May 22, 2010

IoTM Review: Fancy Hat with a Chair

Hey, look, it’s a hat you can put a familiar in.

I really like this. Mostly because it’s this huge, customizable thing you can do so much with. There’s plenty of cool messages based on the tons of familiars you can put in there, and plenty of effects to choose from that are nothing to sneeze at. If you’re sort of more optimal than me, being able to give the familiar in the hat some experience could also be a very nice thing, if it’s a familiar you only need to use every few turns or whatnot. Though, of course, the bonuses for those familiars (Say, the Llama Lama and the Green Pixie) are really low, so it’s a little harder of a sell, I suppose.

Still, compare this to, say, the movable feast. This is just a much more fun way of leveling up familiars. Is it as effective? I dunno. I had 0 interest in said Feast, and never got one. I bet that would be faster, and you wouldn’t be using your hat slot, which might be better in a lot of situations. But the Crown of Thrones is more entertaining, a cooler idea, and has more stuff for me to see, which makes it a completely better in every way kind of item. I really like it, and I can’t wait to really get to give it a go.

Basically, I feel this is completely worth it. It’s totally neat. It has the flavor and effects that I want from an IoTM. Huzzah!

April 28, 2010

IoTM Review: Error in Title on Line 47

Finally, I get to stop using my stocking mimic and use something new in the familiar department. What new would that be? Why, it’s this month’s IoTM, of course! The Baby Bugged Bugbear!

If you even look at the page, you’ll see why I quite like the Baby Bugged Bugbear. I enjoy kitchen sink familiars that do a wide variety of things and are constantly messing with combat and making things different. The Baby Bugged Bugbear fits this perfectly. It switches at random between Leprechaun, Ghuol Whelp, Fairy, and Volleyball, as well as gives you “bugged” items and sometimes fiddles with combat in weird ways. I’m especially glad it gets the Ghuol Whelp in there, as that’s an easy way to make me like something.

It’s also just really flavorful and cool. The general concept of a familiar being completely broken and constantly throwing up php errors, and that being it’s power, is just kind of completely awesome. It’s entertaining, and that is mucho important to me. That’s what I like out of stuff like this. I get IoTMs to increase my entertainment as I keep working through the game.

On top of it all, the familiar equipment lets people who care about tuning their familiars tune it to do more specific sorts of actions. You can make it act like a Fairy or Volley full time, if you’d like, although you have to zap the equipment to turn it into the full fairy version. This is cool for people who care about such things, but I don’t. I do, however, want to run for awhile in full fairy, because it has different bugged equipment drops when you have it set up that way, and I want them! I mean, there’s a container in there! That’s just neat!

Yeah, I think that the Bugged Bugbear is kind of a home run. This is pretty well exactly what I want from a familiar, and it doesn’t seem to be completely useless speed-wise, either. (By that I mean, you aren’t completely handicapping yourself by using it. I kind of doubt it’s going to end up being part of any serious speed run strategy, but eh, I know nothing of such things, so maybe I’m wrong.) I’m going to enjoy using it for this run, I think. It’s good stuff.

April 22, 2010

IoTM Review: Color Cube

In Twilight Heroes, the IoTM this month is Gwneuthurwr Deganau’s hunllef puzzle. I have no idea how to pronounce that. Luckily, I don’t have to, because this is text. Probably luckily for the game, too.

In any case, this is another in a now-series of items which do a lot of random, color changing effects, such as the Amazing Technicolor Dreampants and the Prismatic Sports Bra. I have, in the past, very much liked these items. I enjoy a bit of randomness in my combat, and I enjoy feeling minorly rewarded every combat with the various effects. I also like the idea of wearing clothing that changes all kinds of crazy colors constantly. So I’ve liked the previous items.

However, this puzzles doesn’t have the benefit of being an article of clothing, which, conceptually, excites me less? This is a stupid reason, I guess, but really, I love those other two items, and have basically kept them equipped since I got them, because I enjoy the idea of wearing crazy clothing while being a superhero. The benefits are nice too, but I can get more static benefits which would probably help me more overall. It’s the flavor that makes me like them. I can imagine me jumping between rooftops, having the most horrible colors of clothing on, and general baffling enemies with it.

The puzzle also has some nice effects, (though some of them still aren’t spaded as of this writing and I honestly have no idea) but it also fills an accessory slot. This is a bigger issue than a shirt or pants for me, too, as those accessory slots are the biggest sources of +item that I have in Wolley’s Index and the Mask of Odysseus. Having to unequip one of those for the cube really makes this a much harder sell for me. I like my item find, especially since, until some sort of ascension-ish mechanic is brought into the game, getting items is the key benefit of playing. Normally, wanting randomness would be a no-brainer, but when you’re hitting that key buff, it’s a tough choice for me.

There’s nothing wrong with the puzzle (no, I’m not typing the name out again) but I find myself unable to be too excited about it. If you didn’t get the previous prismatic items, you might find a lot more fun in this one, and I admit I do get some pleasure out of having THREE prismatic messages filling up the screen during every combat. It doesn’t have me hopping up and down, though. It’s solid, but it just is.

March 30, 2010

IoTM Review: Drink Me

Remember that Disney Channel Alice in Wonderland show where the White Rabbit was a guy in a bunny suit who was force to wear rollerblades so as to be hip? Oh, don’t worry, I found a link for you so you can experience it.

What does that have to do with KoL’s IoTM of the month, the Clan Looking Glass? Eh, not much, I guess, but I’ve been thinking about it since it came out.

Mostly, I think people were excited to see this IoTM because it meant the return of Clan VIP Keys, which were apparently insanely expensive. It wasn’t an issue for me, since I had one from the Pool Table, but, you know, I’m sure that was nice for people. Still, I don’t think one should overlook the Looking Glass, not that I expected them to, perse. But it’s a pretty awesome dump of content with some neat items in it.

I actually didn’t get a chance to get one of these myself, because Val and Cris had already installed one in the Ernest Borg Nine’s VIP Lounge before I even realized it existed. It makes me feel a little eh for mooching. I pitched in for the pool table. I suppose I shouldn’t worry, though, as it’s not like they seem upset. That’s just a problem with this furniture, I guess. There’s always some amount of having to figure out the social issues of picking it up.

Anyway, the Glass basically gives you one “DRINK ME” potion a day, which lets you access the Down the Rabbit Hole area. This has cool shit in it.
The Tweedleporium is a completely heart-based shop. There is a weekly rotation of neat stuffies, an expensive outfit that includes a watch, and puffs of smoke. The puffs of smoke lets you send silly picture messages to your friends. One puff equals one letter. It’s neat and silly, and I really like it. I also like that there’s a good NPC-store-purchasable rollover turn item in the game, even if it is much too expensive to use on any sort of serious run.
There’s a Mad Tea Party, that gives you a random buff based on the number of letters in the name of your currently equipped hat. That’s cool: there’s a lot of nice content in there, and I’m sure some of the buffs are very worth it. It’s hard for me to get excited about this, honestly? But I’m sure there’s at least one buff in there that’s going to become very hardcore-relevant. They’re all solid, and if actually take the time to plan your hat, you can get a nice boost once a day, I would think.
The final part is the Red Queen’s Garden, which is one of my favorite things: a quest that spans multiple ascensions to give you long term goals. I talked about how I liked this back with the Baby Sandworm, and this is no different. Basically, you fight some monsters with some okay drops, but you also work to collect maps to collect parts of a meal. You can get one piece per class, and once you have them all, you can trade them in for a cool reward: a piece of familiar equipment called the ittah bittah hooka. It makes your familiar give you completely random buffs in battle. That is totally cool. I can’t wait to get one and try it out. I like having long term goals.
There’s also a mini-game in the map that you can beat over and over again to get cookies that give you very strong buffs to your base stats. Less interesting to me, but still completely cool.

So, yeah, lots of good content in here. Your clan should pick one up. Three Mr. A’s is still a tough sell if you’re on your own, but I suppose you could always try buying Drink Me potions in the mall or something? It’s cool stuff. I feel like this is a win. Way better than the Pool Table, and a lot of fun.

March 20, 2010

IoTM Review: Vikings are nice, though.

This month’s IoTM in Twilight Heroes is the Viking Games jersey.

It’s red.

Once again, I think this is an IoTM completely not aimed at me. Does it have an effect I’m not aware of? I don’t think so. I think it’s just a stat-tacular shirt. Anyone not spellcasting would love the buffs on this shirt, and hell, even those who are spellcasting still might pick it over, say, the Letter Shirt if they were wanting that +XP bonus while grinding. Stat-wise, this gives you the sort of strong percentage boosts you might want. It’s nice for that.

However, I’ll say it again and again: I’m not really interested in IoTMs as a pure “better than everything” vector. I want them to provide novelty along with the betterness. I donate for IoTMs to keep me playing. I want them to offer options that change up my game, or just be so cool, a la the Personalized Flair on the previously-mentioned Letter Shirt, that I can’t help but want to wear it. I can think of no situation where I would rather wear this than my Prismatic Sports Bra or my Letter Shirt. Sure, it might be better stat-wise in some situations, but it’s just not anywhere near as fun. Heck, even the special attack on the foxy caped suit, when worn with the hat, is much more fun. (Plus it has the term “foxy” in the title, so… yeah.) I just can’t see any time where I would actually use this.

So, you know, I won’t get it. Nothing wrong with it. If you want such advantages, go for it. I just can’t justify it, especially when I play the game, unfortunately, much less than I used to.
Oh well. Not like I can expect every IoTM to be aimed towards me, hm?

March 17, 2010

Titillating Photography!

Things with my Camwhore are getting a bit awkward.

Recently, I’ve been playing a lot of Forumwarz in my office in between things. Gotta squeeze in the entertainment while I can, you know? I’ve been really gung-ho with Forumwarz, even after beating the game with my Emo Kid. So I got back to my Camwhore, lyricalvixen, which I had played a bit with before, and started working her through the game.

Now that I’m getting to the higher levels, though, it’s… making me really self-conscious. All of my Emo Kid’s attacks were hilarious, and were not particularly safe for work. But they were all text. Someone would actually have to hunker down next to me to see such things. Camwhores, though… well, they post pictures, of course. Currently, my most powerful attack is “Hand Bra,” which posts basically nude pictures of women, only their hands or arms are covering their breasts, and it’s cropped to not show any pussy. Now, this a completely appropriate attack for a Camwhore, of course. And it’s not like the images aren’t appealing. They are. It just makes me really jumpy when I’m running through, pwning a forum, and I hear someone coming. I feel like I have to hide the screen.

And it’s only going to get worse, I’d expect. From what I can tell, the Camwhore’s ultimate attack is “Post Vagoo.” Will it really show such things? I think it’s possible. I think about how embarrassed I’ll be when I’m playing the game then, and… yeah. Harsh.

I guess this is a benefit to some people, though. I remember Jick saying that was the whole reason he was playing a Camwhore on the Jick and Skully show. I suppose I’m lame, and I’m really into it for the “role play” of that class. It’s the idea of pretending to be a Camwhore that’s appealing, not seeing naughty pictures. I can find naughty pictures elsewhere! It’s the internet, for crying out loud!

Anyway, this isn’t going to stop me from playing the game. It’s still fantastic. I just might stop listening to things while I play, so I can notice when people sneak up behind me. The people at the office don’t, in general, get non-Facebook internet culture. Explaining the entire game of Forumwarz to them may prove difficult, if I need to get myself out of an awkward situation. Heh.

March 5, 2010

Dramatic Conclusion of the War of the Forumz.

Note that this is my post talking about the end of Forumwarz episode 3, which basically finished up the entire arc of all three episodes. So if you’re still playing, or think you might want to play? Well, don’t read this one! It’ll tell all.

Ready to read? Okay, good.

Forumwarz is so fucking awesome.
I mean, seriously, the game is just so well put together, and the plot completely paid off for me.

Okay, not completely.

Here’s where the spoilarz come in, Shallow was a sentient AI created by Sentrillion. This is not completely unexpected (though honestly, from the end of episode 2 I was more leaning towards the player character being the AI) but it does pay off. The majority of the characters you talk to in the game are apparently Shallow as well, which makes a good deal of sense, seeing how things were proceeding and people always had a mission for you and were always willing to pay you tons of Flezz.

The moment you find this out, you have to go kill Shallow.

Now, the logic behind this decision isn’t too bad? Shallow wants you to kill him because he’s going to die anyway, and he (or she, I suppose) obviously likes you, and you were nice enough to make sure his child went out into the world. You can then kill him in a number of ways. I picked the good way, “fake” killing him by temporarily bringing down the Sentrillion servers. The ending then describes me having a great pal in the first artificial life form, who eventually asks if I would like to merge with his consciousness, which the game describes, appropriately, as erotic.

That all sounded fine. A fitting ending.

But it was also a little unsatisfying.

I wanted to actually see how my relationship with Shallow changed knowing that he was playing so many people to understand various pieces of humanity through how I talked to him. How do I, the character, interact with him from then on? It would be very, very different. Trying to grok that he is all this people, many of whom you have to cyber sex with during the game, is really going to change that working relationship.
What’s more, what in the world is my character going to do now? The ending says I am “successful” but my job, up until that point, was basically being paid by Shallow to be a guinea pig for his experiments. Is that still my job? Or do I go work full-time for Carolyn Fartz at Geronimo? Or what?

I think some people would think I’m foolish for having become so attached to my player character and the characters in the game, but the fact that they were so real while being so ridiculous was one of the reasons I love Forumwarz. Sure, the plot is steeped in internet humor, but the characters themselves tended to be written in an intelligent way, especially your player character. I liked that. I wanted to see where it goes. And I wanted to see how the core relationship of the game evolves after this big revelation.

At the same time, that’s the sensible place to end the game, of course, so I don’t blame them.

There are a few unanswered questions. Will there be more Forumwarz content? (I hope so!) Will the new story use your current character? (I don’t know! I’d be happy either way.) Do you find out who the main villain of episode 3 actually was? Or was he just some guy? (I feel a suggestion that he was Shallow, but I kind of doubt that. Maybe in some of the other endings, he is.) There are ways they can go. If nothing else, I’m going to be right there with some cash no matter what their next thing is.

But goodness, I enjoyed this game. Thanks, Crotch Zombie guys. You did pretty awesome.

February 26, 2010

IoTM Review: Constructions

Kingdom of Loathing loves its Librams, but hey, at least it created a fairly new sort of Libram in the Libram of BRICKOs. This lets you summon BRICKO bricks, which you can then use to build various things. Some are equipment, like the BRICKO Pants or BRICKO sword, but most are actually monsters that you build, and then fight without taking a turn. Many of them take many, many BRICKOs to build, and have unique drops.

This really seems like an item for collectors. Granted, having a potential 10 free combats a day for getting stats IS useful, and you can do that with the BRICKO monsters, but you’ll never be able to summon enough bricks to keep yourself in high level monsters for most of a run. No, it seems like the overall goal of the Libram is to be something you spend excess mana on when you already have enough of the other Libram items. You build up a huge, huge collection, and use it to fight the high level monsters with the unique drops, doing things like building the gilded BRICKO chalice, which is basically another facsimile dictionary, only without having to ascend again, which seems like some people would find a use for. Of course, the main draw for most people would be the familiar, the BRICKO chick, which requires a combat with a Gargantuchicken and 6900 bricks to build. That’s a really long term goal. But it’s nice to have long-term goals.

That’s really what this libram is. It’s a bunch of long-term goals that you can slowly work towards with very minimal to no turn consumption. I like this, and I assume that many other players like it too, since it doesn’t mess with their runs like, say, working on the long-term stuff in the empty bottles and whatnot. Also, it seems like, since you need so, so many bricks, that BRICKO bricks will be a decent source of meat, if you just want to pawn them all off. For a few mana a day, you get 3 of an item that sells for 800 or more meat. Seems like a decent tradeoff to me, if you don’t want to jump on the building bandwagon.

Yeah, I like this one. It’s different. Unique. And, like the best IoTMs, it gives you something else to do, to extend the life of the game. That’s the main reason I pick these things up. I want to switch up the experience so that I have more fun. That seems like what this is doing. I’m down with that.

February 20, 2010

IoTM Review: Incredible Transformations

Because of some footing-ball event that may have happened this month, the IoTM in Twilight Heroes was the Insanely Super XL Bowl. Now, this is an item I get behind. Not only is it mechanically interesting (and also a bit telling about where TH is going to go in the future) but it’s also just got flavor that, for whatever reason, I find pretty hilarious.

Basically, this is a set of four items, one for each of the character classes. Or, at least, each class gets a special benefit from one of the forms. How do you change between these forms, you ask? Well, you rotate the bowl 90 degrees, and, magically, it becomes a Breastplate! Or a Helmet! Or a shield!
I don’t claim to understand why I find this so hilarious, but I totally do. Mostly because it’s such a mundane way to do such a complete and total transformation. Just the idea of my character casually rotating it a little and then going “WOAH,” just… man, I don’t know. I’m easily entertained, I guess.

The stats on each version also seem very useful. The main bowl itself, with the additional item and chip drops, are something that everyone is going to get a good use out of, especially Elementalists, with the spell damage boost. All of them, though, seem like they would be very relevant to their respective classes, and have their uses outside of them, though perhaps not as something you equip all the time.

What interests me the most, though, is that this really, really seems to indicate that you will be able to cycle through the classes much easier in the future. Retcon? Something like that. There’s just no way that these class-specific bonuses make sense unless you have a good way to switch between them from time to time, and transmogrifying just really isn’t a good way to do that. I look forward to that kind of stuff! I know it’s hard to do, and it’ll probably still be awhile in coming, but I do look forward to it. I’ll hold onto this bowl until then.

February 13, 2010

I don’t think I’ve mentioned Forumwarz Episode 3 yet.

I love it, of course, and I think you all should play it. If I had to guess, I’d say I’m about two-thirds of the way through it? I’m not going to talk about story or anything until I get it done, though. (I am kind of very invested in the game’s plot, way more than one would expect for a game where the gameplay consists on posting rude things on the VanillaLand Vagina Fetish Forum.) I just want to talk about a few of the gameplay changes that have happened since I played last, and some of the odd design choices. This might still have some spoilarz in there, so, you know, if you’re going to play through, and you totally, completely should, you may want to stay away.

The biggest change, and really, this happened before episode 3 rolled, was the addition of elemental damage to the Forumwarz universe. I think this is an amazing change. Now every attack is either labeled “Aggression,” “Antisociality,” “Narcissism,” “Misanthropy,” or “Incompetence.” Forums are weak or resistant to these various types of attacks. For example, the DENSA Low IQ Society would probably not take much damage from Incompetence attacks.
This was an excellent change.
Not only does this add a slight element of strategy to the beginning of fights with new forums, where you have to test out various attacks to see what works, this also gives you incentive not to spam whatever has the highest attack power over and over. Especially if your class does not have a lot of options for certain types of attacks, you may have to dig back far in your move catalog to come up with an effective attack. This keeps you constantly varying your attacks, and thus varying the funny things you see on the screen, and that keeps you much more involved in battles than before. I like it. I also like that this gives another clear differentiation between the different classes. My Emo Kid has little to no Aggressive attacks. That’s just not how Emos work. I do have a lot of powerful Misanthropy and Antisociality attacks, though. Forums weak against those types go down easy, while others are much more of a challenge. If I leveled my Camwhore up to Episode 3 levels, she would probably find challenge in much different areas. It’s pretty awesome.

They also added a wider variety of effects that a forum can throw at you. These I am less universally happy about. Most of these effects can only be combated by buying and using lots of items in battle. The items aren’t expensive, but wasting turns in forum combat using them DOES open yourself up to more attack, which in turn costs you more healing items in the long run. This is really the part I like about the game the least: success is really determined by mining enough Flezz to buy a ton of healing items beforehand, and most of these attacks just drain more resources. I do like the “Moderator Appears!” moves, because that’s thematically awesome. But things like “Power Spikes” which destroy your expensive healing items and “Packet Loss” which force you to defend with AFK for 6 turns just don’t add as much strategy as one would hope. They’re just frustrating. Still, I understand how hard it has to be to come up with interesting ways to change these battles, so I don’t fault them for it. I’m just not having much fun figuring out how to circumvent them. The solution is just to spend even more resources on items, and more time farming those resources. Ho hum.

The last thing I want to bring up is the fact that I have come in contact with at least one very miss-able piece of content in the game. I received an item early on. It was junk, just like the stuff you have to sell for money. So I sold it. Later on, another character asked me for one. If I had saved it, I probably would have got some awesome reward. What was it? I have no idea. Going about my normal business, using the tricks to speed up my play built into the game screwed my emo kid out of ever seeing that content.
Now, that whole thing is an interesting idea. But man, that is so very, very miss-able. I’m marginally okay with that. I understand the reason for it. You want people to play your game a lot, try different things, and go through it again to see more. However, I feel like there was little way to see this coming, and as someone who loves this content and wants to see it all, but doesn’t really have the time or patience to run 5 characters through the game, it kind of bothers me that I won’t know what that did.

Still, though, it’s been overwhelmingly positive for me so far. I do so love Forumwarz. All the new Emo Kid attacks have me laughing, and the plot continues to keep me going. So play it! I’ll be back to talk about the plot when I’m done with it, I suppose.