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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Week Post Evolution of Combat: How is it Working?

It's been a week since the release of Evolution of Combat.  Last time I wrote was just after getting 99 Agility.  (Boring!)  Since then, my major focus has been on Mining, with a minor on Dungeoneering.  Want to get Mining up to 99, it's currently on 97.  But Dungeoneering has had some of my attention, because of the daily challenges.

With 5 skills left to max, the Daily Challenge is very easy to manipulate.  I just ignore the 3 challenges I'm not currently interested in, and every day get either a Mining or Dungeoneering challenge.  Both are good.  With Dungeoneering, the challenge reward is a bit over 100k exp.  Do one floor, get 100k.  What a deal!  Actually made 99 Dungeoneering from that.  (And most of the other levels from effigies, bonus exp, and randoms.)  That's put me in the odd spot of being 99 DG and still not having any chaotic equipment.

When doing DG, I either solo, or Monique and I do the dungeons together.  So the new update that improves solo exp was wonderful for us.  To be honest, EOC Dungeoneering was pretty fun, too.  Rather than creep around trying to survive, I just blasted through the levels like a force of destruction.  Okay, it was overpowered at first.  But fun.

I've read on the forums that Jagex has been trying to re-adjust the balance in Daemonheim, only now they've gone too for the other way.  But my last few days challenges were mining, so haven't been back since the re-balance.  I hope they get it back to being fun again.  Have you tried Blink recently?  He nearly killed me, but it was my first time with him.  Wasn't sure if he's usually that tough, or if it was one of the EOC adjustments.

Maybe my next challenge will be to complete a level in Dungeoneering.  It'll give me an excuse to get away from Mining for a while.

As far as Mining goes, the EOC has certainly had an impact there!  Before Evolution of Combat, I was banking all my gold from the Living Rock Cavern.  Decent rate of exp, and a bit of profit.  After EOC, the ability bar is just too tempting.  Now I drop mine all the gold.  With ore in the ability bar, you can keep clicking on it, or hit the key bound to that slot, without stopping mining.  Don't know actual numbers, but I'm convinced it's doubled or better my exp rate.

The cost of doubling exp speed is twofold.  First, mining now takes my full attention.  No more AFK'ing while the inventory fills up.  Constantly clicking to 'drop' the ores, plus it's really sped up how fast the decorated mining urns fill up.  Secondly, now it costs money to train, instead of making a small profit.  The cost of urns seems kind of high, and if you don't raise your bid up a lot, you won't get any urns from the Grand Exchange.

Could make my own, but I'm really into doing the mining right now.  Don't want to break stride for anything except Dungeoneering.  On the other hand, if the profit margin for urns continues high, after maxing mining, I might spend some time making urns for sale.  Crafting will probably be my next goal, so it would be a good match, even if the exp rate for urns is slow.  Maybe it could fund later, more expensive, training.

In the midst of all that, I haven't given the EOC a dedicated test.  Only what I see while in the dungeons, or fighting living rock protectors and throwers.  At first, it seemed too easy.  Fun, but they were dead before my adrenaline got high enough to even use a Threshold ability.  Now, I can kill a rock monster with a pickaxe and Excalibur, and get enough adrenaline to use an Ultimate (just barely) before it's dead.  Most of the time, I ignore the Ultimate, and save the Adrenaline for healing with after the fight.

Not having faced a decent boss on EOC, can't really speak to more difficult fights.  As far as standard MVP fights, the changes have been a lot of fun.  Cool abilities, many choices, excellent animations.  The loss of some weapon specials is annoying.  Excalibur, especially.

The Runic Staff (from doing Runesphere) took some figuring out.  The ability to load and use it for a specific spell is still there, but not obvious.  Monique figured it out.  We use it for an easy Varrock teleport.  She dragged the Varrock teleport spell into the ability bar, then wielded the staff.  Even though the ability icon stays dimmed, you can click on it and it will teleport.  (Or whatever spell you're using with it, I imagine.)

My biggest gripe?  We need instructions.  Real, in-depth guides.  Suggested methods of fighting and training.  Comparisons between weapons.  Sure, Wiki and other sites will eventually have all of this.  But Runescape should have prepared the community better.  The Combat Academy is a good idea, but it would be better to have real guides on their own pages within the Runescape site.

That's not really a big problem.  Like I said, we'll soon have all of that from external sources.  In the meantime, EOC has a mix of good and bad, but overall it's been a lot of fun.  I'm enjoying it... mostly!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Runescape: 99 Agility - The Most Boring Skill in Geilinor!

On my way to Burthorpe!
With all the new content that's come out this year, or coming soon (like the EOC) I haven't had much time to just play Runescape.  There's still new content I haven't seen yet, like the recent Dungeoneering update for solo play, and it's accompanying changes to item binding.

Even with all that going on, I did manage to take some time out recently to work on Agility.  What a slow, boring, mind-numbing skill!!!  There were times I just wanted to chuck it and do something else.  By level 98, I decided to put all my upcoming bonus exp into it.  Usually lamps, penguins, jack-of-trades, and the like all go to Dungeoneering.  (Over time, that trick has brought my Dungeoneering to level 98 with very little actual training.)

As an aside, the daily challenges have been magnificent, ever since Jagex fixed it so you can 'X' out skills you've maxed.  My skills are at a perfect level for me to manipulate the challenges.  I have 6 skills left to get 99 in (or 120, for Dungeoneering).  If a daily challenge is not in a skill I'm trying to raise, I just ignore it.  Currently, the only skills I'm interested in are Mining and Dungeoneering, so the other 4 skills I just leave alone.  As long as I don't allow all 5 daily slots to be full, those unfinished challenges never go away.  We don't get duplicate challenges simultaneously, so those particular skills won't keep popping up.  This means the ONLY challenges I get will be the ones I want.

This plan worked to perfection with Agility.  My final 40k exp to go, and the challenge assigned was 24 laps around the Advanced Barbarian Agility Course.  That's great, it's the best place to train high-level agility.  So I did 24 laps, went and got the Challenge reward, for just enough points to get 99 Agility.

Monique is mildly jealous of this 99. It really is a boring, time-consuming skill. I gleefully pointed out that the Wiki for it states "The Agility cape is currently the 2nd rarest level 99 cape, second only to the Construction cape. This is because of the vast amount of time and patience required to achieve 99 Agility..." The cape isn't one of my favorites for looks, but I have to admit, the emote is pretty cool.
It's nice when a plan comes together! My next goals are for 99 Mining (currently at 94) and 120 Dungeoneering (currently at 98). Most of my time will be spent mining, but whenever a daily challenge comes up for Dungeon, I'll take a break and go play with the monsters in Daemonheim.

Going to change my bonus experience tactics too.  DG has been reworked, and my daily challenges should include plenty of Daemonheim time.  So all my bonus exp will go directly into whichever skill is my current goal for 99.  For now, mining. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Evolution of Combat only one week away!

After the long wait, Evolution of Combat is finally on a deadline, and there's only a week or so left before it comes out.  Have you tried the Beta?  I haven't spent a ton of time on it.  Like Jagex acknowledged, time to play is precious, and I want my time to count.  So ever since they announced EOC, I've been skilling whenever I had a few minutes to play.  Don't see the point in doing combat when it's all going to change soon.

That's good.  It's forced me to work on skills that otherwise would never get finished.  Getting very close to 99 Agility.  Talk about a boring skill to train!

Back to the subject though, Runescape's EOC is now less than a week away, and they're still doing 11th-hour changes.  I'm glad.  It's nice to see community feedback getting honest response.  It's also nice to see Runescape is committed to making it the best they possibly can.  Not convinced I'm going to love EOC, but willing to give it a try.

The combat triangle is important, but the extremism shown in Beta had me worried.  Nice to see they're relaxing that.  Didn't really fancy carrying around multiple sets of armor just to fight effectively.  According to Jagex, it was very restrictive for PvM, and now the hit chance has been improved for players in "either the same or negative side of the triangle"...

To me, this reads as letting 2 sides of the triangle be effective against the third, rather than just one.  Maybe it'll be on a weighted scale that requires the correct gear for best results... but there's more leeway than there had been.

I hadn't heard about potions and Herblore being underpowered, but apparently it was an issue.  Compared to the beta, Jagex said they've seriously ramped it up.    No details, so I have to assume they mean the effectiveness of the actual potions, not the skill/training.

Prayer is looking better.  Originally prayer was just plain ruined.  Jagex heard our complaints and said the final EOC will have prayer much more powerful than it's been in Beta.  I'm sure they won't fully return to the old style of Prayer, but at least it's been stepped up some.  Prayer took far to much money and effort to train- I'd hate to see it become useless.

All of that's been nice to hear about... but the big news has to be about Special Attacks.  Runescape no longer has special attacks for given weapons.  Instead it's all tied to Abilities.  That just stinks.  Personally, I worked for a long, long time to get the Enhanced Excalibur for it's extra healing.  I often use it in non-combat skilling where the occasional injury is sustained (or penguins, on the northern islands of Jatiszo and  Neitznot.)

Since Abilities are tied to combat, they're useless for on-the-run healing the way I currently use Excalibur.  Same goes for many other specials.  Fortunately, Jagex listened, and are trying out "passive effects" in the current Beta.  These passive effects will be similar to a weapon's existing special.

At the moment, this is just a trial, and limited to Godswords and Enchanted Excalibur.  From the sound, I expect Excalibur will still be tied strictly to combat for the healing, but hey, at least all that work spent getting it won't be wasted!

Yesterday, Runescape updated Dungeoneering.  Both in Solo and small team experience granted, and in how the item Binding works.  I haven't had time yet to try it out, but as soon as I can, I'll post my thoughts on it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Runescape: Tears of Guthix Update (Much Better Experience!)

Have you ever played the minigame "Tears of Guthix"?  Monique and I did for a long time.  Every Tuesday after Penguins, we'd go see Juna.  Until the frustration, and low-level experience rewards got old. 
Tears of Guthix is a short quest to help Juna restore the caverns wherein the walls bleed with tears from Guthix.  Once you've helped her, you can access the cavern once a week.  So long as you've gained at least 100k of experience during that week, or earned at least 1 quest point.  Inside the cavern, you use a bowl to collect the blue streams of tears pouring from the walls.  Green tears are bad.  The more blue you get in your bowl, the more experience earned toward your lowest skill level.  In my case, it's Hunter.  My only skill under 80, and one of only two skills still under 90. 

Like I said, though, Tears of Guthix as a weekly minigame can get annoying.  Have a run of bad luck, and you'll suck down nearly as many green tears as blue.  Especially when the controls were slow to respond.  I can remember clicking frantically to run away from the green tears, but not moving until a large amount of blue had been lost. 

Juna's caverns have a new coat of paint and a bit of re-modeling done.  Juna herself is much more impressive.  Catching the Blue Tears comes with a chime-like sound, while catching the Green Tears is a jarring 'clunk' noise.  But the real news is the game improvement.  To start with, a Games Necklace can now teleport you directly to Juna.  No more long run through the caves.  That alone makes it worth the trip.

But the experience level has been upped to a maximum of 3 times what it used to be.  Wait, did I say only 3 times?  Actually, if your mining and crafting are 80 or higher, it gets better.  Juna will ask you to mine a special rock across the chasm and make an Ornate Bowl.  With the Ornate Bowl, you can collect up to 5 times the previous maximum experience level. 

For comparison, I did Juna before crafting the bowl.  She gave me 34,000 exp to my Hunting.  True to expectation, my average used to be 10k of experience.  Let's see, that's... yep... close enough to 3 times better!
Monique, on the other hand, made her Ornate Bowl, then collected her Tears.  She gained over 50,000 experience to Dungeoneering.  Let's see, that's about 5 times better than the old average... so yes, we're both satisfied with the estimated 3 and 5 times more experience, depending on whether you have the Ornate Bowl or not.

To make the bowl, if you've got the levels, you'll need a bullseye lantern with a cut sapphire lens.  If you kept yours from previous questing, good job.  Otherwise, just use a cut sapphire on a bullseye lanter.  Easy.  Use the lantern on one of the floating blue lights.  They'll carry you across the chasm to the other side.  Mine the rocks, craft the bowl, and give it to Juna.  (For a short-cut back, the eastern side of the rock ledge has a cliff you can jump down from.)

When you go see Juna, don't forget a light, and make sure your hands are empty.

This looks to be a useful update, revitalizing dead content.  For the rewards, Monique and I will be making it a regular part of our weekly Runescaping!