Thursday, August 12, 2004

2nd Leg: the N00b

Comic: the N00b
By: Gianna Masetti

Genre and Setting: Gaming, Fantasy, RPG Parody

Art Style: Cartoony inks, alternates between colour and grayscale

Is About: A Newbie (N00b)'s adventures and interactions with the gameworld of Clichquest.

Frequency: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Variable but reliable.
Availability: Free

First Impressions and Presentation:
Well, to be honest, I wasn't very impressed with the N00b when I first saw the page. The website itself is unbeautifully spartan but functional, although the tables could use some cell-padding *hint hint*. Despite my dislike for Comic Sans, the use of it as the main font seems oddly suitable, for some reason.

The art seems mediocre. Not bad, but following in the wake of Alex and Ilia,it suffers in unfair comparison. I almost wish I hadn't chosen the N00b in the previous leg of the journey, not because the comic is bad or anything, but I can tell that this seems to be a young comic, and I won't be able to give it a just review because I'm only seeing the beginning.

The Concept:
A newbie player (the N00b) starts off on Clichequest, a new Massive Multi-Player Online Role-Playing Game (MMPORPG). This comic is a parody of the RPG genre. Not, a particularly original concept, you'll have to admit, but given the title of the comic, I should have expected it.

The Art:
Like I said earlier, cartoony, as in newspaper-strip cartoony.

All that said, the art is quite competent in its own way, and while unimpressive on first glance, a second look reveals that Gianna is more skillful than her comic art suggests. Sure, the art is simplistic, but this seems to be more of the stylistic preference, as her anatomy is spot-on, and she carries off drawing monsters, rats (and a few other things that you don't realise are hard to draw until you do them yourself) splendidly.

The backgrounds for the N00b are plentiful, simple and suitable. They also blend in quite well with the character art. The colouring is also quite passable: skillful and tasteful use of simple gradients, no ugly artifacts... and a lot of subtle little details.

There's nothing very flashy or attractive about the art, to be honest, but it just works for the comic.

The Writing:
Oh the funny!!!
This is where the comic shines, well and truly... I rolled my eyes and thought "Oh no, not other RPG gaming comic" when I read the first page. By page two I was laughing my head off.

Gianna seems to have a wicked and cheeky sense of humour, and she spares us none of it. The best part of her humour is that it seems to be everything we've ever privately thought about and while playing RPG games, only they've been said out loud. From silly character class screens to sly pokes at Diablo 2 and every other RPG that makes animals drop loot, the N00b had me snickering and laughing most of the way.

The dialogue emulates that of online games, and hence is a hodge podge of the hated 1337 and role-playing jargon. Very realistically modelled and believable. The story is your run-of-mill RPG run-though, but the jokes and slapstick humour makes it one hell of a fun ride.

As a regrettable Diablo 2 Battle-Net ex-addict, I know all to well the fun and frustrations of playing a MMORPG. However, anyone who doesn't play RPG games will probably not understand most of the jokes and RPG terms (level, PK, steal kill etc) and most probably wouldn't enjoy the comic.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover I liked this comic.

I'm ashamed to admit I almost judged the N00b by it's cover. How wrong my initial impression was! Reading the comic was such fun that I was genuinely sorry when I came to the end of the short read.

I was wondering why Rodrigo Pin bothered to link such a young comic on his main page. As it turns out, his linking was more than justified. :)

The Next Leg:
At the bottom the the main page of the N00b is a set of links. There's a bunch of popular comic like Elf Only Inn and 8-Bit Theatre. However, most of these comics have been reviewed by other sites before, and nothing on earth save for Hard's permission and blessing will convince me to do one of Sexy Losers, so I'm not touching those.

This leaves the list of Keenspace comics. Amongst those Diety Permit stands out. I have a vague memory of glancing over it when it was in its very early stages, but I haven't really read that comic for almost a year.

Looks like time for a revisit.


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