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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Video Game Connoisseur

Video Game Connoisseur

Kingdom of LoathingPublisher: Asymmetric Publications, LLC System: Browser-Based FREE! / ESRB: Unrated

I had previously sworn off online games due to the mathematic formula of: (monthly price) x (number of players) (average age of players/average IQ of players) x-1= (how fun the game is in the long run). As you can tell, the solution to the formula is usually a pretty low number. However, a friend introduced me to Kingdom of Loathing, which has all the fun of an online game without ever having to interact with a bastard another player!

Kingdom of Loathing is browser-based, which means as long as you have Internet and a program that can surf the web you can play Kingdom of Loathing. This also means that the game is pretty low tech being programmed entirely in HTML. But it’s also free so you can’t complain unless you’re a complete dick.

Kingdom of Loathing has two major draws: one, it’s a free RPG that’s easy to get into and fun to play with out sucking up all your time; and two, it parodies everything from music and movies to other RPG’s and serves as a send up of the RPG genre in general. The best example of how it parodies RPG’s is the character classes.

Instead of featuring the usual barbarian, sorcerer, cleric, thief, et cetera, type character classes in Kingdom of Loathing are Seal Clubber, Turtle Tamer, Sauceror, Pastamancer, Disco Bandit and Accordian Thief. It even goes a step further by only having three stats: Muscularity, Mysticality and Moxie. Each character class specializes in one of those stats. Each class has its own unique set of skills and abilities, and you can learn and its advantages and disadvantages.

Also, making the game interesting is that you can have a familiar join you in combat. Familiars have different abilities: Leprechauns give you more meat (the game’s currency) after battle, a Hovering Sombrero increases the stats you receive after fighting, a Cocoabo will attack you opponent and a Floating Ghost Pickle will freak them out. The best, and one of the most difficult to get, familiar is the Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot which has all the basic familiar abilities. Most of the familiars are pop culture references while some, like the Ghost Pickle, are just from way out there.

The way Kingdom of Loathing works is every day you get 40 adventures. And adventure is used up every time you, well, adventure. Think of it like this: you get 40 turns a day and that’s a total of 40 battles and miscellaneous adventures that show up at locations you can go to. You can get more adventures by drinking booze or eating food in game, some player-created clans have items that increase the numbers of adventures and certain pieces of equipment also increase the number you get a day.

Thus the average player who is a member of a clan, has some booze in their inventory and is equipped with an accessory that gives them more adventures probably won’t play for more than two hours a day. And if you miss a day, your adventures rollover so you can have about three days’ worth before you stop getting them automatically. Just keep in mind that you can only drink a limited amount of booze before you become falling-down drunk and it results in adventures such as waking up in a puddle of something and realizing you just did it with a Gnoll chick.

Kingdom of Loathing has 13 main quests, the last of which is to defeat the Naughty Sorceress, which will allow the player to ascend. By ascending, you can pick a new character class, choose a skill you’ve learned to keep permanently and pick a zodiac sign, which will give you some bonuses and unlock new areas. After you ascend the first time, you can choose to do either a regular run or a hardcore run.

In hardcore you can’t use any items you’ve gotten previously. Also you can chose a path: Teetoler, Boozetefarian and Oxygenarian. The path you choose dictates whether you can eat or drink and gives you extra rewards when you defeat the Naughty Sorceress. I met a person who had been playing for a while who repeatedly completely hardcore runs in about three days each.

Player interaction comes in two forms, on the chat channels and by sending messages or items to other players. In order to use the in-game chat, you must go to a place called the “Alter of Literacy” and complete a test that consists of perfectly retyping sentences and selecting the proper form of ‘there’ in several sentences. At last! A game that requires players to be able to type in complete sentences and will ban them if they make a mockery of the English language. That alone was enough to entice me to break my vow against playing online games.

Kingdom of Loathing is fun, easy and most importantly free. There is no reason not to give it a try. If you do decide to play drop me an email at [email protected] and I’ll tell you my player name. And for more information go to www.kingdomofloathing.com or visit the official wiki at kol.coldfront.net/wiki. Until next time, an adventurer is you!