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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!

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