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Friday, September 28, 2012

Runescape: Ozan Double Bill- Hearts & Diamonds Quests

Lady Keli and her minions kidnap Prince Ali

This week we got the Ozan Double Bill: Hearts and Diamonds.  For the first time I can ever recall, Runescape released two quests simultaneously.  They might be beginner quests, but both are still great stories with in-depth characterizations, and an amazing graphical update to Al Kharid.

The two quests are a single story, and the 2nd quest directly follows from the first.  Stolen Hearts is medium length, and Diamond in the Rough is medium to long, depending on circumstances.  Both are also voice acted.  I really like the voice acting, but it's good they've got the text as well.  If you listen to every thing in full voice, the quest can take much longer.  The first quest is for Free to Play as well as Members.  The second one is members only.

The first, Stolen Hearts, begins with finding Ozan skulking beside a building.  His friend Khnum is hanging out with a gang called the "Skulls".  Khnum wants nothing to do with Ozan, and Ozan is trying to find out what kind of trouble his friend has gotten into.
Ozan remembers you from helping him in Burthorpe, and requests your assistance.  Your job is to infiltrate the gang.  The puns and humor begin early in this quest.  When  Khnum calls their hangout "The Skullery", it cracked me up.  (In case you're not familiar with the term, a scullery is an old-style cleaning and washing room, and the 'scullery maid' was the lowest servant in a household.)

After an interview, Khnum decided I'm an "Artful Dodger" type, and tells me he can throw some work to me now and then.  His response differs depending on your own answers.  At the end of the quest, you're given a new title.  This conversation is what decides the title you get.  Any answers will get the job done, it's just a way of determining the title you get offered.

Afterward, report back to Ozan,  You and he will sneak after Khnum to find the HQ.  This scene is worth zooming in for a close-up view.  You literally skulk as you and Ozan sneak around.  Great graphics, hilarious scene.  I loved it!
Once there you both confront Khnum, along with Leela, an old friend of Ozan's.  (She's Osman's daughter.)  The plot thickens (I always wanted to say that!) as you realize Khnum is not a friend, and is neck-deep in a plan to kidnap the Emir's son.  You make a run for the southern shoreline to rescue the prince, but the kidnapper, Lady Keli, gets away with him.  There's a very easy fight here, then it's time to grab the ransom note and go to Al Kharid.

If you haven't seen the graphical update of Al Kharid yet, here's your chance to take it in.  What a difference!  The castle is majestic, the surroundings are perfectly themed.  The bank has been rotated 90 degrees on the inside, so that the tellers are to the right of the entry door now.  This is one of my all-time favorite graphical re-works.

The door guard will tell you everything is on lockdown, and nobody gets in.  Being agile and thiefterish, you and Ozan head for the rooftops.  What follows is one of the most entertaining mazes Runescape has ever had.  It's not really a 'maze' as such... very easy to follow the path.  But you get to perform all kind of tricky acrobatics with Ozan, and the animations here are just top notch.

It's scenes like this that make the quest so much fun.  Even though it's purely a beginner's quest, the story held my attention and the graphics were perfect.  Especially at the end of the maze, where you get a cutscene giving you vital information.  You get a closeup of Ozan and yourself hiding outside the window from a ledge, listening in.  The conversation in the room is very enlightening.  The scene is highly dramatic.

The short version is you and Ozan must now steal a treasure from the vault to trade for the Prince's safety.   With a bit more climbing, you get into the vault and must solve a puzzle.  Don't panic, it's an easy puzzle.  But you still get caught.  Osman the Spymaster realizes your hearts are in the right place, and takes you to the Emir.  He hopes to change the Emir's mind about giving up the diamond for the Prince.

The Emir still refuses to allow the diamond (The Kharid-ib) out of Al Kharid.  He implies it's more important than any one person, even the prince.  Then he dies.

And what a death scene...  I won't go into detail, but be prepared for some high drama and powerful cinematics.  You can really tell in this quest how much better Runescape's graphics engine has become.

Anyway, that's the ending point of this first quest.  I was originally going to write up both quests in one post, but they really deserve separate attention, so look for the next post to describe "Diamond in the Rough".  The sequel is even cooler than Stolen Hearts was!

As far as the rewards, nothing to see here, citizen, just keep moving.  Really, you get 250 xp constitution, 2500 gold coins, and a 250 xp combat skill lamp.  If you're a member, you also get 250 xp Agility and Thieving, plus a thief title if you go back to Draynor and check in with Khnum.  (You can be ... the Enforcer, the Swindler, Don, or Artful Dodger.
Plus 2 extra spins on the Squeal of Fortune.  That could be cool, depending on your luck.

This quest is a requirement for doing the sequel, of course.  Though the sequel is also beginner level, it's well worth doing for higher levels for the after-quest rewards.  Be sure to look for them.
Lady Keli makes a great villain. I hope she shows up again!

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