Alex’s Analysis – Supah Septembah

posted by on 13th September 2013, at 10:00am | Discuss Article

“Super September”. One of those titles that’s usually accompanied by a silly laugh and a soundtrack of several young kids all shouting “yaaay” in otherwise perfect sync. And why not? The team decided to provide us with some stereotypical superhero stuff in-game, making it the theme for the month alongside the goodies in store for behind the scenes. You know, comic-book styled stuff. You got those awesome poses, and the crazy colourful getups and all that.

That’s a good thing, too. Runescape’s got a lot of heroes, and there’s definitely room for super heroes. What with the Battle of Lumbridge coming to an “epic” (oh, I do hope we’re not disappointed) close and all that. If we are going to jump in and take down one of the Gods, why not look the part? I certainly am not going to become the deciding factor of the balance of the world in a pink skirt and matching pointed hat (but if that’s your thing, more power to you; I could never pull that look off).

So, how do you get the gear? By earning it. This is the best way to get gear; through task and hardship. The harder it is to get, the more impressive having the armour is, not matter how it looks. Look at party hats! Seriously, look at them! They’re origami paper hats. Worth billions. And people wear them in battle to show themselves off. Not by paying real-world dollars to increase the number of times I can push my luck; that gives you a false sort of respect. Yeah, there are multiple kinds of respect, but maybe I’ll talk more about this sort of thing another time.

So, you get this superhero outfit and gear by earning it over the days of the month doing relatively difficult tasks once a day, showing not only dedication to the game (finding an hour each day to play it) but also how innovative you are. Just look at the challenges themselves! They’re very well done in that they have you do some rather odd things that we’re not usually used to doing. Quoting the behind-the-scenes video, none of the challenges require a skill or quest to do, so anyone can do it.

So how does one challenge the entire player-base all at once? Well, let’s go through the list of what we’ve had to go through so far! Nuli, the list please? Thanks.

Sept 1: Trigger 10 portents of restoration.

For a 30-day task list, we really should start simple, or it will turn off a lot of people. This one did it very well, in that many people have been training Divination, and this was, effectively, Runescape’s first Divination daily challenge. It also helped reward the more avid Divination trainers by giving them a good reason to start trying out portents, as they’re, in my opinion, one of the lesser-desired rewards. Only when they’re super high-level are they worthwhile as a food source, as most monsters will end up striking you down below half health and they won’t heal enough to get you back above that. Plus, this challenge required you to get yourself owned quite a bit, which in itself is unique. So, as a taste for things to come, this was very well-played. And it just keeps getting better…

Sept 2: Gather 200 divine tears on the battlefield.

… or not. Come on, let’s not count this one. The Lumbridge Battlefield was dying off, in that players would rather train Divination than harvest tears, so the scores were not changing very much. So this challenge was introduced to help remind players that there’s not long to go, and that they should keep it up. This also helped players prepare for the Tier 3 unlock, so some respect there. Otherwise, it wasn’t really much of a challenge, as we’ve been doing that all the time.

Sept 3: Do a dance emote near to at least 10 people who are also dancing.

NOW we’re talking! This was one of my favourites. Everybody was dancing and yelling for other people to dance, and faced with a common goal, they actually came out and started dancing in droves! What made it easy was that, as I found out, the masterwork music box from Solomon’s Store counted if 10 people were dancing to it. A lot easier than rapidly clicking the emote.

It was a bit frustrating trying to find a group of people large enough to accumulate into a fairly coordinated dance-fest, but all I had to do was switch to a more populated world. It was a tricky challenge in that it required cooperation. And unless you’re a clan leader, good luck in getting 10 or more people to cooperate with you. Fortunately, this was something simple and very, VERY difficult to mess up.

Sept 4: Eat 50 bananas.

This one was crafty. It sounds difficult, but it was actually one of the easiest of the bunch (no pun intended). Bananas in general are really not hard to come by. There’s a whole plantation of them on Karamja, and fruit bats drop them often. Having every single player in Runescape required to eat a whopping 50 of them (almost two full inventories)… well, supply about met demand right there. But because bananas came in a surplus already, it wasn’t difficult to collect a whole bunch. May as well have been cabbages, and nothing would’ve changed. I finished the task in the early stages, but I wouldn’t doubt that in the final minutes of the day, there were people probably offering millions for a load of bananas. Very few, though; I reckon the plantation was quite empty at that time, as everyone already achieved this one. Again, a crafty challenge.

Sept 5: Train at least 15 different skills in a day.

This one was fairly inevitable, so I wasn’t surprised. So many skills, there had to have been a jack-of-trades sort of challenge somewhere. Good luck with this one, pures.

Sept 6: Run from the Wilderness wall to the deep Wilderness wall without dying or teleporting.

Wilderness Marathon. Why not? I’m not going for the high score here (do this one over and over again in the course of the month to get put on a high score table). Anyone can do it.

Sept 7: Talk to 10 different signature heroes, kings, queens or rulers.

Another crafty one. For starts, you got the six signature heroes, so if you can find them all, you’re more than halfway done. From there, how many kings and queens are out there that you can directly access? This one took some getting around as well as some trivia, so players who did their research or were familiar with the gamescape would’ve had had a much easier time with this one. Superheroes don’t just blindly search through a towering city centre trying to find 56th street to stop a robbery, after all.

Sept 8: Complete a game of Soul Wars.

What can I say? The minigame was sort of dying off in favour of games like Castle Wars. By making it a challenge while so many people have already devoted themselves to the cause, this is perhaps the perfect way to advertise it and show everyone that it can still be fun. Maybe. If they threw in some hidden updates here and there for people to discover, that would’ve given it a gold star good and proper. Regardless, it was well-timed and well-placed, and because you only had to play it, it really was nothing less than an advertisement to the minigame. And you know what they say: calm before the storm.

Sept 9: Cheer in the cabbage field north of Port Sarim when there are no cabbages in it.

And the storm was a doozy. This one was simply brilliant. Impossible to do it on your own, or even with a small individual group. Unlike the dancing one which required some collaboration, this one required full-on teamwork and coordination with EVERYBODY standing in the field. That meant there had to have been a leader, everyone got organized, and nobody went off on their own tangent, or else it messed things up for everyone. I had a lot of fun helping try to get everyone coordinated because the field was sort of split into people yelling “stop picking, we need to do it at the same time!” and people picking and yelling “everyone pick now, we got enough people!”. Didn’t work. It was too chaotic, and there was always one cabbage left after the field was seemingly empty and everyone fruitlessly cheered.

So what did I do to help quell this rabble? I picked out someone in the crowd trying to call order from the middle of the field in nice bright letters and yelled for everyone to follow that person. That’s it. I just shouted “Everyone, listen to [person]!” over and over. This helped give everyone the impression that this “leader” had a group going on in the midst of the chaos, and they were much more likely to coordinate with him. And that’s exactly what happened. In less than 5 minutes of me telling everyone to follow this guy, we had the field full of cabbages and everyone to a set of two. The countdown began, we grabbed, we cheered, and fireworks lit up the field.

So there’s a word to the wise: When there’s uncoordinated chaos, you can be the hero by not being the hero.

Sept 10: Catch, or assist someone in catching, a big fish during a game of Fish Flingers.

Another minigame advertisement. “Hey, everyone try out Fish Flingers because it’s a great fun way to train fishing and very few people do it!” Because it’s more of a “training” minigame, I sort of felt it wasn’t necessary, as people only did it when they wanted some experience rather than some “fun”. However, from that last challenge, it was good to have a relatively simple one again.

Sept 11: Harvest from the same wisp as at least 4 other people.

Another divination one. No comment. If anything, this is just a show of things to come with future possible Divination and skill challenges. Probably get another one on the 21st.

Sept 12: Fill your inventory with 28 different types of food and drink, then eat something.

Another one of those discovery challenges which makes you think for a bit that gets constantly harder the closer you get to the conclusion. There are literally hundreds of kinds of food all over Runescape. How many do you know about?

Sept 13: Find 10 items in a drop party in Falador’s Party Room

Yeah, they went there. For one special day, Party Pete gets a good, proper audience and a big giant mess of worthless junk. A friendly reminder for a little-remembered service.

Sept 14: Give Alex 43 all your gold.

Oh, um… how did this get in here? Just fooling. I don’t know what Sept 14 is yet at the time of writing this. … though could you imagine it? A daily challenge where an NPC or something appears for 24 hours and you have to give him all your gold for #30? I would laugh.

To those of you in the flow, good luck with the rest of the challenges. I’ll be doing them as well. We’re all in this together.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!

I’m a PC and I’m not a stereotype

posted by on 11th October 2008, at 11:32pm | 5 Comments
After being beaten down by the ‘Get A Mac’ ads, Microsoft finally strikes back with several new ads in support of their latest operating system, Vista. The I’m a PC commercials intend to break the stereotypes that some people have towards the PC user…