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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Runescape: HTML5 Beta - Slow, but Lots of potential

View from Karamja
Last week Runescape opened the HTML5 Beta to limited access.  It was almost more of a pre-beta, it's that early.  The idea was to have a finite number of players with a spectrum of different computer capabilities test things out.

I've been really looking forward to it.  Monique and I signed up for the gold membership when it became available.  We've played for more than 8 years, and still enjoy it.  Signing up for a year in advance to receive a number of bonuses and a better price just made sense for us.  One of those benefits includes early beta access to all gold members.

When the beta opened, I tried and tried to log in.  But the Jagex Account Guardian (JAG) wouldn't let me in.  It required me to re-register my computer for the Beta, and said I should receive an email with a link to authorize the hardware.

Nope.  JAG never sent me an email.  Or, more accurately, I never received an email from JAG.  My first thought was server overload.  So I waited.  Tried again later that night, and several times over the next couple of days, but no luck.

Tried to research a solution, but couldn't find anything that helped.  Finally, Friday night I opened a help ticket with Jagex.  They responded quickly, and over multiple emails, as we tried to find out why I received no email.

What it finally boiled down to, was my 'custom' email address.  The mod helping me acknowledged that sometimes a specialty email address will give JAG hiccups.  So we switched my primary email contact over to my gmail account.

I'm not thrilled about using that, I rarely check my gmail.  But it worked.  Got my computer authorized for the html5 beta, and finally, Saturday morning, got to see it.

First impression... very slow.  That's fine, they warned us it's not optimized, and could be very buggy.  It was kind of funny watching the screen draw things in slow motion.  Once it had drawn things the first time, the screen-draw went much faster.  I could run around, swivel my viewpoint, and play in general just fine with only minimal slowdowns.  But the first time at any location always had a slow initial draw.

Also worth noting, upon log-in all the visual stats were set to minimum.  It's not that impressive at first glance.  First you have to reset the graphics.  Especially the draw distance.  After that, the visual improvement was much greater.  I loved it.

I could stand at the top of the Wizard's Tower, and look down at the countryside.  Port Sarim was visible to my left, and at the same time, Draynor Village was in clear sight to the right.

There are a number of places I'd like to visit and see how they look.  The fort in Burthorpe (where the cannons ring the top of the battlements).  The Grand Tree.

I did try to climb the walls in Yanille, but the doors wouldn't open.

So far, I'm pleased.  Especially with the further distances.
Love this one- Top of the Wizard's Tower.  That's Lumbridge Castle you see in the distance!
Monique pointed out that it's not a 'live' view.  When looking down on Draynor, there were no characters visible from a height.  No players, no NPC characters, no  monsters.  All you're seeing is 'geography'.

The most visible difference of course was the distance view.  But I was very pleased with the depth of the graphics, even close up.  The colors are richer, and graphics much more eye-catching.

It would be nice if we had fuller zoom control.  The ability to zoom in tighter, and out to a larger distance, would be very nice now that we have such a better screen view. They seem to be playing with that in the new alpha interface.  (Yeah, I've had a peek at it.  Will post some pics next time around.)

I also noticed all the items in my inventory, and in the bank, had a very thick black outline.  It was a bit disconcerting.  They'll probably change that as the overall project improves.

The potential is grand.  I'm really looking forward to what Runescape is becoming.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Runescape: Full Superior Tetsu finally!

Finally got a full set of Superior Tetsu Armor!  Accidentally made my first piece 'tradeable', been saving up the plate metal ever since.  Finally got enough this morning to make the helmet.  Not doing so well on the others.  Superior Seasinger  needs a helm to complete the set.  Still saving up to make the Superior Death Lotus Chestplate.  Since it takes the most Lacquer (100 pieces), I want to do it first, then the legs, then the helm.  From hardest to easiest.  Finally starting to collect Scrimshaw Scrolls now.

Castle Wars got it's update this week.  I can't say I'm thrilled, it's not one of my favorite minigames.  But from what I've seen, it's pretty impressive looking.  There are rumblings in the forums, though.  Lots of complaints that some clans are sending saboteurs into the opposing side, so as to guarantee a win.  Sounds like pretty poor sportsmanship, hopefully Jagex will find a way to prevent deliberate sabotage.
Of more import for me is the behind the scenes video (#48) giving more detail on Runescape 3 with the new HTML5 engine.  Very excited to see it coming.  Makes me glad Monique and I went for the Premium Gold membership.  :^)

Aside from that, my daily Runescape play is pretty routine right now.  After getting the Max cape (my last big goal), it's been pretty peaceful.  Working on Player Owned Ports, and trying to get 120 Dungeoneering. (105 currently, got a LOOONG way to go!)

The daily routine is pretty much in a holding pattern.  Check POP before going to work, collect Morchella mushrooms and cactus spines.  After work, do the same.  Later in the evening (the daily update happens around 8:00 pm our time) it gets more fun.  Check the POP updates, look for missions that offer trade goods or scrolls.  Do a Sinkhole, run some Dungeons in Daemonheim, collect Red Sandstone, use the Wicked Hood to make Blood Runes, get the daily battle staves.  Kill a few minutes until the next Sinkhole.  After that, I'm either done for the night, or I might check out the Grottworm lair, or kill some dragons.  Nothing that takes too much time.  Just quick and easy stuff for a bit of light fun.

Sometimes Monique and I will kill the hourly demons together, and we run penguins once a week.  Visit Juna.  All that kind of stuff.

There are still plenty of things to do, but that's my 'holding pattern'.  Daily things to do that don't require a lot of time.  What's your holding pattern?  What kind of things do you like to do when you're not seriously working toward a goal?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Runescape: Dungeoneering Off-Hand Updates, Sinkholes, and Toggleable Deposit All

Just like the real world, Runescape is always changing.  Change isn't always popular, but it's a necessity.  In the case of Jagex, they're always working to bring new and fresh content, and tweaking old content.

One recent change was minor, but I welcomed it.  The "Deposit All" option being at the top of the item deposit menu.  It made sense.  Took a small amount of getting used to, but it was so convenient for dumping stackable drops picked up from pvm combat.

So I'm a little sad to read today's updates, and see they've reverted to the old menu order.  Darn.  Apparently most people hated it, and were pretty vocal.  I'm going to miss it, but I'm not going to pick up my toys and go home...  :^)

There was a small sliver of hope- the update notes said they're looking into making the option toggleable.  (Is that even a real word?)  It probably won't happen any time soon, but at least there's some chance of it coming back.

The big news today of course is the Dungeoneering updates.  We'll finally have dual wielding down in Daemonheim.  I'm writing this in anticipation, so I can see later how my expectations matched up (or didn't) with the actual update.  I'm excited to see what all has changed, but it's probably going to take a while to see the entirety of the changes.

I'm particularly hoping that cross-discipline styles will work.  Sounds pretty cool to have a sword and spell mixture.  I enjoy dungeoneering already, this should really spice it up some.

(EDIT:  I wrote that yesterday, and have played with it a bit since then.  
First Impression:  A fun option to have, but isn't really going to change my play style.  Some folks on the forum pointed out the practical side; a 2-handed weapon deals as much damage as a main-hand/off-hand combination, but only uses one bind.  It's like giving up one of your binds.
So I won't be switching up my fighting style on a permanent basis.  Not just yet, at least.  I still like having the extra options, though.  )

The charming imp doesn't really catch my fancy.  It might have been nice if they'd offered it when I was trying to level up Summoning.  Maybe Monique will give him a try.  For me, that 100,000 Dungeoneering token cost would be better spent elsewhere.

Are you enjoying the Dungeoneering Sinkholes?  When it first came out, I really didn't see the appeal.  But now that I've tried it a bit, it's a lot of fun.  And that's surprising, considering I don't normally enjoy team (or multi-player) minigames.  The nice thing is that, no matter what you get, how well or poorly you do, even the worst prizes are well worth the few minutes it takes to play.

Admitted, the Token prize is a little underwhelming.  But it's not horrible.  At 104 Dungeoneering, the small lamp gives more than 40k experience.  That's completely fine with me.  To be honest, if I get a Consistent Yak card, I always use it.  My ranking in a game is usually between # 3 and # 5.  The odds of someone taking away a better lamp is pretty high.  Getting a medium lamp for sure seems a lot better than the risk of losing a better lamp for a lesser prize.
Monique has actually learned what all the cards do, and plays strategically.  Based on rank and prize, and available cards, she can make some very clever predictions of which cards will give the best end results.  I'm not that sharp.  My main strategy is to try and get a Yak.

Whatever works, right?