May is here! There’s a lot more green everywhere, let’s all rejoice.

A new month also means a new IotM (Item of the Month) in Kingdom of Loathing. The annoucement was:

May’s Wacky-Experiment-of-the-Month is now available in Mr. Store. Details about how the stuff works can be found in this forum thread.

Intriguing. I log in to discover not 1, but actually 2 items in Mr Store. The first one is a “VIP Lounge Key”. Seems that nobody knew it, but all clan halls already had such a Lounge, and now this gives you access. Funny. In there you find a spa, which gives 5 free full heals per day that also removes all negative status effect. Neat. There’s also an upgraded/deluxe Mr Klaw machine (think UFO Catcher) which drops new collectibles and so far at least 1 new familiar has been available from it. My collector sense is tingling.

The Key is tied to a _player_, not a clan, so you always keep your Lounge access even if you clan hop around. This is good. It also planned that the Key will be made available again in the future, of course. Otherwise building up more stuff around the Lounge wouldn’t be possible.

The real puzzler is the second IotM. It’s a Pool Table add-on for the Lounge. You can “play pool” against clannies, it keeps tracks of the scores, but the real gain is to get 3 rather nice buffs per day to anyone with access. The official forums are already full with people salivating over this, as it IS usable in Hardcore. On of the buffs gives you 300 free MP each day, which can indeed be a huge boost in Hardcore… My not-so-often-used alts are focussing on HC/BM, so this could be nice indeed. But there’s a catch.

The Pool Table can be bought from Mr Store for 3 Mr Accessories!! This means donating 30$US or paying in-game roughly 13.5M meat. Also add that to access it you also need the Key, so that’s a 40$US or 18M meat investment.. I’d call that non trivial.

Of course the Table is tied to a _clan_. So if you leave and become clanless or join a clan without it, no access even if you had helped pay for the table. Humpf. Of course there’s the possibility of setting up WhiteLists to make clan hopping easier, but then there’s the whole Karma issues I won’t get into. Switching clans often is possible, just not very practical for most people.

And then there’s the cost… Wow. In theory in a big enough clan of course it’s not hard to pool (ah-ha) many players to get the darn thing. But a lot of players just setup a small clan for their RL friends or even just their own accounts.. Last year when Hobopolis opened it was rather clear that TPTB (The Power That Be, the KoL admins) didn’t really like the idea of huuuuuuuge clans. I was in KoL Addicts at the time, it was an interesting time to say the least..

But now a 3 Mr. A clan item ? I’m quite a bit puzzled.

The forum post by Jick also mention the intention of having more Lounge furniture available in the future, via IotM’s or even as Hobopolis drops.. Which is another question mark for small clans..

We’ll see how it plays out.