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Monday, March 25, 2013

Runescape: POP Logbook Update... Finally!

Today Wilderness Warbands came out.  To be honest, I'm just not interested.  I don't like pvp, do not enjoy going into the wilderness, and don't need any of the skill exp offered by it.   For now, not going to try it.  If I change my mind, I'll let you know.  But the actual thing that caught my eye was some of the items in the "In Other News" at the bottom of the update page.

Of minor interest, the increased chance of winning Slayer Masks and boosted exp Slayer Lamps (from Squeal of Fortune) will now last until Thursday, 03/28/13, just before midnight.  This gives a 3-day extension beyond the original schedule.  Having won a couple of the masks, they're a fun distraction from the usual stuff.  Sort of cosmetic, and sort of functional, looking cool and with a neat emote when upgraded.

Higher-end capes had their armor values 'corrected'.  I was thrilled, until reading the rest of the sentence, stating they've LOWERED the value of the capes.  Darn it.  I thought they meant the Fire Cape was actually worth using again.  Too bad.

For Barrowers, Akrisae became much tougher after EOC.  Now we can use the Smash ability to briefly turn his protection prayers off.  I haven't tried it yet, but that should balance him out much better.

Here's a good one:  The "Tribute to Guthix" event was extended an extra week.  Yay!  I love catching those butterflies... they give me 2,244 experience in my lowest skill every time I catch one, up to 20 butterflies per day!
(Since my only unfinished skill is Dungeoneering, that means an easy 40k DG exp per day for catching a few butterflies while going about my business.)

All of that is nice.  But that's STILL not why I'm writing today.

 POP.  Player Owned Ports.
That's the reason.  If you're an avid POP player, there's reason to rejoice today.  Firstly, the totems have been reworked to be consistent, and to offer more benefits.  Now THAT ought to be useful.  I can't stress enough how useless the original 1% better odds was.  It's about time Totems actually earned their expense. Now, if you have all 4 totems the same thing, you'll get a 10% boost to your odds.  That's decent.

Second, and the main thing, is the logbook.  A simple thing, really.  If you don't play POP, you won't understand how big this really is.  The logbook will now tell you (pay attention, this is important!) WHEN YOUR SHIPS ARE DUE BACK!!!
Seriously.  This took a long long time.  Many POP owners are in the final stages of their endgame.  Even so, this is an excellent improvement.  Finally, we don't have to teleport to the port to find out when our ships are coming back.  No idea why they didn't do this long ago, but that's okay.  I'm glad it's here now.  Now I just check my logbook, wherever I am, and it tells me how long until each ship is due back at port.  That's really cool.

Next update, it needs to show us what the mission reward is.  In the logbook, at a glance.  Just something brief, like "700 stainless steel", or "Scroll Mission", or "5 Plate".

I know... players are never happy for very long, are we?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Runescape: Mask of the Abyss, Helm of Warping

Jagex added the Mask of the Abyss (along with a number of other slayer-related masks) to the Squeal of Fortune this weekend.  I've been busy with Dungeoneering, POP, and the usual Runescape daily junk but when the Squeal of Fortune gave me one, I took a time out.  Monique and I both got two different masks this weekend (three total- Abyssals, Crawling Hands, and Basilisks.)
Looks kind of like a face-hugger
The only one that caught my fancy was the Mask of the Abyss.  We've played Runescape long enough to remember the Abyssal Whip as the best weapon in the game.  I can still remember buying my first one.  Getting high enough slayer to kill my own Abyssals was a high point in my RS history.

Even though the value of whips has tanked, and many weapons outpower it now, those are some fond memories.  Made the mask worth investigating.
Doing the Abyssal Dance
Turns out, it takes 900 Abyssal demon kills to upgrade from "Mask of the Abyss" to the "Helm of Warping".  There's no new benefit to this.  As a matter of fact, the mask starts out with some bonuses that it loses once upgraded.

The mask will:
Guarantee one Abyssal Demon Slayer assignment per day.
Teleport you to the Abyssals twice per day.
Gives same damage boost as a Slayer Helm, as long as Abyssals are your assignment.
Give 85 extra exp per Abyssal kill.
Double Drops every 10 kills.
Double your chance of getting an Abyssal Demon trophy head drop.
Keeps count of your abyssal kills, even past 900 (up to 999,999)
Check kills, and if less than 900, how many yet to go.
Act as a Face Mask.

The Helm of Warping keeps most of that, but loses the extra experience and the double drops.  It gains the ability to swap looks between the two, but only for cosmetic effect.

But best of all, and something I found almost by accident, was the "Transform" emote.  It lets me turn into an Abyssal Demon, teleport around a bit, then turns me human again.  Much like the crab dancing emote, when it ends, my character is crouched down, and slowly stands up like he's embarrassed. 

It's a pretty cool mask, and I like it... except for the close-up view once it's become the Helm of Warping.  Don't know what they were thinking over at Jagex, but it looks like they stuck a clown nose on it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Runescape: Some Dungeoneering, Some POP

I'm still enjoying the Max Cape.  The stats are good.  I can see why it's considered the second best cape in Runescape.  Still, it would have been nice if it was overall just a smidgen better.  It's only a little bit better than a normal 99 cape.  For the work involved, there should be a slightly better reward.

But that's a minor thing.  It's still better... and you can adjust the colors in a huge range.  So not only is it functional, it looks awesome.

Next up... Completionist Cape... NOT!!!  To be honest, I don't see how people manage it.  First, there's just an intense time requirement.  Like a full-time job.  Second, every time Jagex adds new content, you have to re-earn the cape again.  It's worse than the Quest cape!  And finally, not only is time a gigantic factor, but so is an above-average level of in-game skills.  I may never get the best of the Fight Crucible.  And I can count how many Castle Wars games I've played on the fingers of one hand.

Aside from this recent effort to complete my 99's, Runescape has always been about the fun.  Getting the Completionist Cape doesn't sound fun.  Well, getting it would be fun.  But doing the work to get it and keep it, not so much.
Still enjoying Player Owned Ports.  Really want that Admiral rank, but I'm 22 points away, and the ships are fully upgraded, along with the port buildings.  The only means of advancement left to me is getting scrolls.  This means at 22 points, it'll take a minimum of 8 days... assuming it actually assigns a scroll mission every day and that I succeed at every one.  Not likely.  Just have to be patient.

Working toward Dungeoneering 120.  It's currently at 102, and Monique's is 92.  We both try to do our two Sinkholes daily.  And as long as the Guthixian Butterflies are granting exp, we're grabbing all twenty each day.

I have one other resource that speeds things up.  Since all the other skills are finished, the daily tasks only assign Dungeoneering challenges.  So I do one fast level, and get something like 118,000 bonus exp points.  That means for about 15 minutes of time, the game gives me over 200k DG exp per day.  Even if I don't do anything else, that's decent progress.

Other than that, it's whatever sounds good.  Monique and I are currently enjoying the hourly demon attacks, when they're NOT in the wilderness.  You know how it is... the couple that slays together, stays together!   :^)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Runescape: Farming 99 for the Max Cape

Got that last 99.  Finished Farming just a short while ago.  Needed 620 exp, and a Spirit Tree has just matured.  Kind of overkill, but it was a fun way to finish Farming, and earn the Max Cape.  Kind of going out with a flourish. 
You could say this accomplishment was a long time coming.  Somewhere around 8 years.  Sounds cool, but it's not the entire truth.  Many of the skills seemed boring, and I avoided them except as needed for required levels in quests and achievements.  Then EOC Beta came out, and kind of put combat in an odd limbo.  After all, why bother learning how to beat the Crucible, or the Queen Black Dragon, for instance, when anything I learn will be thrown out the door once EOC arrived?

Without combat to hold my attention, it became easier to work on the other skills.  Years ago, in an interview with Zezima (which I read on Tip-It), he gave some advice that I've always remembered:  Stay focused.  Sounds obvious, but it needs to be remembered.  Every time you stop doing one thing and do another, odds are good you have to change gear.  Figure out what to wear, food to take, teleports, weapons... Or even from one skill to another.  To go from Farming to Mining requires totally different equipment and inventory.  All that is time lost.  Time spent NOT skilling.  I'm not nearly as focused as Zezima was in his day.  But I do pretty good.  Aside from the weekly penguin hunt, and checking out any major new content (like quests), my vision stays on the goal. 

Today, that paid off.  Farming was Monique's first 99.  It's my last 99.  (Until Jagex releases the two new skills they've promised.)  I always said Farming would be my last 99, because it has no appeal to me.  But it's over now.  Next I need to replace the money Farming cost.  It was at 94 when I got serious about training it, and to get from 94 to 99 took about 36 million gold.  That's a sizable chunk of bank.  Other than that, Dungeoneering sounds like a fun thing to work on now.  Need to get from 101 to 120.

Finding the Master Gardener to sell me a cape was easy.  He's in Draynor over by the pig pen.  Finding Max was a bit tougher.  I used to see him making pottery behind the Varrock West bank, so I just hunted in that general area until finding him at the bank.  Tried to talk to him, but he was running(!) to the pottery wheel and wouldn't stop to talk.  When we finally got there, he apologized, but said he couldn't lose time from his skilling. 

Have to respect that attitude.  Then he sold me a Max Cape, for nearly two and a half million gold.  It was worth it.  The emote is pretty cool too!  (Not my vid below, but it shows some good views of the emote.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Runescape: Farming and POP Status Report

Runescape is still bringing new content at a fast and furious rate.  This is great... but it's bad.  Great, for all the obvious reasons.  New stuff, more fun, things to try and do.  Bad, because I'm trying to focus on 2 specific goals, and can't keep up with all the new stuff.  So I'm picking and choosing.  The World Wakes?  That was on the Must-Do list.  It was fun, emotional, and rewarding.  One of the greatest quests Jagex ever created.  The new Desert Achievement Challenges?   Did everything but the Elite levels- my Dominion Tower needs a lot of work.  Goodbye Taskmaster emote.  :^(

One of my favorite recent (sort of) additions is POP - Player Owned Ports.  Fun all on it's own, plus offers some great rewards.  I'm maybe three weeks behind the top players.  Not quite to Admiral yet, but close.  Can make full Tetsu armor, and even managed to sell a helmet when it was still 25 million.  Can nearly make full Sea Singers Robes, and next will start getting scrolls for Death Lotus armor.  Got Rocktail Soup done, but none of the Scrimshaws yet.

I have a feeling my scrolls are relatively behind the curve, but that's okay.  It's been fun to play, and that's why I've done it.  That, and because of the cool armor!  Been in the Pincers for a while now, and have my end-game crew.  For the curious, my crew is:  5 Morale, Combat, and Seafaring specialists, 3 Judge of Dice, 3 Jade Merchants, and 4 Ox. I'd rather have an extra Ox than another merchant.  My crew isn't always good enough to send a Merchant along.

My captains are all 10k, but 3 are combat, and 2 are seafaring.  Still waiting for morale captains.  Eventually they should be 2 seafaring, 2 morale, and 1 combat.  Ship upgrades are maxed.  I've had 2 lifeboats, but somehow I'm down to one now.  Jagex keeps changing the rules.  Working on the last port building upgrades at the moment.

POP has a lot of staying power.  When Jagex promised it would be content for high-level players, they really brought it to the table.  Been out three months (Since 11 December 2012), and I'm still enjoying it.  Still have a lot left to do, but working toward the endgame.  After that, it'll just be maintenance runs each day to get resources.  And to build supplies against the day Runescape updates POP with new content.  :^)

The other thing keeping me busy:  getting the Max Cape.  The Completionists Cape isn't even a possibility (where DO people find the time?), but the Max Cape... I can do that.  Very close, actually.  Just got 98 Farming last night, and when it gets to 99, that will be the final 99. (Dungeoneering still needs leveling, but it's higher than 99.)

Once the Max Cape is done, it's back to playing for fun.  Future goals might include finishing the Desert Achievement Diaries Elite tasks.  Or doing the Fight Crucible and Fight Kiln.  Maybe even re-visiting Jad, though with the Fire Cape nerfed, it hardly feels worth it any more.

Oh, and finishing Dungeoneering.  It's currently 101, there's still 19 levels left to get.  Then there's the 2 new skills Jagex promised for 2013.  We're already into mid-March, that's a quarter of the year gone.  That's exciting, but I can't help thinking about my hi-score status.  Every time a new skill comes out, my hi-score drops until I can level back up.  Plus I'll lose the Max Cape until both of those are leveled again.  Let's hope these will be fun (and useful) skills.

But that's all fine.  The big thing right now, is POP and Max Cape.  Once I get those, I'm just going to enjoy the game. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Runescape: The World Wakes Quest

Finally did "World Wakes".  Got off to a slow start, we just couldn't fit it into our schedule until Saturday.  So Saturday morning, we're up fairly early, got the house to ourselves, and it's questing time.

Wow.  I loved this quest.  Before getting into the details, let me give a sweeping overview...  The story was fabulous- we actually cared what happened to the people in the story.  The combat was just right.  Hard enough to get my attention, but not 'Nomad-level' tough.  The puzzle was well-done. Attractive, it made sense, and didn't take forever.  The rewards... were awesome, though I wish we'd been allowed more freedom with the experience lamps.

If you want a walk-through, Wiki has one, Rune HQ has one, and DrBloodSpillRPG posted the excellent youtube video guide above.  I highly recommend the video.

The World Wakes has been hyped by Jagex for a while now.  World-shaking import, major choices to make that will affect Runescape forever after.  Grandmaster level quest.

Let's clear up the Grandmaster thing first.  It wasn't grandmaster in terms of difficulty.  For a non-combat newb like me, it was hard enough.  I even got killed a few times (More on that shortly).  I think the Grandmaster part comes from the massive importance of the storyline.  It's safe to say, this changes deap-seated assumptions about Geilinor that have been 'in stone' for years.  The big gods have always been more legendary than participatory.  Some of the lesser gods, and the wanna-be gods have had active roles in quests and stories.  But not the big guys.

That changes now.
(SPOILER ALERT- continue reading at your own risk!)

In The World Wakes, we meet, and converse with, Guthix, and Saradomin.  Face to face.  We have to choose which god to support, or none, but it's an active choice, that will make direct enemies from whichever gods on the wrong side of the fence.  From the first, there's hints of something big.  Orlando Smith discovers Guthix' legendary resting place, but can't get in.  You step up to the doors, and manage to shrug them open all by yourself.  Holy narrative foreshadowing, Batman!

After exploring a bit, we get attacked by automated guardians.  They kill Orlando, and are the first fight of the quest.  If you're good at combat, they won't be a serious threat, but you'd better be paying attention, because they hit fast, hard, and using the whole combat triangle.  After the fight is over, Sliske shows up, pretending to be Guthix.  When you prove too savvy to fall for that, he goes all 'hey good buddy' on you.  But his main point is, bad guys are coming to kill Guthix.  On the other hand, Guthix's own followers are determined to protect him and not wake him up.
On the third hand, Sliske and his bunch want to awaken Guthix, and see if they can negotiate a peace treaty.  Sliske suggests faking out the Guthixians.  If you pretend to be on their side, you'll get to Guthix faster and easier.
I told him "I know what my choice will be."  Let old Sliske assume whatever he wants.  None of them are playing straight with me, I owe him nothing.  Heck, he tried to make me into a Barrows brother!  Though he's still kind of likeable.

You learn a lot in this conversation.  Plenty of cutscenes, too.  Apparently all the gods were fighting over this world, and on the fast track to total destruction.  Guthix, the most powerful of all the gods, marked Geilinor off-limits to the gods, then took a long nap.  Now that you've opened up the shrine, Guthix might be vulnerable and the gods want to kill him.  Several god factions are on their way, and it looks like you might be the only being able to slow them down.  Unless you decide to help them.

When they arrive, some of them move forward, but Kree'arra stays to 'deal with the human'.  I liked him.  He gave me several chances to get the heck out of Dodge.  When I wouldn't go, he regretfully decided to kill me.
It was a tough fight.  Not so much Kree'arra, but the stupid whirlwinds that fly all over the floor.  They killed me 3 times before I even realized they were touching me.  Once I started trying to dodge them, it seemed several times like they would 'lock' onto me, and chase me.  What a pain.  I tried magic combat first, but finally succeeded with melee.  If you haven't done the fight yet, watch out for the tornadoes.

Since the opponents in this quest are all bosses we can fight elsewhere in the game, we don't actually get to kill them.  When defeated, they acknowledge defeat and leave.  Classy.

More cutscenes, more story, then the puzzle.  It's kind of like Marble Madness meets Pipe Mania.  You have to lay out the path for the marbles to roll across, then make sure it gets across safely.  There are 4 different marbles, so 4 different paths to make.  Once the puzzle is clear, it's time to troop off with Guthix's A-team.

Fiara, Valluta and Cres were new to me.  (Fiara is apparently related to the Fist of Guthix minigame.)  Death is an old friend and sidekick.  He's also featured in several holiday content updates.  Juna runs the Tears of Guthix minigame, so we're old friends.  Cres sort of administers the 'Guardian test', which is a series of questions.  You must answer so as to keep Good, Evil, Order, and Chaos all in balance.  Once confirmed as a Guardian, you take command of the defense and assign teams to protect different approaches.  In addition to the other guardians, Chaeldar the slayer master, and Thaerisk the druid leader follow your leadership.

Each guardian must be assigned an entry to protect.  If you assign each defender correctly according to their strenghts, you all get a boost during combat.  Otherwise it's a much harder fight.  Something I didn't know at the time, if any of them die during the upcoming fight, they stay dead in the game.  Any guardians killed in combat will be permanently replaced by new characters outside the quest.

Thank goodness, they make a bank right there, so you can re-stock between fights if need be.  They also provide 3 cauldrons with stat boosts.  Be sure to drink from all three.

Once everybody is assigned, and you're ready to fight, the first battle is with General Graardor.  He has several special attacks, but the only one that seemed hard was when all the ceiling debris was falling.  I was running like crazy for a long while just to avoid the never-ending rockfalls.  Zemouregal was easy enough.  The only trick to him is that you have to destroy two blue portals before you can hurt him.  Later he makes 4 more, and you have to destroy them again before finishing him.
K'ril Tsutsaroth took a while, but really wasn't that hard to beat.  Enakhra is a long fight, because she heals off of your own hit points.  The amount is determined by how high your hit points are, so I just let my points stay very low.  It was a long fight, but just a matter of time, really.

After winning all four combats, you find Juna under attack.  She must be protected from a number of lower-leveled fighters.  Many of them died with just one hit, so it wasn't too hard to do.

The real decision point comes just after Zilyana kills Cres.  At this point, everybody realizes it's all on you, and you must make a choice of which side to support.  Betray your Guthix friends and side with the Zarosians or the 'Kill-Guthix' crowd, or stand steady at Guthix's side.
This was a tough decision, because several websites mention the easiest choice being Zarosians.  I was torn between the easy choice, or the emotional choice.  Finally decided I had to stay with my friends.  Juna gives me free experience ever week.  Death has been sort of like an old drinking buddy for years now.  And Chaeldar?  She helped me master the Slayer skill... how could I forget that?

So I stayed Guthixian.  Unfortunately, Sliske had secret plans of his own.  Just as I got through the caverns, Sliske showed up with an elder god weapon, and blew a hole in Guthix.  With his dying moments, Guthix told me his own story, and bequeathed some of his power on me.  Now I can stand up to the gods, which became apparent when Saradomin showed up and tried to take over.

The World Wakes was a wild roller coaster ride, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  The rewards were pretty hefty.  Aside from being centrally positioned in the story of Geilinor and the home defense leadership for the upcoming new Godwars...there are lots of experience lamps, new combat abilities, a cool new ring that's almost as good as the Onyx Ring(i).

Plus more conversation with some of the quests major players, access to a new slayer monster (Automatons), and new drops from these monsters for very high-level gloves and a pet, the Cres-bot.

World Wakes is one of my top favorite quests ever, and I look forward with excitement to learning how this changes... everything!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Runescape: Hunting Done, Next up Farming

Over the weekend, I finally finished Hunting.  Got the 99, about a week after Monique had already done so.  Now we're both done with Hunting.  As I was beginning to write this, she just hit 92 Agility, so I guess that's her next big goal.  She's also been scoring big in the new Dungeoneering D & D, Sinkholes.  She was going to town a few nights ago on the Demon Invasion boss.  With her Vine Whip and brand new off-hand Chaotic Longsword.  Looking pretty cool with the new moves.

Not so much fun for me.  My last 99 to get is Farming, which was Monique's first 99.  I'm currently at 94, and hate Farming...  :^(

Okay, so 'hate' is too strong a word.  But it's super-boring, and the only reason it's on my to-do list is to get the Max Cape.  5 more levels.  Farming is complex, and time-consuming, and based on the passage of real-world time.  You can't just run around and... do... Farming.  You have to wait for things to grow.  Yes, there's Livid Farm.  And in between crop runs and POP management, that's what I'm doing.  But it's not very fast experience, and not very exciting.

Then there's the daily challenges.  It gives me Farming challenges every day (since that's my last 99 to get, and I turned off all the others), which sounds cool.  Until you do them.  What the heck is up with that?  All the other skills grant lots of exp.  The last few gave me from 20k (mining) to 43k (hunting jadinkos) for accomplishing the challenge.  And well over 100k for doing a Dungeoneering challenge.  So what do you get for a Farming challenge?  About 4k experience!  Seriously, Jagex?  4k?  Admitted, it's a simple challenge.  But you'd think they'd build a better challenge that allowed for better rewards.

There are a few things that help.  First, the Jack of Trades Aura.  That thing is massively cool.  In about a minute every evening, it earns me an exp lamp.  The lamp (at my farming level) gives me around 9k exp.  Fast, free, easy exp.  Every day.  I'll take it.

Secondly, the Squeal of Fortune pendants and lamps.  Not so much the lamps, don't see too many of those.  But the Prismatic Pendants come along now and then, and I've been saving them for Farming.  Used a few already, and the recharges you can get for them.  Still have 3 or 4 left.

Third, Juna.  With the recent rework, Juna is very worthwhile to visit once a week.  Just a few minutes ago, she gave me 51k exp in Farming.  Of course, the weekly Penguin hunt and the monthly Troll battle all go toward Farming as well.  How do you think I got to 94?  Well, okay, I worked for it off and on over the last 8 years.  When a new quest would require higher farming, I'd frantically work to raise my levels.  But still, all those bonuses are very nice.

Some Runescape skills are incredibly boring.  Agility comes to mind.  But Farming has got to be the worst of the bunch.  With only 5 (!) levels to go, I'm going to go full bore at it.  No Runescape unless it improves farming.  Man, I hope this doesn't take too long!!