Age of Aquariums

posted by on 28th April 2015, at 9:00am

Last week RuneScape saw the addition of aquariums to the player owned house. This was a power-to-the-players poll winner, beating out other options like a greenhouse, hotel, and dungeoneering skill hall. The aquarium is somewhat unique in its mechanics, however like every other update; it’s not been without its own criticism. This month rather than just breaking down how the aquarium works I will address some of the criticism and attempt to convince you why this is a decent update by looking at three criteria: usefulness, aesthetics, and content. Let me be honest, I did not vote for the aquarium. I thought it frankly sounded like the weakest choice next to perhaps the dungeoneering room. With that being said, I’ve given it a chance and really like what Jagex has done with it and its shown what they could do with a proper Construction update if they so choose. Now without any further adieux, let’s dive in and see if this update is useful or not and how it stacks up to other rooms in our POH’s.

The POH can be broken down into three tiers of usefulness. First, regular use which includes those rooms that are used daily or weekly and can be used to train skills. This tier consists of the workshop used to train Construction and repair degradable armor and the chapel which is used to train prayer, replenish prayer points, and switch between prayers and curses. Finally there is the menagerie which is basically used to store all those pets that are so coveted in Runscape now. The second tier is what I would call rooms with limited use. For example, the study where you can make teleport tabs and watch for fallen stars, the portal room which can teleport you to three different locations around Gielinor, or the costume room where you can store various item including armour, capes and some clue rewards. Lastly, there are the third tier rooms that have little to no use what so ever and are really there for aesthetic reasons. This tier includes the garden, kitchen, bedroom, dining room, game room, throne room, skill hall, quest hall and all the dungeon rooms. As you can see the bulk of your selection of rooms for the POH is utterly useless. Where does the aquarium fit in on this scale and why is it being criticized as useless you may ask?

First I would put the aquarium in the second tier. It does have limited use and is definitely more useful than the tier three rooms. Arguably its best feature after completely all of its gathering content is that it can grant bonus experience at various fishing areas around the world. It’s a small 2% boost but hey, every bit helps. On top of that it can provide you with twenty teak or mahogany planks a week, oysters, and an elite clue scroll. Wait, what? Stop right there; an elite clue scroll – WTH? Hold on, just hold your horses, it’s not as bad as it seems. Yes, elite clues are usually reserved for high level slayer and bossing, but should it be? Why shouldn’t a skiller get the same chance as someone that focuses on combat at getting a clue? Remember just because it’s available doesn’t mean everyone is going to do it. I for one wouldn’t touch a clue scroll with a ten foot pole. I keep one in my bank just to ensure I won’t receive another. I know the gut reaction is that this isn’t good and could bring good clue rewards down in price but seriously the good rewards are so rare you could give every player in RuneScape a free scroll every day and it wouldn’t make a difference. Lastly, the aquarium offers some really nice fishing perks as you level it up like fishing with no bait or feathers. All and all it’s not the most useful room in your house but it’s far from the least.

The place where the aquarium outshines all other POH rooms is its aesthetics. When you think about the rooms that are mainly for looks like the garden, skill/quest halls, and dungeon rooms there is simply no comparison. You can literally dive into your aquarium and watch the fish you’ve gathered and the decorations you’ve received and they look amazing. There’s nothing else like it in game and therein lies the problem. The POH is so old it kind of looks like extreme home make over came in and instead of remodeling the whole house they just built one awesome room onto it only adding to the outdated feel of the rest of the house. As much as it pains me to say this we should consider ourselves lucky. We all want a Construction update, however, if you’ve been paying attention to what J-mods have been saying on the Q&A streams you’ll know that it’s a back burner project at best. At RuneFest Mod Mark said he was looking at a possible Construction update that would add surface construction. That’s great and all, but don’t look for the POH to get to much love unless RuneLabs were to come to the rescue. If Jagex has their way Construction will go in a completely different direction for better or worse. We are lucky to have had them add a room at all. I would have liked for there to have been some sort of viewing window where you could see the aquarium without diving in but I guess beggars can’t be choosers and it still looks great.

Lastly, let’s take a look at how much content the aquarium added to the game. It’s estimated to have a fully upgraded and fully prestieged aquarium your looking at about thirty hours’ worth of content. Wow, that’s a lot and of course there are ways to bring that number down via golden crackers which will give you and someone else a free golden fish egg. That is the most content ever added from a POH room and possibly the most added to Construction in general since the release of the skill. Not to mention the additions made to Fishing. There is new food in the form of sushi and a new fish in the form of the great white shark. We even received a pet and cosmetic override. Most of all there is another reason to fish other than just a 120 grind or for food. The aquarium also showed us what could be possible with Construction in the form of planning out your features on an open grid. The critics say that it would have been better to adapt this feature to the whole POH instead of just this one room. This is valid criticism; however, we would have just been moving the furniture around and changing the color of the drapes so to speak. That wouldn’t have added the amount of content we received from this update.

Hopefully I’ve been able to convince you to give this update a try. It’s fun and looks great. Going back to places you haven’t fished since you were a noob is kind of nostalgic if you’re in to that, and the fishing areas are humming with conversation the likes of which I haven’t seen in a while. It reminds you of what things use to be like when you started. It’s important to remember sometimes it’s not just the game that changes but us as well. I know I haven’t had a need to fish for a very long time but going back to some of these places reminded me of the conversations I used to have and the people I used to meet. Could it have been better or resources used on some other Construction update? Of course Jagex could have done a general Construction update; however I really don’t think it would have been as enjoyable as this. Nor do I think they really could have done more with the aquarium. It’s a good update, a four out of five in my opinion. With that, good luck fishing and till next month, Happy RuneScaping.

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