What's New at Amazon.com

Friday, December 31, 2010

Runescape Book for Christmas, and Mr. Mordaut Random Event

 Got the Runescape book, Betrayal at Falador; haven't started it yet, but it's going into my "books to be read" stack, pretty near the top!
I haven't been playing too much over Christmas.  Aside from the usual holiday upheavals, I wound up with strep throat over the entire weekend.  If I logged into Runescape at all, it was mainly to update my grand exchange transactions.  If I let them sit unattended, it tends to lose money rather than make money.
I've finally bitten the bullet and tried to beat Jad in the fight cave.  Getting there takes forever, but is easy enough to do.  But Jad?  I really stink at prayer switching.  The first time he killed me before I even saw him.  The second time, I got to see him, and managed to survive for a few seconds before he took me out.  Getting there is such a pain, I hate spending an hour or two only to be killed right away.  I wish they had a 'practice Jad'.  Something that lets you walk right in, fight him, but get no rewards if you win.  Then you could go for the real thing with a better chance of success.  Oh well, if they made it too easy it would devalue the fire cape.  I'll just keep at it.  If a million monkeys on a million keyboards in a million years can randomly result in a bestselling book, then sooner or later I should be able to win just through sheer persistence.  I wish I could devote some serious time to practice, but I'll have to make do with one or two tries a week.
In the meantime, I got my favorite random event this weekend.  I'm speaking of "Surprise Exam", with Mr. Mordaut the erudite dragon.  I like the way he looks and acts.  The graphics are excellent, and the way he takes his glasses off and examines them really does make me think of a teacher I once had.  It's pretty cool too when he thumps the desk.  His classroom is fun, with plenty of characters at their desks. (and the imp marching a circle in his dunce cap!)

But, as enjoyable as all these features are, that's not why I love his event.  The part I really like is the payoff... The Book of Knowledge!  Where most randoms give you the genie lamp, Mr Mordaut's book of knowledge gives 'pay and a half'.  It pays out half again better than the genie lamp!

Most randoms are just annoying, even with the experience reward.  Though it's much better since the update that allows you to choose your own reward.  Not going to turn down the smaller rewards, but I like Mr Mordaut the best.  He and his classroom have a lot of personality, and the rewards are more worthwhile.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Runescape Firemaking: How to Light Fires Faster

Firemaking is one of those 'easy' skills.  It's even free... if you don't mind all the time it takes!  It's not one of my favorite skills to level up because you have to pay intense attention.  I like skills where I can set the ball rolling, then tab my browser to something else.  Fishing is cool, cooking, some types of combat.  With the advent of the Elite Tasks, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and level my firemaking up to 92, so that I can get the Varrock Elite Armor 4.
Since firemaking takes all my attention, I want to make it go as quickly as possible.  Off and on over the years, I've occasionally noticed that with perfect timing, you can hit a very efficient rhythm that allows you to light a fire, step west, light a fire, step west, without all the spinning around, kneeling, and tinderbox animations.
The trick is in getting started correctly, then maintaining a perfect timing.  It's really sped up my firemaking.  I've never seen anybody else do it, and never found a guide that mentions the trick.
So this morning, while I was waiting on the rest of the household to wake up, I put together a very slapdash video that shows the proper timing.  I couldn't do a really nice video.  My computer lags even when I'm not doing anything but play Runescape.  When I try to record a video at the same time as play Runescape, it goes so slowly that it just isn't worth the effort.

I really wanted to make the video, so I used my Flip MinoHD camera on a tripod in front of the screen.  I've really enjoyed my new Flip.  Been using it for anything from personal family videos, to business videos, to projects like this one, though admittedly this one would have looked better if my computer was fast enough to record on-screen video while playing Runescape.  That's the drawback of having a 6-year old computer.  On the other hand, I assembled this computer myself from the best bits and pieces that were available at the time, so it's held up far better than an off-the-shelf computer would have.

The video is annotated with instructions for proper timing.  So watch the video, get the hang of it, and supercharge your firemaking!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Runescape: Soloing the King Black Dragon... and Getting the King Black Dragon Heads!

I've played Runescape all these years, yet never fought the King Black Dragon.  Mainly because I don't like team combat.  I'd rather fight by myself.  And I'd been under the impression the King Black Dragon needs a team to defeat.  Then Runescape mentioned the King Black Dragon recently. 

On a whim, I Googled for a guide to Soloing the King Black Dragon.  Found several.  Decided to try him.  Put on all my prayer gear... Proselyte armor, the cape from Nomad's Requiem, etc.  Grabbed a whip, a Dragonfire Shield, and a Fury.  Stocked up my inventory.  Summoned a Steel Titan.
Once I was as prepared as I could be, took a Games Necklace to the Wilderness Volcano, zipped across to the Lava Maze, and climbed down the ladder.  Then, with great trepidation, I tiptoed into the King's lair, prepared to do an emergency evacuation if he turned out too dangerous.
Not so tough any more, are you?

Ummm... okay, you're probably laughing at me right now.  Yeah, he turned out to be no big deal.  I used protect from Melee (actually, the Ancient Curses version).  Boosted my stats with Turmoil, and killed him somewhere between 8 and 10 times before having to head back to the bank.
So, the King Black Dragon turned out okay.  Couldn't ignore him while I read the forums... he could be fatal if you're not paying attention... but not too bad.  I wound up enjoying fighting him.  And he gave me some decent drops.  I got 200 Yew logs, which is handy since I'm trying to raise my firemaking.  Picked up a fair number of Fire and Air Runes.  Odds and ends.  Nothing great, but not a waste of time, either.
All in all, I should have tried him a lot sooner.  Now maybe I can get a mounted King Black Dragon head for my Player Owned Home!

Update:   The above blog was written after my first trip to the King.  Before I even posted it, I went back and fought the King again.  Mainly to get a picture or two for this blog.  Much to my surprise, he dropped the KBD head!  According to the Wiki page, the King Black Dragon heads are supposed to be extremely rare.  I know about rare...  it's taken weeks sometimes to get a whip drop sometimes.  And I spent more than 2 months doing nothing but dragons to get a Draconic Visage.  So, expected to be doing the King Black Dragon for a long time before getting the head... or heads?  Anyway, got the heads.  Fast. 
Went to Canifis, got it stuffed.

Had to remove the Abyssal Demon Head first.  I kind of hated to, but the KBD head is much cooler.

Once the Abyssal Head was gone, up went the King's heads.  They look really awesome, and can talk to you.  The whole conversation is kind of long, and very funny. 

While I was snapping shots of the wall mount, one of my baby black dragons wandered into the shot.  So you'll see him below as well:

I don't know if it's usually that easy to get the heads or not, having never heard any numbers, but for me?  It took a grand total of 3 trips, slightly less than 30 kills.  I'm pretty tickled!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Runescape Christmas 2010 - O Little Town of Daemonhelm

Last night Monique and I did the new Runescape Christmas adventure, O Little Town of Daemonhelm.  Not too hard, though at one point I was very (VERY) frustrated.  To start, we both got the holiday cracker, and when we used ours on each other, it gave us a golden hammer.  The hammer has a couple of cool emotes, brandish, which is only semi-cool, and spin, which I like a lot.  Then we did the "Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe" thing and entered the magic cupboard in Varrock. 
(Monique and me getting ready to start- isn't she cute?)
When you arrive, Thorvar Crittersmash, a Fremmenik who looks remarkably like Santa (but denies it vehemently) needs your help.  You have to collect some things he's lost, as you navigate a series of room puzzles.

The first one was pretty basic, just a nice Christmas-style Runescape version of Simon Says.  No real problem, just repeat the sequence of tones.
For the next room, it was a Runescape version of Red Light, Green Light.  Monique had found a reference to using the bone Brooch or the Easter Ring, but it didn't mention what to do with it.  I brought my Easter Ring, and played with it while trying to complete the game.  Since I didn't know how it was supposed to work, I got sent back quite often.  But finally, at one point, I realized I was walking instead of crawling, but I had no run energy, so I walked all the way.  It was much easier than crawling.  Found out later that an energy potion would have given me back my run, and it would have been much quicker that way.  No big deal, I had fun whichever way it went.
Next up was the Seal Slide.  This one I liked, but it gave Monique fits.  The somewhat random delay when you change direction makes it pretty difficult to steer through the gaps.  It took me a few tries.  It took Monique more than a few...  and she was getting a bit 'testy' about it!
On the other hand, the next room just about drove me crazy.  I got the snow maker easily enough, and the ice skates.  But exiting the final door... I never found the pattern, and with just random attempts, it took me a LONG time to get out. 
I was pretty aggravated at that point, but quickly relaxed with the next part.
The last room you had to catch a Santa-hat-wearing crab.  It kind of reminded me of Whack-a-mole.  Took several tries, but eventually, the crab wound up in the bucket.

After that, we talked with Santa... excuse me, I mean Thorvar, for the wrap up.  We got some emotes, a couple of reward items, and the chance to play the Heimland Games.  The games are just basic silliness. Monique and I built some snowmen together, pelted each other with snowballs, and skidded around the ice patch.  Then we found the seal slide.  She had had enough, but I turned into a seal and slid around till I had enough.

On the whole, it was an entertaining bit of fluff.  Like most holiday events, it was just for fun.  Though I noticed while talking with Brandt, the Fremmenik Chief, he mentioned a great white wolf rampaging around killing and maiming people.  Monique teleported over to see, but couldn't find any Great White Wolf.  I'm guessing it's subtle foreshadowing of some impending quest.  Hope it's fun!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Runescape Distractions and Diversions: Remember the Evil Tree?

In the process of daily Runescape play, I often get stuck in a rut and forget all the options available to me.  One such fun Disctraction and Diversion is the Evil Tree.  Monique and I used to enjoy the evil tree on a daily basis, but as our Runescape goals changed, we kind of forgot about the tree.
Currently, I'm trying to build up my bank account with grand exchange flipping, and in the meantime, working up my woodcutting and firemaking.  So here I was, running from the Grand Exchange toward the Gnome Spirit Tree in the northeast corner of the exchange enclosure, when some roots popped out of the ground and tripped me!  That hasn't happened in a while, so it caught my interest.
Since I was already geared up to go chop down trees, and was running toward the Spirit Tree, I checked for the evil tree.  I guess I was a bit early, because it couldn't teleport me yet, just told me it was slightly outside of Varrock.  Without going anywhere, I spun my view around to look up and down the wall, but no luck.  So I checked back with the Spirit tree, and in that short a time, the teleport option was enabled.  So I teleported straight over, found out the Evil Tree was a Yew, and told Monique.  She was in the middle of her own thing, but decided to teleport in and join the fun.
Either we came at a good time, a good location, or just the fact it was a Yew, because there was a nice-sized group of us cutting that tree down to size.  I usually bring an axe, and a tinderbox, and some leftover evil tree roots to get my fires started quickly.  My first goal is to light up the entire base perimeter of the tree.  Once I've managed that I try to cut at the main trunk as much as possible, you get more experience, and faster, that way.  So Monique and I were having fun, checking out the levels and equipment of our fellow woodcutters.  With so many others, it went pretty quickly.  Before we knew it, we were on our way back to our normal play.  But for a few minutes, we'd had some fun together, gained some experience, gold, and yew logs.  Oh, and Monique got a birds nest with an acorn, while I received a Willow seed.  So I got bragging rights for the best reward... at least for this time!
In the picture below, I'm the guy wearing the Cyclopean Mask/helmet.  (See previous blog.)  Still having fun with it!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Runescape Updates - Dragon Defender and Cyclopean Mask

Below are pics comparing the Dragon and Rune Defenders

It's about time we had some updates just for fun!  The Dragon Defender, and the Cyclopean Mask, are exactly that.  I took a break from my normal routine to try and get the Dragon Defender.  Didn't care one way or the other about the mask, but I wanted the Defender.  In my typical prepare-way-too-much fashion, I went to the Warrior's Guild, and did the Suit-of-empty-armor combat until I had 3,400 points saved up.  Then I went upstairs.  The Cyclopes room was way too full of everybody else wanting one.  So I went away.  After checking off and on, Friday night my chance finally came.  It was crowded, but not horrible.  So I staked a corner of the room, and waited for a chance.
I like to play nice.  Honor, and all.  But one guy there made it personal.  Every time he beat me to a Cyclops, he made a rude comment.  So I used a trick I don't usually do.  It's not fair, and it has a chance of taking a monster away from somebody who's already begun combat.  No, I'm not going to share it. It's not good sportsmanship.  But I made an exception for him.
I will share a different tip, though... don't chase monsters as they appear.  If I stand in one place and wait, I have a pretty good chance of getting mine.  If you keep chasing them wherever they show up, someone closer will get it, and then someone beats you to the one where you had been.  If there's a lot of competition, just wait for your chosen monster to regenerate, and try to be the first to hit.
And be nice!  Just because you beat someone to it, there's no need to rub it in their faces.  Enough about that...
Back to the Dragon Defender.  Within a few minutes of fighting, a Cyclossus attacked.  He didn't wait for me, he just jumped in before I realized he was there.  These are pretty cool.  Oversized, fast moving, excellent special attacks.  At level 138, using Dragon melee defense and no prayer, I had to eat 2 Rocktail while we were fighting.  His attack looked like he was throwing lightning.  Occasionally, he'll knock you backward.  You skid until something stops you, then you're stunned.  Overall, fighting the Cyclossus is fun and fast-paced.  My first one dropped a Cyclopean Mask.  I wasn't trying for one, but since I got it, I really like it.  No combat stats at all, it's just for decoration, but it looks pretty wicked.  And it's GE value is about 173,000 gold, though I plan to keep mine.
Shortly after that, a normal Cyclops dropped a Dragon Defender.  Total time fighting?  About 10 minutes.
Again, I go overboard... I wanted 2, so one could be a 'placeholder' in my bank.  It took about 10 more minutes, and I had my second one.
So, either I was incredibly lucky, or they're not that hard to get.  Since the Dragon Defender is not tradeable, I guess it really doesn't matter how fast they drop, or how many you have.  All I know is, I still have about 2,800 points to use up there.  I may go back once the big rush is over.  Just for fun, and maybe a Cyclossus.

Now here's the Cyclopean Mask (and the defender):

If you want a Dragon Defender, I'd say go to the Warrior's Guild and give it a shot.  It's a lot easier than I expected.  As far as the mask, I suspect getting one from my first Cyclossus was just plain luck.  But it's a lot of fun trying!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Runescape's New Master Quest - Do No Evil

Well, I'm a bit behind the times.  Normally Monique and I try to do the quests about as soon as they come out.  But being December, our eBay sales and Hubpages require a lot of time.  Plus being a Master quest and rated as a "long" quest, it seemed best to plan our time appropriately.  So we held off till Friday after work, and took the entire evening off to play through Do No Evil.
I have to say, Do No Evil was a fun quest.  I really enjoyed it.  The puzzles were mildly challenging, but not game-stoppers.  The boss combats were fun, and again, mildly challenging, but never a threat.  Monique did have to stop in mid-fight with one of the bosses, but only because she was wearing the wrong equipment.  Once she picked more effective gear (specifically, she thought a Magic Shortbow would be sufficient, and of course, that means no shield.  When she got her Rune Crossbow and Dragonfire Shield, she had no problem.)  The sound effects during one fight in particular were very effective... kind of a persistent beat like a big kettle drum, made me feel like I was in a very dangerous situation.  Really added to the ambience.
 The puzzles were pretty good.  I enjoyed the banana puzzle, even though Monique beat it much faster than I did.  I tend to do better at combat, she excels in observation and puzzle-solving.  The Choc-Ice thing could have been worse, but if your spellcasting level is high enough, it's not really a problem.  There was one point that I needed to switch back to human on Ape Atoll, and nowhere safe in sight.  But if you walk into one of the little huts, and go up the ladder, you can change to human, cast your spell on the choc ice, and change back to ape, all with no interruptions from the overzealous guards. (pic below)
It beats being teleported to the prison and having to escape. 

I enjoyed building my own little ape outpost, and setting up the carpet ride.  Since Monique and I do the penguins every week, I think that will give us a great access point to help find the desert penguins. 
The story was an enjoyable one, and I really sympathized with Apmeken.  What happened to her was deliciously horrible, and I felt good about being able to restore her to her proper self. 
The rewards were nice;  I prefer high-level weapons or armor, like Korasi's Sword from "The Void Stares Back".  But still, the Cramulet is cool because it combines several unique amulets and saves bank space.  The experience rewards were very good.  I liked the amounts. 
If you're looking for a quest guide, sorry, this was meant more as a commentary.  Rune HQ has an excellent guide here :  RuneHQ Do No Evil Guide

This has definitely been one of my favorite quests.  Not too hard, not too easy, and the puzzles were reasonable.  (I usually hate puzzles!)  Below are some images taken during the quest.  Nothing thorough, just an occasional snapshot to help show the mood of the quest.

 Facing Ayuni

Monique learning what happened to Apmeken
Wrapping it up

The Rewards
Monique and I riding off into the sunset