Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kingdom of Loathing goes multiplayer

So many pretty 3D MMORPGs around, and I spend the whole evening playing Kingdom of Loathing. Very fun game, but a simple HTML-based browser game with lots of text, a few hand-drawn stick figures, and no animations at all. In KoL you get a number of "adventures" every day, which limits how many places you can explore and possibly get into fights in. Fortunately most other actions, like buying and selling stuff, chatting, training, or managing your inventory don't cost adventures. Nevertheless Kingdom of Loathing is a game where you play a short while every day, not long play sessions where the time you spend is proportional to your advancement.

What I like most about KoL is the humor, because it is often intelligent. And intelligent, text-based humor without flashy graphics and decapitations also lead to the player base being more mature than in other free-to-play games. I was positively surprised how helpful the other players in the new player chat channel were, answering all my noob questions.

Gameplay in Kingdom of Loathing is turn-based, which up to now meant that adventuring was more or less exclusively a solo affair. But this week KoL expanded into massively multiplayer gameplay, introducing Hobopolis. This is basically a dungeon which is accessed from your guild hall, and while still turn-based, guild members can and have to cooperate to succeed there. I'm looking forward to trying this, but I haven't found a clan (guild) yet.

Clans in Kingdom of Loathing are very important, because clan members contribute to equipping the guild hall with features which benefit each member. Being in a clan you can get more adventures or meat (the currency of KoL) every day than if you just play solo. Primitive as KoL looks, in fact the guild features are things that lots of triple A MMORPGs, including WoW, could learn from.

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