Rerolling, Stumbling and Fumbling in the Kingdom of Loathing.

If you’re one of the people following me over on Twitter, you’ll no doubt have seen me mention my adventuring in the Kingdom of Loathing. I’ve been meaning to write up a proper post about the game, detailing what it’s about and what I’m doing and all, but being the Laziest Adventurer, I never really got around to it.

You thought the Laziest Adventurer thing was a joke, didn't you?

So, what is this game all about, and what am I doing over there?

Put it simply, I’m not doing much. I’m goofing off, mostly. Let me just explain the basics of the game first, before really getting into the meat (Hehehe) of my activities.

Okay, let’s talk character classes. When you go to the game’s site, and create an account, you get the choice between six different classes. You have the two Muscle based classes: the Seal Clubber and Turtle Tamer, good at making armor, weapons and reducing damage. The Two Mysticality classes: Pastamancer and Sauceror, great for buffs and crafting food. And last but not least two Moxie classes: Discobandit and Accordian Thief, stealing loot, dodging blows, heavily drinking and buffing.

Unlike most browser-based RPG type games, Kingdom of Loathing is, for the most part, a single player experience. You go through your quests and adventures alone. Even rarer still, there’s an actual ending to it. At least, once you beat he main quest you are given the chance to roll a new character and start anew. If you choose to do so, you get to pick a single skill to keep with you, the rest really depends on what you choose at this point.

Personally, I go for Hardcore runs. In a Hardcore ascension, you’re not allowed to bring any items from previous runs with you. You can’t trade or buy from other players either. If you want something, you’ll have to farm, paste, smith, cook or craft it yourself. Because of this, a Hardcore run takes a fair bit of planning. Sure, you can mess about and take as long as you want with it, but it’s a lot more fun to plan what you’re doing ahead of time. Try and grab all the items you need while still a low enough level to get decent stat gains in an area. Do quests in the right order. Don’t waste any adventures.

Which bring me to that mechanic, adventures. A lot of online browser-based games have special ways to give players a limit as to how much they can play every day. The most popular one I’ve come across is energy, filling every couple of minutes to try and drag you back in and stop you from playing too much in one go. In KoL you get 40 adventures every day. Every time you cook, mix booze, or go on an adventure, you lose one adventure. Every adventure is a turn, basically. You can increase your turns every day by eating and drinking. Food gives you adventures and stat gains, same goes for booze. Drink too much booze and your character will get the “Falling-Down Drunk” status, which disables you from going on any further adventures for the rest of the day. Food just makes you full, you can’t eat any more, and there are no negative repercussions from eating too much like booze has.

Now here’s the first part where ascension strategies come in to make things more complicated. As a Disco Bandit you can create items that help you craft much better booze. Higher stat gains, more adventures per drink. That’s the kind of booze you want to be drinking. The Pastamancer can summon dry noodles, which he can then cook into decent food, double as good when you realize how easily obtainable good food is once you can do that. The Sauceror can create sauces, lots of them work as potions to buff yourself, but a few of them help you create better food in combination with the Pastamancer’s abilities.

See where this is going? Play more than one run of the game, and you’ll start seeing a level of depth you didn’t notice the first time. You’re drawn in before you know it. All of a sudden your mind is starting wondering things like how nice it would be to also have Ode to Booze to go with all these drinks. Or how Leash of Linguini would really help you boost those familiars in combination with Amphibian Sympathy. You start noticing it takes you less days to do a full run, and you wonder how much faster you can do it next time if you remember to get this item or do that quest in time during the next run. Or you know, don’t do anything stupid like getting completely drunk at the start of the day and having to wait until the next to do anything.

Still don’t get what this is all about? Try it yourself. Silly and stupid as it is, what with it being filled with puns, references and really, really stupid jokes, it’s one of the better browser-based games out there.

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