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Friday, September 28, 2012

Runescape: Ozan- Diamond in the Rough Quest

Diamond in the Rough is the 2nd Runescape Quest released this week.  Actually, in a unique move from Jagex, they were both released on the same exact day.  While the first, Stolen Hearts, is available for free players, this quest is members only.  Both are used to highlight the new graphics rework of Al Kharid.  I love the new graphics,  by the way.  If you haven't stopped to explore yet, take a moment and see all the improvements.

Diamond in the Rough begins at the exact end-point of Stolen Hearts.  It's listed as a Novice quest, with short to medium duration.  I thought it was longer than that, but I also listened to all the voice acting.  The voices are superb, and add a huge amount of emotional depth to the quests, but they certainly make the quest take a lot longer.  If you want to speed it up, just read the text and skip the talking.

If you're very low-level, you'll want food and armor, for fighting some level 2 and level 5 bad guys.  If you have it, wear the Enchanted Desert Tiara.  It's easier than bothering with waterskins.  Though I kept the ones Shantay gave us just in case there might be a quest requirement to use the waterskins.

We start out with the Emir having just passed away, the prince is still kidnapped, and Osman can't allow you to take the Kharid-ib Diamond out of respect for the Emir's last command.  Osman being Osman, he makes it very clear what he cannot allow you to do, while making it very possible for you to do it anyway.  Spymasters just can't take a straight line when a twisty one is handy.

With some surprising revelations, you head off into the desert, following the "Path of the Sun".    The Kharid-ib shows you the way, but it seems to be alive and resisting the path you take it on.  If you get stuck, just talk to Ozan, he will provide hints for using the sundials.

When you get to the one that dumps you in quicksand, don't panic.  There's no escape.  Just try every option, then you'll sink underground and land in a cavern.  Immediately, a Dung Kalphite will steal the diamond and trundle off with it.  From there, just kill time trying to explore and talk with Ozan.  Eventually he'll realize he's sitting on something important.  Now you can repair the underground sundial, and follow the  path of the sunbeam.

You'll follow a long tunnel, and eventually be in pitch blackness.  Warning, there's a bit of 'adult' humor here.  While Runescape is loaded with children playing, I've noticed Jagex is trying to include more adult appeal in the game.  It seems like they're trying to raise the age of their target audience.

Once you get to the baby Kalphite hatchery, you'll see the beetles rolling their balls of dung all over the room.  Your job is to find out which one contains the diamond.  The correct Kalphite is supposed to sparkle and shine, though in my experience it seems like I had to kill a few wrong ones before getting to see the sparkle.  Wrong Kalphites will drop tuna (Not sure I'd want to eat tuna that a Dung Kalphite dropped...) or bronze junk.  You'll find a Sapphire, then an Emerald, then a Ruby, before getting the right one with the Kharid-ib diamond.

After getting  the diamond, Leela will rejoin the quest and help you escape the cavern.  Get the sundial repaired (that piece that's always broken is called a 'Gnomon').  Follow the sun a final time, and talk to Lady Kali.

She gets all scary here.  In the course of getting the diamond from you, she reveals her true identity, Amascut, one of the desert gods.  She leaves with the gem, while you and her guards face off for the big fight.

I'm continually amazed by Runescape's graphical improvements.  In this scene, even the background scenery, like the palm trees, are blowing and swaying in the storm winds generated by Amascut.  You and your friends will be trapped inside a whirling wall of wind and sand during the whole fight.  Her minions, Apep and Heru are more than simple thugs, and have special attacks.  Even so, it's a very basic (and easy) fight.  Just keep hitting them.  They have lots of hit points, and your best hit will never be higher than 50.  So a fast-hitting weapon will speed it up a bit.

Once the fight is over and things return to normal, talk to Prince Ali.  You, Leela, and the Prince all return to the palace in Al Kharid.  Ozan stays behind to continue the hunt for the diamond.

At this point the quest is basically over.  Though there's a cool after-quest custscene that shows more of the future plot.

The quest rewards, at first glance seem pretty low.  All beginner-level experience, 250 xp points in a few different skills.  Access to the Kalphite Nursery.  A couple more spins on the Squeal of Fortune.

The hidden rewards are helpful.  There are some associated cosmetic items:  Aten (a shield), Uraeus (an axe), found by fighting the Dung Kalphites.  You only get one shot, so if you go after those items, be sure to pick them up when you can.

Also, a Scabaras Mask and Was (sceptre), if you have 80 Mining.  Finally, an Apmeken Mask and Ankh if you have 80 Agility.
Nice Agility Boost
The items are all cosmetic.   But the two  skill related ones will give you some very worthwhile experience getting to them.   20,000 Mining exp by mining a fissure in the room under the quicksand... and 20,000 Agility by climbing into a cavern on the cliff behind the desert monkey colony.  (You have to have finished "Do No Evil".

Something very important to note:  If you have the gold Mining Suit on, you'll get it's standard bonus.  And if you're wearing a Pendant of Skill for Mining, you'll get extra experience from it.  I had a Prized Pendant of Mining, and it gave up astonishing amounts of bonus experience!
An even Nicer Mining Boost- wearing the gold mining suit and a Prized Pendant of Mining
It's probably safe to assume the Agility experience could likewise be increased with an Agility Pendant, but I didn't have one to test it with.

The two quests, Stolen Hearts and Diamond in the rough, replace the old Prince Ali Rescue quest, which is no longer in the game.  I'm guessing this means those of us who did the old Prince Ali quest will have more total max quest points than newer players will be able to get.

Overall, I can't get over how much fun these quests were.  Great story, it really pulled me in.  The characters had depth.  The graphics were brought to a whole new level for Runescape.  Ozan... well, Ozan's a nut-case.  But a very likeable nut-case.  He's an outstanding character.  I can't wait to see him again.  Hope it won't be long before the next quest in that series comes out.
Lady Keli/Amascut makes a great villain
Yes, the quests are low-level.  But they're worth doing just for the pleasure of it.  And the high-level rewards at the end for skilled players is a great addition.  Jagex has been doing that recently.  It's great, because that means even higher-level players can get a useful reward from a quest.   Though as I mentioned, this quest is worth doing just for the pleasure of experiencing it.

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