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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Runescape: 200 Million Celebrations- Party Demons and 200M Glasses

On 19 July 2012, Runescape logged it's 200 millionth account signup.  Jagex referred to it as 200 million players, but I'm not sure how accurate that is, since many players have a 'main', and then one or more alternate player accounts.  I myself had a different account when starting out; within days of starting, a scammer convinced me to allow him access to my account.  Since it was free to play, rather than tighten up security and re-claim the original account, I just made a new one.  At some point I gave the original account a crazy password just to keep people out, but have never played it since it was scammed.  That's about 8 years ago.  But the way I understand things, that account should still be there.  Never used, never played since then.

Then again, there's the serious concern regarding how many of those Runescape accounts are bots.  I've got no idea what numbers or percentages would apply, but have to wonder... how many actual players does Runescape have?  Is it truly legitimate to call 200 million accounts opened the same thing as 200 million real and unique players? 

I'm convinced Jagex is being deliberately blind to the reality, in order to stage a grand celebration.  A number of players take exception to this.  Myself, I call it wishful thinking.  Not going to get upset.  On a far smaller scale, I do the same thing.  When I want to buy something, and it's $97.82, I'll tell Monique it's "Well under $100.00!"  When she wants to buy the same thing, suddenly I perceive it as "nearly $100.00!" 

We all 'tilt' things to help our point look more valid.  We even make up facts and statistics to boost our viewpoint.  (Read the forums, you'll see what I mean.)  And I'm pretty sure we all know when other people are doing it.  So when Jagex does the same thing I myself do, it would be hypocritical to get all bent out of shape about it.  On the other hand, don't get me started about our government...  :^)

Anyway, all that to explain... Jagex isn't fooling anybody.  But we got a celebration, some Party Demons, and a cool new Boogie Bow.  So with a wink and a nod, I'm putting my dancing shoes on.  (Another perfect example -- I can't dance!)

The party was held at the Barbarian Village, Bandit Camp, and Varrock Sewers.  I chose the Barbarians, simply because they were convenient.  Party Demons, drawn to the celebration, must be taken down to make the world safe once again.  Not sure why, since all they want is to party.  The Party Demons don't attack, not even when you attack them.  Unless you're using the Boogie Bow. 
At all of the locations, Hey Presto is waiting for your help.  He'll give you the Boogie Bow to defeat the Party Demon with.  Nothing else can hurt the demon.  The bow has very low requirements to use.  It can be used to kill other NPC's, though it does almost no damage.  But the Boogie Bow looks truly awesome!

When done, it can be stored in the Player Owned Home toybox, but I just destroyed mine.  It said the bow can be reclaimed from Diango.  That's good enough for me.

After killing the demon (and you can kill him more than once) check back with Hey Presto, and he'll reward you with 200m Glasses to mark this huge celebration.  They're purely cosmetic, and serve no purpose other than marking the 200 million account event.  You can also store them in the Toybox, or destroy them for Diango to keep.  Diango's got mine.

When all is said and done, is the 200 million celebration all bluster and thunder, signifying nothing?  Maybe.  But I look really cool firing my Boogie Bow while wearing my 200m Glasses!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Runescape: Solomon's General Store and Avatar Customization

Today I intended to write about the new Avatar Customization dressing room, and Solomon's General Store.  Then Jagex hit it's 200 Million accounts, and released a whole new celebration.  Since both are worthy of some attention, I'll still focus on Solomon's General Store and the Avatar Customization here, and feature the 200 million celebration next time.

Let's go ahead and get the negatives out of the way first.  We all know that every single time Jagex updates Runescape, a small but vocal group of people dominate the forums for a while.  No matter how good the update, the haters are loud and persistent.  After 8 years of playing, I've only seen maybe a couple of updates I didn't like.  Many that didn't matter a lot.  Some were 'kinda nice'.  And a few were really great. 

This is going to be unpopular, but let me say right now...  If Jagex puts time and effort into an update, the odds of them changing their minds are miniscule.  If I ever see an update that upsets me as much as some of the forum complainers, I won't be posting on the forum about it.  I'll just take my money and find some other way to enjoy my free time.  Getting mad is a waste.  Playing is fun.  If Runescape quits being fun, the solution is easy.  Find something new that makes me happy.  :^)

That being said, Solomon's General Store marks a major marketing transition for Runescape.  I can understand why it would upset people.  Previously, if you were a paying member, you at least had a chance of obtaining something in-game, with in-game means.  Then Jagex began introducing bonuses with Runescape membership cards.  I actually got the cards for a recent promotion, the Flaming Skull. 

Now, there's an entire update based around spending real money for in-game items.  Aside from an initial 200 Runecoins, there's no option to gain any of Solomon's items other than to spend real dollars.  One reason I didn't mind Squeal of Fortune was the opportunity was there whether you spent money or not.  If you want to buy extra spins, you can.  If not, you still have a daily opportunity to win the same prizes.  Lower odds maybe, but still a fair chance.

On the other side of the coin, none of Solomon's specials (or the membership cards, either) offer in-game advantages.  All they do is let you customize things about your character.  The way you look, the way you interact.  It's pretty cool.  I very much like what's actually on offer.

Seems to me, a better solution would be to occasionally include Solomon's General Store items in the Squeal of Fortune.  As a member, that would give 2 chances a day at attaining one, without a real-world micro-transaction.  Once a day for non-members.  Alternatively, like the Loyalty Points, if Runescape gave a small number of Runecoins free each month, I'd be happy.  Even if it took months to save up any useable amount.

Either way, as long as there was an honest opportunity to obtain the items without spending extra money out of my wallet, that would be fair.  If I didn't want to wait, I could still spend my money... but at least it would be my choice then.

Okay, sorry I rambled so long.  For those of us who actually liked the update, and enjoy adding variety to the game, let's move forward:

I wasn't too impressed with the titles.  Blah blah, sounds cool, sounds dumb...  not my bag of tea.  But what the heck, I'm sure plenty of people will buy the titles.  I prefer a title I've earned, like "YtHaar".  I'm proud of that one.  I do like the avatar customization screen.  It's cool for a good look at what's available, and can also show what you're currently wearing.
 Liked the Assassins Cape fairly well.  Looked pretty decent.
 The Cabaret outfit looked nice, but again, not something I'd spend money on.
 The Colosseum outfit just doesn't go with my character.  It might be alright with a different character design, but for me, it's just not going to work.
 Speaking of not working... this will be the ONLY time you see my guy in a feline costume!  It's cute, but I just don't want to be cute. 
 The Gothic outfit was fair enough.  I'm not a big fan, but it's well-done and looks attractive.
 Now this one, this is pretty cool.  I like the Swashbuckler outfit.  Besides, Monique said she likes it too.  If I bought an outfit, Swashbuckler would be the one.
 The Assassin set was up there, too.  Very nice design.  I like it, but don't really see it for my character.  Not nearly so much as the Swashbuckler costume.
 This one is the Swashbuckler costume again, but while wielding the Pactbreaker Longsword.  Pactbreaker has an awesome look, with a constant animation across the blade.
 The Quickfire Crossbow looks nice.  It might be better once I see it in action.
 I like the Shockeye Staff, but it's not that different from the Greater Runic Staff. 
 Going fishing?  This Deep-Sea Fishing animation is an excellent one.  Nice change of pace from the normal animations.  I'd go for this one.
 The Enhanced Potion Making animation isn't hugely different from the original emote, but enough so that it looks nice.  I give this one a plus as well.
 Lumberjack outfit?  Hmmm... seems like it could have been a bit better.  Still, not bad, and is a nice variation from the normal moves.
 For extreme silliness, there's the Headbutt Mining emote.  Well done for what it is, but definitely done for the humor.  Not a serious approach at all!
 Like the Slayer Battle Cry.  Even though my Slayer's 99'd, it would still be fun to have.  Now that Runescape has Social Slaying, Monique and I still slay together when we can.
 Finally getting to the great ones.  The Infernal Teleport calls a huge demon out of the ground when you perform a home teleport.  Unfortunately, there's no 'arrival' animation, just the 'leaving' animation.  But still a cool emote.  I'd definitely go for this one!!
 The Pegasus Teleport is, hands down, my favorite from Solomon's General Store.  This is so awesome, I'm very tempted to actually spend real money to buy him.  Being able to call my own pegasus to swoop down and fly me away?  Beyond amazing - this is the one to watch!

 Enhanced High Alchemy - This one is another excellent choice.  Much more fun than the usual, with a colorful fling of gold into the air.  Like it a lot.

Okay, this isn't all that exists... but it's most of them.  Just a brief and somewhat random look at the new (and purchasable) graphics from Solomon's General Store.  No in-game advantage...  just fun ways to personalize your character.  I can understand why this bothers some players, and sympathize...  but I'm okay with it.  I might even buy one now and then!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Runescape: Social Slaying and the Geilinor Games Preparation

We're not just Social Slaying... we're Synchronized Slaying!
 Last night Monique and I tried out the Social Slayer feature.  It may not seem like a big deal, but I liked it.  Took a moment to realize the Ring of Slaying's dropdown menu won't show the co-op option unless you're wearing it.  At it's most basic, Social Slaying just reduces the boredom.   Makes Slaying, as it says, a more social event.  Since she and I team up quite often as we play, this provided a nice extension to our playstyle.

Monique had to cancel her previous task.  When I asked Kuradel for a new task, Kuradel assigned the task to her as well.  We got 196 Dust Devils, which was an excellent test task.  Went quickly, didn't require special techniques (aside from wearing the Slayer Helm).  Dust Devils are easy to kill; with two of us sharing the task, it flew by in no time.  My only complaint is getting just one point for a task assigned by Kuradel.  

 Since the easiest tasks from the easiest Slayer Masters are worth one point, it would have been nice to boost the Co-op rewards if you choose harder Slayer masters.  As it is, I can spend days getting 100 points from Kuradel, or a few hours getting 100 points from Spria in Taverly.  I already have 99 Slayer, and Baby Jad.  Don't really need the new pets.  But I like the idea of the baby Ice Strykewyrm as a pet.  Not too impressed with a Baby Aquanite.
The other two rewards seem very close to useless.  Sharing food and potion points just doesn't seem that high-priority.  At least the pets are fun.  I've got a menagerie full of baby dragons, a 2nd baby Jad, and one or two other pets.  I'd like to add Freezy, the baby Strykewyrm, to it.
Currently only 2 players can share a task.  That's probably for the best, unless they coop boss assignments, like Jad...  Could you imagine double-teaming Jad?  What fun that would be!   :^)

We didn't notice it, but apparently some people have mentioned that when you wander too far apart, the count isn't shared.  You have to be fairly near to share each other's kill count.

In spite of the imbalanced and less-than-useful rewards, I like the idea.  Sharing a slayer task with Monique was a lot more fun than just grinding it out on my own.  We kept up a running commentary of our drops, our good hits, bad hits, and the interloper who kept trying to take our kills.  Needs some rebalancing to make Social Slaying functionally rewarding.  But in terms of fun, I liked it a lot.  In spite of nay-sayers in the forums, Jagex has been coming out with some excellent updates this year.  Once Combat Beta goes live, Social Slaying should be even more fun.

We also participated in the Geilinor Games preparations.  The Games are in honor of this year's Olympics being in England.  There'll be some competitions, some buyable rewards.  Not too sure I care about the rewards, but I'd rather have the option than not.  So we're doing the Preparations.  Talking to Oomad Arrow will get assignments in cooking, making medals, and building construction components.   

You can only help a limited amount per day.  Doing so will earn some skill exp, plus rewards points in the Geilinor Games Rewards Shop.  The shop won't be open until the Geilinor Games begin, but I'm doing my best to save up points for spending in it.  According to Wiki, to get every reward in the shop will  cost 30,550 points.  I suppose it might be nifty to own all the rewards (though I would hope they could be stored in our house and not our bank!).  Mainly, I like the emotes.  As long as I can get the two emotes in the gold rewards, I'll be happy.

Doing the assigned preparation tasks can be time-consuming.  Making the 3 meals goes quickly enough, but mining the nuggets from the scrap pile takes forever, even if you've got a Dragon Pickaxe.  If I'm in the middle of something major, it might not be worth interrupting.  For now, I'm not spending as much time playing as normal, so most of my play is just 'maintenance' work.  You know, mining the red sandstone, getting Berts free buckets of sand, making runes from the Wicked Hood, buying Battlestaves...  all the daily tasks that I like to do.  Just a few minutes of running around generates over 500k gold daily.  Plus doing my Jack of Trades aura each day for the free exp.

If I do all that and still have time to play, it's usually to thieve from the Knights of Ardougne.  It's an easy skill to start and stop training.  Well suited to my current limited playing time.  Same thing can be said for Agility.  Both are good skills to work on during long phone calls...

Slightly off subject, Monique and I did the first Combat Beta Weekend event, the Castle Wars game.  Has anybody heard what and when the next event will be?  I thought it was going to be one event every weekend, but it's starting to look like they're skipping over this weekend.  We both want the associated Mad Scientist costume, and don't want to miss an event for lack of information!

In the meantime, look for me hanging out with the Knights.  I'll be spending time there whenever I can.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Runescape: Evolution of Combat Weekend Event: Castle Wars

Me bravely defending the bridge... right before they killed me again!
Well, last weekend was the first open weekend for the Evolution of Combat Beta Test worlds.  Anybody with an active membership could (finally!) log in and see the new system for themselves.  I hope it lived up to your best hopes.

Monique and I are split on this one.  She hates combat.  By nature she's a skiller, not a killer, and only does combat when required for a personal goal.  If she's got to fight, keep it simple.  All these new combat options to learn stress her, because she doesn't really want to know about them.  I'm opposite.  Combat is my favorite.  Not saying I'm any good at it.  Jad, Nomad, Fight Kiln, Queen Black Dragon, those all give me fits.  As a matter of fact, I still haven't beaten those last two.  But it's fun trying.

Overall, the Evolution of Combat seems like a good thing to me.  Makes the fighting fun, and interesting.  Not sure how well I'll fare against the big monsters.  Just that much more to have to manage, seems like.  But I still like it.  Except for the Enhanced Excalibur thing.  Yes, they replaced the Excalibur special with a combat action that is pretty similar.  You can heal yourself when your Adrenaline Bar gets full.  That doesn't do anything for all those non-combat ways to get hurt.  For instance, currently the Knights of Ardougne have been contributing to my coffers.  When they catch me accepting 'donations' from them, they hit me.  Currently, Enhanced Excalibur's special can heal me.  Under the new system, since it isn't combat, the adrenaline bar won't be charged... no healing.  I guess we'll all just have to find new work-arounds for the changes.  
I spent a LOT of time leaving this room...

Because of the Mad Scientist outfit, Monique decided to join me in the Beta Combat worlds for the first Combat Beta weekend event - Castle Wars.  Neither one of us likes Castle Wars.  But we like keeping up with cool new things as much as possible.  We both wanted the Mad Scientist Outfit.  Besides, it looks awesome in the concept drawings!

When we logged in, she really worried about needing to set all the new options.  I told her not to worry about it.  All that's required is to play a whole game within the given days.  We just go in, get killed a few times, and we're done.

...   :^D

Boy, was I right.  The lag was fierce.  The confusion was beyond amazing.  The crowding made it look like just this massive field of wild colors and motion.  More like a psychedelic trip than an online role-playing adventure game.  Also right about getting killed.  In spite of her hesitance, Monique wound up killing three players.  I only got one!!!  She can just be my bodyguard from now own. Somehow, when playing Castle Wars I always choose the losing team.  Which makes me not like it even more.  Looks like plenty of people still like to play it.  To each their own.  Maybe some day I'll want the completionist cape, and have to play a bunch of games.  Until then, though, Castle Wars will not be seeing much of Monique nor myself. 

In the meantime, still working on Thieving.  Last night finally made level 90.  After spending some time plundering the pyramids, and stealing seeds from the farmer, the Ardougne Knights have become my favorite.  There's a ton of right-clicking, and you have to pay lots of attention.  By the way, if you're a bot, don't hang out near me- I report bots.  When you're chasing a knight and you aren't bright enough to go through a door to pick his pocket, it becomes pretty obvious.  Especially when your character is locked onto the knight, and constantly circles the house trying to get to the guard...

Anyway, the higher the level, the easier pickpocketing becomes.  By level 90, the money, and the experience, really seems to increase rapidly.  Maybe it's all just perception.  As always, I play at whatever seems fun.  While working toward a goal.  Right now, the goal is working on a skill, while making money.  Not the fastest money, but a good combination of skilling and profit.
I owe all my success to the men of the Ardougne Knighthood!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Runescape: Carnillean Rising Quest Review

(Spoiler Alert- read at your own risk.  I'm serious- don't read unless you don't mind spoilers!)
Today marked the release of the quest "Carnillean Rising."  One of the new breed with voice acting.  Monique and I are of differing opinions with the voices.  She finds it intrusive, especially when both of us are doing the same quest at the same time (which is our preferred way to do quests).  I immensely enjoy the voices.  Particularly with this quest, they were spot on, down to the last inflection.  The voices add a rich layer to the gameplay.
 Voices aside, Carnillean Rising , is a fun romp behind the scenes of making a quest.  Started by speaking to Xenia, standing outside the Carnillean mansion.  (It's south of Ardougne, just a bit west of the zoo.)  She'll set the scene, then send you to speak with Sir Ceril Carnellean.
Ceril explains his son Philipe is a bit of a wimp.  He wants you, as a last-ditch effort, to invent a quest for Phillipe.  It can't be too difficult, after all.  Sir Ceril has read books and know exactly how a quest should go.
 Your job is to find what you need around the house to spruce up the caverns beneath into a quest-worthy scenario.  Come dressed for combat, but with an empty inventory.  You'll need the space, as it's useful to pick up just about everything not nailed down.  Ground floor, next floor up, and cellar, all have points of interest.  Explore, pick up whatever you can.  Take the dragon-heads off the wall.  Yank the curtains from the windows.  Pick up the moneybag on the bed, unless you've already grabbed the necklace from the dresser.  Either will serve as the quest spoils for Philipe to find.  Buckets of water, trash from a barrel, spiders from the floor.  If you can grab it, get it.

I'll have to admit, when I read the behind-the-scenes, I had some doubts.  But Carnellean Rising was a rollicking, side-splitting adventure right from the setup.  I'm one of those players that doesn't enjoy solving complex puzzles.  Lucky for me, it's a pretty simple quest.  Pretty easy to figure out as you go.  Just keep asking your Butler buddy, Crichton, what needs doing next.  He'll always come across with a hint.  He's been assigned to facilitate the quest.
The caves below the house only recently opened up when a hole in the kitchen wall collapsed; to date they're largely unexplored.  Xenia had a look-see, but didn't divulge what she found.  So the first order of business is to take a quick overview of the caverns.  Crichton gives a running description as we see a flying overhead view of the dungeon.  Pay attention, he'll point out relevant highlights along the way.  Starting with the hole in the kitchen (the cavern entrance), he'll suggest building a cobweb over it.

By the way, all dungeon-building actions use Construction.  It requires 31 Construction to do the quest at all.  And 33 Thieving as well.  Just inside the cavern, there's a low ledge, and a space beside it to put a trap.  I chose to use 7 buckets of water, flooding the center.  Word of warning here- this was the first part of the dungeon I built.  And forever after, Crichton and I had to climb the ledge.  Make your job easier, save building the agility trap for last, so you won't have to climb it every time you run past.
You'll notice some goblins, who prevent you making a tripwire trap.  Get rid of them by hiring them.  It's a rather elegant solution to two problems.  Hire the goblins to do guard patrol.  Once they're gone, build the two trip-wire traps.  The cook from the cellar kitchen will make a wonderful drunken guard, and with some sweet-talk, is only too happy to help.  Finding a pair of dragons to guard the maiden is a trickier task, but with some creativity (you KNEW those dragon-heads were good for something, right?) it's a done deal.
Getting a damsel in distress is a completely different kettle of fish, as Sarsaparilla, the only maiden in the house (I'm not counting Phillipe's mother.  I mean, seriously.  Not an option.)  She's something of a stuck up snob, and completely not interested in helping Phillipe.  Fortunately, she has a passion for acting.  With a little persuasion, she's willing to play her role in the drama.
One odd thing I noticed; in the dungeon, there's an underground river.  On the river, there's a boat.  What?  If this cavern was only 'just' discovered, where will the boat take you?  Throughout the entire quest, we never find out.  It's only cosmetic... this time around.  I think it would be cool to have a follow-up quest that explored the caverns more thoroughly.
Exploring the area, to the east is a small room with a couple of playful wolf cubs chasing mice.  Cute, aren't they?  Hold on to that thought.  For now, go into the room and explore the spoil heap for skulls and fragments of bones.  They'll be used for mood decoration.

I really enjoyed the quest characters that had to follow me.  They all ran just as fast as players, with a smooth and natural movement.  Nothing like going jogging with the butler and the cook through a dark dungeon.  Romping with the pups was fun, too.  When it's time to lead them, catch their mouse.  It's kind of willy-nilly, seeing as the mouse is frantically running in circles, while the wolf cubs are trying to eat it.  You'll just have to click fast to get it.  Once you've got the mouse, they'll follow you to the dragon hot spots.  The cubs will take their places, then you put the dragon heads on them.  Priceless.  Awww, how cute!  Well, don't get too attached.  Phillipe is going to kill them in a fight.
This was probably the only part of the quest I didn't like.  They were far too cute to be melee fodder.  On the good side, they don't stay dead forever.  After the quest, they come back to life.  On the bad side, they're mean, vicious and aggressive after that.
Okay, goblin patrol, drunken guard, dragons, maiden, 2 trip-wire traps, and the agility ledge done.  All that's left is to place decorations.  There are 3 hotspots in the dungeon.  Once all three are placed, it's time to enlist the principal actor in this farce.  Philipe, unfortunately, is not inclined to participate.  He heard his parents plan the whole thing, and would rather just hang around the house eating candy.  So I... stole his candy.  Gave it to my butler accomplice.
 Now, with the bribe of candy as an additional reward, Philipe is reluctantly willing to participate. Before running downstairs to guide him through the quest, this is a good time to find a bank and load up on food.

He starts with a bad attitude, but you can tell, as the adventure continues, he begins to take an interest.  As Philipe first enters the dungeon, Crichton changes roles from butler sidekick to dramatic narrator.  No, really.  He announces everything Philipe does.  The muddy pool you made at the agility ledge?  Becomes the "Chasm of Certain Death."  At the same time, you switch from behind-the-scenes director, to sidekick to Philipe. (Mostly.)
There's a bit of a quest-breakdown at the goblin patrols.  Jagex has a lot of fun here, and I had to laugh at the perfect mimicry of some of the forum complaints I've seen over the years.  I can only imagine with what glee the game designers threw in this nudge at some of our more 'sensitive' players:
Next up, Philipe has to wear one of Sarsaparilla's dresses to fool the drunken guard into getting drunk enough to pass out.  So it's not exactly perfect... everybody gets into the spirit of things, and it works out just fine.  With a stern word from Philipe to never, never tell anybody about him wearing a dress.
Following that, Philipe faces the mighty dragons.  I warned you.  If you're sensitive, cover your eyes until you're past this point.  Just as he's killing the last wolf-cub, the Cave Wolf Matriarch bursts out of a pile of rubble, races through the dungeon, and attacks.
 Time for an aside here; within the scene as it unfolds, the wolf looks okay.  Menacing, and you don't know exactly what it can do.  But as it becomes fully revealed, the wolf is kind of (to borrow Phillipe's words) lame.  All the rest of the quest, the graphics were fabulous.  We've all seen the usual wolves Jagex uses, and they look much better.  All I can guess is they wanted something different, representative of a wolf that spent it's life underground, and maybe even a bit in keeping with the silly vein of this quest in general.
Back to the attacking wolf.  Philipe is finally interested.  This is the coolest part of the quest.  When you tell him to get away, it's not part of the quest... he's even more interested.  You can almost see him growing up.  Squaring his shoulders.  Taking responsibility.  As a matter of fact, he levels up 3 times during the fight. 
Your job is distraction.  You can't actually attack the wolf.  But you have to get it's attention (easy- just click on it) and dodge it's attacks, while Philipe fights it.  Dodging the magic globes is easy enough. Just keep running.  But when the Cave Wolf Matriarch howls, a ceiling-full of stalactites drop all around, and dodging those is more a matter of luck than planning.  For the fight, having food can be very helpful.  I made it without food, but mainly by having high life points and good armour. 
Once the wolf is dead, it's time to rescue Sasaparilla.  She rewards Philipe with the time-honored maiden's kiss of gratitude on the cheek.  Also, if you chose the necklace when pilfering the house, she'll give him the necklace.  If you chose the bag of gold, he's already pilfered it from the unconscious drunken guard.
Philipe's quest is finally complete.  He receives a quest point, a few items, and self-respect.  In an entirely unintentional way, Sir Ceril's plan worked.  Now it's time to face 'Dad', and wrap this puppy up. 
While Sir Ceril's not entirely happy about the unscripted part of the adventure, he's more than pleased with his son's improvement.  About now, Xenia bops back into the scene.  When you have a last conversation with her, she reveals she not only knew about the wolf, but planned the entire thing.  Because, as she says, "Phillipe would only learn to be an adventurer if he were faced with a real threat."
Now it's time for MY rewards... let's see, what did I get?  Got the treasure chest.  I heard there were going to be TWO (count 'em, 2) experience lamps.  Hmmm, 2500 exp for Thieving, and for Construction?  That's kind of weak.  Lamps... what?  1.5k each?  Okay, yeah, this was an easy enough quest, but 1.5k?

... Thank goodness there's an after-quest reward trail for the higher-level players...  :^D

Yep.  After the dust has settled, speak to Sir Ceril again.  He'll give you an update on his sons continuing adventures.  You'll get a rather easy clue regarding Philipe's current location.  Go there, talk with Philipe.  He'll hand out an experience lamp, and talk about what he's been learning.  Be sure to actually talk with him.  Check out his stats, too.  Every new location he's at, his Combat Level gets a bit higher.  And the experience lamp he hands out gets better.
You'll get 6 lamps- ranging in order at 2,000xp, 5,000xp, 5,000xp, 10,000xp, 10,000xp, and 10,000xp.  Counting the original quest reward lamps, NOW the grand experience total is 45k of experience.  If I remember right, you can use the lamps on any skill over level 30.  By the time you catch up with him in Dorgesh-kaan, Philipe has a combat level of 100.  And he's become a fine young man.

As if that's not enough, there's still more.  Go back and talk to Claus the Chef again (in the cellar kitchen).  The Cave Wolf Matriarch has respawned as a level 283 monster.  Her pups are back too, each at level 79.  If you go back in, kill the wolf, and get the skull, he'll pay you quite nicely.  I didn't really know what to expect, but went in with an Overload, some prayers, and food.  Geared up for melee.  The fight was brutal, but fast.  For my reward, I was given a choice of items.  Picked 200 Dragon Scale dust, which sold for over 100k gold.  I'm sure there's a more efficient way to fight her, but this worked.  I only wish you could go back multiple times and kill the wolf.  Apparently, this part is a once-only deal.  Too bad. 
In retrospect, I had an absolute blast with this quest.  It was fun with plenty of humor and adventure.  Colorful characters.  A multi-layered story.  Great voice acting.  While low-to-mid level, it was fun for any level.  And I loved the added rewards for higher-leveled players at the end.  With all the different levels of entertainment going on... what's not to like?

This is one of my favorite quests to date.  By all means... if you haven't done so yet -- do the quest!