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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!


Anonymous said...

I came back from a vacation to Solomon's Store and I wasn't that upset with it in all honesty. I understand Jagex is a company and wants to make more money, and if they are going to do that through micro-transactions through cosmetic means then I say go for it. Then I realized what happened w/ the squeel of fortune. They started out slow with only the 2 spins a day. After that they introduced the ability to purchase spins. Finally they rap it up w/ weekly promotions and throwing in a new rare to the market.

I have a bad feeling that Solomon's shop will soon follow. Hopefully Jagex will know what the best thing to do is! I really think a lot of people are going to purchase these cosmetic items seeing as they did such a nice job with them. So all the more power to Jagex for this update!

Crewman6 said...

Sounds like we think very similarly. I agree, Solomon will follow the trend set by squeal of fortune. And it's likely to be extremely successful. The customizations in general are very attractive. I'm sure I'll buy one now and then.

You're right- more power to Jagex! I'll play as long as I enjoy. When the ride is over and it's time to go home, I'll pack my bags with a fond memory and a laugh, and say "Thanks, Runescape!"

h said...

Avast! Nice to see these pictures. I hadn't really paid attention to the Solomon thing, as I am one of those "update & monitization haters"... (Though I would never complain one the forums about such things).

Anyway, seeing your examples has tempted me quite foully towards the Gnome Teleport Animation... So much so that I may actually buy it.

Though it would mean facing the ridicule of the anti-solomon leanings of my clan...

Crewman6 said...

Yes, the Gnome animation is pretty nice. I haven't given in yet... no money spent :^)

But the Swashbuckler costume went on sale yesterday. It was less than the free 200 points we get, so I spent my free points on it.

I'd be more likely to spend, but the nicer items are kind of pricy when you look at the real-world money.

I think we're both the same about not complaining - when it's over, it's over. No hard feelings. For now, though, I still love Runescape!