Webcomic: A Complete Waste Of Time
A Complete Waste of Time
"In this world there is a thin line between order and chaos. In an ideal world this line would be thicker, but no. This is not the case. In an ideal world, your work would be a complete waste of time. But no, this world is not ideal. There is that ever-present line.
"In this insane world, it is you. You are that line."
is an MS Paint Fan Adventure
by clandestineTechie, centering on a group of sixteen trolls as they play a game called META
. What was originally supposed to be just a simple game session mutates into something very complex and trying on everyone as relationships are made and broken, another set of aliens is discovered, and of course everyone wastes each other's time.
Notable for impressive storytelling and worldbuilding, and for not being just another SBURB
The adventure is currently on hiatus, as clandestineTechie is busy with a job and other projects. He has stated that he already knows how the story continues and ends, it just takes time to put it "on paper".
Not to be confused with Pointless Waste Of Time
A Complete Waste of Time has the following tropes:
- Absurdly High-Stakes Game: META. For starters, it determines players by examining the server player's friends list. If anyone from that list hasn't installed the game within one day after the server starts, they die. This ends up causing a mass depopulation of Seconia, as virtually everyone therein is connected to its natural network, and thus is connected to everyone else.
- While in game, you can accidentally murder your conscience, which leaves you incapable of moral decisions.
- You better win, or your civilization ceases to ever have existed. Not just destroyed, but removed from history
- If you do manage to win, your prize a single wish (for anything) and a god to look over your people.
- This wish can annihilate the universe, defeat gods, or do nothing at all.
- Players who reach god tier literally become gods.
- Aerith and Bob: The trolls are for the most part given normal first names (e.g. Rick, Noel, Vera), with a few exceptions (Cerana, Lorrex, Graves). And then there are the ithicans, whose psychenyms include such adjectives as Virulent or Virtuistic.
- Agent Mulder / Occult Detective: Hans aspires to be one.
- Alchemy Is Magic: Alchemy plays an important part in the story; the trolls (and two ithicans) are denoted by alchemical symbols, and like in Homestuck combining objects in forging pots creates new objects with the qualities of the components. Then there's GENESIS SHELL, the Ultimate Blacksmith Denizen of Fire.
- An Axe to Grind: Moira.
- Archer Archetype: Felis.
- Arc Number: 35, which is ostensibly the number of pages each character is allotted in their introduction, though it shows up in other places as well.
- The ithicans concept of time revolves around the number 24
- Their moon phases are 2*4=8 days long. There are 24 days in a "trilunar gyration". There are 24 TGs in a year, and ithicans survive roughly 24 years.
- There was also 2 groups of 4 ithicans that played in their session.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Plato's introduction almost directly mentions this trope.
"You exercise your caste's influence to dangerous levels and have been directly responsible for at least thirty-five MURDERS, sixteen ACCIDENTS, and two RATHER JEOPARDOUS ACCOUNTS OF JAYWALKING."
- Artificial Limbs: Rick's right arm. Also the ithicans, who are born without them and thus must create limbs from plants or metal, although the latter is considered heretical.
- Author Appeal: clandestineTechie loves peace lilies. He really loves them.
- Author Avatar: cT shows up in the [?] segments as a fully-dressed ithican (ironically the ithicans themselves have no concept of clothing).
- Awesomeness Meter: It's not whether you achieve goals in META, but rather how you achieve them.
- Ax-Crazy: Moira, in the doomed alpha timeline.
- Badass Arm-Fold: Virulent does one here, but questions the badassery of something that requires arms to accomplish.
- Batman Gambit: Noel tries one to assist in Moira's suicide, since she claimed that if she made it back alive she wouldn't trust anyone anymore. It of course fails since Graves realizes what was happening with her after having a change of heart.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Gary managed to screw his team out of a Happy Ending for their session by wishing that they all got what the session god thought they deserved. He didn't know that god thought they deserved nothing, having gotten lucky for even beating META.
- Big Damn Heroes: Unified, a wreck of an ithican who just killed Pliable Paeans, goes on a nihilistic rant about how the ithicans are doomed and that they should just die instead of prolonging their "suffering". Just as he plans on killing the other survivors for clinging on to hope, Virtuistic comes out of nowhere and caves in his skull with electricity.
- Black and White Insanity: Alpha Moira, post-suicide-attempt.
- Breaking Speech: Future Graves give one to Future Moira because he's tired of her killing him on sight simply because virulentPanacea told her to. So big, it drives her to suicide in the desert. After a Spot of Tea he reconsiders his actions.
- Cast Herd: The F.A. Crew (Syd, Joan, Hans, and Gary), who are counterparts to the other sixteen trolls.
- Character Filibuster: Cerana, in text!
- Cool Airship: Chad manages to snag one in the Alpha session.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Permanent tries to talk like this to sound hip with the Mizanian dream selves, but it always comes off as odd since he has no idea what those words even mean. He eventually stops.
- Culture Clash: Ithicans are a peaceful, nature-loving people. Trolls conquer everything in their path.
- Ithicans are enthralled by the trolls' ability to have arms.
- Permanent does not understand the troll's strange alien language
- Cerana teaches the ithicans that are struggling to survive on their troll-desecrated planet the concept of inside vs. outside
"At least while we are all dying we are learning valuable alien concepts for when and if we survive." —Astral
- Subverted: Viridian is an outcast among the trolls, but falls in love with ithican culture.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Felis
- Death Is Cheap: If you die in META, you'll simply respawn in your homeland with some penalties.
- Menders can revive the dead without problems. In the real world, even!
- Dishing Out Dirt/Green Thumb: Viridian
- Driven to Suicide: Future Moira gets a Heroic BSOD when Future Graves calls her out on her hypocrisy, and so chooses to perish in the harsh Alternian desert. Thankfully, he forgives her soon after.
- Unfortunately, she then pulls a Gamzee.
- Electronic Eyes: Lyanne.
- Exposed Extraterrestrials: As a general rule of thumb, ithicans don't wear clothes. They are sometimes shown wearing armor in META, but it is probably for the stats.
- Final Boss: The Archfiend.
- Funetik Aksent: A slight case; Philanian dreamselves and +devas speak with "ph" instead of "f", while Mizanian dreamselves and -devas speak with "z"s for "s"s. This is on top of each troll's normal quirk.
- Fun with Acronyms: Rick's Breakneck Accelerated Death Artifice of Supersonic Soaring.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Rick, though he intentionally makes his objects breakable so that he always has something to occupy his time.
- Gender-Blender Name: Spoofed. Rick was originally going to be named Rikako Asakura.
- Genre Savvy: Rick, if only a little. He had already played Sburb with a few others, so he knew just about what to expect in META.
- God Guise: The trolls inadvertently play the part of "moon elders" to the ithicans at one point in their history. While some are nice, others don't really care about the godly business, and some (Lyanne in particular) absolutely enjoy tormenting the poor aliens.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Despite being rulers of opposing kingdoms, Virulent and Permanent at least have the decency to talk to each other, however awkwardly.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: The Devas serve this function to all META players.
- Good Wings, Evil Wings: Comes with the Karma Meter.
- Heads Tails Edge: cT sets up a coin flip to determine whether or not to indulge in the drama of the events since Moira's breakdown leading up to the Gamma session. Guess what happens.
- Hello, Insert Name Here: The trolls, as is the Interactive Comic standard.
- Ithicans come up with their own names on their first birthday.
- Heroic BSOD: Milo has one when he finds out he can't cast spells like he claimed he could. A more serious case is Moira's emotional breakdown and attempted suicide after Graves calls her out on being a hypocrite.
- Hipster: Milo is nearly obsessed with trying to out-cool Chad, even though it almost always fails.
- Horse of a Different Color / Bond Creatures: The Survivor class has this as a special ability, and they can choose from one of four Denizens, each allied with an element:
- SKY ALBATROSS, Denizen of Air, who will help fight alongside her master. In one of Noel's prophecies, Felis has tamed her and was riding her.
- STEELMOLAR, Denizen of Water, who knows many secrets since he remembers everything. Was tamed by Viridian in the Alpha timeline.
- DUST WURM, Denizen of Earth, who can help find places and objects. He helped Rick and Moira find the Dungeon of Glass and Heat.
- And finally, GENESIS SHELL, Denizen of Fire, who can forge damn well anything. Felis has found and woken him up in the Alpha timeline, and seeks his help in repairing the timeline.
- I Call It "Vera": Rick's shotgun Ol' Bucky, Felis's bow Sasha.
- I Choose to Stay: Virulent Panacea and Permanent Venom end up staying in the game-world of META as the Queen of Philan and the King of Mizan, respectively. It was for the better they didn't return to an Alternia-conquered and later abandoned Seconia.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Lyanne finds herself confronted by a crazed Moira and tries to snap her out of it.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Graves. Especially when he eats his past self.
- Instant Web Hit: In-Universe: Joan is this because of a combination of being a Nautical Aristocrat and having an ECLECTIC TASTE IN MUSIC. However, she doesn't revel in her popularity that much.
- Interface Screw: Eventually, the screen starts to glitch out at certain points, with messages from Permanent and Virulent appearing and overriding the Second-Person Narration. Apparently, fast-forwarding and playing the tape has done a number on its integrity.
- Invisibility: Camille has this power, which helps when she goes assassinating.
- Ironic Echo: "I cannot have tricksters and liars among my ranks."
- I Work Alone: Permanent, once he becomes the King of Mizan.
- Plato, especially after killing off his devas.
- Vera counts as well, when she is in a bad mood.
- The gods that rule over META sessions don't blink at annihilating species who lose the game
- The gods' parents also do not blink at annihilating gods that fail META
- Jerkass Gods: Especially the deer god. It's so bad that one of his fellow gods has called him out on it once.
- Karma Meter
- Kill Steal: For all the effort Camille put into sacking a monster, Layla simply blasts it into oblivion.
- Klingon Promotion: Virulent had to kill the previous Queen of Philan to achieve that status. The same could be said for Permanent and the previous ruler of Mizan.
- Letters 2 Numbers: Rick's typing quirk consists of him replacing the first letter of a word with a numeral (from zero to ten) whose initial phoneme(s) most closely resembles the word's. 4or 8xample, 3hese 1ords 1ere most likely written by him.
- Madness Mantra: chronicConflagration has several: "dcmon!" "i nccd mocc blood" and a Rapid-Fire "No!".
- Mask Power: Gabe always has a mask on, without exception.
- Meaningful Name:
- Mind Screw: If you can't get used to the very non-linear story format this adventure employs, expect to be confused about what events are happening when and why.
- Mood Whiplash: Let's go back to less depressing couple
- After the dramatic reveal of the origin of META, Lyanne and Moira engage in sloppy makeouts.
- Neat Freak: Syd.
- Straw Nihilist: Unified, after returning to a ruined Seconia.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sure, Lyanne. Hack the game and become an elite Level 255 Pilferer, while the game activates its balancing features to make the enemies way too tough for your also-recently-entered friends. Thankfully, Gabe manages to spawncamp her down to a reasonable level.
- Nothing Is Scarier / Sinister Silhouette: Moira shows up at one point, about to put an axe into Lyanne. It gets scarier on some monitors where, due to color settings, she can't even be seen!
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Played for drama. When someone stops using their typing quirks, it means they have become serious about something (e.g. an ascended Future Graves forgiving Moira for all the times she killed him, alpha Lorrex regretting playing META, Lyanne confronting an Ax-Crazy Moira, the group chat over the destruction of the alpha/beta sessions (with appropriate lampshading), etc.).
- Our Mermaids Are Different: Cerana temporarily becomes one after encountering Steelmolar. Later, Viridian becomes one to explore the pillars of Seconia's history with Cerana.
- Playful Hacker: Lyanne.
- Power Gives You Wings
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Or rather, INCREDIBLE SILLINESS.
- Professional Killer: Gabe and Camille.
- Rage Against the Mentor: +Moira throws a big fit at Virulent when she is caught chatting it up with Permanent, who was supposed to be "the enemy". She had it particularly bad since Virulent had ceaselessly urged her to kill Graves, Permanent's pupil.
- Self-Duplication: Milo randomly makes clones of himself to aid in such things like completing dungeons. When a clone dies, his memories pass on to the original Milo. Needless to say, it gives him a headache.
- Shapeshifter Weapon: The ithicans who use metal for their limbs can transform those limbs into sharp bladed weaponry.
- Shipper on Deck: Gabe.
- Shock and Awe: All ithicans store enough electrical energy in their systems to be able to easily sculpt metal; that is to say, their energy output is about half of a lightning bolt's. It's also the reason that VP looked intimidating to Lyanne the first time they met; VP's immense output was confusing her scanners so that she appeared infinitely leveled when really she was only Level 100.
- Shout-Out: Just before the Gamma session, we get to choose our player in the style of Super Mario Bros. 2 USA.
- Sidequest: The Pilferer class was specifically made for these kinds of quests.
- Single-Biome Planet: Seconia is always in a rainforest-like state until the core dies in the META wipe, which causes Autumn to happen for the first time ever.
- Snake Talk: Nagendra, and Noel when he is with Nagendra (albeit unintentionally).
- Space Compression: Camille exploits this trope to get across her homeworld faster. Unfortunately, she also runs into Random Encounters.
- Strange Syntax Speaker: Milo mixes up his verb conjugations (and some plurals) for his typing quirk.
- Take a Third Option: After the result of the above Heads Tails Edge, cT decides to improvise; rather than go through the plot normally or fast-forward it, he does both. And makes the tape suffer for his decision.
- Talk to Everyone: Invoked with the Entertainer Class. They can gain information from NPCs that no other class can.
- Terrified of Germs: Syd.
- The Quiet One: Gabe.
- The Stoic: Syd.
- Third-Person Person: Moira usually chats like this, unless she puts her text between parentheses (((like so))).
- This Is Gonna Suck:
cT (upon observing the drama unfolding on Seconia)
: Okay, let's see what the ithicans are up to oh boy are they boned. I'm going back underground
- Time Paradox: Graves causes this when he wishes for META to cease existing. The resulting Time Crash breaks the universe and drastically reduces the time the players have to beat the game.
- Time Stands Still: Moira.
- Title Drop: To the point of it being a Running Gag.
- Touch of Death: Gabe's power, which he has to wear special gloves to contain.
- Also, >cT: Recap Act 5. In Ithican script. He later gives us a transcribed version.
- Wham Episode: Lyanne confronts the god of the Troll's META session and uses her CURSE powers to search through his memories. She discovers META was a test given to gods by their parents to decide if they are fit for their duties. The trolls' session god decided that civilizations should be tested, not gods, and wished to reverse the process, putting him in charge.
- Wingdinglish: There are various phrases written not with the Latin alphabet but instead with the flowy cipher-script of the ithicans. Decoding those passages will enrich your experience. Especially when reading the (handwritten) Act 5 recap.