Alex’s Analysis – End of Year Analysis

posted by on 17th December 2015, at 9:00am | Discuss Article

Well, this is my last article of the year. It’s been a fun one. It’s finishing up with the Master Quest Cape (ooh, that’ll be a fun one), a multi-part Christmas quest (really just a glorified holiday event), and a quest about the remnants of Tutorial Island (yaahs!)! … funny thing though; I’m actually not familiar with Tutorial island because I started my account in 2001. Still, quest.

Anyways, I could drone on about all of these, what I think the decision making process behind them was, and how I think it’ll impact the game, but you guys have already gone through 11 months of me doing that, so I’m going to change it up a bit.

So, what better way to celebrate the year end than by taking all the larger updates of 2015, shoving them into a list (because those are a thing that people like, right?), and giving a quick little analysis on them? Quantity over quality! Because that always works.

WARNING: There are spoilers. Go quest.

Alright, let’s rock. The year 2015 was a very productive one for Runescape, and here is why:

Ports Expansion: We saw the three newest additions to the Player Owned Ports, whom all came with some interesting story voyages and some nifty bonus voyages that gave rewards expanding the original take of stainless steel and spice. Took me a while to save up all that azure to upgrade my ports to the fullest again, but that was the point of it all. Would’ve liked a bit more substance throughout the ports (more guys to converse with, more conversation options in light of the completed story missions, etc), but it was a welcome addition nevertheless.

Dishonour Among Thieves: The exciting return of Nomad and an interesting take on a mechanic that Runescape really had not been focused on doing very well; stealth. Despite the moderately adequate attempts at stealth in the Penguin Quests and Eadgar’s Ruse, DAT was able to considerably improve how stealth worked by limiting and forcing directional movement so that it wasn’t simply a dash and crash. Instead, player had to strategize where to go and how to time it by watching some slightly more apparent vision cues and slightly more accurate position detection. Incredibly fun and one of my more favourite quests of the year.

RuneLabs: The opening of the RuneLabs gave us players a much more direct ability to influence future game content. We were able to create and vote for our favourite ideas for an in-game update, and no matter what happened, somebody somewhere would get their idea added to the game. Even though the ideas were simpler additions that many players hoped to see anyways, like adamantite and runite dragons. Still… adamantite and runite dragons, people!

Dimension of Disaster: The celebration of Runescape’s 200th quest, masterfully done through the creation of an entirely new spin of many different quests and lore. What better way to appreciate your efforts around Runescape than to enter a realm that showed the second-worst case scenario where you as a player never influenced anything. Then you get to run around and influence everything. I enjoyed this quest because it actually forced you into a world where you had no items or bank, and had to make inventory on your own, salvaging what you could as though you had started the game all over again. And heck of a callback to the old school Classic Mode, where you didn’t have a bank to store all your items in. No more hoarding; you had to make inventory space count. Also, it was really funny. Play the quest. If you already did, play it again. It’s repeatable.

Aquarium: A new room in your house with some incredibly nice visuals that you build up by fishing. Yeah. I thought it was pretty big because it involved the construction skill. And it gave everyone a reason to go around catching multiple types of fish, at least for a few minutes, rather than spending their entire fishing career power-levelling the med-levels. Hopefully I’ll be able to show mine off one day. After I… well… fill it up.

Tuska: An interesting take on the normal World Events where, rather than factions warring against each other, all factions fought for a common goal, with the most supported faction taking the prize. Didn’t appear to have as much appeal as the first and second World Events, mainly because there wasn’t as much combat and skill farming involved. Nevertheless, it was the threat of the world getting destroyed that helped drive… well, me, at least… to get as many spears as I could into Tuska’s skull.

Hero’s Welcome: Spoiler alert: The introduction and resurrection of the Fremennik God turned into a quest about the Dragonkin. Literally in the course of a single cutscene. Heck of a story twist, but the boss fights at the end made it all worth it. And I’ll be honest; I think I’d have preferred a Dragonkin quest over a Fremennik one anyways. Because dragons. Adamantite and Runite Dragons. Bit of a lack of dragons in the Fremennik lands.

Mazcab: A new world, complete with a new 10-player team event and a large landscape to explore. Pretty huge, and by the sounds of things, it took a while for the team to make. The fight’s no longer just Gielinor; now we’re going all over the cosmos! Won’t be long now until Runescape is instead called Runiverse or something like that. Runar System? Runeaxy? Nevertheless, this gives ample opportunity for the team to introduce many new interesting characters and creatures while lifting away the veil of creativity a little to allow for some more… extraordinary beings. Big thumbs up there!

The Light Within: The Seren quest everybody in Priffdinas was waiting for. Involved a lot of history and the revelation of yet another of the more mysterious Gods in Runescape. The ones we could only imagine how they look. Zaros having been a key example a couple years ago. Hardly any left now at this rate. The unknowns that remain are now either those of lore, or are already dead. Also came with a whole new world! Runiverse!

The Lord of Vampyrium: Alright, we just resurrected Seren after years of anticipation. Now let’s go kill Lord Draken himself after many more years of anticipation. A somewhat short, but otherwise epic quest. Would’ve liked to have gotten to know the big guy a bit more, though. Ah well. Loved the boss fight, though – best battle of the year! Multiple stages, each one making both sides grow more and more desperate for that final victory. More of those, please!

Runefest: I went there! It was fun! It was also expensive! Unless I get rich, invited over, or the economy stabilizes, I probably won’t go again. I will miss them. How else can I enter the presence of many of the brilliant minds who committed live and leisure to making a game I’ve been playing for 14 years and am still not tired of? Now, if they came to Canada…

Call of the Ancestors: Announced as their first “bottle quest”, this quest was a welcome relief from the epic storyline the sixth age was bringing about and was promising us more quests like we used to have in the days of Runescape Classic and Runescape OS. Just a single, simple story with some walking effort, a puzzle, a fight or two, and everyone lives happily ever after because we solved their problem and got some nice loot and exp. Nice to have that happening again. These kinds of quests really should be coming out once every month. Or two weeks. Just have a couple ninjas write up content and conversations. Don’t even need that many art and music assets, really. Just add a little substance to the game. Heck, don’t even tell us you added that stuff; let us figure it out for ourselves!

Invasion of Falador: Not an overly significant World Event, but it was quite awesome seeing the White Knights and Kinshra actually duke it out like the stories said they did. Back then all we did to the Black Knights was drop a cabbage in their stew. And that was without their help.

Raptor’s Challenge, Waterfall Fishing, Adamantite/Runite Dragons, etc: Runelabs suggestions brought to life. Shows us that we, as players, really can influence the game and what kind of content it has. Having more people discuss how something should be made really helps improve it, doesn’t it? … I’ll just leave this here.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the RuneLabs and the idea behind them. It’s just… nah, never mind. You know what? Jagex Team, you guys are doing very well. You know what you’re doing. Adamantite and Runite Dragons.

Beneath Cursed Tides: Hasn’t come out yet at the time of writing. Though I created Alex 43 in Runescape Classic before Tutorial Island, I’m not really familiar with it. Still, looking forward to it. Quest!

In summary, this year was a great one, and by the looks of the potential quests of 2016, the new world events, and the introduction of the Invention skill… well, I’m looking forward to what’s coming our way. I’ll let you guys be your own judge of that, but I reckon you guys are just as excited as I am, if not more.

And with that, I shall see y’all next year!

Cheers, cannoneers!

Alex’s Analysis – The New Year

posted by on 12th January 2015, at 6:20pm | Discuss Article
A 2015 Manifesto. Basically an agenda or a list of New Years resolutions. It takes quite a bit of work, effort, and ambition to go through a New Years resolution, but to make an entire agenda of them is another level of a challenge. Good thing we’re reviewing the ever-reliable minds at Jagex, or this […]