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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.

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