Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First a King, then a Portmaster.

When I first heard about Player-Owned Ports update, I immediately thought of the Sailing skill, which was a hugely speculated skill release back in 2010. Ships, captains and sailing definitely reminded me of the much rumored skill. 

So far, I am pretty excited about this minigame and have been religiously checking on my ports on a daily basis. I've come to see it as a more interactive, engaging and improved version of the Managing Miscellania minigame. I think there is a rather gentle learning curve, but the difficulty increases rather exponentially as you unlock new regions.

At the point of writing, I have the Scythe region unlocked and I'm collecting the parts of the forgotten scroll so that I can make the Tetsu helm. Another great incentive to boost my Smithing, I must say. Smithing has been stagnant at 82 for a couple of months now, and the ability to smith Tetsu helms would potentially help me recoup some losses from buying that Christmas Tree Hat.

In retrospect, there were some things I'd probably do differently if I were to start from scratch. Hopefully these tips would be helpful to someone else who hasn't progressed as far.

1. Upgrade the deck items first. They seem to always give more skill points than other parts of the ship. I stick to this rule whenever I unlock new regions now.
2. Have 1 ship doing long(er) missions while you have another ship collecting resources more quickly. The ship that is collecting extra resources could also be utilized to train crew that needs leveling up.
3. Upgrade your office as soon as possible. An additional ship really makes a difference.
4. Adventurer re-rolls can be used even after you've sent your ship on a special mission. In other words, the re-roll would give you an addition special mission to attempt. 
5. Personal preference, I don't like to spend resources/chimes on speed crew or upgrades unless I have an obscene amount of leftover resources. When you progress into the game, 10 minute cut from 5 hours isn't exactly worth it. 
6. This doesn't have anything to do with POP progress per se, but once you've built a workshop, you now have a quiet one-click bank that you can train skills at.

POP is probably my favorite update in a while and I can actually see myself investing quite a bit of online time here. A new D&D called God Statues was released quite recently. I'll probably write another review once I've gotten the chance to try it out.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Evolution of Combat - Revolutionary or Disaster In The Making?

Evolution of Combat has been a real game changer indeed. As Runescape Wiki summarized, EOC brings "a variety of new content including powerful abilities, dual weapon wielding, new Magic and Ranged equipment, and new Prayers. In addition, the combat triangle has been massively balanced, monsters have new attacks, and the combat level formula has been revised." 

I remain rather ambivalent about this update. This update was a mixed bag of effects for me, helping me with training on one hand while causing me a significant deal of monetary loss on the other. (On hindsight though, the monetary loss was mostly due to players engaging in panic-selling, so I can't really pin the blame on the update.)

The aims of EOC can be found on Mod Mark's DevBlogWhat I'd do is to pick a few aims to discuss, and hopefully give a picture of how I see EOC from the comments.

1) Refocus combat to be more about player skill - ... making it more about mastering techniques, rather than navigating interfaces at speed.
This is a rather sound argument, and the new abilities do warrant a little more attention than just waiting for the special bar to be filled up. The abilities could make monster slaying faster if used appropriately, so that's one incentive right there. However, I just seem to prefer the old system of click-and-wait. Getting Momentum activated in the shortest amount of time possible is usually my priority, then I can sit back and multitask while my character kicks some serious monster ass.

2) Encourage variety in combat equipment - ... The problem is, at the moment, there aren't many reasons to change from your favourite weapons or armour. We’d like to give you those reasons.
Well, this is valid. One personal benefit of EOC is that I'm a lot motivated to utilize Magic and Ranged for PVM situations. I've actually managed to gain quite a number of levels as a result. That being said. I am slightly annoyed at now less effective to tear through almost anything with my melee gear, as I used to.

3) Make it fun! - ... In-game combat - particularly training on standard enemies - currently involves clicking on a creature and waiting. We'll do a whole lot more to make these situations challenging, rewarding and - ultimately - more fun.
Honestly, I don't see much of a difference. With Momentum activated, it is the exact same game, except I don't get to use the flashy special moves. In fact, if you use the right gear, it is probably less challenging (which I suppose is a good thing, but makes this point moot).

4) Make it easier to access - Several combat options (special attacks, combat styles, spellbooks) are tucked away, hard to access, or on various different interfaces, so we’re planning to bring all those options together.
Without the action bar, the combat options are still located on different tabs - not really a significant change (or at all). On the sidenote, I really love the inclusion of the action bar, which is tremendous help even in non-combat situations. Tip: If you don't already know, you can put items such as the Explorers' Ring on the action bar to serve as an alternative one-click teleport!

5) Allow players’ combat levels to truly represent their ability – The combat level calculator is complicated and encourages players to not train certain skills in an attempt to create a false impression of their damage potential (pures). 
This is one of the statements that I don't agree with. I don't think having a whole load of level 200 players running amok is the best idea that Jagex has had. For the longest time, maximum combat level is something that is pretty respected and sought after. Now, you have way too many players who have maxed combat levels. That definitely takes some fun off players who've been training Prayer and Summoning in order to get that coveted level 138. *points to self*

6) Be brave, but be traditional where possible - We are a game with a proud heritage and a player base with clear expectations of the game they want to play. We don’t want to make a game that we can’t even recognise anymore.
I think this is complete and utter bull. EOC is brave, but there is nothing traditional about it. By revamping the entire combat system, a huge deal of the game is fundamentally changed. I'm pretty sure old-timers who have stopped for a while and return to the game after EOC would not recognize it anymore. Yeah, I think this is pretty much an unnecessary justification for EOC, neither does it make any sense.

Of course, comments are entirely my own opinions and there is nothing I'd welcome more than fruitful debate on my outlook on these aims and their results.

Though I'm not in love with the new system, I'm going to tone down with the whining and live with it, very much like how I have with the other bad decisions (in my opinion) that were made by the developers. In a couple of years, people would have forgotten about the 'old days' and be perfectly fine with EOC being the norm... until Jagex comes along and decides to throw in another game changer.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Squeal of Fortune, Soloman's General Store - The New Priority for Jagex?

As promised, I'll be sharing a few thoughts on major updates I've seen since my return, starting with the much debated release of the Squeal of Fortune (SOF). This particular update has generated a great deal of discussion among the RS community. The main concern many had with this update was the fact that SOF rewarded various experience lamps and necklaces, and the spins can be bought with actual cash. Had the rewards been purely cosmetic, there wouldn't have been backlash to this extend (or at all).

This issue with buying spins is brought to a whole new level with the 2012 Christmas event where players scurried to collect different colored presents, which were most easily obtained through SOF. The purple dragonstone present even had it's street price elevated to 50M  immediately after release before crashing to 13-15M the following day. The relative ease in which we can obtain the present from SOF in addition to the high demand for said presents made the notion of purchasing steeply-priced spins so much more alluring. Although I'm not discounting the fact that free spins can be obtained as drops and rewards for completing daily challenges or quests, they do not come in frequently, nor are they aplenty as rewards/drops.

Presents come significantly easier from SOF. 

Another new inclusion that I don't really like is the special pets from the Soloman's General Store. The items were only obtained through microtransactions, and for a while, remained purely cosmetic. Then came an update in August when the bank boosters were released, generating yet another wave of controversy. Back to the special pets, which were a relatively recent release, are followers capable of foraging, banking and scavenging loot at different stages of their growth. Of course, if you want to throw more money in, you can always buy extra items that would speed up their growth.

A full description about the pets, their abilities and treats to speed up their growth can be found on the official site.

Maybe it's just me, but I think Jagex is losing subtlety when it comes to making the players pay. Back when I first joined, though membership did offer some benefits when it comes to training speed and bank spaces, it was mostly justified; members had a lot more skills and items available to them, hence the need for a larger amount of bank space. It has been a tad blatant in the recent couple of years from what I've observed. Starting from the removal of free-to-play users from the highscores, which I honestly saw as a rather dick-ish move to attract more members, to all these nice little items and pets for people to pour their money in.

I'd be lying if I said that these new pets not appeal to me at all, and I might very just well get one of them when I do have spare cash. I understand that it is probably within company objectives to maximise profit. Still, I wonder what it is that's making the company throw all subtlety away to embark on such an aggressive route of profit-making.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I'm back (I hope?)

Looks like I'm back to blogging again. I've been fairly busy with National Service, in which I was actually conscripted into the Navy and I'm finally done with it. I actually renewed my membership a little over 3 months ago on a whim and it seems that I'll be staying for a while (hopefully). 

I haven't had the chance to go a lot of writing over the past two years, except for a few articles I've written for my unit. I reckon that blogging might help me ease back into my writing habits, so here I am. Besides, I actually enjoyed blogging about Runescape. As unfortunate as it sounds, real life just isn't as interesting as the pixel human I have onscreen.

There have been plenty of changes while I was away, and I got caught in the whole whirlwind that is Evolution of Combat shortly upon my return. I will devote the next few posts to discussing the more recent changes to the game, particularly the Evolution of Combat.

Stay tuned for more updates.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Attempt Number Two.

I've managed to do quite a bit of training during the past week, especially since Friday after I took my last examination paper. Liberation at last and I can finally play Runescape excessively without a single trace of guilt. Of course, with the new level of activity, there were a few levels gained, as well as more distractions and diversions completed.

Among those new levels were 92 Attack and 93 Farming, which were both awesome. I'll be expecting more Attack levels soon since I'm spending majority of my time online completing Slayer tasks. I've also tried resuming my previous daily farming rounds so I should be getting in some decent Farming experience daily and seeing some movement up the ranks once again. I think I peaked at top 15k before I stopped a few months ago and hopefully during my play this time, I can increase my peak rank to be within the top 12k.

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I've also completed a treasure trail, hunted down another star at the invitation of Pie. Nothing really noteworthy about the treasure trail though, the rewards were quite average. As for the Star Hunting, the crash site brought me back to Crandor, an area I haven't visited in a really long time. I used to kill the demons there but I've found many better places to train since becoming a member.

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I apologize for the quality of some screenshots. I think I saved them in the wrong format or something, which made them lose some quality. That is in addition to the fact that I have to play in minimum detail because my computer is already struggling to cope with minimum graphics.

In other news, Kat and I have made another attempt at starting a clan. Our last attempt, Blessings was a considerable success, if I may say so myself. Beyond the fact that we managed to stay as a clan for 3 whole years, many of us have also made wonderful friends who have enriched our gaming experience.

Now, we have Amicus. This time, we are focusing on a creating a community clan. We aim to gather a group of mature and committed players into a community, attending events, sharing advice and enjoying the company of one another. Due to the fact that we are more concerned with the quality of members we are recruiting this time, there will not be a level requirement and the quality of answers in each application would be the main basis of consideration when it comes to the decision of whether to grant membership. High stats are not required, though they might be of benefit to individual members in allowing them a greater range of community events to choose from. We are currently in the midst of recruiting and welcome interested players to try out.

Our recruitment post, now found in a few Runescape forums such as Zybez, Rune Tips and Rune HQ, will be shared below.

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About us
Amicus strives to be a different kind of Runescape clan - one that does not look exclusively for strong Runescape characters, but instead sharp, dedicated people to join our community. We look for maturity in all our members.

What do I need to join?
We do not have level requirements. All you have to do is pass our application test to join. We want to get a feel of how you are a both a Runescape player and a person, so please be candid when answering the questions. However, good stats are still encouraged because they will allow you access to a wider variety of community events.

How do I apply?
Visit our forum here, sign up for an account and follow the instructions on our application form found in Administration > Clan Information > Application Form. Alternatively, there is a link provided under Pending Applications.

Who to contact?
For questions, please reply to this thread. Alternatively, you can direct them to MisterTiz on Runescape, or join the Amicus Clanchat at AmicusChat.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I've decided to come back to the game following Tim's return. I've been kept busy in the past few months with a lot of studying and recently, major examinations. As I'm writing this, I have one final paper to go before I'll be done with studying for a while. At least until I come out of National Service. Actually, I was kept so busy with studies and real life in general that I never really felt a desire to play Runescape , and even during the few rare moments when I was tempted to, I managed to resist the urge. Until Tim told me of his plans to return to the game, that is. I caved to temptations soon after. Back to the examinations. At the moment, I'm pretty confident of getting good results, though there are still a few little mistakes here and there that make me nervous when I think about them.

I'm not particularly happy in the fact that I slipped almost 2k in ranks on my Farming skill, but I've enjoyed myself quite a lot ever since I returned to the game almost 2 weeks ago. Taking a break certainly helped in reigniting my interests in the game.I've already set a few goals that I'm hoping to complete before I get shipped off to the army. I hope to obtain both the Attack and Constitution cape, reach 85 Slayer and 95 Farming. I feel pretty certain about being able to get the capes and 85 Slayer, but Farming appears to be the biggest challenge at the moment.

Also, it seems that quite a few of my friends are returning to the game. Besides Tim, Kat and Mat, other ex-members from Blessings also made their return to the game, which is quite awesome since it was the lack of company that motivated me to stop playing a few months ago.

Since my return, albeit at a really bad timing in the middle of the examinations, I've mainly been training skills that require little attention whilst studying. That being said, I managed to get a new pet penguin, complete an elite clue scroll and gain a smithing level as a reward for the hours spent on smithing cannonballs.

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The elite clue scroll was definitely not easy. I spent hours running around, being all clueless and stupid until finally the clue itself led me to the south end of the Piscatoris Hunter area. Special thanks to H Alger, he helped me out massively. I went on to solve a few cryptic knots, even more compass clues and a few puzzle boxes. Puzzle boxes have become much easier after the training I got from my sliding puzzle craze a while ago. I did get killed by the Chaos Elemental once though, when I ventured near its spawn unaware and unprepared. I managed to salvage most items, but I had to get a new Explorer's ring, Falador shield and Ectophial. After quite a bit of running around, I finally completed the trail and was rewarded pretty generously. I was shocked that I could not sell the Bandos kiteshield for anything above the minimum price on the Grand Exchange, but I still managed to make 1.2 mil off the sale of the kiteshield at minimum price.

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I also managed to obtain 2000 total levels. I had orginally planned for 2000 total to be achieved with 93 Farming, but an accidental Runecrafting level gotten after hunting for penguins ruined my plan. I'm still happy to reach the 2000 milestone though! :)

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Just earlier today, I finally caught Merch in Canting. Haven't seen her since my return and I haven't had many to chat with in Canting due to the influx of new members, (whom I'm shy around, heh). I need to make it a point to make new friends, especially since most of the people whom I used to talk to in Canting seemed to have left the game too. We got called off to Rellekka to mine a level 6 star after Orix's friends discovered the star and he relayed the message to us. The crowd at the crash site was pretty entertaining, to say the least. One of the dudes who couldn't enter the mine due to quest requirements made it his duty to entertain us while watching us from the outside. It was all good and entertaining indeed, until he started taking advantage of someone's Lava titan. Things got slightly creepy after that. Still, we picked up a new Canter and that's always good!

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Oh.. and..

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Taking a short break.

Hello guys,

I'm going to be taking a short break from Runescape for now due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, my Prelims and national exams are not too far away and I really need to try and reduce the distractions I have. Secondly, my computer broke down, and while the other one works (this one), it runs Runescape extremely slowly. The lags-even-in-minimum-detail kind of lag. So yeah, not really encouraging me to play much either.

That being said, I might log in every once in a while to farm and if you do catch me on, say hi!

Hopefully I'll be back in about 2-3 months and getting a new computer/laptop early next year!