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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Runescape 3 - Jad Revisited, more than two years later

Hello again, old friend!
After finishing Dungeoneering and Divination, I've just been bumming around Geilinor recently.  Go where the wind takes me, do whatever sounds interesting... it's nice not to have any major goals for a while.  Other than rebuilding my bank (spent a lot getting those last 99's), just following any old whim.

A few days ago, I started missing my old friend Jad.  The first time I ever beat him was March 25, 2011.  (I checked, it was on my blog that day when he finally keeled over.)  That was back when you could use Deflect Curses through the entire Jad fight.  It circumvented the healers, and Jad basically killed himself.  All you had to do was prayer switch, which even I could handle.  When Jagex nerfed the deflect technique, I learned to beat him using ranged, but it wasn't nearly as easy.  After beating him maybe 4 times in my entire life, it was over between us.

That's not to say he was no longer a presence.  His progeny, Baby Jad, is my favorite pet.  Mine were twins... one in the Player Owned Home, one to roam around with me.  After all that work, and all that hate, then adopting his kids, somehow, I wound up liking Jad.

Back to the present, 2 and a half years later:  Things have changed a lot with Jad and the Fight Caves.  After EOC, the Fight Cave changed so often that the guides online don't 'quite' work any more.  Two things stood out, though.  Ranging is bad.  Now most of the monsters are weak to water spells.  The other thing is Obsidian Armour and the Tokkul-Zo.  Both give big advantages when fighting TzHaar.  Obsidian Armour will reduce damage by around half.  55% with the shield, 45% without.  That helps all the way through the fight cave, but especially with Jad.  (More on that shortly.)  The Tokkul-Zo ring boosts damage against TzHaar by 10%.

The armour is made by collecting Obsidian Shards and making Obsidian Bars, then smithing the entire set.  It takes 228 shards to make the full armor set, including the three styles of helmet.  Wearing it requires at least 60 in one of the combat skills.  I blew it off for a long time as too 'low level'.  In reality, with that huge damage reduction, it's amazing.  To get the shards, I wore my best range gear, and jumped into the Fight Cauldron.  Every few fights, I walked out to make sure of getting my shards.  If you get killed before collecting them, you only receive half.  The Obsidian Armour degrades, but is repairable with more shards.  Since the Cauldron is MUCH easier while wearing Obby Armour, it's easy to keep enough shards in stock to repair it.  

One nice thing about the Obby armour, it's considered an 'all combat' class.  Just change out the helm, and you're good to go.  There's a melee helm, mage helm, and ranger helm.

Not so easy for the Tokkul Zo ring.  After 4000 total hits, it loses all charge.  50,000 Tokkul will recharge it completely.  That's pretty hard to come by.  But still, if it means beating Jad I'm okay with it.  Just have to remember to pick up my free 8,000 per day for doing the Karamja Elite tasks.

For my full gear, I wore the Obsidian Armour - Mage helm, plate legs, plate body, gloves and boots.  Additionally, The Chaotic Staff (from Dungeoneering), Max Cape, Fury Ammy, Vampyrism Aura, and scrimshaw of the elements (because I accidentally made a bunch non-tradeable).  In the long run, I forgot to use the Aura, but that's okay.

For inventory, a couple Overload flasks, 5 Prayer Flasks, a Vecna Skull (which I also mostly forgot to use), a bunch of Rocktail soup, and all the Blood and Water runes I have.  Overkill?  Maybe... but you have no idea what a klutz I am.

My spell was Ice Barrage, from the Ancient Magic spellbook, and Curse prayers to deflect damage back to Jad.  The Action bar is as follows:  Wrack, Impact, Chain, Combust, Dragon Breath, Metamorphosis, Asphyxiate, Deflect Missiles, Deflect Magic, Torment, Regenerate, and Guthix's Blessing.  (I'm pretty sure I saw this or something similar on several forums, but by now I can't remember where or who recommended it.)

In the fight caves, it went amazing.  No food until time for Jad.  Regenerate kept me topped up, and the monsters fell like kindling to the axe.  The waves before Jad were fast, and easy.  Then I hit the action bar glitch.  My protection prayer keybinds are W for Deflect Missiles, and E for Deflect Magic.  The W key worked fine, but the E key was dead.  By the time I figured out what was happening, I'd missed a bunch of prayer switches, and had eaten most of my food. 

The amazing thing is, Jad didn't kill me!  Came close, but with the Obsidian Armour cutting his damage in half, I still had a chance.  And wound up winning a fire cape.  First try in two and a half years, bad glitch in the action bar, and the Obby Armour still saved my bacon.

So, if you're wondering... it's really really worth the effort! 

Now, I'm feeling the urge to try again, and will hopefully do better as I know to watch out for the glitch.  Wish me luck.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dungeons and Divination - Finishing the last two Skills

Had a landmark week last week.  On Thursday, 120 Dungeoneering.  Friday, 99 Divination.  Saturday, got the "of Daemonheim" title.  
Getting 120 DG took a long time.  I've always played solo or duo (on those occasions when my wife joins me at Daemonheim).  She's got her 99 cape, and is getting closer and closer to the 120 as well.  When Dungeoneering first came out, I liked it, but didn't spend any time on it.  All my bonus experience went to it, like penguins, and Juna, and I wound up in the mid-80 levels without having played it.

After that, I started soloing dungeons.  Don't have the temperament to play in a team.  When daily challenges and sinkholes came out, well, it certainly made gaining exp much easier.  Not to devalue the hard work of those that came before, but I'll take what I can get.  As long as it's from honest playing.

Getting the "of Daemonheim" title wasn't quite as major as maxing a skill, but it was a solid effort.  I missed the easy week.  Remember?  The first week, when players could do Hard Mode on small dungeons?  By the time I began, it was Hell Week.  That was the week when every hard mode floor was a Large.  Finally, it settled to mediums by default for solo and duo adventurers, and larges only for bigger groups of players.
Regardless, I finally did all 60 floors.  Picked up all the cool drops along the way... the Primal gear, the Blood Necklace, the Hexhunter Bow, Celestial Catalytic Staff.  I know, some of that stuff was nerfed when EOC came out, but who knows - some day that Hexhunter might be a mighty weapon again. 

By the way, I've seen plenty of Night Spiders since the EOC, but have never seen a Shadow Silk Hood drop since then.  Before that, I've had 3 SSH drops.  Does anybody know if they aren't dropping any more?  Or is it just a super-super-rare item now?

Been working as hard as I can on Divination, which came out 8/20/13.  At this point it's been nearly three months.  Wow.  I wanted the Max Cape back, thought this would only take a short while.  After all, with so many 99's already, it shouldn't be that hard to do another... right?

 Actually, levelling to 99 is a lot more time-consuming than I remembered.  No idea how the first players to 99 got there so fast.  Now that I'm face to face with how much time and effort it takes, the upcoming Inventor skill seems less and less interesting.  Maybe that'll change once the skill is out.

In the meantime, it's been a long slog.  Especially levels 90-95.  Getting out to the desert behind Sophanem is a pain.  Wiki recommends not even training there, but going back to the old place on Dragontooth Island  just isn't any fun.  Even if it's faster.    The final rift out near the Poison Wastes isn't exactly 'convenient' to get to, but it's not as bad as Sophanem.

I've been pretty grateful for any and all exp lamps and boosts along the way.  Using the Jack of Trades Aura daily, getting about 10k exp for just a minute or so of effort.  Any Squeal of Fortune prismatic lamps go directly to Divination as well.  Best of all, the prismatic pendants.  They were released a year ago (13 November 2012).  Knowing two new skills were on the way, I've been stockpiling them.  Plus the recharge gems.

At level 96, I used them all.  The new system of storing bonus experience is pretty cool, and every pendant from the past year went on Divination.  Came to something like 1,200,000 bonus exp.  Yes, that's over 1 million exp points.  As long as it lasts, all my Div exp is doubled.  I went from 96 to 97 in one single day.  It was a very long, very dedicated Saturday, but just the same, it was one single day.  By Monday night, it went to 98.

The bonus exp ran out with about 400k to go.  Slow and tedious again.  But while the bonus lasted, it was a lot of fun.

It feels really, really good to have all those goals done.  Haven't decided what to work on next, there's still plenty I haven't done yet.  For the moment, I'm rebuilding my bank.  Spent close to 100 million gold buying memories to speed up training.  And, I have to admit, some spins on SOF to get the exp-boosting Divination costume.  Got all but the headgear.  It helped.

Now I've got the Max Cape back.  Since my current look sports a lot of Gold - thanks to Super September and the super-hero costume - it's set to a matching gold/yellowish theme.  The costume is pretty much a mash-up of several different pieces.  When gold gets old, it'll be time for a new color scheme.  The cosmetic overlays are totally impractical, but a lot of fun.

At the moment, I've earned back around 20 million gold, and going strong.  After that?  Who knows... it's a big world!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Runescape 3: New Prestige System update - Poll

Recently I posted about the New Prestige System, announced in Mod Jack's developer blogs .  Not going to re-hash the details, but in brief, I had some worries about it.

Given that not everybody has the same goals, nor enjoys the same things, it's understandable that some people might like the new prestige system.  I'm not one.  I'm afraid that, given a brand new shiny way of ranking players, the original system would become passe.  

To be fair, both systems, old and new, will be available.  But the nature of gaming, people, obsession and addiction will come into play.  Before long, the only rank that means anything would be the people who've recycled skills for multiple 99's in each skill.

Maybe it's shallow, but I enjoy my current rank.  It took years to get there, and is a work in progress.  I have no objection to something that extends or enhances the existing rank structure, but not to something that puts me back on the ground floor.  

Apparently, I'm not alone in my concerns.  There was enough uproar that today Mod Jack published a vote poll for the new Prestige.  By the time I voted, the "NO" votes outnumbers the "YES" votes by more than double.  To pass, the yes votes need to be at least 75%.  

I'm very glad Jagex is stopping to sound this out before proceeding.  Mod Jack said they would still come up with something to allow very high-level players to refine their rank even further.  I think that's a good idea, so long as they do so in a way that doesn't destroy the work of previous hours, days, months and years.

They just jumped in too soon with an ill-considered idea.  Props to Jagex for stopping to listen!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Runescape 3: New Prestige System Announced

I might be slow, but I'm working on it

Have you read about the new Prestige Hi-score system?  I just finished reading Mod Jack's dev blog, and find the concept troubling.

The new Prestige system will let you re-set any 99-level skill back to 0, and level up all over again.  Each time you do so, the exp requirement for the next 99 goes higher.  So, 26 million the second time, 39m the second time, and so on.  The more total skills you've reset, and the more times you've reset each skill, determines how you rank.

This is supposed to level the playing field, make lower-level training and supplies useful again, and give everybody a chance to shine in the high scores over and beyond the 200M maximum exp goal that has always been the ultimate until now.

This goes into effect sometime in November.  I have some serious qualms about it.  I play for fun, and worked hard for my 99's, and for the rank that comes with them.  Currently, I'm working hard to finish Dungeoneering and Divination.  My overall game rank is 5,371.  

I don't work specifically toward game rank, but there's a certain pride in having reached that level.  Prestige threatens to de-value that.  It doesn't usually bother me when a skill or an item is devalued, even if it affects something that took so much work.  But this time, it's not that easy.  For one thing, getting rank in the game will now be something you work towards specifically.  I prefer rank that simply reflects my dedication to the overall game.  If it becomes something that you have to focus on deliberately, to be honest I'll probably ignore it.  But it'll be a sad thing to lose my position in the numbers game.

The old rank system will still exist, and you have the choice to continue using it.  But in the ultra-competitive game Runescape has become, it will probably become passe.  What I'm afraid of is that this will totally destroy my own rank.  And if I fear this, it's probably safe to assume many other people will wonder, too.  On the other hand, for those super-competitive maxed players, maybe this could be a good thing.

I do know it took far... far... far too long to get each 99 the first time.  No way am I going to repeat it when there's so much more content to explore.  I still haven't beaten the Queen Black Dragon.  Or the Fight Kiln.  Or the Dominion Tower.  There are so many things to do, and they've all been waiting until I max my last two skills.

To all those who look forward to the new Prestige System, I truly hope you enjoy it.  No hard feelings.  But for me, I'm dreading it.  Guess we'll find out when it gets here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Runescape 3: Daemonheim Task Aura 4 Complete

With all the updates that I haven't finished yet, it's nice to get one done.  Over last weekend, Monique and I pushed hard to work on the Daemonheim Tasks.  She finished everything except a couple that needed Divination.  I was a bit closer.  The one that required level 86 Div (Pass the Port) was over my head, but close enough that a Strong Gatherer's Potion let me do it.

Doing the Dungeoneering tasks was my favorite task set.  It actually made DG fun again.  Added some interest, and made me actually pay attention.  Some of the tasks were hard just because achieving them was a semi-random thing.  Like (finding and) killing a Frost Dragon.  Or finding a door that was above my skill level, so I could use a Portent of Passage on it.  (After I'd done it, suddenly those darn doors were all over the place... it's all random timing.)

Completing the Easy tasks gave the benefit of picking your boss monster once a day.  That truly helped when it came time to face Rammernaut, Bal'lak the Pummeller, or the Warped Gulega.

The biggest pain of them all was the final Hard Level task, Epic Epic.  Complete all the Sagas with 100%.  I finished the Elite tasks before finishing Epic Epic.  Never felt the need to do them before, and didn't remember finding the keys that triggered the sagas.  Luckily, Monique and I both already had the sagas unlocked, we just had to do them.  It took a couple of tries on one or two, but Sunday morning we finally finished the final one.
Aside from the pleasure of accomplishing all challenges, there are significant rewards.  You get experience lamps along the way, for earning all 4 Aura levels:
For a grand total of 240,000 exp.  So, that's only a day or two of Sinkholes, but still... it's a nice benefit.  Especially when you get some 40,000 Dungeoneering Tokens too.
As nice as all that is, it's just a side benefit.  You can earn all of that without doing the tasks.  Just play Dungeoneering.  What's the REAL reward?

The Daemonheim Aura 4.  At each level, it grants real benefits.  Some better than others, but still, nice things to help play.  Below I've listed the Bennies, with a rating of 1 - 4 stars for each:

Aura 1 grants
**One free death per day in Daemonheim.  (Nice, but I don't usually die.)
* A cosmetic override (Heim crab weapons, like Thok uses in Thok Your Block Off).
**** Once per day, Choose which Boss you encounter.  You have to be on the appropriate level for that boss to be available.  (Are you kidding me?  This is going to make 'hunting' for specialty items much much easier!  Possibly my favorite reward.)
* A 25% effective 'Secondary' role for your ring of Kinship.  Now you can have a second skill active along with the first.  (This gets more valuable with each higher Aura.)

Aura 2
*Acts like Ava's Accumulator and the Bonecrusher while inside Daemonheim.  (Nice, but ehhh.)
*Access to an extended portion of the Deamonheim peninsula resource dungeon.  (Yawn)
**Bind one potion, to be accessible once per floor.  (This is slightly cool.  Don't really need it, but having a pre-made potion can be useful at times.  Mines a Gatherer's potion.)
*** 40 free Law and Cosmic runes in each dungeon.  (Okay, this is very useful.  Though I'd have liked maybe double the number.)
** A 50% effective 'Secondary' role for the ring.  (Getting better...)

Aura 3
*Backhand.  (Boo!  This has no true practical value.)
* Access to an extended portion of the Dwarven Mine resource dungeon.  (8 mith, 2 addy... sort of handy, maybe.)
**** Two more bind slots.  (This is excellent... more storage space!)
*** 5% savings when recharging items with the Marmaros the Trader.  (This has a long-term benefit if you use Chaotics a lot.)
**** 10% increase in Sinkhole rewards.  (I do 2 Sinkholes every day, this is of major importance in long-term leveling up.)
*** A 75% effective 'Secondary' role for the ring of Kinship.  (Better every time.)

Aura 4
** Burying bones in Daemonheim will recover prayer points.  (Could be useful, but I don't really use that much prayer in DG.)
** Acces to another extended resource dungeon.  (This one I like, It's the Brimhaven dungeon, and has 4 Mithril Dragons.  Mildly fun.)
* 10% discount from the smuggler.  (Sorta useful.  I don't buy from him often.)
**** A second Gatestone and Teleport spell.  (This is awesome.  I like using the teleports, and having a spare is excellent!)
**** A 100% effective 'Secondary' role for the ring.  (Now you effectively have two fully functional active skills on the ring at all times.  Very convenient!)

Lastly, and this is amazing if you're a hard-core DG'er... Hard Mode.  Any random difficulty levels (and bosses) are boosted to the max for it's level.  The rewards are potentially greater.  And if you beat all 60 floors in Hard Mode, you get the title "Of Daemonheim".

I like titles that MEAN something.  So I want this one!

All in all, the Aura does some very cool things, and I like it.  A lot!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Runescape 3: I used to have a routine

What routine?  I used to play according to a very set pattern.  Ports, Sinkholes, 1 Dungeon run each day, and the daily money-run.  Not any more.

I enjoyed Battle of Lumbridge, and would still be playing it, but then Jagex released Divination.  Just as I got a normal schedule going, the Daemonheim Task Set came out.

At first, I was going to get 99 Div before working on the task set.  But since I currently spend some time each day working on Dungeoneering, it makes more sense to do the tasks.  The benefits and rewards will help me get that 120 DG level faster.

So, I have no set schedule any more.  POP maybe three times a day, sinkholes twice a day, and the rest is divided out between Divination and the DG tasks as time and goals allow.

Last night I was going to try and knock out the Warped Gulega task, but hit a glitch.  The Daemonheim Aura 2 lets you choose the boss in a floor once a day.  You pick the floor, then it gives you a list of bosses appropriate to that floor.  So I chose floor 30.  The Gulega was bottom right on the option list, but somehow I clicked something else.  Either it was my fault, or I can't pick him until his task has been completed.  (I found out later- 30 isn't deep enough.)

Either way, I found myself soloing a medium dungeon with no goal in mind.  Decided I'd just bang out a few random tasks while down there.  Wound up getting several.  Made a new altar, a catalytic wand, a spiritbloom orb, and a bouldabass/edicap potato (which was eaten in a boss fight).

As a side task, I made a strong gatherer's potion.  My Divination is currently 77, with the potion I can boost it high enough to make a Portent of Restoration IX.  I bound it in the new slot, so when I finally find some Billiant Wisps I'll be ready.

Could have done more, but that was plenty for the moment.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Runescape 3: The Daemonheim Task Set

Jagex is still on a roll with their rapid-fire updates.  Now they've given us the Daemonheim Task Set.  As usual, they come in Easy, Medium, Hard, and Elite levels.

Given how difficult the Desert task set was (I still haven't finished the Elite set...)  I was dreading the Daemonheim set.  Turns out, the new tasks are actually kind of fun.  Many of the tasks are solo, and must be done independently.  For the rest of the tasks, they can be done in a shared dungeon.  Monique and I enjoy doing them together, as much as we can.

The Easy tasks were very easy, with a couple of caveats.  You have to complete a Fremennik Saga, which means you must have access to the sagas.  Something not everybody will have.  "Sinking Fast" requires you to complete a Sinkhole.  Certainly an easy task... except that the Sinkhole world has been flooded ever since.  That means the wait to get in is long, and lag is likely.

On the other hand, it means there are lots of 'noobs', players who don't understand how to play the sinkholes.  As a result, I've been getting much better rewards.  Being just an average player, my position usually ends up anywhere on the board.  Last, first, but mostly in the middle.  Currently, I'm doing much better with all the new participants.  The crowding is annoying, but it's been pretty cool getting so many large and huge lamps, often with meercats.

The Medium tasks are still mostly easy.  If you have trouble with anything, Wiki has a good task list with basic guides to help.  There are two tasks that gave/are giving me trouble.  "Up to the Gods" requires you to sacrifice a Frost Dragon bone on a prayer altar from a dragon you killed yourself in a solo dungeon.

I worked on that one for 2 days.  Solo dungeons, Frost levels, medium size.  Finally found one, killed it, found an altar and sacrificed the Frost Dragon bones.  Not hard, but Frost Dragons in Daemonheim are kind of rare.  Except for Monique, who wandered in, did a couple of rooms, and laughed.
I said "You found one, didn't you?"
She did.  Fortunately, mine showed up just minutes later, so I didn't have to feel sorry for myself very long.

The only medium task I have yet to do is "Portent of Passage V".  I have to find a door that's above my skill levels, and use a Divination Portent to get through.  My skills are maxed (except Divination), so finding a door that locks me out doesn't happen often.
I'm still hoping to randomly find a suitable door, but if not, I'll find some Forgotten Mages to drain my combat stats, then look for Strength or Magic doors.

I'm still working on the Hard Tasks, but the only one that should give any trouble is "Epic Epic", which involves completing ALL Sagas with 100%.  This is problematic, since I only have access to "Three's Company".  It may take quite some time to gain access so I can finish this one.

Looking ahead to the Elite Tasks, most of it looks pretty doable.  I've already done some kind of by accident.  The hardest one is going to be creating a Portent of Restoration IX.  That takes 86 Divination, and my Div level is at 76 so far.  Going to take a lot of time to raise it to 86.

The reason for doing all of this is an Aura.  The Daemonheim Aura gives some pretty good benefits.  Starting with the easy skills, you get one 'free' death per day (if you're wearing it).  You can choose a secondary ring role in another class, which means you can effectively 2 active ring classes at once.  To begin, it's only 25%, but by the time you earn the Elite Aura, it's a full 100%. 

The best thing for me is the ability to choose which boss you encounter once per day.  That's awesome.  It means I can truly go 'hunting' for drops that particular bosses drop.  They have to be level-appropriate, both to you, and to the floor you're on.  But it's going to be nice to pick my targets, even if it's only once per day.

Level 2 aura acts like Ava's Accumulator and the Bonecrusher, if you wear it in the dungeon.  Also gives access to an extended resource dungeon.
Effective even when not worn:  Bind one potion in a new slot.  Get free Law and Cosmic runes in every dungeon.  Secondary ring role goes up to 50%.

Level 3 Daemonheim Aura... Backhand ability, which is pretty worthless.  But you get access to another extended resource dungeon in the Dwarven Mine (has 8 mith and 2 addy rocks).   The secondary ring role goes up to 75% effectiveness, there's a 5% reduced cost to recharge items, and two more things...
First, 2 more bind slots in Daemonheim.  That's big.  Picking and choosing what to bind has always been limiting, even after the EOC upgrade.  More is better.
Second, a 10% increase in Sinkhole rewards.  Another biggie.  Sinkholes are my main way of leveling up.  10% is huge!

The Elite level aura has some elite-level boosts.  Burying bones in Daemonheim will recover prayer points (20 for normal bones, 40 for dragon bones) while it's activated.  Big deal, right?  Kind of.
But when worn, you get a second gatestone and teleport spell.  No runes needed to use.  That's pretty awesome.  Especially if you do larger dungeons.

Of course, you gain access to another extended resource dungeon, in Brimhaven this time, with 4 Mithril Dragons.  The ring secondary effect goes up to 100%, you get 10% discount from the smuggler.

Oh, and access to Daemonheim's Hard Mode.  According to the recent behind-the-scenes Daemonheim Tasks video, Hard Mode is something like asking Jagex to cheat.  Instead of getting bosses randomly generated on a range of difficulties, you get the hardest possible version of the boss.  Same goes for all the monsters.

In and of itself, I'm not too excited about Hard Mode.  But the interesting part comes when you complete all 60 floors in hard mode, which can only be used on complexity 6 dungeons.  There are numerous changes, all of which make the job harder.
Your odds of getting tier 10 and 11 items as boss-drops is very high,  which is a nice benefit.  But the main reward is the title "of Daemonheim".  To wear the title, you must complete all 60 floors on Hard Mode.  It's going to be a pretty selective title, and if you can wear it, be sure it marks you as literally, one of the elite!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Runescape 3: Super September on a Roll

Last time, I mentioned how all the new updates turned my daily playing schedule topsy-turvy.  Jagex is still at it.  Now they've unleashed Super September.  I love comic books... love Runescape...  want the gold-tinted super-hero costume.  :^D

The deal is, every day there's a new Super September Challenge.  Each challenge must be done on the day it's assigned (within 24 hours).  If you complete 5 challenges during September, you get the basic superhero outfit.  Complete 10, and it's the titles "Super" and "Supervillain".

At 15 completed challenges you earn a superhero emote.  At 20, you can call down the lightning (I imagine it's just an emote, not an attack action.)  25 challenges done gets superhero claws, and 30 earns a superhero shield.

The basic Superhero Outfit
And, I'm not really that hyped about all of that.  Sure, some of the rewards are mildly cool.  But what drives me to complete all 30 assignments?  A GOLD version of the superhero outfit!  There are other, unnamed rewards for getting all 30, but that's my goal.

The outfit is an override, and not an actual costume.  The artists concept looks awesome.  With luck, the actual gold superhero outfit looks just as great.

Not sure how hard or easy any of the challenges will be.  So far Monique and I have done the first 7 days worth.  Starting on the 1st with Miracle Recovery.  Easy enough, though getting just enough damage to trigger a 'portent of restoration' 10 times in a row... without taking too much... was a pain.  I used one of the dragons in my player-owned house.  Should have followed Monique - she went to Lunar Isle and fought Suqahs.  Considering she finished much faster, they must have worked very well.  Better than my dragon, anyway.

The second challenge was much easier.  Blood Sweat and Tears required we collect 200 divine tears from the lumbridge battlefield.  Quick and easy.  The combat is fun, but for speed we just mined the crystals.

Everybody Dance Now could have been problematic.  Dancing near at least 10 other people who are dancing too?  Lucky for us, dancing while waiting for the Dungeoneering Sinkhole is a favorite way for people to pass time.  We had no trouble.

Go Bananas requires you eat 50 bananas, slow enough for the counter to register each one.  Too fast, and you don't get credit for some.  Monique did hers early, and told me the crowds and competition at the banana grove was fierce.  She got smart, killed a bunch of Goblins and cast bones to bananas on them.  I'm more the obsessive/compulsive type, and had over 300 in the bank.  Just in case of Ape Atoll teleports.  :^)

Mad Skills was super-easy.  Train 15 different skills in a day.  Monique and I do the Jack of Trades, which requires training 10, so it was just a matter of doing 5 extra skills.  For Bulldog, we just logged onto world 96, the Quick Chat world.  It's our home world anyway, and usually less populated since talk is restricted.  One straight run from Edgeville to the High-level wilderness fence.

Schmooze was a bit of a pain.  Talk to 10 different Signature Heroes/Kings/Queens.  I was one short until Monique reminded me of the Fisher King.  Take the Fairy Ring BJR, talk to the new Fisher King, and done.

So far, Soul Searching was the worst one.  For it, we had to complete a game of Soul Wars.  Sounds easy, until we tried to log into the official Soul Wars world.  Worst lag we've seen in ages.  Looks like everybody else had the same idea at the same time.  Wound up going to world 60 (the Penguin world) and having a game. 

Overall, it's been easy enough, and lots of variety.  Can't wait to see what's next!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Runescape 3: A Change of Habit

For a long, long time, I've been in maintenance mode.  Play Runescape every day, but it's very predictable.  Do the money run... Morchella mushrooms, cactus spines, harvest coconuts from the 6 palm trees.  Once a day, collect red sandstone, do the Wicked Hood free essence (I make Bloods with mine).  Do the Battlestaff pickup.  Get the free sand and cheap seaweed.

At 8:30 or 9:30, do two Sinkholes.  Immediately after, do a Dungeoneering floor for my daily challenge.  (It was the only skill left to train.)  Manage my POP.  Sounds like a lot, but it's really about an hour a day, spread out here and there.

When RS3 came out, it kind of re-invented Runscape for me.  The Battle of Lumbridge didn't catch my fancy immediately, but it has my attention now.  And then, Divination came out.

My routine has been blown sky-high.  In the interests of staying focused, and because I can't spend every waking moment playing, I've re-prioritized.  The day begins before work with POP and some Divination training.  I do Sinkholes at 8:30 in the evening, and POP as necessary.

Focusing on only doing the Dungeoneering daily challenges, which get done as assigned.  My 'money run' is gone.  Totally blew it off.  For a little longer, I'll be fighting for Saradomin.  Want the armour, and the weapon overrides.  (Already have sword and staff, halfway done getting the Hammer.)  Once I get the bonuses, I'll be leaving the Battle of Lumbridge behind.

Until I max Dungeoneering and/or Divination, that's going to be the routine.  Total change of pace.

How did it change your routine?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Runescape 3 - Is Divination all it was hyped up to be?

Enriched Spring near the Golden Apple Tree
Recently I posted a review of the new Divination skill.  Overall it was positive, though the skill is definitively a grind skill.  I don't mind the grinding, it's an honored tradition of Runescape.  Heck, pretty much any fantasy RPG game.  Since the early 1980's playing Bard's Tale on the Commodore 64, grinding has been the way to level skills.  (Okay, actually even before that, but that's my first and best memory of frp.)

In the forums, I've seen some complaints about the grind.  No sympathy for most of the complainers, but one person brought up a valid point... if Jagex has been building this skill for so long, why is it so repetitive?  Not speaking to grinding, but that the method of training is the exact same at every level.

It's a good point.  This skill has been promised since last October to my memory, and I'm seeing some claim it's been in the works for 3 years.  I like Divination, but there's not enough variety of training methods to justify a long design time.

All I can conclude is that the 2nd promised skill (soon to be released?) integrates thoroughly with Divination.  So much so that getting them to work together is what's taken up all the time.  We'll only know  when it comes out.
Starting up at the Karamja Divination site
 But I can speculate to a bit more.  The graphics are quite well done.  Beautiful, elegant, very much bringing to mind the will-o-the-wisps that obviously inspired the glowing spheres we chase.  Designing and testing the graphics probably took a fair chunk of time.  Also, this is a non-competitive skill.  Jagex promised the springs last the same no matter how many players are pulling from them.  (Yes, the Chronicle Fragments are competitive, but they're for bonus exp.) 
Another thought, and I don't have any facts or experience to back this up, but I wonder if the skill wasn't designed with the intent to baffle bots?  The randomness, the similarity in color and looks between all the moving images onscreen... sure, bot designers can figure it out.  But maybe actual players have a training advantage.  At the very least, bots won't steal resources from actual players.

Something else that was cool - Divination has been integrated into Dungeoneering.  You can collect energy and memories in the dungeon, and there's a rift in the Trader's room.  I haven't explored the options in depth, but from what I can tell, it's used to open doors that need high skill levels.  If you get stuck at a door too high-leveled, you can use Divination to pass it (assuming you've got the appropriate Div level).  Sounds a lot better than making a potion in the Dungeons.

All things considered, I still like it.  Maybe it's not a home run... but it's a solid base hit at least.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Runescape 3: Divination Released- Hope you enjoy Grinding

Divination was released yesterday (Aug 20, 2013). Finally! It was hard enough to wait when Jagex announced last year that 2 new skills would come out early this year. It's no longer early, and this is only one of the two skills. Since they're supposed to go hand in hand, it's kind of like driving a car with only 2 wheels. When I left for work yesterday, there was no announcement yet. Got home for lunch, sat down to log in, and saw the notice. All I said was "Hmmm!", and Monique answered "Oh, I forgot to tell you, Divination is out!"

 We had to wait until later in the evening to try it out, I could hardly wait. First impressions? I like what's there. Much the same as fishing, tree-cutting, and mining, it's a grind skill. You repeat the same thing over and over. That's going to annoy some, but not me. After playing since 2004, the idea of grinding to max a skill is perfectly acceptable. Traditional. We're only seeing half the equation right now. It's not fair to judge Divination without seeing how it integrates with the still-awaited 2nd skill this year.

Training at least is simple, and non-competitive. No need to fight over resources. Plenty for all. Getting started, you can talk to Orla Fairweather and the other nearby NPC's (just east of Draynor Village). Or not. They don't really have much to tell you. Click on the wisps, or the springs, and fill your backpack up. Then click on the rift with whirling energy, and give it all back. You can choose three options at the rift. One converts everything to energy, which is used to make stuff with the skill. The middle option converts wisp 'memories' to experience, and leaves energy alone. The last option converts both memories and energy to experience, which is a fast way to level up. At each 10 levels, (10, 20, 30...) you can go to the next location for collecting. And you can also make a 'Boon' that gives a permanent boost to experience earned. That's it.

There's optionally a bit more to it, like catching the gold spheres (Chronicle fragments). Get 10 of them, and you can turn them in for bonus exp. At level 25, I turned in 10 and got 240 exp. I'm not particularly impressed, but they probably scale up with your levels. With the collected energy, you make Portents, one-shot items that automatically help you when their conditions are met. For instance, the best looking one to me, Portent of Life, is available at level 99. It brings you back to life after you get killed, with 25% of your life points. It has a 1-hour cooldown, and can't be used in pvp zones. I could see that being very useful in fighting a tough boss.

You can also make Signs, which are like creating a skilling hotspot. You can make your own place to mine runite, and share it with others. Transmutation converts lower level stuff into higher level, like changing an uncut ruby into an uncut diamond. While some of these things sound pretty neat, I see them as throw-aways. Since we're not getting the complementary skill yet, and don't know how the two skills will work together, these abilities are thrown in just so we can 'do' something with the skill while we're leveling up. Doesn't matter. I want my Max cape back, and to be ready for the next skill when it comes out. If some of Divination is useful in the meantime, that's okay. But I just want to train.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Runescape 3: Divination coming right after Death of Chivalry quest

At the moment, we're pretty much going day by day and playing the same stuff.  Not complaining about it...  after all, I'm still working to max out Dungeoneering, and trying to get Sacred Metal Fragments from the Battle of Lumbridge.  Haven't been playing a lot, so getting fragments is taking a long time. Got my first weapon override last night- chose the Icyenic Bow.

For that matter, Dugeoneering is taking forever too.  When levelling, I always look to see how far it is to the next.  Last time, it told me 6 and a half million exp to level again.  That's just one level, and it goes up with each new level.  Thank goodness for Sinkholes and Daily Challenges!  For 30 minutes of play-time, I can average 300 - 400 exp.  Just takes patience, and a little time each day.

One of the two promised skills is (promised) to come out this month.  Not to be a pessimist, but last year Jagex promised (or at least heavily implied) we'd get both skills early in the year.  I'm all for making sure it's a good product, but maybe they shouldn't make promises they can't keep.  After seeing the bugs in EOC and RS3, the delay is understandable.  Just wish Jagex would be a bit more cautious in their predictions.

Bearing that in mind, I'm hoping for the best and very excited about the release.  Divination will be the first new skill in something like 3 years.  The only drawback is I'll lose the Max Cape until getting Divination to 99.  Yeah, boo hoo, right?   :^D

Before we get Divination, we've been promised a quest:  The Death of Chivalry.  It's supposed to be a replacement for the "Black Knight's Fortress" quest, and tie into the Runescape novels.  I read the first novel.  Not bad.  About the same entertainment level as a Forgotten Realms novel.  If you enjoy Forgotten Realms, you should enjoy the Runescape novels.

Anyway, the Black Knight's Fortress was released in 2001, so I guess an update is due (assuming all the older quests will eventually get re-worked).  It was a novice-level quest.  Presumably, the replacement quest will be too.  With any luck, the story will be improved and blended with modern Geilinor continuity.

But for now, I'm headed back to Lumbridge.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Runescape 3: Battle of Lumbridge- More than meets the eye

With the New Interface System, I haven't written much about the Battle of Lumbridge.  Modifying and playing with the screen set-up has just been too much fun.  Also, my first impressions of the BoL (Battle of Lumbridge, thank you very much!) weren't very high.

After finally slowing down with the custom screens, it's high time Lumbridge got my attention.  On closer inspection, it's quite enjoyable.  I might actually be sad when the event ends.

Not so much for the rewards, though there are a pretty fair number.  The team token has infinite teleports into whichever god's campground you chose.  It has emotes.  It has combat incentives that can be upgraded based on the Divine Tears you collect.

There's also armour rewards.  You can earn armour based on the god you choose.  It's pretty cool-looking armour.  Hybrid.  Scales up with your combat level (up to level 75).

There's the Sacred Metal Fragments used in creating weapon overrides.  And yes, the weapon overrides are pretty cool looking too.  You can swap sides, and collect stuff from the other side too.  If you're dedicated enough, I guess it's possible to get all the armour and all the weapon overrides for both sides.

Let's not forget Duke Horacio and his efforts to rebuild Lumbridge.  Each week, you give the Duke some advice, he gives you some bonus experience points.

But no... it's not the rewards that appeal to me.  It's the combat.  The entire combat area is amazing.  The NPC's fight and run just like players.  They even trash-talk.  They fight according to all three points of the combat triangle, and use adrenaline/special abilities.  It's a fast-pace, fluid style I haven't seen anywhere else yet.

Maybe it's just me, but I get the impression they scale up according to your combat level.  Some of them seem easy, while others really take a bit out of my life points.  Maybe it's just the combat triangle.  I tend to fight in ranged gear, so maybe I'm just seeing them hit my weaknesses.

It can sometimes be difficult finding enough npc's to fight.  Generally, there's plenty to go around.  The Sacred Metal Fragments seem to drop as 'uncommons'.  Not very often, but enough to let me make progress.

It can be chaotic, and most of the players on your side have a good sense of camaraderie.  There's a sense of standing shoulder to shoulder and protecting your camp.

I really hate pvp.  Nothing against it, if you enjoy it I'm happy for you.  But it's not for me.  This is much more my speed.  I like the teamwork aspect, even while fighting completely for my own purposes.  The other camp is the same.  They attack our NPC's, but we don't fight player-to-player.  Very nice.
Even the NPC's on my side will run up and help me.  Or sometimes I run up and help them.  Sometimes not.  It's totally random chaos, us against them.

Okay, I've praised BoL enough.  People will start thinking this is a paid announcement.  :^)

The only other thing I'll say is, the Battle of Lumbridge is a lot more complex, and enjoyable, than I gave it credit for.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Runescape 3: NIS Still Changing

Can't stop playing with the interface!
Recently I said I'm an incorrigible tinkerer.  It's turning out to be true, as shown by the constant changes to my interface.  The first 'good' design was horizontal.  It worked well until the first Sinkhole.  Practical use pointed out some flaws.  The 3-d game screen was nicely wide, but too short on the vertical.  And the control windows were too stretched out across the screen, making it difficult to quickly access everything.

A more vertical control layout made it much more practical.  Except I never liked the Action Bar location.  It was aesthetically unpleasing, sticking out at the bottom of my nice clean layout.  Even worse, at the extreme bottom right of the screen, it's hard to keep an eye on the ability recharge while fighting.

Tried a number of rearrangements, but wasn't happy with most of them.  Finally got a good one last night.  It MIGHT replace the previous favorite.

I gave up a smidgen of width on the 3-d game screen.  Made the Ability Bar vertical, shortened the minimap a little.  The inventory/equip/prayer/misc window is taller, but narrower.  It actually has more room.  The Tools menu is now vertical, and on the bottom right of the screen.  Hopefully it's out of the  way of accidental clicks.  Lengthened the Chat window to give a nice even vertical line all the way down.  With the added advantage of having a better width on the chat window.

It seems a good compromise.  I've lost a tiny amount of 3-d screen space, but kept everything easy-to-access.  Can keep an eye on combat abilities as they recharge.  And it has a nice clean vertical area for all the control windows to fit into.

It would be nice if I had just a bit more screen real estate.  On the other hand, my current screen resolution works well on the computer.  Maybe this layout will last for a while.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Runescape 3: Keyboard Bind Defaults and My Customizations

    Finally customized my keybinds!
    Have you changed your keybinds since Runescape 3 came out? When the options were minimal under EOC (Evolution of Combat) it was pretty easy.  I shifted all my action bar keys to the root letters under the left hand.  One on the mouse, the other dealing with combat abilities, skills, and whatnot.  It's more convenient when you don't have to move your hands, or look away from the screen in the middle of combat.

    When RS3 released, we had a plethora (love that word!) of choices.  So many things can be customized now.  With the keyboard commands, it's almost overwhelming.  I wanted to use my standard familiar action bar arrangement, but that uses keys pre-assigned for other functions.  Then you have to figure out what keys to assign THOSE functions.  It gets a bit complex trying to make them all functional.

    I checked online to see what others recommend.  Hmmm... nobody's even mentioned custom keybinds.  Not regarding the full spectrum of keybinds for RS3.

    So what the heck.  Since nobody else has, if you want to see the new RS3 default keybind layout, here it is.  You'll see the action name in the left column, the default action next, and last column is my personal keybind customizations.  I might change them after some experimentation, for now, this is what I use.

    Note - Since writing this, I've found some windows (mainly the abilities) are too easy to open by accident.  I kept opening the melee ability window every time when entering Sinkholes, for instance.  In those cases, I've just removed the key command option.  I don't call them up by keyboard anyway.


    Action Bar
    Action Bar Slot 1
    Action Bar Slot 2
    Action Bar Slot 3
    Action Bar Slot 4
    Action Bar Slot 5
    Action Bar Slot 6
    Action Bar Slot 7
    Action Bar Slot 8
    Action Bar Slot 9
    Action Bar Slot 10
    Action Bar Slot 11
    Action Bar Slot 12

    Previous Action Bar        
    Shift + Q

    Next Action Bar        
    Shift + E
    Action Bar 1        
    Shift + 1        
    Action Bar 2        
    Shift + 2        
    Action Bar 3        
    Shift + 3        
    Action Bar 4        
    Shift + 4        
    Action Bar 5        
    Shift + 5        

    Sheathe/Unsheathe Weapon

    Quick Inventory Slot 1

    Quick Inventory Slot 2

    Quick Heal        

    Quick Prayer        

    Familiar Action


    Windows and Navigation (Can't be customized)
    Settings Menu        

    Lock Interface Customization        

    Toggle Run        

    Open World Map        

    Open Home Teleport        
    Shift + t
    Shift + h
    Active Task        

    Shift  + b
    Worn Equipment        
    Shift + e
    Prayer Abilities        
    Magic Abilities        

    Melee Abilities        

    Ranged Abilities

    Defence Abilities        


    Music Player



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