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Monday, December 3, 2012

Runescape: Rune Memories, Ariane's 2nd Quest

Monique and I did manage to do Ariane's second rune quest, Rune Memories.  Right off the bat, let me address the graphics and audio.  I absolutely, fanatically, love all the graphical improvements Runescape has undergone.  I'm extremely happy that they're not just putting out better graphics in new areas, but actually going back and re-doing classic areas over time.  It adds so much to the background of Runescape.

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!
That aside, the quest had a good story.  I enjoyed the characters, especially the leader of the Red Wizards.  With him, I finally realized the Zamorak faction isn't necessarily evil, so much as chaos-driven.  They believe strength and knowledge are the result of chaos and dissension.  Apparently, that's a very attractive philosophy for evil wizards, but it's no guarantee of evil-ness.

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.

Now it's up to you to get her free, which involves discovering the true history of the teleportation conundrum, and freeing the souls trapped beyond their time in the vortex.

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 final portion of the quest brought a sense of "I have to hurry, or Ariane will explode!", and the remaining characterization of the soul fragments was very enjoyable.  I especially liked Zanmaron the Red, as the Master Wizard for the Reds.  I know he's dead, and that complicates things, but I'd enjoy working with him in a future quest.  His personality was surprising, and I found myself actually respecting him.

The rewards were interesting.  Much more so than Rune Mysteries were.  Top and Bottom robes for the first tower- and they really look cool.  If you like wizardly cosmetic clothing, it's worth getting.  You can arrange to have them in any of the 4 colors of the Wizard factions, by taking the Rune Guardian's quiz again and changing your answers.

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.

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