NOTE: There will probably be some spoilers for the new quest. I highly recommend you do it for yourself before reading this, as this is a quest that plays out so much better when you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Vampyrium! It’s not an element on the periodic table that turns people to vampires, it’s a world! It’s the world the Vampyres come from! Or rather, were pulled from by Zaros to become the citizens in his prototype empire. For the longest time, they dominated Morytania as the most fearsome, vicious, and merciless beings the dark lands had to offer. Beings that you can’t even harm without specialized and considerably complex weaponry. Werewolves submit to them, ghosts fear them, and humans intentionally go through great lengths to turn into them!
For the longest time, we only heard stories and theories behind the leader of this intense race. Then, almost out of nowhere, with barely a month’s notice, boom. He’s out and active again. Wow! If it was 2012, all these cameos would’ve been absolutely unheard of! First, Guthix and the Gods all appear in the flesh (and most of them in the same room at one point, too). Then Zaros appears. Then V. Now suddenly we have Lord Draken out in the flesh! Who knows; next quest, we may end up meeting the monarch of Falador!
So, let’s talk about it and why it’s such an awesome quest! I’m sure y’all know my style by now. It’s easy to talk about how bad something is by faults and flaws. I’m better than that. This is what I found that made this quest so darn awesome!
This quest starts off innocently enough. You’re just walking through Burgh de Rott one day, minding your own business, when suddenly Vanescula appears out of nowhere (Ellen Mclain would’ve given her an awesome voice). She refuses to state her business to you alone, and tells you to go get Safalaan because something important is happening in that she needs the whole Myreque’s help. … of course, she doesn’t directly tell you that, but why else would she wander Burgh de Rott?
Let’s stop right there for a second. If you recall, many of Runescape’s quests are instigated by approaching a random stranger on the side of the road and them offloading their problems on you. This time, it wasn’t like that. She isn’t just standing around somewhere; she actually appears out of nowhere when you approach the dock. She wasn’t even looking for you; she was in the process of assembling the Myreque before you ran into each other. You being there simply helped convenience her.
So what’s the big deal? Like I’ve written about before, my dear readers, this is about substance.
After the meeting with Vanescula, there is a quick preparation process where you gathered your outfits and manufactured your weapons. Nothing super-technical; you get your outfit from a crate in Vanstrom’s house and you make your weapons using the blisterwood tree and whatever materials are necessary. In fact, as a bonus, you get to learn to make some considerably powerful dual-handed blisterwood weapons.
So, why not just leave it at visiting the bank and gathering food and armor on your own terms? One reason is, again, substance. This is quick preparation stage that extends beyond simply visiting your bank and pulling out your best gear. You have to do some travelling around the Darkmeyer area, chatting and getting along with other members of the Myreque, and questioning Vanescula’s motives a bit. If you guys are really going to be doing this, you have to really be certain about everything.
This adds an air of intensity that things can go wrong in so many ways, and it’s nerve-wracking. You hesitate before you say “I’m ready”, because you run a mental checklist in your head. Then, when you click it, it’s a sudden “here we go!” rush, like jumping off the 5-metre at your local outdoor pool.
But the real reason for this is equality. They incorporated a whole new mechanic to questing in regards to equality. Namely, limiting resources.
See, how many quests originally went was that if you wore some very expensive armor and wielded super powerful weapons, the boss would be comparatively easy. This was partially remedied by scaling the boss itself to the players’ combat level, but it still came down to gear and equipment.
In this quest, it’s different. Not only is the combat scaled to your level, you’re stripped of all your gear and are supplied with armor and weapons (which you make yourself, meaning you get to choose which ones to bring and how many). Not just that, but later on, you are given a limited supply of food that must last you each section of the quest.
This means that your fights are solely limited to your skills as a player. Everybody’s forced onto equal ground and has to go through the same intensity. You are rewarded for having exceptional skill at the game rather than lots of money. As it should be.
Oh, and dying has no consequence except that you need to restart the section over again. So… that’s a good thing! Like an FPS shooter: since the quest is skill-based, this allows you to learn from your mistakes and attempt the challenge again with a better understanding and some tried and true practice methods without being forced to side-track and regain lost equipment. Just takes away from the immersion of the quest a bit when you do die and are thrown out of an otherwise imprisioning area, but I can forgive that.
This part was wicked-fun. First, you got to once again pretend you were vyrewatch and do some rather off-setting things, but it made you think that it was for the good of humankind, so there was a bit of emotional turmoil there. Made you really want to take down Draken when he did appear.
Then Draken himself appears and, rather than just blindly rage into a fight, he asks you what your intentions are and agrees/disagrees with you. Suddenly you’re shown the other side of the story. For a moment, I even started considering let the guy live because what he actually wanted seemed to work out for the best of both races. Then chaos happened.
We regrouped, regained our supplies in the form of beef jerky, and even solved a puzzle where we got to know the members of the Myreque even more. Good thing too; it’s been so long since the last quest with them that I didn’t know who was who anymore. Would’ve made the next part a lot less meaningful.
Death. Our allies started dying, one after the other. It was no longer about killing Draken; it was about escaping with our lives. For the entire climb back up the tower, the primary goal was avoiding conflict altogether. We were given a feeling of helplessness that wouldn’t have come up if we were allowed to bring our own equipment. Helplessness is what makes ghost stories so exciting to listen to, and they pulled it off rather nicely in this quest.
Ok, even you spoiler-hating folk had to see this coming. No way that the content developers at Jagex would let this quest come out without an epic boss battle. Top of the tower, nowhere to go anymore, half the team dead, our only option was to fight back.
The battle is multi-staged, with Draken getting new abilities with each phase. Once again, you are limited in food and equipment, meaning that you will have to take him on using skill alone. Because you can use any of the 3 combat styles, how you ultimately do it is entirely up to you. Just play to your strengths, and you’ll make it through.
Unlike normal combat battles with NPCs, this battle is very progressive. Every time you bring him down, he gets up again, more weakened and desperate, which makes the battle way more intense as it carries on. Also, there is a race against time to get the portal activated, which progresses during the fight, giving you a secondary goal: escape and survive. Not just that, but your allies continue to die one by one. It isn’t just the boss getting more desperate; we too are on the verge of defeat.
In the final part, I was the only one left still standing, and Draken was coming at me with a spear through his chest, spraying blood (mines) everywhere. That last part reminded me of the final stage of the warped dragonkin fight. One last effort; the goal was so close, and what happened next decided who won once and for all! Like overtime in a hockey game; the entire effort was decided in one final adrenaline-filled finishing blow! Best part of both those quests, hands down!
What happens after? Well, you’ll have to do the quest yourself.
All in all, it was an exhilarating quest. Wished it would’ve lasted a bit longer, but that in itself is a good thing. The quest had such excellent content that I wanted more. That means it was done right.
… but seriously, I want more. Take your time if you need to, just give us more quests like this! All of them!
Until next time,