Recently Runescape released The Firemaker's Curse. Having a busy week, Monique and I didn't get to start it until the weekend, but Friday night we started early, with intentions of playing straight through. It's rated as a Master-level quest, with a Long duration, so we were braced for a long stint.
What we weren't braced for was a series of rooms where we had to run around lighting fires in a pattern (and color sequence), trying to complete the design before the first-lit fires began burning out. It was simple in concept, but getting the timing fast enough was a bit of drudge work. The first time was fine. The second wasn't horrible. But after 5 of these same kinds of puzzles, we had to begin wondering why there was no true variety. Just the same basic type of challenge, over and over.
That part being addressed, the rest of it was a lot of fun. The story was good, I liked the boss, Char. She made a good 'sympathetic villain'. The firemakers struck me as annoyingly frivolous and shallow, except maybe for Flint, who is really only there to protect his adoptive daughter, Lina. He's also the most useful of the pack, giving you the pitch can necessary for lighting all the fires.
One part of the puzzle rooms that I did actually enjoy was the lava room agility maze. That was fun, interesting, and had some variety. Good job on that room.
To a lesser extent, the walls-of-flame room wasn't bad. Not too hard, and at least it was different. I also like that those creatures become the pets to choose from later. (If your Firemaking level is 91 or better.)
On the subject of the pets, they are pretty cool. Restrictive enough to not be all over Runescape. Great graphics, no feeding required. You can pick any one you want. Store it in your menagerie and you can get another, though a bug puts you at risk of losing whatever pet you took out to make room. You can only have one at a time in your bank or inventory, but you can always release that one, go back and pick another. It's kind of like having a specialty menagerie there whenever you want.
To be honest, these are as cool as baby dragon pets, and almost as cool as Baby Jad!
The whole 'tie up the possessed guy' thing was another aspect that was interesting at first, but became repetitive. Not quite as bad as lighting the fire patterns. At least it had a function in moving the plot forward.
Once you get to the endgame, though, it became quite fun. The fact that the entire quest is 'safe' was pretty cool. It shifted the emphasis to story. And it means you don't have to waste time recovering stuff, getting back where you were, and all that junk. This quest was long enough without that complication.
So here you are at the endgame, Char grows... gigantic, with a very very long reach. Maybe she's only melee, but she can hit from further away than you'd think. But the fight was different, and a lot of fun. The winning strategy was hilarious. Run around the arena in a big circle, making fires as you go, and stopping now and then to shoot at her. It looked kind of like tying a torch to a chicken and setting it loose. Lots of panicked running with a trail of lit fires.
The wrap-up is brief, but decent. I kind of expected some mention of her regret at killing one or more of our group, or some kind of penance, but it wasn't really addressed. Still, she's willing to train me in firemaking once a week, and lets me have a cool pet. I guess I can forgive her.
The rewards are pretty cool. 2 quest points, 80k firemaking, 30k agility, 76k con, and the Book of Char, which has a great effect, plus helps train firemaking.
I'm not into Balthazar's circus, but if that's your bag, there are now 2 Firemaking events there as well. Plus the weekly training thing.
Overall, a great quest marred by possibly too much repetition. But compensated for by the rewards, which are well worth the effort.
For bonus material, bear in mind that Sera was the result of a 'Guaranteed Content Poll' in the forums. Players got to vote on her personality. To me, not that much of a game-changer, but it does help the players feel more involved. Good move on Jagex's part.
The last extra credit goes to Wiki, where the trivia list mentions the quest requirements had changed. To begin with, the firemaking requirement was going to be 90, but was reduced to 74 right before the quest. The requirement for the pets was raised to 91. Wiki reports speculation that the requirement was reduced due to the small number of players (around 80,000) who would qualify for the quest at 91. At 74, many more players can do the quest.
I may not have enjoyed the entire quest, but I liked enough of it. And I'm extremely glad that I did it, given the rewards!