The Vault №55

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The Vault

DoraAwwwwww yeah, we're gettin' all multiplayer and whatnot on this week's edition of the Vault. While I am mostly strictly a singleplayer type of gal, from time to time a MMO has stolen my heart and all my free time, and we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about some of the oldest and best examples still tottering around out there on the web, yelling at children to get off their internets, and making you listen to endless stories about how in their day you used your imagination for graphics and by gosh you liked it. Here are three of my favourite golden oldie online gaming experiences that still stand the test of time and are just the ticket to dip your toe into whenever you feel like being social.

  • Legend of the Green DragonLegend of the Green Dragon - With its roots firmly entrenched in the original 1989 classic of a different hue, this text-based RPG may have snow on the roof, but there's still fire inside. You play a young aspiring hero who wants only to slay the titular green dragon... just like everyone else in town, naturally. Combining turn-based combat, a robust community of erstwhile dragon-slayers, and a remarkable amount of secrets to uncover, treasure to find, and monsters to slay, it's a remarkably engrossing experience despite only allowing you to play for a little each day, and one I was always eager to come back to. To say it's spawned a lot of similar games is a bit of an understatement, and you'll probably recognise bits and pieces of its design elsewhere, but if you're looking for the perfect bit of "prithee my good sir/madam" online fantasy with just a bit of silly sass, Legend of the Green Dragon is still the choice of champions.
  • Kingdom of LoathingKingdom of Loathing - Chances are if you've got any interest in free online multiplayer RPGs at all, you've at least heard of this supremely silly and hilarious game. It's been around for quite some time and has almost become the standard by which all other RPG parodies are judged, so you know it's got to be good. Eschewing the traditional adventurer classes like "bard" and "barbarian" and "Leroy Jenkins", Kingdom of Loathing sends you out to save the world in the shoes of, say, a venerable Pastamancer, Disco Bandit, or Turtle Tamer. Get a Blood-Faced Volleyball for a familiar, or craft a meat car, hunt down a magical MacGuffin or just kneel at the Altar of Literacy. There are a ridiculous amount of quests, all packed with silly puns and jokes, and with a clever approach to replay value once you finish the main story it's easy to see why people have been coming back for more and more for over eight years now.
  • Urban DeadUrban Dead - This zombie apocalypse themed text RPG holds a personal record for me for "most times rage quit, come back to, then rage quit harder", although you should take that more as a testament to how bad at it I was than the quality of the game itself. Urban Dead has a somewhat steep difficult curve and, at least at the time, lacked any sort of tutorial, so it meant the task of surviving and not getting stranded out when night fell or your character ran out of turns took a lot of trial and error. You explored a vast city, working with (or against!) other players or alone, trying to scavenge supplies and stay one step ahead of the zombie horde... lest you become one yourself, which happened often. In the years since, however, the Urban Dead has continued to expand and now provides a remarkably robust zombie-themed apocalypse role-playing experience. While it may take more effort to learn the ropes and become successful than the other two titles in this article, Urban Dead is still a stellar, challenging game you'll be happy to sink your crumbling, fetid teeth into.

While we welcome any comments about this weekly feature here, we do ask that if you need any help with the individual games, please post your questions on that game's review page. Well, what are you waiting for? Get out there and rediscover some awesome!


I'm one of the writers for Kingdom of Loathing -- thanks for the mention!

We've been updating the game pretty much constantly for the past eight years, so if any of you used to play but fell out of the habit, it's a great time to come back and see what changes, improvements, and new content we've added. For instance, we've just recently done a huge revamp to our "New Game+" system, including a new game mode (or "Challenge Path") in which Bees Hate You, and another new Challenge Path is in the pipe to be released next week.


I used to play KoL alot. Then I took a break and my account disappeared, with my full time trappers outfit! I was so heartbroken I stopped playing. I had those things for years.

So, what I'm getting at is, can you get me my stuff back?

p. observer August 10, 2011 12:30 AM

to anyone thinking of urban dead i'm warning you, you can't delete your account or change your password, had i known this i wouldn't have signed up in the first place.


You mentioned Urban Dead but not Nexus war/clash?


I adored Kingdom of Loathing - it was (and still is) one of the most inspired MMOs of all time. The 'turns per day' design creates a unique atmosphere where free time doesn't translate directly into overwhelming success. To be the best you have to understand the mechanics intimately and have a firm grasp on probability and statistics.

If you have never played, I recommend it extremely highly. It is a game that is not emulated enough in online gaming circles.

That said, after 3 years no amount of new content can change the fact that I'll still have to go to the forest to get a mosquito, I'll still have to equip my Dead Man's Watch right before rollover, and I'll still be pulling my Llama Lama to get gongs to get birdform to get feathers for extra turns. Even something as simple as playing in the arcade introduced with the Disc familiar means sinking turns fighting monsters while waiting for it to drop tokens. I wish KoL was designed so that I could play and enjoy the new content exclusively without wading through the tired old content. I don't want to have to save up a million meat just to explore the new dungeon once.

What I'd really like is a totally new KoL, where everything is new and I don't feel like I'm replaying a game I've already completed three dozen times.

Carny Asada August 10, 2011 10:27 PM

Sir Niko: Really, even the first levels of KOL have undergone a revamp in the past year. You might be surprised at how much new content you find at the start of the game. And if you join a clan, you can explore a dungeon without necessarily coughing up the million meat on your own. But if you hate everything about the game except the parts you've never seen... well, maybe you should switch to World of Warcraft or something.

ThemePark August 13, 2011 12:39 AM

I have been playing KoL for a few days now, and what bothers me the most about the game is that it's not designed to be played easily, and by that I don't mean the difficulty level.

For example, I got stuck on level 2 of Daily Dungeon, and forcing the door open didn't work for me. That made me think that forcing it open would never work and that it was a puzzle where you had to figure out a solution. So I went to the wiki.

I can see how you could figure out to try out those 3 items on the door if you had them, but I don't see how you could possibly figure out how to make/get them, if the game didn't give you a hint about those items existing, and I don't see anywhere where it does. So basically, if you don't want to use the wiki, your only option is to try every single item, and try all combinations of crafting items, and even then you might not have all the items you would need. So a lot of the puzzles are 100 % guessing, unless you give up and read the wiki, and that's not how I want to play any game that has puzzles.

lavalanche October 26, 2011 1:02 AM

Kingdom of Loathing is the most moxious thing on the entire internet.


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