Friday, February 15, 2013

What's New in the Kingdom - Avatar of Jarlsberg

Last night saw the introduction of the spring 2013 challenge path in the Kingdom, the Avatar of Jarlsberg.  Following in Boris’ footsteps, the avatar of the patron god of pastamancers and saucerors excels with the overlap of food and magic, baking enemies and summoning potatoes.  AoJ is the first of the special challenge classes to focus on mysticality, so it promises to give a great new Kingdom-dominating experience.

Along with a new path come two excitingly detailed features.  First is a more complex set of skill trees than any we've seen before.  Four skill trees, each with eight skills and a few branches, give the Avatar of Jarlsberg more skills and more options than any class that came before it.  The effects of most of the skills are pretty standard (elemental resistances, increased or decreased combat frequency, increased monster level, and combat skills), but a few are pretty sexy (like summoning food items, or turning those food items into familiar-replacing companions), so there’s a lot of potential.

AoJ also presents a new food-crafting system.  Instead of acquiring food in the usual way (“Jarlsberg didn't trust food he didn't make himself”), the Avatar gets access to Jarlsberg’s Cosmic Kitchen, complete with a cookbook showing how to combine summoned foods with combat skills to make consummate foodstuffs.  There are additional instructions, too, allowing for immaculate or even sublime consumables.  The interplay between the skill trees and diet provide for a new, thrilling perspective on the Kingdom’s normal diet mechanics.

It’s a bit too early to see if there are significant changes to the game’s story (although there’s almost certainly a new final boss), but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the main Council quests have interesting twists for the Avatar.

All-in-all, I’m eager to experience all the ins and outs of the new challenge path, so I'm going to get to it.

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