Hi, reddit! I'm Zack, the guy who founded Asymmetric Publications and started The Kingdom of Loathing. Also a whole bunch of podcasts.

We have a new game called Word Realms in development that we are currently running a Kickstarter for. It's fun and it has words and monsters in it.

Mr Skullhead did one of these here AMA things a while back, and it looked like fun. I'll try, as I do in my professional life, to be about 60% as funny as he is.

I'll pop back in about an hour (10am Pacific) and answer questions for 3 hours.

EDIT: Check out my identity!

Comments: 1108 • Responses: 72  • Date: 

bootselectric277 karma

30 seconds ago I had no idea who you were, 30 seconds ago my night was free and 5 seconds ago I created my account. I've been clean for years, I hate you.

jicklesby186 karma


Balaam258 karma

I have stopped playing KoL now (for several life reasons) but from the first day I started playing to the last one, it was a really fun time.

Just wanted to say thank you Jick & Skully for so many years of new content, laughter and "OMG-We-have-to-find-every-single-content-of-this-new-zone" nights (insomnia much?).

Also, I wish the post was at 11 points so I could say that it's ridiculous. It's not even funny...

EDIT: I'd also like to add that I feel like any person reading this IAmA that has never played KoL will find some of our inside jokes absolutely absurd.

EDIT2: (I can't stop having new ideas for this "thank you note"). I'd also want to thank you both for shaping my English sense of humor. English not being my first language and all... Seriously, I recorded an increase of laughter of 70% since I started playing it! (I sound like one of those cheesy ads with quotes taken out of context)

jicklesby134 karma

We love English, and we love you!

markshir177 karma

If you were wiping the slate clean so to speak and rebuilding KoL from the ground up what would you do differently? What do you love so much that you would make sure to keep?

jicklesby487 karma

This is tricky to think about. In the beginning, none of the systems in KoL actually meant anything, and I had no idea that the game had any kind of future. So I guess if I was doing it from the ground up and I knew people would be playing it for years and years, I would probably... not do it, because I would be too nervous about screwing it up.

simonmitchell13132 karma

How does its make you feel that no one has figured out how to open the Sunken Chest?

Or more importantly... How do you open it!?! (Is it even able to be opened?)

jicklesby233 karma

To solve the riddle of the sunken chest, you must first open your own chest, and your own heart.

Then once you get back from the hospital, I'll tell you how to open the sunken chest.

loco830114 karma

Me and my wife originally met through KoL via the meetups in Columbus and Phoenix. I know that we are far from being the only couple to have been brought together by the game. We have a son now, with another spawnling on the way.

Did you ever expect KoL to have a role in changing people's lives? Does it make you feel like a god to know that your game has been responsible for bringing life into the world? ;)

jicklesby323 karma

Man, stories like that make me super happy inside. So many people, doing so much sexing, and I guess maybe connecting on an emotional level or something too maybe.

I don't think it's fair for KoL to take any credit for it, though, any more than the guy who built a city park can take credit for somebody falling in love on a bench, y'know?

And wipe that bench off when you're done, Jeez.

Daron72089 karma

You guys have been really hard at work lately with all of the updates (bugbear invasion, chat overhaul, PVP REVAMP), so I've got to ask.

With being as little spoilery as possible, what sort of things can we expect from the game in the future?

Thanks for the nine kick ass years dude!

jicklesby161 karma

I'm continuing (albeit at a freakin' SNAIL'S PACE) to overhaul the council quests. We will probably eventually finish the Sea. There are a few half-developed clan dungeon ideas floating around.

In other words, I have no idea. I walk into the office every morning and just start shouting random words, and then that's what we work on all day. It's horrible!

Lgfualol75 karma

I've been a KOL player for 7 years now- since the merry age of 12, and I just wanted to say thanks for all the amazing fun I've had! One of the best communities I've had the pleasure of being a part of. What do you do in your spare time? And what's your favourite thing about Kingdom of Loathing? Thanks.

jicklesby83 karma

I like playing video games, drinking beer, and hiking -- often at the same time.

And it's hard to pick a favorite thing about KoL. The fact that it exists and supports us is just so unreal and wonderful, y'know? It's awesome that we get to wake up every day and make video games and connect with cool people.

Oxxide70 karma

I spent many of my days in High School as a Pastamancer.

I can never think of any good questions when AMA's are done by people I actually want to ask questions. I feel like Chris Farley in that SNL skit.

So, I don't have a question. But I do have a thank you.

jicklesby66 karma

That was awesome.

shore_bot68 karma

Hey Jick,

When was the last time you had an adventure?


When was the last time you had an adventure?


When was the last time you had an adventure?


When was the last time you had an adventure?


When was the last time you had an adventure?


When was the last time you had an adventure?

  • Love, Shore_bot

jicklesby42 karma

Well played, sir.

corvett65 karma

What does "Missing Kidney" do?

jicklesby168 karma

It suggests dialysis as a prudent course of action.

Philanthropi59 karma


jicklesby47 karma

No worries. They're all yours at this point.

And no, we didn't get in any trouble, but I did get to yell at a guy from CNN Radio News about irresponsible reporting about video games.

And we aren't a charity, so we pay taxes on the donations as regular income.

vactuna57 karma

I've been playing since 2004, thanks for all the meat. My favourite thing about the game has always been all of the parodies and references in the items and areas; which one did you find the funniest to write?

Also, do you like ASOIAF/Game of Thrones? If so, do you plan on releasing any content that spoofs or references it, like a Mr. Store item? I would love that so hard.

jicklesby70 karma

I have never read any of the books or seen any of the webisodes. Game of Thrones is a webisode, right?

If we did do something that deeply referenced it, it'd have to be somebody other than me at the helm of it. Which might happen, I guess.

If I were forced to make up an item based on what I know about GoT, I'd have to say... The Sword of Incest and Dwarfs?

chemistry3556 karma

I tried KOL, but couldn't really get into it, but it did have some neat ideas. In specific, what made you think of the Temple of Language that was required to use the chat? I think more places could benefit from something like that.

jicklesby115 karma

It's weird -- that seems to be the game feature that is the stickiest for non-players -- it's always mentioned whenever anybody writes about it.

And it's been so long that I don't remember what inspired the Altar of Literacy. I was a lot more bothered by misuse of language back when I was young and full of piss and vinegar, and I probably thought I was changing the world or something. LOL.

RegaLx355 karma

Do you think there's still a market for browser-based games like KoL? There was a huge number of them back in the day (o-game etc.) but most of these have died off. Do you foresee a similar fate for KoL? If yes, how soon?

A second, kind of related question: is there any chance of a sequel to KoL, spiritual or literal, on a more modern platform?

jicklesby90 karma

I mean, there is at least enough of a market for one, as KoL is still doing fine.

I think we got lucky with KoL, in that it hit at the right time to allow us to actually dedicate our working lives to developing it. If we had had to seek out funding, or continue to do it in our spare time, I don't think it would've stuck around this long.

If KoL got to the point where we needed to do something else in order to stay alive, I would definitely consider doing a KoL 2. Sequels to MMOs are weird, though.

maximumoverbite43 karma

Why did you decide on that specific art style for Kingdom of Loathing?

jicklesby163 karma

When KoL was a one-man operation, I had to make do with what I had. And what I had was the ability to draw that art style.

I had made a prototype of a card game a couple years earlier, and Roy (the Pretentious Artist) looked at it and said "Hey, that looks cool, you should do more stuff in that style." And I said "Shut up dummy, you don't know." And he said "Don't call me dummy, dummy, and yes I do, because I'm an artist, and Jackson Pollack Anne Geddes Thomas Kinkade blah blah blah."

I guess he was right, though.

NinjaoftheNorth43 karma

What would cause you to stop working on KOL? Do you guys have any planned date for when to cease development, or are you going to work on it perpetually (perhaps with fewer, smaller content updates as time goes on)?

jicklesby103 karma

I can't think of any reason I would stop working on it if people are still interested in playing it.

I guess if it got to the point where I had to go back to a day job, that'd probably slow me down quite a bit. But hey, after a long day in the condom factory testing lab, writing some dumb jokes for a video game would probably be a nice change of pace, right?

JamesVagabond41 karma

So, tell us about Word Realms! From what I've seen on the Kickstarter page it looks like it'll be definitely at least on the same level with KoL. I'm especially interested in gameplay, so if you can tell anything about it, that'd be appreciated.

Also, when will The Sea be finished?

jicklesby41 karma

It's not of the same scope of KoL, really. There isn't as much content, but the visuals are clearly a lot more serious.

It's single-player, and it's an attempt to adapt Bookworm Adventures style gameplay (draw some tiles, play a word to attack) to a more traditional RPG framework.

The MMO version will be more like KoL. We'll focus on rapid content development and whatnot.

jicklesby27 karma

Two weeks!

Datolite36 karma

Do you think that the billionaires ruin the game or do you think they provide a good level of service to the game?

jicklesby141 karma

I think they have less of an impact on the game than you'd expect. It's not like they're lobbying congress to raise your Meat tax. KoL's congress is way too drunk to be successfully lobbied.

bumcheekcity34 karma

So I write the odd script here and there for KoL, and I love the game, but I don't have time to play anymore.

There are a lot of things in the game that can be scripted, Porko, the NS Lair, dungeon diving and even ascension itself, as Eleron's script proves a hell of a lot better than mine does.

))))) Do you ever design or want to design things so that it would be hard to script them? Alternatively, do you design them in the knowledge that someone will script it soon, so it doesn't matter if it might be initially repetitive?

I could understand that some scripts might annoy you - and I've always wondered if the widespread scripting of whole ascensions is something that does bug you.

My own logs show that 430 people have killed the NS using the bumcheekascend script. It's a big underestimate as a lot of people stop using the script after level 13.

))))) Do you track or attempt to track the use of scripts, and does scripting of ascensions annoy you?

))))) On an unrelated note, what's the technical setup of the game? Like, how do the servers work? I figure there are PHP scripts and a mySQL server, but is it more complicated than that?

Finally, one of the most fun things in the game for me was last Crimbo. Partly because hey, more scriptwriting, and partly because I could give stuff away to noobs.

))))) Do you have any plans to arrange more world events like that, where things centred towards giving away things to people?

Finally, thanks for writing such a fun game. Oh, and I should have a custom item, called a white square, that I can use to grief people with every familiar but the hand turkey :D

jicklesby26 karma

When we have set out to make things that are hard to script, we have sometimes ended up making things that were annoying to play.

I've never been against scripting, really. I probably wouldn't stay interested in a game if I were playing it that way, but to each his own and all that.

Technically, the game runs as PHP scripts on a bunch of front end web boxes, and MySQL on two back end database servers. That's pretty much it. It was old tech when we started, and it's even older tech now.

DarkGodBane33 karma

I use to love KoL. Played it up until the day my work filter blocked it. =(

jicklesby136 karma

It is critical that you get a new job. Those clowns clearly don't know from quality.

rydash30 karma

What do you think about KoL completionists? Are you indifferent, or supportive?

jicklesby44 karma

I think that a person plays KoL as a completionist at his or her own risk.

We just don't want to be constrained in what kinds of cool stuff we can do. The things that are the most interesting to us as guys running a world are sometimes the things that frustrate the collectors the most. And we have to strike a balance between making the players happy and keeping ourselves interested so we can continue to make the players happy.

Delawell27 karma

I was once banned for creating hundreds of multis using mailinator just to get the 3 drinks for completing the tutorial so I could sell them in the mall in my main account. Multi Czar reported that this is "the most egregious multi abuse [he] has seen in a long time, possibly ever." This was 6 years ago.

What worse things have happened since then?

jicklesby18 karma

If I told you, I would have to kill you like 3 thousand times.

cyan22025 karma

Personal question - I've been listening to the shows for forever, but only just found out how you lost your dad...how old were you when it happened? Work question - I know that you don't think you are a good manager, but do you think that having lost people (Xly and Xeno) and having to replace them has made Asymmetric feel like more of a business, and helped you develop your managerial skills? Weird question - How come you don't talk about "surprise sex" anymore?

jicklesby45 karma

Dad died about a month before I started working on KoL. I was... 26, I guess? I think throwing myself into a creative act was one of the ways I dealt with the loss.

As far as losing employees go, y'know, people change, and they move on, and they get burnt out, and all kinds of things happen. You deal with it, because at the end of the day somebody's got to write the jokes about the donuts.

I really like the team we've got now, and especially in the last year or so I feel like we've really been operating like a well-oiled machine.

GivePopPopYourHair23 karma

Why won't you let me Brick you. :(

jicklesby102 karma

My feelings are easily bruised. They're like your mother in that way.

Sch00ns22 karma

I used to play KoL, until I stopped for some reason I can't remember. I'm going to check it out again after this AMA.

My question: Have you ever seriously considered commiting an act of terrorism?

jicklesby69 karma

Once, years ago, some buddies and I decided to form a band, and our gimmick was going to be sticking it to the man. I loaned my friend my pocketknife so he could cut the wire leading to a security motion detector in the bar we were in. He accidentally buried the knife in his thigh and had to go to the hospital, and I had a bloody handprint on the windshield of my truck.

This is how I learned that terrorism doesn't pay. Stay in school, kids. That handprint was fucking awesome, though.

Uredus21 karma

Are there any homages to people you know in-game that they don't, and shouldn't know about?

jicklesby57 karma

Not in-game, but there's a shrine to TechSmurf in my closet that I would definitely prefer that nobody find out about.

cr0w121 karma

Is there anything about KOL that you regret?

What's the weirdest thing you've had happen as a direct result of KOL?

jicklesby40 karma

Everything we screw up teaches us how not to screw up something similar in the future. There were certainly missteps I wish I hadn't made, but that's life, right?

A few months ago I got to smoke a cigar with John Flansburgh, because his wife is a big KoL fan. That was both the weirdest and most awesome thing.

AcedWhenGrim21 karma

Avatar of Boris was awesome, but probably took a lot of work. Are Avatar of Jarlsberg and Avatar of Sneaky Pete at least planned at some point?

jicklesby18 karma

Yeah, absolutely. And AoB was quite a bit of work, I guess, but it didn't feel like it, because I was so excited about it the entire time. I suspect the other Avatars will be similar.

libbical20 karma

Where did the idea for KoL come from?

jicklesby96 karma

Mr. Skullhead and I were digging a grave in my backyard (don't ask) when we discovered a book. It is no ordinary book, though. Its cover is whitest alabaster, adorned only with the Sword and Martini guy, and its pages are solid gold.

On each page, a month's worth of ideas for KoL is carved in ancient glyphs. We don't know how we can read them, we just can.

On the 23rd of each month, the Codex allows us to turn another page.

CluckyB20 karma

The Word Realms kickstarter appears to be tracking at slightly under its goal. Not to be a downer, but what happens to the game if it misses?

jicklesby38 karma

The point of the Kickstarter isn't to pay for the game -- we've already spent many times what we're asking for developing it, and it'd be crazy not to finish it given what we've already invested.

The Kickstarter is more about gauging interest and seeing if we could put together the capital to comfortably hire a couple of dudes to help us get the MMO going faster.

If it doesn't fund, we'll still release the game, and hope that it partially recovers its development costs in the long term. Then we'll scale back the approach to the MMO a little, which is fine -- it's the style of work we're used to, anyway.

passionofthewalrus18 karma

After Skullhead's AMA, I got a new account and began playing again. Love your guys' work. Random question: What is one book/movie/TV show/or comic that influenced you or your work with KOL?

jicklesby39 karma

Probably The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, if I had to name one? It was the first thing I ever saw that combined that level of silliness with that ambitious a scope.

Squirrelmob18 karma

First off, thanks for all you do with KOL.

Now for the questions: First, is Word Realms going to be more like a traditional mmo or more like KOL (mostly single-player with some group stuff thrown in)?

Second, is there ever a time when you put a colloquialism into KOL and are surprised when peopld don't understand what it is?

And finally, have the hobos/punk kids stopped vandalizing the alley outside your office?

EDIT: Additionally, do you ever worry you might run out of ideas for KOL? Do you keep NS15 as an ace-in-the-hole should that happen? Do you think Word Realms is going to increase or reduce your creative capabilites for KOL?

jicklesby26 karma

1) The current incarnation of Word Realms is just a straight up single-player RPG. The eventual MMO will almost certainly be KoL-like, in that you have your own version of the world, but aspects of it are shared with other players. It will definitely have a greater focus on actual group play, because that's a space we'd really love the opportunity to play around in as designers.

2) Especially early on, KoL was filled with jokes that literally nobody would get. So if a thing my friends and I made up in junior high counts as a colloquialism, then I guess so.

3) The alley still fills up with graffiti, though the apartment complex on the other side is apparently under new management who actually care about keeping it tag-free.

schwartzbewithyou18 karma

I had never heard of KoL before Mr Skullhead's AMA. I went and tried it out and loved it! What prompted you guys to make the game and how do you keep it so darn interesting?

jicklesby45 karma

I wanted to play a certain kind of game, and it didn't exist, so I tried to make it. Also I was drunk pretty much all the time.

We enjoy doing the work that we do, so we keep doing it. Also we're drunk pretty much all the time.

TemporaryCatatonic18 karma

If you could have one KoL item in real life, what would it be?

jicklesby36 karma

I am hungry, so right now probably a burrito.

I should have thought about that more.

jelloboi7817 karma

Are you coming to KoLumbus 8 in November? :D

jicklesby23 karma

I think so!

ichuckle16 karma

Do you have any tips for people just getting into KoL? I got about 4 hours into playing it and just gave up because everything just seemed like a big inside joke

jicklesby46 karma

It takes a while for the gameplay to reveal itself. We don't want to scare people off.

Also, all jokes are inside until you open your heart to the outside.

Salculd16 karma

One thing that I've always been impressed by in the long-term was how well you all handled the entire Black Sunday debacle. Most companies would've taken the easy way out and just done a rollback, but instead you managed to use it to the game's advantage as the impetus for several mechanical changes and plot threads that ultimately improved it.

How do you feel about that entire situation in hindsight? Do you think the game would be significantly different today if it hadn't happened?

jicklesby15 karma

I think I did the right thing, with that.

I knew it wouldn't be the last time something like that happened, and I wanted to see if we could just make the world of KoL into a thing that could handle disasters in its own fiction, rather than some kind of deus ex machina like a rollback.

And it wasn't perfect, but I think it made people really happy -- a lot of peoples' fondest memories of KoL are the times when we fucked something up, and I think the approach that we first tried with Black Sunday is what makes that happen.

Cringe_Schrapnel15 karma

How many monkeys do you figure can fit in a phone booth...phone booths are things people use to keep phones in.... named after some Booth guy.

jicklesby24 karma

Three more bullets? Wait, three more heart attacks? I don't know how jokes work.

JamesVagabond14 karma

Those mime soul fragments are creepy. Will there be a use for 'em or will they just forever rot in our inventories?

jicklesby28 karma

They're doing something, but it's not rotting.

MyPunsSuck14 karma

Does it amuse you that players like me can spend hours upon hours, graph paper and calculator in hand, trying to optimize how to play your game? (I was a speed-runner doing back-to-back profitable 2-day runs before NS13) Was this an intended feature of the game? Come to think of it, do you have a design philosophy you'd like to share? It always struck me as unique that both the writing and the actual game design are both so strong in KoL

jicklesby16 karma

The hyperoptimal speed game definitely emerged from the silly rules I put into place originally, but I think it's cool that people can enjoy the game that way.

The design philosophy is fairly straightforward, I guess -- stuff should be fun and awesome, and not piss anybody off if we can help it. And it should probably have a lot of skeletons in it wherever possible.

Ucibius14 karma

Jick, What are your plans after Word Realms and how long do you see KOL being around? I'm sure you and your staff will support KOL as long as there is monetary support from the player base, but do you have any idea?

jicklesby18 karma

I have no idea. In the beginning, I said I'd be happy if KoL lasted five years. It's been nine, and it's showing no signs of going away.

Treberto13 karma

Fan stuff: Hey Jick! super long time fan of the game. I've been playing since... 2003 or 4 I think but I no longer play that character (forgot password, no longer have email account). I have a different, new and improved character (since 2005!) and I still play almost daily. Thanks so much for an amazing game and I am looking forward to Word Realms.

Question: You guys make fun of everything under the sun and typically in a rather light hearted way. I love the humor of KoL and am of the camp that believes anything can be made fun of/be funny. Are there any topics/events/groups of people that you guys won't make fun of and why not?

jicklesby26 karma

We basically only make fun of voluntary-participation subcultures, and tend to stay away from politics and religion.

Except on the radio shows. Those are full of politics and religion, and man oh man are we racist.

tlenze13 karma

Do you do all those podcasts just for fun, or do you have a plan to monetize them at some point?

jicklesby37 karma

Absolutely for fun. I don't know if I really believe there's a good way to monetize podcasts without sacrificing what I love about them -- the sincerity and directness.

I'm lucky, in that the bandwidth we already pay for for KoL allows us to have popular podcasts without going broke in the process.

corvett13 karma

What's your favorite (and least-favorite) in-game joke?

jicklesby37 karma

My favorite joke is the one about sharts, that Mr. Skullhead won't let me put in the game.

My least favorite joke is the one Mr. Skullhead wrote that wasn't about sharts, because he clearly doesn't understand what funny is.

seandamnit13 karma

  1. I'll admit that I only plan on trying Word Realms because of how great KoL is. If I didn't know about KoL, however, I'm not sure Word Realms would appeal to me...especially as a pay game. Are you concerned that a "Boggle RPG" is going to be a bit too niche? Do you plan on a free version with limited features / ads / etc?

  2. how much meat is generated a day? how much meat leaves the kingdom every day? I'm guessing more comes in than leaves...is inflation a concern?

jicklesby27 karma

Have you seen KoL? We don't believe in "too niche."

And as far as it being free, I think the jury is still out on how much games are supposed to cost.

A lot of people would (and do) look at something like The Binding of Isaac and say it should be free, but personally, I think it would've been worth it at ten times the price.

We're going to try to sell it for what we think it's worth. A lot of people won't buy it, and that's fine, but it doesn't mean we have an obligation to undervalue our work, y'know?

This Jeff Vogel essay is really interesting and makes a lot sense to me.

We haven't paid much attention to Meat stats for a while. There is a little bit of inflation, but I don't think it actually has that much of an impact on day to day play as people might think, and I think it's not really a good use of our time to spend a lot of time thinking about it and trying to go all invisible hand on it. The economy is cool because it is free. Not like video games. They're cool because they're expensive.

glebs12 karma

Will there ever be a puppy-smashing factory?

jicklesby27 karma

You guys haven't found the puppy-smashing factory yet? That's surprising.

zeroDivisible12 karma

Disclaimer: Please don't understand me wrong, I think that KoL is one of the most awesome games out there and up until today I had donated more than 200$.

Don't you think that KoL is rather dying game? It was written somewhere that this is not a game for collectors, because of the fact that it is impossible to get your filthy hands on some of the time limited content if you were not present at the time of the events. As I understand your way of thinking, ultimately old players will have big part of old / fun / rare shiny toys, while newbies might be discouraged to play the game realizing that it is impossible for them to get their hands on some of the toys. How are you planning to deal with shrinking player base?

PS: As you might have noticed, I am not a native English speaker:)

jicklesby38 karma

Nah, I don't think it's dying. We're not getting as many new accounts as we used to, because I think to a certain extent we've already saturated our niche. (The other guys disagree with me on this.)

But there's still a vibrant and interesting community, and we're still chock full of ideas, and the game is still paying the hosting bills and our salaries.

MMOs live a long time. The dedicated core of people get invested in it, and they stick around.

Diabolico12 karma

Is a new Item of the Month going to be ready on time for rollover tonight?

jicklesby16 karma

Yep. I've got a couple more hours of stuff to do on it, but we're golden.

As long as this AMA doesn't totally burn my brain out, that is. This is a ton of fun, but way more tiring than I expected it to be.

schwiggityschwag11 karma

Are you looking for developers/SA's/security people? :) KOL is a great game, keeps me busy during my boring lunch breaks!

jicklesby21 karma

Does SA stand for Something Awful? If I could have my own Something Awful, that would be awesome!

I would own all over the newbs in Eve Online.

corvett11 karma

Can we ever play Krakrox the Barbarian again? I loved that game. EDIT: Was this game intended as a precursor to KoL? It has a lot of content and artwork, even the whole 'invade the knob goblins and kill the king' plot line. How were these games related?

jicklesby17 karma

I made Krakrox while working a very low-responsibility student employee job in the CS department at Arizona State. That's when I learned most of the web dev skills (ha ha, skills?) that I used to make KoL.

And a guy recently fixed Krakrox for me -- I need to stick it on the Toys page of the new Asymmetric site.

noflag11 karma

Have you ever considered open sourcing the framework for KoL? I would think most of the value in the game would be from the creative content, monster stats, things like that.

jicklesby51 karma

I don't ever want anybody else to see this code. Not because it's proprietary, but because it's embarrassing.

blahquabats11 karma

On the new Asymmetric site, there is listed a programmer named Saurabh. Who is this person and why do we never hear of him on the radio shows/in the forums?

jicklesby21 karma

He's the programmer we've contracted for Word Realms, and he lives in San Francisco. He's a college buddy of Kevin (HotStuff) and he has a PhD in some kind of biological geneticism or something.

We should have him on a Video Games Hot Dog one of these days.

Or maybe we should start a Word Realms podcast. Because if there's one thing my schedule needs, it's more podcasts to record.

WhiskeyDickinson11 karma

Big fan of your work, KOL and Video Games Hot Dog especially. In my opinion there's nothing greater than drinking beer and talking about/playing games, plus you and the fellas never fail to make me laugh (even when just laughing at yourself or poor Kevin). My personal experience with games started late in the NES era and went forward with limited PC gaming experience until the mid-90's so I've been able to really fill in the gaps thanks to your pretty encyclopedic knowledge. Don't know where I was going with that, but thanks!

As for my question, you've touched on how you were somewhat trying to create a games podcast that was similar to Idle Thumbs and would fill the void for some people. Any chance you would/could collaborate with them for a podcast now that they've returned? I imagine the results would be pretty epic.

jicklesby21 karma

Oh man, that'd be yet another dream come true. Those guys rule and are super nice. Maybe next time we're in San Francisco we can get them drunk enough to agree to a collaboration of some kind. Or maybe we'll just play pinball or whatever.

[deleted]11 karma


jicklesby17 karma

It turns out when you need to do some lawyery shit, you should actually talk to a lawyer instead of just downloading some stuff from lawyer.com. And it was complicated. It didn't work out for a variety of reasons.

I dunno about getting married in the future. With all the robots and jetpacks and stuff it'll be an even more complicated decision than it was the first time.

mkj131310 karma

How many secrets have we yet to discover in KoL?

jicklesby32 karma


supertetelman10 karma

I've been playing KoL since just after Ascension was a thing. I love the game and love the humor, and you guys make it great. But what I love most about the game is the community. I've never been to any of the conventions, but I am an active listener to Radio KoL, the forums, the chat, and whathaveyou. It isn't every game that gets such a strong wiki, own radio channel, and even a social site showcasing the asses of kingdom of loathing.
Why do you think KoL has been so successful at growing a community around it and attracting (for the most part) intelligent and fun people? Is there something in the punch, or is it just that people who club seals are interesting to start with?

jicklesby12 karma

I have no idea what the secret sauce is that drew such a great community in the first place. We just kinda let it happen, and got really lucky.

I think to truly appreciate KoL you need a certain level of literacy and a certain kind of sense of humor, and those things just add up to a cool dude or a cool lady.

Also, thanks a lot. I had finally managed to forget about the ass site, and you had to bring it all back. :p

granite_grizz9 karma

Hello #1, I was wondering about your opinion of people obtaining multiple Con Code cards for clannies and friends. Is it frowned upon or considered acceptable? What about those people that start selling them in /trade?

jicklesby14 karma

I'm not gonna tell somebody they can't have an extra card for their friend who couldn't make it to Comic Con or whatever. It bugs me a little when people lie and say it's for a friend when their friend is actually eBay or /trade, but what are you gonna do? It's just the cost of doing a cool thing.

James_the_Rustler9 karma

I used to play KoL many years ago and was shocked to find out that it still exists when I read about that child murderer who mentioned KoL in his interview. How did that incident affect KoL/you, if it did at all?

jicklesby14 karma

The net effect of it was basically zero. I got like five seconds of airplay on CNN Radio News, but the media fairly quickly figured out that there was no story there.

I take it as a point of pride, though, that Jack Thompson once mentioned us in a case.

FilterOne8 karma

Does KOL make you enough money to survive? Or do you need other forms of employment?

jicklesby14 karma

KoL is the sole source of income for these people.

hydroplatypus8 karma

Will the new game have the same kind of humor that made me grow and love KoL years ago? Or will you guys be aiming at a different kind of audience?

And how many rabid weasels could you and Mr Skullhead take in a fight?

jicklesby23 karma

We're shooting for funny but not as goofy as KoL. In the beginning, my guidance was always "It should be funny, but you're not hitting things with toothbrushes and shit."

Mr. Skullhead and I only fight in the nude, and I have found than when I am nude, I can only really take one rabid weasel with me anywhere.

no_detection8 karma

How do you feel about KoL Mafia and the like? Do you feel that macro tools take away from the game experience, or that they are helpful for running through a quest for the n'th time?

jicklesby11 karma

I think they're great for the people that want them. They're instrumental in keeping a certain kind of player interested in the long term, so more power to 'em.

I mean, they also have their downsides -- automation leads to easier abuse, but I think the good definitely outweighs the bad in most cases.

Lebal8 karma


jicklesby8 karma

I have always had a huge hard-on for procedural content generation. It's complicated -- I think it's sometimes used as a crutch, in place of actual design, but I also think a sophisticated enough content generator would be indistinguishable from a skilled designer in certain ways.

I love reading stuff about Roguelike level generation, and the item systems in RPGs, and stuff like that. Roy reminded me the other day about a random poetry generator I wrote in BASIC instead of a poem for a high school English assignment. I should track that thing down.

I need to fix up some of the other generator toys I've written, make them suitable for public use, and get them on the Asymmetric site.

maharito8 karma

I played the heck out of Bookworm Adventures (they even had a sequel, though it eventually got tiring and I never beat it).

I thought that game did a lot of things right but it eventually got boring. My best guess for that is the strategy of gameplay never changed all that much... There were a few occasions where choosing the right ability-boosting equipment was essential and just a couple times where themed words were important in vanquishing your foe. I wish there had been more variety in the tasks I had to do, or different ways to challenge my brain along the way.

What do you think Word Realms will do differently from Bookworm Adventures?

jicklesby6 karma

Well, I felt exactly the same way about BA, and Word Realms is my attempt to make something more like what I wanted BA to be.

It's not as linear, there is a whole lot more customization, there are a lot more potential actions to take from moment to moment (other that just "play a big word" or "drink a potion" every single round,) and there are a lot more minigames.

Plus, it's in its own world, one that we've spent a lot of time developing, rather than just a pastiche of folklore and mythology. BA was great, it just wasn't the exact flavor of great that I wanted.

DeanWinchester778 karma

Kol player for over 5 years. Love the game! I try to play daily though there have been times when I was unable to log in for substantial periods of time. But I always know that the Kingdom is there when I can get back to an adventurer being me. As for questions, I have none that have not been asked. Or do I?

I have a character who will probably live in Avatar of Boris-land forever. What am I ever going to be able to do with the thousands of Karma I have sitting there? I can't perm AoB skills, and honestly perming skills if pretty useless when I just keep ascending as an AoB. I want to know if there are going to be some really cool Karma purchasable rewards. Maybe something crazy like 5k karma to purchase a Mr. A?

Love you all and thank you for the one game which will stick with me always. Old Ben Kenobi, Tarred, BobbySinger, etc, etc.

jicklesby20 karma

We need something for people to do with surplus Karma.

Maybe we can make a deal with one of those third world adoption agencies where you can get a free baby.

cyan2207 karma

I thought you were only doing this for 3 hours?

jicklesby12 karma

I forgot how numbers work...

[deleted]7 karma


jicklesby13 karma

Nah, Loathing was more or less just a random word I typed when it was time to make a directory to put the stuff in when I first started working on the game. I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in high school, but I wasn't aware of Kingdom of Fear until somebody pointed it out to me after KoL was already a thing.

JohnStalvern7 karma

Anything you want to share about concerning upcoming content for either game?

jicklesby23 karma

Every bit of upcoming content will move KoL (and Word Realms) toward our ultimate goal.

The nature of our ultimate goal is, unfortunately, classified.

Erisian427 karma

ever thought about doing a KoL videogame?

jicklesby11 karma

Not until now! Genius!

Purpwood7 karma

What made you decide to have meat as the currency? How did knowledge of the game spread?

(By the way that email you sent out asking people to play again a year or two ago was AWESOME)

jicklesby10 karma

On the initial sheet of paper where I did the first batch of artwork, I realized I had forgotten to draw any coins or anything. So I just picked a thing.

And yeah, Skully really hit it out of the park with that come back e-mail.

sirris6 karma

Question. If one were to, let's say hypothetically, defeat the Orca of Time and save all of creation (well, pretend creation) and be denied his just reward for, say, 8 years or so, do you think he has a right to punch you in the balls?
Also, can you give us any teasers about the next clan dungeon?

jicklesby17 karma

[This is the answer to both questions].(http://images.kingdomofloathing.com/BUMTs.jpg)

Carl_Sagan425 karma

Jick, I just wanted to let you know that my girlfriend and I furiously F5 http://videogameshotdog.com/ every thursday night/friday morning.

For an actual semi-related question: I have to say, the weekly podcasts/radio shows have been some of my favorite things about KoL. Having a two-hour window into the minds of the people developing a game you're playing is a really awesome thing. How did you guys ever end up making something like that a standard way of interacting with the community, and do you think more games would benefit from this sort of thing?

jicklesby7 karma

Oh, absolutely they would. Well, maybe they wouldn't, but I would. Getting some honesty and sincerity from the people who make the things I love would be immensely gratifying to me, and I love, say, indie developers on Twitter for that reason, but with bigger games I basically have to make do with sanitized PR and silence.

Our podcasts got going like everything else -- really organically. When they started Radio KoL and asked if we wanted to do a show, we said "Okay. Maybe like a Q&A thing, I guess?" And that just became a habit, and eventually turned into the stuff we do now.

It's awesome. They're all really fun to do, and I love that so many people enjoy them.