posted by A on 2013/5/14 (Comics)

Sorry for the late comic all. Light on the meat, heavy on the potatoes. Cheesey, cheesey potatoes... Mmmm. Wait, where was I? Ohh yes, enjoy! And we will try to get another comic Thursday.

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username - 2013/5/30
Leakingpen2, if to you my comments look like criticism, then I did a poor job writing them. Wouldn't be the first time and probably not the last. And I don't think criticism is a bad thing - it was merely not my intention to criticise what you do.
What I feel must be said as well is that I do enjoy stories not related to tabletop RPGs, CRPGs or any other type of gaming systems or whatnot. Same goes for presence or absence of jokes.
Moreover, perhaps I should not have mentioned the similarity in evolution of AH to evolution of OotS. The similarity that is apparently not so obvious at all to anyone else but me. Or, at least, it is much less prominent than I believed initially.

Nevertheless, the main point of my first post in this comment section still stands: overwhelming majority of webcomics do change over time and, for those that do, such a change is irreversible (and even if it wouldn't be, there is no telling whether a reversal would do any good). Essentially, my first comment could be cut down to "deal with it". But it would predictably elicit negative responses and rightfully so. It would be just rude, if nothing else.
Leakingpen2 - 2013/5/29
Just to add a bit, after the fact. the reason the strips have been a bit dialouge light is that people complained about walls of text. A bunch of jokes because people complained about a dearth of them. There was a dearth of them because people complained that there were too many. So you know what, Im going to listen to the criticsim by NOT listening, and make the strip the way Dyluthus and I (and Zaha, I hope) like it. Wink
username - 2013/5/22
Xykeb Zraliv, Xykeb Zraliv, we can agree to disagree on the matter of those transformations being comparable, but, it would appear, we agree on two things:
a) direction of where the story was going (if it was going anywere at all, in case of earliest OotS strips) was changed, new characters were introduced as this process was happening and so on, and so on;
b) both comics started to move away from D&D and continue to do so.
I'm still convinced those changes were similar, considering the two points above. But I can also see that your arguments are valid. Perhaps I have seen a larger similarity than there exists.

I do remember the change of writer (and artist, as the author was doing both). I also remember what one of the Team DyPen (spelling?) wrote in commentary to one of the first strips they made: that the author gave them a draft of AH plot or something like that. So, unless my memory fails me on this matter, I believe your argument does not disprove my theory such changes are inevitable for majority of webcomics.
Although whether it (the theory) matters or no is another story.

Chevelle, true, I did a poor job at conveing what I wanted to. I did not want to imply AH didn't have a story to begin with. When I wrote both comics moved away from being about D&D and jokes, I should have noted that AH was not only about those two things from the beginning. So, yeah, the "slipped my mind" defence, in all it's anti-glory. *sad smile*

Also, Xykeb Zraliv and Chevelle, thank you for your thoughtful and polite responses. This reminds me of other good old times, when the Internet was a different place.

Kecal, and I'm still staying for very much the same reasons - I'm still interested to see where the story will bring us. For now. Also, your comment is not too long, not at all. (:
bec - 2013/5/21
I didn't recognize ANY of the memes but the comic suddenly makes a lot more sense now that I've read the comments and I realize it's based on memes I haven't heard of.

Oh, responding to Xykeb Zraliv's comment that we already know why she is acting out of character. I'm just speculating, but couldn't making her scared or panicked be a magical effect of the potion? I know there's fear spells and stuff in dnd. I can't say I liked this comic very much but there are conceivable reasons why she would be acting this way. I agree that it's out of character, though, and I hope that gets addressed at some point in comic.
Xykeb Zraliv - 2013/5/20
Just to make things clear here in case people are confused, there is only one new writer -- to my knowledge, it is exclusively Leakingpen's job to write the actual plot arcs and dialogue. Dyluth has been in charge of the artistic aspect, and in my estimation he's done a fine (or at the very least, serviceable) job up to this point -- so for all my ragging on the comic as of late, let's give some credit where it's due. Even if you're not a fan of the direction AH has taken, let's try not to put too much of a blanket statement over the two of them, because although they're a team and Dyluth presumably approves of what Leakingpen writes, I don't believe he is actually participating in this aspect of the comic.
Kecal - 2013/5/20
I have to really agree with Vapor here on the lack of regular plot. I found this comic just after the change to new writers was decided. Up to that point we were following our band of AH with occasional side arcs about heroes and the Veil. Now I never experienced the extremely long waits for next comic, but when the comics appeared they were about one of 3 groups and brought relevant plot.
Now I can understand that the new authors need time to get used to the comic and get into swing of things, however it's been a while now, the plot has been scattered, I mean I can see that the Turrick is the one meant to be meeting Aldran and that side-arc is fairly interesting (I mean real-life Werewolves!), but the rest of the stuff seems to mostly dilute the plot (I mean we don't really need to know what the "good" heroes are up to all the time, same as in OotS we don't know what Linear Guild is up to until they appear and only then relevant parts are explained).
Now I didn't find this strip very good, but then I'm not sure were it's going so I don't feel I can judge it at this very point, however I din't notice the eye-colour changing until S1AL pointed it out (and since I have feeling that it might be relevant), because I only skimmed through the comic as there is next to no dialogue and no message from the strip.
Unlike some people commenting before me I'm not planning to stop reading AH, because the plot intrigues me too much, but I might stop checking it weekly and and just pop on once every few weeks, then I might actually get some plot in the reading.
(if you read this far well done, I'm also surprised how long this comment ended up being).
Vapor - 2013/5/19

Memes are not automatically funny, you know. And harlem shake was never funny to begin with. Especially quoted verbatim with nothing to say on the subject in a scene that has basically come out of nowhere because one of our main characters did something so mind-boggingly stupid I can still barely believe it.

I... I really tried to give the new writers a chance here. I liked ograh, for instance. I found the antiheroes' escape a little oddly written, but given the fact that the writing team had just switched, I let it slide. The sequestered town side-quest started off alright and has had some good moments.

But this? No, just... NO.
Chevelle - 2013/5/18
As Xykeb said, problem isn´t in some transformation from D&D theme to full story with some D&D jokes here and there. Actually I´m finding this opinion a little bit underestimating. I think most readers see what Xykeb Zraliv see. This was never just D&D jokes based story. In fact in some way AH was what is OOTS now from the beginning.

I see the problem in way the story is telling. In way the "jokes" are telling. In way characters are acting.

I don´t think the main problem is that the writers have changed. I don´t think the main problem is that the new writers added some new stuff, their ideas.
Imho the problem is in the way how they do it as I said.

You know. A lot of changed from strip #221. AH escaped and then the story was shattered. We saw mask of Quentas - good idea, why not.
Krylorn Spray Paint - another non story joke, but fine, why not again.
The story continued with heroes band and then.
Ograh? Ok then. It´s chaotic spinning in story telling, but I can take this one too. Heroes continues in their journey. And then... another spin. Turrick and his maid? Another little story absolutely with no connection to story of AH or heroes band.
What´s next? Heroes, Thanksgiving (but with Ivory Veil for a change), Turrick, AH´s return, retrospective (who needs such thing with compact story? I mean, yeah, you can use it for a joke ... but use it just for annoucement that AH are back? Oh...)
In next 13 strips we see AH, Turrick, Heroes, AH again and the last trip strip. With absolutely stupid meme jokes. Maybe they are working for some you and I respect that. But not for me. In any way.
Also look at how new strips are written. Most of them are with minimum dialogs. Sometimes it is a little bit boring.

So the story was broken into pieces, story is telling like you were pointless changing TV chanels and we really see harlem shake meme here ...

Maybe the point was right. Maybe it is time to move on and let this comic go.
Or maybe the comic is written for some audience. If there´s still consistent amount of audience, it´s ok. The new way is quite successful. But if not ...
Xykeb Zraliv - 2013/5/18
I'm actually gonna throw out a controversial opinion here, and that's that, as unhelpful and arbitrary as it is, I don't think there's something expressly invalid about somebody leaving criticism that happens to be unconstructive. It's true that it's not really getting anywhere in terms making the story any better, but I do think it's relevant to acknowledge people that have expressed negative opinions, even if they haven't said anything helpful to go along with it. Ignoring them and labeling them as trolls or bashers or whatever (as has been done in the past, by the author no less) seems to me like an act of denial -- it's basically saying that unless you try to help someone out be telling them how to get better, you don't have the right to express an opinion.

I mean, don't get me wrong, some of them probably ARE trolling...but I do think that throwing a blanket statement over any negative comment that doesn't offer constructive criticism is kind of ignorant. You don't always have to give an analysis on what's wrong with something in order to express displeasure.

In regards to the comparison to OotS, I don't know that I'd agree that they've gone through a comparable transformation at all. The main change that OotS has gone through is the shift from a D&D-themed gag-a-page comic to a story with a cohesive plot (the natural result of which was a slight shift away from D&D-related jokes, but they're still there). AH, though, was always meant to tell a story, and the change that I think a lot of people are noticing is the shift from D&D-related jokes within that story to offshoot "outside" jokes or references. I guess you could say they're both drifting from purely D&D-related stuff, but the actual means by which they've done this are radically different.

There's also the matter that the change in AH was NOT natural as you imply it was -- it is literally being written by a different person now. I'm sure it's true that if Zarah had stuck around the comic would have changed from what it was originally, but that's not what happened. The reason the comic has changed from its roots is because the author the comic has now is not the same one it started with, and -- with all due respect to Leakingpen -- I really do think this "transformation" people have complained about is because of the change in author more than anything else. I freely admit to not being a huge fan of his writing style or joke presentation, myself.

I guess you raise a good point though in that it might be time for me to let this comic go and accept that for better or worse it's not ever going to be quite the same way it was in the beginning. Not sure how I feel about that yet.
Gary - 2013/5/17
Weeeeeeeeeeee! Scrolling up and down this wall of criticism on a tablet is fun! Thank you people that critisize how other people critisize! Without you I would have less scrolling space!

Lets all join hand and have faith that this comic will succeed! Anyone that has a problem either spam the comments until it's as long as my arm, or you can directly spam the writer, leaking pen, himself, or get ya rear ends out of here! Bye bye,

Also I want more aldran, the screen time he gets is inverse to the amount of hate there is for this comic.
username - 2013/5/17
This is funny. Last AH strip receives very similar criticism (and... other reactions) as last two strips of OotS. For the very same reasons.

Not because both comics portray what is perceived by the critics as meaningless repetition of what is obviously happening. But because readers of both comics seem to have missed when both comics very slowly moved away from being about a) D&D and b) gags and the like.

Once I started to notice this transition in OotS it made me think on the whys of such decision. Is it a natural event to happen in every webcomic's life? Does this happen because of constantly increasing confidence, ambition (not a bad thing in this context, IMO) and desire to explore on author's part? Or is it merely the Dreadful And Omnipotent Rules Of Drama And Other Such Nonsense having their way with puny aspirations of mortals? (Yes, I came to despise and loathe the oh so many Rules Of Storytelling and because of this I am a horrible person. Move along, nothing to see.)

But, whatever the case, a vast majority of webcomics I was reading for the last five years had such a turn. So it seems such an event is inevitable, something akin to a force of nature. And this change, this evolution (or, for others, degradation) is there to stay. There was a turning point, we are past it and "the good old days" are gone.
I can't really say what does this mean for me personally in regards to AH. The balance of things lost and things gained is something that is still being determined somewhere inside my head. But if you, patient reader of this huge wall of text, find it impossible to appreciate the comic any more because of the aforementioned transmutation? I would advise to let it go and cherish the memories that no one can take from you. And yes, I do practice what I "preach" here.
Night Templar - 2013/5/17
I think that the actual criticism this comic is receiving is completely valid. I don't actually mind the memes that much because I only actually realized two of them were memes. I notice that some people mix up criticism with bashing, but the problem is, there's a lot of bashing on the comic, and there are quite a few people who just stick around to insult each new comic (take some of the "Me"s, for example). The number of them makes it hard to recognize actual criticism. I personally think that if someone gives a critique of the comic, it should be recognized for what it points out, and argued with only if you feel that its points are invalid, not just if it's negative. Now, for people who just complain without contributing advice (especially people who only stick around to complain), I think it's totally reasonable to dismiss the comment. But when someone actually gives critique, you should consider what they're saying.

Now I, personally, don't mind the comic, but I concede that Xykeb Zraliv and sircarnifex both raise good points about problems with it. Not so much for the other criticizers, as I notice almost none of them seem to actually raise significant arguments about why they dislike the comic (although anonymous did offer a suggestion).
Xykeb Zraliv - 2013/5/17
Being free is absolutely not an excuse to be of subpar quality. If you want to keep an audience, you have to be receptive to that audience, and that includes listening to criticism as well as praise. That's how it works.
sircarnifex - 2013/5/17
There's nothing wrong with criticism as long as its constructive. That's why I will say what I believe could be improved and make a suggestion on how to do so rather than just saying "this is bad" -- which is how some people choose to criticize.
Fitzclowningham - 2013/5/17
I thought the comic was fun, especially the first time reading it when I was trying to figure out what's going on. Dang if people aren't critical of a free comic that they apparently expect to be Tolstoy or something.
sircarnifex - 2013/5/16
I'm not sure I see what's necessary about this particular strip. I already got the idea quite clearly from the previous one that she was hallucinating so another comic that follows and just takes the same thing to exaggerated levels doesn't add anything else.

I've also noticed a heavy reliance on jokes about real life things, and while that can be funny, when it's overdone it loses its effect. There needs to be a return to using the characters for most of the humor (as the comic originally did) with less reliance on outside jokes.
Me - 2013/5/16
Just when I thought this comic couldn't get any worse. It's not funny at all. It's not entertaining at all. What it is is boring, uninspired, and tedious. I'd rather have the original update twice a year instead of this complete crap.
Tryffin - 2013/5/15
Wow this comic was so crap it's actually killed my interest in seeing this story finished. **** jeez.
S1AL - 2013/5/15
Why is every so focused on the harlem shake and ignoring how her eyes are changing color?
The Out-Pointer - 2013/5/15
Good Lordy-Lord Lords... I'm%u2014 I'm not even gonna say anything else on this one.
Good lords Worried... See you next week,
Xykeb Zraliv - 2013/5/15
We already know what's making her act strangely, and I think I made it pretty obvious I was taking that into account with my assessment, so I'm not really sure what it is you're trying to prove.
Xykeb Zraliv - 2013/5/15
I'm not sure what exactly is poking fun at meme use here, though. The joke essentially boils down to "some people use memes and now so are we therefore it's a parody". The truth is that you played the memes pretty straight here -- you haven't really made fun of (or otherwise satirized) any of them, other than to not-so-subtly point out that they're weird and trippy enough to occur during a drug trip.

Besides that, my feeling is that using memes, even ironically, isn't really funny unless the joke is actually about the meme and its use itself (as opposed to this where you just kind of used the meme and called it a joke because it resulted from a hallucinogen).

On another topic, I know Keriss is suffering from the effects of the potion and probably isn't in her right mind mannerisms-wise, but I don't know how comfortable I am seeing her acting so...wimpy. Even for a drug trip sequence this seems pretty out of character, and that's honestly kind of saying something.

I guess what I'm saying here is that the strip didn't really work for me on any level. The whole honestly just feels kind of...exasperating.
Leakingpen2 - 2013/5/15
It was, we wanted to seque into a better hallucination (which we will) and also have some fun with it and poke fun at meme use in things. We almost threw in some bacon, and sparks mcgee, but im saving that!
(and it could have been worse. It could have been Kaal and Eldhin dancing Gagnam style. )
Xykeb Zraliv - 2013/5/14
This strip reminds me of those awkward surreal dream sequences people used to put in movies before people realized they were just lazy means of showing exposition on what people were feeling...except I'm pretty sure everyone could tell Keriss was having pretty trippy hallucinations from the last strip so I'm not really even sure what purpose it WAS supposed to serve.

I guess maybe it was supposed to show us the extent to which Keriss is hallucinating, but surely there are better (and more entertaining) ways to convey a drug trip? Like why go for a meme at all? I guess it was supposed to be funny, except it's genuinely kind of hard to tell if the meme use was supposed to be ironic or not. (I have to assume it was just because why else would you do that, but the strip itself conveys more of a sense of sincere wackiness than any sort of irony.)
anon - 2013/5/14
@anonymous It's showing the drug trip Keriss is currently experiencing. You last few strips didn't you?
anonymous - 2013/5/14
I don't get it. I have no idea whatsoever what this strip is supposed to tell me. I love the D&D story line and would very much appreciate if you leave it at that.
Tatsu - 2013/5/14
Yay comic
Night Templar - 2013/5/14
Well, I think this would officially be the worst comic for a new reader to see first. Then again, it would be pretty funny to see what conclusions about they'd draw about the comic after reading this page alone.

Nice comic, all in all. I have to feel sorry for the guy who turns into Grumpy Cat. A shocked tiefling runs up to him, suddenly stops and steps back, turns, and then asks loudly what a rista is. I imagine his day's been made significantly weirder.
Chevelle - 2013/5/14
It was really great comic some time ago.
But this is - pardon me - rubbish.
Dyluthus - 2013/5/14
Fix made to problem with the Grumpy Cat's paw Happy
Exuberant Panda - 2013/5/14
Well, it's better than when I had long cat attack a party.
Avetzan1 - 2013/5/14
Why....why this meme....
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