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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Runescape: Hello, Frost Dragons!

A day or so ago, I posted about retro fun with Red Dragons.  It was enjoyable, relaxing, and easy.  Went to the Blue Dragons for a while, but as suspected, even the resource dungeon was crowded.  Thinking about dragons, and resource dungeons, reminded me of Frost Dragons.

Last time Frost Dragons came up on the radar was when Monique and I were going through all the resource dungeons for the Dungeoneering exp.  At that time, we couldn't get into the Frost Dragon dungeon, and it just hasn't come up again since then. I had read, before the bot-bomb, that it was overcrowded.  Before even researching how to fight them, a quick visit was in order.  Crowds?  Nope.  The place was half empty.  Cool.

Time to study.  Thank goodness for Google!  Found a few guides that got me started.  Following the layout that sounded best, I headed out to do battle.  I died.  Lucky me, saw it coming, and hit the House Teletab.  Death inside the player owned house is desirable, because you don't lose anything.  Relieved, happy, still have my stuff... but what went wrong?

Looking over my mistakes, the first was not bringing enough food.  As a newbie to the Frost Dragons, food should have been a bigger priority.  Would have bought some more time to get used to things.  Other big mistake was just not keeping the proper prayers on, not balancing all the details.  There's a lot to track.  I'm a klutz with combat anyway, but this is good practice.  I probably didn't react quickly enough to the spinning orb, either.  The final error was in not understanding how to use the Yak special, Winter Storage Scroll.  Odd, huh?  All this time with 99 Summoning, I've never bothered to use the Winter Storage Scroll before. 

Rebalancing the inventory, I went out to take my chances once more.  This time went much better.  It was frenetic, nerve-wracking, and crazy.  Kept track of Anti-fires, Overloads, Prayer potions, managed all the prayer switching reasonably well...  and kept my hit points decent the whole trip.  Even kept up with sending the bones to the bank.
Used Reverence Aura.  The Rune Arrows were Frost Dragon drops
 Just before the Yak timed out, the Frost Dragons got me multiple times for more damage than was comfortable.  Time to hit the panic button.  Leave the cannon behind, it's not worth it.  Arrived at my POH with 39 life points left.  Good enough.  Went to Varrock, checked the bank, and found exactly 100 Frost Dragon Bones.  Sold them for about 1 and 3/4 million gold pieces.  Which took about the lifespan of a Pack Yak.  Life is good.
Still need to play with the inventory, but this was the first GOOD one.
During my longer trip, it did get crowded a little.  Not enough to ruin things, just enough to have to wait for a dragon now and then.  When I got out, it was definitely time for a break.  But it was fun, and something worth going back for.  Paying for supplies will cut into the profit, but still, well worth the time.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Runescape: Slacking Off With the Red Dragons

Had a little retro fun recently.  I know, at high combat levels we're supposed to do 'bigger' things, take more risks, defeat major boss monsters.  Well, I'm not so good at that stuff.  And the next big thing for me is going to be the Fight Kiln.  I've had some good suggestions from online friends, Wiki has a lot of info, and when I've rebuilt my income a bit, I'm going for it.

In the interests of making easy money, Monique and I spend a couple of days doing the 'daily tasks' rounds.  You know, battlestaves, yak hides, sand from Bert, chocolate from Lumbridge.  All those things.  We tried to limit it to the most time-efficient and profitable items.  After a couple of days, we realized we can easily make more money using other methods.  The only things that were fast AND profitable were Battlestaves (including Baba Yaga's), and unfinished Broad Bolts.  So we're junking the whole route, and just hitting the high points.  
Plus we're going to keep doing red sand for 6-potion flasks.  Monique sells hers, but I'm saving mine up for my Fight Kiln attempts.  My crafting skill's a bit low, but with last weekend's dragon-hide crafting blitz, I can make flasks with the help of a crafting potion.

In the meantime, I've been looking at moneymaking options and seeing what sounds fun.  Because, after all, this is a game, and the biggest factor is having fun.  After considering and rejecting several tried and true methods, and a few that I haven't tried yet, I decided to slay some dragons.  

What do you consider when you're choosing dragons to kill?  Greens?  Too much competition.  Blues?  Love them- fast and easy.  I may go try the resource dungeon and see how crowded it is.  Black dragons?  Again, I love doing them, but they require more time, and extra resources to fight them efficiently.  

How about Reds?  Hmmm... an often under-utilized dragon.  Not as easy as greens and blues.  Easier than the black dragons.  I did briefly consider the metal dragons, but just wasn't feeling it.  Reds were sounding pretty good.  Especially considering ease of access.  With a modified home teletab, I can teleport directly to Brimhaven, landing very close to the Karamja dungeon.  With the Karamja gloves 4 there's free access to the dungeon, and a direct shortcut to the red dragons.  And with the new toolbelt, a low-level axe is always handy to cut through the vines.  

For the return journey, use a house teletab, and on the way through, recharge summoning and prayer points.  Bring a Yak, and it winds up as a very cost-efficient procedure.  No prayer potions, no super-sets, no overloads.  Just my best melee gear, Dragonfire shield, and anti-fire potions.  24 Red Dragonhides and 24 Dragon Bones per trip, plus alching whatever drops are worthwhile.  (Got a Rune 2-hander last night.)

For healing, it's the Enhanced Excalibur, and Prayer Flashing with Ancient Curses.  Quick Prayers are set to Soul Split and Turmoil.  On a good trip, it takes almost no prayer at all.  On the worst trip so far, I had 190 Prayer points left.  A quick recharge at the POH, drop the swag off at the Grand Exchange, and ready to go again.

On the average, profits are near 200k per trip, and each trip usually runs around 20 minutes.  At +/- 600k per hour, I've made more money doing other stuff, but this is fun, easy, and keeps me going back and forth enough to stay interesting.  I suppose I could even work some 'flipping' on the GE in between, but haven't felt like it recently.

You say I'm wasting my time?  Could be making more, working more efficiently, doing higher-level things?  I say I'm having fun.  And making money.  Both goals of the moment.  When it becomes tiresome, I'll switch to something else.  Or, when it feels like I've recovered enough gold, it might be time to give the Fight Kiln a serious run.  I'm pretty eager to try the Fight Kiln, so maybe I'll rotate back and forth a bit.
And to my friend who offered helpful advice, commiseration when I've had a bad day, and has recently had one of the worst Runescape days in history...  Thanks for the help, the thoughts, and I hate that you had such a huge loss - Best of luck in recovering what you lost.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Runescape: They Ruined Baby TzRek-Jad!

I logged in today, took one look at my favorite pet, and all I could say was "Oh, No!"

Now that the TzHaar update has come and gone, I figured Baby Jad wasn't going to get an update.  And honestly, while I had been hoping for something cool, it really didn't bother me when they left him alone.
New Baby Jad

But today, I logged in while sitting down to lunch, and my heart just sank.  Now he's got this stupid lavender armor, and lost a lot of the really cool crackled lava look.  His skin is smoother, and a lighter red. 

I want to stand under the moon and howl "Ruined!!"...

Monique was teasing me, and said I should get rid of him.  With great dignity, I told her you don't kick a loved one out just because they've lost their looks.
Old Baby Jad

So, yeah, he's still Baby Jad.  He's still mine.  I'm still proud of him.  Took a lot of work and time to get.  But I wish they hadn't done it.

Given Jagex's history, I'm sure they won't roll him back.  All I can hope is they'll take another crack at it, and do a better job.  Small hope, but it's what I've got.  I don't usually complain about Runescape.  Most of the time I really enjoy it.  Just needed a short rant.

Thanks.  I'm better now.  Baby Jad and me are gonna go play.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Runescape: Mining, Agility, Crafting, Fight Kiln... need more Gold!

I usually have no trouble staying focused.  But with all the recent events and updates on Runescape, I've been bouncing from one thing to the next without ever giving it my whole attention.
Way back before Hati  and Skoll came out, I was happily mining concentrated gold in the Living Rock cavern.  Working toward a 99.

Nice walkthrough for Hati and Skoll

Before getting very far, the wolf twins started harassing our friends in Fremennick.  So Monique and I geared up, and trundled over to give the wolves what for.  Not really that hard, but fun for a change of pace.  Skoll was interesting, simply because he was new and different.  The graphics were very well-done.  Runescape has come a long way in the look and feel of the game.  Hati, of course, gives the double-combat-exp gloves.  Monique got her mileage from them by getting 98 in Defense at Ape Atoll.  Dharok, gorillas, prayer... very fast experience.
Skoll dropped boots, which gave double Agility, which I can defenitely make use of.

So, goodbye concentrated gold.  Hello, Advanced Gnome Agility Course.  The boots brought me to 90, and most of the way to 91 at the Barbarian Advanced course.  (The new Elder Kiln quest did the rest of that level.)

Then, of course, the Elder Kiln quest... Love it.  Intrigued by the Fight Kiln minigame.  I suck at Jad, but have actually beaten him a few times.  Really looking forward to doing the Fight Kiln.  I'm sure I'll die many times, but still want to try.  But... need more money first, to fund all the needed supplies.

About this time, Monique told me she's been making good money mining her 50 Red Sandstone a day, and turning it into Robust Glass Flasks.  Sounded good, so grabbed my pick-axe, and hi-ho... off to work I go.  Mining, no problem.  Using the machine to make Robust Glass, easy.  Uh-oh...  my crafting is too low!!!!!

Doggone it.  So, with Monique's tremendous assistance (From buying my first 1000 black dragon hides, to helping me get Sacred Clay Needles) I spent the weekend getting 86 Crafting.  Took quite a few crafting potions to do it, and something like 20 million gold.  Wait a minute, I was supposed to be MAKING money!

Mining the Sandstone
Okay, now with the help of more Crafting potion, I can make Robust Glass Flasks.  Hmmm, weren't they supposed to be useful in the Fight Kiln?  Maybe I won't sell them after all.  So here I am, with my brand new Crafting levels, down by 20 million gold, and... NOT making money from flasks.  :^(

Making Robust Glass
Got that critical level now!

In the meantime, I did take just a couple of minutes to get killed quickly in the Fight Kiln.  No intention of truly trying for it.  Just wanted to pay the Fire Cape, and try a wave or two.  Went in with Armour and whip.  No food.  No potions.  No bolts.  Didn't want to spend ANY money yet.  Made it to level 5.  Fair enough.

And Finally Making 6-potion Flasks!

Now, I'm back to needing money to fund my Fight Kiln attempts.  Runecrafted for a while.  Boring.  Flipped some essence.  Slow.  So, it's either my old favorites, the Avies, or maybe Black Dragons.  Dragons are fun.  Decent profit, with the chance of some good special drops.

So, let's sum it up.  I've recently been a miner, acrobat, crafter, and fighter.  Now it's time to make more money.

Focused?  About as tightly focused as a butterfly in a field of daisies.  Well, we'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Runescape: Tzaar Update, Elder Kiln Quest

Well, we celebrated Valentines Day by doing the new Elder Kiln Quest.  It was a lot of fun.  For me, at least.  Monique does better with the non-combat quests, but she got through it just fine.  My weakness is puzzles.  I don't mind easy ones, but the complex ones are not my cup of tea.  
Anyway, this was my kind of quest.  Lots of combat, only one very easy puzzle.  Considering we make date nights out of new quests and penguin hunting, this made for an excellent Valentiine's Day for us.  I like the TzHaar a lot, they're a unique race, with some interesting features.  Over the years, we've learned more about them, and they've continued to grow as a species I really enjoy.  Even Jad, I started out hating him, and actually kind of like him now.  Even though he kills me more times than not.  

The quest itself teaches us a lot more about the TzHaar, their history, civilization, and continuity.  The extra characterization helps to make them more likable.  The plight with the young Ga'als was touching, and there were definitely some upsets and surprises throughout.  
The egg-hatching challenge was easy, just cast spells to heat or cool depending on the target temperature.  They even provide the runes to use, so I didn't have to use mine!  Having to protect the Ga'al during combat wasn't too tricky, though I have to admit, I bulled through on high hit points and Soul Split.  Nothing fancy.  

The quest makes bank access pretty easy, so working from point to point really wasn't that hard.  In the long cave, you can clear up to a checkpoint, then break, go back, stock up again...  It made for a very forgiving quest.  The final seven waves were the toughest, because you can't re-fuel from the bank.  You have to go prepared, and manage your resources carefully.  Or if your combat stats are high enough, you can just bulldoze through it.  I chose the bulldoze route, and had lots of prayer and about 3 Rocktail left.  On the good side, if you get killed, you don't lose items.  Items that get used (like food, potions, etc) are not replaced, but your armour, weapons, unused inventory, those are safe.  
if you've done the Fight Cave, you'll recognize many of the monsters as modified/ stronger versions of the same ones.  

The puzzle with the Tokkul was just my speed... simple!  Use the book you picked up from the skeleton to decode the numbers, it's simple adding and subrtracting.  If there HAS to be puzzles, this is how I like them.  (As I've mentioned, Monique excels at the tougher puzzles.)  

Rated as a Master-level quest, Jagex assigned a 'medium' length to The Elder Kiln, while other sites posted it as a 'long' quest.  Personally, it felt more 'medium' to me.  But maybe that's just because I enjoyed the emphasis on combat.  As far as the Master rating, I can see that.  Mainly for the combat, though it seems like mid-levels should be able to finish it without too much trouble.  The final fight of 7 waves was probably the hardest part, and if you manage your supplies carefully is do-able.  

I found the story engaging, and tragic.  The final cutscene with the Ga'al you've protected is... unsettling.  I can see a future quest spinning off that could go either well or badly for the TzHaar as a result of this quest.  The rewards were very nice.  A heaping helping of experience points:  100k XP Lamp for Attack, Strength, Defence, Magic, or Ranged, 50k Magic, 30k Agility, and 2 Quest Points.  

You also get access to the Fight Kiln (you'll have to do a one-time sacrifice of a Fire Cape to enter, but access is free from there on.)  Lastly, a Tokkul-Zo, which is a pretty cool ring.  It boosts damage against all lava or obsidian monsters (except Jad, darn it!)
The ring also acts as a teleport to points within the TzHaar area of influence.  You can go to the Main Plaza, Fight Pit, Fight Cave, and Fight Kiln.  using the teleports does not use up any charges.  Fighting with it does, and if you use all the fighting charges, the teleports do not work until it's been recharged. 

One last thing- the Tokkul-Zo has a small combat benefit.  4 across the board, for all attack and defense, with the exception of Summoning defense.  It loses all of these bonuses when uncharged.

As far as the graphic improvements, the new TzHaar city look and layout is phenomenal.  You actually have the feeling of being in a strange city.  The new creature design is appealing, with specific looks for each different caste.  Updated the whole TzHaar look and feel in conjunction with the quest was a good idea.  I thought it was a great way to introduce the new graphics.

I do have a question about Jad... In the preview video, Jad was shown in a vivid reddish/crimson color, but in the youtube videos I've seen of the Fight Kiln, he looks grey.  I'm curious if the original Fight Cave Jad has been updated to look like the preview one (in color) or like the Fight Kiln Jads (greyish).  I really liked the full-color look.

Not going to get into the Fight Kiln too much.  It's a separate minigame, and not truly part of the quest.  The main thing I'm happy about is that I've always wished there was an easier way to practice on Jad without spending an hour or more just to get killed.  

Haven't tried the Fight Kiln yet (thinking maybe this weekend) but I like the idea that there's a Jad every 10 waves.  I'll be getting lots of practice on him.  If I can ever get to the Fight Kiln boss, I'm certain Jad himself will never again intimidate me.  My only concern is the expense of fighting in the Kiln.  Not so much the equipment, I'll make do with whatever I can afford.  But the supplies... Prayer potions, 6-serving flasks, Overloads, Bolts and Runes.  

To compensate, I'm going to practice the Kiln without any supplies at first.  Just to get killed a few times, and see how I fare.  Kind of like practice runs.  :^)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Runescape Elder Kiln Quest and Fight Kiln Minigame: Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is Valentines Day.  Monique and I had planned a quiet evening, something a little 'special' to eat, otherwise nothing much.  For a married couple that Runescapes together, Tuesday is already a standing date night.  It's when the Penguins get refreshed, and we do our weekly penguin hunt together every Tuesday.

But for valentines this year, Runescape has gone all out.  Not only do we get penguins tonight, we get a brand new, master-level quest!  It gets even better- it's about the TzHaar, with a major graphics rework.  And better...  A new minigame, sequel to the Fight Caves.  Called the Fight Kiln, and it's absolutely guaranteed to kill me many times.  Even if I make it to the 2 Jads... yes, you read that right - 2 TzTok-Jads... even if I make it to the Jad twins, I don't expect to win until many deaths later.  After all, Jad alone is just barely manageable to me.  Having to face 2 at once is certainly going to be more than I can handle.  At least, until I learn new fighting techniques.

But I still want to try.  Not just because it's new content, or because of my love/hate history with Jad, but because I want the new cape.  Jagex bills it as the only cape in the history of Runescape with a +8 Strength bonus.  For that alone, I want it.  I'm also hoping it will look really awesome.  But even if it looks sorry, I still want it for the stats.  It's definitely a powerful improvement over the Fire Cape.  Check out this comparison:

Significant improvements accross the board, except for Prayer.  A little Prayer improvement would have been nice, but I'm not going to complain.  

Since Runescape is offering an early bird special (more exp rewards) for beating the quest within 2 weeks, and getting to at least level 30 in the Fight Kiln, I'll be trying early.  I want the bonus points.  There's 37 levels in the Kiln, with Twin Jads at level 36, just before the big boss.  I think I can get to level 30 without too much frustration.  I hope.

I'll be trying to get that cape for a long time, I'm sure.  But in the meantime, Monique and I have penguins... and a new quest.  Who could ask for a better Valentines Day??

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Runescape February Update: New Jad, Fight Kiln Minigame, New TzHaar Quest

Preview of the new TzTok-Jad

I haven't been doing anything amazing for a while.  Ever since getting the Skoll boots, I've been on an agility spree.  There's only so many ways I can talk about running round in big circles, even if it is pretty neat. 
Just to give it one final hash, Monique and I both got Skoll boots (and Hati Gloves, but the gloves don't help me.)  So both of us have been training agility while we can.  At this point, my Skoll boots are burnt out.  Nothing left.  Monique's boots still have about 40% to go.  She started at Ape Atoll, and has now moved up to the Advanced Gnome Agility Course.  I started at the Advanced Gnome course, and moved up to the Advanced Barbarian Agility Course.  Currently, I'm about 2/3rds of the way to level 91.  Nice thing about 90 Agility, I can finally use Kuradel's best shortcut without a Summer Pie.  I haven't been to Kuradel since getting Baby Jad, but I do want to go back to her at some point.

One thing I really liked about the Advanced Gnome course was the papaya tree I had planted nearby.  Travel to and from the GE with the Spirit Tree, pick my papayas now and then, and run laps.  It wasn't a lot of money, but with the Papayas you could make a little side money while training agility.  The Barbarian course has nothing extra to recommend it.  No fruit tree to pick.  Not even a convenient route to and from the GE.  I get there by games necklace, and get back by teletab.  Since I still fail at the Barbarian Advanced course, I bring Summer Pies, and take a bit if my character fails the balance beam.

But that's just day to day junk.  The cool news right now is the Tzaar update.  Have you read the February Behind the Scenes? 

Jagex is going to do a graphical rework of the TzHaar, the city, environment, equipment, characters, monsters, and apparently Jad, plus a whole new, tougher minigame.

If you've read any of my other blogs, you've probably noticed I have a love-hate relationship with Jad.  I'm terrible at complex combat, and never thought I'd do jad.  Then I decided I wanted the Taskmaster emote.  Part of getting the emote involved having to defeat Jad.  Spent months learning how, trying all kinds of crazy methods.  Finally wound up winning.  Then wound up kind of liking Jad.  So I've gone back a few times voluntarily, just for fun.  Even managed to get 2 baby Jads, one in my house, one to follow around.

Of course, every time I think I've gotten the hand of Jad, they change him again.  My first win was with the Ancient Curses.  Then they nerfed that technique.  Then I beat him while wearing a knockout aura, which was a really cool final blow.  Now they've changed the sounds I learned to react to.  And before I could go back and re-learn Jad again, Runescape announced it's ALL going to be different this month!!

First there's a new master-level quest called "The Elder Kiln Quest".  Involving, of course, the TzHaar.  It's kind of like a big 'coming out' party for all the new graphics under the volcano.  I very much like that we're going to learn a lot more about the TzHaar race and history.  They're pretty interesting, and I expect them to be far more interesting after the quest.  The rewards sound nice too.  A ring to improve combat damage while fighting TzHaar... Wonder if that will count in the Fight Cave and with Jad?  And how much extra damage you can do?  New title...  might be interesting.  Can't really say one way or the other until we know more.  New mini-game...  Uh-oh.

Yes, a new mini-game with the TzHaar, those wonderful creatures who brought us JAD!  The Fight Kiln Minigame is billed as Runescape's most challenging minigame yet, a sequel to the Fight Caves. 

In the Fight Kiln, you have to sacrifice a fire cape, just to get in the door the first time!!!  Guess it could be worse- giving up a Fire Cape once is far better than having to pay a Fire Cape every visit!  Since I've already traded in 2 Fire Capes for Baby Jad, losing one more won't kill me.

But playing the Fire KIln will definitely kill me.  I can only just barely handle Jad.  The Fight Kiln promises to be so much tougher, that you'll have to face 2 Jads... at once... to get to the REAL boss monster at the end.  Ouch.  I can tell, I'm gonna die... a lot.
What's the new Boss going to be?
So what's the reward?  If you get all the way through the kiln... face down wave after wave of the toughest monsters ever assembled in Runescape... defeat 2 Jads simultaneously... and defeat what may be Runescape's ultimate boss monster (and certainly Runescape's ultimate minigame)... you get a new cape.  It has +8 Strength, compared to the Fire Cape's +4 Strength.  I'm guessing this will be an upgraded version of the Fire Cape.  Hope the graphics are also upgraded.  For that much effort, it should look spectacular. 

One more thing to note- if you finish the quest within two weeks of release, you'll get double XP for the quest reward.  And if you reach wave 30 of the Fight Kiln within the same two-week time limit, you get an extra 70,000 XP.  Jagex is calling it the Early Bird Bonus. 

I'm not even mentioning the other planned updates for February.  But there's a bunch.

One last thing- Jad will be visually updated to look very sleek, dangerous, and... dangerous.  The picture up top is his new look.  And the video right here is the preview of the new TzHaar graphics, and Fight Kiln, plus Jad in action.

Am I going to like the new minigame?  Probably not.  But am I going to try my best to beat it?  Darned right I am!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

All of a sudden, lots of new content in Runescape!

Recently, I've been doing circles in the advanced Gnome Agility Course.  Before that, I was working on mining gold in the Living Rock Cavern.  But then Hati and Skoll came out, so Monique and I took a break to do them.  Once I got Skoll's boots, and saw how great they were for Agility, I decided to use them up on agility.
So, round and round we go.  One lap, two laps, many.  Baby Jad faithfully following behind.  Then, with about 15% left on the boots, Runescape came out with the Burthorpe/Taverly newby update.  Here we go again.  Monique and I had planned on doing all the content, even if it was intro stuff.  We both like new content, and it doesn't always have to be high-level.  I also found out later, that I've lost my Taskmaster emote.  To get it back, I have to complete all the new stuff. 
We got a large part done last night.   Close to midnight, called it a night.  Hoped to finish today.  But instead, I'm falling behind on my writing, and spent all evening trying to catch up.  Now, it's nearly 11:30, and we're going to wait some more.  I haven't even done my Trolls yet this month!  Usually those get done on the first day of the month.

New day.  This is a first for me.  A Runescape blog I didn't write in sitting?  Man.  But I'm writing at least 3 other blogs a day, plus work.  It's hard to fit everything I want to do into one single day. 
Anyway, we finished the last few tasks.  Got my Taskmaster emote back, that felt good.  Worked long and hard for that, hate losing it every time something new comes along.

Now, it's back to the grind.  Agility has been going well.  Made 90 recently.  For a slow skill, and one I'm not over-fond of, it hasn't seemed too bad.  I really like the new meter the screen shows.  This little circle near the top, with the bar filling more and more of the perimeter as I gain experience.  A lot of these little mainenance fixes have been pretty good.

Got about 8% left on the Skoll boots.  After that, it's either push on through Agility, or go back to mining gold in the Living Rock Caverns.

Huh.  You know what?  I just realized I haven't done my trolls yet this month!  Guess I'll go back to Burthorpe.