Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kingdom of Loathing November IotM

This month in the Kingdom of Loathing we saw the release of the Nanorhino, a new familiar you can buy with a Mr. Accessory.

Cute little bugger.
I named mine Rhymenocerous.
I've always wanted to do some reviews for the Items of the Month for Kingdom of Loathing, because I love that game and I've always wanted to contribute back to it in some way. I'd also like to tip the scales back in a better direction after some other blogs just trash everything Asymmetric releases. So, how does the Nanorhino compare to other IOTM of past?

Let's talk about it's abilities first. The Nanorhino acts as a full weight Barrrnacle and will sometimes delevel your opponents at the beginning of a fight alleviating some of the difficulty of fights. He will also sometimes attack in combat with elemental damage, but from what I've seen the damage is mostly negligible. The Nanorhino also gains a charge after each combat of 2% (3% if you have his familiar equipment) and when it reaches 100% it endows you with a buff dependent on what type of skill you use when it's at it's full charge. It also starts each new day after rollover with a full charge.

What do these buffs do? When you use a muscle based skill, such as Lunging-Thrust Smack as a Seal Clubber or Headbutt as a Turtle Tamer, you'll be imbued with Nanobrawny. When using a mysticality based skill, such as Cannelloni Cannon as a Pastamancer or Saucestorm as a Sauceror, you're enchanted with Nanobrainy. And finally when using moxie based attacks, such Sing as a Accordion Thief or Disco Dance of Doom as a Disco Bandit, you'll be blessed with Nanoballsy.

Each of these buffs offer moderate bonuses, but the real benefits of these buffs are triggered when you use the ability "Unleash Nanites". This familiar is actually comparable to the He-Boulder from August of 2009, but instead of having to read the He-Bo's combat message to determine which ability you could trigger, the Nanorhino allows you to choose which ability you'd like to use if you have the skills to trigger the one you want. Just like the He-Bo, there is a major effect tied to using "Unleash Nanites" and a minor effect, the major effect only working if you have 40 or more charges of the buff active, and the minor effect triggering if you have 39 or fewer turns of the buff remaining. Nanoballsy is the outlier, as it's major effect will not actually work if you have any turns of the buff "Everything Looks Yellow".

For Nanobrawny, when you use "Unleash Nanites", it permanently banishes an enemy from an area. You can only have one enemy banished in this way at a time, so when you banish a new enemy the old one will return. The minor effect is that it will drain some HP from the enemy and heal you.

For Nanobrainy, the major effect is that it turns the enemy into a Grey Goo monster, whom gives fairly good stats upon defeat, similar in function to the Mini-Hipster and Artistic Goth Kid, but this combat is not a free one. The minor effect is that it deals damage to the enemy and restores some of your MP.

For Nanoballsy, it's major effect is that it acts as a Yellow Ray, instantly destroying the monster and forcing it to drop all it's non-conditional drops, meaning that it will drop anything that it will normally drop in a fight that doesn't require something to be done to get that item to drop. It's minor effect is another delevel and it restores some HP and MP.

So, what's my opinion on the familiar? It's good for people who don't have access to the Yellow Ray ability, but at this point there is a wealth of options for that (He-Bo, Pumpkins, Tome of Clip Art). The banisher is also good, but once again, there are a lot of things that already allow you to do something like that. I guess it should be noted that this is the first familiar that allows you to banish monsters. It's other ability, turning monsters into the Grey Goo creatures, is interesting but I think it might be difficult for low skilled players to defeat these monsters. Moderate skilled players should have no trouble, and for high skilled players, these fights are absolutely trivial.

Another thing I would like to mention is that in order to gain the Nano buff one must use an ability in combat that is based on the type of buff you want as I previously mentioned. This is no problem for someone with combat skills from each class permanently on their character, but for new and low skilled players they'll only have access to one of the buff types per run until they get some more skills under their belt.

So, if you don't access to Yellow Rays or Banishers, or your just a new player looking for ways to make your runs easier, I highly recommend this Item of the Month. If you already have access to these skills, there are easier ways of using them with past IOTM's, so this one isn't quite as critical. Turning monsters into Grey Goo is definitely interesting, but so far it looks like you only get some stats from the fight.


  1. User jletter had this to say in a post on GameFAQs, in response to my review:

    If you don't have any YR source, you'll probably want this. That is, assuming you don't plan to get a He-Bo, Clip Art, or a pumpkin garden. (But really, Clip Art is nice and is worth getting. Moreso for HC than normal, but it's still useful in softcore too.)

    But if you already have a source of yellow-ray, then I'd certainly get a scarecrow or goth kid first. Especially since you'll only be using this once per day. Useful, but not so much "fun" to play with.

    So as Dankuma said, it certainly isn't a must have like some IotMs are (assuming you have a YR already). I do completely agree with that. It is good advice.

    There are a few flaws with the review:

    "there are easier ways of getting...banishes,"

    Having other banish access doesn't effect this negatively as banishes stack. In fact, the more banishes you can use the better off you are. Having 1 banish is nice. But having 2 is great. Having 3 is amazing. "Easy" isn't the key word for banishing, "amount" is. And the fewer monsters in your target zone, the more and more true this becomes.

    Aside from that, being a perma-day banish is pretty nice, as it is the longest banish you can possibly get if you aren't playing as Boris or a Zombie Master. In fact, if you aren't in either of those, 20 turns is the highest you can get otherwise. 20 turns is fine for in-run uses, but can only be described as "piddling" for aftercore activities.

    "and I don't feel it's grey goo ability is all that great compared to the Hipster's. But I just don't think there's a huge need for turning monsters into other monsters in-run."

    First, comparing it to the Hipster/Goth makes absolutely no sense as they aren't on the same counter. You can have your 7 hipster/goth fights *and* the goo since they aren't competing for the same resource. (Unlike, say, hipster vs goth fights, or boot vs bander runaways.)

    Second, turning a monster into goo is decent due to the higher than normal stat gains it gives. The "I don't kow when you'd want to" is an easy question to answer: the same time you'd use a free runaway. (Barring pickpocket-runaway times, of course.) Look at it as an alternative to a free runaway and you can see all sorts of places that qualify. It might not be as good as running away for free, but if you can't do that, whether you are out for the day or because you have none, higher stat gains aren't a bad thing.

    That said, I'd still suggest using it for the banish, except maybe on day 1.


  2. Nanorhino shouldn't be compared to familiars, since using it as a familiar is going to always be suboptimal (a Barrrnacle that attacks might as well be a Pet Rock for all the good it does for you). Instead it should be compared to the Pen Pal Kit: it gives you one shot of its ability per day and after that you're best off forgetting about it until tomorrow.

    1. And what if someone doesn't have any past IOTMs? I wrote this from a casual, newbie standpoint, not a super optimal power player perspective. The Nanorhino's attack is not good by any means, but if it's the only IOTM familiar they have it'll surely help a newbie survive boss battles and other tough fights.

      So, I don't agree with you at all.

  3. >And what if someone doesn't have any past IOTMs?

    Makes no difference. A humble volleyball or a baby gravy fairy is a ten times better familiar than an attacking barrrnacle (well to be fair to the 'rhino, it does give you those buffs every twelve turns, and spending them on grey goo gives extra stats, but I'm pretty sure those don't come close to what you would get by simply running a ball instead).

    This idea that it's okay for a thing to suck because it's "for newbies" pops up every now and then on the KoL forums, and I think it's a poisonous mindset. Newbies don't need bad items any more than anyone else does. Newbies, if anything, need simple but strong mechanics to cross the gap between them and players who already have everything, not trash effects like delevel + attack.

    I do think Nanorhino is a good IOTM though, but only because its once-a-day ability is pretty strong and stacks with everything.