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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Webcomic Review: Will Save World for Gold

In our second ever webcomic review, we will be looking at one of my personal favorites, Will Save World for Gold.

(Image is property of the creators of Will Save World for Gold; click to link to the comic)

WSWfG is a webcomic about 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons characters as they adventure in their campaign setting.  While it does not break the fourth wall, the characters are very aware of their place as Player Characters in a largely NPC world.  The party consists of Ardon, a psychopathic Eladrin Warlord and the party's leader by fact his class is a leader class, Odivallus, the primitive sorcerer whose down to earth ways conflict with Ardon's in every way, Ell, the golden-hearted paladin who, with Odivallus, tries to limit the damage Ardon does, Peanut, the psychologically damaged kobold rogue who, despite being unable to move or make any noises except a raspberry, can pick locks in an instant and deals deadly damage, and finally FortyFive, the barbarian warforged who travels with the party to recover Peanut and return him to the bar they came from, and who's only real desire seems to be watching Ardon meet a gruesome death.

The artwork on this comic is amazing for its medium.  It is made in a pixelated state, reminiscent of an older version of video games (and a style that touches my heart as I grew up on those kinds of games).  Even with this medium, the expressions in word bubbles are very well done, and there is clear mastery over creating a world within this medium.  Many panels have hidden bonuses, such as the murder that occurs in the upper rooms of the house that Ardon and Odivallus have their first quest in.

The plot and writing for this comic are of a very high caliber.  Each story arc is well thought out and concise. The creator even has published the stats of several of the unique enemies that he has created.  Each character's backstory is interesting, and has popped up in some ways (an arc of the story has explored both Ardon and Odivallus's past in detail, and the others are mentioned in ways that show their characters have been well developed).  Character interactions are deep and believable, especially in the case of Ardon, who, despite being a psychopath, still is in some ways a lovable character and a trustworthy leader.

Now for the arbitrary rating system:

I will rate comics in four categories: Major Plot, that is how the comics connect to one another in a complete sense, Minor Plot, that is how the individual comics stand up on their own (this is a serial work), Artistry (that is the overall beauty of the artwork), and Comic Art (how the artwork works with the comic).

Major Plot  8 out of 10:  The story arcs in this work are wonderfully constructed.  Transitions between pages are wonderful and use of suspense is masterfully done.  In terms of improvement, I would like further exploration of character backgrounds and motivations, particularly where fortyfive is involved.

Minor Plot 7 out of 10:  Each comic on its own is very well constructed, but not all can stand on their own without their place in the larger context.  For a story-driven work such as this, that is not a bad thing, but there are better examples of this out there (OOTS, for example, has a very strong Minor plot as well as a strong major plot).  That said, each page makes sense on its own, but some added strength can be a good thing.

Artistry 7 out of 10:  This comic looses out on artistry because of its format.  Pixel-based art is not very appealing to the eyes under any circumstances.  That said, this is masterfully done pixel art.  Out of many comics that utilize this art style (including 8 bit theater, which is a personal favorite) this is probably the best pixel art I have seen.

Comic Art 10 out of 10:  While pixel-based art has its flaws, the way it is used in this comic is spot on.  The use of this medium is perfect for this comic, and I think something would be lost if it was created in any other way.  Each panel is solid, with the perfect amount of details and very little extra filler.  The views of the towns and ports look full of life.  This is a very well drawn comic.

Total Score: 32 of 40.    A very good comic, well above average.  I encourage everyone to read this comic in its entirety.  It is a solid body of work that deserves the support of the community.

-VG

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