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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Runescape 3 - Jad Revisited, more than two years later

Hello again, old friend!
After finishing Dungeoneering and Divination, I've just been bumming around Geilinor recently.  Go where the wind takes me, do whatever sounds interesting... it's nice not to have any major goals for a while.  Other than rebuilding my bank (spent a lot getting those last 99's), just following any old whim.

A few days ago, I started missing my old friend Jad.  The first time I ever beat him was March 25, 2011.  (I checked, it was on my blog that day when he finally keeled over.)  That was back when you could use Deflect Curses through the entire Jad fight.  It circumvented the healers, and Jad basically killed himself.  All you had to do was prayer switch, which even I could handle.  When Jagex nerfed the deflect technique, I learned to beat him using ranged, but it wasn't nearly as easy.  After beating him maybe 4 times in my entire life, it was over between us.

That's not to say he was no longer a presence.  His progeny, Baby Jad, is my favorite pet.  Mine were twins... one in the Player Owned Home, one to roam around with me.  After all that work, and all that hate, then adopting his kids, somehow, I wound up liking Jad.

Back to the present, 2 and a half years later:  Things have changed a lot with Jad and the Fight Caves.  After EOC, the Fight Cave changed so often that the guides online don't 'quite' work any more.  Two things stood out, though.  Ranging is bad.  Now most of the monsters are weak to water spells.  The other thing is Obsidian Armour and the Tokkul-Zo.  Both give big advantages when fighting TzHaar.  Obsidian Armour will reduce damage by around half.  55% with the shield, 45% without.  That helps all the way through the fight cave, but especially with Jad.  (More on that shortly.)  The Tokkul-Zo ring boosts damage against TzHaar by 10%.

The armour is made by collecting Obsidian Shards and making Obsidian Bars, then smithing the entire set.  It takes 228 shards to make the full armor set, including the three styles of helmet.  Wearing it requires at least 60 in one of the combat skills.  I blew it off for a long time as too 'low level'.  In reality, with that huge damage reduction, it's amazing.  To get the shards, I wore my best range gear, and jumped into the Fight Cauldron.  Every few fights, I walked out to make sure of getting my shards.  If you get killed before collecting them, you only receive half.  The Obsidian Armour degrades, but is repairable with more shards.  Since the Cauldron is MUCH easier while wearing Obby Armour, it's easy to keep enough shards in stock to repair it.  

One nice thing about the Obby armour, it's considered an 'all combat' class.  Just change out the helm, and you're good to go.  There's a melee helm, mage helm, and ranger helm.

Not so easy for the Tokkul Zo ring.  After 4000 total hits, it loses all charge.  50,000 Tokkul will recharge it completely.  That's pretty hard to come by.  But still, if it means beating Jad I'm okay with it.  Just have to remember to pick up my free 8,000 per day for doing the Karamja Elite tasks.

For my full gear, I wore the Obsidian Armour - Mage helm, plate legs, plate body, gloves and boots.  Additionally, The Chaotic Staff (from Dungeoneering), Max Cape, Fury Ammy, Vampyrism Aura, and scrimshaw of the elements (because I accidentally made a bunch non-tradeable).  In the long run, I forgot to use the Aura, but that's okay.

For inventory, a couple Overload flasks, 5 Prayer Flasks, a Vecna Skull (which I also mostly forgot to use), a bunch of Rocktail soup, and all the Blood and Water runes I have.  Overkill?  Maybe... but you have no idea what a klutz I am.

My spell was Ice Barrage, from the Ancient Magic spellbook, and Curse prayers to deflect damage back to Jad.  The Action bar is as follows:  Wrack, Impact, Chain, Combust, Dragon Breath, Metamorphosis, Asphyxiate, Deflect Missiles, Deflect Magic, Torment, Regenerate, and Guthix's Blessing.  (I'm pretty sure I saw this or something similar on several forums, but by now I can't remember where or who recommended it.)

In the fight caves, it went amazing.  No food until time for Jad.  Regenerate kept me topped up, and the monsters fell like kindling to the axe.  The waves before Jad were fast, and easy.  Then I hit the action bar glitch.  My protection prayer keybinds are W for Deflect Missiles, and E for Deflect Magic.  The W key worked fine, but the E key was dead.  By the time I figured out what was happening, I'd missed a bunch of prayer switches, and had eaten most of my food. 

The amazing thing is, Jad didn't kill me!  Came close, but with the Obsidian Armour cutting his damage in half, I still had a chance.  And wound up winning a fire cape.  First try in two and a half years, bad glitch in the action bar, and the Obby Armour still saved my bacon.

So, if you're wondering... it's really really worth the effort! 

Now, I'm feeling the urge to try again, and will hopefully do better as I know to watch out for the glitch.  Wish me luck.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dungeons and Divination - Finishing the last two Skills

Had a landmark week last week.  On Thursday, 120 Dungeoneering.  Friday, 99 Divination.  Saturday, got the "of Daemonheim" title.  
Getting 120 DG took a long time.  I've always played solo or duo (on those occasions when my wife joins me at Daemonheim).  She's got her 99 cape, and is getting closer and closer to the 120 as well.  When Dungeoneering first came out, I liked it, but didn't spend any time on it.  All my bonus experience went to it, like penguins, and Juna, and I wound up in the mid-80 levels without having played it.

After that, I started soloing dungeons.  Don't have the temperament to play in a team.  When daily challenges and sinkholes came out, well, it certainly made gaining exp much easier.  Not to devalue the hard work of those that came before, but I'll take what I can get.  As long as it's from honest playing.

Getting the "of Daemonheim" title wasn't quite as major as maxing a skill, but it was a solid effort.  I missed the easy week.  Remember?  The first week, when players could do Hard Mode on small dungeons?  By the time I began, it was Hell Week.  That was the week when every hard mode floor was a Large.  Finally, it settled to mediums by default for solo and duo adventurers, and larges only for bigger groups of players.
Regardless, I finally did all 60 floors.  Picked up all the cool drops along the way... the Primal gear, the Blood Necklace, the Hexhunter Bow, Celestial Catalytic Staff.  I know, some of that stuff was nerfed when EOC came out, but who knows - some day that Hexhunter might be a mighty weapon again. 

By the way, I've seen plenty of Night Spiders since the EOC, but have never seen a Shadow Silk Hood drop since then.  Before that, I've had 3 SSH drops.  Does anybody know if they aren't dropping any more?  Or is it just a super-super-rare item now?

Been working as hard as I can on Divination, which came out 8/20/13.  At this point it's been nearly three months.  Wow.  I wanted the Max Cape back, thought this would only take a short while.  After all, with so many 99's already, it shouldn't be that hard to do another... right?

 Actually, levelling to 99 is a lot more time-consuming than I remembered.  No idea how the first players to 99 got there so fast.  Now that I'm face to face with how much time and effort it takes, the upcoming Inventor skill seems less and less interesting.  Maybe that'll change once the skill is out.

In the meantime, it's been a long slog.  Especially levels 90-95.  Getting out to the desert behind Sophanem is a pain.  Wiki recommends not even training there, but going back to the old place on Dragontooth Island  just isn't any fun.  Even if it's faster.    The final rift out near the Poison Wastes isn't exactly 'convenient' to get to, but it's not as bad as Sophanem.

I've been pretty grateful for any and all exp lamps and boosts along the way.  Using the Jack of Trades Aura daily, getting about 10k exp for just a minute or so of effort.  Any Squeal of Fortune prismatic lamps go directly to Divination as well.  Best of all, the prismatic pendants.  They were released a year ago (13 November 2012).  Knowing two new skills were on the way, I've been stockpiling them.  Plus the recharge gems.

At level 96, I used them all.  The new system of storing bonus experience is pretty cool, and every pendant from the past year went on Divination.  Came to something like 1,200,000 bonus exp.  Yes, that's over 1 million exp points.  As long as it lasts, all my Div exp is doubled.  I went from 96 to 97 in one single day.  It was a very long, very dedicated Saturday, but just the same, it was one single day.  By Monday night, it went to 98.

The bonus exp ran out with about 400k to go.  Slow and tedious again.  But while the bonus lasted, it was a lot of fun.

It feels really, really good to have all those goals done.  Haven't decided what to work on next, there's still plenty I haven't done yet.  For the moment, I'm rebuilding my bank.  Spent close to 100 million gold buying memories to speed up training.  And, I have to admit, some spins on SOF to get the exp-boosting Divination costume.  Got all but the headgear.  It helped.

Now I've got the Max Cape back.  Since my current look sports a lot of Gold - thanks to Super September and the super-hero costume - it's set to a matching gold/yellowish theme.  The costume is pretty much a mash-up of several different pieces.  When gold gets old, it'll be time for a new color scheme.  The cosmetic overlays are totally impractical, but a lot of fun.

At the moment, I've earned back around 20 million gold, and going strong.  After that?  Who knows... it's a big world!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Runescape 3: New Prestige System update - Poll

Recently I posted about the New Prestige System, announced in Mod Jack's developer blogs .  Not going to re-hash the details, but in brief, I had some worries about it.

Given that not everybody has the same goals, nor enjoys the same things, it's understandable that some people might like the new prestige system.  I'm not one.  I'm afraid that, given a brand new shiny way of ranking players, the original system would become passe.  

To be fair, both systems, old and new, will be available.  But the nature of gaming, people, obsession and addiction will come into play.  Before long, the only rank that means anything would be the people who've recycled skills for multiple 99's in each skill.

Maybe it's shallow, but I enjoy my current rank.  It took years to get there, and is a work in progress.  I have no objection to something that extends or enhances the existing rank structure, but not to something that puts me back on the ground floor.  

Apparently, I'm not alone in my concerns.  There was enough uproar that today Mod Jack published a vote poll for the new Prestige.  By the time I voted, the "NO" votes outnumbers the "YES" votes by more than double.  To pass, the yes votes need to be at least 75%.  

I'm very glad Jagex is stopping to sound this out before proceeding.  Mod Jack said they would still come up with something to allow very high-level players to refine their rank even further.  I think that's a good idea, so long as they do so in a way that doesn't destroy the work of previous hours, days, months and years.

They just jumped in too soon with an ill-considered idea.  Props to Jagex for stopping to listen!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Runescape 3: New Prestige System Announced

I might be slow, but I'm working on it

Have you read about the new Prestige Hi-score system?  I just finished reading Mod Jack's dev blog, and find the concept troubling.

The new Prestige system will let you re-set any 99-level skill back to 0, and level up all over again.  Each time you do so, the exp requirement for the next 99 goes higher.  So, 26 million the second time, 39m the second time, and so on.  The more total skills you've reset, and the more times you've reset each skill, determines how you rank.

This is supposed to level the playing field, make lower-level training and supplies useful again, and give everybody a chance to shine in the high scores over and beyond the 200M maximum exp goal that has always been the ultimate until now.

This goes into effect sometime in November.  I have some serious qualms about it.  I play for fun, and worked hard for my 99's, and for the rank that comes with them.  Currently, I'm working hard to finish Dungeoneering and Divination.  My overall game rank is 5,371.  

I don't work specifically toward game rank, but there's a certain pride in having reached that level.  Prestige threatens to de-value that.  It doesn't usually bother me when a skill or an item is devalued, even if it affects something that took so much work.  But this time, it's not that easy.  For one thing, getting rank in the game will now be something you work towards specifically.  I prefer rank that simply reflects my dedication to the overall game.  If it becomes something that you have to focus on deliberately, to be honest I'll probably ignore it.  But it'll be a sad thing to lose my position in the numbers game.

The old rank system will still exist, and you have the choice to continue using it.  But in the ultra-competitive game Runescape has become, it will probably become passe.  What I'm afraid of is that this will totally destroy my own rank.  And if I fear this, it's probably safe to assume many other people will wonder, too.  On the other hand, for those super-competitive maxed players, maybe this could be a good thing.

I do know it took far... far... far too long to get each 99 the first time.  No way am I going to repeat it when there's so much more content to explore.  I still haven't beaten the Queen Black Dragon.  Or the Fight Kiln.  Or the Dominion Tower.  There are so many things to do, and they've all been waiting until I max my last two skills.

To all those who look forward to the new Prestige System, I truly hope you enjoy it.  No hard feelings.  But for me, I'm dreading it.  Guess we'll find out when it gets here.