the other, or splitting their EVs between both offensive stats and ending up subpar on both sides. This especially applies to Pokémon which are slow and frail on top of having mixed attacking stats, such as Cacturne, Seviper, and Scovillain.
  • The Shin Megami Tensei franchise usually offers some demons, characters, and Personas that have perfectly balanced builds. These tend to be much poorer choices of party members than characters who specialize in Strength or Magic, as such balanced characters can't dish out enough damage per turn or carry enough MP to be a worthy asset.
    • Ken in Persona 3 is considered one of the worst party members for this exact reason: He's got well-rounded stats and Lighting and Pierce skills, but he lacks boosting passives or the adequate stats to make them shine in comparison to your damage dealers. He learns healing skills, albeit a little later than Yukari does, and although he can take hits a little better than Yukari, he doesn't have as much MP as she does. While Ken does learn Light based One-Hit Kill skills which nobody else does, he doesn't have their multi-target variants, and they're worthless in boss fights.
    • Once again, Ken in Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth suffers from this trope. His unique skill lets his Link skills strengthen with each Link follow-up, but unlike the P3P Heroine he only goes as far as Double Link to support it. His one innate Link skill is Psystrike Link, though he's not as adept with Psy damage since Haru's taken the Psy specialist role. He's also lost the Bless specialist role to Akechi and his one Bless-based skill is the inconsistent Mahama, and he only learns single-target healing so he can't keep up with Morgana, Yukiko, or Yukari. He also has some situational physical skills but lacks the Strength to make them shine. The Skill Card and Sub-Persona systems can remedy his shortcomings, but the number of superfluous skills he learns is a bit jarring.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Yangus in Dragon Quest VIII looks like he should be a Mighty Glacier, with a build that suggests Stout Strength and an axe-wielder. He's certainly slow enough, but his damage output is average at best, and pales next to Jessica's spells and whips, Angelo's bows and arrows, and the Hero's swords or spears. He can get a few healing spells if you put points into Humanity, but his healing potential is limited by a small MP pool, and unlike the Hero and Angelo he never gets any way to regain magic points or mitigate casting costs. He can wear some of the best armor in the game and has a massive HP pool, which qualifies him as a Stone Wall, but since there's no way for him to Draw Aggro he can't really tank for squishier party members. His Axe skills will eventually give him an attack which is a guaranteed critical if it hits, and since criticals in this game ignore defense, it's particularly useful against late-game bosses, but it misses more often than it hits, so it's too unreliable to use in most cases. Early in the game he's useful in boss fights as a debuffer, although Jessica can do that as well or better. In the late game, he's mostly useful to hold on to a Sage's Stone, Rune Staff, Timbrel of Tension and Resurrection Staff and act as a secondary buffer and healer, not so much because he's particularly good at it, but because he's the only party member with nothing better to do.
    • Dragon Quest II has the Prince of Cannock, a Magic Knight eclipsed in magic by the Princess of Moonbrooke with a scant few unique cleric spells, and physically and equipmet-wise by the Prince of Lorasia.
    • Dragon Quest III: Merchants lack the Warriors' sky-high stats, but aren't quite as slow as one.
    • The concept is referenced in typical punny fashion in Dragon Quest IX: one of the breezes in the game's Hurricane of Puns is Abbot Jack of Alltrades Abbey, who consumes a Fygg and becomes the "Master of Nu'un".
    • Rab in Dragon Quest XI can deal physical damage with claws, but his strength is weak. He can heal, but his heal stat is weak compared to the healer. He has some buffs, but not nearly as many buffs as the healer. He has a lot of debuffs, but debuff success rate is dependent on the magic damage stat, which is not nearly as high as the black mage in the party, who also has a lot of debuffs. He has a lot damage spells, but once again his magic damage stat is not as high as the black mage. If you feed him a lot of stat seeds he has the potential to be the most versatile character in the game, but in general anything he can do another character can do better.
  • The player's ultimate goal in Rakenzarn Tales Version 1-3 is to turn Kyuu, the main character, into a Master of All. His unique class, the Arxus Rogue, is capable of learning plenty of types of physical and magical moves and wield a huge variety of weapons. However, because he's not a real fighter and suffers from Empty Levels and Non-Standard Skill Learning, a poorly handled training will turn him into this trope instead.
    • In Version 4.1.1., this is moved to Kyros Tazanuki. While he's a more capable fighter than Kyuu, Kyros has no actual training so he has little to no skills.
  • Hugh of Phantasy Star II is unfortunately a master in an area which nearly every other party member is at least competent in, as his biologic-affecting techniques aren't that much more useful than regular techniques or even regular attacks, and the regular techniques he learns never reach their final level of power.
  • Dark Souls's Self-Imposed Challenge, the Deprived class, starts with no armor and an extremely shoddy weapon and shield and has 11 in all of its stats, meaning that while it's not bad at anything to start out with, it's not particularly good at anything either, and the player will have to grind their stats up a bit before they can really be effective.
    • Dark Souls 3 changes how Pyromancy works, making it require both Intelligence and Faith. In the early game especially, the Pyromancer will need to balance several stats, more than any other class. Than again, PvE-wise pyromancy is by far the most effective scholl of magic for the most of the game, so...
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • Artoria Pendragon was designed to be an all-rounder with a mix of skills to let her fit on any team, but poor synergy between her skills and lack of power in those skills left her mediocre all-around for much of the game's lifespan. She has a decently damaging multi-target Noble Phantasm in Excalibur and a skill to boost it up... but her Attack is kind of low for her rarity, and she didn't have a way to charge it up aside from her Arts cards. She had Intuition to give herself critical stars... but her deck has only one Quick card, so she doesn't build stars much, and the skill is far too little to compete with a dedicated Quick user. And she has Charisma to boost up her allies... but not to a significant amount, especially not compared to dedicated buffers. On top of that, she's a five-star, the rarest type; compared to four-star Sabers like Artoria Alter (has a more damaging Noble Phantasm and comparable attack) or Lancelot (has two skills that not only boost his critical stars but also his critical damage), she ends up coming up short, much less other five-stars. She ended up eventually getting Intuition upgraded into the much better Radiant Road EX, which gave her a bit more of a focus as a farmer by allowing her to use Excalibur to drop a wave quickly, and Mana Burst was upgraded to Dragon Reactor Core B, making her far more effective at pure damage as a Buster-chainer, more or less completely averting this.
    • Siegfried at launch suffered from this. It seemed like the designers of his abilities and Noble Phantasm wanted him to be an offensive monster, while the designers of his stat spread wanted him to be an impregnable tank. The result was a Servant with extremely high HP but barely any significant defensive or survival skills besides a rather paltry self-heal, and abilities that served to boost his pathetic offense to the point that he might be able to scratch people with Balmung. He also had a focus on killing dragons, but the vast majority of dragons are Rider-class, meaning he doesn't get type advantage over them and often ends up outdone in his focus by every Assassin in the game. Later updates had to provide him with two additional skills and a buff to his Noble Phantasm.
    • Geronimo has three skills: one to boost his Quick cards, one to boost his Buster cards, and one to boost his Arts cards, along with a balanced deck. In theory, this means he should be able to pull off any strategy. Unfortunately, two of these three are wasted on him (he has only one Quick card, so the first is useless, and he takes a flat damage penalty due to being a Caster, so the second isn't much better). As a result, he ends up relying on his Arts boost most of the time, which comes out as mediocre when many characters, especially other Casters, actually specialize in making use of Arts cards and have multiple skills to boost Arts or decks with three Arts cards to Geronimo's two.
    • Boudica. The Rider class is meant to be a Critical Hit Class, and Boudica has a Quick-and-Arts focused deck to generate stars. Unfortunately, she also has a Stone Wall-style stat layout and terrible offense even for her rarity, so mostly she just sucks up all those stars for herself and then does three crits that barely scratch the enemy. This defensive focus would have potential, especially combined with her Battle Continuation to survive hits that'd kill her... except that she's in competition with Georgios, who is also a tanky Rider with Battle Continuation, but he has a self-heal, a defense increase that also forces enemies to target him, the ability to do some damage through Ascalon, and he's a whole star rating lower. Like Siegfried, she has a focus on killing a specific enemy type (Romans), but while dragons are semi-common and Lancer dragons do appear occasionally, Roman enemies are pretty rare and only one of them (Summer Nero) is a caster, so it just boosts her damage from "awful" to "still bad." Finally, her Noble Phantasm is a party-wide defense buff which also increases attack when upgraded, which is similar to Mash's Lord Camelot... except Mash is better than Boudica in every way, and despite being a star rating higher at full power, she has 0 cost, so Boudica is essentially a budget version of someone she's more expensive than. Things changed after the release of Romulus=Quirinus (a character with the ability to inflict "Roman" as a status effect), and thanks to Mash getting a nerf in the second arc of the game, Boudica is now viewed more favorably than in the game's initial launch.
    • Emiya is another who thankfully got buffed out of this. His main problem came down to the fact that he had a Buster-type NP, when his main skill and deck were designed to make use of Arts cards. This made it impossible for him to match it with his deck and Brave Chain, or use his boosting skill Magecraft on it, meaning his damage output was bad. Furthering the problem was his Skill, Clairvoyance, which boosted up critical star generation: would be useful if he had a Quick deck with good hitcounts, but he doesn't, so it just raised his star generation from "awful" to "still not great." Thankfully, Clairvoyance got turned into Hawkeye (which more than doubled its star generation and added a crit boost on top) and Magecraft got turned into Projection Magecraft (which turned from just boosting Arts to boosting all card types), which turned him into a fairly effective Critical Hit Class whose abilities finally synergized with each other. Another much more recent upgrade further upgrades Projection Magecraft to Trace On, which allows him to switch his NP card's type to Arts, which only further synergizes with his kit as he can now match said NP with his Arts based deck, on top of gaining access to top-tier Arts supports such as Caster Altria.
  • Julette of Maglam Lord has the unique distinction of being able to access almost all the elements and weapon mastery skills in the game... at the cost of being unable to use their most powerful versions and having less than stellar raw power compared to the more specialized party members.

    Fighting Game 
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Mario in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, normally the Jack of All Stats, fell into this category. Power Creep from Melee to Brawl was not kind to him, leaving him with ungainly speed and mobility, above-average weight counterbalanced by susceptibility to chain-grabs and an unimpressive recovery, and a whole lot of moves that, on top of puny reach, were too strong to lead into combos and too weak to finish an opponent off. The following game gave him a number of buffs that let him find a proper niche.
    • The Mii Swordfighter, introduced in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, has been considered this in both games they are featured in. They have a disjoint, but it's one of the shortest in the game; they have projectiles, but they are weak and are easy to counterplay; they have basic combos, but few strings or follow-ups outside of them. The end result is a character who can do lots of things, even in areas that other swordfighters are lacking in (like projectile reflection), but will almost always be inferior to more specialized fighters, even other swordfighters.
    • Ivysaur, one of the Pokémon Trainer's Pokémon in Brawl, is also considered this. Ivysaur was intended to be in the middle with Squirtle being a Fragile Speedster, and Charizard being a Mighty Glacier. Problem was, it was closer to this trope. Ivysaur doesn't hit anywhere near as hard as Charizard, and it lacks Squirtle's comboing abilities. It being heavier than Squirtle is counterbalanced by the fact that it has an atrocious recovery and air game, making it comparatively easy to KO, and speed and maneuverability on the ground and in the air is abysmal compared to Charizard. Worst of all, the game attempted to implement a form of the original game's Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, but while plant-based moves to take down Squirtle and water-based moves to take down Charizard are only used by a handful of characters, fire-based moves are legion, making Ivysaur even easier to flatten. A number of players have argued that, were Ivysaur to be its own character, it would likely be considered the worst in the entire game.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • BioShock 2 has the poor Rivet Gun. While it acts as a decent backup weapon it's still outclassed by more specialized weapons such as the Spear Gun for headshots, Machine Gun for groups of splicers, and Grenade Launcher for beefier foes. It's even outclassed by plasmids as the super heated rivets need 3 shots in quick succession or a single headshot to ignite splicers while doing as much damage as a level 1 Incinerate! plasmid. Overall, it helps get Delta through early levels and allows the player to decide on their play style whatever it may be.
  • Combat Rifles in Blacklight Retribution were presumably meant to fill the gap between Assault Rifles and Bolt-Action Rifles: More powerful and longer-ranged than the former, less recoil and faster-firing than the latter. In practice the downsides are more obvious: Weaker and shorter-ranged than Bolt-Actions, more recoil and slower-firing than Assaults.
  • Another weapon example: assault rifles in Borderlands 2. They're touted as being more powerful and longer-reaching than SMGs, which they indeed do for a tradeoff in fire rate, reload speed and elemental proc chance. Problem is, they get trumped in their middle-range field by any half-decent Vladof machine pistol (especially if it has the shoulder stock accessory), all of which reload faster as well. Those that can hit at long range have anemic damage, at which point you're better off just using a sniper rifle. And if you're going the Jakobs route of semi-autos, they have the worst recoil of all - better just snipe with your wheelgun.
  • For the starting handguns in Call of Duty: Black Ops, this befalls the humble M1911. All three of the starting handguns deal the same damage at the same ranges, so it's ultimately their secondary characteristics that determine which is the better sidearm - and in that area, the M1911 can at best only match one attribute of one of the other two, which is usually worse than the third anyway. It beats the ASP in attachment options, but so does the Makarov, which also beats them both in mag capacity. It beats the Makarov in capacity with Extended Mags, but that also extends its reloading time, which the ASP already beats both of them in. It gets a rate of fire increase with Dual Wield that the Makarov doesn't get, but that only makes it equal the rate of fire the ASP has at all times, alongside the inability to aim down the sights to make the faster rate of fire worth anything beyond point-blank range (at that point, if you want to go Akimbo you're better off doing it with a fully-automatic, higher-capacity SMG that makes up for the lower accuracy by spraying a lot more lead at a much quicker rate). The later CZ-75, though being worse in fire rate (matching the slower handguns normally and being even slower with Full Auto), beats them all in capacity, especially with extended mags, and the Python, while losing out in reload speed (which can be rectified) and capacity, makes up for it with greater damage and potential at range. All of the other available secondary weapons are one-shot weapons meant for specific roles, either destroying enemy killstreaks or weird '60s gimmicks the devs thought were cool, but when used on other players are all a One-Hit Kill anyway.
    • Black Ops also has the Uzi, considered to be the worst gun in Call of Duty history. The submachine guns fall into one of two categories: slow-firing types with high bullet damage and more versatility like the AK-74u and MPL, or rapid-firing types with low bullet damage and good handling like the Spectre and Mac-11. The Uzi, presumably in an attempt to differentiate it from its Mini variation in the Modern Warfare series (where it fit into the latter group) doesn't fall into either category and suffers for it. While it has a high fire-rate, the sluggish aim time and reloads doesn't make it viable for run-and-gun tactics. Likewise, the low bullet damage and inconsistent recoil pattern make it unable to compete at range with the likes of the AK-74u, which is considered the most popular SMG. It doesn't help matters that its ironsights are terrible and it doesn't have a unique gimmick to stand out.
    • Black Ops II fixes the pistol issue from the previous game by only starting you with two handguns and giving them specific, opposite roles to fill (the Five-Seven is high-capacity with a fast rate of fire, low recoil, and quick but consistent damage drop-off; the Tac-45 is low-capacity, fires more slowly with heavier recoil, but its max-damage range reaches much farther before a very sudden drop-off), so this instead befalls the later Executioner for the reason that it's trying to fit into multiple roles at once. As a revolver that fires shotgun shells, it's meant to combine the quick switch-time and movement speed of a handgun with the raw power and spread of a shotgun. Unfortunately, it happens to be trying this in a series that A) already gives pistols ridiculously-high damage at close range (both the aforementioned pistols deal as much damage at their max-damage range as the FAL OSW, the second-strongest assault rifle in the game, which is enough to kill in two shots) and B) hates shotguns with a burning passion, so the shotgun benefits ultimately come at the cost of almost every other worthwhile attribute. While it does deal one-shot kills at point-blank range, the damage falls off so quickly that you need almost the entire five-shot cylinder for a single kill past about four feet (a distance where even the primary shotguns never need more than two unless you outright miss a shot); much further than that and the pellets disappear entirely, removing the ability to weakly plink away at an enemy to annoy them like the other pistols. If you are within the range to land that one shot kill, you are probably in range to knife the enemy instead. On top of that, its spread is actually too tight for its intended range, so glancing blows on a target who slips off the screen in a quarter of a second because you're so close to them will deal next to no damage. All this also comes packaged with the standard revolver downside that, until you manage to grind out the Fast Mags attachment to get a speedloader, you're stuck reloading each individual shell painfully slowly.
  • In Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, the Sixshooter is intended to be the middle ground between the killing power of the Ranger and the rapid-fire Quickshooter, in practice using it means getting neither the Ranger's near-guaranteed One Hit Kills nor the Quickshooter's combo-extending speed-reloads.
  • The Survivalist perk in Killing Floor 2 combines some attributes of every class. This comes in the form of a universal damage bonus that applies to every weapon in the game, but which isn't as much of a bonus as the perk it's dedicated to would get at the same level. Skills allow it minor specialization, but even that's still generally split across half the perks in the game, such as its first two choices being options of faster reloads for weapons from either the quicker perks (Commando, Gunslinger and SWAT) or the heavier ones (Sharpshooter, Support and Demolitionlist), though this added another problem until an update in 2022, where the weapon you spawn with while playing as the perk was randomly selected from one of the other nine perks' starting weapons, so it was a crapshoot as to whether you'd even start with a weapon you actually specialized your skills towards. If your team already has a good set of varied perks, the Survivalist is good for supporting them all at once (e.g. keeping health up for players who still have pretty high health while the dedicated Medic focuses on more heavily-injured teammates, without sacrificing raw power to keep enemies off of your teammates in the first place) and letting the player in question use whatever they want while doing so, which also makes it perfect for messing around with random weapon combinations that don't fit together normally in solo play, but if you want or need to do something more specific, you're better off just taking the perk that's dedicated to that.
  • Competitive Team Fortress 2 circles assign this to the Pyro class — Pyros are among the least seen classes because their abilities, while considerable, are simply overshadowed by the other choices available to a 6-man team. Pyros move at average speed and excel at short range, but the Scout is both faster and more agile, and deals damage in bigger chunks. It's a good defensive class in close quarters, but the Heavy has better range, more health, and deals more damage. Spy checking, airblasting, Ubercharge denial, and sentry defense, its remaining important uses, simply don't account for much competitive playtime due to the lack of need or lack of acceptance of the role. Even its last remaining ability, damage over time (something only a select few other classes can inflict with specific weapons — the Pyro can do it with any of their primary weapons, a good deal of their secondaries, and one or two melee weapons), isn't all that helpful anymore, as every other update over the first four or five years introduced another easy-to-use weapon or ability to extinguish someone that a Pyro has set on fire. Ironically, this puts the Pyro (considered one of the classes requiring the least thinking to play) together with the Spy (considered the class requiring the most thinking to play) in the bottom of the competitive class tier — neither class' abilities play into a match strongly enough to justify their regular inclusion in a 6 vs. 6 skirmish. They are strong in competitive 9v9 Highlander (where only one of each class is allowed per team), however. You will want to deprive the enemy Ubercharge or kill the enemy Pyro before pushing in with your own Ubercharge first, as a defensive Pyro can utterly shut down an Uber push, especially if he receives an Ubercharge himself.
  • The Balance-class ships in space battles in Star Wars: Battlefront II (i.e., X-Wing, TIE Fighter, ARC-170 and Droid Starfighter/Vulture Droid). Anyone who knows what they're doing will immediately get in a Bomber-class ship (Y-Wing, TIE Bomber, V-Wing and CIS Strike Bomber) and go for the high-scoring capital ship vital systems. This may also be combined with a quick stop within the enemy capital ship to wreak havoc inside, in which case the heavily-armored Bombers, especially with a co-pilot to assist, are ideal (even over Transports, who can insert a team into the enemy capital ship and let them respawn there until the transport is destroyed, but are even slower, more ungainly, and less durable than Bombers - without pulling off two or three other players to escort them instead of actively contributing to the battle, it's essentially two to five free kills for whoever manages to spot them along the way). If all of the vital systems are destroyed and the match still isn't over, the only real option is to get in a Fighter-class ship (A-Wing, TIE Interceptor, Republic Starfighter and Droid Tri-fighter) and kill enemies ship-to-ship. The Balance-class ships don't have the raw payload of Bombers to be even slightly effective against capital ships and are far less effective at ship-to-ship combat than Fighters. The only possible, concrete advantage Balance ships have against Fighters is that they can attack enemies within the range of the opposing capital ship's automated defenses if those haven't been disabled yet - mildly annoying for a Balance ship and beneath notice for a Bomber, but a lightly-armored Fighter that gets in range of them will get pasted in one shot.
  • Zombie Stories (Roblox):
    • The Sniper is meant to be a Long-Range Fighter, but most levels often force players up close with zombies, and even without that, most of the Sniper's primaries are lacking sights, meaning that, ironically, the Assault, which is a Jack of All Stats, is a better sniper because most of the Sniper's weapons have terrible iron sights. Furthermore, while they have great headshot damage, the fact that the rifles the Sniper has are semi-automatic combined with his ability poorly synchronizing with it (coincidentally the same ability for the Assault) means that they can't be a great damage-dealer as well. At least their secondaries are useful, albeit with the caveat that they will take some time to be great as the other firearms.
    • Shotguns are designed to sweep hordes with burst damage, but various weapons have better burst damage and can sweep hordes more efficiently. Furthermore, even without that, their poor reload times and fire rate tend to leave the users behind in terms of damage dealing. A later update attempted to resolved this by adding modifications to the shotguns, with mixed success: While some of the guns still remain in low-tier, a couple of them would skyrocket into "actually usable for players".

  • City of Heroes: Tri-Form Kheldians could easily fall into this trap if the player spread their enhancement slots too thin rather than choosing to make certain powers better at the price of others.
  • Back in the day, this was a huge problem for hybrids in Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft (the "Vanilla" game, 2004-2007, rereleased as Classic in 2019), especially in Player Versus Environment gameplay. Druids made for completely awful tanks, physical DPS, magic DPS and were also slightly subpar in healing. Shaman could heal okay, but again, didn't deal much damage. Paladins also had an unimpressive damage output, and weren't good at soaking up damage, but they had the best buffs in the game, didn't need to use totems, and were among the best single target healers. The Burning Crusade expansion took care of most of the deficiencies until they became specialized and differentiated from the basic healer, the priest. Now, the 'pure' classes like the Mage, Warlock and Rogue are frustrated that they do not add much versatility, and they do not always excel over the supposed 'master of none' classes.
    • In addition, this was a potential pitfall of the talent system, especially before the Cataclysm expansion overhaul. To make a long story short, it was not a good sign to see a player with less than 51 points in their primary talent tree because this usually means that their character will lack a powerful top-tier talent for their primary task. Even with 51 points in a character's primary "spec" it was still possible for a player to overlook crucial talents considered mandatory for Crippling Overspecialization in either PVE or PvP. This issue also created complaints about being "restricted to cookie cutter specs" to perform optimally. For some builds, rudimentary talents in the secondary trees were too good to ignore.
    • Blizzard finally prevented this with Mists of Pandaria by ripping out the talent system completely. You now pick your role which specializes you immediately. The few talents left to choose from are "situational" abilities that players may or may not need. This prompted cries of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!. Supporters of this new post-talent system say you can choose 6 (out of a total of 18) very useful skills, as opposed to 12-14 (out of 50+) kinda-sorta useful skills. As an added bonus, the skills in each tier of the Mists of Pandaria talent tree often change a core skill in different ways. For example, the first tier of Hunter talents, unlocked at level 15, all change the Disengage skill (you leap backwards to get out of your enemy's range). There's Posthaste (temporarily increase running speed after you Disengage), Narrow Escape (trap nearby enemies when you Disengage) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Chimaera (reduces the cooldown on Disengage, allowing you to use it more often).
    • In Warlords of Draenor, Blizzard changed the secondary stats on items, and added "Versatility", a stat which means a small % boost to damage, healing and defense. To keep versatility from becoming One Stat to Rule Them All, its effect is weaker than other stats, but this made versatility the least desirable stat for raiders. As each of the roles (DPS, healer, tank) only cares about one of the three benefits that versatility grants, it was better to focus on other stats that granted a specific bonus.
  • The Assassin Class in Ragnarok Online. He sucks at PvP, isn't that useful in WoE, can hardly beat any boss monster and his only specialty is grinding alone in PvE. Only that other classes such as the Hunter are much better at that, too. At least it used to be that way. With newer updates, the Assassin gained effectiveness. His rebirth class, the Assassin Cross, is the complete opposite and has been accused of being overpowered quite often.
    • The Super Novice class can pick any skills from the first-tier classes freely, making them a neat side-character. Unfortunately, they are limited to novice-only weapons (meaning they can take Archer skills but can't use a bow), and more cripplingly, retain Novice-level health and mana pools. They're the weakest character in the game, but they're an "Expanded Class", which Gravity has made clear are not intended to be balanced.
      • At top levels magic-oriented Super Novices can become immune to ranged or melee physical attacks and have near-instant spellcasting at the same time, which makes them able to do some burst damage in PvP if they get the jump on the enemy. Still, their health pools usually prevent them from surviving the return damage.
  • The balance (sorcerer) class in Wizard101 is this, having buffs and traps for every other school and some multipurpose ones, as well as having a few spells that mimic those of other school's such as their unique healing spell.
  • The undead Doom Howler demon from Nexus Clash can soak lots of damage, sneak around the map sniping people with charged attacks, put nasty debuffs on enemies, summon minions, and use battle magic - but never quite as well as the other five types of demon, each of which is the master of one of those abilities.
  • While this thankfully didn't happen with the player characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic, it still happened with one particular type of companion: The Ranged Tank. Every class in the base game has five companions that fit into one of five roles: Melee Tank, Ranged DPS, Melee DPS, Healer, and Ranged Tank. Ranged Tanks were more about control, burst damage, and Area of Effect damage rather than survivability or pure damage. This meant that, unlike the player counterparts, they were a master of none with their powers spread a little too thin: unable to keep up with DPS, but unable to keep themselves alive the way a melee tank companion could due to not having as much damage mitigation. Most classes didn't bother with them unless they had to (like the Jedi Knight) or were playing the Imperial Agent/Smuggler classes (who could burn down enemies fast enough that Kaliyo/Corso could survive casual fights). Not helping was that the AI wasn't very good at controlling targets and Area of Effect attacks didn't do as much damage against single targets. This was nixed in Knights of the Fallen Empire, where the player can now assign companions to any role, and ones that use ranged weaponry are made more durable when assigned to the Tank role.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arena 
  • Varian in Heroes of the Storm is purposefully like this until level 10. Varian has a generic set of skills and poor stats to go with it. He has some sticking power, some tankiness, and some damage, but not much in any direction. Once he gets his Heroic however, he can specialize in one of three ways; either a tank, burst assassin, or sustained damage assassin.
  • The original version of Salomon in Heroes of Newerth was infamous for not really being good at anything. Originally designed as a support-ish, tank-ish hero, he had a wide line shot that damaged enemies and healed allies, an ability that gives him bonus movespeed and leave behind a trail that slows enemies, a passive shield that charges up by moving and can be transferred to allies, an a ultimate that unleashes 8 spinning orbs outward then return to him 2 seconds later. His first ability makes him redundant to Soul Reaper, only without the ranged attack or mana pool, his second ability has poor uptime and doesn't accomplish much besides making him easier to run away, he has to give up his own shield and tankiness to shield his allies and it's useless in team fights if he gets jumped on, and while his ultimate could deal a lot of damage, it's purely damage and not that special compared to other big AoE ultimates. He can't babysit in a lane, he has no scaling, and he doesn't generate enough threat to be a tank. His kit was completely reworked, turning him into a carry who leverages extra gold gain to scale with items faster.
  • Rubick from DOTA 2 has atrocious stat growth including Intelligence, despite being a Grand Magus. His skills are also gimped in some way; Telekinesis deals no damage and has a hideous cooldown for a non-ulti stun, Fade Bolt has poor mana efficiency, not helped by his aforementioned bad stat growth, and the way his ultimate works, most of the time he doesn't have an ultimate. But Tropes Are Not Bad, as said ultimate is Spell Steal, and he can use it to supplement his deficiencies and become practically anything. His skills in particular are designed to be very versatile and very combo-able with other stolen skills. Steal an areal stun and combine it with Telekinesis to initiate! Use Telekinesis to hold the enemy down to land a Powerful, but Inaccurate attack! Steal a nuke and lay heavy magic damage with his Fade Bolt! The list goes on and on...

  • The main draw of Balanced characters in Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled is that they're supposed to have well-rounded stats to compensate for them not excelling in anything like the other three classes, but they actually suffer from deceptively low stats that ensure they can't function as generalists. While this was already the case in the original iteration, this became worse in the remake: they're slower than Accel characters and have worse acceleration than the already-slow Turning characters, ensuring that turning is their only stat that isn't outclassed by at least two other classes. Turning itself isn't even a particularly noteworthy stat considering U-turningnote  allows Speed and Accel characters to compensate for their lower turning while still being faster overall, meaning Balanced is outclassed by its fellow intermediate class Accel in almost everything it can possibly do.
  • Mario Kart 64 has this problem concerning Mario and Luigi: while lightweights are broken concerning acceleration, top speed, off-road and turbo, and while heavyweights at least have the power to push everyone to the side, the plumbers only are middleweights and share their top speed with heavyweights but have a worse acceleration than them. Their only advantage is handling, which is practically useless in a game where you constantly have to drift. Heavyweights actually are closer to be balanced characters than they are!

    Real-Time Strategy 
  • You want to achieve a balanced research in Star Ruler. While Crippling Overspecialization invites counters, spreading your research too widely will result in more focused opponents rolling over your forces with tougher ships, ships that can regenerate faster than you can hurt them or ships that can blow yours up easily.
  • In Homeworld 2, frigates, especially Vaygr frigates, are rather hard to find a tactical niche for. The core problem is that they are scissors in a game with rocks but no paper: Heavier capital ships aren't useful against strikecraft and corvettes, but extremely useful against frigates and capital ships, while the lighter strikecraft and corvettes are moderately usefull against everything. As such, no type of frigate can handle anything bigger, even in a Zerg Rush, while they can't catch (and can, at a cost, be zerg-rushed by) lighter ships. They could be used to protect bigger ships against smaller ships, but other small ships can do that too without getting slaughtered by enemy capital ships.
  • World in Conflict: Medium tanks tend to be this. They aren't anywhere as strong or durable as heavy tanks, and they're also not as cheap, expendable or mobile as light tanks. The medium tank's special anti-infantry attack is also much less useful than the light tank's missile, with the result being that the medium is almost never used by players. Medium AA vehicles and armored transports can also fall into this trope, as they have the versatility of being able to target both air and ground units, but lack the effectiveness of tanks or dedicated anti-air.
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: The Diamondback is a reasonably fast anti-armor unit with decent health. However, it's not as beefy as a Thor, not as hard hitting as a Siege Tank, and not as good at base raiding as a Reaper and Hellion. As a result, it sees almost no use (especially in the campaign) due to lack of specialization. To make things worse, it has a moderately expensive 150/150 cost and requires 4 supply. Contrast the 150/125 cost and 3 supply of Siege Tanks - even in the mission where you're tasked with destroying mobile trains, where the Diamondback's niche of mobile anti-armor is meant to shine, it's easier to build siege tanks and mass them ahead of the trains.

  • X-Wing:
    • The B-Wing expansion forces this upon the humble Y-Wing. The Y-Wing is slower and less maneuverable than the X-Wing or especially the A-Wing, but had its niche with heavier armor and shielding and a larger payload of missiles, alongside being the only one of the three to have ion cannons for disabling enemy craft. Then came the B-Wing, which does everything the Y-Wing does better - faster and more maneuverable (not quite on the level of the other two, but still a noticeable improvement) with similar durability, an even larger missile payload, and not only also having ion cannons, but having three of each cannon to the Y-Wing's two. At that point the only advantage the Y-Wing has over the B-Wing is a more agreeable placement of those cannons (in-line with the nose on the Y-Wing, versus spread out across the tips of the long wings for the B-Wing), which is negligible in any cases except being at knife-fight distance from another fighter.
    • In the sequel TIE Fighter, the TIE Avenger is one of the fighters obtained by the midgame. It's the ship that Vader's personal craft was the prototype for, a TIE fighter that was designed to traditional fighter standards rather than an engine with guns strapped to it. In its own levels, it's not really an example, as it performs quite well until you obtain the TIE Defender and stacks up well against an X-Wing. However, in-universe, it's considered an example of this: the Imperial combat doctrine is We Have Reserves, where the standard TIE Fighter and TIE Interceptor excel but the Avenger is too expensive to do, while missions that did require a smaller number of more powerful fighters would use the Defender instead, since the Defender is one of the greatest space-superiority vessels ever made while the Avenger is only decent. It says something that there were fewer Avengers made than Defenders, even though the Defender is the more expensive one.
    • In-universe, this also befalls the T-Wing, which was introduced in TIE Fighter. Designed as a replacement for the A-Wing interceptor, it ended up combining the A-Wing's lack of armor or shielding with the X-Wing's lesser speed and maneuverability; the only upside was that it also had similar missile counts to the more-heavily-armed X-Wing. The Alliance ended up sticking with the A-Wing for its role and just sold off their T-Wings to make a profit, where it nevertheless became popular and useful among the neutral parties who bought them.
  • Boron fighter ships in the X-Universe series of Wide-Open Sandbox space combat/trading games. They have the shielding and speed of Split ships, but aren't anywhere near as fast. They have the firepower of Argon ships, but lack the energy reserves to fire their weapons. The ships can mount only energy weapons, and the energy weapons that they mount are all horrible energy hogs like the Ion Disruptor, making their tiny energy reserves even more painful (with one exception, the Skate is the only fighter in the Boron arsenal to mount the Energy Bolt Chaingun, and even then its cargo bay is not big enough to store its corresponding ammunition to last in a dogfight). Their only redeeming features are their looks and their relatively large cargo hold to spam missiles from, though their cargo capacity is still nowhere near as big as Teladi ships. However, their capital ships do not suffer from this, carrying overwhelming anti-capital ship firepower and fairly good shielding and speed, though at the cost of pathetic anti-fighter defenses; good thing you can simply smash the capital ship into the fighters or enabled 10x time acceleration and watch the fighters plow into your hull.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, the "Prime" variant of Humongous Mecha is often based on the original loadout from the original boardgame, where most mechs carry weapons for any range, but don't particularly excel at any. These loadouts vary from very good Jack of All Stats (such as the "Warhammer" and "Mad Cat" heavy mechs) to borderline Joke Character master-of-none mechs like the Bushwacker Prime, which has so little firepower at any given range that twenty players in Bushwacker Primes couldn't kill each other before running out of ammo and the mission timer ending.
  • The Nintendo 64 helicopter game Chopper Attack had this befall the "AGAM', a combined air-to-air and air-to-ground missile. It simplifies things significantly by having one missile type that can take on any sort of target rather than having to constantly switch between dedicated AA or AG weapons, but this comes at the downside of a single AGAM costing almost as much as one AAM and one AGM combined — for the cost, one of each of the dedicated missiles is more effective than a single multi-purpose one, since it's only 200 more bucks at that point to be able to effectively kill two targets instead of just one. The same befalls the homing cluster bomb, which adds homing capability to a weapon that least needs homing capability, thus also giving it a weakness to flares that everyone from the third mission on can throw out when needed, with no upgrades to damage dealt or how fast it goes over the regular cluster bomb, yet it costs five times as much.
  • War Thunder: Airplanes usually are roughly described into two categories, not mutually excluding: turnfighters, which have exceptional maneuvering capabilities that give them the advantage in close engagements and furballs, but a low top speed (e.g. Japanese A6M2, Italian G.55); and boom & zoomers, which have good top speed and climbing capabilities, but turn like bricks and bleed speed fast when maneuvering, thus they must rely on hit & run tactics from altitude (e.g. American P-51, German FW-190). The degrees vary according to the plane and its battle rating, and is also influenced by other stats like firepower, ammo quantity, structural resistance, vertical retention and acceleration. Some planes have characteristics that put them in a middle ground in terms of maneuvering and top speed. Sometimes this results in a good jack-of-all-trades that is competitive in most battles (e.g. British Spitfires). But, considering the mixed nature of matches, with teams composed of multiple nations with many different aircraft of any type... more often we have average planes that either are 1) too slow to compete with the boom & zoomers above them and too clumsy to compete with the turnfighters on their tail, 2) not fast enough to decisively outrun turnfighters before getting out of their shots and not nimble enough to effectively avoid boom & zoomers without losing too much speed and becoming sitting ducks to them, 3) or both. All in the same match.
  • The much-hated M3 Lee in World of Tanks suffers from this status. This tier 4 medium tank has only the hull-mounted gun as a usable weapon (very much like a tank destroyer) while its turret is unusable. Subsequently, this tank cannot fulfill the roles of either a tank destroyer or a medium tank. The positioning of its gun means that the tank must turn its entire body, making it too cumbersome for aggressive flanking attacks suitable for mediums. Furthermore, it still retains the unusable turret that can be shot at and is highly visible, preventing it from successfully ambushing foes like a tank destroyer. Coupled with the fact that it has mediocre penetration, armor, speed, and agility (at best) the M3's inability to fulfill a specific role sufficiently makes it one of the worst tanks in the game.

  • Billy Jean Blackwood in Backyard Sports has equal stats in everything in almost every game. She's a Master of None and not a Jack of All Stats because she doesn't help your team in any way. This was probably the reason she was discontinued from the series (that and being a Southern Belle).

    Stealth-based Games 
  • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the D-Walker is a selectable companion that combines the abilities of the other companions: it's a mount that you can ride like D-Horse, it can detect and mark enemies like D-Dog, and it can engage enemies independently like Quiet. At the same time, however, it lacks the specialized abilities of the other companions: it's not as good for stealth when riding like with D-Horse, it detection radius is narrower than D-Dog's (and it cannot detect plants and animals, only enemies), and it cannot evade enemy fire with the same effectiveness as Quiet.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 3rd Edition has several:
      • The half-elf and half-orc races were supposed to be a midpoint between the Jack of All Stats human and the more specialized elf and orc. In practice, this translated to them getting weaker versions of what elves and orcs could do. Half-elf bonuses were too poor to focus them down any path, while half-orc penalties were still too high to bother playing anything that an orc couldn't do better. If you wanted something versatile, you played a human, and if you wanted something specialized, you played an elf (or an elf subrace) or orc. Later editions would flesh them out a bit more to give them real focuses: half-elves got social skills, while half-orcs lost their mental penalties.
      • Medium armor. All the speed penalties of heavy armor while offering, at best, one extra point of AC bonus compared to light armor. At worst, they offer protection equal to light armors while being heavier, with lower maximum dexterity bonuses and higher skill penalties. The only decent medium armor is a heavy armor made of mithral, which makes it count as a medium armor.
      • In optimization communities, the term "multiple-ability dependency", or MAD, refers to this. Specifically, some classes require only a few good stats, while others require several. Invariably, a class that requires good all-around stats is seen as inferior to one that requires only one or two really good stats and can dump everything else. For instance, barbarians only really need Strength and Constitution for melee fighting, while paladins need that, along with Wisdom for casting and Charisma for their paladin abilities, meaning the paladin tends to fall behind in sheer damage and tanking ability.
      • The Hexblade, of Complete Warrior, was an early attempt at a Magic Knight base class. It failed miserably, since the designers badly overestimated how strong the Hexblade's various abilities were. On the physical side, it couldn't wear any armor heavier than a chain shirt, its Fortitude save sucked, it didn't get any feats or abilities to boost its combat capabilities, and its sole unique power was the rather poor and limited Curse debuff. On the magic side, it was limited to fourth-level spells (the same as Paladins and Rangers, who no one would call caster classes), and the need to buff its combat stats often left its Charisma lagging. The result was a fragile combatant that couldn't hit very hard and was outdone in casting by a sorcerer of half its level. On top of that, the Duskblade proved to be a better Magic Knight in almost every way, with much more focused design and stronger abilities overall. Even the class's creator apologized for it, giving the class a much-needed unofficial fix that became widely-used. Most Hexblade guides, even those using the fixed version, focus on somewhat incidental elements or alternate class features (for instance, their familiar is surprisingly pretty strong) to give them some kind of niche.
      • Certain official NPCs tend to become this. Most of the time, when trying to mix two classes, players prefer to either use a prestige class like Eldritch Knight to advance both, or use one class to mimic the other (for instance, a Cloistered Cleric with the Trickery domain can fill in for a Rogue pretty well). The designers took longer to figure this out. A quick look through the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting reveals a multitude of characters with builds like Jezz the Lame - as a drow Rogue 6/Sorcerer 6, he's considered CR 14, despite possessing no spells above third-level, a Sneak Attack that deals 3d6 damage, and only thirty-six hit points. Storm Silverhand, though, is the absolute reigning queen of this. The formidable Bard of Shadowdale is a Chosen of Mystra Rogue 1/Fighter 4/Bard 8/Sorcerer 12/Harper Scout 3 - in layman's terms, a character with a CR equal to many an Eldritch Abomination, who would probably get eaten by a bog-standard beholder. Even later on in the edition's life, many sample characters in the second Dungeon Master's Guide were something like Fighter 5/Sorcerer 5, when Fighter 1/Sorcerer 6/Eldritch Knight 3 (which isn't even close to the best Magic Knight build one could make) would be better in every way.
      • The monk suffered heavily from this. It had abilities based on straightforward melee combat, but it was mediocre at it compared to a barbarian, fighter, or warblade due to low attack bonus, damage, and reach. It had a good skill list, but only a handful of points to spend compared to a rogue or a bard. It had the needed skills for scouting and mobility, but rogues, spellthieves, and scouts did, too, and had trap and lock removal skills that meant they could better utilize them. It got free combat maneuver feats such as trips and grapples, but a fighter could take those feats, too, and would be much better at them due to a better attack bonus and strength. It had abilities based on improving its unarmored AC, but they were so minor any character capable of wearing armor would come out ahead, other unarmored characters like wizards could outstrip it with magic, and its hitpoints were at best average. It had a smattering of other spell-like or minor abilities, but they were all limited in usage and didn't compare to the versatility of a wizard or cleric, or even a character with a few magic items. It attempted to be a caster-killer, but lacked anything to actually threaten a mage played to any degree of competence. And even as a Wuxia-style character, the swordsage was better in every way.
      • The soulknife was in a similar boat to the monk. Its primary class feature was summoning a magic weapon that upgraded itself as the soulknife levelled, but it scaled poorly compared to other summoned weapons, weapons crafted by an artificer or wizard, or even weapons simply bought. As a pure combat character, it was too lightly-armored and its attacks were too weak to contest a fighter. It gained limited Psychic Powers, but had almost nothing to do with them compared to a psychic warrior. Its overall fighting style leaned towards mobility, but its Bladewind was based on standing still, and it could throw its mind blade, but only once per turn, meaning no Flechette Storm. As a sneaky character, it didn't have enough skill points or the right abilities to fill the role of a rogue. It had Psychic Strike for burst damage and sneak attacks, but this was too cumbersome for straightforward combat and too weak to be used for assassination. It had Knife to the Soul for stat damage to weaken casters or lobotomize warriors, but its damage was too low to avoid the problem of either class simply taking the hit and reducing the soulknife to hamburger meat. The result was a class that pulled in every direction and failed at all of them, with even its primary class feature being outdone by an alternate class feature for the psychic warrior (which was also tougher, harder-hitting, and infinitely more versatile).
      • The bard in 3.0 fell pretty hard into this. In straightforward combat, it was scarcely better than a Squishy Wizard, with similar base attack, hit points, and weapons to the rogue, but no Back Stab. As a skill-oriented character, it possessed a strong list, but only four skill points to spend them on (of which two had to go to Perform and Concentration to make songs and spells work) and few congruent class features. As a caster, it was limited to 6th-level spells, cast in the worst possible way, couldn't wear armor, had no unique spells, and advanced slowly. Its main unique trait, bardsong, pointed them to the role of party support, but its actual effects ranged from gimmicky to inconsequential. Being a caster was good, but compared to a sorcerer of the same level, the 3.0 bard had few, if any, functional advantages. 3.5 largely pulled the bard out of this, giving it some extra skill points and new spells, reworking several bardsongs, adding new features, and giving it a fair bit of splatbook support, which allowed the bard to find a niche as a social-skills juggernaut and a Difficult, but Awesome buffer and indirect caster.
      • The dragon shaman, though professing to be about mimicking the might of dragons, ends up more in this territory. Its main feature is draconic auras that are supposed to make it a Support Party Member, but the bonuses it generates are quite small. It has healing abilities, but they are generally lesser than those of a divine caster or even some other healing-focused classes. It gains extra class skills and Skill Focus, but has few skill points to invest in them. Its high HD, immunities, and natural armor suggest a frontline warrior, but its base attack bonus is average and it can't wear heavy armor or use martial weapons, making it subpar at best there. And even its features designed to emulate dragons are very underwhelming: you don't get your Breath Weapon until 4th level (and even then, it's slow to charge), and you don't get wings until 19th level—compare that to the dragonfire adept, which starts off breathing fire whenever it wants and can start flying as early as 6th level.
      • Theurge-type Prestige Classes are usually seen as this, only becoming remotely passable because of the inherent power of spellcasting. The problem is that they require taking multiple levels in multiple classes, which usually don't have much synergy with each other (being able to cast cleric and wizard spells isn't really impressive when you can only cast one at a time and they're worse than the regular stuff), they often require advancing multiple stats when the lack of need to do this is usually an upside for a caster, and they tend to lack features that would allow one to use those abilities together. The standard mystic theurge has to deal with the downsides of being a cleric (relies on a deity) and a wizard (can't wear armor), while also being at least three levels behind on both classes—particularly ruinous when you start the class, at which you have worse casting than a bard or a cohort. The Fochlucan lyrist is more powerful, but its oddball requirements mean that it torpedoes both sides of its advancement, requiring levels in three different classes and only boosting parts of two of them. Both the true necromancer and the yathinshree reduce their theurge advancement even further in exchange for necromantic abilities, but those abilities are about on the level of stuff a regular necromancer could do anyway. The only theurge-type classes to be seen as good out of the box are the anima mage and the ultimate magus, both of which only require a one-level dip away from your main advancement and have multiple abilities to help synergize them.
      • Prestige classes meant to fill a Magic Knight role often struggle in this regard, likely due to using the somewhat underwhelming Eldritch Knight as a baseline. The early years of the game seemed to enjoy halving casting advancement, and sometimes even reducing Base Attack, which usually meant a character who could barely cast and wasn't that great at fighting, either. The Green Star adept and rage mage had the misfortune of getting both, in exchange for abilities that didn't really help them do either. Others, like the bladesinger, also had extensive feat requirements that made qualifying needlessly difficult and necessitated a very problematic early game. The only one to really avert this was the abjurant champion, which boasted easy requirements, full advancement of base attack and casting, and useful features... albeit at the price of being only five levels long.
      • The arcane trickster prestige class ran into similar issues. It was meant to be a mixture of a rogue and a caster, but its requirements (+2d6 Sneak Attack and at least 3rd-level arcane spells) meant you would have to be, at minimum, a Wizard 5/Rogue 3 to get into it, which meant spending eight levels as a crappy mixture before you could qualify. While it did advance Sneak Attack and casting, being a caster meant no armor, which was worse when it also had wizard HD and base attack, so using that sneak attack in combat was not easy. While it gained the ability to use its skills at range, this was torpedoed by the fact that it also dropped skill points per level from 8 to 4, meaning you couldn't advance a lot of your rogue skills. And while it gained the Impromptu Sneak Attack ability, it was incredibly limited in usage and an Improved Invisibility spell could do the same thing for nowhere near the effort. The only real bright spot was being able to use Sneak Attack to boost the damage of certain spells (damage that might make up for losing three caster levels), and even in that regard, the later unseen seer class did the same thing but better.
      • The ogre mage enemy fell into this, which led to it being the target of an article specifically designed to restat it. Intended as a Genius Bruiser Magic Knight that combined ogre strength and the power of a caster, it ended up with rather poor hitpoints and fighting skills, with spells that ranged from useless to redundant to good-but-only-once-per-day and a smattering of other generic abilities that didn't offer it much of a niche. This owed largely to having been translated rather literally from its 2e stats. Fortunately, the revision, and the ogre mages in later editions, tend to be more powerful.
      • The Expert class is a fairly deliberate example of this. It's capable of treating any ten skills as class skills, meaning it can train itself for any job. However, the Expert lacks other class features and its stats are mediocre, meaning that while it can train in any skill, it's no better at that skill than another class that simply starts with it. And on top of that, the Factotum and Savant classes treat all skills as class skills, so even mixing and matching skillsets from other classes isn't worth it. Few really complain about this, though, as the Expert isn't intended to represent an actual adventurer; it's meant to be taken by well-trained NPCs that have enough unique skills to not be commoners but still don't fit any of the classic classes.
    • 5th Edition has its fair share as well:
      • The default Human race. It gives +1 to all stats, in a game where you rarely care about more than three of them, and little else. The Variant Human, on the other hand, is a Min Maxers Delight bordering on Game-Breaker.
      • Humans in earlier editions also frequently fell into this. They could play any class and lacked a Level Cap, but they had no bonuses or unique abilities whatsoever. Even assuming you weren't playing in one of the many groups that house ruled out the racial class restrictions and level caps, there was no reason to play a human unless it was the only possible option, since no matter what, they'd be outclassed by races that possessed actual advantages.
      • The pre-revision ranger is generally seen as this—not as good with weapons as a fighter, not as good at scouting and sneaking as a rogue, not as good at casting and nature stuff as a druid, and not as versatile as a bard. The revised Unearthed Arcana ranger is considerably better in every way, thankfully.
      • The "all classes" build, famously used by Abserd. Multiclass one level of each class. You will be able to wield nearly any weapon or armor and have a lot of skill proficiencies and cantrips, but without an extra attack or sneak attack bonus you are poor at physical combat, and you will be a poor spellcaster because you'll have a limited selection of spells and spell slots compared to a "real" spellcaster and with a poor spell save DC, you'll find they rarely work to boot.
    • In the Eberron setting, per Word of God, this was Cyre's problem in the Last War. Cyre believed that it united the strengths of the other four nations, with a mixture of Aundair's magical excellence, Breland's cunning, Karrnath's skill at arms and Thrane's faith - but, cut off from the support of those other nations, it found that the other nations tended to outgun them in their areas of expertise. For example, their best troops were equal to the Karrns who trained them...but Karrnath's militaristic culture and control of the Rekkenmark Academy meant that it had many more troops of that quality and could keep training more, while Cyre had to hastily put together its own officer academy to make up for the loss of access to the Rekkenmark.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has a couple of units that fall under this, although it's fully possible for an army to become a Master of None if point allocation is stretched too thin. The rule of thumb is that if you absolutely need to fulfil a specific role like taking out an enemy's vehicles, it's better to dedicate a specialist squad or unit to that task; trying to load all of your squads with some level of anti-vehicular firepower is expensive, generally not as effective, and will leave you outmatched and outnumbered in the face of combined arms tactics. That being said, there's nothing wrong with attaching some versatility wherever possible, although this is heavily dependent on how each unit is to be deployed.
    • The 5th edition Space Marines codex fell under this for a number of years. Although Space Marines are more of a Stone Wall and Jack of All Stats faction, the vanilla codex was overshadowed by the codices written for specific chapters like the Blood Angels, which had all of the usual Space Marine stuff in addition to having better vehicles and some of the most powerful close-combat units and characters in the game. 6th edition countered this by providing specializations for each chapter, although the Ultramarines still try to fulfill this (in practice, their rules lend themselves best to devastating alpha strikes supported by powerful special characters).
    • To their name, the humble Tactical Squad is the epitome of this trope; each trooper is armed with a Bolter (good against hordes of infantry), a Bolt Pistol (allowing them to fire their weapon and charge in the same turn), Frag Grenades (negating any cover bonuses when they charge an enemy) and Krak Grenades (allowing them to engage even heavy vehicles). They also all have Power Armor, and usually one trooper will be armed with a close-range special weapon (such as a flamer) and a heavy anti-tank weapon (usually a Missile Launcher or Lascannon). They are also a troop choice, meaning they also fulfill your basic minimum requirements no matter what your army is built to be. The problem is none of those weapons excel at what they do; the average space marine can't put out enough attacks in close combat to make it worth charging anyone, krak grenades only give them the ability to engage tanks (you still need 5s and 6s on a D6 to actually inflict damage against most things), and the special and heavy weapons they have do not put out enough shots to deal respectable damage to their intended targets. And prior to the Combat Squad rule, the heavy and special weapon typically couldn't even be fired at the same target (the Special Weapon usually need to be extremely close to the target, while the heavy weapon can't shoot after moving; you had to be within spitting distance of the enemy to actually fire both at the same target, and usually by then they would have already charged you). If you wanted close-range, you'd play as Assault Marines; if you wanted anti-tank infantry, you'd pick a Devastator Squad with a Meltagun; if you wanted more wounds to survive, you'd pick a squad of Terminators and a Land Raider. Everything a Tactical Squad could do, a dedicated squad could do much better.
    • Eldar Guardian Defenders, the generalist unit in an army of specialists, can theoretically be kitted out to provide support firepower. The problem is that they're Fragile Speedsters armed with anti-infantry guns that shoot about as far as shotguns, which mean that they get outranged in firefights or get charged once in range. They're a bit better with a heavy weapons platform (which they have to take), but that in turn means that about 90% of the squad will generally be sitting around doing nothing, either because of the aforesaid range issues or because the heavy weapon is targeting a vehicle. They are also Over Shadowed By Awesome, since Dire Avengers fulfill the same general infantry tactical niche, but do everything better than the Guardian Defenders do, from better weapon range to better armor to hitting their targets more often. The trade-off being that Dire Avengers cost more, are fielded in smaller numbers, and cannot not take heavy weapon platforms.
    • The Imperium's Mars-class battlecruisers have a decent gun loadout, including a Nova Cannon, and carry a good number of attack craft, but excel in neither the direct fire nor carrier field. They are widely considered undergunned and production has stopped for them. The Emperor-class battleship is effectively superior to it in all areas except mobility and long range firepower, having better protection and close range firepower as well as better hangar facilities with the Mars only excelling in comparison thanks to the Nova cannon which is not exclusive to it. Thus, the Emperor is preferred to the Mars in the Battlecarrier role.
    • Chaos Space Marines have taken this slot - intended to be a dark version of the Space Marines, their aging codex and power creep in the game in general have left them worse at mobility, shooting and assault than their Jack of all Trades Loyalist brethren. Like the 6th Edition Space Marines, the Chaos Space Marines received a slew of updates late in 7th Edition in the form of new psychic powers, formations, and Legion-specific wargear and rules to make them more fluffy and (in the case of some Legions such as the Death Guard and Emperor's Children) semi-competitive.
      • These problems were addressed in 8th Edition which emphasized their superior close combat to Loyalist marines and balanced them out better.
    • Troop Choices in general are this. They are suppose to be the bread and butter of your army, and thus are not really geared towards anything (but also would not leave you wanting for anything should the rest of your army bite it). Before the advent of different "Detachments", there was only one Force Organization chart, which worked around the idea that at least 2 of your choices would be dedicated to Troops as a balancing factor. This meant that in low point level games, a good chunk of your points were siphoned into troops, while this would be less of an issue in high point level games (where due to the amount of firepower present, you really did need the redundant specialist units). Once new Force Organization charts came out due to different detachments, this balance was also thrown out the window, ending up with many new players wondering exactly why some troop choices existed at all. The Detachment systems would try to remedy this by providing special rules (often obscenely good ones) to troop choices as an incentive to field them.
    • Chaos Defilers are equipped with a weird mishmash of weapons, all of which need to be factored into the point value, meaning that you're typically paying quite a high price for a unit that will, reliably, be wasting some of its potential every turn even when edition rules let it split its fire without penalty. A close-combat Defiler will be lumbering forward, faster than most infantry but not by as much as a Maulerfiend, with a penalty to firing its battle cannon and heavy side weapon, while a ranged one will be sitting there with giant melee claws that you're hoping it won't use. As if that wasn't enough, the weapons it does have aren't particularly focused: its battle cannon and reaper autocannon are reasonable at dealing with light vehicles, and you can swap the autocannon for a lascannon if you want more reliable anti-vehicle damage, but its other weapon is generally anti-infantry. Then there's the heavy flamer, which would be decent for a melee build except that it's the weapon that gets replaced by the scourge option. And just to salt the wound, they're also huge targets. Chaos forces that do want a generalist Heavy Support unit typically invest in Obliterators instead, which allow the player to pick the best gun for their situation instead of being stuck with gear that never coheres into a solid tactical role.
  • Pandemic has one role called The Generalist, which has five actions instead of the usual four, and no special powers.
  • The Eclipse Caste of the Solar Exalted (and their Infernal and Abyssal variants, the Fiends and Moonshadows) are both this and the Minmaxer's Delight, for entirely different reasons. On the one hand, several of their Caste abilities are woefully underdeveloped mechanically, making their core role as diplomats incredibly difficult to fulfill. On the other hand, their anima power allows them to learn the Charms of other beings, creating unintentional and game-breaking synergies that no one else has access to.
  • In the Digimon Collectible Card Game, Vaccine Digimon are strong against Virus Digimon, Virus Digimon are strong against Data Digimon, and Data Digimon are strong against nothing in particular. To compensate, Data Digimon have higher stats overall.
  • Halfling teams in Blood Bowl consist of the Mighty Glacier treemen, and the not-so-mighty halflings. Halflings have the movement speed of dwarfs comboed with the strength and durability of goblins, while lacking the former's team-wide invulnerability (due to ridiculously high armor and high number of blitzers with Block) and the latter's penchant for bringing illegal weaponry (bombs, chainsaws, pogo sticks... the works) onto the field as equalizers. Halflings only get general skills on doubles, meaning they'll be eating dirt a lot, and their treemen launchers have a tendency to take root and become immobile. They're widely considered to be one of the Joke Teams, the other being the Ogres, and only played as a Self-Imposed Challenge. That said, their discount on master chefs is worth it when you end up stealing all your opponent's rerolls... Even if they do crush half your roster into a fine red paste as payback.
  • Most of BattleTech's various Humongous Mecha and other combat are specialized to a degree, such as Fragile Speedster scout 'Mechs and hovercraft, or Mighty Glacier assault units and main battle tanks. Even main-line combat units are designed to favor power or speed for a specific reason. Some designs, however, are so average that they ultimately can't accomplish much.
    • The SHD-2H Shadow Hawk is a 55-ton 'Mech that has average speed, average armor, and average firepower for its size. However, this means that while it can fill a hole in a unit, it can't actually do anything effectively. It is too slow to act as a scout and lacks the agility to flank, but does not have the firepower to do more than plug gaps in a line of battle. It suffers from terrible range overlap, where half of its weapons will work well at one range but not the other, and ultimately means it does mediocre damage at every range. The Shadow Hawk's greatest problem is that it comes in the exact same weight class and similar Battle Value to the WVR-6R Wolverine and the GRF-1N Griffin, the former a proper Jack of All Stats that's deadlier close up and the latter much better as a Long-Range Fighter, while both have better jumping capability.
    • The STN-3K Sentinel weighs 40 tons and moves at an average speed for that size. It carries modest armor and a small selection of weapons, but suffers from the same problems as the aforementioned Shadow Hawk by having its largest and most powerful weapon suffer inaccuracy at short range, which is the only range that its small missile launcher and laser can reach. It is generally not guilty of any major battlefield sins aside from not being able to fill a useful role, which is in some ways the ultimate failure.
    • The SR1-O Strider is another 40-ton machine that, in spite of its good armor and acceptable speed, is considered something of a joke by the fanbase, due to its nature as a highly expensive and experimental Inner Sphere Omnimech with the ability to be reconfigured for multiple roles...and not actually being much good in any of them. It can choose to be a slow and defenseless scout, a wimpy close-fighter, or an underpowered missile boat.
    • The Clan-built Thresher is explicitly noted to be one of these in-universe. It is sarcastically considered the natural result of democracy, committees, and compromise, and is a Clan heavy 'Mech that doesn't kick ass and take names the way Clan heavies generally do. While it isn't a complete failure, its generalized nature makes it so mediocre (it's too expensive to even be a basic trooper design) that it has ended up doing very little other than sit around far away from the front lines and look lumpy.
    • The infamous Land-Air Mechs suffer from the fact that while they're both mech and fighter (depending on model, sometimes an intermediate mode too), they don’t make a good example of either. They're much slower than a dedicated aerospace fighter and can't carry as many weapons and armor as a dedicated battlemech. They are best used for scouting.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The Iron Chain cards are intended to combine a strategy of attacking, Burn damage, and milling the opponent's Deck to be flexible and overwhelm the opponent. Unfortunately for them, they're pretty bad at all three. Iron Chain Repairman is their only non-Synchro attacker, with an average-at-best 1600 ATK, while ace Iron Chain Dragon has a good-but-not-great 2500, plus an ATK bonus that might get 1000 points for one turn if you've got a lot of Chains in the Graveyard. You can try to weaken your opponent's cards with Iron Chain Snake, but even then, doing so is incredibly slow and cumbersome. Burn cards are pretty sparse; Iron Chain Blaster does 800 damage a turn at the cost of a Monster, which is pretty lame since some cards can do 500 a turn with no other requirements, while Iron Chain Repairman and Paralyzing Chain do 300 damage per activation, which is barely even chip damage. And milling the Deck? Well, there's destroying a Monster with Iron Chain Snake, which has all the problems above, there's Poison Chain, which knocks off only a few cards a turn and stops you from attacking, and Dragon, which knocks off just three cards per attack. All this, combined with how tiny the archetype is, means that the Iron Chains will do just enough attacking to stop them from using stall cards, just enough burn damage to make their attacking force insufficient, and just enough milling to give your opponent Graveyard resources.
    • In the early game, this was a problem with many high-level monsters. The designers seemed to believe that a monster with good stats in both ATK and DEF was inherently more powerful than something with only one good stat, which led to, for instance, Dark Magician (2500/2100) requiring two tributes over Summoned Skull (2500/1200) requiring one. It was true that Dark Magician's higher DEF was objectively an advantage - but it was also largely negligible, since the monster would only ever use one stat at a time. You'd almost never run into a situation where Dark Magician's extra 900 DEF would come in handy, since if you were playing it in DEF, your opponent would likely have something that could kill it in ATK, and if that was true, it would die just as fast in DEF. The only time that stat would come up is if the opponent used something like Block Attack to force your monster to DEF, which simply didn't make up for the extra Tribute. This was particularly true in early games like Yu-Gi-Oh! The Duelists of the Roses, where both ATK and DEF were taken into the card's cost - a 1600/0 like Dragon Zombie had the same cost as an 800/800.
    • Vehicroids. They have cards based on offense (Truckroid, Steamroid, Drillroid), defense (Decoyroid, Gyroid, Jetroid), and recovery (Expressroid, Ambulanceroid, Rescueroid), but the group of them have no real synergy between each other aside from a few combos that border on coincidental, and no real way to change up their strategy. It has several Fusions and a special Fusion card, but it only works on three of those fusions and only one is any good, and only one other card in the archetype supports a Fusion playstyle. None of them are anything above mediocre, and there's almost no relation between their effects, making even sussing out a playstyle for them difficult, as one frustrated YouTuber noted.
    "So what could have been done to make 'Roids better? I know I said this with Genex already, but I don't fucking know. With Genex, you could at least somewhat see the point of what they're supposed to be, but Roids are literally just random pack filler garbage thrown together as an archetype for some reason, and I can't deduce their win condition or goal or whatever from that!"
    • Flamvells have some cards based on offense, but of the bunch, only Firedog is notably strong for its level. They have several Burn-based cards, but the damage they inflict is pathetic and they often require some work to activate. They have a variety of Tuners with a variety of levels, but only two Synchros, both of which are mediocre. The Neo Flamvell sub-archetype focuses on banishing the opponent's Graveyard, but doesn't do so quickly enough to be disruptive, synergize with the rest of the deck, or have much of an endgame in doing so. Their best card is Rekindling, which allows for an impressive mass revival, but Rekindling doesn't actually support Flamvells; it supports Fire-types with 200 DEF, meaning other, stronger Fire archetypes can also use it (and because of those other archetypes, Rekindling is limited to one).
    • The iconic Red-Eyes has had to deal with this quite a bit, due to Konami's rather odd habit of seemingly giving it a new focus with every wave of release, from burn to Fusion to Geminis to Equip-use to revival. The problem is that none of these strategies really synergize, nor are they fleshed-out individually enough to excel on their own merits. Compared to the far more well-focused Blue-Eyes and Dark Magician, Red-Eyes tends to struggle as a result.
    • Many new players attempt to use decks based on the playstyles of characters in the anime, which suffer from this due to a mixture of CCG Importance Dissonance and lack of the Magic Poker Equation. The most infamous is Yugi's deck, which in the anime was a mixture of various smaller engines and archetypes that allowed for a good amount of flexibility and strategy. In the hands of real players, though, it becomes a complete joke, with many an erstwhile King of Games struggling to kludge something together when they draw nothing but Magnet Warrior support cards and only a Dark Magician to use them on. You're almost always better off with trying to run a deck based purely on one of these archetypes and played to its fullest.
  • Unlike the other, specialized Mega Corps in Hc Svnt Dracones MarsCo does a bit of everything. This is represented in their educational system, characters with a scholarship from MarsCo can train in any proficiencies, but only up to two dots at character creation rather than the usual three. In addition, their ships have Omnislots where the other corps put weapons arrays, flak barriers, or drone bays on their ships. While that allows MarsCo ships more versatility and a greater ability to specialize from mission to mission it does make them more expensive.
  • Creating master-of-none characters is a common beginner's error in point build tabletop RPGs such as Champions or GURPS, especially perhaps among those with previous experience in class-and-level systems. Discovering that they can create characters who are strong and fast and skilled and other things, such players may get over-excited and take one of everything, and end up with characters who are mediocre at everything, while specialists have more fun. This can be especially compounded if the player ends up taking multiple skills that are effectively overlapping, like buying skills with longswords, and axes, and warhammers, and flails so that they can be very versatile without realizing that there isn't really a point in being good with more than one or two weapons and focusing would make them a much deadlier fighter.

    Tower Defense 
  • Plants vs. Zombies:
    • The first game has the Cactus. It has identical damage to the Peashooter, already a fairly weak offensive plant, while costing more sun and being unable to benefit from Torchwood. It can also attack Balloon Zombies, but Blover can clear the entire field of them for just 100 sun, and the Cattail has much better damage and can attack the whole board, leaving it outclassed in both areas. Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time retooled Cactus heavily with new abilities, allowing it to find a proper niche.
    • In the sequel, this is the general opinion of the Pea-Nut. It has the same damage of a basic Peashooter while having the toughness of a Wall-Nut, and it costs 150 Sun, a combination of the two plants' costs. Unfortunately, Peashooter quickly gets overshadowed by other offensive plants, and it also holds for the Pea-Nut. Its damage is too lackluster to be useful, making it just a more expensive Wall-Nut. Making matters worse, after it takes enough damage, its rate of fire gets halved, making it one of the weakest offensive plants in the game.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • In the first and second Advance Wars, Andy was the Jack of All Stats and was a viable character because all his units were always evenly-powered, but with the massive introduction of lots of new characters and the revamping of one or two older ones, there were many many characters with advantages and no drawbacks, and these weren't even the Game-Breaker characters. These drawbackless powers include extra vision in Fog of War and superior counterattacks, extra defense against ranged attacks, and several with bonuses on specific terrain, like plains, cities or roads. That said, Andy's still usable, thanks to his decent CO power.
    • In Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, the ability to play without a CO character was added. This makes you even more of a Master of None than the characters that lack useful skills; you have nothing but your own ingenuity to fall back on.
    • Days of Ruin also had The Beast, the Warm-Up Boss designed for you to sink your teeth into in the first few missions. He has no CO power, can't load a CO into a unit, and has absolute base-level stats.
  • Magic Knights in Disgaea: Hour of Darkness have only a leveling speed of B in swords and a B in staffs (most classes have an S in their main type or at least an A for the initial ones) and needs to level them both up. The same goes for the Angel class (a slightly better jack that has an A in staffs and swords). They end up becoming the strongest mages and one of the deadliest units overall in the second game and still a good class onwards, however.
    • Majins started off at a Master of All, but gradually became worse every game. In the first game, Majins had massive stat growth, aptitude, and weapon affinities right off the bat, with their only "drawback" being that they take an awful lot of Level Grinding to unlock. The second game toned them down by giving them low Movement range (which can be overcome), and a paltry throw range of ONE SQUARE (which cannot be enhanced). By the third game, their aptitudes and weapon affinities were made far below average, to the point where it was not worth the time fixing those issues to make them viable. Their replacement in the fourth game, Androids, ended up being just as bad as usual, and by D2 they were retired.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance's Montblanc is a character who, like any unit in the game, can go into any job that his race is capable of. However, his stats are so abysmal that there's really no point in using him at all, as even later units that join your clan have better stats. What's really crippling is the fact that the game will not even let you remove him from your party (short of killing him in a Jagd) so you'll have to endure his subparness for the whole game. He's likable enough that most people put up with him.
  • The Lightning from the original X-COM: UFO Defense. It can intercept and carry troops, but is a worse fighter than the Firestorm and a worse troop bus than the Skyranger. Its successor, the Avenger, fits the trope by being Awesome, but Impractical: it carries more troops than the Skyranger and is a stronger fighter than the Firestorm, but loses by being horribly expensive to build and fuel, so a lot of players refuse to build it until it's time for the endgame mission (which requires one to carry the team) because Skyrangers and Firestorms are simply more efficient.
  • SPARK in XCOM 2 have skills that can replicate those of other classes', but less effectively. They can remotely hack like Specialists, but their Hack stat is terrible. They can melee attack like Rangers, but can't deal status effects or have the advanced skills that keep lategame melee-focused Rangers relevant. Bombard allows them to blow things up at range like the Grenadier's Grenade Launcher, but without the specialised grenades or perks Grenadiers get to use.
  • A real danger in Shadowrun Returns. Since it becomes ever harder to put points into skills the higher level you go, it can be tempting to grab the low-hanging fruit instead. This spreading out of skills, however, can make things difficult in the lategame. This is further compounded by the fact that spellbook and item slots are shared among all the possible archetypes' needs. It's almost always better to specialise, and the ingame hints themselves suggest as much.
  • Civilization:
    • In IV, a number of units (Spearmen, Pikemen, Grenadiers, and Marines, for instance) ended up with a promotion tree that'd fit a defensive unit while having special bonuses to incentivize aggression and offense, or vice versa. This usually left a unit that kinda sucked at both.
    • In V, this befalls several civs whose abilities don't synergize well, resulting in them being not as good at other civs with a more focused win condition. The Byzantine Empire is a fine example; it has two early unique units and a Religion that they can choose extra abilities for, but both early warfare and Religion development tie up a lot of resources in the early game, meaning Byzantium will have to give up on at least one (and making them mediocre against full-conquest civs like the Huns or Assyria, and full-Religion civs like the Celts or Ethiopia).
  • In Master of Magic, Orcs suffer this by virtue of being almost identical to High Men, the Jack of All Stats race. There's only a couple of differences between Orcs and High Men, but these (Shamans vs. Priests, Halberdiers vs. Pikemen, Wyvern Rider vs. Paladin) are worse across the board, so there is no reason whatsoever to take Orcs as your starting race. They make a decent conquest target for more warlike races (as their economy is identical to the High Men's - that is, they can build any building), but that's out of the player's control.
  • In Ascendancy, the metroplex structure gives small boosts to population, production, research, and prosperity, but is completely outclassed by other structures dedicated to one of those attributes at the expense of the others. It’s Not Completely Useless, though, because on small planets, where space is more of a concern, they can be life savers.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The Luck stat in general is something of a Master of None as stats go, essentially combining the advantages of Skill and Speed but in lesser quantity and with Skill's critboost and Speed's doubling replaced with situational crit avoid.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade sees Eliwood's mediocre, "balanced" stat growths pale in comparison to Lyn and Hector's respective Fragile Speedster and Lightning Bruiser statuses. His son Roy, the hero of the prior game, has equal or worse growths than him in every stat bar Luck, suggesting it's hereditary.
    • Warrior in the DS games gets this, due to most of its focuses not really gelling properly. It combines the stat caps of a Mighty Glacier with stat bases and growths that imply a Glass Cannon, which generally means its theoretical advantage of high Defense never actually comes into play. It also suffers from this due to poor direction in its weapon types of axes and bows: of the axe-using classes, Berserker and Hero are both much faster, meaning Warrior's theoretical damage edge falls apart when it can't double, while Dracoknight is tankier and can fly, and of the bow-using classes, Sniper is both much faster and has a better bow rank, making it a better pick for shooting things down.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening shows signs of this on Chrom, at least compared to the Avatar. While Chrom isn't necessarily as noticable bland thanks to his fairly decent bases, the Signature Move of Aether and Rightful King, raising his skill procs by 10%. However, his relatively basic kit has him somewhat underwhelming compared to characters who are more specialized or just Elite Tweaked to be better, leaving him with the unfortunate nickname "Chromvoy" for his unmatched skill in accessing the Convoy in map.

    Visual Novels 
  • Coμ -Black Dragon In A Gentle Kingdom- has the Bishop class, which has stats of seven across the board, where other classes have two threes, a six, and a ten in the four stats. Except each team has five people — most of which are of the normal classes — that usually has four members that end up with four different tens.
  • This is revealed to be Gilgamesh's weakness in Fate/stay night: he owns the original version of every hero's weapon ever made, so on paper, he should have the combined strength of all of them. However, Gilgamesh has no real skill with any of his weapons: he owns them, but he almost never bothers to wield them. Rather than practicing with individual weapons and developing skill with them, he simply tosses them around like toys and attempts to overwhelm the opponent through a Storm of Blades, leading to him struggling against more specialized fighters when they can force him to fight on their turf.

    Western RPG 
  • Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II:
    • You can easily create your character like this if you try do distribute equally your stats among the various attributes. The game itself instead suggests to focus on determinate ones depending on your class, for example, fighters with strength and constitution, wizards with intelligence. There is no point with having strength 15 and wisdom 15 for a fighter rather than strength 18 and wisdom 12. There are few checks for those attributes in dialogues and encounters, and you can use another character for them anyway, or temporarily boost your stats with a potion or a magical item. Furthermore, due to Empty Levels, certain stats don't have differences beyond a certain threshold, for example there is no difference between a Constitution of 7 or 14 in terms of bonus health points, so you must necessarily go beyond that to get some (you do get a bit more progressive resistance to intoxication when drinking in taverns, which is a case of Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities, and dwarves/gnomes get earlier some saving throw bonuses). This leads to Min-Maxing with more than a Dump Stat as the preferred strategic choice during character creation, even if it is not much believable roleplay-wise and can lead to cases of Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • The vanilla versions of many classes are pretty generally inferior to most of the specialist kits available to each class. Most of these specialist classes come with some kind of penalty relative to the generic versions in a particular area, but because you can only realistically use a limited subset of the weapons or abilities potentially available anyway, it's generally better to chose a class/kit that gains bonuses in whatever skills or weapons you plan to actually use. This is an issue inherited from AD&D, where the designers tended to balance out kits that gave bonuses to one thing by providing penalties to another, ignoring that players might simply not bother with the penalized skill.
      • The generic Thief class is an inferior fighter to the Swashbuckler (and his thieving skills are no better), has worse traps than the Bounty Hunter, and isn't as good a backstabber as the Assassin.
      • The generic Fighter is less powerful than the Kensai or Berserker with anything except missile weapons, but if you want missile weapons you'd use an Archer (a Ranger kit).
      • The Cleric kits all get extra spells and powers not available to a generic Cleric and their only limitation is being restricted to a particular alignment.
      • Each of the non-human races gets some bonuses relative to Humans, so there's no real reason to take a Human unless you want to Dual-Class (as only humans can do this) or you want to be a class that is restricted to humans (like the Paladin).
  • In the Ultima series from part four onwards, the Shepherd class is the Embodiment of Virtue of Humility and therefore has low stats across the board (compare/contrast the Ranger class, which has medium stats in everything). As a consequence, Katrina, the series' Shepherd Non-Player Companion, usually plays The Load to the Player Party in games that require recruiting her.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Medium Armor skill in Morrowind. It is severely lacking in high end complete sets compared to Light and Heavy armors, and only has one piece of "artifact" equipment in its class (the Ebony Mail) compared to the multiple pieces for Light and Heavy. Additionally, wearing one of the best Medium armor sets (Indoril) will make Ordinators (to whom that armor is sacred) try to kill on sight for the rest of the game. An attempt is made in Tribunal to avert this with Adamantium armor, but the ore is so rare and armor so expensive to have made that few players bother. In Oblivion, medium armor was dropped entirely because of this.
    • This is a potential pitfall in Skyrim. With the game eschewing classes in favor of an open-ended leveling system, players going the Magic Knight route are easily tempted into spreading their points too thin and not being as effective as a pure fighter or caster. Due to Level Scaling, enemies constantly get stronger, but a Magic Knight will level their magic more slowly than a pure caster, and spells do not scale with your level, so by the point you get the latest level of useful spells, enemies are likely going to have out-levelled them already. Plus there is the issue of balancing Magicka/Stamina/Health, which likely either means your character will have too little magicka to make spellcasting useful for more than a weak initial shot, too low of stamina to handle themselves decently in melee, and not enough health to reliably take even single hits from more powerful enemies, especially dragons.
  • Diablo II: The Druid is sometimes accused of being a Master Of None. He uses elemental magic, nature summons, and has shapeshifting for melee. However, his magic is weaker than the sorceress', often with huge timers placed on them. His summons are limited to 1, 3, or 5 damaging minions, while the Necromancer can have somewhere around 40 skeletons total. His melee skills are up to the task, but since his were-forms have limited durations, he has to worry about turning back into a human mid-battle.
  • Diablo III has the Crusader, often in the same boat as the Druid. A lot of their skills are Holy, and they're capable of quite a bit of damage, especially with the "Heavenly Strength" ability that lets a Crusader wield a two-handed weapon with one hand. However, they lack a lot of ranged options, their DPS isn't that high when compared to the Demon Hunter or the Witch Doctor, and their abilities frequently have long cooldowns. As a melee class, they're also incapable of matching the attack speed of Monks or the crowd-control ability of a Barbarian. A Crusader's skills with Shields and flails are capable of turning the Crusader into a defensive powerhouse, but this is irrelevant on the harder difficulties of Torment mode. The result of all of this is a Mighty Glacier that isn't that mighty, and fares poorly stacked up against the other character classes.
  • While every magic-user in Might and Magic VI could upgrade those magical skills they could learn to the highest rank, and so were only kept from mastery of magic or combat through what skills they could learn and how many hit points and spell points were received per level, VII to IX added the ability to restrict what rank the skill could be upgraded to. This made hybrids less powerful, as upgrading magic schools allowed the learning of new spells and enhanced old spells... though it also allowed some of them to become Masters of Something: yes, the archer might not be all that good a spellcaster, but being able to directly add to the damage done when attacking with a bow has its uses, the druid might only be second best in elemental or clerical magic, but can have more spell points than anyone, etc.
  • Mass Effect
    • Kaidan Alenko avoids being The Load in the first game only by lieu of his Romance Sidequest and interesting Backstory. He has biotics, but Liara has better ones (including Singularity, one of the most overpowered moves in the game). He has tech abilities, but so do Garrus and Tali. His weapon skills are the worst in the game (Tali, who in some ways is squishier than him, compensates for her similar weaknesses by having the highest shield ceiling in the game as well as being able to upgrade from basic pistols to shotguns), and he can only wear light armor (Garrus, in addition to being more durable, is able to upgrade to Medium Armor). Manually tweaking his stats can turn him into a versatile and powerful backup character, but most people only use him early on and dump him on the Normandy for the rest of the game.
    • The main result for Kaidan's lack of use in actual combat is because it's an inherent problem of the Sentinel class in the first game, undoubtedly the weakest class available. It was meant to be a tech/biotic mix, but overall squishiness combined with lack of damage output meant it was just a worse Adept. It had tech powers that could lock down enemies, but they replaced biotic abilities that could do the same thing better. It did get biotic powers that once again could lock down enemies, but they didn't get the really powerful ones. They could use pistols, but their version of the talent for pistols (in that they gained the usual benefits through their passive skill) was weaker than any other class's version, and they didn't get any other weapons to make up for this. Tech/Biotics also don't complement each other as well as Combat does with either, since both are primarily set on making enemies vulnerable while Combat actually kills them. In the Sentinel's case, making them helpless didn't matter if you could barely hurt them. Sentinels usually relied heavily on teammates to do the killing, and its only real use was via a very specialized form of Magikarp Power, where even the Final Boss could be lifted and made helpless by the Sentinel's mix of both kinds of skills. By Mass Effect 3, however, the Sentinel has become a true Jack of All Stats, when tech and biotic powers in general gained much larger damage output and the Sentinel's weapon skills became far more practical. It helped that they also got Tech Armor, making them the most durable class.
    • Jacob is another case as far as offense goes. He has both Pull and Incendiary Ammo as offensive powers, rather than only one of each like, respectively, Jack and Grunt, but in addition to them not being incredibly useful later on, Jack and Grunt are better in direct combat. He gets Lift Grenades in Citadel, but again doesn't bring anything else special, as another teammate (Wrex this time) has the same power and also happens to be better in combat than Jacob. It's only with his Loyalty Power, Barrier, that the tables turn in his favor, as Barrier activates faster and with more upgrades than other shield powers like Fortification or Geth Shield Boost, turning Jacob from someone you only use when you have to into the resident Stone Wall. And even then, he still comes in as inferior to Grunt, thanks to the latter's Healing Factor and huge hitpoint pool.
    • Thane Krios is probably the worst case, as gameplay-wise he brings nothing exceptional to the table. He's a sniper, but Garrus and DLC character Zaeed will already have that covered and are more durable to boot, and Legion comes later in the game yet can use the Widow Sniper Rifle. Biotically, Miranda and Samara will also have Warp or Throw already, in addition to being more versatile and/or effective to the point that Thane is one of the "bad" choices for the biotic bubble during the Suicide Mission. His Loyalty Power, Shredder Ammo, provides a damage boost against organic targets, but is useless against protected targets, which is everything on higher difficulty settings, and in any case the player's better off using any other ammo type except Cryo. Since there's no specialist use for him during the final mission, not even as a backup option, he's just a warm body to fill out the roster.
  • In Dragon Age II, it's best to focus all of a character's ability points in their specialization tree and one ability tree, with maybe a few extra points in another tree when the first two are maxed out. Trying to spread the points equally across three or more trees can easily lead to Master Of None syndrome since you won't have enough points in any one tree to unlock the secondary bonuses, which can be a real problem at the endgame or on higher difficulties. Many of the available moves are decidedly mediocre without those bonuses.
    • That goes for weapon and magic skill trees. On the other hand, Rogues get a lot more value mixing-and-matching skills across trees than from most of the top ranked skills in each tree. They can still be effective as a Master Of None.
  • Kamil from The 7th Saga. Presumably, he was worth using in the original version, but in the version we all know, his stat growths are so hampered that he ends up below average in almost every way.
  • You want to avoid this in Alpha Protocol. Without the boost from Veteran it's impossible to fully level everything, and most paths don't give you the really good stuff until far in, so too generalised a spread will leave you with a deficient Mikey that can't do much usefully. The game isn't completely unbeatable this way, but it'll be difficult. On the flipside, completely neglecting the other aspect will also end poorly; stealth/technical builds need some investment in combat skills for the unskippable bosses, and combat builds need some investment in technical skills to pass some puzzles.
  • The Brig Of War in Sid Meier's Pirates!. There are two schools of play in the game, "Board 'em quick" and "Pound them until they yield", which means that players will, depending on style, get a ship that is either extremely quick and maneuverable or has a huge broadside. This leaves the Brig Of War, which is slightly above average in speed, manouvering and weight of broadside, tragically unloved.
    • The tragedy is compounded by several of the rare Brig of War's basic stats, such as cargo space, cannon count, and crew size being matched by the extremely common Frigate, with only a few small differences in speed and agility to differentiate the two. Similarly, this is why traders rarely take Barques out into the water; they're a little faster and a little more agile than some of their peers, but their weight of cannon is so average and their cargo capacity is so light by contrast that merchant players usually pick up something either ultralight for smuggling runs (such as the Pinnace) or something massive and decently armed for bulk shipments (such as the Merchantman). And no one likes Fluyts.
  • Franklin Payne in Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, due to how the game's Item Crafting system works. There are eight technological disciplines in the game, and five followers who have item-crafting skills. Franklin has novice level mastery of all eight disciplines, meaning he can craft a wide variety of basic items, but the other 4 followers (who specialise in two disciplines each and can attain technician level mastery of those two) are far better to call upon for assistance if you can recruit them.
  • According to the Let's Play, Charlatans in Drakensang due to the game's system of buying new abilities with EXP, forcing their abilities to be spread thin, or to abandon some facets.
  • Jedi Sentinels in the first Knights of the Old Republic have the combat abilities of a consular (pure caster), and only slightly better Force powers than a Guardian (essentially a pure fighter), in exchange for skill points and immunities to various Force powers (that many items can also negate, and which only bosses use anyways). Fixed entirely in the second game, where skill points determine — among other things — your ability to craft upgrades, allowing a Sentinel to build super-equipment and make up for any of their own deficiencies, and in its corresponding Prestige Classes, the Jedi Watchman/Sith Assassin, which are built around sneak attack damage and the former has one of the best saving throws in the game. The second game also gives Sentinels the Niman lightsaber style, which like the class itself is useful in all situations but doesn't offer any particular advantages.
  • The repeating carbines in Fallout: New Vegas mix many of the elements of other categories of guns, but aren't especially effective in comparison: They lack the range of rifles, the raw damage and armor-penetrating capability of shotguns, the high fire rate of automatics, and the ease-of-use of handguns. Since guns have the largest variety of any weapon type in the game, a dedicated gunman can always find better options.
  • Purely going by her combat abilities, the Antiquarian from Darkest Dungeon is this. She can attack, buff, debuff, and heal, but not particularly well compared to more specialized classes. Fortunately, she has a redeeming factor: having an Antiquarian in your party increases how much gold you can carry, and adds some Shop Fodder items that can only be found by an Antiquarian. Bringing an Antiquarian on a quest will make most combat harder, but the rewards will be much greater if you make it out alive.
  • Trying to take on too many skills with a single character runs the risk of becoming this in Wasteland 2. There are just too few skill points available to become a Jack of All Stats. Since you can create a party of four characters in character creation and can take an additional three companions at any one time that you meet out in the world, your best bet is to have each character specialise in different skills.

Non-game examples

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bakuman。: Orihara is by far the worst assistant Mutou Ashirogi has got during their entire career, since he lacks the experience of the veteran assistants, he isn't as fast as the other assistants and he doesn't draw as well as the other assistants. The only positive traits he has going for is his loyalty and his positive and energetic personality. That being said, he doesn't draw so bad that he would ever become The Load and is still valuable manpower for Ashirogi's team, especially when Ashirogi has to handle multiple manga at once.
  • Jagi from Fist of the North Star is the weakest of the four Hokuto Shinken brothers. He tried to compensate for his lack of skill by fighting dirty, but it didn't work out for him in the long run. Jagi also knows Nanto Seiken, but Kenshiro deemed it too slow and an "insult to Shin" before sending him to Hell.
  • Gundam
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam gives us the RMS-106 Hizack. In theory, it's easily to see it as a major successor to the Zeon Zaku, despite it being used by the Earth Federation and the Titans. However, its power supply is lacking, meaning it can use a beam rifle or a beam saber, but not both at the same time (its back-up weapons include a standard machine gun and a heat hawk). Its early replacement, the RMS-108 Marasai, easily fixes this problem and quickly becomes the mainstay Titans unit.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing:
      • The Leo was built mainly as the mecha equivalent of a tank, its high modularity allows it to equip a jetpack to act as a flying mobile suit (in fact, this is the first Leo variant to appear), high-powered Shoulder Cannons to perform artillery support missions, or mount a different jetpack to fight in space (possibly with the shoulder cannons for increased firepower), and can fight in any Earth environment except underwater, in spite of its growing obsolescence (it was the only mobile suit at all for close to twenty years by the start of the series). However, aside for a few high-powered custom models, it's outperformed by specialist designs in every single job - the Aries may have less firepower and armor, but is a better flier (in fact, the flying Leo only appears in the first episode, flown by Char Clone Zechs before switching to the Aries and then the Tallgeese); the Tragos is a more stable and mobile artillery platform with more powerful and longer-ranged cannons; the Taurus is a better space-based mobile suit; and the Maganac is a superior fighter in extreme environments like the desert. This is actually acknowledged in-universe, as the specialist designs were developed precisely to take over those roles (the development and first deployment of the Taurus actually happens during the series, and provides the plot of an early episode).
      • Among the Gundams, Sandrock got the short end in terms of combat abilities and mission profiles. The Heat Shotels are reasonably powerful melee weapons and comes with a submachine gun, but is not as vicious in close range as the Shenron Gundam and lacks the mobility of Deathscythe Gundam, while obviously outgunned by Wing Gundam and Heavyarms Gundam. Notably, while there is a Mid-Season Upgrade for the other Gundams later in the series and all Gundams get a cosmetic upgrade for the OAV sequel, Sandrock remains roughly the same.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED:
      • The GAT-X102 Duel Gundam, which, being a system prototype for the Earth Alliance's other, more specialised mobile suits (Buster for ranged artillery, Blitz for stealth, Aegis for commanders and Strike for either close-combat, heavy assault or high mobility) has nearly no customisation or specialisation, despite being a "Close Quarters" mobile suit. ZAFT ends up giving it the Assault Shroud, a set of strengthened armor with a built-in railgun and missile pod, just to bring it up to the standard of the others.
      • The basic Strike, without its Striker Packs to specialise its battlefield role, is less capable of doing anything than Duel, having next to no in-built or equipped weaponry (the others get a rifle, at the very least).
  • This is a problem from some Burst Linkers in Accel World. Not many details are given but there is a point-buy system attached to the levelling up mechanic, allowing you to upgrade a Duel Avatar's existing abilities or unlock new ones as you level up. In the early game spreading points around to unlock new abilities can help cover obvious weaknesses but at turns you into this trope at the higher levels. This is noted to be a problem for Cyan Pile, who, despite being a close combat blue type, has a pile-driver that serves more as a ranged weapon, and he claims that this is because his feelings toward his long-time friends Haru and Chiyu are full of "contradictions," with a part of him wanting to keep them together and another part wanting to destroy their circle of friends. It also doesn't help that Taku's "parent," who apparently didn't care about him very much, pressured him into making less than optimal level up choices.
  • Kengan Ashura has Takayuki Chiba, who has the ability to perfectly copy any martial arts technique after a period of practicing with footage of it. (He likes to claim he can copy any technique after seeing it used once, but this is just for intimidation.) On paper, this makes him one of the scariest people in the series, since he could theoretically use any move, but in practice, being able to use any move is not the same as being able to use it as well as the person he's copying—Chiba lacks real fighting experience, isn't especially strong or fast by Kengan standards, has little to no combat instinct, and tends to make bad decisions (in his first outing, he tried using an aikido move on one of the greatest aikidoka on the planet). Consequently, he's lost to every named character he's fought onscreen, usually with relative ease.
  • The Garland from Mega Zone 23. Unlike the other mechs in the show it can transform on its own rather than having to combine with extra parts, but as a result its bike mode is extremely large and unwieldy. When Shogo first gets it and tries to weave through traffic with it the way he does with his old bike he causes a multi-vehicle accident.
  • Silver Spoon: Hachiken feels like this after his mid-term exams. While he got the best overall grades by a pretty wide margin (scoring in the nineties in all subjects) he didn't get a full hundred or the highest grade in anything.
  • Sailor Moon: In the anime, Mamoru notes that he's studied a lot of different subjects, but hasn't found anything in particular to focus on. Makoto, impressed with his extensive knowledge, states he's a jack of all trades yet a master of none. Mamoru has to point out to her that what she said was not a compliment.

    Comic Books 
  • Super-Skrull from Fantastic Four has copied the powers of all four members of the team, but as a result of using them interchangeably, he's never fully mastered any of their powers in the way they have. For example, he can make himself invisible like Susan, but can't get the hang of the Barrier Warrior techniques she eventually developed, which are far are more potent and versatile. He's sometimes able to make up for the difference through Ability Mixing, but it doesn't change the fact that his understanding of his Combo Platter Powers is cripplingly incomplete.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Pony POV Series, the Changelings can fly like pegasi and use magic like Unicorns, but are much weaker in both areas and are no match for Earth Ponies in terms of strength. Their forte is stealth, so they need to be able to mimic the other tribes, but they can't beat the other tribes in any of their own fortes. The one exception is General Hercules Beetle, who's their races World's Strongest Man and physically incredibly strong.
  • The Ragged Edges features the character of Kaz Grin, a Mauve Shirt under the belief that he is The Generic Guy and if he doesn't find a cool persona, he will die. Unfortunately for him, being The Generic Guy, his overall skillset can best be described as "resplendent mediocrity," and since most of his personas require some level of specializing, none stick. He tries to be a suave talker and gets punched, he tries to be a Cold Sniper and misses every shot, he tries to be a tactician and can't plan, he tries to be a Boisterous Bruiser and can't fight. His only actual skills are that, being a Dirty Coward, he has some self-taught skill at field medicine and stealth, but even then, the group has actual stealth operatives and medics.
  • In CRISIS: Equestria the alternate Equestrians think of Twilight Sparkle this way because in their dimension all ponies can cast spells tied to their special talent and having a talent in magic, as Twilight does, makes you a Master of None. In actuality, Twilight is something of a Master of All with her proficency in spells and magical power (especially after she receives a power boost).
  • Fate/Starry Night: Aside from his sky-high Servant compatibility, Ritsuka isn't a master in any of his crafts and is repeatedly punished for it. His magical sensitivity is untrained and he can't follow ambient energy without the help of others. He also can't teach Shirou anything due to only knowing the bare essentials. He needs to follow a recipe to come anywhere near EMIYA's level of cooking and the martial arts he shows off are an improvised MMA style cobbled together from the basics of different disciplines. And it shows when Souichirou curb-stomps him in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Becoming this is why Izuku doesn't get One For All in The Emerald Phoenix. Izuku's own quirk of telekinesis and telepathy has no common ground with One For All's super strength and toughness, which means, as Nedzu put it, Izuku would either have to forsake one quirk to focus on the other or work on each and be mediocre at both.
  • Metagaming?: According to Harry, this is a trap many enchanters and blacksmiths fall into. The more things you enchant an item to do, the worse it is at each of them. Part of why his suits of armor have so many layers is so that each one can be specialized to do one or two things really well rather than have a single layer that does a dozen things poorly. That and making an object weak in one area allows him to make it stronger in another, such as a Spy Catsuit that's invulnerable to liquid, gas, and elemental attacks but provides no protection against ordinary weapons and dissolves if exposed to alcohol.
  • In Traveler generalists, trainers who don't specialize in specific type, usually struggle in battles with high level trainers with few becoming Pokémon Masters due to how hard it is to master multiple types. Whereas a fire specialist would only need to learn from a single fire type master for advanced training, a generalist would need to find several master trainers to train under.
  • Lampshaded in Black Hole Heart when Sasuke notes that of the two, Temari is a master at using her fan while Tenten is acceptable with every weapon. That Tenten focuses on throwing her weapons and Temari specializes in wind jutsu only worsens Tenten's disadvantage.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Pentagon Wars, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle is conceptualised as a combined weapons platform, troop transports and reconnaissance vehicle. Except it sucks at all of them. It cannot carry a full-sized standard squad because some planned space for the men was filled with ammo, it cannot fight because the armour was shed to save weight for all the equipment it carries (not helping is the geniuses involved in the design requested it also be amphibious), so "real" armoured fighting vehicles will chew it up and spit it out. And it cannot scout because it's twelve feet tall and it has a turret with an enormous cannon and a missile launcher on it which means that any enemy that sees it is going to immediately mistake it for a tank and unload everything they have on it — it makes itself a target by being there.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Y-Wing was a Jack of All Stats strike bomber when it was introduced during the Clone Wars, but by the time of A New Hope 20 years later, it had been equaled or surpassed in all areas by the X-Wing. This is demonstrated in the Battle of Yavin, where while having a similarly-poor survival rate to the X-Wing (twice as many X-Wings were sent to battle as Y-Wings, but only two X-Wings survived to the one Y-Wing), the Y-Wings overall did much worse in the battle, every one that tried to make the trench run getting shot down shortly after entering the trench, while X-Wings managed to make the entire run down it to the exhaust port twice.
    • Star Wars Legends has the "Ugly" starfighters, ships made by cobbling together spare parts from other ships. More often than not, they ended up getting all the weaknesses of their component parts, and few of the strengths (most notoriously, the TYE-Wing, which combined the engines of a Mighty Glacier with the hull of a Fragile Speedster). On top of that, their construction method gave them nonexistent build quality and difficult maintenance. Their main role in canon is to inflate Rogue Squadron's kill counts.
  • Iron Man 3 has Tony working on a Flawed Prototype armor nicknamed "The Heartbreaker" for its exaggerated gold coloring. Most of his armors are Jack of All Stats, while he has also experimented with specialized armors. The Heartbreaker's main feature is automated deployment around Tony, which worked in principle but had numerous bugs including disengaging without command. Beyond that it had numerous features that came standard on most of his armors, but the numerous bugs proved to make the armor itself rather unremarkable.

  • Notes in the Honor Harrington novel The Short Victorious War state that battleships, considered a Jack of All Stats a hundred years ago, have come to be seen as this instead by the time of the book. Sitting in the gap between battlecruisers and dreadnoughts, they lack the firepower and survivability of full ships of the wall as well as the mobility of battlecruisers or anything below; hence, nobody makes them anymore. The Havenites do redeem theirs by clever deep-raiding tactics, but even that's only something they bothered to do because they had a huge stock of the things still sitting around from their heyday; even Haven does not and will not build any new battleships.
  • In Star Wars Wraith Squadron, Falynn Sandskimmer sees herself as this, but in reality she really is more of a Jack of All Trades. The fact that there is always someone in the squadron that is better than her at something, not realizing that it is several different people, causes her to take extreme risks to be the first at anything. In the end she succeeds, but dies to do so.
  • In A.L. Phillips's The Quest of the Unaligned, the unaligned mages of the royal house have access to all four of the elemental magics. However, every time an unaligned mage uses one of the elements, they grow slightly stronger in that element and slightly weaker in its opposite. For that reason, unaligned tend to become dabblers in each of the four domains, never really growing strong in any one.
  • This is one of the defining traits of the Villain Protagonist of The Pyat Quartet by Michael Moorcock. Pyat thinks that he's a Master of All — science, art, philosophy, politics — but he actually just knows enough to muddle along (and to fool impressionable people into thinking that he's much better than he really is). A perfect case in point is his grasp of languages, which is extensive enough to let him make himself understood throughout most of Europe, but is also so muddled together and scattershot that that he sounds like a Funny Foreigner in every language, including the one he was reared in.
  • Cradle Series: This is one of the reasons why no one tries to master two Paths of the sacred arts at once. Even if you could find two Paths with compatible madra, even if you could find someone who could teach you, mastering one Path takes all your time and attention. Instead of getting two Paths each as powerful as a normal one, you end up with two half-strength Paths. In a world where Power Levels result in major differences, that's a lethal mistake. Lindon, with his two cores, is able to use two different types of madra at once, and he uses one for a Path that is extremely powerful and quick to advance (but dangerous to the user), and the other for a Path that is slower to advance but also allows him to recover from the side effects of the first Path.
  • In KonoSuba, this is Kazuma's place in the party, in opposition to his comically-overspecialized companions. He went with the Adventurer class, a class which can learn just about any skill imaginable, but in exchange has very bad advancement overall. Consequently, though Kazuma does have a pretty wide range of skills, most of them are either weak and undertuned, or theoretically good but not on a guy as physically unimpressive as he is (not helped by the fact that Kazuma is, on the whole, arrogant and lazy), leaving him to be a Butt-Monkey far more often than not. He does improve with time, though, with many fights showing him cobbling together strategies based on his smattering of abilities.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The TaToBa Combo from Kamen Rider OOO is set up as one of these. While the form grants Eiji telescopic vision, Wolverine Claws and great jumping strength, these abilities almost never prove as good in a fight as the features granted by other Medals such as Cheetah's Super-Speed or the better weapons granted by virtually all of the other arm parts. It even has a Running Gag that its finishing move almost never successfully kills anything that it's used against. It does, however, possess one advantage: TaToBa's ability set is designed specifically to allow him to rip Medals straight out of the Greeed so that he can then use those Medals to assume a more useful form.
  • A recurring theme in the various restaurants Gordon Ramsey sets out to fix in series like Kitchen Nightmares is a restaurant menu with too many items on it, leading to the chefs not being able to specialize and focus on cooking a few particular dishes well, a much more complicated supply chain situation that adds more stress onto the kitchen and owners, and dishes where the foods involved might be OK separately but get mixed together in ways that just don't work. Simplifying the menu is often part of the changes he implements to get the restaurant back on its feet.
  • In Silicon Valley, Nelson "Big Head" Bighetti has been trained in the various disciplines necessary to work in the technology field, but he's not particularly skilled in any of them. He's even called a "master of none" at one point. This is highlighted further when he is Kicked Upstairs in Hooli and Gavin Belson realizes that he's actually not that bright.
  • Ultra Series: Ever since the introduction of Multiform Balance as a staple of the Ultra Heroes in Ultraman Tiga, there have been some examples of this trope:
    • Tiga Dark in the Ultraman Tiga movie Ultraman Tiga: The Final Odyssey is surprisingly this despite his established reputation as the strongest of the Dark Giants, due to its power being used for the good. He slowly grows out by absorbing his former teammates' powers and is eventually restored to his Jack of All Stats form as Multi Type.
    • Prior to obtaining Orb Origin, Gai Kurenai's first transformation in Ultraman Orb: The Origin Saga showcases Orb Origin the First, an all red form that is not unlike Showa Ultras. In terms of strength, Origin the First is very lackluster despite his ability to defeat a fleet of Bezelbs and in the final battle, he obtained the help of his four predecessors to defeat Psyqueen. By the end of the series, this trope is no longer in effect as Orb evolved into Orb Origin, signified by his black coloration which is continued in his titular series.
    • The title hero of Ultraman Z is said to be this at the start of his series in his base form. To quote Ultraman Zero, Z is equal to half or a third of an experienced Ultra which forces him to assume other forms with Ultra Medals to make up for his base mode's lack of attributes and power. However, this is simply because of inexperience on his part and as the series progresses he gets stronger and less reliant on the Ultra Medals, to the point that he is able to destroy Destrudos in his base form which even his final form, Delta Rise Claw, failed to do.

    Web Animation 
  • Puffin Forest: The character Abserd invokes this. He's a Level 15 character, but he only has one level in every class, and has an annoying voice to boot.
    Other player: How does he play?
    Ben: He doesn't!

    Web Comics 
  • Señor Vorpal Kickasso in Goblins, who tries to master 11 Dungeons & Dragons classes at once and ends up with 1/11th of a level in each of them. This allows him to do things like hide 1/11th of his body in shadow (hey, it could be useful... if the enemy was only looking for his ankle), or cast 1/11th of a sleep spell (it makes you feel kind of lethargic... maybe).
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Nale has levels of fighter, rogue and sorceror, giving him roughly the same ability set as his Quirky Bard twin brother, Elan, but in a needlessly complicated way. Furthermore, while he is an effective strategist and schemer, Elan's Medium Awareness cuts right through almost all of Nale's schemes. He tries to match Roy in terms of leadership, but unlike Roy only two of his minions have any form of loyalty to him, while the others are only drawn to him to fulfill their revenge against the protagonists.
    • Jenny, a rogue/bard/sorcerer. A bard is already sort of a combo of a rogue and a sorcerer, so she's got a whole bunch of very small, mostly redundant bonuses (and an abysmal Base Attack).
    • A minor character in the Thieves Guild is an aspiring arcane trickster, a rogue/wizard mix. Becoming one in the most standard way (three levels in rogue, five in wizard) means tanking his advancement in both classes for most of his early career until he can enter the Prestige Class and then try to play catch-up. He self-deprecatingly notes that "I only have two more levels of sucking ass before I can qualify for the class."
  • Red Mage in 8-Bit Theater provides the basis for the current page quote. On paper, he has a fairly versatile skillset, but in practice, his rampant Complexity Addiction and Insane Troll Logic means that he is terrible at using it to any degree of effectiveness. He also comes up short in individual skills compared to his party members, who are all far more specialized and far better at using their skills effectively (which isn't saying much, but still). He is also very prone to adding new skills to his "character sheet" to further increase his versatility, but his record in doing so is decidedly inconsistent. He does become considerably stronger by the end of the story—ironically, by specializing.
  • The titular character of Bok the Neutral is half-elf, half-orc, giving him the snobbishness and frailness of the former without the grace or intellect, and the crudeness and looks of the latter without the strength or will. He takes a Quirky Bard route but specializes in an instrument most people find hideously annoying, and is too surly and poor-tempered to be The Face. The closest thing he has to a focus is self-taught skill as a naturalist, but even then, he lives in a setting where naturalists are quite common.

    Web Original 
  • MMO YouTuber Josh Strife Hayes discusses this trope in regards to overly ambitious MMOs that try to mix too many genres and features together to their detriment. He draws an analogy to a pharmacy — a customer will want medicines that stop their current ailment quickly, but not those that work on numerous kinds of problems less efficiently. Likewise, a potential player picking up a game knows what kind of experience they want, and will commit to a game that delivers a focused, higher-quality experience, rather than one that's spread all its sources too thinly across many fronts.
  • Gorgons in The Salvation War. "Every gorgon quickly became used to being told they were not as effective at persuading humans as succubi, much weaker fliers than harpies, less powerful witches than naga, poorer fighters than a common lesser demon."

    Web Videos 
  • This was Game Sack's opinion on the Hyperkin Retron 5, a console that could play games (from the actual cartridges) from various retro consoles: they found it noticeably inferior to the original consoles in many ways, and encountered various compatibility issues (including games that couldn't even be played). While they still enjoyed playing on it, they concluded it wasn't right for their needs, and would rather just play the games on their original consoles.
  • Driebus, recurring guest PC-slash-Joke Character on The C-Team. He spends each level-up multi-classing into a new Character Class (thus never getting beyond Level 1 in anything) because he can't decide what he wants to do with himself.
  • gillythekid, in his review of Balan Wonderworld, summarizes the game as this word-for-word:
    "I'd call it a Jack of All Trades, master of none, but to be a jack-of-all-trades it would at least need to be baseline competent at the things it's trying to do, and it just isn't. And it's mostly not broken, just really boring."
  • In Dimension 20's A Starstruck Odyssey campaign this led to the failure of the Sundry Sydney android line to get beyond the marketing phase. Advertised as a combination household manager/personal assistant/bodyguard/Sexbot, most people who could afford one would prefer to get multiple specialized droids instead of one that mashes together all those functions.
    Product Testing Review: Its multifunctionality left me often at a loss for what to do next. I tried to engage the pleasure droid protocol, but as I became caressed by the assault cannon I found myself rapidly leaving my state of arousal. The roller skates didn't help either.
  • In DougDoug's video where he races against Raging Cherry in Super Mario 64, the two go about their practice rounds completely differently. While Cherry rushed through the entire run, only trying each strat a few times until he gets it right once before moving on, Doug takes the time to perfect each strat before he moves on. As a result, even though Doug wasn't even able to finish the final Bowser fight before the practice round was up, he beat Cherry by ten minutes.

    Western Animation 
  • Kevin in Ben 10 suffers from this initially; an accident with the omnitrix leaves him with the superpowers of 10 different alien species, but those powers are 'diluted' and weaker than they should be. Several of them don't even seem to be usable (he never displays Upgrade's technology control, Grey Matter's intelligence, or Ghostfreak's intangibility, for instance). During an episode when circumstance force him into an Enemy Mine partnership with Ben, Ben suggests Kevin combines his powers to compensate for their relative weakness, such as using Super-Speed and Super-Strength to augment his melee skills, allowing him to become more of a Lightning Bruiser.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The changelings are this as a species, by essentially being watered-down alicorns. They can't fly nearly as fast as a pegasus, they can't use magic nearly as well as a unicorn, and they're not nearly as tough physically as an earth pony, but they do have limited access to all three traits. They compensate for this by attacking in swarms and disguising themselves as ponies to get their food source: the love of others. As of their transformation at the end of To Where And Back Again they apparently have become less like this and more like regular ponies: some have lost their horns and others have lost their wings, with the trade-off being they no longer need to steal love from others.
  • Darrell in OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes suffers from this. Unlike the rest of the Box More robots, he has absolutely no unique powers or specialized skills, instead having a variety of mundane weapons. Normally this would make him a Badass Normal Jack of All Stats, but he lives in a setting where almost everyone has a superpower of some sort. Consequently, he's constantly Overshadowed by Awesome during battles and the heroes see him as a total joke.
  • This is the cause of Dewey's Middle Child Syndrome in DuckTales (2017). Huey, Louie and Webby all have their own niche of specialized talents for adventuring (intelligence, cunning, and self-defense, respectively). While Dewey has aspects of all of the other kids' strengths, his mastery of those skills are second-fiddle to theirs, leaving him as the child that doesn't stand out.

    Real Life 
  • Will Cuppy on Louis XIV:
    "In later life he knew a good deal about a wide range of subjects but nothing definite about any one subject."
  • The Bradley Fighting Vehicle is a strange topic. It was never meant to be a simple troop transport, but rather the US's first IFV. They had a very good perceived reason to build the Bradley, as the Soviets had the heavily armed BMP to which they had no counter. Rather than being a complete Master of None, the Bradley is actually a fairly specialized vehicle (well, family of two vehicles, as there is the M2 infantry fighting vehicle and the M3 scout vehicle). The M2 Bradley IFV did incorporate too many features for its own good. In particular, the Bradley's amphibious capability and infantry firing ports never really panned out: substantial preparation was required to prepare the vehicle for operation on water, while the firing ports required specialized niche weapons and compromised the vehicle's protection as well. Both of these features have since been largely dropped in favor of improved armor, depleted-uranium ammunition for its main gun note , and better situational awareness gear.
  • The US Army's Universal Camouflage Pattern. It was designed to provide equal concealment in jungle, urban and desert terrain. It succeeded in being equally sucky in all terrains. The Army tried to own up by claiming that their testing trials were biased toward conditions in Iraq... only, the best performer in both desert and urban terrain was the trials' actual winner, Desert All-Over Brush.
    • A lot of people seem to believe Multicam is a universal camouflage pattern. There's just one problem: it is essentially an arid/urban camouflage pattern that is thoroughly outclassed by more specialized patterns outside of its intended zone.
    • The US Navy Working Uniform has received a lot of criticism for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that it has a blue and gray camouflage pattern, in a profession where falling into the ocean is an occupational hazard. The uniform, designed for durability and presentability, can become too hot to wear for crew members working in the engine room or serving in tropical climates. It also has a tendency to cling to the body, which is something you do not want when you're exposed to fire or immersed in water.
  • The British implementation of the battlecruiser. Ideally, it was supposed to be faster than the more powerful ships, and more powerful than the faster ships, but the problem was that they often had way too much firepower and were way too big and expensive to justify only using against light/unarmored ships, all the while lacking sufficient armour to be employed in pitched battle against other capital ships. Even more so, the constant advancement of technology during the war meant that battleships, armor and all, rapidly caught up in speed.
  • Though it looked impressive and would inspire much better weapons, the FG 42 rifle proved to be a disappointment as a multipurpose weapon. The automatic rifle was meant to function as both a machine gun and rifle while still being light enough for paratroopers (as the rifle was actually requested by the Luftwaffe) to carry during a combat drop. However, while it was one of the few controllable, if uncomfortable, select-fire full-power infantry rifles (just watch Ian McCollum), the weapon suffered from numerous design flaws due to its intended role for paratroopers. As a side-effect from being light enough for airborne operations, the FG 42 had a lightweight construction that was prone to breaking apart in field usage. Furthermore, the weapon was unergonomic largely thanks to the side-mounted magazine that was difficult to reload and threw off the rifle's center of balance when the weapon is mounted on a bipod. All of these problems were worsened by its ammunition, the German military standard 7.92x57mm IS cartridges, which added additional weight and recoil while limiting ammunition capacity. Subsequently, the weapon didn't have the firepower of a squad automatic weapon, the precision of a marksman rifle, or the portability of a submachine gun. As a result, the FG 42 was less widespread than the later StG 44, which avoids the pitfalls of the FG 42 by not sacrificing combat durability to accommodate paratroopers.
  • The M14 rifle was meant to be a universal replacement for the US Army's Browning M1918 squad automatic rifle, M1 Garand infantry rifle, and M3 submachine gun. On paper, it sounded like a good idea since it was based on the reliable M1 Garand rifle (although despite Springfield Armory's promises, the two weapons could not be made with the same production tooling), keeping the original design that soldiers were used to with modern amenities like a detachable magazine, and would offer much needed versatility by letting soldiers switch between precise semi-auto and suppressive full-auto fire. In practice however, it was too light to be a squad automatic weapon, too heavy to be comparable to a submachine gun, and firing a full-power rifle cartridge while using a semi-pistol-grip stock that simply wasn't designed to keep a weapon firing such rounds on-target at 700 rounds per minute made fully automatic fire uncontrollable. The M14 was later replaced by the M16 as standard issue rifle, the M60 (and later the M249) for squad machine gun support, and shorter-barreled M16 variants for short-range combat, and the M14 only held on when it found a new role as a specialized marksman rifle.
    • The US Army tried to consolidate weapons again with the "Objective Individual Combat Weapon program." While the original intent was just to replace the M16, the goal shifted to make a weapon that would replace the M16, the M4, and personal grenade launchers. One of the results was H&K's XM29, a sci-fi looking weapon that had two separate barrels and two magazines for bullets and 20mm smart grenades that could be programmed by the shooter to blow up at specific ranges for maximum effect. However, all the prototypes were extremely complicated (the special scope used to find range for the grenades alone had three nobs and a button on it), the grenades were both small and filled with computer chips so were noticeably more expensive while not being as effective as simple 40mm dumb grenades, and the whole weapon was too heavy and too short-ranged to act as a rifle.
  • The Mosin-Nagant rifle, at least compared to other bolt action rifles in both the world wars. It is not easy to haul around, comfortable to shoot, accurate (without modification), or fast firing. And despite what some Russophiles might claim, it is also not easy to manufacture nor a particularly reliable weapon. It's actually rather complex for a bolt action and surprisingly temperamental, especially in the cold environments it was designed to work in.note  The only saving grace of the rifle is it was a flexible enough platform that everything but the sluggish manufacturing time could be fixed relatively easily and that Russia/the Soviet Union didn't need to buy complex factory tooling to continue production. Large stocks of old Tsarist-era rifles also granted another benefit during WWII - since the Soviet arsenal was filled with weapons that all used some variety of 7.62mm rounds, old Mosin-Nagant barrels could be repurposed for newer weapons by simply chopping them into two or three smaller barrels for submachine guns.
  • The burst-fire setting in some assault rifles tries to find a compromise between semi-auto and full auto fire modes only to come up short on both ends. It has neither the high fire rate of full-auto fire to suppress enemies and wipe out entire squads nor does it have the accuracy of semi-auto fire. Many armies found it easier and cheaper to just train soldiers to fire their weapons in bursts.
  • The Kiev and Kuznetsov class aircraft carriers have been discontinued largely because of their inability to function as either aircraft carriers or missile cruisers. Created during the Cold War partly to abuse a loopholenote , they carry both long-ranged anti-ship missiles and aircraft. In theory, this arrangement would make them more economical and survivable, as conventional carriers lack the ability to defend themselves besides launching planes. However, this arrangement actually made the ships more vulnerable and less cost-effective. The anti-ship missiles used up space that could've been used for storing munitions, fuel, and aircraft, limiting the versatility and effectiveness of the ship's air wing; conversely, the size requirements of carrying aircraft make them a far larger target than comparably armed warships, in addition to imposing higher manpower requirements. As a result, the ships have neither the versatility and offensive capability of a true carrier, nor the survivability and efficiency of a missile cruiser. Subsequently, all Kiev ships no longer serve in that capacity while the Kuznetsov ships have been retooled into dedicated carriers.
    • Kiev and Minsk continued to be a master of none into their retirement after they were sold to China, who couldn't decide if they were training ships, event spaces, attractions, or museums. The constant booking issues and military requirements made them not particularly good at any function. In 2010 the issue was solved when China finally got its training carrier up and running and Kiev became a luxury hotel, and Minsk became the center piece of a military themed amusement park.
  • Cargo liners suffered during the first half of the twentieth century due to trying to be too many different types of ships at once. In those days it was common for ocean liners to use extra space in their cargo hold note  to haul cargo and cargo ships often carried a small number of passengers. Making a ship that could carry large amounts of both passengers and cargo looked like a fantastic idea on paper. The biggest appeal of the concept was that the passengers only had to ride in the most comfortable and stable part of the ships, the middle and stern. In practice though these vessels couldn't challenge other passenger vessels. They couldn't compete with the first-class grandeur of large ocean liners and, due to the addition of cargo facilities, had vastly reduced 2nd and especially 3rd class facilities. To take this trope to even greater extremes, Cargo liners tried to especially market to pleasure cruise enthusiasts but were even less suited for the purpose than ocean liners because they were forced to keep to strict cargo schedules. The only successful ones were dedicated to servicing remote ports where service regular service from full sized cargo ships and liners was deemed impracticable.
  • Some martial artists accuse Mixed Martial Arts schools of making their students this by teaching a curriculum that covers all ranges of combat, but at a shallow level. The tension between Jack of All Stats fighters like Fedor Emelianenko and Georges St-Pierre and specialists in one or two areas like Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos is an ongoing spectacle in MMA.
    • Between two specialists — such as the classic striker vs. grappler match up — there's a clear aspect where each fighter is (nominally) superior, but a Master of None risks having no such advantage, at the tradeoff of being at less of a disadvantage.
    • This was a common problem in the early PRIDE era for Japanese fighters, where many came from the Japanese "shoot-wrestling"note  Professional Wrestling circuit, which actually trained multiple disciplines (and were pioneers at that) such as Muay Thai, Catch Wrestling, Judo and Karate. However, they were not proficient in any of them and thus they could not make a difference against their opponents. The trend only changed with fighters such as Daijiro Matsui and Kazushi Sakuraba who focused in wrestling and anti-game tactics.
  • A badly made spork can seem like this. Can't hold as much food nor hold it as well as a spoon can, nor can it poke and hold as much solid food as a fork can. The knork is even worse.
  • From an economic standpoint, anything or anyone that is a Jack of All Stats is punted into this category by default. The concept of "specialization" is far more endorsed, since producing a great many products at medium efficiency with decent cost loses out in the face of being able to produce a single product very efficiently, and at less cost.
    • For example, the two basic strategies a company can follow are those of cost leader and differentiator. Being a cost leader is all about efficiency and minimizing costs; you're essentially doing the same as the competition, but you're doing it cheaper so you can undercut their prices. Differentiators focus on "doing things differently" or offering something the competition doesn't, which lets you get away with having higher prices. Companies that pursue neither strategy end up "between the chairs" - their products are neither particularly good nor particularly cheap, so why would you buy them? Same principle applies to going after broad vs. niche markets.note 
    • For this reason, polymaths, aka Renaissance Men, are being viewed as increasingly pointless in academia - a polymath cannot effectively contribute to any single area of study nearly as well as a specialist in that area. At best, the polymath will go unnoticed. At worst, they may be kicked out or be posed as detrimental due to their insufficient knowledge in any given field. However, this has led to a growing problem of Crippling Overspecialization as every academic field becomes gradually more insular.
      • A big exception to this is the growing movement of interdisciplinary research. Sure, a Renaissance Man may not be as useful as a specialist in a narrow area of study like political science, economics, or agricultural science, but they will be much more capable of contributing to research on the political economy of agricultural processes, for example, than any of the specialized scholars. As the world's problems become more complex, solutions are increasingly going to be found by well-rounded researchers.
    • A similar issue in the business world is the concept of a Conglomerate. Starting in the 1950s, numerous large corporations (as well as newly created holding companies and private-equity firms) started buying up smaller companies left and right, often with greatly differing product lines; for example, LTV ended up owning, among other things, Wilson Sporting Goods, Jones & Laughlin Steel, Chance-Vought Aircraft, and National Car Rental. In theory, such a diversified business would be able to survive any weakness in any one particular industry, but conglomerates were often put together with very little planning of how such unrelated businesses would work together, to the point that they either fought for resources within the company (such as marketing and R&D) or ended up duplicating efforts. Executives often attempted to apply a one-size-fits-all management style to very different businesses, leading to conflict between top executives who just bought and sold business and division managers who specialized in a particular industry. Most such conglomerates struggled to remain profitable and ended up broken up in the 1970s and 1980s, with individual business units merging with other companies in the same industry.
  • The best cricket 'all-rounders' are greats who could get into the team as both bowler and batsmen. All too often one-day teams are packed full of people who can guess which end of a bat to hold more than half the time and jog in to bowl without tripping over their shoelaces too often.
  • Encyclopedias can offer info on a wide variety of topics but even online user-contributed ones like The Other Wiki only have enough depth to be a good intro for any one area. There's still no generalist substitute for textbooks and training.
  • The F-35 is widely considered this: in trying to be a Jack of All Stats while still trying to be a stealth super-plane, it quickly became apparent that it was an overly costly and ultimately redundant design. It should be noted that this aircraft is forced to be three different aircraft in one - the Air Force wants a conventional multi-role fighter, the Navy wants a carrier-based fighter with longer range, and the Marines want a VTOL aircraft to replace the AV-8B Harrier - which is especially damning given that A) every other successful multirole warplane was not deliberately designed as such (every design that tried ended up being single-role), and B) every successful stealth warplane was single-role (and almost none of them were fighters). The project's goal of "commonality" between all three services has essentially meant that every service was forced to accept compromises: a feature designed to satisfy one service requirement would have been completely unnecessary for the other two services. As such, the USAF and Marines ended up with a far heavier fighter than they required, and the Navy had to accept a plane without redundant engines. Furthermore, the desire to fulfill so many roles with one aircraft has meant that many systems have yet to be mature, despite a protracted development period. Compounding this situation is that the F-35 is simply outshone to a large degree by almost every specialist aircraft in service. It lacks the loitering capability of a close air support platform like the EMB 314, it is too lightly armed in some configurations to function as an air-superiority fighter or fighter bomber like the F-16 and F/A-18, and it is too expensive to use as a dedicated interceptor like the F-22.
  • The Mi-24 "Hind" is an interesting case. Although it is highly effective when functioning as an attack helicopter, it suffers in performance when using its troop-carrying capability. Carrying infantry means having a large amount of extra weight, limiting the helicopter's combat capabilities, while the carrying capacity of only eight soldiers is on the low end of transport helicopters - for comparison, the UH-1 Huey can carry fourteen people. It isn't too surprising that its successor, the Mi-28 "Havoc", dropped the troop transport ability entirely in favor of a streamlined attack helicopter design.
  • This is an important aspect of evolution.
    • This is one proposed reason as to why there are no bears in Africa, specifically south of the Sahara. It isn't because of climate (there are bears in India, for instance) - rather, the native carnivores (lions, hyenas, leopards, etc.) are better at hunting and the native herbivores (elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, etc.) are better at eating plants. Bears are omnivorous, but they are crowded out by competition in either category. The only known species of bear that ever lived in Africa was the Atlas bear that lived in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and Algeria (notably, it is on the other side of the Sahara from all those super-carnivores and super-herbivores) - the last known member was hunted to extinction in the 1870s. However, this hypothesis is considered controversial given that bears have lived alongside lions, hyenas, buffalo, and elephants in Europe, Asia, and the Americas for millions of years.
    • This is also proposed to be a reason for the extinction of the bear-dog, a large generalist hunter and early carnivore. Bear-dogs were powerful predators, able to scavenge, ambush, and handle diverse prey. Around the Pliocene, though, big cats made for better ambush hunters, "bone-crusher" dogs performed well as opportunistic scavengers, and bears were superior omnivores.
    • An ancient species of rhinoceros called Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis was a mixed feeder (i.e. grazing and browsing) judging from its teeth. It's been proposed that it went extinct after specialist rhinos appeared in its habitat. S. kirchbirgensis was a specialist browser, and thus exploited browse better. S. hemitoechus was a specialist grazer and thus was more effective at grazing grass.
  • In sports, the term for this is "tweener", especially when talking about up-and-coming prospects. Some players aren't quite big enough to be The Big Guy and not quite fast enough to be the Fragile Speedster, which makes them less effective at positions where one is valued over the other. Such players tend to become backups since they are beaten out for the starting job by specialists (more likely if there are roster cap considerations for the manager to take into account).
  • Association Football: Some footballers became known for being "Utility Players"; versatile enough to play multiple positions, but not skilled enough at a particular position to become a regular starter. The most famous example happens to be Manchester United fan-favorite John O'Shea: while he was merely a decent squad player in Sir Alex Ferguson's legendary United teams, his versatility and diverse skill set allowed him to play center back, right back, left back, defensive midfielder, and goalkeeper (no, we are not kidding). Nowadays, the most well-known utility players include Man United's Daley Blind and Liverpool's James Milner.
  • During the 1960s, multi-purpose stadiums that could accommodate both baseball and American football teams became all the rage for civic infrastructure projects. The idea seemed sound enough - why build two separate stadiums and rack up twice as much infrastructure and construction cost, especially as with the concurrent rise of American suburbia cars became the dominant form of transportation and parking lots would be needed? As it turned out, the differing infrastructure requirements for each sport (field dimensions, equipment, possibility of both teams' seasons overlapping in August-October, among others) meant the stadiums ended up doing a bad job of satisfying their requirements for both sports' teams and their fans. Starting in the late 1980s sport-specific stadiums came back into vogue; the first of the "retro-classic" ballparks for the major leagues was built in 1992 (Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore) to rave reviews. Nowadays, separate facilities are maintained for cities that host teams in multiple sports, though they'll frequently be located near each other so that they can still share things like parking facilities and nearby restaurants and bars. As of 2023, all stadiums from this era which are still in use are only the home of a single team in a single sport, with the last to have hosted two teams (the venue now known as RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, home of baseball's Athletics and football's Raiders) losing one of the two when the Raiders left for Las Vegas in 2020 and set to lose the other in the near future, also to Vegas. That's not to say that nowadays stadiums couldn't be converted to host sporting events other than what they're designed for (e.g., the college football Pinstripe Bowl is held yearly in Yankee Stadium), but they're saved for special occasions for the most part.
  • Combining track and field tracks within soccer stadiums fell into the same trap. Originally track and field (and in some cases bike racing) was enjoying similar popularity as soccer and adding a patch of dirt ash or grass in the middle of a track and field track was seen as efficient use of space and resources. However, with the rise of soccer as the all-dominant sport bar none, tracks were increasingly seen as The Scrappy and no new stadium has been built with them since about the 1980s. Part of the reason is that they increase the distance between field and spectators and in big stadiums the upper rungs are already pretty far away from the field. The only way to fix that would be a steeper incline in the rungs, which in temperate latitudes means the grass won't get enough sunlight most of the year. Some stadiums opted to make the grass movable for that reason, and they park the field outside the stadium whenever possible.
  • The spadroon was a type of cut-and-thrust sword popular in the late 18th century. Designed to be light enough to match a smallsword in an exchange of thrusts, but heavy enough to do some cutting, it ended up too light to cut well, but too flexible to be useful on the thrust, and the design quietly fell out of fashion. Modern re-enactors often state (not entirely jokingly) that the only combat use for a spadroon is to point out which way your subordinates should be heading.
  • Most real-life attempts at making hybrid weapons often combined the weaknesses of both weapons while reducing their strengths. For example, swords with guns in them had poor balance due to the additional weight added by the gun, while the sword's grip made aiming the gun at anything outside of point-blank range extremely difficult (at such ranges you could also probably stab them with the sword instead). Limited space to cram the functions of both weapon types into one device also often meant that the blade was brittle and poorly secured into the grip, while the gun was underpowered, inaccurate, and often incredibly unsafe.
  • The M9 bayonet, currently issued to the US Army, is a knife bayonet that supposedly doubles as a camping utility. The design is horrible in melee combat and in camping usefulness, to the point that actual veterans preferred having a dedicated bayonet and camping toolset separately.
  • Microconsoles have historically struggled with this. In theory, they're a low-cost alternative to home videogame consoles that mostly run smartphone games. In practice, they end up combining the home console's lack of portability and inconvenience with the smartphone's weak hardware and shallow games, and the low cost doesn't really enter into it because chances are, you can already play any relevant games on something else you own. It's not for no reason that the majority of microconsoles have either flopped (the PS TV and Ouya) or are closer to being streaming boxes that simply happen to also be capable of running games (the Amazon Fire TV).
    • The Steam Machine microconsole came out on November 10, 2015 with the Steam Controller, which was designed to work for games both with keyboard & mouse controls and gamepad controls to allow the machine to play a wider range of games. To do this, the D-pad and right analog stick found on other gamepads were replaced with two trackpads. The problem was that, on the keyboard and mouse end, the trackpads never matched the precision of a mouse nor could the controller match the number of buttons on a keyboard, while for gamepad controls the two trackpads were an awkward substitute for what they replaced due to their large size, flatness, and lack of tactile feedback, compared to the smaller and more tactile D-pad and analog stick; even some of its innovations (e.g. programmable buttons, including ones on the back of the controller that can be hit by fingers you otherwise never use on a gamepad and the ability to set different functions to half- and full pulls of the triggers) came at the cost of other features players would have liked (no legacy support for DirectInput, so the controller needs a lot of setup to emulate keyboard and mouse controls for any game from before circa December 2005, and flat-out doesn't work if the game in question requires a gamepad). As a result, the gamepad did not catch on as well as its developer Valve had hoped, with Steam Controllers only contributing to 2.5%note  of the gamepads linked to Steam. Due to both the Steam Machine's failure (much like the majority of microconsoles) and the Steam Controller's lack of popularity amongst PC gamers, the gamepad was discontinued on November 26, 2019, around four years after its release date.
  • The Play Station Vita failed because it was a handheld console with the graphical power of home consoles. Although the Vita's specs were nearly on par with the PlayStation 3 and miles stronger than its competitor, the Nintendo 3DS, this came at the price of higher development costs for a handheld which gave the Vita an identity crisis. In general, while handheld games have smaller audiences and lower prices offset by cheaper development costs, console games are more expensive to develop and purchase but offset this with greater mass appeal. Given that the Vita had the small audience and exorbitant budget for its games, it was too pricey for handheld and too niche for consoles.
  • Amphibious Automobiles in real life have suffered from this frequently (bar the ones meant for army use, which obviously have much more practical need for it). The most infamous one was the Amphicar 770, the only one to have any amount of success in the civilian market. Not only was it prohibitively expensive and requiring frequent maintenance, but it was slow and ungainly in both water and on land - the name "770" came from its respective top speeds of seven knots and seventy miles per hour. Needless to say, anyone who could afford one could just buy both a car and a boat. Hell if they aren't cool, though.
  • Flying Cars have faced problems in this vein that prevent them from being anything other than Cool, but Inefficient. Designs have been around since 1917's Curtiss Autoplane, followed by a considerable amount of other models. All of them have run into the same problems: traits a car needs for success, like an engine optimized for torque or heavy weight to grip the road, are different from ones an airplane needs, like an engine optimized for speed and light weight to more easily take off.
    John Michael Greer: There are dozens of such tradeoffs, and a flying car inevitably ends up stuck in the unsatisfactory middle. Thus, what you get with a flying car is a lousy car that’s also a lousy airplane, for a price so high that you could use the same money to buy a good car, a good airplane, and a really nice sailboat or two into the bargain.
  • While fans of SUVs consider the cars Jack of All Stats equally at home in the wilds and in urban environments, detractors often opine that the vehicle type is too domesticated for actual off-road duty while simultaneously being too big, too heavy and too fuel-hungry to make for a decent city car. They have, however, discovered a niche in suburban towns, where they often don't need to travel far (somewhat negating their fuel issues), and their size is useful for carrying lots of kids and their school/sporting equipment around - a "cooler" replacement for minivans.
  • Hybrid bicycles are popular among more casual riders, but detractors argue that they tend to be much less durable off-road than a mountain bike and sacrifice a lot of the advantages a road bike has on the road (namely speed, light weight, and drop handlebars). Even for general commuting/in-city riding many people prefer a flat-handlebar road bike to a hybrid.
  • The Antonov A-40, a Soviet prototype for a flying tank. As its designers discovered, the only way to get it airborne was to use the already lightly armored and outdated T-60 and remove most of its ammunition, armament, and fuel, but it was still so heavy that it needed a massive custom-made glider structure and a modified bomber to (barely) tow it into the air. It was too slow and impractical to be useful as a fast-attack vehicle, and too weak after being lightened to fulfill a tank's purpose.
  • Modern ultrazoom cameras, that give you in a single package everything from a wide-angle lens to a powerful telephoto. In order to have something portable and not ludicrously expensive, this comes at the cost of having to use a smaller sensor than other cameras, which means more noise as you ramp up the ISO and poorer image quality than prime lenses or more conventional zooms, despite said zooms being a marvel of optical engineering.
  • The possibility of underwater combat during the Cold War saw the development of weapons firing thin and long darts that would be more effective traveling through water than regular bullets (a pistol's range, if it can even fire in the first place, would be five centimeters underwater). Both pistols and rifles were designed for this purpose, at least on the Soviet side, but the rifles quickly fell by the wayside - when used underwater, rifles like the APS were noticeably larger and bulkier than pistols like the SPP-1, with wide and flat magazines that gave a lot of surface area for water resistance to affect how quickly they could shift their aim, and with an effective range that was barely an improvement over the pistol. The APS could be used above-water like a regular assault rifle, too, but it suffered there as well, as its range was still pathetically poor (only 50 meters, the same as a regular pistol), and the barrel was only rated to last through 200 shots above water. Spetsnaz frogmen, when going on missions that required swimming to a target point, would frequently use the SPP-1 pistol just in case they needed to shoot people underwater, and then switch to a regular rifle once they were on dry land rather than try to use the APS.
  • Laptops with touchscreens. The touchscreen adds additional weight and drains too much power from the laptop. The touchscreen itself is attached to a laptop, reducing its portability and being saddled with software not specced to a touchscreen.
  • In the Transformers fandom, Triple Changers (toys with three modes as opposed to the standard two) are known to suffer from this due to the difficulties presented in packing three different modes into one figure. This tends to result in things like a jet with tank treads hanging off the bottom turning into a rickety tank with a cockpit sticking out of it, and then to a robot with tank and jet bits cluttering the design. Toys that do manage to make three modes work tend to be quite rare, and they're almost always larger than normal and abandon any kind of realistic aesthetic.
    • The two "Six-Changer" toys amped this up. None of the modes looked more than vaguely like what they were supposed to be.
  • The .40 S&W handgun round was designed to the specifications of the FBI, which sought to replace its .38 Special service revolvers after a 1986 shootout in Miami in which a pair of crooks shrugged off multiple gunshots before finally going down. Notably, the .40 S&W was a downgrade from the original design, the 10mm Auto, which proved to be too powerful to reliably and comfortably control due to its high recoil (remember this for later). In The '90s, police departments across the US followed the FBI's lead and swapped out their 9mm semi-autos and older revolvers for .40 S&W guns, and it caught traction in the civilian market as a Jack of All Stats self-defense round. By the '00s, however, the .40 S&W's weaknesses grew increasingly apparent. It wasn't that much of an upgrade from 9mm, as it came with higher recoil, more expensive ammunition, and reduced ammo capacity that many shooters felt weren't justified by the slight increase in stopping power. Worse, it was quickly made apparent that many handgun designers jumped on the bandwagon simply because it was easy for them to stick .40 S&W barrels onto frames designed for the reduced pressure of 9mm, leading to reliability problems and "kaBooms". Improvements in ballistics technology that improved the old 9mm made the .40 S&W redundant, leading the FBI to switch back to 9mm in 2018. Intended as a round that would combine a Hand Cannon with More Dakka, its compromises meant that it found itself outclassed at both; shooters who want high ammo capacity and low recoil have the 9mm, while those looking for lower-caliber stopping power who aren't worried about higher recoil or lower capacity have the .357 Magnum, the .45 ACP, and, ironically, the 10mm Auto that the .40 S&W was a downgrade from, which has seen a revival since.
  • The MacAdam shield-shovel was meant to be an entrenching tool that could also be driven into the ground and used to protect against enemy fire. As was quickly discovered, it was far too thin and weak to protect against even small-caliber bullets, but between its unwieldy design, its weight, and the massive sight-hole in it, it made for a pretty awful shovel as well. It was the brainchild of the notoriously talentless Sam Hughes, who was also responsible for convincing Canada to adopt other failures like the notoriously unreliable Ross Rifle, and the shovel ended up being mostly turned into scrap metal before long.
  • This was partly what led to Brian Jones's departure from The Rolling Stones despite being its founding member. Jones was a brilliant multi-instrumentalist, but he either couldn't or wouldn't write songs. When Mick Jagger and Keith Richards stepped up to the plate to write original material for the band, Jones's role diminished considerably, especially since a lot of the new material was guitar-based, and Jones had gotten bored with guitar. Supposedly, before he left the band, Jones asked what he could play during a recording session for Let It Bleed that was otherwise progressing fine without him, to which Jagger sneered, "I don't know, Brian. What can you play?"


Video Example(s):


The Bradley

The revolutionary Bradley fighting vehicle was, in its original form, an overdesigned armoured personnel carrier that was also supposed to be part-reconnaissance vehicle, part-tank destroyer.

It would have also been a death trap for its occupants in a battle situation.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / MasterOfNone

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