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Status Quo Is God / Video Games

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  • Every MMORPG, as covered in Perpetually Static, with exceptions, though...
    • EverQuest II, for example, has occasional events that change the political landscape of the world, usually coinciding with expansions. Gameplay doesn't change much unless you're in one of the new starter cities, but the status quo is sometimes allowed to change.
    • Also, EVE Online. Player organizations can and do control large areas of the game, and ownership changes all the time depending on how the latest war is going.
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    • Kingdom of Loathing lampshades this by revealing that nothing (almost) the player can do has an effect on the place. The exception is found in some site-wide events, in which you have a choice on which side to choose. The more you work for that side, the better the outcome for you.
    • Since The Lord of the Rings Online is based on, well, The Lord of the Rings, it's fairly obvious that changing the main storyline is verboten. The game manages, though, to suggest that the player is responsible for several background events mentioned in the books, and the main Fellowship characters appear in several locations in-game to request your help. For example, Aragorn appears in Bree and in Rivendell among other locations, and even where he's not actually present, the NPCs you run into will refer to him as if he is either expected at any moment (and you need to do something to make his arrival possible) or has just passed through (and left a message for you to gather 15 Orc Macguffins to break some curse or whatever). Whether the Fellowship "is about to arrive" or "has just left" in any given area depends on exactly where you are in the quest chain.
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    • In PlaneShift, since the game hasn't reached version 1 yet, time is officially frozen and all changes to the world are accomplished via Retcon. The only exception is the brief "Crystal Eclipse" storyline that bridged versions 0.3 and 0.4, which introduced two new gods and left a definite mark on the game's history.
    • City of Heroes flirts with this from time to time. While some villain groups have seen sufficient progress (especially the Fifth Column's eventual destruction and reformation into the Council), many fans have wondered just * how* many times, say, Countess Crey has to get arrested for murdering the original Countess Crey and taking her place for it to stick. The game never offers a reason why she's said to be in jail at the end of the story arc, but gamewise, her company and her persona are still just as effectively evil as ever.
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    • City of Villains players know that there is no placating Blue Steel, no matter how hard they try.
    • Tabula Rasa was a bit of an exception - for example, there were bases which were constantly changing ownership as each of the opposing sides stormed to take it back. This did have some effects on gameplay, though they weren't so huge (when the base wasn't yours you couldn't use its teleporter or shops and you also lost access to the mission givers there, so sometimes you had to mount an attack on enemy position just to get a quest if you were unlucky). TR never grown as much as Richard Garriot intended, so we might have seen more examples of this if they didn't discontinue it. And also, to an extent, the original Ultima Online allowed players to build their own houses and in some cases whole cities (on some shards). One such shard was meant as a fairly realistic world, so it had complicated population replenishment, even migration and such and just as the official real economy (just like EVE Online above).
    • RuneScape averts this, as several quests feature prominent nonplayer characters dying and leaving new characters to take their place. Additionally, one quest requires the player to steal several public statues for a garden, after the quest these now empty statue plinths remain permanently unoccupied.
      • Runescape has delved into some very dark territory in a recent story arc that utterly shatters a status quo that's been held for about 12 years. As of the middle of 2013, a battlefield appeared in the town of Lumbridge that has heavily damaged the surrounding countryside, greatly changing an area that was otherwise altered fairly little since the game first went live.
    • World of Warcraft jumped up and down averting this trope (at least partially) in the Cataclysm expansion which completely remade the original zones (though not those of the other expansions) as well as heavy use of phasing technology to allow players' actions to cause changes to the world, if only for themselves.
      • Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor, and Legion each have an event which results in a massive change to a small area - the destruction of Theramore, the invasion of the Blasted Lands, and the destruction Silithus respectively.
      • Battle for Azeroth starts with a major aversion of this trope. The Horde capital Undercity is besieged and captured by the Alliance, who then drive the Horde out of the Eastern Kingdoms. At the same time the world tree housing the Alliance capital Darnassus is set aflame and the Alliance is forced out of Kalimdor.
      • One thing that is constant within the Warcraft universe that most likely follows this trope to the tee is the Alliance vs Horde setting. No matter how outer threats like the Burning Legion, the Lich King, Deathwing, the Old Gods, etc forced both the Alliance and Horde to set aside their differences and strike against the common foe, they will always go back to fighting against each other, known as the 'Faction War', since 'Alliance vs Horde' has been the backbone of the original Warcraft games. There will never be peace and true unity, unless Blizzard decided to just pull the plug once and for all.
    • Guild Wars and its various expansions stuck to this for a long period until the introduction of Guild Wars: Beyond. The storylines introduced continued where the original Prophecies and Factions campaigns left off, resulting in entire zones being populated with new and more dangerous enemies.
    • Guild Wars 2 made small modifications to the landscape during its first season of Living World content, but none that really broke status quo. This changed with the Battle of Lion's Arch, where the main Hub City was devastated. It was later rebuilt with an entirely new design.
    • Final Fantasy XIV had several cities and landscapes change drastically after the Calamity nearly destroyed Eorzea. The changes are reflected in A Realm Reborn (2.0) where some towns never recovered, ancient monsters that were in slumber were now awoken, and certain parts of the landscape in the far north are inaccessible due to avalanches blocking the paths.
  • The RPG Betrayal at Krondor is all about the effort of a certain dark elf to bring peace to his race and put an end to hostile relations between humans and dark elves that have been going on forever. The game is based on The Riftwar Cycle and its plot was canonised in a novelisation. Two hundred years later in the series, nothing much has changed about the dark elves.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Similarly, the Status Quo is enforced by a God in the Zelda series as established by The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Every time Link and Zelda reincarnate, Ganon, or another evil with Demise's 'blin army, will reincarnate to threaten them at least once. Which is a weird sort of anticipatory revenge since the evil force always manifests as someone at least a generation older than they are.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • No matter what Dr. Eggman uses to conquer the world with (or if the powerful artifact/monster backfires), Sonic will always defeat the mad scientist and save the world while sporting a cocky attitude, only for Dr. Eggman to try again next week.
    • Sonic Adventure had some character development for Tails (who decides to do things on his own now instead of relying on Sonic all of the time) and Amy (who says that she's "going to make that Sonic respect me!" instead of just following him around everywhere like a crazed fangirl) that was conveniently absent come Sonic Adventure 2.
      • To say nothing of Sonic and Amy's relationship as they will never become an Official Couple, much less get married.
  • 99% of Castlevania games have Dracula as the final boss. 98.9% of them have this, WITH the second last boss as Death as well.
    • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin has both (as you fight Dracula and Death at the same time; you can have two characters, so why shouldn't they as well?), which is at best a minor subversion.
  • Touhou: Major events happen an average of once a year in Gensoukyou, but nothing major has changed, beyond the introduction of some new factions... there's been a lot of minor changes, and the world currently looks fairly different than it did at the start. But the basic status quo of a broke miko defending the lone human village in a land of youkai hasn't changed, and is unlikely to.
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy has a rare in-universe case of this. The heroes and villains have been waging war in the name of their gods for a while now, but every time one side comes within reach of winning, Shinryu resets everything back the way it used to be, starting the war over again. This is because Shinryu made a deal with Cid, aka the Narrator, that he would keep the war going forever in a "Groundhog Day" Loop in order to temper Chaos into the ultimate force of destruction. In this case, God is in fact, keeping the status quo!
  • Tekken - Averted. As of the sixth game, the storyline spans three decades and it shows. Technology evolves, characters age, return or not, and some are outright Killed Off for Real.
  • Crysis features C.E.L.L, a group of Obviously Evil Private Military Contractors responsible for gunning down the innocent New York plague victims they were supposed to be protecting. By the end of the second game they have been thoroughly crushed by the player character, the aliens, and the US Marine forces, with both their field commander and their CEO dead and their remaining shareholders on trail for war crimes. Their main base of operations has had its Self-Destruct Mechanism pushed, and all their remaining hardware has been commandeered by the Marines. So they're out of the picture for good, right? Nope. They're fully operational 20 years later in Crysis 3, having suffered no penalty from the government and with more than enough resources to attempt a Take Over the World plot.
  • In I Miss the Sunrise, many of your crewmates' final personal scenes are built up to seem like they will be making major changes to themselves or the world, but these plans are always prevented or shut down for various reasons. Some characters' subplots do get proper resolutions in the ending, though.
  • Redmond and Blumont's endless bickering over gravel in Team Fortress 2 ensured that there would be endless reasons for the RED and BLU teams to fight each other. At least until their long-lost brother, Grey, killed them both and sent an army of killer robots after the mercenaries, forcing them to team up.
    • And yet EVEN IN DEATH, these two are still bickering about who won their competition, even forcing their mercs to fight to send the opposite brother down to hell before the opposite team can do the same
  • The main reason for Penelope's rather poorly-done Face–Heel Turn in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time was to return the Cooper Gang to its three-man dynamic. The equally useless Dmitri fared a bit better: he got to be mission control in the present day.
  • This trope is cruelly exploited in Shin Megami Tensei IV with Jonathan. The societies of Mikado and Tokyo are tremendously different, to the point he vigorously denies there's any opportunity for coexistence (to be fair, a bucolic, pastoral kingdom and a modern society don't have very much in common besides some issues with demons). The Archangels reveal to him the status quo is in the verge of a complete breakdown, and that Mikado will be engulfed in Tokyo's chaos unless the "complete extermination" option is used, to make him enter martyrdom to summon Merkabah.
  • After the end of the Trepasser D Lc for Dragon Age: Inquisition, no matter who you choose as the next Divine, The Circles are back.
  • Final Fantasy X has the trope used as a plot point. The world of Spira is always under the constant threat of the gigantic monster Sin, that destroys everything it comes across. Summoners, who are the followers of the Yevon religion, go on pilgrimages so that they can obtain the final aeon and use it to kill Sin while sacrificing their lives in the process. This brings out a period known as the Calm where people can live in peace for a while (the current one is a record ten years) until Sin is reborn and the cycle starts all over again. The cycle has gone on for so long (a thousand years to be exact!) that nobody questions it. When the main character, Tidus, starts questioning everything and the teachings of Yevon, that's when everyone starts to wonder why things never change and they vow to actually change the status quo once and for all. Yevon doesn't like people questioning them and threatening the status quo (Yevon ruled all of Spira for a thousand years are aren't going to let that go anytime soon), so they brand the main characters as traitors that are sentenced to death. The party does find a way to defeat Sin once and for all while also exposing the lies that Yevon had upheld for a thousand years.
  • Trials in the Ace Attorney world are always done within three days and it's always up to the defense attorney to prove that the accused is not guilty by using whatever evidence and logic they can produce. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney attemps to shake things up at the end of the final trial by introducing a jury system so that a group of people can determine the defendant's fate when the evidence (or lack thereof) isn't enough to close the case. However, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies reveals that lawyers from both the defense and the prosecution became so corrupt that not only people gave up in the new system, people became apathetic to the justice system entirely because they know how rigged the whole thing is and how nothing would ever change.
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