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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Runescape: Big Chinchompa Hunter Distraction and Diversion

This week Runescape released the Hunter Distraction and Diversion, Big Chinchompas.  Nyriki, a gnome hunter, has trapped a Plutonial Chinchompa, and needs it to sleep so he can process the chemicals it produces.  He pops up from underground once an hour, looking for helpers.  You can try to find him if you want, or visit his wife Meilicki.  She's in a tree stand south of the gnome stronghold agility maze.  Several portals are there as well, the main one can teleport you to Nyriki's current location.  He shows up once an hour, so if he's not there yet, you'll get a notice of how long before he shows up. 

When it's ready, use the portal to join him.  He'll ask your help putting his Plutonial Chinchompa to sleep.  If you accept, he'll give you a jar, and you can collect Soporith Moths, which is the Chinchompa's favorite food.  The moths are in the shaking limbs, or flying free.  You can go after them either way.  In the corners of the cavern are Protea flowers.  Pluck and wield one, it will attract Soporith moths to you.  The jar can hold up to 15 moths, and they are sorted by their Hunter level. 
I was unable to catch the two highest level moths, but still made roughly 20,000 Hunter experience in the cavern. 
 This is a very easy game, no risk, just run around the cavern like a maniac, catching all the moths you can.  Every few laps, empty your jar in the circle occupied by the Big Chincompa.  The game will last until the Big Chinchompa falls asleep.  Keep an eye on the bar at the left of the screen, it will tell you how sleepy it's getting.  When he falls asleep, the games ends and you receive your score.
Sleeping like a baby
This is simple, and fun, to a point.  But what makes it worthwhile, are the rewards.  When the game is over, you receive competence points according to your success.  I didn't do horribly, but not great either.  Got about 574 points.  Competence points are used to buy rewards.  Some of the rewards are kind of bland, but the tickets are great.  You can buy tickets to hunt specific hunter creatures in a private preserve.  I've read others can be there too, but when I went, I was the only one.  I bought about 74 Carnivorous Chinchompa tickets, and got to hunt Chinchompas in my own private space until I'd caught 74 of them.  (You get one catch per ticket.) 
Oops... didn't mean to HIT him!
 Monique did better than I did- she got over 600 Competence points, and used them to buy Pawya tickets.  She made a ton of experience from it. 
It's a bit time-consuming, but that's what a Distraction and Diversion is supposed to do.  I may not do this on a daily basis, but when the time comes to level up Hunter, I think this will be a great way to boost experience, and give a little variety to my hunting.  Best of all, it offers acccess to a much less crowded hunting preserve.  I like this update!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Runescape: Husband and Wife Flying Away on 2 Pegasoi

With all of the updates and specials going on in Runescape, it's getting hard to keep up with it all.  Today Clan Avatars came out.  Since I'm not in a clan, there's not much I can say about the Avatars.  They sound pretty nifty; if anything could convince me to join a clan, a good skilling avatar would certainly be the thing to do it.  Joining is actually tempting now, even though I'm a confirmed solo player.

There were some lesser releases as well, and those are what's catching my attention.  Today the Tropical Island Outfit saw the Grass Skirt release.  (3rd part of the set.)  It's free during the introductory period, so Monique and I have picked up the first three pieces.  Guess there's still one piece to go.  These costumes are a fun diversion from the usual run of armor and weapons. You can grab them from Solomon's General Store.

When Jagex put the Swashbuckler outfit on sale, I used my one-time free 200 points to buy the set.  Afterward, I realized that really blew my chance to pick up a cheap Pegasus.  We like all three of the Home Teleport emotes (Pegasus, Demon, and Gnome Copter), but Pegasus is our favorite.  If I had saved my points, when Pegasus went on sale, I could have bought him cheap.  Buying the Swashbuckler outfit shot that down.  At normal prices Pegasus would require the $20 worth of Runecoins to buy (with a large number of excess Runecoins left over).  I'm sure that's deliberate.  Requiring players to buy coins at 'off' amounts means you'll always have leftover coins to spend.  Odd are, they won't be enough for anything cool, so you'll spend more money on more Runecoins to get something else.
It's like when you buy a pack of hot dogs with 8 hot dogs, and a pack of hot dog buns with 10 buns.  You're not going to come out even unless you buy multiples of both.

Today, part of the update included 25% off the Pegasus cost.  Monique took a look, and figured out the actual costs.  Because she had not spent her 200 Runecoins, she only needed to spend $5.00 for a Pegasus.  In my case, it took $10.00 to buy one.  Between the two of us, that equaled a $15.00 savings over the usual cost.
So Monique decided to get us both a Pegasus.  She was going to surprise me in-game by asking me to teleport to Lunar Island.  To decoy me away long enough, she sent me to the kitchen to cook lunch.  Unfortunately, I got back too soon, and caught her in the act.  Kind of spoiled her plans, but not her surprise.  It was a very pleasant surprise to see that I now had a Pegasus.

We're very happy with the animation.  For a while we played with synchronized take-offs.  It looked so awesome, I had to upload a video to youtube.  What's better than flying into the sunset on your own Pegasus?   Flying into the sunset on your own Pegasus, with the love of your life beside you on her own Pegasus! 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Runescape: Mad Scientist Outfit, Combat Beta, and Freezy

This weekend marks the last event required to earn the Mad Scientist Outfit.  The ongoing Combat Beta Testing opens the Beta worlds to all members during weekends.  Each weekend has a scheduled event, though not all events are required for the Mad Scientist Outfit. 
To earn the outfit, you must have participated in 4 specific Beta events.  First came the Castle Wars game, on the weekend of July 6th.  The next event to count was the Duel Arena, July 27th - 30th.  Last weekend (August 3-6) was Pest Control.
There was some confusion regarding an event during the July 20th weekend.  It was listed as Soul Wars, and either stated or implied that it would count toward the costume.  Later, we found it did not count.  Not a major mistake, since Soul Wars is a no-risk game, and winning or losing didn't matter. 

None of these were any problem.  Log in, do your time, play the best you can figure out... neither of us like to play team-based minigames, so our strategy usually revolved around killing everything we could.  Except for Duel Arena, which only required us to stage a friendly contest.  We were going to each take a turn winning, but when I won the first one, we both got the 'Congratulations' notice.  So we didn't play a second round.

Where we really ran into trouble was this weekend, August 10-13.  The assignment was Barrows.  Okay, no problem, we're Barrows pros.  I figured, 5 minutes, 10 tops, in-out and we're done. 
What I didn't count on was how completely different everything is in the Beta Combat.  I've played with the Beta Combat some.  Know the basics of customizing the action bar.  Thought that, if anything, using the bar would just make Barrows easier. 
The biggest problem was simply one of overcrowding.  It's extremely difficult to see what's going on, and react intelligently.  Since the Enhanced Excalibur no longer heals, I put Rejuvenation on the action bar, along with a mix of magic, melee, and ranging choices.  Then just kept an eye on my health meter, and tried to eat or heal whenever it got low.

Most of the brothers were easy enough.  But Akrisae...I guess nobody told him he was supposed to be the easiest one.  He killed Monique several times.  Would have killed me twice, but I teleported out when I saw it coming. 
Once in the dungeon area, I picked a door and crossed back and forth until Kharil, my last brother, came out to play.  Then I just ran the rooms until I got there.  Things were not as easy as they used to be, but that's probably from a lack of strategic planning.  Proper set-up would likely have made it much easier.
Monique wasn't as lucky with her brothers.  Her final was Akrisae.  Like I said, he killed her a few times.  The last time, it looked like they were going toe to toe.  Anybody's guess who would win.  At the final moment, she teleported, rather than be killed again.  Going back in, Akrisae never showed back up.  Open the chest, search it, done.  Easy... 
We really thought that meant she had killed him as she was teleporting away.  Didn't find out until today (from Wiki) that you don't actually HAVE to kill the last brother.  Just search the chest. 

Now we're waiting for our new costume.  There's no official release date for the Mad Scientist Outfit yet.  The Wiki doesn't have a date, but states the 5-piece outfit will be awarded on the live game "at the end of the combat beta." 
They also clearly state, if you miss any of the required 4 events, then you get nothing.  Not even a partial costume.  That would be really frustrating!

Aside from the Combat Beta events, I've been (slowly) working on thieving, and doing Social Slayer with Monique.  We've finally earned Freezy, the baby Ice Strykewyrm pet.  He's really pretty awesome.  Considering he's a lot easier to obtain than Baby Jad, I'm surprised more people don't have Freezy.  So far, though, I've only seen a couple others around.
Freezy has nice graphics, a good mix of reactions when you interact, and when you run, he follows below-ground.  At times, he's actually ahead of, or directly under, my character. 

Next we're working toward a pet baby Aquanite.  I'm not convinced I really want one (don't like the Aquanites) but Monique does.  So we'll continue to do Social Slaying at least until then.

As far as the combat upgrade, I still think it's going to be good.  But it's such a massive set of changes, it will require new strategies for nearly everything.   I'm looking forward to all the new guides that should be released.  People writing them will have to differentiate between "Old combat style" and "New combat style".  There's going to be a ton of useless guides on the internet. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Runescape: Some Like it Cold Quest

Runescape has had a lot of new content to play through recently, from the Olympics, to Social Slayer, to the Combat Beta weekends.  This week saw the release of Some Like It Cold, the latest installment in the penguin quest series. 
To be honest, I've never been a big follower of the penguin quests (Cold War, and Hunt for Red Raktuber).  Some Like It Cold changed that.  This was a fun quest, with a couple of minor hiccups.  When Chuck the Polar Bear asks for my help again, I can't help wondering what's in store this time.  Having to rescue Teddy from the Walrus sounds pretty straightforward, but with a penguin quest, I knew it wouldn't stay that way.  Especially after reading the ransom note he sent Chuck.

Chuck made it easy to get to the docks the first time, but don't expect him to teleport you again.  It's a one-time teleport.  Once there, the sleeping seal must be convinced to carry your character to the prison island where Teddy is being held.  After entertaining him with the jump for joy emote, he's willing to talk, but not to help.  He turns out to be a big fan of Ping and Pong, the laid-back penguin musicians.  Maybe they can help?

Back at the dock, Larry's old boat waits to take us to penguin territory.  I was expecting to have to search for Ping and Pong, and not really looking forward to going back into the Penguin stronghold.  Luckily, they are right there on the frozen shoreline when the boat arrives. 
Ping and Pong are willing to help, but have requests of their own.  But first, they blow my cover.  Well, actually they gently inform me they know I'm not a penguin.  You'll need to make costumes for them both (and extremely cool costumes, at that!), then get them a 'gig'. 

Both jobs are pretty easy.  They've got the supplies for the costumes, but no opposable thumbs.  I went to my Player Owned House and made costumes at the Crafting Table.  It has to be a level 4 Crafting Table.  If you don't have one, there's a more complicated way to make the costumes.  Wiki has a good description of the process.
Get Ping and Pong into their suits, and the next part is easy.  They want a gig;  you want into the prison compound;  seals like entertainment, and they like Ping and Pong.  Introducing the sleeping seal to Ping and Pong activates a show, after which the seals are willing to take you all to the prison camp to put the show on there.

At this point, you're supposed to have an empty inventory, and nothing worn.  According to the Wiki guide, you'll have a chance here to bank your stuff.  Never happened.  I showed up at the island without getting a bank option.  On the other hand, the only item in my inventory was the ransom letter from the Walrus.  It's possible I wasn't given the bank option because the letter was an acceptable item.  The prison is a bit different from what I envisioned.  No cells to escape.  Everybody wanders reasonably freely.  It's built on an icy island, and there's no easy way off.  Teddy was pretty easy to find.  He's the polar bear wearing the clown outfit, complete with rubber nose.  (He's also the ONLY bear in the compound.)  He told me Larry is right there in the prison island, but can't be rescued because he's a little... unhinged.

Larry's been brainwashed.  He thinks he's a penguin.  He thinks it's his duty to raise more loyal penguins, and wants an egg of his own.  Since he can't be shaken out of his delusions, the only way to proceed is to play along.  So the first order of business:  Get Larry an egg.

Here's the first hiccup I ran into.  The only egg available is on the Walrus' dining table.  You'll have to distract the Walrus, sneak into his room, and steal the egg from the table.  To distract the Walrus is a bit of a circus act.  You'll need to convince Bouncer the Seal to bounce a ball on his nose.  Get Ping and Pong to sing and party.  And make Teddy juggle.  All three of these (Ping and Pong can be treated as one being during this stage) must be constantly encouraged.  Once the noise bars are all maxed out, they have to continue for a couple of minutes.

Monique and I didn't realize how this worked, and had several missteps until I got the cutscene.  But all you have to do is continue the noise level.  Everything else is done for you, until the cutscene.  After the Walrus runs outside to lay down the law, you can sneak into his room and get the egg.

Once Larry has his egg (which he names... if you're a fan of Big Bang Theory, you'll get a laugh from the name) you can convince him this isn't a good place to raise a child.  Now he's willing to escape with you.

Coming up with an escape plan is comical, and can be annoying.  You have to speak with each of the unnamed penguins, and they wander around enough to be confusing.  It's helpful to note they wear different fish hats, and don't wander too far.  The hardest one for me to find was the one fishing in the northeast corner.  None of the penguins have the brightest plan, but Ping and Pong volunteered to stage a huge show, which serves as a cover to repairing the wrecked submarine from Hunt for Red Raktuber.

To fix it, you'll need help from Plaza, the older penguin that originally built the submarine.  He won't help until you make a Battlefish (Battleship) board game.  At this point, there are a number of conversational options.  As far as I can tell, they're not critical to the quest, but if you read them, you learn a lot about the penguins, and what made them so militant.  I liked this part, because it finally made the penguins sympathetic characters for me.  I can actually empathize with their plight, and what drove them to their current world-domineering paranoid status.

Now it's time to collect a few items.  The items are scattered around, and the process of assembling the board is pretty much step by step.  If you need some assistance.... yep, check the Wiki.  Good guide there.

Give the board to Plaza, get the blueprint, take it to Teddy.  Teddy will take over from there, until he gets to the engine.  It needs several pieces to repair, and you'll need to be creative to figure it out.  Eventually, it takes a game of Battlefish with Astoria the Seal.  If you win the game, she'll give out the key to the store-room.  All the parts needed are in the store-room.  Take them back to Teddy, figure out which parts go where on the engine schematic, and it's time to stage the show.

Ping and Pong put on a rockin' concert, until someone blows up the compound.  In the confusion, you all escape into the submarine, where you have to play a 'live' game of battlefish with enemy craft as they're trying to find and destroy you.  Teddy will explain the rules, but it involves assigning repair tasks to your fellow escapees, while trying to find and destroy the enemy fleet. 

I got pretty frustrated with this part, until Monique beat it...  she told me you don't actually have to assign and maintain the repair tasks.  And she noticed the battleships stay in the same place each time you die.  So after a couple of deaths, she had the locations memorized, and killed them in one quick sweep.  To make it even easier, while watching over my shoulder, she noticed my opponents were in the same location hers were. 

Winning the game pretty much ended the quest.  Larry, Ping, Pong, and myself showed up at Chuck's cage in the Ardougne Zoo.  Larry got his mind back, his egg hatched into a cute baby penguin, and Ping and Pong are granted amnesty by Chuck.  Teddy winds up at Balthazar's Big Top to 'keep an eye on a penguin there.'  Larry is taken to polar bear headquarters for debriefing.  Ping and Pong go on tour.

The rewards include 1 Quest Point, a new event in Balthazar's Circus, 40k Crafting, 10k Construction, 40k Fishing, and 10k Thieving.  That's 100k total experience, and it's doubled if you do the quest during the early bird period.  Plus you get 2 spins on the Squeal of Fortune.  You can also recreate Ping and Pong's costumes for yourself, but they only work while in Penguin Time.  I haven't bothered, but the option is there.

There's one final reward, and it's not mentioned in the quest - If you like to hunt penguins weekly, there's a new penguin.  He can only be seen while wearing the Ring of Visibility (get it from Rasolo after a certain point in the Desert Treasure quest), and he's worth 3 penguin points.  The hard part... he teleports all over Runescape randomly, every few minutes.  Monique tells me there's a friend chat dedicated to finding him, but we haven't tried it yet.  We both like doing the Penguin Hunt, it's kind of a 'date night' for us.  So adding 3 more points to the search is a big plus.  I'm really looking forward to finding the new penguin. 

Some Like It Cold was a fun quest.  It had plenty of humor, added to the penguin story, and actually made me like the penguins.  Great rewards, and I especially like having an extra penguin worth 3 points.