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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bringing back the Wilderness

I have so far avoided addressing this issue.  But now that the vote is over, and it looks like a sure thing, I suppose expressing an opinion is just about mandatory.  Apparently an overwhelming majority voted to bring it back.  If people want to go out into the wilderness and kill each other for a chance at quick riches, I support their right to enjoy Runescape however they see fit.  What I do not support is their right to drag others into their game.  From my first day over 6 years ago, to now, I have very much enjoyed the monster slaying, skilling, quests, and diversions.  My wife and I hunt the penguins every week.  If Jagex wants to make the wilderness pvp again, that's fine.  But don't drag me into it.  It's not how I play, and I want no part of it.
Here's where I usually hear someone say "Then stay out of the wilderness!" 
Well, that's fine, and I would, except that in their infinite wisdom, Jagex has sided with the player killers, and put content in the wilderness that has nothing to do to player killing.  They've left the penguins out in the wilderness.  Who does that benefit, except the killers?  You take a wide variety of gamers who enjoy tracking down penguins and getting that experience bonus, throw them into the wilderness, and it's going to be a pure slaughter.  Runescape will destroy our pleasure for the avaricious greediness of the other group.
Same thing with the abyss.  I can remember trying to get to the abyss through a standing ring of 10 or 20 pk'ers.  I don't care how powerful you are, that situation is unbeatable.  You either don't go, or you get killed for your glory.  Never mind the loss of your essence pouches, which take a lot of time to get.
I wouldn't mind a fairer situation, one where maybe I stand a chance of turning the tables.  But they play a numbers game. 
Okay, that's not true.  I said I wouldn't mind a fair chance.  Truth is, I don't want anything to do with player killing.  I have moral issues with the implications.  We're training our children that it's okay to hurt someone else to get what we want.  Disagree with me?  That's fine, it's your right.  But by forcing me to play into that system, Runescape is robbing me of my right to choose.  If I had a choice, if I could achieve my runescape goals entirely without entering the wilderness, I would.  Instead, they've taken away that choice.  Now my choice is to give up parts of the game that gave me great pleasure, or participate in the pker's worldview.

So why does it have to be one or the other?  For years, Runescape favored the pker at the expense of the rest.  Then, because of real-world trading, they swung totally the other way and took away the pker's way of playing.  Now, they're swinging completely back the other way in favor of pkers again. 
All I'm asking is for consideration for both groups.  Why not keep a few worlds running in non-pker mode? 
If you answer is "Because then nobody but pker's will be in the pker's world", then I say you're right, but so what?  If that's truly an issue, then you're not playing as a pker looking for an honest win, you're playing as a bottom-feeding scavenger looking to take advantage of those who can't fight back, and I have no respect for that kind of player.
But apparently, Runescape does respect that kind of player, because the game is about to turn in their favor.  I probably won't quit because of it.  I've loved Runescape too much for too long.  I've invested way to much time building up my  character to give it up.  But they've ripped out a huge chunk of what I loved about the game.  I do empathize with pker's, I think if they wanted a dangerous wildy with the old rules, they should have it.  I just don't think they should have it at my expense, over my protests.  Runescape is a huge world, with many servers.  If they truly wanted to make ALL of their players happy, they could.

Now, if you're a pker, you're either gloating over my situation because you won and I lost... or you understand my pain, because for several years now the shoe was on the other foot.  By the way, that was my position back then... I felt bad that pker's lost what they loved about the game, even though it made the game better for me... 
And if you're not a pker, then you're in the same boat as I am, and wondering what to do.  Well, here's my take:
With free trade coming back too, I'm going to wait a month or two for  prices to stabilize, then start flipping for my profit again.  I made a decent income from the Grand Exchange, but with pking back, demand for combat related supplies will probably skyrocket, as will prices.  A savvy player should be able to ride the tide, and make an even better profit.
Next, I'll rethink my approach to anything to do with the wilderness.  For instance, penguins.  Generally, there's a maximum of two penguins in the wildy, sometimes none.  I may simply not try for them, but more likely, I'll only take two (or three and a prayer) items and see if I can find them.  If I get killed, that's annoying, but not destroying.
Another example- Bork.  You know, there's a non-wildy entry at the Saradomin statue east of Varrock.  It'll make the run through the caverns a whole lot longer, but I'll completely avoid the pkers laying in wait.
Here's a case with a less satisfying solution; Jennica's Ring.  For woodcutting and firemaking experience, I like to go to the farm near the west side of the wilderness, and chop the magic tree there.  When you chop it down in one realm, it immediately regenerates in the other.  So, chop it down, enter the spirit realm, chop it down, go back to the normal realm, etc... when my pack is full, I burn the logs.  Since the tree is always standing in one realm or the other, there's no waiting for it to regrow.  An added bonus, since I'm a loner by nature, I rarely get interrupted there.  With the return of the wilderness, I'm sure to get cruised by teams hunting for victims.  This one's a less satisfying solution.  I guess I'll just have to give up using that magic tree, or only go with a team of other players who can all help defend each other.

These are just some of the situations that come to mind.  I'm sure that as time progresses, smarter people than me will post guides on raising your odds of surviving, tricks and tips to enhance survival while skilling in the wilderness.  I'll be watching for those as well.
So no, the return of the Wildy won't make me quit the game.  But it will make me re-evaluate how I play.  I may not like it, but regardless of whether we like it or not, it's coming back, and the only option we truly have is to quit playing, or adapt. 
I'm going to adapt.

Video of the old wildy:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lighting the Beacons and an Elder Tree on the Side

It's been a while since I mentioned it, but Monique and I are working on our   elite achievement skills.  Both of us have Varrock nailed with the exception of level 92 firemaking for the 'Lighting the Beacons' mini-game.  While we've been working toward it here and there, things could be going much faster.  You know how it is, never enough time for everything.
Still, I was looking at the beacon system, and thinking... dang, this is complex!  Well, okay, maybe not complex, maybe just long and tedious.  Then I realized, even though we're not level 92 yet, both of us have high enough firemaking to get the first two rewards, the Ring of Fire and Flame Gloves.  You need level 62 for the ring, and 79 for the gloves, and must keep 6 beacons lit for the ring, 10 for the gloves.

If you're wearing both of those rewards, you get an extra 5% experience while burning logs.  Since I need to burn about 9,000 magic logs to get to 92, that seems worth getting.  Monique's at the same level, so both of us are going to do the first 10 fires of the beacon system this weekend.  That should give us a nice speed boost on our way to 92 Firemaking.

Then we can go back and do the entire beacon system in one go, get the best Varrock achievement armor, and be one step closer to having all of the achievement rewards!  For those of you who remember I was going after Jad?  Been there twice- he killed me fast.  Haven't gone back in a while.  I will, just too many goals and not enough me.

On the side, we still like fighting evil trees.  Yesterday we got an evil Magic tree and an evil Elder tree in a single day.  We also enjoy hunting penguins every week.  Monique and I have already found all the penguins, and were fighting the evil elder tree... when a penguin disguised as a barrel went bobbing along in front of us!  Couldn't resist taking a snap of it, and sharing the moment (below) with you!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Runescape quest: King of the Dwarves

Monique and I did the newest Runescape quest, King of the Dwarves, 
yesterday afternoon.  I quite enjoyed it, and really liked the 
continuation of the storyline.  My main disappointment was the length 
and expected difficulty of the quest.  For a quest rated as "Master" 
level, it seemed very short, and not as hard as I'd have thought.
Aside from that, I liked the progression of our involvement with the 
dwarves.  I particularly feel a connection with Veldeban, seeing as 
how I killed Hilda, his love interest in a previous quest.  At that 
time, she had been turned into a vicious Chaos dwarf, and was killing 
innocent dwarves from a high tower.  Their involvement was touching, 
and even more heartrending in this quest as a confrontation with 
Colonel Grimsson reveals more details of their tragedy.  Details 
Veldeban had been brainwashed into forgetting.

All of that is something of a side plot to the King of the Dwarves 
quest.  This time around, you're innocently taking a tour of the huge 
mining facility.  A Chaos Dwarf causes an explosion that injures the 
workers and leaves some trapped under fallen rock.  You, being the 
bold adventurer that you are, leap in to rescue as many as you can.
 From this point forward, the quest moves along at a very nice pace.  
There are political shenanigans, faked documents, and several 
revelations of note.  The side-story with the Trolls was pretty cool, 
and I loved the graphical update.  It's a shame the update only 
applies to the trolls needed for this quest.  I'd like to see all 
trolls with the new graphics.

When you get to the part with the Big Rock... it's a hoot!  And if 
you have 90 or better strength, you get to keep the rock, and can do 
it's emote anywhere there's enough room to throw it down.  I spent 
some time playing with it wherever I went for a while after the 
quest.  Pretty neat to watch.

The quest progresses pretty much as you'd expect from there.  The 
dwarves read the archives from the Records Chamber, and much to 
Hreidmar discovers he's NOT going to be the new King of the Dwarves.

During the quest, you have to beat a level 160 opponent.  It's a bit 
of a twist, because Veldeban helps you fight.  The tricky part is he 
hits hard, but has no defense.  You have to keep Veldeban from 
getting killed in the fight.  It's actually pretty easy.  I used an 
abyssal whip, and boosted my stats with prayer.  I was glad Veldeban 
wasn't a problem in the fight, but had kind of expected a better fight.

The rewards are decent.  You get
2 quest points,
45,000 mining xp,
50,000 smithing xp,
55,000 strength xp.

   I needed the smithing and mining, so they were both very welcome.  
The new gravestone looks pretty cool, too.  Be aware, it does not 
confer any new abilities.  No extra time.  It's just a new look, and 
still costs half a million gold pieces.  If you buy it, it's 
functionally the same as the 'angel of death' gravestone.  But it 
looks larger and more detailed.  I like it.
 New Gravestone shown above

 Old "Angel of Death" Gravestone shown

So overall... there were a few practical points I might have 
preferred to be different.  But I liked the story, and it was a fun, 
simple quest.  (If you have trouble with the key puzzle, Wiki, as 
usual, has a nice guide.)