This past week I felt the pull from an old favorite, Kingdom of Loathing, and acquiesced. I know I should stop saying yes to these ex-girlfriends of mine, but the memories we’ve created are too rich to ignore!
Anyway, KoL has always held a weird spot in my gaming life. It’s sort-of-but-not-quite an MMO, it’s heavy on jokes and puns and goofy stick figure drawings, and it’s unimaginably complex. I think that might have been what shied me away from this game in previous eras, because while there’s a main quest line to progress through, KoL really is about making your own way by setting goals and achieving them.
Which says “sandbox” to me. And yet it isn’t. You mostly don’t make a permanent mark on the game world, but are constantly looking to expand your abilities and possessions. Crafting is a huge part of the game, but so is discovering secrets and trying to unlock them for their juicy rewards.
In the two days that I’ve been playing following a complete character restart, I’ve started making a list of goals I’d like to accomplish based on items I’ve discovered, things NPCs have said, and advice from my clan. In two days, here’s what I have so far:
- Assemble a meatcar for a quest
- Pursue the daily bounty to get the monster-hunting book
- Figure out how to light the unlit birthday cake
- What’s up with the slug lord’s map?
- Kill the boss bat in the bat cave
- Obtain more Hermit Permits and stock up on ten-leaf clovers
- Translate the map to the Goblin King
- Get the key to the tower in the misspelled cemetary
- Assemble my epic weapon
- Pull together a bugbear outfit so I can shop in that store
- Pull together a scary clown outfit so I can kill the clown boss
On top of those, I’m getting back into the swing of cooking and cocktailcrafting (both of which are essential to get you extra adventures every day) and am reading through the wiki looking for other goals that I should be doing.
There’s a ton of depth to this game and very little in the way of penalties for exploring and experimenting. It scratches an itch that I so needed scratched right now.
I’ve also been bowled over by how helpful the community is. Between generous souls in the newbie chat and my newfound clan, I’ve had so many useful goods and advice sent my way. Nice to get off on the right foot like that.