What's New at Amazon.com

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Runescape: Time for a change of pace!

Finally, a change of pace!  I've been chopping Ivy behind Varrock Castle for so long, I feel like King Roald has sentenced me to a lifetime of hard labor...

The work is never finished
But after a long long time, the elusive '99' came to visit me.  Got the Woodcutting skillcape.  The emote for it was nice, but nothing that really called out to me.  So far my favorite is the Prayer Skillcape emote.  That one looks pretty cool.  The fishing one was surprisingly nice.  But the Woodcutting emote was just... nice.  Still, that's one more 99 down.  I'm not even halfway done, so it'll be ages before I get the Max Skillcape.  I'm maybe a third of the way there.

Just as Woodcutting hit the 99 mark, Jagex released the Christmas 2011 content.  Which, coincidentally, was Tuesday, the same day as the penguins are updated.  So last night, Monique and I did the Christmas 2011 event, and also our weekly Penguin Hunt.  By the way, the hunt this week has 3 penguins in the wilderness, and pk'ers were definitely out there stalking for prey.  For some strange reason, all three were easy to find, and we wrapped up our last three penguins quickly.  It was my first view of the new Wilderness Graphics update.  Nice look to it all, but the main improvement I could see was the lava.  It has a very cool bubbling and boiling effect now.

On to the big deal of the day... Runescape's Christmas 2011 event.  Graphically, Runescape is getting better and better.  The overall landscape is being improved and updated constantly, new quests show off great improvements, and in-game the changes have been quietly making the game more fun to play.  A far cry from the problems most of us suffered during the bot-nuking thing.  (Which I approved of, but I'm glad they've fixed most of the problems.)

Back to the winter wonder... I really liked the look of all the characters and environment in  the update.  The colors, the snow, the npc's facial epxressions... excellent job, and kudos to Jagex.  The content itself?  A mixed bag, but overall enjoyable.  Wasn't too fond of the snow-on-the-floor puzzle.  It wasn't horrible, I just don't like that kind of puzzle.  Can't cater to everybody every time, and I don't expect them to.  The cooking scene, though?  That was laugh-out-loud funny.  The rest of it fell somewhere between those two, with a new pet and a fun wand as memorable rewards.  And, as someone told me last night, he likes the 'tube-sock' Christmas Snake better than my baby Jad.  I think he was just trying to annoy me, but still, he's right to the point that the Snake is nice.  Graphically, he's quite funny.  I would have called him a sock puppet without eyes.  But if you talk to him, he has quite a few conversational options, and lots of things to make you laugh.  I like the snake too.  :^)

The wand, it's fun for  a while.  You wield it, and click on someone else.  It's like casting a spell on them, only the wand throws random items at the other player.  Monique and I had a minor cupcake fight, some fun, some laughs, then put our new toys away.  By the way, Diango will hold your Wand for you if you choose to destroy it.  You can also put it in your Player owned house.  You can't destroy the snake, and I'm afraid if I dismiss him, I won't be able to get him back.  But Monique was able to put hers in the house toybox.  That's good, but he pitches a fit at you for abandoning him to the toybox.  Say's you're as bad as the wizards, and does not like to be put away.  So mine's in the bank, until I get up the nerve to 'toybox' him!

Now, I'm back to ordinary Runescape.  Haven't decided if I'm going straight for my next 99, or if I'm going to play around with other things, but for now, I'm in the Lava Flow mine.  Unofficial world is 71.  I don't really like all the immature conversations that go on around me, and for the most part, I just ignore what people say.  But it's far easier to follow the crowd when the flow blockage moves, which makes it worth staying in world 71.  Given time and boredom, I might go do some Gold mining in the Living Rock caverns as well.  But the Lava Flow mine is easy, doesn't require my complete attention, and I can catch up on my reading while I play.

At least the Gold Mining Armour helps.  With the full set, there's a bonus of 2 or 3 points with each successful hit.  Not very much, but I'm level 90 Mining right now.  2 or 3 points at a time from 90 to 99, that could add up to a lot of bonus points over time.  So, unless I get bored, you can likely see me and Baby Jad on world 71 mining at the Lava Flow.  Say hi if you do... but remember, I'm probably reading a book;  if I don't notice you, don't be upset, just drop a friendly 'Hi' in the comments here!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Runescape 99 Woodcutting: Might as well make it official

I guess it's official by now.  Having been undecided on my next big goal for some weeks now, I've been cutting Ivy behind Varrock Castle.  By my last post, it was pretty clear I had unintentionally set myself up to get 99 Woodcutting.  At this point, I've given in to the inevitable and sunk my teeth in the bit.  That 99's going to be mine.  At the start of this phase, my Woodcutting was early 90's, maybe as high as 92.  Sorry, just don't remember at the moment.  By now, it's up to 97, and about a third of the way to the next level.

Look like the same picture as last time?  That's because I'm standing at the same wall cutting down the same ivy as last time.
One thing I didn't realize, was how many birds nests are dropped cutting ivy.  I do wear a rabbit's foot necklace, which is supposed to help make nests drop more often.  It's been quite nice, selling off a few extra crushed nests, rings, and seeds for an additional bonus.  Mostly the seeds are junk, like acorns, but occasionally they're quite nice.  A couple of days ago I got a Magic Tree seed, Yew Seed, and Spirit Tree seed, back to back.  Can't sell the Spirit seeds, but they're great farming experience.  And I made a good chunk of change that day from selling the seeds and nests all together.

I've mentioned this before, but since there's no 'direct' income to be made from cutting ivy, it's a good opportunity to flip at the Grand Exchange.  I haven't had as much luck with flipping since the return of the wilderness and unrestricted trading, and it's gotten even slower since the bot-nuking day.  But it still works.  It's just that my old favorites don't have enough margin any more.  I used to do great with Pure Essence, maple logs, and the like.  Seems like something has to be a lot more expensive now to have any margin for profit.  At least the time limits are gone.  I can buy and sell trade limits without having to wait 4 hours.

Since my playing is pretty focused, I haven't gotten to experience much of the new updates, as far back (and including) the Dominion Tower.  It sounds like fun, but my combat stats are maxed.  I'll try it sooner or later.  Same with the Polypore dungeon.  Haven't been yet, though it sounds like a lot of fun.  I like the idea of an entire mage-combat-centric dungeon.

I did fill the new tool belt, even though it took a little work to get some of the pieces.  It may not be a high-visibility glamorous update, but in it's own quiet way, it's a very useful update, and will continue to be for as long as I'm playing.  It's nice to have all those basic tools on hand all the time, and not wasting an inventory space to have them.  I've been using it to crush birds nests, chip house teletabs for alternate destinations, and light fires.  It's especially great when I go penguin hunting, because my inventory is usually pretty full carrying all the possible teleports, runes, and general junk I find useful while chasing down the weekly penguins.

I like the concept of the Money Pouch, but it's got a couple of rough edges.  The idea of a safe-upon-death pouch to keep your money in is very cool.  Even though it DOES NOT protect your money if you die in the wilderness, that's quite understandable.  There are two problems though that baffle me.  They seemed like an oversight at first, but since Jagex has not yet corrected the problems, now I'm not sure.  The first, is the glitch when you're buying battlestaves at Naff's Staffs.  Even with money in your pouch, it says you do not have enough money.  You have to remove enough from your pouch into your inventory, to buy battlestaffs.  Should be a simple fix, but it's been days (nearly a week now?) and no change, or even mention from Jagex.  The other complaint is related.  When you remove money from the pouch, there should be an 'All' option.  Whether it's going into your inventory, or back to the bank, I hate having to type a specific amount in for every transfer.  A simple 'transfer all' option would make it perfect.

Oh well, minor complaints.  It's a step in a good direction.  I like most of these minor-improvement updates.  They make the game more fun, more playable.  Last night was penguin night, and it was my first time to run into the new npc interfaces.  I like them greatly.  The options are commonsense, look good, and are far far easier to manage.  Great job on the conversational update.  I've only seen it in a few places so far, but it looks very good!

Generally, I focus like a laser.  One thing, don't stop until done.  With the woodcutting, I'm actually considering taking entertainment breaks.  Do a little dungeoneering, fish, some agility.  Maybe even Jad.  On the other hand, it's going quite well, very easy skill to level, and all I need is 98 and 99.  Maybe I'll just tough it out.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Runescape: Clearing Ivy off the back of Varrock Castle

Haven't been doing anything too exciting recently.  Last time, I had just finished getting 99 Fishing, and wasn't sure what to do next.  Not that there aren't plenty of things to do, just hadn't made up my mind yet.

To kill some time while thinking it over, I decided to do a bit of flipping at the Grand Exchange, and chop down ivy behind Varrock Castle.  Well, that was about 5 levels ago.  I'm not doing a lot of flipping, but chopping ivy is easy, non-stressful, and I don't have to give it my total attention.  So, for a change of pace, it seems I'll be here for a while getting my Woodcutting 99.  At the moment, it's at 95, and very close to the next level.  Then there'll just be 97, 98, and 99 to  go.  I know, it sounds so easy that way.  Still, it's only a matter of time and persistence.

In between, of course Monique and I are still doing penguins, and trolls once a month.  I put all my 'free' exp points into Dungeoneering.  I actually enjoy Dungeoneering, but don't like team play.  At most I'll do a few levels with Monique, but she doesn't care for it as much as I do, so it's mainly a solo skill for me.  Being solo, the experience rate is horrendous.  Which is why all my bonus exp points always go to Dungeoneering.  Kind of balances out the slowness of it.  Hopefully, this will let me get to deeper dungeons faster, where the experience is... improved, at least.  It's a good thing DG'ing is fun!

Runescape hasn't done much in the way of updates, aside from trying to recover after all the problems caused from the bot-nuking effort.  I still applaud them for their effort, but it's been a rough time for a lot of players.  The lag/frame rate has been so bad for Monique, she nearly quit playing, and definitely doesn't play as much any more because of it.  That's sad.  I really enjoy the fact that we play side by side.

Still, this month has some notable positive changes.  I especially like the extra bank space (long overdue and much appreciated!) and the toolbelt.  Not totally thrilled with the money pouch.  I'd like the money pouch better if it had an 'All' option.  I hate having to type specific amounts of gold any time I want to just drop it all in the bank, or back in the pouch.  There's also a few glitches, like when I try to buy my daily battlestaves, I'm told I have no money.  Even though it's all in the pouch.  It has to be withdrawn from the pouch, put in my inventory, purchase the staves, then put back in the pouch.  Should be an easy fix, and I expect it to be corrected soon.  Hopefully, they'll address the 'All' option at the same time.  Then I'd be totally happy with the money pouch.
As far as the toolbelt, it's a pretty cool idea, and I've already found it useful as I crush bird nests while woodcutting.  Being a freak for thoroughness, of course I had to get every single item that the toolbelt can hold.  It was going pretty well until I tried to get a new Unholy Symbol.  I didn't have any more in my bank, but Scorpius (not sure if I remember his name right) over by the ZMI altar refused to give me a new one.  After thinking it over for a while, Monique remembered we'd used it making the Ivandis Flail.  So the solution was to take any Ivandis Flails in the bank, carry the with me to Scorpius' spirit, drop them on the ground, and talk to him.  Once you've gotten your Unholy Symbol, pick the flails back up, and it's done.

So after a slight hitch, my toolbelt is finally completely full.  Life is good.

Still haven't visited the Dominion tower, or the Polypore dungeons.  They both sound fun, but I tend to focus intently and right now, it's all about the woodcutting.  Maybe if I take a short break I can stop in for a visit.  They both sound pretty fun.

In the meantime, if you happen to be running behind Varrock Castle and see someone chopping ivy with their Baby Jad, it's probably me.  Wave hi!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Runescape: 99 Fishing? Check!

Well, that turned out to be easy.  Finally got my 99 Fishing.  Started with 157k left to go in the afternoon.  I've been fishing Rocktail, it's decent experience and a good profit.  Getting from 97 to 99 has actually built my bankroll back up enough to start flipping small items again.  After buying Bandos armor, and getting Herblore high enough to make Overloads, I needed to work on a money MAKING skill for a change.

When I first logged in, Monique and I took a few minutes to do the Thanksgiving 2011 bonus content.  It was nice-ish, though one of the simplest holiday bonuses I can remember.  Talk to the turkey, talk to the king.  Run 3 very simple and close-by errands, all done.  Okay, getting a new pet, the Turkey, was kind of sort of neat.  Well done graphics, and a nice final cutscene.  Still, nothing at all as complex as the Halloween content.

I can't say I disliked it, but I wasn't really impressed, either.  I'm glad I did it, because I like to complete all quests and events as they come out.  But I dismissed my pet turkey.  I'll let Diango store him for me.  I need my bank space.  To be fair, this is probably very cool content if you're fairly new at Runescape.  But for experienced players, it's nothing more than another box to check off in the list of things to do.

So back to the fishing.  It's been a long time since I've looked at all the skillcape emotes.  I nearly didn't get a fishing skillcape, because it's such an easy skill to 99 in.  Just a matter of taking your time and not being  in a hurry.  It's a great skill to work on while watching a movie, reading a book, or eating lunch...

Anyway, I don't remember the Fishing Skillcape Emote being this nice.  Now I'm glad I bought the cape.  :^)

So, as usual, after finishing a goal, the big question is... what next?

I haven't decided yet.  I'll probably goof around for a while before setting a new 'big' goal.  I've been chopping ivy behind Castle Varrock, while flipping at the Grand Exchange.  For me, flipping is a lot slower now than it used to be.  But it still works.  And it's a great thing to train hand in hand with slower skills.  Woodcutting, mining, I've got a long way to go on both of those, they should see me through while I build my bank back up.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Runescape: Fishing for a 99

It's been a while since my last post.  So, okay, here's a quick synopsis of what I've been doing:
Bored, Bored, Bored…

 Okay, a little more detail-   After all the excitement of learning how to kill Jad (it's been a long time in the works, and more than a little drama involved), I wasn't sure what to do with myself.  A little here, a little there.  A bit of Barrows.  Some flipping at the GE.  A quest or some new content as it's available.  Penguin hunting.  But mainly, going for my fishing 99. 

I know, right?  Boring.  But I was pretty close to 98 just kind of by accident.  For lack of anything else really appealing, I figured it couldn't be that hard to get the 99.  It was pretty easy to get 98.  But I keep forgetting how much raw experience it takes to get a 99. 

Finally, it's getting pretty close.  Baby Jad's been down in the Living Rock Caverns with me, catching Rocktail.  It's a shame he can't learn some tricks.  That would be kind of fun.  But anyway, at the moment I'm about 212k away.  Not getting there tonight, it's almost 1am.  But soon. 

Really, now, what's the point?  It's not like fishing is a cool skill.  Certainly not that interesting.  Though it does make a good skill to work on while I build and paint a model at my desk.  Or write this blog…
And it's not a rare skill.  No excitement on any front whatsoever.

At this point, you've got to be wondering why the heck I'm writing this?  I know I'd be asking that question right about now. 

Which brings me back to my initial point… Bored.  Bored, bored, bored.

Yeah, writing this is helping to pass the time.  But also, it's been a while since I wrote a new blog.  I don't like to go too long without a new one.  Got to keep up the habit.

Anybody else working on a boring skill for the 99?  We can compare boredom together  :^)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Runescape Fight Cave: Waves 1 - 61 Guide

It's all over.  I finally learned how to beat Jad, in a normal, average, repeatable way.  Posted the video on Youtube, linked to it in my blog.  For fun, I even took a knockout aura with me, and it worked.  Jad got owned by the Blue Light Special!
Now, I've decided to post the video guide to the 'other' part of the Fight Cave.  The part where you fight wave after endless wave of monsters just for the privilege of facing TzTok-Jad. 

I had worked on technique for a long time.  Finally found a hybrid style that works well for me.  Given how sloppy I am at combat, that's saying a lot.  But like I said, it works.  I get to Jad with plenty of supplies left, and in very good shape.  It actually uses melee, ranging, and magic. 

To begin with, my style was pure ranging.  Worked, but I got there after more than 2 hours.  Needless to say, I really hated spending 2 hours just to get killed by Jad within seconds.  Then I found a guide in youtube that recommended a pure melee approach.  Tried it.  Wow, really fast.  Got there in around 40 minutes... if I got there at all.  Yes, I found out that if my attention wandered even a little bit, they tended to kill me.  Tried a mixed melee/ranged method.  Better, but slow.  And I couldn't always arrange things to use Soul Split and heal.  Gave me some real trouble.

Then I saw a video of someone Blood Barraging Jad.  It really struck a chord with me.  Heal, attack with magic, pray against those pesky 360s...all at the same time!  Now I was cooking with gas! 

Barrage really worked in getting me to Jad.  I made a few attempts to beat Jad with Barrage, but that wasn't so effective.  Still, it got me to Jad, and in just over an hour.  Seemed a fair enough compromise between speed and safety. 

Once I nailed the technique down, I recorded it and posted an entire trip on Youtube.  But I didn't just upload the video.  I edited the heck out of it.  Put my equipment and inventory at the beginning.  Annotated comments all over the video, and included clickable links to go directly to any wave.

  It was a lot of work, and took several days.  Now it's done.  I hope you like it!

Runescape: Fight Caves- Finally learned how to beat Jad with Ranged

It's been a long time coming.  From earlier this year, when I learned to beat Jad in the Fight Caves, using Ancient Curses/Deflect Prayers... to the day I found out they nerfed the Ancient Curses method... to last week.  Last week, I finally decided to get serious about Jad.  I've beaten him in the past, have earned 2 baby Jads as pets, and it just doesn't feel right that I can't beat him any more.
I've wanted to mess with him for months, but there's always something else to work on.  Those other goals kept getting in the way.  But about a week ago, the mood descended upon me, and it was time to learn the Zen of Jad.  Again.
For nearly a week, I tried different things, kept going back, got stomped on by Jad.  Over and over.  But that's okay now.  Way back when, I learned how to beat Jad just because I wanted the Taskmaster emote, which required all the elite tasks to be accomplished.  One of those requirements was to own a Fire Cape, which of course means I had to defeat Jad.
Basically, I didn't want to fight Jad, but had to in order to get another goal.  So I really hated it.  This time, my motivation was unclouded by hidden agendas.  I just wanted to learn how to beat the Fight Cave.
Many players just sail through the cave, making it look easy.  "Look, I beat Jad with a spoon!"... "Look, I beat Jad with 1 prayer point!"... tons of creative players showing off how good they are.
Not me.  My combat skills are atrocious.  I survive most fights because I've got maxed combat stats.  If it requires real skill, I'm sunk.  Nomad took me over a week to beat.  Jad just seemed way beyond my abilities.

This time, though... it was different.  I kept going back, persistently.  Once or twice a day.  Each time I'd try something different, learn a little more.  Without realizing, I was actually practising.  A lot.

Last night, I finally took him on, using the traditional ranged approach.  It was a thing of beauty.  I was in the zone.  No panic, no fear, no mistakes.  Once Jad and I squared off, every step went perfectly.  For my first time ever, I ranged Jad to halfway, popped the each of the healers with a bolt, got them lined up, and finished Jad.  Finishing him off with the Knockout Aura was just icing on the cake.

I know, probably not a big deal to most players.  But for me, it's huge.  Now I feel like I can beat Jad (nearly) every time I go.

I got good at Jad by accidentally practicing too much...How cool is that?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Runescape: You Can have 2 Baby Jads!

2 Baby Jads!
TzRek-Jad.  Baby Jad.  By now, if you've read nearly ANY of my posts since the original announcement of baby Jad, you know I'm sort of attached to him.  Strike that... better description... I'm sort of obsessed with him.  Long story, been told multiple times, but the short of it is, I really have an odd obsession about TzRek-Jad.

That said, went through some crazy effort, wound up getting him about 3 weeks after his release.

Okay, so all's cool, I'm pleased as punch with him, and life is good.  But, I've had the intent of someday going back to Soul Wars, and getting 100 more Zeal.. for a Baby Jad in the house menagerie.  Yes, I know that's a bit crazy.  Like I said...

Up until Thursday, I had no intention of pursuing it any time soon.  I really hated Soul Wars.  But this week was Jagex's vaunted Bot-Nuking Extravaganza.  Aside from dealing the bots a crippling blow, they released several bonus events in celebration.  One of those events... triple experience for a full day in Soul Wars.
 Knowing this in advance, I figured to do what I could Thursday evening.  However much it turned into would be that much closer to Jad number 2.  About 9:30 in the evening my time, after the daily update, Monique and I both sat down to score some Zeal.  Triple points?  Usually you get 1 point for losing, 2 for a draw, and 3 to win.  With the bonus, it's 3 points to lose, 6 for a draw, and 9 to win.  This adds up amazingly fast.

As much as I really hate playing Soul Wars, I got wrapped up in the intensity, and watching those points add up.  Friday was already booked solid, so I knew this was my only chance to take advantage of the triple Zeal points.  At some time early in the morning hours, I decided I was still wired, and had amazingly garnered 70 points already... so pushed until it was done.  By 6:00 this morning, I had Baby Jad number 2!!

That gives about an hour and a half to sleep before work.  But I don't regret it.  Drank some extra coffee, plowed through work, I can sleep some other time.
 Now Jad Junior's in the house.  And in the bank.  One for the menagerie, and one to hang out with me while I play.  I know.  Strange goal, insane effort, but it meant something to me, and I'm very very satisfied to have 2 baby TzRek-Jads.  I've done some Google and Youtube searches, and as far as I can tell, I'm the only one so far to have 2 of them.

Who knew?  Jad's a Dad... and it's twins!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Runescape: Dungeoneering, Night Spiders, Shadow Silk Hood, and Haasgenaak

Note:  Again, no pictures... When Runescape updated their client, my screencapture (Howies) is no longer able to capture images from the client.  But I didn't know this, and thought I took pictures of everything mentioned in today's blog.  Bad luck, no pics.  I have a new screencap program now... and it works!

Still working on Dungeoneering.  Soloing a Chaotic Rapier's going to take a while.  At this point, I wouldn't object to teaming for a while, but from what I see on the forums, it's difficult to efficiently team with total strangers for a short-term basis.  Between trouble finding someone who wants to do the same levels I do, and then trying to work on a schedule we can all agree on... and then just trying to work together as a team... it sounds like I'm better off just continuing to solo.

Anyway, so I just made it to level 43 for the first time last night.  It was an interesting trip.  Ran into Flesh-Spoiler Haasgenaak, who spits his eyeball at you then reels it back in on a tether.  Talk about a gross attack!  Blood squirts, his eye hits me, and I'm just wanting to wipe all the slime off before I even try to hit him back.

Then when you defeat him, he has a secondary form.  Sort of a single eyeball on a foot-stalk, and lots of little baby eyeballs attacking you.  I had a Bloodrager summons to help, he was taking out the baby eyes while I handled the main one.  It was kind of fun... but messy.

I'm not the best fighter, either.  Not so hot with the prayer flashing, or switching styles in midstream.  I mainly bull through relying on maxed stats to help me survive.  Not to say I don't try, I just don't do well at actual real-time fighting strategy.  Fighting boss monsters in Dungeoneering is helping me get better.

The other part of last night's interesting features was the Night Spiders.  I spent some major time hunting for a Shadow Silk Hood.  If you've done the same, you know how much time and effort that can take.  Not to mention how rare the Night Spiders are.  I'm always seeing people on the forums talking about not seeing a SSH until they were level 90 or higher.

After spending so much time hunting for them, I can't let go.  So when I see a Night Spider, I have to stop, take screen shots, admire him...  It's still a pretty rare occurrence.  Well, last night, I was somewhere in the high 30's, probably floor 38.  Small, complexity 6, and found not one, but TWO Night Spiders!  Yes, on the same floor.
That was cool enough, but the first one actually dropped a Shadow Silk Hood.  I've been dreading this day ever since I got my own Hood.  I really hate just 'wasting' it, but I've already got one bound.

I picked it up, and just for extend the moment, carried it to the Smuggler's room.  Offered it to him, but he was only willing to pay some 2,500 gold for it.  Not enough.  Nobody in here to share it with.  No other option.  So I finally alched it, just to be able to say I've hi-alched a Shadow Silk Hood.  What a shame.

This brings me to my one major disappointment with Dungeoneering.  Banking.  I know, they left it out deliberately.  Same way the binds are so limited.  It's a way to make you very carefully consider and manage your resources.  I get it.  But still... I wish we could bank and keep our stuff.

Not saying I want the bank to cross over into the rest of Runescape.  I'd just like to see the Smuggler willing to hold a few items for us.  Maybe to have 10 slots, and whatever we've got should stack, so if I collect, say for instance, multiple Shadow Silk Hoods, (yeah, right) than I could keep as many as I wanted to in the one Smuggler's bank slot.

Oh well.  Just my imagination.  We'll never see that happen.  But still... it would be pretty cool!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Runescape: Bot Nuking Day and the Aftermath

Note:  No pretty pictures this time.  Just me talking.  If you're easily bored, this will certainly trigger an attack of boredom:

Well, I wasn't going to write specifically about this... but it's much bigger than I realized it was going to be.  Yesterday, 10-25-2011, was Runescape's Bot Nuking Day.  I had high hopes, but no actual frame of reference.  The scale of this event is astounding.
In advance, I was pretty pleased at the prospect of removing bots.  I hate botting in Runescape.  Aside from the practical effects on the economy, and availability of resources, I just hated the cheating in general.  Real players have worked hard for every skill they have, every reward they've earned, every rare drop they've fought for.  It seriously cheapens the value of our hard work to have someone leveling, harvesting, getting rich, all without actually playing.

So yes, I'm thrilled.  And you know what?  I'm kind of vindictive about it.  This is odd for me... I'm normally too nice for my own good.  After 50 years of being nice, it's a hard habit to break.  But in this case, I'm making an exception.
Glad.  Glad, glad, glad... happy happy glad glad.

And another thing?  Did you know some of these bots are sold?  For real money!!  Can you imagine?  I don't know what a typical cost would be, but I heard of one that costs $350...  Dang.  Can you even imagine paying that kind of money for playing Runescape?  And not even acutally playing.
Let me put this into my own twisted perspective:  Someone signs up for Runescape, as a member.  So they're paying for the privilege of playing, right?  Then they turn around and shell out big bucks for a bot to play for them.  Are they even having fun?  What's the point in PAYING to play a game, then PAYING someone else to play it for them?  Maybe you could PAY someone to eat supper for you?  Or to get a good night's sleep for you?

Okay, I do get the point that most of them don't play for fun, rather they farm resources for gold, which they sell real-world.  Shady.  Images of mafia underworld, and overseas child labor factories.  Lets keep organized crime and child abuse OUT of our game.

From another viewpoint, consider the script-writers who make their money selling illegal scripts.  Hmmm, do you think they'll be issuing any refunds?  They certainly aren't working from a foundation of honesty and integrity.  I suspect any fool who paid them money is not going to see that money back now that the bots are broken.

That's a good penalty.  Lesson learned, maybe.  For some, anyway.  I'm guessing the majority won't see the error of their ways.  They'll just keep looking for ways to cheat.  I sure hope this event will drive the bot-writers out of business.  I also hope to see Runescape pursue legal action as they've threatened to do.

My one concern is that Jagex may lose a lot of income with this bold move.  I have a ton of respect for them, and seriously hope they don't suffer financially because of it.

From reaction on the forums, it seems many other players share my exuberance.  And of course, many don't.  The forums are certainly lively right now.  Especially with buzz about the legal notice Jagex emailed many suspected botters.  It was pretty much a last chance, straighten up and we'll grant amnesty, keep botting and we'll sue you.  I'm no lawyer, and the forums are chock-full of players who think they are.  So I won't be pontificating about the legals aspects of this letter, and the rights of the poor, abused and misunderstood botters.  All I'm going to mention is actual Right and Wrong, which many players (probably children, for the majority) don't seem to comprehend. 

We all have our stories to tell.  I solo Dungeoneer a lot, so yesterday didn't get to see the result of the bot-nuke.  But today I logged in during breakfast.  I like to fish shark while I eat.  It's easy, doesn't require full attention, and I can manage breakfast while playing.  Using Barbarian techniques to fish, makes it bare-handed, so all I carry is a skills necklace to teleport to the fishing guild, and a kinship ring to get back to Dungeoneering.
Usually the docks are elbow to elbow, and players stacked on the shark harpoon spots.  This morning?  Ghost town.  Nobody.  Just me and Man(level 2) on the docks, the whole morning.  Wow.
Similar story for Monique.  She went to the Kalphite lair to collect some potato cactus... and NO bots, nobody else, at all.  She could collect at her leisure, without competing for a limited resource.  It's made the game SO much nicer.  She just read a post by someone else who went into the essence mines and there was nobody there.  Just the empty sound of echoing footsteps...

I expect a financial impact, as well.  Prices of just about everything will probably rise sharply, then taper off to it's natural level.  Yes, it'll make buying things more expensive.  But it will also make the results of our hard work more valuable.  If I fish a few thousand shark and sell them, hopefully I can actually sell them for enough to be worth my time.

Let's not forget Jagex kicking off a whole multi-day celebration of player rewards and events.  In recognition of the immensity of the event, for the next several days there are extras and bonuses.  Yesterday was triple Slayer experience.  Got my 99 while earning Baby Jad, but Monique took as much advantage of it as she could.  Sometimes real life gets in the way of fun, but she made a good effort.
Today, if I remember right, is Castle Wars bonus.  Tomorrow, Thursday, is double penguin points.  Even better, it's a new reset, so if you already did them for the week, you get to do the penguins again!  Not to mention, several other distractions and diversions will give boosts.  Evil Trees, Mining, Familiarization.
Finally, Friday will be triple experience for Soul Wars.  I've wanted a second Baby Jad for my house menagerie.  This would be a great time to earn some Soul Wars Zeal.

All told, there's quite a carnival going on this week, all because of the bot-nuking initiative.  Yay Runescape.  Good job.

In the near future, will bots make a comeback?  I hope not.  At least, not to the extreme they had been.  And what will the near-and-long term effect on the game be?

Who knows.  Like I said, the practical aspects are nice, but I'm mainly excited at the prospect of not living in a bot-filled Runescape.  At least for now, any competition will be from real players.  Any crowding will be actual people.  Cheaters won't prosper.  I hope they choke on it.

Happy happy joy joy.  Nyah Nyah.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Runescape: The Wicked Hood is Wicked Cool!

I logged in a couple of days ago, and had a strange notice on the screen.  Something about being a loyal customer, and getting a new item as a thank you...

It turned out to be the Wicked Hood, and it was a pretty nice gift.  Have you gotten yours yet?  At first glance, it's kind of confusing, because it does several things, and each thing has it's own limiting factor.
But let's go with my favorite part first.  Teleports.  You know, I always love rewards that expand my teleport options.  When Drakan's Medallion came out, I was absolutely thrilled.  It really opened up the Southwest area of the Runescape map.
The Wicked Hood offers a large number of new teleports.  When properly prepared, it will teleport you to any runecrafting altar in the game (except for the ZMI altar.)  When you first get it, it only teleports you to the Air and Mind altars.  If you feed the hat a talisman (just use the talisman on the hood), it will 'learn' to teleport to that talisman's altar.  For example, if you use a Nature Talisman on the hood, it will permanently be able to teleport to the Nature Altar... 2 times each day.

Twice a day is pretty limiting, but if you plan your uses well, it can be an extremely useful two teleports.  You can feed one of each kind of talisman to the hood, to learn all the locations.  Or you can feed an Omni-talisman to it, and it will learn all the destinations in one sweep. You lose the Omni-Talisman, but the hood does everything the Omni-talisman does, plus much more.
You might think 2 teleports a day too limited to be of use, but in reality, it can be just enough to make life much easier.  I've been using it already on my daily battlestaff purchase.  I've been getting 80 a day at Varrock (thanks to the Varrock 4 task rewards) but it's been too much hassle to go over to Lunar Island for the 20 Baba Yaga offers.  Now with the hood, even if I'm not using the Lunar Spellbook, I can teleport directly to the Lunar Altar, run north to Baba Yaga, grab my battlestaves and be back in the Grand Exchange before I know it.
Another Lunar Isle example is if you're going after Jad in the Fight Cave.  Many people like to Vengeance Jad, which requires the Lunar Spellbook.  It's always been annoying to switch before, but now you can teleport straight there, change spellbooks, and be on your way to Jad without any wasted time.

Ok, so this one came to me...
One more example.  If you hunt penguins, or have any reason to go to Entrana, this is, hands down, the fastest way to get there.  Remove all weapons/armor as usual, use the Hood to teleport to the Law Altar, and you land right by the chicken pen!  No more long runs from Draynor, Rimmington, or your personal Spirit Tree... just go directly there.

But wait... there's more!  I'm sure you've heard those pitches before.  In this case, you also get free runes, and free essence every day.  I haven't tried this yet, but here's what I understand:  You get 100 elemental runes every day, or you can pick any other rune and get 5.  If you apply an elemental talisman to the Wicked Hood, you'll get to do this twice a day.  You also get 100 unnoted essence every day... and that's upgraded to 100 Pure Essence if you used an Omni-Talisman.

Don't get overexcited about the Soul Rune position on the graphic.  There is NO Soul Rune altar as yet.  I suspect they put that in for a planned upgrade.  The interface is pretty cool, too.  Attractive graphics, and easy to understand.  (Easier than when you've only read about it.)  Though I wish the volume was lower.  With that constant beeping, I feel pressured to pick my teleport quickly, like it's trying to hurry me along.

The Wicked Hood takes the place of any runecrafting tiara, and of any talisman.  I've already sold off all my talismans except the ones I use for Summoning.  Keeps on death (you don't lose it), and if you somehow lose or destroy it, the Wicked Hood can be replaced by Tam McGrubor.  For Free.  And it will still know all the locations you've taught it.

I haven't yet explored the other teleport locations.  If I remember right, the Earth Altar is near the lumberyard.  For penguin-hunting, that could be useful.  I'm sure if I look at a map, I'll see more uses.  Like I said, new teleport locations are my favorite rewards.  Even if I never use anything but the Lunar and Entrana ports, I'm ecstatic about the Wicked Hood.

Runescape: Got the Berserker Ring(i)... and all the others too!

Early this morning, before work, I got the last 4 points needed for 300 Rank in Mobilising Armies.  That's from Friday evening to Wednesday morning.  Not horrible I guess, and I bet the max most games.  So my reward points were very well over 2 million.  I imbued All my rings, not just the Berserker.  Archer, Warrior, Seers, even the spares I had as 'placeholders'.  Bought an Onyx Ring as well, and imbued it too.  That's mission accomplished, and one less thing to worry about now.

Oh, if you're wondering what makes an Onyx Ring so special?  Why in the world is a useless ring with 0 stats worth 6 or 7 million gold?  Because of Mobilising Armies.  Once you can imbue it (at rank 300, and with the appropriate reward tokens) it gets stats of 6 across the board on defense and attack!  To me, this makes it the best general purpose combat ring in the entire game.  When you're doing something that will require multiple styles of attack and defense, it's great.  I now use it when I do Barrows.  While the specialty imbued rings have 8's in their specific styles, they're not quite the 'rennaissance' ring that the Onyx Ring(i) is.  They still have their uses... if you absolutely know you're going to be ranging, and no other attack style, then the Archer Ring(i) is supreme.  It all depends on what you're planning to do.

Funny thing, I started playing Mobilising Armies just for the Berserker Ring(i), so my intent was to suicide as often and quickly as possible during the 'Siege' scenario.  But I got into the strategy, and started getting competitive.  Wound up spending TOO much time on some of the games.  Usually 2 teams would suicide, and the other guy would have his eye on the win.  Me too, so there would be some struggle to get the points.  Even losing, you still get a point.  It wound up being a lot more fun than I expected.   I learned to scan everybody playing, and try to predict their strategy.  Before too long, I was winning about half the games, even if someone else was trying to win.  Sometimes, a fight would get complex, and drawn out.  It would take so long, and some of the players pulled some truly intelligent traps and tricks on me.  I tend to compliment someone who's played hard, whether they won or I did.  Some of them just said ok, but one tried his best to curse at me.  Our fight came so close to the wire, we both had some brilliant moves, and some dumb mistakes.  It came down to one squad each, only a sliver of life left, each hoping to get the lucky hit that ended the game.  My side finally won, but back in the de-briefing room when I thanked him for a game well played, all he could do was type many 'f's and 'u's.  Oh well, he still played a great game.
 So even though my intent was to suicide, I wound up playing to win more often than not.  I don't especially want to go back to Mobilising Armies, but it was fun once I learned what to do.

Mission accomplished, rings imbued, it was time to make some money.  After looking around, Barrows sounded like something fun to do, and a chance to play with the new Onyx Ring (i).  Did one trip, got a Dharok's Helm, sold for 1.3 million gold.  That was great, and I should have stopped while I was ahead.  But it took me several more trips before I decided my luck had once again deserted me.
Back to the G.E. and flipping to make some money.  These days, cheap commodities are ruined by bots, and to make a profit, you have to find a more expensive item.  I found some that moved slow, but did make money.  Finished the evening off doing that.

Now I'm back Dungeoneering.  Still working for that Chaotic Rapier.  Long Long Long way to go.  At least it's fun to play!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Runescape: Meleeing Jad... How did I wind up in Mobilising Armies?

Oops.  I've been spending a lot of time in the Dungeons working toward a Chaotic Rapier.  Long story short (it's been posted all over this blog in the past) I want to learn to fast-melee Jad.  Found an excellent guide on Youtube that really makes it understandable.  His recommended equipment, inventory, and tactics squeeze every last boost  to hit Jad hard and fast.  
 Very cool guide to Fight Caves- quick and simple (and high requirements!)

I thought all I still needed was the Chaotic Rapier.  Of course, with only 62k tokens right now, there's a long road to travel before getting it.  But steady progress will eventually do the trick.  Last night though, looking back over the guide, it suddenly dawned on me… Aw, man, he recommends an Imbued Berserker Ring!  Now I've got to learn how to play ANOTHER darn multi-player game.
I hate team sports.  I like soloing.  Is the Berserker Ring(i) really necessary? 
Did some Googling, looked at all the gear, and realized, what he's doing is squeezing the last possible drop into the mix to get the best hits possible.  If I want to consistently beat Jad quickly, then the Imbued Ring ought to be there.  If you're not familiar with it, Imbuing doubles all the original Berserker Ring's stats.  From 4 Crush and 4 Str, to 8 Crush and 8 Str.  It's all about stacking the odds in your favor.  Leave anything out, and beating TzTok-Jad is still possible, but not as likely.

So off I go, trying to learn the rules for Mobilising Armies.  Wiki has a very thorough guide, but it didn't really teach me how to play.  Getting started was very hard.  Even though I was in the world that only requires 4 players to start, I couldn't find enough other players to do the beginning scenario with.  Apparently nobody wants to play 'Conflict', they all want to play 'Siege'.  There's a reason.  In Mobilising Armies, 'Siege' is the fastest, easiest, and most consistent way to make Rank.  You need 300 Rank (and a couple hundred thousand reward points) to have your Berserker Ring imbued.  So everybody wants to play Siege.  You MUST play Conflict at least once, in order to unlock Siege.  There are two other scenarios after that, Hoard and Rescue.  But nobody cares about them.  Everybody is playing for the rewards, which means they need Rank, which means they play Siege.
Which, of course, left me for a long long long time trying to find someone to do Conflict with.  Once I finally got to play Conflict, that unlocked Siege.  After that it was easy.  EVERYBODY wants to play siege.  There's always plenty of players ready to go again.  

Now, here I am.  Suiciding roughly every 4 minutes of play.  I'm not going to explain it in detail.  If you want to know how to do it, click this link:
It's an excellent guide, clear, simple, with well-chosen images to help understand.

  It's not how the game was meant to be played, and I feel a little bad about it, but I don't really want to play the game, I just want the ring.  And since this is pretty much the same way everybody else here feels, we're all playing the same by mutual unspoken consent.  Of course, I don't mind winning, you get 2 rank points instead of one, but if it takes more than 4 extra minutes, I'm losing points by fighting for the win.  So if someone else wants it, more power to them.
Started yesterday evening, and have 72 Rank.  I'll be here a while, but not as long as I'll be in the Dungeons going for a Chaotic Rapier.  Good thing I'm stubborn!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Runescape Dungeoneering: I get distracted too easily

Night Spider - Had to stop and take a picture!
I am SOOO easily distracted.  Middle of a fight.. someone says "Look, there's a Night Spider!"... I'm all "Oh, where?  Gee, isn't that neat!"

Okay, not really.  But not so far off the mark.  Like I mentioned last time, I've finally settled down to do some Dungeoneering.  Trying to get a Chaotic weapon.  Probably rapier, but haven't decided for sure.  Not like I don't have PLENTY of time before I have to decide.
At 60,000 tokens currently, I need to go as fast as I can to finish before retirement age.  I've read what little is out there.  Most everything is geared to groups, which I don't do.  Many reasons.  Mainly, I like playing on my own, without trying to match up to someone else's schedule and needs.  There's very little info about dungeoneering solo.  Nearly everybody agrees that solo is much slower experience than team Dungeoneering, so maybe I'll reconsider the solo thing.  But for the moment, I'm not even soloing that well.
To begin with, my Dungeoneering is currently 85.  It got that way through Tears of Guthix for a long time.  When I began actually playing it, every random, every penguin point, every book of knowledge, all went to Dungeoneering.
Through it all, actual time in the Dungeons has been either solo, or teaming with Monique.  That's how my level got to 85, without me actually being very good at DG.

I took a few weeks away from leveling to get a Shadow Silk Hood.  It only took about 7 Night Spiders (if I remember correctly), but they were extremely rare for me.  I consider it pretty lucky to get one that quickly.  Other people report making it to level 90 and STILL not seeing one.  As a matter of fact, last night was my first Night Spider sighting in a couple of months.  He didn't drop a hood, but since I already have one, that was okay.  Actually, it seems like it would kind of hurt to get one, and not be able to use it!  I wish Runescape had an in-dungeon bank expressly to store dungeoneering items.  We could ask the trader to hold our stuff?  Oh well, that would be too easy, I guess.

So now, I'm trying to get the hang of solo rushing.  If I don't lose concentration, I get through a Small, C6 Dungeon in the 20's to 40's with about 20 minutes.  But it's so darn fun to play... I love the combat, and am a very thoughtful, plan-ahead type of player.  So I'm constantly stopping to fight something because it's there.  Don't need to kill it, can run right on by, or just leave it alone in an end room.  But nope, I've got to wade right in and kill them all.  I'm slowly breaking that habit, but it's very hard to stop attacking everything.

I'm also pack-ratting everything to the main room.  I just can't stop myself.  I'll pick up food, okay, that's cool.  Oh, and maybe some firewood, in case I have to cook some food.  And let's grab that bag of runes, because I might need more than I already made.  Herbs, seeds, junk that can be sold, it's all fodder for my stockpiles on the big rug.

Oh, and don't even get me started on mining and smithing.  Oops- too late.  I got my smithing to 99, and mining to 90, just for Dungeoneering.  I wanted to make my own Promethium gear, without having to ask for help.  Boy, did that Smithing take a long time!  But now that it's an option, I can't pass by any Promethium or Gorgonite (sometimes even Katagon) without stopping to mine it.  Being kind of a bull in a china shop, and since my only bound items are a Promethium 2H and the Shadow Silk Hood, making melee armor is just irresistible.

All that is kind of the long way around to my starting point.  I'm way too easy to distract.  Trying my best to learn how to speed through a dungeon, but just having too much fun to do it right.  While I really want that Chaotic, there's just something ... right... about having fun.  It's a game, if it was all just work and drudgery, there'd be no reason to play.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Runescape: Finally, a new goal

On the fast train to nowhere in particular
It's been a few days since the last post, thought I'd just do a quick update.  I've finally gotten past the "what do I do next" stage.  You know how it is, you finish a big project, take a deep breath, and suddenly don't know what to do next.  Getting baby Jad was a really big deal for me, and the let-down was equally big.  Just kind of wandered the Runescape lands without aim or purpose, looking for the next goal.
I did wind up making a few thousand house teletabs, sold some, kept some.  I'm thinking about making some Varrock tabs as well.  Never done so before, but that's pretty much my go-to spot in between all my running around.  It's a centralized hub for banking, buying/selling, close to my daily battle-staves, Keldagrim, Edgeville, and the Wilderness.  Plus the Spirit Tree for multiple destinations, including the Evil Trees.
So anyway, goals, wandering aimlessly, not sure what next...  Spent some time flipping items at the GE, most of my favorites have been botted to death.  There's no margin for profit any more.  So my best income is gone.  Fortunately, if you target more expensive items, it's still there.  I've had minor luck with a few things, still need to play with it.  Eventually I'll have a new list of profitable items to flip.  Of course, still doing the penguins every Tuesday, and the Trolls once a month.

As I mentioned in the last hub, Dungeoneering was a strong possible, and so was Tormented Demons, which I've never gone back to for fun and profit.  Being the 'study and plan' type, I looked up some guides for the TD's.  As it turns out, most of the guides recommend a Chaotic Rapier as the melee weapon of choice.  Sure, it's possible to do them with other weapons, but I like having the best possible options.  I'm currently 85 Dungeoneering.  Got there solo, plus using penguin and troll points, and Ancient Effigies.  Up till now, all my Dungeoneering tokens have been spent customizing my Ring of Kinship for better combat.  (And an Herbicide, for the free herblore experience while doing slayer tasks.)

The result is, only about 1/4 of the tokens needed for a Chaotic.  This is starting to come together.  To do Tormented Demons, I want a Chaotic weapon.  To get a Chaotic, more Dungeoneering is needed.  Both of my potential goals are hand in hand.  And the Chaotic weapon will be useable in many other situations.

In most cases, the next goal is usually something that helps me accomplish something else.  Kind of like getting Herblore to 96 for Overloads, so I can then use Overloads with Jad in the Fight Caves.  It's the same this time.  Only both goals go hand in hand.  Eventually, I'll make a run for 120 Dungeoneering, and this helps with that.  For now, I'm enjoying working on the skill, with the goal of doing Tormented Demons for fun and profit.

It's all good.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Runescape: What next?

Is there life after Baby Jad?  After spending weeks dedicated to attaining a bouncing baby TzRek-Jad, I'm still kind of wondering.  At first, I had that euphoria you get when a hard task is done.  Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy it a bit.  Trouble is, It's been a week or more now, and I still haven't really gravitated to another goal.  I had a kind of short-term one.  Decided to get Herblore high enough to make my own extreme potions and overloads.  Too many guides these days suggest overloads, and I hate not having access to them.
To start with, my Herblore was 89.  Already high enough to make one or two of the extremes.  Given enough money, Herblore is lightning fast to raise.  So I spent well over 35 million buying enough ingredients to make 5000 each of all the extremes.  By the time I was done, herblore was 97, and I had all the extremes ready to use as needed.  So I made 100 3-dose Overloads, combined them down to 75 4-doses, and that should hold me for a while.  And with all those extremes in the bank, I'll just have to buy Torstol leaves on an as-needed basis.

While getting Overloads required time and focus to accomplish, it wasn't, in the grand scheme of Runescape, as big of a goal as I usually set.  Once done, I went back to the Barrows brothers and burned off a few overloads just to see how well they worked.  The results were good.  Moment to moment, I could see improvement in my combat, but the biggest difference was the time for each run.  Without overloads, I tend to take 10 minutes per round.  With overloads, it was more often 8 minutes, or even 7.  That's a 20 to 30 percent improvement.  

 Highly satisfactory.

After that, I figured it was time to make money again.  So I spent a few hours with the Aviansies.  Nothing super exciting here.  Avies drop noted Adamant bars 4 at a time, and fairly often.  They also drop low-end Runite items now and then.  Between selling the bars, and hi-alching the rune stuff, wound up bringing home 1.3 million in gold and adamant bars.    
Next I went penguin hunting.   It was Tuesday, and Monique and I try to spy all the penguins as soon as possible.

After the penguins, I'm making House Teletabs.  Not fast money, but solid and dependable.  Besides, my personal teletab stock was getting low.  I like to keep around 1000 in the bank, and after a long time using them, had gotten down to about 200.  I don't know if that's typical or not, but it's always worked well for me.

For the moment, that's where I'm at.  Next up?  Not sure, but thinking maybe back to Dungeoneering.  It's the only combat skill left to max out.  I'm still interested in Jad, and have been thinking about Tormented Demons too.  Haven't made up my mind for sure.  But I know there's still plenty to do!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Runescape: Back to the Barrows

... and over all, Death held dominion...
 After all the effort of getting Baby Jad, my next goal is still a bit amorphous.  I realized, even though I finished getting 99 Slayer, it's still fun, and a good way to make money.  Since it still holds interest, and there's no rush any more, I figured maybe go for 96 Herblore.  Then I can make Extremes and Overloads.  That would be good for Slayer, plus assorted oddball things like TzTok-Jad in the Fight Caves, and Tormented Demons.  Until the Overloads/Extremes came out, Monique has always been my go-to girl for Herblore.  She's always liked the skill, and now she's 99 Herblore.  If she could make my Overloads for me, I'd skip the skill.  But, being untradeable, that's not an option now.

After dumping 22 million gold into going from level 89 to 92, it seemed like a good idea to maybe MAKE some money...  so I started flipping like I used to.  Don't know if it was just a bad time/day, or what, but after 3 days of trying, it seemed obvious something wasn't working.  Yes, I made profit, but the margin was small to nonexistent, and reselling was nearly impossible.  Maybe I just picked the wrong items.  Regardless, I started looking for alternatives.

Among many fun options (Aviansies, Abyssals, Dragons) I realized I hadn't done Barrows in years.  It sounded fun, with a lot of potential.  Plus, since I last did Barrows, a lot of new equipment and techniques have come out.  Being me, I started Googling for guides.

You know, there are a lot of guides on the net that haven't been updated in years.  And of the newer ones, even they didn't always account for new options, like Drakkan's Medallion.  There were several with good, but incomplete, information.  Wiki had the best presentation.  They included a lot of recommendations for each way to fight, what to wear, and inventories.  They had suggestions on how to face each Barrows Brother, and pray protect from each.

What I really liked about Wiki was that they had a small labeled map of where the brothers lay buried, right next to a chart showing what they attacked with.  That was good as far as it went, but the chart could have included how we should attack as well.  Another point of difference- I disagree with the recommended order of doing the brothers.  It works, but I use more prayer, and have to sip a potion occasionally.  Since I'm 99 Prayer, that shouldn't be necessary.

So I modified the chart to suit me, added the newest guy's name (Akrisae) after the latest Mahjarrat quest, and re-ordered the sequence.  Now I've got a quick-list of the brothers, what to pray, and what style to attack with.  The new order starts with the hardest brothers, and works down to the easiest.  This allows me to use prayer on the harder ones, and not need it for the last ones.  Plus, their weaknesses, purely by chance and good luck, are grouped together so that I don't have to change attack style as often. Below is the order I like, and how I fight each brother:

My route makes use of Draken's Medallion, the Ardougne Cloak, and the Ectophial.  After finishing, I take the Ardougne Cloak to the monastery for a free prayer refill.  The Ectophial teleport brings me into home territory for Draken's Medallion, which makes all of it's teleports free.  (Kind of like local phone calls versus long distance.)
From the Treasure Chest...
Where I go with the Medallion depends on if I need a bank drop.  Burg de Rhott teleport if I need to bank, or directly to the Barrows if not.  Either way, it's fast, and completely negates the old disadvantage of having to travel so far for a bank run.  Now you can make as many trips as you want, hit the bank easily, and immediately be ready to 'drop in' on the brothers again.

To the Monastery with the Ardougne Cloak
Not going to include the puzzle solutions or a full guide.  I have nothing new or improved to say about those.  Check Wiki for a complete Barrows guide.  But my modifications seemed useful to me, and thought I'd offer them here in the hopes someone else might find them useful.

To Port Phasmatys with the Ectophial. Now it's a free teleport to the bank or the Barrows with Draken's Medallion.
My first 4 runs were just trying things out, tweaking the setup.  Nothing special, but that's okay.  I've been playing with different styles and setups, and slowly honing my approach to something that works for me.  First run-through was all-melee.  It worked, but took a lot longer because some brothers are pretty resistant to melee.  Tried with melee/ranged, no magic, still wasn't satisfied.  Added magic to the mix with Slayer Darts and a Slayer Staff.  My hits were kind of low with that, even wearing Ahrim's top and bottom.  Switched to Fire Blast and a Staff of Light, and that seemed decent.  Finally moved up to doing Fire Bursts.  Now I'm happy with the equipment, still playing with my supplies.  Don't really need as much as I bring, so I may reduce the load a bit. 

After getting some experience, a typical run now takes about 10 to 12 minutes.  Below is my current setup:

Helm of Neitznot
Fire Cape
Broad-Tipped Bolts (5,000 or more)
Staff of Light
Mage's Book
Ahrim's Robe Top and Bottom
Barrows Gloves
Dragon Boots
Ring of Wealth

Ardougne Cloak
Drakan's Medallion
Enhanced Excalibur
Lots of Fire Runes
Armadyl legs and plate
Rune Crossbow
Vine Whip
Dragonfire Shield
Dragon Plate Body and Legs
3 prayer(4) Pots
3 Rocktail
Lots of Airs (over 10,000)
Lots of Blood Runes (over 3,000)
Lots of Deaths (over 3,000)
When I say "lots of runes", it's because I didn't bother to figure out exact numbers, I just grabbed a few thousand for good measure.  The spell is for Fire Wave, from the normal spellbook.

This setup allows me to make quite a few trips.  I usually bank because of space issues, and top my supplies up while at the bank.  Just for the fun of it, I bring my pet TzRek-Jad with me.  After working so hard to earn him, I enjoy having Jad tag along as often as possible.

For a full guide, read the Wiki.  But just for a quick look at how I Barrow, this is it.  I've only been at it Friday evening, and several hours on Saturday, and I've made about 15 million in drops.  When I was flipping, I usually made 3 million gold a day.  For me, Barrows is much better profit, and lots more fun.  As a matter of fact, I'm headed back right now.  If you see someone there with a Baby Jad... that's me!