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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Being a Wandering Vagabond in Runescape

Hanging with the StykeWyrms on my beautiful island retreat
 After all this time, working towards one major goal, then another...
First it was 99 Summoning so I could max my combat.  Then, I had to get 99 Prayer, for the same goal.  Once I got 138 combat, it was time to get 99 Construction.  Got that, though I'm still saving up to max out the house.  Can't believe it's 25 million just for one simple little demon throne!
Somewhere in there, the achievement diaries came out, then they became the Task System.  I wanted the Elite level for all tasks.  The armor, the teleports, the special rewards... the Taskmaster Emote!  Killing Jad, which was part of the elite tasks for Karamja.
Now that I'm retired, I can relax and go fishing
I recently got the Taskmaster emote, and while there are plenty of things I want to do, for a change I don't have any obsessively driven things to do.  Sure, I want to get all the new spells and rewards from Livid Farm.  And I want to get at least 90 Agility.  And 99 Slayer.
As an aside, I keep going to Kuradal (spelling?) hoping she'll assign Fight Caves.  It's funny, how I hated Jad and the Fight Cave so much.  But by the time I'd figured out a way I could beat Jad, I kind of enjoyed it.  I don't want to go back for no reason, but I keep hoping I'll get him as a slayer boosted assignment.

I'm at 96 Fishing, and currently am relaxing at the Fishing Guild while I do a little one-handed Barbarian Shark Fishing.  It's kind of fun to be able to do it, though I don't really see a huge speed increase.  I think for normal fishing, I'll stick with Rocktails.
I've been Slaying for the last few days.  Sometimes I'll go over to the Gnome Advanced Agility Course.  I'll flip an  hour or two at the Grand Exchange.  Now maybe I can even explore Dungeoneering - finally!

In all honesty, it's kind of nice just doing what I want to.  I've been driven to reach those difficult goals for so long now, Runescape's almost become like work.  Finally, I'm relaxing.  Whatever the mood is, that's how I play.  I really enjoy combat, so Slayer's been getting a lot of my time.  But I'm not obsessing over it.

Goals are good.  It really gives you a sense of accomplishment to set a hard goal, and after lots of work, actually achieve it.  But wow... just wandering aimlessly has a lot going for it.  I drive hard when I'm going for a goal.  Now, I'm enjoying Runescape.  My biggest goal is to save up enough gold to finish my house.  Let's see, 2 thrones, there's 50 million.  A few dragons in the dungeon, at about 10 million each, that's probably another 50 million.  Maxing the odds and ends of each room in the house, I'm guessing I'll need between 125 million and 150 million.  I'm about a third of the way right now, but I don't want to spend all my seed money.  I use maybe 50 million for trading when I'm flipping.  It fluctuates a lot, based on what I'm trading at the moment, but usually it's commodities.  Essence, Runes, Food, Wood... The stuff that's always in demand.

When I get close to enough money, I'll probably start obsessing like usual.  But for now, I'm just the happy wanderer.  Check out the pubs in Falador, Varrock, Brimhaven, etc... you'll probably find me knocking back a few beers with the local rednecks!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Runescape Easter 2011 Event: Holly and Hawthorn

Runescape recently released the 2011 Easter content.  It seems mildly misnomered; a more accurate call would be the 2011 Winter/Spring Seasonal content.  That aside, this has got to be my all-time favorite Easter content.  The graphics are breathtaking, the story is nice,

 The first thing you see upon arriving at Rimmington is the absolutely gorgeous trees.  I just couldn't stop admiring them.  They look so much better, I hope this will be a permanent in-game improvement.  Run a little north and east from the house portal, and you'll find the portal into the new realm.  Many old friends from previous seasonal events are present, lined up either for the Spring queen, or the Winter queen.  You'll see the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, and others, trading taunts against their counterparts from the other side.

The event has two phases, the quickest being the Winter Queen's champion.  To side with her, you'll kill an evil Hawthorne Tree, bring the physical representation of the new season to her, and she will award you a crown.

  The Spring Queen's side is  much more entertaining.  You defeat an evil Holly tree for her, but things go wrong from there.  The new season you bring her is incomplete or false, and you must run around talking to earth, water and air spirits, following the clues.  You'll be led to an underground river, then find a passage to a large cavern.  The true culprit waits for you there.  Her story is touching, and requires a sensitive approach on your part.

I liked making the sculpture, was continually impressed with the graphics and story.  For temporary seasonal content, Jagex really pulled out the stops.

The rewards are a mixed bag.  The crowns offer the ability to teleport you to any current evil tree upon the land, but the ability is only temporary.  Once the seasonal content is over, the ability will go away, leaving you with 2 decidedly feminine crowns.  Monique got a giggle from me trying them on...  but I certainly don't care to wear them for anything serious.
The emote reward is much better.  A very gentle and appealing visual; soft sunlight streaming down, raising your hand to to the air, then kneeling down to run a hand along the flowers that suddenly bloom at your feet.  Not your typical 'guy' rewards, these have a definite 'softer' feel than usual.

Overall, this was an enjoyable diversion.  Very easy, and simple, yet a beautiful story and the graphics are a huge step forward for Runescape.  The only potential hiccup I could imagine is if you only did the Winter Queen's side.  You could conceivably think that was the entire thing, when it was truly just a small portion.

Maybe not for everybody, but if you're can appreciate a softer gentler Runescape, you should enjoy it immensely.

Don't forget to visit Diango and see his new toys for the wedding... they don't translate well into pictures, but are fun to play with!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Runescape, Penguins, and PKing; Death while the Chaos Elemental watches

Me just before getting mass-killed, while, appropriately, the Chaos Elemental looks on
Okay, I'm about disgusted with Jagex.  While I love most aspects of Runescape, and am tolerant or indifferent to most of the rest... me and player-killing are not a good match.
Monique and I have loved the penguin mini-game ever since it came out.  It's our Tuesday night date.  Fun, relaxing, and a chunk of experience to spend on any skill.  When PKing came back, I had my doubts.  But my voice, among many others, was overwhelmed in the flood of pkers, bots, and fraudulent voters who wanted it back.
So, PKing came back.  I'm not against letting other people have fun, but certainly not at my expense.  Unfortunately, there's no such thing as fairness involved in pking.  If Jagex takes content I want, and puts it in the wilderness, I have two choices.  Take my chances in the wilderness, or give up that content.
Until this week, the pker's haven't been totally obtrusive.  We've continued to find our penguins, with only small interference from the pkers.  But this weeks update includes a ton of clan-centric changes, making communication and organization far easier for the player killers.  So this week, it was a nightmare.  Penguins in the wilderness were being 'camped' by teams of pkers, just waiting to pounce on non-aggressive, minimal-item-carrying, penguin hunters.  The pic above is pretty much how it went all night.  Get killed, head back out.  Get killed, head back out...
Honestly, how is that fun?  Certainly not for me, who was killed by gangs of thugs several times, or Monique, who was also killed several times, before finally getting that last penguin.  But even for pkers, I just don't get it.  There's no profit, or minimal profit, in killing penguin-hunters.  And there's no challenge in it either.  Big brave pker comes out with full armor, lots of supplies, in highly organized groups, and takes out an unarmored quester.  It's kind of like deputizing Ghenghis Khan.
Funny thing is, many of the pkers call us whiners, crybabies, etc... I remember when pking was removed from the game, many pkers sure whined and cried as well.  It's human nature to complain if you don't get what you want.  I'm certainly in favor of letting pkers enjoy killing each other.  But I'm not a pker, and don't want to be part of their game.
Jagex has stated that if you go in the wilderness, it's supposed to be dangerous, and the rewards are commensurate with the risks.  Seriously?  It took over 2 hours to get that last penguin.  For 16 penguin points, I usually get around 30k of experience, depending on which skill it goes on.  That works out to about 2k per penguin point.  For the frustration, aggravation, and inconvenience I experienced last night, I get a measly 6k of exp...
And 3 penguins in the wilderness at once?  Since when?  The usual mix is 0, 1, or 2.  Is it a coincidence that Jagex stuck an unprecedented 3 penguins in the wilderness... in the same week they gave tremendous power, support, and organization to the clans?  I had so many people killing me at a single time, I couldn't even count them before I was dead.
My only consolation was using a poison++ dagger, and the Ancient Curse, Wrath.  So at least my getting killed managed to mildly inconvenience some of my assassins.  I did notice one person in the "group attack" killing me.  He got hit pretty hard with my first Wrath.  As I was dying the 2nd time, he started to run, so I guess he knew I'd be 'Wrathing' again.  But it was too late... I was dead, and he was in the blast range.  Small consolation to me, who still hadn't found my last penguin.  But it made me slightly happier.
While the voting was still in play, Jagex promised to move non-related content away from the wilderness, or give alternate ways to get there.  To be honest, they have done so in at least 2 instances (Gorrock castle, and the Blood Altar.)  But penguin hunting, that ultimate of harmless, light-hearted, just plain friendly fun minigames, has taken a turn for the dark side.
Shortly after stating they would be moving content like penguins and beacon-lighting from the wilderness, Jagex did a little soft-shoe and stated "it would be taken under consideration".  Then, after the decision to bring back player killing was made, they announced that, no, that's not what they meant.  What they REALLY meant, was that the wilderness is a dangerous place, and player-killing is part of the risk.

Jagex is currently in the middle of a non-clanner, non-pker witch hunt.  Everything seems to be in favor of the player killers.  The independent player, who keeps to themselves and just wants to play, is worth little more than target practice.  Okay, that's probably not the truth... I'm just aggravated.  I still enjoy the majority of the game, and will continue to play.  But I'm done with the Wilderness.

Runescape refuses to take me and other players like me into consideration.  They claim if it's in the wilderness, it's been made more valuable, therefore worth the risk of getting killed by another player.
I say... 2 hours to find 3 penguins, for a max of 10 exp points?  All because PKers continually group-killed me so I couldn't stay out and hunt?  I see no commensurate value.  Not worth my time to satisfy some sick little wannabe thug for 10k exp.

Yes I sound bitter.  Not my usual style, and I will get over it.

But after last night, I'm still kind of steamed.  In all honesty, I'm done hunting penguins in the wilderness.  It's just not worth the hassle for the "commensurate" return I'm getting.  Make the rewards more equal to the hassle, and I'd go back.  But for now, no.

Just bear in mind, this is a highly targeted rant about one aspect of Runescape.  There's plenty of things I still love about the game.  Monique and I have enjoyed it for over 6 years, and will probably continue to enjoy it for as long as it's available.  I just had to get this one thing off my chest.  Find me in the game, I'll still be there, having a grand old time. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Finished Relleka Elite Tasks, Got the First Livid Farm Spell... and Got The Taskmaster Emote!!!

I'm not a 'Woot' kind of guy, but this deserves a Woot...  I've been working on mastering all the Elite Tasks for ages, and finally made it!  Everything I've done, every goal achieved, every level raised, every hour played, has all been to earn the Taskmaster rating.  Even facing Jad in the Fight Cave - that wasn't for the Fire Cape, that was for the Elite Task.  I didn't MIND getting the cape, it just wasn't the ultimate goal. 
     Sunday night, I did the last elite tasks, only to realize Runescape pulled a fast one.  They snuck in a Hard Task for the new game, Livid Farm.  Lucky for me, that was one of my future goals anyway, so I really didn't mind, but it slowed me down long enough to get the first spell reward from Livid.
     So, last night, Monday April 11, 2011, for the first time ever, I stood atop my pedestal and waited for the world to bow down before me. 
     Nobody got the memo- All I got was one decent fellow who congratulated me and told me "Well done".  Sigh...
That was a lot of work.  Yes, the per-item rewards are cool.  Some more than others.  I especially love the ones that teleport me. 

I'm super-happy they re-worked the graphics.  For the Elite Armor, it all goes together in a matched set, so it looks cool.  There's still a few pieces to go, so I'm assuming Runescape is going to come out with a few more Tasks.  It still needs a Necklace, Legs, and, honestly, a Weapon.  I'm hoping when they fill all the armor and weapon slots, the completed set will have some totally awesome Set Special Effect.  Something useful, not just flashy.
     In this pic, I'm wielding Elite Enhanced Excalibur, because you don't get the maxed out sword until you've done the all the Seers Village Tasks.  And really, this sword is probably the most useful reward from all the tasks.  It's like a constantly regenerating Monkfish and Super Defence.  Every five minutes...  Now THAT'S useful!

After all that work and effort, dedication and obsession, I wanted to make a video of the emote.  Unfortunately, at this time my computer just isn't fast enough to play Runescape and record screen video at the same time.  So I used my Flip Mino HD Video Recorder to take video manually.  It's not nearly as crisp and clear, but still... that's me up on that pedestal!  Until I can figure out how to get better video, that's what I'm stuck with. 
Getting the Taskmaster emote was a lot of fun at times, and a lot of drudgery at times.  Some skills were very expensive to raise, others just took a long time.  I kind of enjoyed the Slayer levelling, though I was rushing through it by the end.  Below was my final Slayer kill... the grand Ice Strykewyrm!  He was interesting, the entire line of Strykewyrms is a lot of fun to fight.
I've played Runescape for a long time, and had a lot of fun.  Part of the fun is that my wife, Monique, plays it too.  We have a lot of fun with all the different things you can do in Runescape (Penguins later tonight, as a matter of fact...:^)

But after all the quests, all the mini-games, all the fabulous mythical adventures, I have to say getting the Taskmaster emote ranks as one of my top two Runescape moments.  (Beating Jad was the other, and since I took on Jad as part of my quest to achieve the Taskmaster, it's really like both of my greatest moments were from the same thing.) If you want to know how Klutzy me beat Jad, a way that's super easy, click HERE.
So, the video... not the best video, there are better ones on Youtube... but this one's mine!

And, yes, I have about 8 baby Black Dragons and one each Green, Blue, and Red.  I like Dragons.  :^)

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Guide to the Fight Cave - How to Kill Jad the Easy Way!

Fight Cave.
Jad.  Prayer potions, Rocktail, no weapon.
Ancient Curses, Deflects, no healers.

Runescape Fight Cave: How To Kill Jad The Easy Way and Win the Fire Cape
Got it?  If you want a bit more detail, keep reading.  Or just click the link above.

As I mentioned last time, I finally beat Jad, and as promised, have written a guide about it.  I didn't originally intend to turn it into a guide.  It was supposed to be just a blog, a chance to vent a bit and get it out of my system.  But it kept getting longer, and longer... and I finally had to admit there was the makings of a pretty good guide.  So that's what it became.
     I was really wrapped up in TzTok-Jad.  I'm so bad at that kind of fighting, but I'm very good at obssessing over a game.  Worked at it until it worked for me.  But after it was done I couldn't let go.  Close my eyes, I'd see Jad.  In the quiet of the night, I'd hear the "boom-boom" of his magic attacks.
     So I wrote about it.  That's how I clear my head, and it worked.  But when it was done, there was a 6,500 word guide on Jad, designed for people like me... people who just can't seem to figure it out, and when they did, couldn't get coordinated enough to make it work.
     Pictures... it needed lots of pictures.  I had to make a couple of trips back to Jad to get all the pics of the Fight Cave I needed.  My computer's not fast enough to take video while playing the game.  But pics, I can do.  Both times I went back, I used this technique again.  Both times, I got another Fire Cape.
Some of Jad's henchmen

I'm satisfied.  If a klutz like me can beat the Fight Cave, win a Fire Cape, and defeat Jad, then this is a method that works.  In my opening sentence, I gave you the entire technique.  But in the guide, I break it down step by step, and teach you how to get past the 62 Waves without memorizing... 62 waves.
If you have Ancient Curses, and level 68 or higher Prayer...  and could never beat Jad, or even get past those darn healers... I've got the solution.  Read the guide.  Then go kill Jad.  As often as you like!

By the way, for those who remember why I wanted to kill Jad...
I needed to wear a Fire Cape to complete the Karamja tasks
Finished the Power of Lava

After all of that, my last Karamja task.  I now have the Karamja 4 gloves!