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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!