Alex’s Analysis – Changing the Scene

posted by on 22nd February 2012, at 11:44pm

It started with the transformation of Ghost Town into what we know as Edgeville. A dynamic transformation of an area that we once knew to the point where we’ve got no idea where anything is anymore. But in Ghost Town’s case, there was simply nothing there but a few fight-able creatures like ghosts (doi?). Now there’s a bank, store, guard house, and Oziach. Exciting.

Then came Runescape 2, which was an incredible change, expanding the world to about twice its original size (but running was included, so it’s all good) and modifying the layout of pretty much everything. And we got used to it. Those who took Runescape 2 over Classic, anyways, and although I miss it somewhat, Runescape 2’s been a fantastic experience for me, and I don’t ever regret making the change.

For a while after that (years), it’s always been additions. The Tzhaar volcano, the elven lands to the west, the northern mountains, the many various mini games all around Runescape, Ape Atoll, the Chaos Tunnels, and so on. We got a huge load of new ground to cover, and many new areas to explore, using quests and the tempting of a unique reward to guide us through this unknown territory.

And then there have been graphical updates. Nearly every creature out there, including goblins, dragons, trolls, demons, and even us adventurers got a lick of paint and a few new natural accessories. This also included better animations, making us move smoother and more realistically rather than simply chopping repetitively at the enemies’ groin (if you were fighting giants, for example…). Some of the locations also got a few new additions to their paint jobs, but everything stayed pretty much the way they were. You could enter the graphically updated area and still be able to find what you are looking for without need of the world map.

But then came the “overhauls”. First was Zanaris, and man; that was a difference. Fairies now looked like fairies rather than small winged men. Houses were more magic-based fantasy-like hovels rather than simple hollowed stumps. It looked more like an actual realm rather than a very well decorated cavern with some pretty good topsoil. I appreciated the change; it suited the new quest very well.

But the thing was that some of the locations got moved around. Instead of being a corner of the cavern, the bank became an actual building. As did several of the other caves, like Fairy Nuff’s place. While the general layout remained the same, I could no longer naturally point out the bank was in the southwestern corner that I had grown accustomed to for years. It was like it was an entirely new area, built out of the remnants of one I once knew.

But then, Taverley and Burthrope became the epicentre (just kidding) of the member’s variation of Tutorial Island. That included an overhaul so dynamic that I no longer recognized the place at all.

The towns had joined together into one, and the troll threat was a much more direct plot-line. It was no longer the thought of potential attack; the trolls were well into the process of attacking, and they were attacking in droves. The war had taken a serious toll on the populace, which was no longer primarily soldiers in Burthrope and druids in Taverly. Now, all sorts of professions are forcing out a living there.

The place got its own farm, a proper smithy (closest furnace there a while ago was Falador, and we know how much they hate the White Knights), a proper tavern (with a cook; wow!), and even a proper purpose. The war was actually affecting the way of life around there, and many poor souls were out of house and home, looking for food.

And it gets better; terribly, unnecessarily rich merchants began to take advantage of the situation and start selling their products for unreasonable prices. Why’s this important? It promotes the Thieving skill. Originally, the first guys you could pickpocket were commonplace citizens of Runescape; not very honourable for first-time thieves. They’re innocent civilians trying to make an honest living; they don’t deserve it. But how about these pompous merchants who insult you with every sentence and have their noses so high in the air they have to attach lightning rods to their faces in a thunderstorm so they don’t get struck. They are immoral opportunists who have too much money for their own good. The thieving skill is no longer a desperate attempt for quick money, but instead a disciplinary action of justice. I’d pick their pockets dry if I felt like it… and if they didn’t have so much.

As a old-timey Runescape Classic player and one who started his members career with Taverley as the source of my currently level 90 herblore… I actually like this update. Yeah, I’m gonna miss the old Taverly, and who isn’t going to, but I don’t even mind that it’s been renewed. It’s almost as though the town went through these awesome renovations; it’s still there, and it’s still got all the familiar sights and people, it’s just a much more different environment. And due to what it’s got to offer, it won’t take very long with me to adjust to it at all. Not only that, but because it was so comparatively featureless in the past, I might even wind up visiting much more often.

And then came the Tzhaar update. Just when I thought they’ve squeezed their creative juices until their brains were raisined, they’ve done it again. I thought it was going to be a mere reworking of the current caverns and the Tzhaar get a few more spikes here and there like last time. But wow, was I wrong. They didn’t just get reworked; they became an actual species!

Their cave was yanked out of the Karamja volcano dungeon and thrust right in the centre of the volcano (woah?). Inside, the inner grounds had been completely changed around, creating an entire marketplace, designated sectors for certain events, and even a breeding ground (cause I thought they simply spawned from the lava – which they actually sort of did; do the quest for more details). It looks much more like a hollowed out volcano rather than an interplanetary glow-lined etherspace (I’m serious; first time the Tzhaar came out, I could’ve hosted a disco with the four-armed golem people).

And the Tzhaar themselves; HUGE difference. Only the hunters look even remotely like their old counterparts; each one’s been made unique and easily identifiable amongst the rest. The crafters are these smaller dudes that literally roll around the place (although I don’t know if their lack of solid balance really works for precision art), the magi are these spiritual hides with glowing orbs instead of an easily identifiable head (but they still have them), the hunters are these dangerous-looking monsters of lava creatures (I’d like to see a couple take on the King Black one day), and the guards… they don’t even have to move anymore; they can guard anything just by standing in the way with their huge tank-like frames.

Again, I remembered the Tzhaar originally as four-armed golem men, and then these four-armed lizard lava-rock hybrids. Now, they are Tzhaar! Brilliant!

And again, I am going to miss the old style, but give me a few days running around the sector, and I’ll have it well memorized to the point that I’ll have forgotten the old layout. Just like I’ve pretty much forgotten Ghost Town.

So, what’s the point of this talk, you’re asking? What am I trying to get at?

In my opinion, little by little, Jagex are creating Runescape 3 overtop Runescape 2! Much better graphics, complete re-workings, added history and storyline, much more dynamic events (patrolling guards, random encounters), and otherwise breathing a new kind of life into Runescape. Characters are getting voices, audio qualities are getting better and updated, quests are becoming more immersive and well-thought (at long last!), skills are getting more interesting to train… yes, I’m serious. Book of Char, circus events, penguin hunting, lava flow mines, effigy assists, double exp weekends, early-bird bonuses… need I go on?

The game is altogether bursting with new content, but is also not really introducing anything new. Sounds very much like the conversion from Runescape Classic to Runescape 2 to me…

I’ll let you guys be the judge. In the meantime, I’ve gotta figure out where the Fight Caves’ safespot went so I can take on Jad sometime next week.

Cheers, cannoneers!

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