Many e-sports and competitive games are won through comprehension of the game's functions and clever strategies on the part of the players. This game is not one of them.
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Aincrad / Progressive arc
- In the first months of SAO, Beta-Testers end up gaining a bad reputation among the players due to many of them choosing to get take advantage of their knowledge to get a headstart on the grinding, leaving other players to fall behind. When the Floor 1 Boss Room is finally discovered, it comes to light when Kibaou attempts to hold them accountable that a select number of Beta-Testers, headed by Argo, released a free guidebook sharing information that any player can access, invalidating the belief that the deaths that occurred thus far were entirely the Beta-Testers fault, and that there were good beta-testers.
You'd Expect: The frontline players to realize that beta testers with their knowledge are their best chance of clearing the floors and surviving, as Agil pointed out when refuting Kibaou's claims, and that fostering a good relationship with those willing be open about their status would help for at least the first ten floors.
Instead: Many cling to their suspicions, which culminates in Lind, a party member of Diabel, attempting to instigate a Beta-Tester witch hunt after the latter is killed fighting Illfang.
Result: Kirito is forced to step in and pull a Zero-Approval Gambit by outing himself as not just a beta tester but also as a "Beater" (a beta-cheater) which means carrying the discrimination on his own shoulders, while the rest of the beta testers went into hiding. This drastically reduces players' chances of survival since beta testers could no longer share information at the risk of their reputation and safety.
For Additional Irony: Part of the Lind and his follower's hostility is because they blame Diabel's death on Kirito and the other beta testers for withholding information so that someone like Kirito can get the Last Attack Bonus and leave the rest of the players in the dust. This is exactly what Diabel was doing, to the point of trying to get Kibaou to buy Kirito's sword and weaken him in the light novels to raise the chances of succeeding.
You'd Expect: For Kirito to divulge this information, letting the frontline players realize that they were used like suckers and try to establish a more positive reputation for beta testers. Kirito could also have gone a long way in trying to promote cooperation - who cares who gets what, when everyone has to work together to ever hope to get to Floor 100 in the first place?
Instead: He decides to honor Diabel's death and not divulge this info, letting everyone think Diabel was entirely innocent and died early due to Kirito's fault. While this seems more reasonable in the anime thanks to Diabel having Adaptational Heroism, Kirito himself had little to gain from doing this, especially in the Light Novel where Diavel was a full-on Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. Kirito also goes out of his way with his Beater claim to oust himself as some competitive asshole, and basically throws the idea of cooperation out the window.
Result: The Zero-Approval Gambit works. All too well. The resulting stigma has resounding repercussions throughout the rest of the Aincrad arc, the competition for grinding and power grows out of control for a long time which probably causes a number of off-screen deaths, and Diabel dies a misfortunate hero while unwittingly being the catalyst for incidents like the death of the Moonlit Black Cats. Even worse, all the anti-Beta players get to continue unopposed and thinking they were in the right the whole time, ultimately causing more problems.
- Diabel is a Beta-Tester who organises the 1st Floor Boss raid in order to use the newfound Clearing Force to get Illfang's Last Attack Bonus, giving himself a major advantage over the other players. Using his knowledge of the Beta and backing it up with Argo's guide-book, he plans the raid so that Kirito, who he knew from the Beta for his reputation of claiming Last Attack Bonuses, would be too busy dealing with the boss' minions to claim the prize, increasing his chances of swooping in and stealing the kill.
You'd Expect: That he'd consider the possibility that the final game was different from the Beta, and either send in a scouting party to confirm the info's validity or play cautiously during the fight itself in case there were in fact changes that could negatively affect the strategy.
Instead: He has the raid party go in with no such pre-prep and goes Leeroy Jenkins when Illfang reaches its last health bar and moves to change weapons.
As A Result: He's caught off-guard when Illfang reveals to have switched its Talwar for a Nodachi, and becomes the fights sole casualty.
Additionally: The manga version of the Diabel gets some Adaptational Intelligence and learns from Argo how some Beta-Testers have died due to changes being made from the Beta.
You'd Expect: That he would do the above.
Instead: He willingly repeats his Light Novel version's mistake, at most just relying the possibility that Kirito would do his Zero-Approval Gambit in the event that he dies to prevent Beta-Tester relations from worsening.
- During the Illfang fight, Kirito notices that instead of a Talwar like in the Beta, Illfang is instead wielding a Nodachi, and the change in attack pattern it comes with throws the group for a loop and gets Diabel killed. After Illfang's defeat, Lind and his followers attempt to use Kirito's knowledge of the weapon change to discredit Beta-Testers.
You'd Expect: Kirito and his allies would make up the feasible lie that the weapon change should have been something anyone could have noticed, especially seeing as Kirito only realised it after it was drawn. Sure, it'd be a stretch to assume everyone in the room is an expert on bladed weapons, but considering the high likelihood that the majority of those present are Japanese gamers, it shouldn't be a stretch to assume that some would recognise a weapon of such cultural significance that's heavily represented in media, or that it would operate differently from what they initially thought it was.
Instead: No one thinks to utilise this logic, causing the situation to progressively worsen.
As A Result: Kirito pulls his Zero-Approval Gambit.
- Kirito is a beta tester, and as a result, knows about in-game content before everyone else does. However, due to the fact that there is a general dislike of beta testers among non-beta testers (which, in of itself would also qualify for an entry on this page, since only ONE person has to clear the game in order for everyone to escape, and it's not mentioned if the person who clears the game gets a prize other than bragging rights), he must keep this a secret.
You'd Expect: For Kirito to share his information, but act as if it was a rumor/leak that he read about on the internet before the game, and convince as many people as possible that they should do as the rumor/leak says.
Or: For Kirito to find some people who do not have a dislike of beta testers, reveal that he is a beta tester to them, and share what he knows, and either have them use that info to decide what actions to take (if they happen to be a leader), or have them propose the idea, and then second the idea that they "proposed" (if they aren't a leader).
Instead: Kirito chooses to keep this fact a secret, causing quite a few people to be killed as a result, including one of his love interests, Sachi.
- Joe is a member of The Conspiracy that is trying to dismantle the frontlines, and their latest scheme on Floor 2, having the Legend Braves perform a Weapon Upgrade Scam to steal and sell weapons to increase their own power, is at the risk of failing due to them confessing to the crime and trying to atone by selling their equipment. In response, he attempts to get everyone to kill them by claiming that their scam led to the death of another player.
You'd Expect: That he'd actually make it look like this is true beforehand, maybe by getting one of the scam victims who went into the field killed by a monster. That way, he can make his story look real with a name and cause of death and, should someone think to check the Monument of Life before they decide to execute Nezha and the Braves, it can corroborated.
Instead: He's made no such preparations and simply opts to spout his accusations, expecting everyone to believe him and just execute the Legend Braves without thinking.
As A Result: He's forced to admit that he doesn't know for sure if this happened, having heard it from "someone else", when everyone stops to think and he ends up becoming a No-Respect Guy and makes Kibaou, his boss whose guild he joined as The Mole for, less likely to listen to him, making his job as The Corruptor much harder.
- Upon arriving on Floor 6, Kirito and Asuna start on a questline that involves investigating the circumstances behind the curse that inflicts Stachion, the main town, with puzzles on the entrances to even the most basic facilities. Kirito, having done the quest in the Beta, knows that the final part will involve him and Asuna being paralyzed by the Quest Giver, who is the true Big Bad of the quest, and transported to a location where they'll be forced to remove the Curse themselves.
You'd Expect: Kirito would remember that not only have he and Asuna been screwing up the plans of Player Killing Conspiracy lately, but that they also have a Beta-Tester like him in their ranks and that guy in charge of them just threatened him the other day at the New Years party that occurred on the previous Floor, and would think twice about doing this part while they're still an established threat.
Or At Least: Take some paralysis antidotes with them so they avoid actually being paralyzed, just in case.
Instead: Wanting to follow the quest as closely as possible and show Asuna how fun they can be, he has them go through with the kidnapping part and takes no precautions against the Paralysis.
As A Result: He and Asuna end up at the mercy of Morte and his colleague, and are only able to avoid being killed due to some quick thinking on his part.
- Kobatz, the leader of an Aincrad Liberation Front squad, has just received map data from Kirito leading to the Floor 74 boss, the Gleam Eyes. His squad is fatigued and Kirito himself warns them that they'd be no match for the boss, and says not to do anything stupid.
You'd Expect: Kobtaz to listen to Kirito, and wait until a proper boss raid meeting to try to take on the boss.
Instead: He leads his squad to fight the boss anyway. Predictably, he dies and so do two of his soldiers. The only thing that stopped the results from being EVEN MORE disastrous was the fact that Kirito, Klein and Asuna stepped in (and Kirito unveiled his Dual Blades), and even then Kirito himself almost died.
Fairy Dance arc
- Sugou is a widely hated antagonist for many reasons, but arguably one of the biggest reasons is his sheer incompetence;
- Sugou was performing an experiment to use ALO as a means of mind control and planned to be wedded with a comatose Asuna.
You'd Expect: Sugou to keep his mouth shut and masquerade as a harmless friend of the Yuuki family. Even if things go south he probably could have avoided criminal charges had he stayed an anonymous mastermind.
Instead: He made sure that Kirito and Asuna knew that he was evil.
Result: He starts off the entire ALO story arc where Kirito eventually manages to defeat him.
- Sugou hijacking Asuna and over 300 SAO survivors to perform twisted experiments on.
You'd Think: Sugou would choose a private VR server or game where he could go about everything in complete secrecy.
Instead: Greedy as he is, he chooses Alfheim Online, a game with public access and keeps Asuna locked in a cage at the top of the World Tree. Even worse, said World Tree happens to be the object of a mysterious in-game quest, which actively encourages players to investigate it.
Result: Just as said, curious players manage to exploit the system and make it to the top of the tree where they discover Asuna and post a picture of her on a forum, tipping off Kirito that she is trapped in ALO and allowing him to attempt a rescue.
- Sugou has admin access to ALO.
You'd Think: Sugou would program the game so that Asuna cannot leave her cage or that he is the only one who can unlock it.
Instead: He uses keypads for the cage and in-game items (key cards) for administrator access. As a result, Asuna is able to leave her cage for a short time and snatch the keycard, then pass it to Kirito down below.
- Sugou was performing an experiment to use ALO as a means of mind control and planned to be wedded with a comatose Asuna.
- Asuna has managed to escape her gilded cage. After avoiding some slug guards by stealth, she is lucky enough to find a terminal from which she can get both her and the experiment subjects offline.
You'd Think: That Asuna would immediately try to do so. After all, she knows the slugs are crawling around and it is a matter of time that they discover her if she stays in the terminal.
Instead: She takes her goddamn time angsting, doubting and pondering instead of just, you know, doing it.
Result: The slugs catch her before she can do it, destroying her chance and condemning all them to continue in Sugou's virtual slavery.
- Kirito has found a clue that Asuna is held in ALO's World Tree. After an erratic series of improbable events through the arc, he finally finds out she is imprisoned in the gilded cage and executes a plan to break in.
You'd Think: Although he might find Asuna physically speaking, he actually doesn't know whether Asuna can get offline from ALO at all, which would be quite counterintuitive given that she is imprisoned. In fact, as he deduces by the card that she already escaped the cage once, it would be natural for him to think that Sugou might have upgraded the security measures in many unknown ways to avoid another escape. In those circumstances, the safest plan for Kirito is, after breaking in, recording his encounter with Asuna (it is improbable there are not such options available in the game, especially because the very clue that opened the arc was an in-game screenshot), possibly even shooting a quick allegation by Asuna that she is being illegally retained against her will by Sugou, and then get offline himself and run to Asuna's dad with the proof. The cops would be called and Sugou's evil plan would end right there.
Instead: It doesn't even cross Kirito's head that he might not be able to find a way to get Asuna offline before being caught himself, which is a massive risk, but he still goes for it nonetheless. Surprise surprise, Yui discovers that Asuna's logout codes are blocked and they have to go to the laboratory's terminal in order to do it, multiplying their risks to run into security.
Even worse: Even knowing the clock is running against them, all while a battle is taking place outside and the chance might fade out in any moment, Kirito and company waste minutes to host a slow, pointless emotional reunion in the cage (Held Gaze included) instead of quickly going to the escape plan whatever it is. The light novel makes it even worse than the anime, as the whole melodrama takes two pages and a half.
Result: Sugou catches them both right-handed and immobilizes them with gravity magic, which leaves Kirito just as trapped as her. If Kayaba's digital ghost had not been around, Kirito might have been screwed (and possibly dead), and Asuna might have suffered a Fate Worse than Death in Sugou's hands, and Sugou would've gotten away with forcing Asuna into a relationship with him, taken over her father's company, never go to prison, continue his research on controlling the human mind and achieving his blasphemous goals of being the god of ALO, and might not have suffered his incurable right eye injury.
Phantom Bullet arc
- Dyne decides to have his player-killing squadron attack another monster-hunter squadron twice. Despite several of his teammates warning him that the group they hit would have likely come prepared already, but he's insistent that they go through with it, confident they would not be concerned with PKers. Sinon spots a cloaked figure as an addition to the squad and is concerned about this new unknown, but Dyne dismisses this and opts to not go along with Sinon's suggestion to target him first.
You'd Expect: Dyne to have considered the possibility that the exact same group may have taken measures on being ambushed again and to listen to Sinon when she points out the addition of the cloaked figure marching with them.
Instead: He ignores Sinon's warnings and assumes the cloaked figure is just carrying their supplies. Turns out that squadron hired a bodyguard with a minigun, who gives a lot of trouble, costs Dyne's life, and very nearly Sinon's who narrowly managed to beat him.
- Kyouji had pretty much everything he could ask for at the end of the arc in theory, given that he had an alibi and the right circumstances to theoretically clear himself of any suspicion of being related to the Death Gun incident if he played his cards right, plus there was no implication that his brother would rat him out either. The only thing really standing between him and Shino was Kirito, who didn't know much of anything about him to go on either.
You'd Expect: He'd try to make sure to keep his Mask of Sanity intact, try to keep his distance for at least the night due to the plan falling through, figure out if Shino really did have feelings for Kirito, and generally play things cool so that his suspicion continues to remain low. If he did that, there was genuinely a chance he would've taken Shino for himself with no one the wiser.
Instead: He immediately visits Shino after the Battle of Bullets tournament at a time when Shino was expecting Death Gun's assistant, and his seeing Kirito hugging a crying Shino in the game mixed a bit of Sanity Slippage with Green-Eyed Monster as he tries to claim Shino as his own. Right then and there along with an explicit Murder-Suicide threat, after Shino starts resisting him due to a particularly creepy expression he made in the midst of the circumstances which let her put two and two together.
Result: Shino fights back, catching him off-guard, and she buys enough time for Kirito to get involved as the two of them eventually overwhelm Kyouji (though not without nearly killing Kirito in the process, only stopped by a convenient Pocket Protector). Kyouji promptly gets a radio bashed over his skull, and he's arrested alongside his brother for multiple murders. For extra measure, Shino still believes Kyouji can be redeemed as a person, and visits him in prison despite what he did, only further cementing that one single moment of pettiness and jealousy without even bothering to know about Shino's own thoughts ruined his entire plan and his life.
- Johnny Black tries to ambush and attack Kirito with a syringe of Succinylcholine, a deadly poison, and aims for his heart. Kirito is armed with an umbrella.
You'd Expect: Kirito to strike at Johnny Black's hand to disarm him of the dangerous weapon or break it. After all, he has been shown to be an experienced Kendo practitioner and is currently wielding a stick-shaped object (in particular one that is used in self-defense schools as an improvised weapon), so it would be shocking that he cannot land a few precise blows with it. Taking the poison out of the fight should be an immediate priority for him, given that Asuna is just behind him and might be hit with the syringe by accident.
Instead: Kirito completely disregards the syringe and decides to answer with an umbrella thrust.
Result: The poison ends up being successfully utilized.
- Still at the previous choice, Kirito has decided to try to take Johnny Black out without addressing his dangerous weapon.
You'd Expect: Kirito to use the umbrella to aim for Johnny's face, groin and/or solar plexus, capitalizing on his much larger reach in order not to leave his own body at the syringe's range. After all, going forward for weak spots is something Kirito does all the day against monsters in the videogames, and his sparring with Suguha in season one shows he can thrust very accurately in real life as well, even with weapons not fit for it (like his kendo shinai, which is designed to club and not to stab). Even if he's acting entirely on reflexes, focusing on the upper body is the most natural human answer against a charging opponent given that we use our arms to push.
Instead: Kirito decides to aim for the thigh, of all things, despite it being basically the opposite of an incapacitating attack (the thigh is the sturdiest part of the leg, which is not exactly a vital part in fencing either) and a move that leaves his own body lower than the lethal weapon in Johnny's hands.
Result: Oddly, Kirito does incapacitate Johnny Black by poking him in the leg with his dull umbrella tip, but his attack choice leaves himself open and allows the attacker to inject him in the heart with his poison, just as Johnny planned.
- When it comes time for the final battle with Quinella the Administrator, it's Kirito, a restored Eugeo, Alice fully knowing the truth of her situation, and the long-planning Cardinal against one extremely overpowered person. Cardinal even explicitly points out that it's 4 to 1, though this is hindered by the Sword Golem of Quinella's creation made to even the odds.
You'd Think: The cast either go in with a plan or develop an Indy Ploy on the fly at the very least, using the teamwork and quick planning they've demonstrated throughout the entire arc up to this point, seeing as most other plans have failed and now they have two very powerful foes to go up against.
Instead: Cardinal realizes the Sword Golem is made of people, which she cannot fight or harm technically speaking.
You'd Then Expect: Her to just stick to a supporting role for Kirito, Eugeo and Alice, since this restriction only really applies to her and not the other three, who have attacked other humans multiple times for varying reasons.
Or: Give the other three a strategy to deal with the Sword Golem before taking on Quinella herself so she won't interfere.
Instead: She considers the whole thing a lost cause, surrenders, and forces Quinella to promise she won't harm her accomplices if she lets herself be killed instead.
Result: Cardinal gets blasted repeatedly to a fatal point while everyone stands there and does nothing.
For Extra Stupidity: The entire point of this is a Senseless Sacrifice because everyone fights her immediately after anyway.
- The previous stupidity is doubled up by the immediate battle thereafter, where Cardinal's dying actions let Eugeo turn into a sword. He fights the Sword Golem and wins - and then fights Quinella.
You'd Think: Alice and Kirito would finally move in to help Eugeo after such a horrible scene prior, and they would actually occupy Quinella in a way that allows him to capitalize on some opportunity, any opportunity, to deal a severe blow.
Instead: Alice helped defend Eugeo's transformation and Kirito when he was suffering a Heroic BSoD over Cardinal's death, but they still just stand there and let Eugeo fight on his own.
Result: Eugeo becomes Half the Man He Used to Be in the process of removing one of Quinella's arms, Alice gets knocked out, and Kirito ends up having to fight Quinella solo besides bringing Eugeo's sword with him.
- Chudelkin is dispatched fairly quickly by the heroes before Quinella fights them.
You'd Think: That being one with the Cardinal System, and having access to countless lines of code, Quinella make sure he stays dead due to the in-game mechanic involves Disappears into Light, or at least fry him with another bolt of lightning for good measure.
Instead: She just assumes he's already dead and leaves him be to fight the heroes instead.
Result: Even taking into account the heavy injuries she sustained during the battle, she was well on her way into escaping towards the real world alive, even if she remains unable to advance her ambitions for the time being. Then Chudelkin shows up still alive, grabs her and sets himself ablaze, burning her alive mid-flight, killing them both.
- The Dark Territory Forces arrive at the Great Gate and wait for it to collapse, with the Human Army led by the Integrity Knights waiting behind so that they can repel them once it falls.
You'd Expect: Gabriel, being an IRL PMC leader with a good deal of experience fighting large-scale battles and leading troops, would come up with a battle plan that the Knights, who would appear to rely on less developed battle tactics and have little experience fighting wars, would have trouble countering.
Or At Least: Send a decoy force to be attacked and wiped out by the Knights taking part in the battle, along with some scouts to assess them and their numbers so he could possibly come up with counters to their weapons and abilities before launching a more properly planned attack.
Instead: He does none of that and simply has his forces do a full frontal assault on the Human Army.
As A Result: At least four factions of his troops, the Flatland Goblins, the Mountain Goblins, the Giants, and the Ogres, are wiped out by the Integrity Knights and their Divine Objects, and his subsequent attempt to have Dee Eye Ell sacrifice 3,000 Orcs for the purpose of using a Death Worm Curse to kill the Knights, which is foiled by Eldrie's Heroic Sacrifice, only results in the Dark Mages being wiped out and the Orcs suffering crippling casualties that forces them to stay behind while the Dark Knights and Pugilists go with him to pursue Alice and the Decoy Force. In the end, his use of these risky tactics gets Vassago killed and kicked out of the Underworld, and he's forced to use his remaining forces as bait so he can kidnap Alice in the confusion, which gets him pursued by Bercouli and, albeit at the cost of Bercouli's life, his Vecta Avatar killed, giving Alice a chance to escape.
Even Worse: The fact that Kosogi, one of the lowly goblins under his command, is able to come up with the actually brilliant idea to use smoke bombs to get behind the Human Army and attack their supply tents, shows that Gabriel really could have put a lot more thought into his attack.
- Kirito has just mopped the floor with PoH, so he decides to let Kirito kill him so that he gets booted from Underworld so that he can kill Kirito and Asuna IRL.
You'd think: He'd just sit there and take Kirito's fatal blow like a champ, not raising any suspicions in Kirito's mind.
Instead: He gloats his Evil Plan to Kirito's face! This is the same guy who survived Aincrad, brutally beat up a lecherous Corrupt Corporate Executive who had eyes on his girlfriend, and saved another girl from her obsessed Stalker with a Crush. Yet PoH still has the audacity to brag about how he's going to murder both Kirito and Asuna in their sleep, expecting Kirito to mourn his final moments.
Result: Kirito decides to be Crazy-Prepared by preventing PoH from logging out by trapping him in a tree, keeping him there until he's driven to insanity before he eventually dies.
Unital Ring arc
- After Unital Ring begins, a party led by Bolan, whose goal is to be the last group standing in the game, happen upon Kirito and Asuna's cabin and, low on TP and SP, offer to share their map data with the owners in exchange for food and a place to stay. Mocri, their resident knife expert, realises that Kirito was a finalist in ALO's most recent tournament, and confirms it with the man himself.
You'd Expect: That considering he's just confirmed that their gracious host is possibly ALO's best player, whose allies are quite possibly on his level, he'd maintain the element of surprise and silently inform Bolan and the others in private, so they can come up with a plan to take them out. Under-equipped or not, ALO was a skill-based game, so he should realize that killing one of it's top players would be no easy feat even with a handicap in his favour. Additionally, it should be noted that they themselves were relatively new players to ALO before the start of Unital Ring, giving them all the more reason to be cautious against Kirito's more experienced group.
Instead: The only real sneakiness he employs is stabbing Kirito in the gut while offering a handshake, which not only doesn't kill him immediately, but also alerts everyone and leads to a battle erupting between their two groups.
As A Result: While they do start with the advantage, Kirito and the others are able to hold out long enough for the Bashin Tribe led by Yui, Liz and Silica to show to provide equipment and help fight them off, leading to them all dying and getting booted from the game.
- While following Sinon's post-transfer adventures, we learn that she spawned near a ten-man squadron, who were bewildered at what's going on and decided to log out to get information.
You'd Expect: That they'd take note of their surroundings, a city ruin that would ordinarily be a hostile enviroment in GGO, and decide to have only a few of them log out while the rest stayed on to keep watch, lest they get attacked and killed by monsters or other players that may be nearby.
Instead: All ten of them log out, leaving their avatars vulnerable.
As A Result: Five of them get killed by giant bug monsters, and the rest only survive thanks to Sinon.
- While infiltrating a meeting for a potential alliance of players with Argo, Kirito ends up afflicted by a spell called Noose of the Accursed at the hands of the mage player Mutasina, which allows her to hit all those afflicted with some manner of choking sensation regardless of range. Not wanting Alice, who came with but waited outside, to recklessly try and confront Mutasina and her new army, Kirito keeps this to himself for the time being, with Argo playing along, until they return to their town to report Mutasina's actions and her plan to attack their settlement.
You'd Expect: That once they've returned and Alice is in no capacity to do anything reckless, he'd reveal his new handicap to the others so that they can plan around it or come up with a strategy to kill Mutasina as soon as possible to render the spell useless.
Instead: He continues to keep this information to himself and swears Argo to secrecy, not wanting the others to distract themselves from the town defence trying to cure him.
As A Result: When he's forced to reveal the truth when Klein suggests ignoring the choking if they get afflicted since it isn't real, which he knows from experience doesn't change anything, it's on the day before Mutasina's planned assault, giving them less time to come up with a plan that takes his new handicap into account, let alone find a cure.
Even Worse: After the group reconvenes after a ten minute break, he's able to convince them to hold off on searching for a cure since such a powerful spell would naturally need a rare cure which they wouldn't have easy access to so early in the game, meaning he could have talked them out of their Skewed Priorities earlier if he was just upfront about itnote .
- After Klein, responsible guy that he is, says to Yui that all men love breasts, Yui decides to do "research" by groping all of the girls to determine whose are the best. At the end of it, she asks Kirito whose he thinks are best, putting him in a tough position.
You'd Expect: That he'd stand his ground, refuse to answer and properly reprimand Yui and explain why the entire conversation is inappropriate like a responsible parent.
Or: Him to just say Asuna, since they're Happily Married and answering with her would be the least likely to piss her off, whereas answering with anyone else's is bound to incur her wrath, and maybe that of the girl he chose. At worse, it'd just leave him and Asuna embarrassed and subject them to some teasing.
Instead: He says he likes Yui's best.
As A Result: He's Mistaken for Pedophile and everyone is creeped out by him.
- Nobuyuki Sugou is able to log into SAO along his research team as Alberich, a player with extremely high-level stats and gear, planning on kidnapping players for his mind control experiments and joining the frontlines so he could take credit for clearing the game.
You'd Expect: That he would at least train himself and his team in combat before diving in. Seeing as he helped developed Alfheim Online (by copying Aincrad's mainframe, sure, but still), he ought to know that there's only so much stats and equipment can do for you, especially as he made playing ALO reliant on someone's IRL abilities, and that if there were people still alive in the two years since SAO started, it should be natural to assume that the survivors picked some survival, martial, and teamwork skills while they were trapped.
Instead: He goes in Unskilled, but Strong, which has him and his guild rejected on account that they'd be The Load, and making the frontlines suspicious of their absurd strength in spite of their lack of skill.
You'd Then Expect: That in light of this, he would try and lay low and not draw attention to himself.
Instead: He and his Guildmates outright abuse their newfound admin privileges' to sexually harass female players, which gets more, not positive attention on them, and eventually leads to his plans being discovered when Kirito and the others opt to investigate.
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
- Team Narrows are a team comprised of IRL JSDF Soldiers using the Squad Jam to test GGO as a potential training simulator. Throughout the tournament, they display near-perfect coordination and sound tactics, such as having a dedicated sniper pair giving the rest of the squad cover while taking full advantage of their real-world knowledge of Fast-Roping to swiftly exit from their previous positions before moving onto the next. Eventually, after eliminating ZEMAL and several other teams, they decide to turn their attention to LM, who they pursue to an abandoned town.
You'd Expect: They would scope out the area from afar before entering, potentially seeing if they can locate LLENN and M before entering and sniping them instead of actually engaging them head-on.
Instead: They decide to head in and take positions on an open street without the use of cover during their hunt for LLENN, while their sniper pair take root somewhere on ground level alongside them, limiting visibility for them.
As A Result: LLENN has an easier time getting the drop on them and kills four of them.
Ironically: This does serve to their benefit in a way, since the sniper team witnessing LLENN's absurd movement speed and height spells out to them how unsuited GGO is for training, which they probably wouldn't have realised (or at least not until later into the tournament) if they opted for the pragmatic solution.
- After he and LLENN escape SHINC and prepare to deal with them, M reads the note Pito gave her and learns that Pito plans to murder him IRL should he die in the tournament. At that moment, M gets the idea to kill LLENN so he'll become the team leader and resign, as he technically wouldn't have lost by dying that way.
You'd Expect: He'd wait until LLENN back's turned before shooting her from behind.
Instead: He immediately whips out his gun and tries to shoot her.
As A Result: Not only is LLENN able to react in time dodge, but she's able to flick the safety switch on his pistol and leave him at her mercy.
- During SJ2, seven teams had decided to team up in order to wipe out all the highest ranking teams before fighting each other. While the leaders stay in one place so they can communicate easier, the rest of their teams form a small army and go to PM4's position.
You'd Expect: That they'd start by sending some of their guys to perform recon, potentially pinpoint PM4's location, then report back for a properly planned assault. It's not like they're on a time limit after all.
Instead: Everyone just heads into rocky mountains they're hiding out in to engage them immediately. Upon reaching the area, they wait for the scan and once it's done, PM4's icon indicates that they're behind the waterfall, completely out of view from everyone.
You'd Then Expect: That they're remember about M's bulletproof shield, which he and his team could very well be hiding behind, and decide to throw in some grenades or other explosives to kill them.
You'd Also Expect: That considering the nature of their own strategy, that they'd consider that there might be only one person behind the waterfall and keep their guard up in case anyone sneaks up on them.
Instead: They assume that the whole team is behind there and decide to go with More Dakka, unloading their assault rifles into the waterfall.
As A Result: M, the only one in the cave, survives thanks to his shield, the most damage he suffers being from some ricocheting bullets, and the teams are so hyper-focused on the waterfall that they're easily snuck up on by Pito and the mercenaries, getting slaughtered in the process.
- After PM4 betrays KKHC and Pito kills everyone but Shirley, who's currently running away while carrying a teammate's corpse, the Machine Gunner tries firing at her, only for the corpse, which is designated as an Immortal Object, to block the bullets.
You'd Expect: That M or their sniper would have a crack at it, maybe seeing if they can hit her in the leg so they can finish her off or, if they got ammo to spare, use the Barett to simply knock her down before finishing her.
Instead: They just let her go.
As A Result: A pissed off Shirley returns to snipe Pito later, very nearly killing her and forcing the squad on the defensive.
- MMTM are barging into the cabin with the intent of finishing off a currently unconscious Pitohui and the rest of the PM4, banking on their specialty in indoor combat to seize the day. With M deciding to stay by Pito's side, the three surviving mercs decide to hold them off.
You'd Expect: The Machine Gunner to stay posted at the stairs, as far from the front door as he could be, and open fire at them once they come into view.
Instead: He straps a dozen grenades onto himself and rushes at them.
As A Result: MMTM gun him down before he can get close enough to kill anyone.
Meanwhile, You'd Expect The shotgunner to hide somewhere to ambush MMTM as they're passing by him, seeing how Shotguns Are Just Better in close-quarters combat.
Instead: He only comes down the stairs after the machine gunner's failed Taking You with Me.
As A Result: He's only able to graze Summon's leg before he gets mowed down by him, David, Kenta and Lax.
Lastly: Their Leader, who's only firearm appears to be a pistol, manages to pin the majority of them down while they're coming up the stairs by tossing two beds on top of them, pinning them down.
You'd Expect: Him to just toss a Grenade down and take them all out in one fell swoop.
Instead: He whips out his pistol and attempts to shoot them with it, making sure to steady his aim. Granted, it could have been that he handed over any grenades he did have to the Machine Gunner for his Suicide Attack, but that just adds an extra layer of stupidity to that moment.
As A Result: Jake is able to get the drop on him by shooting at him from below before he can even get a shot in, killing him and removing the last line of defence stopping MMTM from getting at Pito.
You'd Also Expect: That at least one of them would have thought to take the piece of M's shield they used to carry Pito in as part of of their counter-offensive.
Instead: They just left it in the room Pito and M situated themselves, giving them less defensive options than they could have had.
- Team RGB, short for "Ray Gun Boys", are a team of Optical Gun enthusiasts, which, despite having some advantages over live bullets, were not made with PvP in mind due to existence of Defence Fields, designed to protect against the Optical Rounds.
You'd Expect: That they wouldn't even consider entering the Squad Jam, where'd they'd have to go up against a plethora of Live-Ammo Gun users who likely have Defence Fields as part of their standard kit.
Or At Least: Do what the similarly Sci-Fi oriented T-S did, and get their hands on some futuristic looking guns if they wanna take part so badly.
Instead: They go in with their Optical Guns.
You'd Then Expect: That if they're going to go through with this Self-Imposed Challenge, they'd exercise greater caution than your average team, and rely on more clever tactics to keep up with their better equipped competition.
Instead: They use the same tactics any of the other run-of-the-mill teams you find the tournament use.
As A Result: They've yet to won or even come far in a single Squad Jam without outside help, with Team SHINC making short work of them in SJ3. The one time they do get far is because they joined an alliance of Live Ammo Gun users as what effectively amounts to pest control.
- The Five Ordeals quest ends with both participating teams spawning at a cabin in a wide open field, at which their Canine Companion states that to finish the quest, they have to kill them. Of course, this is actually a Secret Test of Character, where killing the dog fails the quest while opting to resign is actually the right answer.
You'd Expect: That anyone would be Genre Savvy enough to realize that this might be the case, considering how most media generally discourages harming non-hostile animals, and put more thought into their decision before simply Shooting The Dog.
Instead: Seemingly everyone who does the quest at this time assumes that killing the dog is what you're supposed to do.
As A Result: LPFM and SHINC are the only ones to actually clear the quest and reap the rewards, and that's only after Pito, who was only Genre Savvy because she read the one of the Novelist's book to detail his thoughts on dogs, tricks everyone else, who weren't so fortunate, into going through a 3 vs 3 over whether or not to kill Suuzaburou.
- During the "Sixth Ordeal" during the Five Ordeals Quest, it's down to LLENN and Fuka vs Pito. Initially at the latter's mercy due to being stuck in a hole, LLENN manages to send Pito to near-death after Fuka uses her Grenade Launcher to knock her into the air, with LLENN grabbing the KTR that she kicked into the hole earlier and shooting at Pito mid-flight, causing her to fall into the hole unarmed with very little HP remaining.
You'd Expect: LLENN to just shoot her, especially when you consider how quickly she tried to do so earlier before Shirley got killed.
Instead: She opts to demand that she surrenders.
As A Result: Pito gets the chance to turn things around, using a timed Plasma Grenade she planted to knock Fuka into the hole, before whipping out a Grand Grenade that she can activate to take the both of them with her.
You'd Then Expect: LLENN to just shoot her. Pito's HP is low to the point that a light breeze could kill her, so LLENN could easily finish her before she activates the Grand Grenade if she just fires a short burst or switches to semi-auto to avoid hitting the grenade by accident. And even if Pito is able to pull a Taking You with Me like she's threatening, that doesn't change the fact that Pito would still be the first to die, which would more than likely make LLENN's team the winner in the eyes of Clarence, who's serving as the ref and intended on fulfilling the wishes of the winner, by virtue of outlasting hers.
Instead: LLENN believes they lost and surrenders, which would have gotten Suuzaburou killed and failed them the quest if it wasn't for the fact that Pito was only pretending to vouch for killing him.