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Is Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors a trope about certain elements being strong against one but weak against another, or is this trope just about elements?
There's no laconic on the page to define what it's supposed to be about. It shows an image of the first generation Pokemon starters to show that Fire > Grass > Water > Fire, but the description itself just talks about various types of elements in western and eastern fiction more than their actual tactical applications in combat.
It's supposed to be about a tactical game whereby certain "elements" are strong against others.
Essentially, if the examples don't talk about what elements are strong against what other element, it's either misuse or not enough proper context.
I find that the description puts a lot of emphasis on the strengths and weaknesses.
An overly wordy description can be shunted to an Analysis subpage and summarized in Main.
The trope is basically written as a circle of elements like Rock–Paper–Scissors balancing but it's not used like that.
We are missing a more general Elemental Strengths And Weaknesses mechanic trope, some games do not have a balancing of that and arbitrarily assign weaknesses and such.
edited 9th Dec '15 5:32:38 PM by Memers
As long as some elements are strong/weak against others, and there is a general attempt at competitive balance among them, then the trope can apply. Making tropes overly narrow is one of the reasons that we run into these issues.
And Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors?
^ That one is still just as lengthy, but at least it stays on focus of explaining what is strong against what and weak against others.
Some works go to great pains to balance out and make opposing elements like Final Fantasy X where Fire and Ice are weak against each other or Pokemon which is a Fire < Water < Grass < Fire.
Other games don't do anything like that what so ever and just add weaknesses wherever for the sake of having weaknesses. Like say Persona 4 Chie is an Ice type and weak against Fire ok, but Ted is also an Ice type and weak against Lightning.
The first paragraph is a specific subtrope which actually is Rock–Paper–Scissors and a world building mechanic to the more general strengths and weaknesses gameplay mechanic.
I find that symmetric games (like Pokemon and PvP games) tend to follow more of a circular weakness structure, while asymmetric games (like the Final Fantasy games) tend to have more direct relationship between pairs of elements, often because the player characters don't usually have the same kind of weaknesses as the enemies, and are far more flexible.
edited 10th Dec '15 8:44:15 AM by AnotherDuck
Yes and no, many weaknesses for mobs are quite arbitrary.
I was playing Trails In The Sky recently and came across a fire breathing dragon that was weak to fire but resistant to the other 3 elements in the game and a dungeon where there were like 9 types of penguin monsters in it and all had different strengths and weaknesses including being weak to ice. Those make absolutely no sense aside from the latter making gameplay harder.
Some games also just reskin enemies and slap different strengths and weaknesses on them just to cause more variety, like Persona 4 vanilla had Gold Hands which appeared in every dungeon but each dungeon their weakness was different so you had to figure it out for that dungeon.
Also some games structure their systems because you only have access to certain elements at the time and base their resistances on that. Which the original Pokemon avoided heavily.
There isn't any kind of structure to their systems like say Pokemon which is circular and Final Fantasy X which is elements are weak to its opposition not sure what you to call it.
The trope Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors is and should be about just the structured types, just simply using a weakness system itself is a supertrope to that.
edited 10th Dec '15 12:35:39 PM by Memers
In other words, there's a missing supertrope that is just "Elemental Weaknesses" whereby trolls or zombies or smeerps are weak against fire just because. This is a subtrope of that supertrope, where the target's elemental affinities determine their weaknesses (ie: all ice enemies are weak against fire).
edited 17th Dec '15 2:12:14 AM by Clarste
That is it exactly, 'a target's elemental affinities determine their weaknesses and strengths'.
A supertrope would be the more general usage of strengths and weaknesses as well as the degrees they can be strong/weak.
edited 17th Dec '15 12:02:15 PM by Memers
Oh my God, The Trio has risen!
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How well does it match the trope?