Alex’s Analysis – End of the Line

posted by on 7th October 2013, at 11:37pm

Please Note: Despite the name, this is NOT a “Runescape is dead” rant. I firmly do NOT believe that is and will ever be the case in the near future. If you believe that, please just keep it to yourself. Don’t rant about it. It’s a depressing opinion from a depressed person, nothing more. And if you think you can influence everybody else by stating your opinions, I recommend you start a charity run or do something useful with that ability. Then maybe you and the rest of the community won’t be so depressed about a little something called “change”. Which is about 80% the reason why Runescape has lasted 13 years so far.

Ending a story is hard.

A story starts off by generating hype and buildup in order to interest the audience. Gives the story some substance and a reason for the audience to make an effort, albeit something as simple as sit through it longer, to see how it ends. How everything resolves itself. Then with the climax’s great strike, earlier questions are answered and concerns are put to rest. The audience is left with an experience and sometimes a life lesson, and then they go out and seek a new story to get involved with.

A simple short story is easy to end, as there are fairly few questions which are all answered almost poetically at the end, subtly or otherwise. Ending off a whole series; not so much, as there are tonnes of things that could be left unaddressed in the fray. From unfinished plot development to unintentional questions sprung from the least likely of sources (that’s not how gravity works!), there’s always something that makes the audience want more in a good, immersive story.

Yeah, I’m talking about the Birthright of the Dwarves quest. A long lasting quest series finally brought to a conclusion, like the Dorgeshuun quest series.

There may be spoilers. You have been warned.

I’m glad it came to an end. It usually means a very tough quest with a huge set of rewards for high levels. Remembering the Dorgeshuun series and the Rise of the Mahjarrat(I suppose we could count that as a conclusion), there is usually an epic skill-testing battle at the end.

But I like quests because of the stories they tell. And, unfortunately, this wasn’t quite the “epic conclusion” that I was hoping for. Don’t get me wrong; it was still an awesome quest with a great boss and a culture-orienting ending, which tied up all loose ends and answered pretty much all questions. And once again, a big thumbs up to the awesome graphics team for the huge variety of character design! Hopefully the city itself will soon get that treatment, if not just a bit.

My biggest peeve about this quest was that it felt very rushed. Aside from the boss, I finished this quest in a much faster timeframe than the Forgiveness of a Chaos Dwarf. Everything just happened so fast, and there wasn’t very much padding in between. Backstories were lined up one after another and force-fed to us, loose ends were tied faster than Ned’s fingers could move, and the final boss had a few rather obvious glitches that really made it difficult.

First, the puzzles. The mechanic of “reassembling memories” was made, which would’ve given us the idea of what to expect puzzle-wise through the quest, but it was used all at once on all the characters it would’ve applied to rather than one at a time throughout the course of the quest. I mean, we could’ve turned that ogre into an ally at one point, delving into the mind of Grimsson to get him to retreat from a heavily covered area or something so our troops could advance.

Second, the long-awaited epic dwarf/troll/chaos battle. What the heck happened there? We all charged in, big giant army of dwarves and cannons and stuff, and after a brief cutscene, it’s Veldaban and I soloing their entire multi-cannon force! Could have put a bunch of chaos dwarves, trolls, and regular dwarves all over the field duking it out, with the chaos dwarves and cannons killing the normal ones and chasing us when we get nearby. See, this way we’d get a moment of time to see the cannon’s devastating force in action, or offer a quick epic distraction mid-battle as opposed to a food-eating bomb-stuffing rush-fest! Could’ve done so much with that fight! A real shame…

Third, the conclusion itself. Final boss fight finished, war has been won, you alone decide the fate of the consortium, and then… that’s it. Everything returns to normal. Nothing wrong there, except the whole place has always been normal. Bust up a statue, make a king happen, bust up another statue, remove a king (¾ of you did, anyways…) and there’s nothing really to show for it aside from a few dwarf comments here and there. Majority of the dwarves I talk to still think that Veldaban’s still up there.

What am I expecting here? … well, I dunno, really, but a war has been won and the city has been saved from an extremely pressing threat, so maybe some celebration is in order. Beers all around! Plus, an alliance was made with the trolls. With all that in place, I would’ve really liked to see a few new faces here and there on the streets as a result. A couple of soldiers joking about kill count and commending your cannon killing spree (may they rest in pieces). Maybe a dwarf and a troll “trying” to get along on the street, or a couple of trolls doing errands and stuff for whatever reason. Get a couple trolls mining or whatever. I dunno, the reign of terror of the red axe is done, and people in East Ardougne don’t have to be afraid anymore, so give the city a little bit more life as a result. That’s a much more lasting reward, in my opinion.

To the content team at Jagex, you still made a very good quest, and I appreciate you completed the series. But next time, you guys can take your time, alright? I would much rather wait a couple more months for a much more epic conclusion than lose all my hype over a rushed quest. Especially if it’s the end of a long, on-going quest series.

I don’t look to criticize, I look to improve. I enjoyed the quest, and it was a fitting end to the dwarf series. Next time, though, expand a little. Add some padding, throw in a few more jokes and random bits here and there. Maybe even some suggestions to some hidden content and an easter egg or two. Make it interesting, y’know? Even chat with the artists for some extra plot ideas; they’re a creative bunch, and it’ll help them give a bit more expression in their work.

As a final note, I will be attending Runefest this month, representing Rsbandb. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a few friends out there. Bring back some swag. Maybe even throw in a business card or two out there. We’ll see, we’ll see.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!

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