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Common terms the Lorerunner uses in everyday conversation, not necessarily related to literary tropes or concepts.

A term referring to something that’s of acknowledged quality, despite not liking it. Because no matter how good of a cup of coffee it is, it doesn’t really matter if you just don’t like coffee.
Example: “Sorry, I don’t like Dark Souls. No it’s not a bad game, it’s just coffee to me.”
A term referring to the best type of remake of an older game which is done very well and actively makes the experience better.
Example: “Final Fantasy IV was alright on the SNES, but they came out with a Proper Remake of it on the DS which was way better.”
A term referring to the immoral, stupid, or out-dated use of copyright or trademark law in order to make the world a worse place overall.
Example:Yeah I was going to release a video analyzing the new Kingdom Hearts trailer, but I had to mute it due to Copywrong.”
A term referring to a game that’s good, but doesn’t really invest the player so they have no desire to ever replay it.
Example: “Yeah Phantom Hourglass was pretty fun, but I’ve never really wanted to go back to it. Bit of a popcorn game.”
A concept referring to a type of a lie that deliberately deceives or loopholes around the reality or truth of the situation, usually by telling the ‘technical truth’. Does not refer to any situation where a technicality is pulled in, only in those where someone is deliberately using a technicality to deceive or to try to act impressive, rather than to inform.
Example: Well teeeecchcndkfnsfically, Obi-Wan didn’t lie to Luke about his father, from a certain point of view.
A type of game where, due to limitations of technology, design, or intent, the story has to be interpreted by the player rather than things being laid out clearly. Often has multiple scenes which don’t have proper bridges between them, leading to a strange sequence of set pieces.
Example: While there’s plenty of story in the later games, Kingdom Hearts 1 is a total SNES RPG. So many details you need to infer.
A concept referring to a group, people, species, or otherwise organization encountering another similarly minded and advanced group who are interested in benevolent cooperation. This is immediately followed by an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity, which usually does not last forever. This also sometimes leads both groups to be unprepared for more harsh, violent, or militant forces they might find.
Example: When Humanity first found the Azimdi, their friendship and cooperation led to the foundation of the Concordat and allowed for a massive technological and magical revolution. Thus, for both species, meeting one another was their Vulcan Moment.
A concept that affects a huge number of games, where one is supposed to just presume towns, countries, or otherwise are far larger than they are presented in the game, since rendering even a single city realistically would be larger than most entire games are.
Example: It’s hard to sometimes remember that each city in Final Fantasy VI is supposed to represent an entire city-state or country, rather than a town with five buildings in it. Buncha MMO Scale all over the place.
A very specific type of mis-step in directing. Namely, lack of music alone doesn’t qualify, rather it has to be a scene where either the lack of music is awkward and/or wrong, or there’s simply too many scenes over and over with no music in them. A No Music moment is immediately noticeable when the lack of music feels off and weird.
Example: I love Kingdom Hearts as much as anyone, but man those games have a lot of No Music moments in them.
A concept referring to the idea that, while someone can spend time and effort and care to polish a truly amazing work of art, lazily throwing together something unexceptional with no real effort or work can and often does make as much money. So why bother?
Example: While I rather enjoy several games in the series, Modern Warfare 3 was a clear-cut case of Transformers 2 Mentality.
A term referring to a particular industry or sub-sect of an industry that has artificially inflated value, disproportionate to how much the product or service is actually worth. Usually done for the sake or purpose of greed.
Example: I’m sorry but in my blunt opinion, now days marketing for video games is a total Diamond Industry. No where near worth as much as it charges.
Specific character concepts or archetypes that Lore refers to on a regular basis in fiction.

A term referring to a character who A: Is a genuinely good person who seeks to help others without regard to themselves and B: Exists within a setting that supports them and allows them to succeed at point A.
Example: James Raynor tries his best to be The Mario, but the Koprulu Sector just doesn’t want to let him.
A term referring to a character who, by their very nature, is relatable to the viewer or player. Usually this comes in the form of someone down-to-earth, simple, or the kind of person who gets along with everyone.
Example: For all his faults, Laguna is the kind of person most people just tend to like. He’s definitely an O’Brien.
A concept referring to two differing perspectives on doing evil for good’s sakes. A Sisko will do evil to accomplish good and regret it, and carry that guilt forward with them. A Justice Lord will do evil to accomplish good and normalize it, believing firmly what they are doing is right. A Justice Lord will usually slide into actual villainy over time.
Example: The Nameless One might be a bit of a Sisko, but the Practical Incarnation was definitely more of a Justice Lord.
A very specific type of character who is, colloquially, a small fish in a big pond but, critically, utterly unaware of this status. They firmly believe in their own self importance and significance, and will usually be crushed effortlessly. Sometimes, in particularly well done stories, a Krennic will actually cause some real damage despite their lack of strength, skill, or power. Serves as an excellent foil for a low-tier set of heroes or adventurers.
Example: It’s such a tragedy how much of a Krennic that Ted Faro was, considering all he accomplished.
Literary concepts, tropes, and ideas in fiction and in real life that the Lorerunner refers to almost constantly.

A trope referring to the idea that any entity of sufficiently advanced complexity can, through time and experience, develop true sentience and sapience. Based off the real life idea of a newborn baby’s development into a fully fledged human being, and named after the (somewhat horrific) effect that happens to droids in Star Wars. Critically, such a concept only applies when that sentience and sapience slowly develops, often through interactions with other beings or personal experiences, not simply a very advanced form of intelligence or AI.
Example: We could argue back and forth about Moriarty and Vic Fontaine, but there’s no denying that The Doctor grew into a full fledged sapient and sentient entity over the course of Voyager thanks to Droid Effect.
A concept referring to a specific type of situation wherein the further you go, the harder it is not to keep going in that direction. This can apply out of character, eg. someone who does poorly on a boss gets worse and worse at it due to frustration and anger, or in universe, eg. both the Light and Dark Sides of the Force in Star Wars.
Example: Seifer reached a point after a certain ways through Final Fantasy VIII where Seesaw Effect started to take hold, and he just started doing more and more horrible things.
A concept referring to the idea that we will enjoy certain activities, games, or ideas more if there’s a familiar element to them, like playing a map based on your hometown, or loading Game of Thrones mods into Civilization.
Example: While I praise many things about Heroes of the Storm, the strong Familiarity Effect from having so many memorable characters to play as and against undeniably increases my enjoyment.
An unfortunate byproduct of simplifying dialogue options in RPGs, wherein you choose one option and what ends up happening is either not what you wanted, or in extreme cases completely the opposite of your desired intent. Named after The Old Republic MMO, where this is very commonplace.
Example: So there I was, playing Alpha Protocal, and I only had a second to choose an option and one of them said ‘pants’… so I picked it and holy crap, not what I was going for at all..
A concept where the script, story, or general premise of a work is silly, stupid, or awful… and yet, good acting, directing, visuals, audio, or some combination salvage the overall work to make it enjoyable nonetheless. Named after the Star Trek Voyager episode The Cloud.
Example: If I’m to be completely honest, the concept of Shovel Knight just sounds pretty stupid, but damned if Cloud Effect doesn’t make the game awesome.
A concept referring to a particular fictional work that had great potential and an awesome premise but, unlike Cloud Effect, completely failed to fulfill on it and ended up being disinteresting, boring, or actively bad.
Example: Man, I really thought Andromeda had a lot of potential. I was even excited for it. But holy moly it turned out dull.
A concept where something is silly, cheesy, or stupid, but embraces it whole-heartedly and doesn’t shy away from its true nature. In the process, this tends to make the work far more enjoyable than it otherwise would be. So named for the incredibly cheesy Flash Gordon movie.
Example: Y’know, on paper the Expendables really shouldn’t be the kind of movies I like, but Flash Gordon Effect really helped elevate them in my mind.
A concept referring to a game that, when you first play it or if you don’t know what you’re doing, is quite difficult. However, once you either figure out or start exploiting game mechanics, the game shifts to being quite easy.
Example: Man, when I was first playing Gothic I was getting crushed, but after I started figuring it out I just started breezing through.
A fairly common concept where the vanilla game is good, but the expansion is amazing. Usually happens because the same team works on both works, and has now had time to get used to each other and gained more experience making this particular work, and so can put their best into the sequel. Can also apply to non-videogames, such as how Empire Strikes Back is arguably significantly better than A New Hope.
Example: Don’t mistake me, I really enjoyed Neverwinter Nights, but Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark blew it out of the water.
A specific type of story where it is presented as light hearted or happy, usually in terms of visuals and audio, but the actual story itself is incredibly dark and serious. So named after the Dragon Quest JRPG series, which despite silly cartoony visuals deals with horrors of child slavery, mass murder, estrangement, environmental damage, and other rather dark topics.
Example: A lot of JRPGs tend to have a lot of Dragon Quest Effect to them. Like Undertale. At first glance you’d assume the whole game’s a comedy, nevermind how horribly dark, serious, and deeply character driven it is.
An unfortunately common syndrome referring to a work wherein the writers have absolutely no concept of scale. Usually manifests in overly large numbers of places or time, with events happening across ten thousand years or other such drivel, done to try and make the reader, player, or viewer think ‘large’ without putting any real thought into it. Arguably lazy writing. Very… very common in RPGs. Named after the Dr. Who series which, while enjoyable, really does not know anything about scale.
Example: So many works have Dr. Who Syndrome it’s hard to fathom sometimes. I mean, think about Warcraft, where effectively nothing happens in ten millennia, then all of the sudden everything’s a whirl of activity in the last century or so.
An exceptionally common concept in real life, wherein someone looks at a successful or popular work, summarizes what made it good, and then makes a similar work based on those bullet points. Specifically refers to the idea of someone not really understanding what made the original so good, and trying to exaggerate surface or less important details as a result.
Example: I would argue that Modern Warfare was a fantastic, artistic piece of amazement. But in my blunt opinion, Modern Warfare 3 didn’t have the slightest idea why the original was such a work of art, and clearly fell victim to Bullet Point Syndrome.
A fairly common trope, unique to fiction, wherein someone gains some small scrap of power and their ego blows way out of proportion. For Vampire Ego Syndrome to apply they have to specifically only have a little bit of power, or only be slightly better than regular people, and then act as if they are vastly superior. Often leads to false proclamations of godhood.
Example: Most of the Sith on Korriban are hilariously victims of Vampire Ego Syndrome. A little bit of ability to push an object with their mind and they think they’re gods amongst men.
A growing syndrome of games wherein the main plot is either disinteresting, dull, or flat out bad… but! For whatever reason, the side quests are of significantly higher quality, such that the player is actually interested and/or invested in them. Is somewhat common in open world games.
Example: What few side quests are in Just Cause 2 are way better than it’s main plot, complete case of Skyrim Syndrome.
The idea that the more you hear in a particular direction about a thing, the more inclined you are to go against that direction. Not to be confused with normal contrarianism, but rather happens as a result of a nearly overwhelming about of positivity or negativity regarding a specific thing, and your being more inclined against whatever the intent is you feel spammed with.
Example: Man, people will just not shut up about how awful Force Awakens was. I genuinely enjoyed it, but I’m afraid I’m getting a bit of Pendulum Theory in liking it more than I should.
A theory that posits the idea; the larger an audience or group of people, the more people will notice a particularly outspoken minority within that community. For example, to use made up numbers, if 10% of players in any given MOBA are toxic, a MOBA with only 10 players has only 1 such person in it and is easily ignored. But in a MOBA with 10,000 players, suddenly there’s 1,000 people ranting and screaming. This theory, in particular, presents the idea that there are not actually more of said minority within a community–that they, indeed, remain a minority. But instead that, thanks to the larger sample size, you perceive more of that minority and get the false impression that they are the majority.
Example: I hear people all the time talking about how awful WoW players are, but I’m pretty sure that’s just Sample Size Theory in effect. I meet far more pleasant and nice people than I do not.
A literary concept referring to a group of people who, despite being more powerful than the ‘normals’ around them, have to maintain a masquerade of sorts lest they be completely overwhelmed by the regulars. This theory also specifically refers to the idea that, with proper knowledge, a ‘normal’ could overwhelm one of the fantasticals since they know exactly what they’re weak to, or how to beat them. So named after Vampire The Masquerade.
Example: Several monsters in the Witcher series aren’t actually that strong or tough, if you know what they’re weak to and how to fight them. While not deliberate on the behalf of any given organization, there’s some definite Masquerade Theory going on in that setting.
Refers to the five primary concepts that overall make up a story, as well as the sixth secondary concept. These concepts are Plot, Characterization, Character Growth, Setting, Themes, and Fun.

The plot refers to the specific sequence of events that form the core central structure of a story. Usually can be summarized fairly simply, such as A New Hope being a plot about saving a princess and defeating an evil empire’s powerful battle station, but that does not speak to the value or strength of the plot itself. A truly strong plot will have significant events, movement, flow, and sometimes twists to it that keep it interesting and engaging. For example, I would say that Final Fantasy Tactics has a very strong plot, whereas Mass Effect 2 has a very weak one. I use both of these as an example since I feel both have good stories, and to demonstrate how a good plot isn’t integral to a good story.
Characterization refers specifically to how much depth and fleshing out a particular character has. It often blends with and into Character Growth, but is critically distinct from it as a surprisingly large number of characters across fiction have a decent amount of characterization but absolutely no growth or arc to them. For example, Rendon Howe from Dragon Age has a decent amount of characterization to him, but never changes or moves throughout the game. Similarly, Demyx over in the Kingdom Hearts series has several scenes dedicated to fleshing him out as a person, but again he never changes or grows from that point. There’s also the G-Man from the Half Life series, but most notably in Half Life 2, where his personality and perspectives are quite distinct yet he effectively never changes throughout the series.
Character Growth is almost always related to Characterization, and usually the best characters in a fictional work have strong elements of both. Character Growth is how someone changes or alters over time, a true character arc showcasing how their feelings, or mentalities, or even personality can alter thanks to what they go through and how they do it. Luke Skywalker going from the childish farmboy to the jedi hero through the original trilogy. Dante going from a bored (yet cool) guy with a sibling rivalry to understanding sacrifice, relevance, and purpose across Devil May Cry 3. John Crighton’s slow shift from the fish out of water in love with exploration, to the more battle-hardened and cynical man fighting for his family.
Setting is nice and obvious; the setting in which a fictional work exists. I prefer to use the term ‘setting’ since it more encapsulates an entire fictional body, rather than limiting it by geography. For easy explanation; Star Trek has the five shows (six if you count animated) and the movies, but it also has the Kelvin Universe stuff with 2009, Into Darkness, etc. These exist in separate timelines, but are still within the same setting as each other (and they even affect each other). Plenty of different fictional works have a strong emphasis on setting, in some cases overwhelming the other aspects of Story (such as with Pillars of Eternity, for example). Mass Effect is an excellent example of a universe with a wide breadth of lore, history, culture, and other aspects helping to flesh out the ‘world’ of it. These kinds of details (most notably about culture, such as food, holidays, social gatherings) help to really breath life into a given setting and make it truly enjoyable.
Themes is one of the least concretely defined aspects of Story, since different people will divine different themes from the same work. Often a given work’s author(s) may intend one theme, and viewers, readers, or gamers will perceive something entirely separate. Themes relate to over-arcing concepts or ideas, such as Kingdom Hearts and its recurring themes of the bonds connecting people, the false dichotomies of light and dark, and the tragedy of circumstance. Or Planescape Torment and its heavily recurring theme of torment itself, and the emotional and mental anguish people suffer and, most importantly, how they deal with that torment. Or Earthbound, and its consistent themes of growing up, forging one’s own future, the many lives we touch, and the most obvious–motherhood.
Fun is the hardest aspect of a Story to properly quantify and, of course, depends on the individual perceiving the work. It’s entirely possible to have a story that is very well constructed and designed with the Five primary points, but still isn’t enjoyable to read. I, personally, would put the Lord of the Rings books as an example of this. It’s also entirely possible to have a work that has an extremely weak overall Story, yet is still enjoyable throughout. Examples include Metal Wolf Chaos in all its ridiculous glory, Final Fantasy Mystic Quest in all its stupidity, and Command & Conquer 3 with its wonderfully over the top acting and alien invasion. All of these are very fun stories, even if somewhat lacking in the primary elements.
Refers to the five primary concepts that overall make up the actual experience of playing a game, as well as the sixth secondary concept. These concepts are Game Mechanics, Interface, Graphics, Music, Sound, and Flow.

The core meat of any game, the gameplay mechanics are what really drive a game forward. Jumping and shooting, solving puzzles, conquering enemy lands, flying, racing, the works. This element is, by far, the most important element when it comes to Gameplay, and truly great games like Mega Man X1, Star Fox 64, and Doom 4 shine in this area. It is of course possible to have great core gameplay mechanics without having the remaining elements of Gameplay though. Games such as the original XCOM and its tightly designed strategy and tactics, yet struggles with the problem of older UI and hard to perceive graphics, and a general lack of proper sound. Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, with its heavy emphasis on multiple solutions, extensive NPC interactions, and small but well done variety of combat options, yet similarly has issues with interface, flow, and sound design. Or Dwarf Fortress, who’s core gameplay is still enjoyable to this day, but remains buried in an awful interface with almost no proper graphical or sound design.
It is also possible to have a good overall presentation of the other 5 elements and yet lack good core gameplay mechanics. No Man’s Sky, for all its flair and good design, as its core was immensely boring and disinteresting. Final Fantasy XIII has brilliant interface, excellent music, great graphics, and some of the most disinteresting leveling and combat in the series. And the last of the Kane series, Command & Conquer 4, has a nice UI with good music and graphics and just generally overall bad core gameplay.
Interface refers to two aspects of gameplay; one, the in-game menus and methods by which one accesses the gameplay, as well as the more literal and physical methods by which the player access the game. Thus, button control layout, usage of the mouse, or reliance on additional hardware would qualify for Interface the same as in-game interactions. Good interface is a bit harder to define than other things, though a usual rule of thumb is the more accessible it is to the player the better, and the less ‘clicks’ the better. Another common concept is the idea of ‘at-a-glance’, IE the more you can tell immediately and without having to open a menu or pause the game to interrupt flow, the better.
Stellaris, bizarrely, has an absolutely excellent Interface that takes very little time to get used to and a lot of ‘at-a-glance’ information. Earthbound, while not the most sophisticated of older Dragon Quest-style RPGs, nevertheless has tons of convenience features that let you equip items from the shop menu, compare and contrast easily, and even the ability to interact with the environment one-handed. Homeworld Deserts of Kharak is one of my personal examples of textbook good interface, with almost everything readily available from one screen, and tons of information neatly displayed. And some games, like Freelancer, just instantly click with the player so they don’t even have to think about what’s where, because it all makes sense instantly.
Some excellent games with lacking or actively bad UIs include: Europa Universalis IV, for all its excellent aspects, has an Interface that takes forever to ‘get the hang of’ and eventually reach a point where you can do what you wish to do in the game. Similarly, Zelda Phantom Hourglass, while generally a pretty good game, relies on using the stylus and touch screen to physically play the game, which can be tough to use for some and actively aggravating for others. I of course am pretty infamous for refusing to replay Skyward Sword given the fact that the motion controls cause me literal, physical pain to play. And there’s also the recent Star Fox 0 and its bizarre double control scheme, which some can acclimate to and some cannot.
Graphics are obvious; the visual presentation of the game. This can boil down to two general categories; quality and style. The quality of graphics are relatively easy to judge, and generally the more modern the better. But the style is where Graphics really matter in a game; how they are used, not merely what. Some would argue any pixel-art game can get away on nostalgia alone, but there’s a world of difference between badly designed graphics and good ones, pixel-art or no. Similarly, things being visually distinct from each other, allowing visual cues for things to interact with (and how) are very important aspects of good graphics design.
Zelda Link To The Past is an example of a game that, to this day, has aged quite well. Everything is immediately distinguishable from each other, and you can tell the types of tools you can use where based on repeated visual styles. Wind Waker would be another example, though I hate to keep using Zeldas. Virtually every Metroid game falls into this category, but probably strongest is Super Metroid, where the level design and visual presentation thereof informs the player’s journey and both assists and encourages exploration. And of course, Symphony of the Night is an amazing masterpiece in terms of animation, presentation, distinction, and general visual design.
On the flip side, Doom 3 is a game with atrocious visual cues, bad lighting, and repeated graphics. Even worse than that is the old Quest 64 game, where in several areas the textures are repeated so often that you can literally get turned around without even realizing it, nevermind the uninspired enemies or lack of any visual flare. And one of the worst of all, Daggerfall; for all its positives and up sides, the visual design is some of the worst I’ve ever seen, with near constant repeating textures in same-looking areas, inside and out, as well as making it difficult to know what one can properly interact with unless it’s moving and/or attacking you.
Good sound design can make or break a gaming experience. Being able to immediately tell what’s happening where without looking, hearing that quiet drip or that horrific skitter in the distance, or literally being able to play blind. Sound design is all about not just the sounds themselves but, like graphics, how they are used. It’s one thing to put a lot of well voice-acted audio clips in your game, but another to make the footsteps or ambient noise something that doesn’t just add to the experience, but helps the player play the game.
Homeworld… well, all the Homeworld games really, have fantastic overall sound design. Not just in the ships and how they move, or the ambient noise that mixes beautifully with the music, but the chatter that helps keep the player immersed and invested. Half Life 2 lets the player literally feel what’s happening next thanks to fluid voice acting, clear and distinct sounds helping to distinguish different types of actors from each other, and the horrifying sounds of most of the game can contribute to an absolutely incredible, immersive experience. But special credit must be given to Zelda Ocarina of Time, a game that can and has literally been played blind thanks to the mind bogglingly good sound design in every facet and aspect.
Of course, most games merely have good sound design, the type you’re not supposed to notice. Thus, bad sound design tends to drag one out of the experience, jarring the player from what they might otherwise enjoy. Mega Man X7 isn’t a particularly good game overall, but special mention has to be given for the colossally bad sound design that spams the player with useless voice clips, doesn’t inform the player upon certain actions, or triggers at wrong moments. Sonic Adventure 2, an otherwise fairly enjoyable game, has some truly face palming sound design, which is especially egregious for a Sonic game, and shows up most noticeably during cutscenes as voice actors are almost impossible to hear. But worst of all has to be Ride to Hell Retribution, and its face palmingly bad design of sound effects, voice clips, and general direction.
Music is the easiest category of gameplay to understand, and arguably the most subjective. What one person considers good music another is likely to disagree on. However, regardless of the actual quality of music, there are elements of utilizing music properly in game design, similar to graphics and sound. If you hear the same song over and over and over in cutscenes without variation, this is not good design. Nor is forcing the player to listen to the first 15 seconds of a song every time they partake in a particular activity, like a random battle.
Some games can be elevated in enjoyment with the inclusion of good music. Gems like Morrowind (or any game by Jeremy Soule) are a good example, as is the otherwise lackluster Final Fantasy Mystic Quest. Similarly, some games use music very particularly and only in certain sections, such as the Homeworld games, or Half Life. And some games prefer for the music to effectively form a backdrop to the main focus of the game, something pleasant but not meant to be focused on, like Knights of the Old Republic or Mass Effect.
Of course, some games don’t use music particularly well. As mentioned earlier, some games like to repeat a single song to the point where it becomes irritating or frustrating, like in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories which repeats the same two songs over and over for cutscenes. Many older games suffer from the problem of being unable to properly ‘save’ the player’s ‘place’ in a song, leading to everytime one enters or exits battle the song starts over, which can get old quickly. And then there’s games like The Old Republic which, while having relatively good music, actively rehashes many songs from the movies (often in ways that don’t make sense or aren’t thematically appropriate), and has the problem of certain events repeating the same songs over and over.
Flow is something that applies similarly to Story and Gameplay both, but is usually referred to as Pace or Pacing when it comes to Story. In Gameplay, Flow is how the overall other elements of Gameplay mesh together and how the experience works from beginning to end, as well as following some kind of proper peaks and valleys in terms of tempo, tone, and action. Not every game has to follow the same pattern, or even the same types of events for peaks and valleys, but has to find something that consistently works for the type of art being created.
A great example of a game with excellent flow that doesn’t follow normal patterns is Earthbound, a game that slowly winds up until the finale, then slowly winds down up to and including the ending. Chrono Trigger is another fantastic example of proper flow, actually having two separate patterns of pacing to it that bisect the game and both flow smoothly into each other. And probably one of the textbook examples of proper flow and pacing in gameplay is God of War 2, which starts strong, shifts down, and doesn’t linger too long in any given tone or type of mechanics.
Of course, a good game can have bad overall flow of action. Shadow of the Colossus, while a fairly excellent game, alternates wildly between excessive valleys followed without build or preamble by intense and awesome fights, then plummeting right back into the valley of exploration, which can cause a rather lurching tone. Similarly, while an otherwise fantastic game, Zelda Wind Waker follows a consistent flow right up until a certain point in the game, at which point the game slams on the breaks and everything slumps uncomfortably in tone and style. And while many people would argue the quality of the game as a whole, Dragon Age 2 suffers severely in terms of flow as each combat section lasts too long even on easier difficulties (making them drag and overstay their welcome), dungeons are too short and offer too little activity other than travel, and dialogue and NPC moments are spaced oddly throughout.
The four general categories of villain types across fiction. While often villains will blur between types, or shift from one to another, some are clearly and obviously one type or another.

The Classic Villain. Someone who is horrible and clearly villainous, usually a darker reflection of one of the protagonists, but still has enough charm, charisma, or other traits that make the character enjoyable. Tends to include villains who eventually shift away from Type 1, such as the Type namer Barbossa.
The Sympathetic Villain. Someone who is the way they are due to traumatic or tragic past, or has decent intentions despite their ill acts. Or maybe someone who the audience can relate to or understand personally, giving them additional depth and meaning to their actions instead of just random hatred. Often-times Type 2 Villains don’t start as such, but slowly descend to such a level from otherwise more noble pursuits, such as the Type namer Davy Jones.
The Conniving Bastard. While all villains walks a fine line, as they can’t get to the point of being actually unpleasant such that the audience wants them to just leave the story entirely, Type 3s tend to have more of a problem with this due to their disposition. A Type 3 Villain is someone who usually doesn’t have Personal Power (or if they do, far less than those around them) but has circumstances, hostages, or technicalities that let them get their way. And they let you know about it every step of the way. A Type 3 is more than simply manipulating though, they have to be smug about it. They have to let their enemies, and the audience, know just how better they feel they are than everyone else around them. Type 3 Villains almost universally get their comeuppance in the end, as did Cutler Beckett, the Type namer.
The Complete Monster. A Type 4 villain is a villain who has no redeeming traits in-character, though doesn’t (as ever) cross the line into being genuinely unpleasant for the audience. They are evil, and they have no remorse or hesitation about their evil. Most Type 4 Villains will go further than other villains will in pursuit of their goals, and tend to be selfish to a fault. Very rarely will a Type 4 have any sort of redemption arc or attempt to make them more sympathetic, most often they end up destroying themselves, either directly or by alienating their followers, as did the Type namer Blackbeard.
A common discussion amongst fans of speculative fiction is the idea of, ‘if you had to end up in one of (insert setting here), which would you pick and why?’ It’s so obvious why this type of question comes up so frequently that explanation on this topic is not necessary. However, this topic has come up so often that the Lorerunner has, even before the show actually got going, used a classification of the ‘types’ of how one could be inserted into a fictional setting. Establishing ground rules, as it were, to more easily allow for discussion and discourse. Generally the higher the number of the Tier, the more freedom of choice given to the person being asked the question.

Type 0 is a straight transplant into a fictional setting. No convenience features, no alterations, no power over when or where (aside from the obvious ‘ending up somewhere habitable’), nothing. Thus you would remain you, a Human, with no powers or abilities, no capacity to level up, no knowledge of the language, no ability to read aurabesh, or anything else similar. Tier 0 is, by design, a very difficult choice to make given how badly things can go in a given setting with absolutely nothing helping you out other than your own knowledge of said setting.
Tier 1 is the most commonly discussed Tier. Tier 1 involves the normal person being dropped into a setting with no acclimation or powers or anything, and no control over when or where, however the person does gain some minor quality of life convenience features to help the transition. These are always minor things, and often include language abilities (the ability to speak Common, or Orcish, or Hutteese, or what-have-you) and the ability to read whatever common language exists in the setting. Aside from this, however, one is still restricted to one’s own knowledge of the setting, similar to Tier 0.
Tier 2 includes the same convenience features of Tier 1, but also gives the target some vague choice of where and when they end up. For example, someone of Tier 1 might choose ‘Star Wars’, but there’s a good several millennia of history in which they might end up, nevermind which planet or station. In a Tier 2 choice one would be able to say ‘Star Wars’ and choose an era and a relative location, allowing them to have a little more control over the type of life they’d end up living. Tier 2 usually only applies for more expansive settings, in terms of timeline, geography, or both. In some cases Tier 2 only applies in a truly vague sense, like wishing to go into the world of Final Fantasy VI and being able to choose whether one is before the events of the game, during, or after, but no other detailed specifics.
Tier 3 is probably the most common Tier that people think when they ask the ‘which setting’ question of others. Tier 3 involves the same convenience features of 1, and the same vague choice of 2, but critically will alter the chooser to acclimate to the setting. This means that if one were to pick a setting that had no humans (such as, odd example, the Cars movies) one would be acclimated to the common species of the setting. This also means that if one were put in a setting that has things like magic, psionics, or levels, the chooser would now be capable of doing those things as well themselves as if they were naturally born within said setting. They are, of course, still limited by the confines of what’s possible within said setting.
Tier 4 includes the convenience of 1 and the acclimation of 3, but expands on the choice of 2. In Tier 4 one gets to choose the exact time, space, type, and position one is ‘slotted in’ to the setting. For example, one could say one wishes to specifically be a Blood Elf Paladin who is part of a noble house of Silvermoon during the events of Burning Crusade in Warcraft. This is, arguably, the highest Tier when it comes to standard Tier discussion, as it involves total choice of starting point. It is worth noting that Tier 4 is still limited to what’s possible within the setting, and whatever is chosen still has to make sense in-lore. No Borg in Coruscant.
Tier 5 is more a theoretical discussion point than really being a normal part of the Tiers discussion. The complete opposite of Tier 0, Tier 5 involves not only total choice of starting point, but retains control at every point thereafter. While still limited to the setting in terms of capacity, one could effectively ‘rewrite the story’ at Tier 5, and change one’s position at will within. This is most like how Star Trek typically portrays holodeck novels, for example.