Game Development Reference
Figure 9-1: Asymmetric Productions' Kingdom of Loathing
Despite its relatively small player base, the game remains successful.
Created by Asymmetric Productions, which was founded by Zack “Jick” Johnson and Josh “Mr. Skullhead”
Nite, the company now employs five full-time workers.
According to a recent interview on Reddit with Nite, Kingdom of Loathing—known as KoL—has about
45,000 monthly players. “There have been over 2 million accounts created since the game began [in 2003],” he
says, “so there are a lot of people who should be coming back.” The game monetizes with donations and virtual
goods sales. And, says Nite, the game is still “quite profitable.”
Despite their success, KoL's creators learned two important principles of game design through trial and error.
These lessons and more secrets are covered in the following sections.
Players Will Exploit Game Resources in Unintended
“It never occurred to me that people would use an item or enchantment in any way other than the way I envi-
sioned it,” says Nite. “A good example from early in the game was the Purple Snowcone, which gave an en-
chantment that restored your Hit Points and Magic Points after every combat. There was no cap on the Magic
Point restoration and, at that point, Magic Points were a controlled scarce commodity.” With no cap on the res-