Alex’s Analysis – That’s a Wrap!

posted by on 22nd December 2013, at 3:04am | Discuss Article

Christmas is almost here, and with that, the celebration of a new year and the humble beginnings of the next. A time where conclusions are made looking back to the past, and resolutions are made in preparation for what is to come. From players to parents, from bums to businessmen, everyone’s got something to look forward to come the new year (even if the negatives completely outweigh it; it’s simply being optimistic).

And Runescape’s no different. This has been an incredibly productive year for our favourite MMORPG.

So why don’t we take a few minutes and reflect. Thanks to the World’s Internet Knowledge Institute (WIKI), let’s look back and remember just what Runescape has done for us throughout the year.

January started off awesome because we were right away given the God Statues update; a monthly turbo-boost of construction experience and the presence of four new altars in some rather convenient locations. Shortly after came the Kalphite King, which I had not actually fought myself throughout the entire year, but perhaps one day I’ll give it a go, learn just how easy of a fight it is, and hate myself for putting it off so long. Lastly came the desert achievement diary, which pretty well forced players into becoming Dominion Tower Completionists. Thanks to the EOC update, though, two Nomads wasn’t as bad as I would’ve thought.

February saw light to the Dungeoneering sinkholes; a Dungeoneering D&D. Handy for a quick boost in the event you cannot find a good party of players (amidst the sea of auto-typers, I can’t blame you). We got a free bank booster along with that, so yay. Then came a wicked awesome work of art; the revamped Slayer Tower. Good thing, too; the poor thing was more of a conundrum of architecture than Melzar’s Maze was. Hope that place also gets an update soon. The Bestiary was also released, showing us some excellent WebGL work and bringing characters to life before our eyes. Perhaps one day we’ll even get the 3D version. Lastly we got to vote on bringing back 2007’s Old School Runescape. Sure saw way more votes than I thought it would; people like the classics even more than I do.

March… hmm… what happened in March again? …oh yeah, The World Wakes quest and the start of the sixth age! The one epic quest which turned the whole world dynamic! Where we saw the in-game faces of some of the greatest Gods, where we fought back vast armies of heroes and generals, where we took on the newly rejuvenated Mahjarrat, and where we even got to bro-fist Nex. Would’ve loved there to be voice-acting, but considering the scale of the quest, we would’ve had to wait until May to have it out. And I don’t like waiting for my quests. We also got the Wilderness Warbands, in other news. Again, something I’ve yet to try myself, but by the sounds of things, it’s a fairly popular clan activity. Of course, if you want to secure that wand, you’d have to have a few friends with you or be incredibly lucky.

April gave rise to some Dungeoneering dual-wielding and the charming imp; both small, but very handy additions. Castle Wars and charm sprites got an overhaul, as did God Wars Instancing and many of the EOC abilities. Which is good; lots of the old stuff needs updating when changes as dynamic as the EOC, graphical reworkings, and the start of the Sixth Age coming into play. Runescape also released a beta for RS3, which like the Bestiary, also incorporated the ever-growing 3D powers of WebGL. Granted, because it’s heavily GPU oriented, you’ll need a fairly decent graphics card to run it. Fortunately, unlike CPUs, graphics cards can usually be upgraded.

May was a bit of a calm before the storm. Regards to the beta, Runescape 3 was officially announced to come in the near future, which probably got some fanatics excited. Of course, I imagine many were disappointed in that they were expecting a complete overhaul of the graphics similar to how Runescape Classic transitioned over to Runescape OS (old school). They came out with the Nexus as well, which was fun for a while, but there wasn’t too much appeal behind its repeatability. Shane showed some emotion for once after the High-Level Farming update with all new seeds ranging up to level 95 and so. And the lore fans got a treat with the God Emissaries, which helped give us an understanding behind all the Gods and factions and what their driving factor is. It was interesting how Zamorak was made to sound a lot more righteous than Saradomin.

June gave us Triskellion treasures, the Order of Ascension ranging slayer dungeon, some more lodestones for free teleportation, and the teaser for Vorago. This month was more for behind the scenes stuff and out-of-game contests like the Player’s Gallery, NIS Design Competition, and Runescape 3 Screenshots. Bit of a simple month, but that can only mean what’s going to come after will be all that much bigger.

July… oh man, what a storm! We saw Vorago for the first time; Runescape’s strongest monster and a heckova challenge for clans and teams alike! We saw Bringing Home the Bacon and the introduction of Canada’s favourite meat. But most importantly, we saw the release of Runescape 3 and the beginning of the Battle of Lumbridge, which revealed Zamorak’s in-game form for the first time and pitted them both against each other while we slaved away at making our chosen side stronger. And what a blast that was! Lumbridge swamp is now next to nothing but a large smouldering crater!

August gave us the Divination skill and the Death of Chivalry quest, staring Saradomin and Sir Owen. Both of which I approve. At least there are several players who agree it’s more of a “skill” than Dungeoneering, even if it’s a long, tedious gathering skill. But come on; it’s really no different to Woodcutting. And Dungeoneering’s awesome in that it’s unique. OK, no more rambling. We also got the improved Loyalty program (more points!) and the announcement for Runefest 3, which yours truly had the honour (and funding) to partake in.

September; or should I say “Super September” was a month where every day had a special daily challenge, ranging from the simple “kill 50 chickens” to the wild “empty the Falador cabbage field” and “dance with 10 other players”. Man, that was fun. Just these crazy ideas that you never initially thought of. Despite the hundreds of food items Runescape had to offer, how hard was it to fill an inventory of all different kinds of food items? Daemonheim got its own somewhat heavily divination based task set, which gave us an incredibly useful dungeoneering aura. Solomon’s Store merged with the Loyalty Store for a one-stop shop with two kinds of currency for most items. Keeping things simple; I approve. Also had to buy my Runefest ticket right away; those buggers sold out quickly.

October, we completed the Dwarf quest series with a wicked-challenging boss fight since Nomad, and despite a few glitches here and there, saw a somewhat fitting conclusion to the series. Like farming once did, woodcutting got a few new high-level trees; the elder and the crystal (go figure, I’m one level off from the crystal tree…). To compliment Birthright of the Dwarves, we also had the Missing Presumed Death quest, which started as a mystery finding out what happened to Death, but evolved into something a little more… important. Those who haven’t done the quest; I highly suggest you do; the voice-acting is epic. We also got the awesome-powerful Sirenic armor and, in a stroke of ingenuity, the Well of Goodwill, where you could donate in-game stuff to real-life charity. Absolutely brilliant!

November, I was in London for a week taking in the Runefest 3. It was a blast, and if the opportunity presents itself again, I am definitely going back. Wish it wasn’t so expensive to travel, though. The Barrows got the Rise of the Six extension, which unlike the normal Barrows, involves some hardcore cooperation to pull off. Solomon’s general store, among other things, introduced wings and winged outfits for the first time (just waiting on the jigglebone physics stuff now so we’re not wearing cardboard cutouts of the stuff). Otherwise, the Ninja Team went around and improved a lot of Behind the Scenes stuff. Yes, there’s a ninja team that goes around the whole game and does all these incredibly useful little tweaks here and there. Keep an eye out for them.

December is now! We got the second world event with Armadyl against Bandos! We got the introduction of Tuska’s warriors and the threat of a new God joining the fray! We got the return of the Premier Member’s Club! We got the Runescape Top Trumps card game! We got the return of some retro armor like the old Dragon armour and Mystic robes! We got the Christmas event as a full-on Christmas fair where you could choose between a good or evil theme! The Postbag from the Hedge returned! Summoning got dynamically changed! Then it got put back to normal! What a way to end off the year!

Overall, it was a great year. A little lacking in the quest department, I’ll admit, but you see, everything has been quality and build-up. All good stories need that strong start to help them take off. That’s exactly what’s happening here; Runescape’s entering a new age. The game is becoming a dynamic story, where things happen as time passes and you become part of the history. Is it not a glorious feeling where you can remember back to the times Guthix was still sleeping underground? I’m sure we all have plenty of stories to tell.

Until then, I’ve got roots to chop in the citadel. Happy holidays, y’all!

Until next year,

Cheers, cannoneers!