Kingdom of Loathing

Kingdom of Loathing is a free turn-based "MMORPG" played through a web browser. It's mainly text-based, with illustrations of the stick-figure-on-a-beermat variety, and it relentlessly mocks the whole fantasy MMO genre - while being, bizarrely, a well-designed game.

That's something, actually, that bugs me. I've never quite got the whole Harvard Lampoon style of writing, and KoL falls firmly into that area. I can see the initial joke, but to go on and produce a whole game around it, have thousands of players, update and refine and improve constantly - why? The joke gets old pretty quickly, and as with many things, more of it doesn't actually make it better.

Why not produce a proper game? It doesn't have to be ultra-serious - World of Warcraft, to take the market leader as an example, doesn't take itself seriously, and there's an argument for that being one of the keys to its success.

If you were to take Kingdom of Loathing's back-end, and replace the nonsense item names and the silly text with sensible names and better prose, it'd be brilliant. Trouble is, that's clearly only my opinion - there are hundreds of players who've taken the trouble to level their pastamancers and accordian thieves for weeks and weeks, getting them mosquito familiars and arming them with eXtreme Mittens. I've no doubt there's real money trading going on someplace for Meat (KoL's currency), although that's circumvented somewhat by the donate-and-get-stuff mechanism built into the game, and I've no doubt there'll be Kingdom of Loathing awards of some kind in the higher levels, which people will be pleased with getting, and a King of Loathing Trophy for some eventual highest ranking PvPer. At which point it is taking itself seriously.

Colour me puzzled.

Posted by Drew Shiel at May 27, 2006 11:57 AM

AddThis Social Bookmark Button