Sunday, December 23, 2012
This year was one of my favorites. I'm pretty certain it was Monique's all-time favorite Christmas special. She's taken extra care of the Runescape stray dog for years. Never kicks him away. Always brings him a bone. Even though he's a creature made of painted light, her heart goes out to him. I guess he personifies all the real life strays that she would take in if possible.
To a lesser degree, it's the same for me. After years of seeing the RS mongrel wandering around Varrock, it feels good to see him (and 3 other specially chosen strays) get some attention.
When you talk to your Snow Imp (near the Draynor Lodestone) he'll explain why he's the "pet Santa" this year. Then ask for your help. Finding the 4 dogs is quick and simple. Putting the antlers on them and seeing them float up and away was an inspired touch. Funny, yet heart-warming.
Your Snow Imp has different names for different players. Mine was Morris. Monique's was named Barry. Go back to him, he'll ask you to clean up the strays. Give them a quick bath, encounter an angry flea, and you get a small cutscene where he and the dogs depart for their night of deliveries.
After the work is done, you get to choose your favorite stray to adopt (but you can change your mind later and pick another dog). Your Imp gives you a Kennel Flatpack, which becomes the basic dog house. After that, you get the Gift of Giving. Don't ask where it comes from. You'll be sorry when you find out. If you trade the Gift of Giving with other players, it continually renews itself and gives you more items. Mostly, upgrades for the dog house.
After completing the adventure, I talked with Morris again, and he asked if I could help him find 4 lost implings. When trading the Gift of Giving with other players, there's a chance of getting one of the 4 implings in a glass jar. Use them on your imp, and he will award 50,000 bonus exp in Hunting... per impling. That's a max of 200,000 bonus hunting exp!
The experience is doled out like the skill pendants. You get the extra experience as you're hunting. Once your GoG (gift of giving) has given you all 4 implings, and all the unique doghouse upgrades, it starts giving out junk items from previous holidays. Nothing cool, just food and firecrackers.
You can't bank the Gift of Giving, but it will stay with you if you log out and back in. To get enough unique players (you can't continue to swap the GoG with the same player), I moved to different worlds a few times. World 60 was a good one.
If you destroy the GoG, the Imp will 'sick up' a new one upon request. But it doesn't take long to complete if you just keep trading. I finished mine and then destroyed it.
Beyond "A Stray in A Manger", there are Christmas Implings flying around to catch, they'll drop the junk items too, and rarely the doghouse upgrades, but it's easier to get the upgrades by trading the GoG. And Tradeable Christmas Gifts came out too.
The Tradeable Christmas Gifts can be had from the Squeal of Fortune (got two that way), and from random monster drops. Or like Strange Rocks, while you're skilling. Collect enough unique gift boxes, and you can combine them for better rewards. If you don't have unique ones, you can trade other players, but not on the GE. They have to be traded the old-fashioned way, player to player. The rewards include mince pies, mistletoe (which comes with a 'kissing' emote) a Christmas Pudding amulet that grants bonus xp while training, and a Christmas Tree hat. That last is supposed to be quite rare, and tradeable.
If you don't get all the unique colored gifts you're hunting for, you can trade with other players to complete your collection.
The only one that really catches my eye is the pudding amulet. It grants double XP on the next 68,800 experience earned while being worn. That's the max experience you can get, even if you have more than one amulet. Stacks with the Festive Aura, which is nice.
This Christmas Runescape really hit a home run. A heartwarming story, a permanent home for your chosen stray dog (and a flea circus!), and lots of customizing options. Plenty of Christmas Implings to chase for fun. Lots of player to player interaction with all the trading going on. A very tasty exp reward in Hunting, plus the exp of the Pudding amulet. And all the decorative rewards.
This was a satisfyingly rich Christmas offering. As always, the forums are full of complaints. Ignore the Scrooges saying "Bah humbug." Go give your dog a home!
Posted by Crewman6 at 7:31 AM
Runescape has been incredibly busy recently. I can hardly keep up with the new quests, the Player Owned Ports, the Festive Aura, the Winter Weekend specials, the (soon to come) Stray Dog Christmas Event...
I've certainly missed some, but that gets the point across. I'm starting to think they're throwing so much out so fast because of the Evolution of Combat release.
Since EOC came out, there's been a very vocal group that hates it. Chances are, a number of those people just haven't truly tried it. All this new content, especially the Tzhaar grandmaster quest, is serving to familiarize us with the new interfaces, and to bury EOC behind a flock of new content. With so much going on, EOC becomes old news, and not so important.
When EOC first started, there was plenty I hated, but was willing to give a fair chance. Still not happy about losing the functionality of Enhanced Excalibur II, but on the whole EOC has become a lot of fun.
Particularly in Dungeoneering. Aside from daily challenges, I haven't done Dungeoneering much. As a matter of fact, my 99 in the skill is mainly due to daily challenges, exp bonuses, and the Jack of Trades Aura.
Last weekend, the Winter Weekend special was double dungeoneering exp (and tokens). So Monique and I put some serious time into Daemonheim. We duo dungeoned for nearly 30 floors, taking our time, having fun. With the binds being 'bankable' up to 10 items, we both needed to rearrange our possessions. We hunted for Grave Creeper wood, and made bows and magic staves. Searched for Promethium to upgrade her armor, but for some reason, Promethium was in hiding.
It was a lot of fun. The new binding system gives more options than we used to have. EOC means we have lots of really cool attacks and graphics. The rebalancing means our experience is a lot more appropriate to our levels. The easier floors are... easy. I don't really start needing food until around floor 49. Until then, EOC abilities are enough to keep my hp high.
Most things can't kill me unless I'm being stupid... except for Blink. I hate Blink.
We both leveled up over the weekend. Enjoyed the bonus exp. Best of all, it reminded us how great Dungeoneering is. And maybe, just maybe, I'll finally start getting those long-delayed Chaotics!
Posted by Crewman6 at 7:00 AM
Friday, December 14, 2012
It's taking me a while to get the hang of it, but so far I'm enjoying the mini-game a lot. It reminds me of Kingdom managing at Miscellania, with a bit of Sim City mixed in. The first day seemed a bit overwhelming. I made the mistake of clicking the green arrows for mission selection, not realizing it was "re-rolling" for replacement missions with every click. I thought it was just scrolling through the list, and wound up burning through most of my first day's missions without getting to do them.
By the second day, things made a lot more sense. At the beginning, the game is mostly about building up everything. I'm sure that as it progresses, more emphasis will shift to clever resource management, rather than just upgrading everything in sight.
There's a very extended introductory walkthrough that mixes theatrical cutscenes with an interactive guide. In terms of introducing the story, and the concepts involved, it's well told. I enjoyed the cinematic aspect. As a tutorial, it was kind of weak. Glossed way too quickly over everything, and didn't explain enough detail. As an intro it was great, but for a tutorial, we need a more involved and in-depth approach. Maybe a 'point-and-click query to explain things as they're needed, available at any time. More like a 'help' command. The Runescape site itself has a good description of much of the game, though it's not a strategy guide.
The armor comes in two levels, a slightly weaker tradeable version, and a stronger untradeable version. Both degrade, but the tradeable one degrades to destruction. The untradeable sets can be repaired, either with resources or gold. There's been some grumbling on the forums because they degrade. I don't mind, in either case. Primarily, I want this armor for myself, and don't see any problem with fixing it periodically. The tradeable version is a clever design on Jagex's part to provide a consumable resource. The armor will always need to be replaced, so it will constantly have a demand. It'll be a lot cheaper than the (up till now) current highest level armors. That should keep the value reasonable, and give port-owners ongoing rewards.
Other nice rewards include Rocktail Soup, which is now the best food in the game. Made with Rocktail, and Spices from the player owned port, again Runescape has given a great reward and a reason to continue playing the mini-game. At first people were paying ridiculous money for it, though at this moment it's going for about 5,000 gold.
The final reward is Scrimshaws, the new item worn in our 'pocket'. It will boost specific skills or abilities, requires 85 fletching or higher, depending on which one you want to make. As with the armor, scrimshaws come in tradeable and untradeable versions with higher stat boosts to the untradeable ones.
The graphics are beautiful. Very pleasing to look at. There's a lot of voice-acting with the characters. It's well-done, but maybe not quite as good as some of the recent quests. When I was talking with the Siren, Monique wanted to know who the sexy woman was that I was flirting with...
The controls and menu interfaces are initially confusing. The first day, I didn't know if I'd ever get it, but just played around, made mistakes, and learned. Bynow it's making a lot more sense. The wiki has a pretty good description and strategy suggestions. I don't think this kind of game really lends itself to a step-by-step guide. There are too many ways to play, and too many options to choose from. The best way to play is read through the Wiki strategy tips, then just play. You'll pick it up as you go.
There's a huge amount of depth, lots of different storylines, randoms, multiple rewards, mini-mini-games, and re-playability. Most updates flood the Runescape forums with haters and whiners. I don't mean rational, objective reviews or suggestions. But I'm sure you've seen the posts like "Fix it now, give me back my lost xxxx, or I quit!" Every update just seems to bring out the worst in the forums.
Not Player Owned Ports. This time, the forums are full of happy players, tips and advice on how to play, and objective comments on suggested improvements. The overall tone has been very positive. That alone indicates what an overwhelming success POP is. Runescape really did well. They needed something strongly positive after all the complaints about EOC. (There are still complaints, but there's always going to be some no matter what.) I'm sure right now there are lots of happy employees among the Jagex staff.
Personally, I love this update. It's added a lot of fun to my gameplay, and it's a very cool reward for all the time spent leveling my character. I can't wait to advance and start earning some armor!
Posted by Crewman6 at 3:18 PM
Sunday, December 9, 2012
|Well... it's a cape. Not very pretty, but it sure cost a lot.|
Then Runescape changed the Prismatic Pendants. For a while, you could only ever have one pendant for any skill (a Squeal of Fortune reward). New prismatic pendants could only be used for a skill you didn't already have a pendant in, even if it was destroyed. I had 23 in the bank, plus some Prized Prismatic Pendants. Didn't junk them because it seemed like such a waste not to be able to use multiples in a single skill. There were a lot of complaints in the forums from skillers with only a few skills left to train.
Now you can use up a pendant, destroy it, and assign a new prismatic pendant to the same skill. Friday Night I got 96 Crafting, and very nearly made it to the next level. Saturday was a surprise game day. Monique and I played Runescape in a full-day-long marathon. It was great- all day long, just relaxing and playing.
Next goal is going to be Fletching. It's the most afk'able skill left to do, and I'm looking forward to not having so pay so much attention. Then Hunting, then Farming. Going to hate Farming. After that, it'll just be a matter of getting Dungeoneering level 120. Should keep me busy for a long long time... :^)
Posted by Crewman6 at 1:51 PM
Friday, December 7, 2012
Aside from the mild over-acting, the voices were otherwise a great addition to the quest. This is supposed to be the final Tzaar quest, and has a grandmaster rating. To address the Grandmaster status, TBoE was a long quest. The first part was pretty easy, and non-combat. The last part was a mix of combat and puzzles. The puzzles were easy, many didn't even really qualify as puzzles. The combat started off easy enough, and grew more complex as it progressed.
The story was emotionally satisfying. It was a good ending to the Tzhaar arc. The boss fight took me a bunch of tries, but I finally got it. It seemed easier than Nomad, but harder than Vanstrom. I tried many setups, but the best involved Ice Barrage because it's stun prevents TokHarr-Hok from healing in the lava-fall.
|Beat the big guy, and the rest crumble|
The rewards were not for me. 3 Quest points, okay, good. 100k exp Mining... I just got 99 mining a few days ago. Didn't do anything for me.
The exp lamp with 275k combat exp is great, but all my combat skills are maxed. So again, useless to anybody who's max combat.
The Fight Cauldron - This one I like. It sounds like fun to go back and try again. I'm looking forward to that. I'll need to find out more about the Obsidian Armour in regard to the Cauldron, Kiln, and Fight Cave.
Speaking of the armour, this was the main reason I wanted to do the quest. But it turned out Obsidian Armour is only useful in the Tzhaar areas. Wear it in combat anywere else in Runescape, and it gives a triple damage penalty when you get hit.
That's very disappointing. On the other hand, I still haven't beaten the Kiln. So even though limited, it's useful for that. Adding a teleport to the Tokkul-Zo ring is nice, but I'm not jumping up and down over it.
The "TzHaar" title is also nice, but I have a feeling it's not going to be that exclusive. Still, I like being called TzHaar. 2 spins on the wheel... can take or leave this one. I don't hate the wheel like some do. But I hate that it very rarely gives me anything useful. Most of the time it's low-level junk that does me little good. It used to be good for at least a small exp lamp every few days. Either I've got horrible luck, or they've nerfed the wheel.
BoE was a training run. Beat it, and your understanding of Abilities and the Action bar should be much better.
I've learned a lot, and like the action bar much better now, even though I already liked it. The quest was worth doing just for the sake of doing it. The rewards could have been better, especially the armour.
|Killed the Ranger with melee, then switched to Ganodermic Armour, Armadyl Staff, and this action bar setup.|
The real benefit was getting to know the Action Bar. Using it so much made it a lot more comfortable. I think in the long run, I'm probably going to keep a picture record of favorite setups. Then I can recreate different loadouts for different purposes.
Posted by Crewman6 at 4:12 PM
Monday, December 3, 2012
Not so much, but still a lot of love, for the audio. What I mean is, the voice acting is gorgeous. The actors are well-chosen, and really bring depth and personality to their characters. It's just that, between graphics or voice acting, I'd rate the graphics as having more impact on long-term game play than the voice. Particularly since new voice-acting content is mainly restricted to quests, which we only do once.
|Being a Zamorak Wizard has never been so awesome!|
The quest begins with Ariane still at the bottom level of the old tower, underground. She's been studying, and asks for your help. She's smart enough not to go poking around without someone around for backup. But she's not smart enough to properly research and prepare before casting her spell. Before you can say 'abracadabra', she's stuck in the beam of light, like an insect trapped in amber.
Surprises and betrayals, some minor puzzles, and one undercover bad guy are all part of Rune Memories. You'll learn much of the history, in a way that tells an engaging story.
The puzzles are mainly easy, but if you don't want to solve them yourself, the answers are available at the quest Wiki page. I like the cutscenes with the dramatic closeups. Runescape has improved graphically to the point that cinematic breaks help move the story forward in an attractive manner.
The experience? Blah. Very beginner level. The 2 free SOF spins? Fair enough. But the cool part? Wizard Sedridor's personal rune essence chest. You can get a windfall of free pure essence runes from it, and the higher your level, the more you get. At 99 Runecrafting, it gave me 24,750 pure essence. Sold for well over 1 million gold. Now THAT's what I call a reward!
There's also 10,000 exp in magic or prayer if you talk to the trapped demon after the quest. Give him a drop of blood, you get magic exp. Refuse, you get prayer exp. That's decent.
One last reward, and my personal favorite: If you have 99 Magic and 99 Runecrafting, Sedridor will bestow the title of Archmage upon you. Now that's a cool title. I haven't been called archmage since the mid 1980's when I played Bard's Tale!
All told, Rune Memories is a great story, a good low-level quest, with some extremely nice higher-level rewards.
Posted by Crewman6 at 4:04 PM
And let's not forget the skilling benefits of Evolution of Combat. Most of the time, I've banked the ore. But towards the end, I've been power-dropping it. There's enough saved up in the bank to pay for my daily challenges when it's concentrated gold ore. With the EOC, it's become amazingly easy to drop ore while continuing to mine.
Saturday I had other things to do, but still spent an amazing amount of time Mining. By 11pm, just couldn't stay awake any more. Even though it only needed 167k, I had to go to sleep.
Woke up, probably 4:30 am, couldn't go back to sleep. (Happens a lot.) So back to the mines. Early early Saturday morning, it happened; 99 Mining. That's a seriously good feeling, to finish a long standing goal.
That in itself is kind of odd, since the Dungeoneering 99 Skill Cape is unfinished. It won't really count as 'done' until 120. But I still like it best. Followed by the Prayer skillcape. Both have great emotes.
I haven't X'd the skill off the list, shouldn't it still be assigning me Dungeoneering Challenges?
That part aside, my next goal is Crafting. Doing dragonhide is very expensive, so I'm only buying enough to do 30 minutes worth daily. I can use the Festive Aura for that 30 minutes, plus do a crafting assignment during that time. Should give me a huge savings in the cost of supplies.
For the other parts of the day, it's slow, but I'm making Decorative Mining Urns. They make about 11k per inventory, so at least it's profitable. And when I want a break, I go fight monsters. :^)
Posted by Crewman6 at 2:30 PM
Saturday, December 1, 2012
The original Rune Mysteries quest was mainly a way to introduce Essence mining into the game. This version has a much richer story, and strong personalities. It's also a voice acted quests. As usual, Monique and I are split on this feature. She hates the voice acting, because it slows the questing down to listen to all the talking. I agree, it really slows the questing down, but I actually like the voices. They add a layer of depth to the story, and enhance the 'feel' of the characters.
In this case, there's more history than usual. Ariane got an official story in the Lores, explaining how she came to be a wandering mage/adventurer, and why she's banned from the Wizard's Tower.
Along with the quest redo, the Wizard's Tower has been totally transformed. Where it used to be... a tower... now it's a gorgeous tapestry of design woven into a colorful theme surrounding the mystical central beam of light (which is also used to levitate from one level to another.)
Because Mysteries is a beginner's quest, it's very simple. Walk into the tower, get involved in Ariane's situation, talk to a few wizards, and use a bit of combat magic. There's no risk, and no equipment needed. The Wicked Hood is convenient for getting to the Wizard's Tower. It takes you to the top floor, you just descend through the beam to get to the ground level.
Oh, and you get to play a pipe organ. It's part of a fairly simple puzzle involving translation of a spell into music. Later, you get to hit some sour notes to distract Sedridor from his 'purging' spell. One thing I really liked here, was the top row of keys literally can be played. After all these years of having organs in the occasional odd spot, now you can finally play music! I couldn't resist - played "When the Saint Go Marching In" with it... :^)
As with Ozan, the graphic rework for the tower, and the entire island, is wonderful. Makes for some very scenic moments, especially when you have to head underground.
This quest took nearly an hour to complete, because I wanted to hear the voice acting, and try out every possible combination of conversation with everybody. If you just want to zip through and be done, probably more like 15 minutes.
It's the second time in Jagex history to release two quests on the same day. Because it was so late in the evening, we haven't done Rune Memories yet. Plan to do that one tonight.
Rewards are appropriate to the quest level. The only reward worth noting is the Tower Mindspike, an elemental staff that can be changed at need to provide Air, Earth, Fire, or Water runes, so it pretty much replaces the basic elemental staves we're used to. And if it's lost, you can get another one.
You also get 2 Squeal of Fortune spins, a First Tower Hat, some exp, a quest point, an Air Talisman, 70 Mind Runes, and 4 new titles. The titles are given as a result of a quiz you answer in the quest. The quiz can be retaken to change your alignment from among Blue, Green, Grey, and Red factions of the original Wizard's Tower. I was awarded Blue, so if I accepted the new name, would have been called Techreader the Blue.
I'm looking forward to the second quest tonight- the rewards look a bit more commensurate with higher level players.
Posted by Crewman6 at 7:24 AM