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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Runescape: The God Emissaries Are Here

Today saw the God Emissaries released into the world of Geilinor.  Runescape will never be the same.  Guthix is gone, the edicts are broken, and the gods have returned.

I've been looking forward to this update.  So many updates are for a specific group of players.  Skillers.  Combat.  High-levels.  Beginners.  Mid-levels.  That's all fine, and all of us need updates for our special favorite way to play.  But the God Emissaries are an update for all of us.

You can pick which Runescape god to follow.  Or even none, if you think they ought to keep their business off our world.  This looks fun.  Eight different representatives, all pleading their case.  Hoping you'll follow their chosen god.  Or in the case of the godless, hoping you'll join them in shooing the gods away from Runescape.

After The World Wakes, I was pretty unimpressed with most of the gods. Guthix had it right when he booted them ALL out and locked the door.

Zaros is the god of fate and control.  I could almost pick him, except that his teachings tend to bring out the nutcases and fruitcakes.  It seems like the worst villains always align with Zaros.

Zamorak is the god of chaos, and I have much the same issues with him as I do with Zaros.  He's not specifically evil, but much evil is done in his name.

Sliske is like Thor's half-brother Loki.  He's the trickster of gods.  As a matter of fact, nobody, not even the gods, seems very sure whether Sliske IS a god.  As far as Runescape gods are defined, my opinion is that they are very powerful other-dimensional beings.  They just SEEM godlike to the ordinary peoples and creatures of Geilinor.
Seren is the goddess of the elves, and one of the few that I completely like.  She seems to represent the best of the gods.  I could choose her.
Then there's Saradomin.  I used to think he was the best of the 3 big guns.  Turns out, he's not so nice.  Historically, he's one of the most destructive gods.  During "The World Wakes", I learned his idea of "good" isn't necessarily what's best for the world.  Rather, Saradomin will make the world fit his concept of good, no matter who it hurts.  Or how badly.  He's no longer my favorite.

Bandos?  Not my cup of tea.  Big High War God to the Goblin race.  Other people know him as "That big rude jerk that goes on killing sprees."  He values power over intelligence, and prefers followers that can fight, preferably without actually thinking for themselves.  I wouldn't follow him if I was in a volcano and he was showing the way out.

Armadyl is interesting.  Having met him during "World Wakes" I liked him.  He seemed to be an honorable being, and not prone to brainless killing.  Also not a control freak.  However, his Wiki page states that he and Saradomin are very much alike.  The main difference is one of degree.  I had thought he might be worth following.  After learning how much alike Armadyl and Saradomin are, I think not.
The Godless might be the crew for me.  Their goal is to keep Geilinor free of all the petty gods and their squabbles.  They want to protect our world, and the innocent.  They share much with Guthix, and many of Guthix' followers have joined the Godless.  It doesn't mean they're exactly the same, but that they share similar goals.

After looking over all the options, I'm most tempted to go with Seren or the Godless.  I know we can change our alliance at any time with no prejudice.  But I hate the idea of shuffling loyalties just for convenience.  After all, what's the point of having a wishy-washy follower?  Take a stand.  Be strong.

All of them offer tasks and rewards.  The same tasks, actually.  Even if you shift who you support, you'll just continue with the same tasks, and at the same level of progress.  The rewards offer a variety of experience points.  Nothing spectacular, but still useful if you're leveling up.

Overall the update is very positive.  Story-driven, and of interest to any level player.  Even if you're too high to benefit from the rewards, it's still nice to have something different to do.  And the choices I make can help shape Geilinor... and Runescape... for years to come.  Maybe centuries.

I like that.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Runescape: Still in the Sinkholes

Still not spending a lot of time just playing Runescape.  But I do my money run, POP missions, and some dungeoneering each day.  Thank goodness for Sinkholes- it only takes a few minutes and the reward is significant. 

That said, the Sinkholes do reinforce why I don't like to play team games.  I wrote recently about someone accusing me of not "losing with honor" at the end of a Sinkhole when I used a card to my advantage.  Not everybody agreed with her, but it came as a surprise to me that she felt that way.  All of the rewards are useful, and none of them are 'losing'.  But what really surprised me was just the attitude.  We play the entire game for the best advantage we can negotiate.  If someone swaps my huge lamp for a small lamp, well, that's part of the game.  And I STILL have the small lamp.  Or tokens.  That said, I'm going to play for the best advantage I possibly can.

Last night, it happened again.  I finished as player number three.  Player 5 had a small lamp, and played Meerkats so he had a small and a medium lamp.  Player 4 went, and took player 5's lamps.  Player 5 didn't complain... it's just how the game is played.  Then I went, and took player 4's lamps that he had just taken from player 5.  Even though he had just stolen them from player 5, player 4 thought that was unfair and called me a jerk. 

The next two players liked what they had, so the game ended with me getting the lamps I'd taken.  Just an ordinary game, you win some and lose some.  But why the attitude?  If one person takes another's reward, and then someone else takes it from that person...  Pot?  Kettle?  C'mon, lighten up!

Runescape: Finally Finished the Doggone Death Lotus Hood!

Making some Tetsu Armour
I knew it would happen eventually.  But wow... it took well over half a year to finish all three sets of Superior Armor.

When Player Owned Ports first started in early December 2012, Runescape promised us high-level content.  It was quickly apparent Jagex delivered on their promise.  POP is one of my favorite parts of Runescape.  Upon release, I started sending ships out as fast and often as possible.  Not being the best strategist, many people progressed faster.  But being persistent and consistent, I still made good progress.  Got "Admiral" maybe three or four weeks after the leaders of the pack first hit that level.  Definitely not the fastest or best player out there.

That's okay.  It was fun getting there.  Over time, the supply levels went up, the port got upgraded, and the Trade Goods piled up.  The missions grew more difficult, and the rewards better.  Finished the Superior Tetsu Armor set first, followed by Sea Singer's Robes.  Made the Death Lotus Chestplate and Chaps in reasonable time.

... But that Hood...  Nearly two months ago, I needed 11 pieces of Lacquer.  Thought, "No problem, might take two weeks at the outside."

Got 'em all!
Have you ever really really guessed wrong on something?  Well, it took up until today to get the last 5 pieces -- two months.  Went home for lunch, logged in to Runescape, and collected the final pieces of Lacquer.  I'll admit to having some nerves while logging in.  Sent the mission out with 96% chance of success, but if there's any point in time when  4% chance of failure would bite me... this would be the time.

Lucky for me, it came back successful.  Couldn't wait to make that last piece of Death Lotus Armour!   After all that time and effort, it's nice to have it all.  Now I'm helping Monique work on hers.  With luck, in another 6 months, she'll be parading around in her own set of Superior Armour.   :^)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Runescape: Harvest Heaven Farming Update

Monique checking her Fly Traps
I kind of skipped over The Nexus, Runescape's recent low-level prayer activity.  Sooner or later Monique and I will go collect the 37k exp it promises.  No rush.

Yesterday though, Runescape finally released the high level farming update, "Harvest Heaven".  10 new plants, some new produce, some skill training,  and bringing into use some of the lesser-used farming plots.

Starting at level 76 and going up to 96, the new seeds offer a variety of benefits.  Monique has always loved farming.  Farming was her first skill cape, and for a long time she impressed people with her untrimmed Farming Cape.  Eventually she began collecting other 99s, but that 99 Farming was her point of pride.

So it was no surprise to come home from work and find she had been avidly farming the new seeds.  She didn't bother much with the produce-bearing plants.  I can understand why.  Snape grass and Potato Cactus are old news.  It's kind of nice to finally be able to grow them, but I'm going to wait and watch the market before jumping in.  Same with Reed Beds and Butterfly Flowers.  The benefits sound nice if you need them, but we don't need the actual produce they make.

As far as making a profit, it seems prudent to wait and see how the market reacts to the update before jumping in with both feet.  The grapevines are much the same.  I'm not going to jump into it unless it becomes a steady money-making activity.

In the other category, skill crossovers offer thieving experience for Fly Traps, Agility exp for Barberry bushes, and Strength/Defence for Sunchokes and Prickly Pears.  This sounds great until you try it.  As a high-level player, Monique found the skilling rewards to be significantly underpowered.  They just weren't worth her time and effort.

Not being such an avid farmer, the only seed I grew was the Wishing Well seed.  This bush, when grown, requires a cash deposit to harvest.  The amount is based on your total level.  It charged me well over half a million gold to harvest, and in return gave me back a bunch of stuff with a total value of... 300k gold.  Plus, it's just a one-shot.  You plant it, you harvest it, you grow another plant.  Sorry if you were hoping otherwise, but the Wishing Well bush is destroyed when you harvest it.
So, I lost money.  Monique planted two of them, lost money on one and broke even on the other.  Given that we bought those seeds for 70k each, it was a losing proposition.  In my opinion, these might be worth planting if I happen to obtain one, but it's not worth buying in hopes of a profit.

If you're a high level farmer looking to train to 99, some of these new plants might be of interest.  The farming update isn't so much a game-changer as it is a game-enhancer.  Having new and interesting ways to train can bring back some fun to the training grind.  Monique is still experimenting with the seeds, and if she tells me some are profitable, I'll follow her lead. 

Other than that, I'll just keep playing like I usually do, and leave the farming to her.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Runescape: Honor in the Sinkhole

Tokens this time- I like Lamps better, but Tokens are fine.
Normally, I solo on Runescape; no team games.  My only companion is my wife, Monique.  So the issue of playing... or losing 'with honor' hasn't really come up that much.  Sinkholes are an exception to the rule, because Dungeoneering is my final skill to level.  (At least, until Divination comes out later this year!)

Typically, you youngsters have an advantage over me.  You're faster, you play better, and you must have 4 hands, because you can play and type all at the same time!  I can type pretty fast, but if I'm typing, I'm not playing.  And vice versa.

This is very noticeable in the Sinkholes.  I'm used to finishing as player 4 or 5 out of the five of us playing.  That's okay.  It's only a game, and for a very short mini-game the reward is always good, even if it's just tokens.

That doesn't mean I don't play for the best advantage I can.  Which is what prompted today's post.  I had come in at number 5.  Vulnerable to pretty much anybody with the right card.  I had no Yak, no Iron Titan, yet my chest had a large lamp.

Player number four had tokens, so it's very likely he was going to take my lamp if he could.  The best card I could play was a Beguiling Smoke Devil, and hope it would stir things in my favor.  It gave me a medium lamp, which was fine.  Unfortunately for player number one, it also took her HUGE lamp away and gave it to player number four.

For me, that was 'problem solved'.  I had a lamp I liked, and the guy next to me was very unlikely to take it away from me.  But player number one said a few words that started with the letter 'F', and most of them were censored.

Then she accused me of being dishonorable.  Her specific sentence was "You can't lose with honor".

Kind of surprised me.  As far as I was concerned, none of the rewards are "losing".  And even if they were, playing cards I've received during the sinkhole constitutes strategy.  That's how the game is designed, and what makes it so random.

Apparently, two other players agree about strategizing, because they defended me.

However, the next card played was a Reversing Phoenix.  It put everything back the way it started.  Player 1 was happy to have her huge lamp back, but still mad at me.  I was happy, because I'd gone back to having a large lamp.

I guess player four wanted those tokens more than the huge lamp.  Which just reinforces my point... there is no 'lose'.  It's all good.

I guess my question is, how do you play?  With honor?  Without? Would you use every strategic element possible to secure your best result?  Or would you passively accept a lesser result?  Do you consider it honorable or dishonorable to employ all your options?
 The answers aren't likely to change my stand, but it did make me curious how other players see things.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Runescape: EOC tweaked again- Made some things harder, some easier

Yesterday in among the big releases... like the Instanced God Wars... there was another EOC update.  Yep.  Jagex is still trying to get the hang of Evolution of Combat.  I applaud their enthusiasm and persistence.  But by now, it's beginning to grow old.  Someone on the forums posted something about it that really hit the nail on the head.  Not quoting, because I don't remember where I found it, but here it is in essence:  How can we learn how to fight something when the rules keep changing?

In principle, the most recent update is a good idea.  It's supposed to make being high-level actually count for something.  I like that.  If you spend all that time building up your levels, there ought to be a direct benefit to it. 

They also tinkered with the armor system.  More armor classes now- Tank, Offensive, and Hybrid.  Again, good in concept.  Execution seems to be more than just a small amount off, though.  At least, in my limited experience from yesterday's Zarosian Demons.  Monique and I like to duo the demons when we get the chance.  We're nearly always in world 96.  It's our favorite world because of the 'no talking'.  Until last night, when the demons got announced, we'd go kill them.  It's not fast, but we've never been killed and it's a fun diversion we like to do together.  And there's almost never anybody else there with us.

Last night, demons showed up, we donned our gear, and went out to make war.  Only, the demons had been so ramped up we couldn't kill the main one.  Heck, we nearly couldn't lay any damage on it.  I tried first with my newly made Superior Death Lotus armor and a Zaryte Bow.  Managed to hit fairly often, but he was doing serious damage back at me.  Every time he hit, I was having to eat one or two Rocktails.  Per hit! 

Monique, on the other hand, was wearing standard melee armor, and swinging dual chaotic rapiers.  And barely doing any damage.  I lost patience with taking so much damage.  Banked, switched to full Superior Tetsu and Sara Godsword.  That was worse!  Yeah, I was tanking him better.  But couldn't hit him. 

Obviously, this update royally screwed up our private Demon hunting.  I'm not happy about that.  But I'd be okay with it... if they left it alone now.  Let me learn how to deal with the new requirements, adapt, get used to it.  Don't keep changing the rules.

EOC is a work in progress, granted.  But I'm beginning to lose interest in the game because nothing is reliable any more.  At least I'm a cautious player.  Some players went into the new instanced dungeons expecting a normal fight, and had to run for their lives. 

I want to play.  Would sure like to have fun.  Still waiting for EOC to be FINISHED. 

Okay, enough pity party.  Not quitting Runescape.  Did the Troll-of-the-month fight, and mowed them down.  Obviously the EOC adjustments worked in my favor there. 

Mostly, I'm working on getting my Dungeoneering levels up.  Matter of fact, just a moment ago finished a couple of sinkholes and a dungeon.  Only need 2 million more exp to get level 108 Dungeoneering. 

I'm almost there!