Word of warning, I’m going to be a little informal with this article.

… OK, yeah, that was kinda meant to be a joke. But in all seriousness, this is not so much my analysis this time as opposed to just telling a story.

The story of how I got my Max Cape.

Let’s start from the beginning. I created an account in Runescape Classic back when it was Runescape, and it threw me in Lumbridge. Yay. The most powerful armor type was adamantite, and you were considered prestigious if you wore it. Combat level 27 was something impressive, and if you could kill a Varrock Guard on your own, you were feared. I mean, the spell-book only had spells that went up to level 13, and there were even two spell-books with two different level categories, meaning you had to advance both to unlock both spell-books.

Of course, back then Runescape was sort of a hobby project. It is by luck and an incredible community that it got better. Actually, if you want to know more, check out their documentary. Lots of great stuff there.

Anyways, eventually we (both us as players and the team at Jagex) decided that level 99 was the peak of the mountain. A player gets that, they’re a master. A God. They’ve reached the point where they really REALLY shouldn’t be doing that skill anymore because they’ve already hogged up all the resources in the marketplace.

I wanted that. I wanted to be awesome like that, and I figured I could because I spent so much time in Runescape already. I knew the map off by heart. I knew where every rock and square was. At one point, I think I was the only player to realize that rocks spawned ores in minute intervals and, rather than mine the same one over and over, I had to mine them all in sequence for fastest gain (because they didn’t visually show back then; you had to inspect it).

Back then, that was something for me to strive for because I didn’t have much else to do. Back then I was an avid gamer, playing Runescape every waking moment I had with a computer. Quests. Training skills for quests. Training skills for benefits. I wanted to take my character as far as I could go, because he was more than just an avatar.

For a while, he was me.

I trained hardcore. I got level 40 prayer with regular bones. I trained mining by mining iron ore and offing them on a friend named Zezima so he could train his smithing and I could get in the mining guild (no, we don’t still chat – it wasn’t that kind of relationship). I fished bass and swordfish because everybody was all over the lobster spots and making them dance. For a good long while, I thought I could probably get level 99 one day.

But then I started taking my post-secondary studies seriously and I got a job. Responsibility happened. A lot of it.

Suddenly, I was no longer that avid gamer, but instead a casual one. I played Runescape just to keep it going, but I saw players and friends surpass me quickly. I saw people who I had known in my Runescape Classic years become celebrities. I knew there was no way I could catch up.

I thought, why do it? Why try to become the best player when there are so many others better than me?

I was tempted, though. With the release of the skill capes, which were the most epic looking things you could have on your back at the time, getting level 99 became the new sign of prestige. You didn’t just brag about it, you wore your status around and were revered for it with the style points and an emote to match. Getting an epic cape like that might have spurred me to grind my way to a level 99 in just one stat.

However, they made one crucial mistake.

They created a Quest Point cape as well. I got that, and I loved it, and I didn’t wear anything but that.

It was the Quest Point cape that saved me.

Since that point, I had been grinding at Runescape for every waking moment I could. My studies were suffering, I was shirking my responsibilities around the house, and I even got into a few arguments. I so wanted to become awesome at the game. To be a character who everybody knew much like Bluerose and Zezima.

The Quest Point cape gave me that. I was one of the few players to actually have that. For a time, I was famous. People saw me in a skill cape and thought it looked epic, and I felt proud of myself.

… and then… well, that was it. It felt good. Nothing more. All that work, all that effort, for a few days of just feeling good about myself.

Was it worth it?

Not one bit.

I mean, I wasn’t going to stop. I was going to keep playing Runescape because… well, why throw it all away regardless of whether or not I’m proud of what I did?

I came to realize that I did not have to be the best after all. Being the best in a video game like Runescape showed devotion and stick-to-it-ness, sure, but being the best at anything else showed that and possibly more. Not only that, but once I became the best, the bar would be moved again, and the competition resumed. It wouldn’t end. It would’ve sucked me dry.

Thank you, Quest Point Cape. You will always be my favorite.

So, for a good long while, I stopped caring. I didn’t care if I was the best or not. I didn’t care if I got level 99 in any of my skills anymore. I just wanted to keep playing Runescape and enjoy it for the game it is. It was always updating; always changing. It was like playing a whole bunch of new games with the same character.

In fact, I started to dread achieving my goal. If I got level 99, I would not want to train that skill anymore. That was it. The game was over. I would win Runescape. Then I would cast it all away for a new challenge, and the cycle would repeat. I didn’t want that.

But, no matter you do in Runescape, you’re training something. Slayer came out, and boy did I take to it.

The years went by, and I just enjoyed Runescape for what it was.

Eventually, though, I wound up with my first level 99 – defense. Why defense? Simple answer; I liked the color of the cape more than the others. Blue. Went well with my outfit, and it wasn’t all that different from the Quest Point Cape I could finally hang up after all this time- no, I still wore it. Same stats and all. I think it had an extra prayer bonus or something. I forget.

Nevertheless, my first level 99. I was part of the big guys again. Whoop-de-do. It wasn’t nearly as euphoric as my Quest Point Cape, but it did feel good.

Then, as I expected, they let out a Max Cape to award the players who got level 99 in all the skills, and that became the new prestigious item that everybody went for. Came with a sick new emote and, for the first time ever, color customization. I watched Max run around Varrock toting that thing on his back like somebody paid him to advertise and thought; yeah, probably not going to happen.

But then, Runescape changed. I’m not sure what spurred this, but it was a huge, dynamic difference.

It started with Squeal of Fortune and Treasure Hunter. Then quests with huge rewards like While Guthix Sleeps.  Then Priffdinas. Then double exp weekend.

Before I knew it, training suddenly became stupid easy.

Now it was at getting level 120. 200 million experience. Heck, some players wanted to prestige where they reset their stats and started over! Who the flying fudge wants to get 200 million fletching experience a second time? Construction, I can understand; that’s a fantastic skill.

No, what was important was that level 99 was no longer anything incredible because of how ridiculously easy it was became to get.

It was no longer the sign of prestige that the adamantite plate body once was when the best profit you’d only get was 15 coins at a time from guard drops. Now stuff drops adamantite plate bodies commonly.

It wasn’t about me getting to the top anymore. I didn’t care about it. What I cared about was my old goal of getting level 99. One I had once abandoned because I never saw myself able to commit to that much grinding. But once it became easy…

Well, I had to do it. Level 99 was no longer the end. Skills were coming out where 120 was the max level. I could complete my original goal and continue to enjoy Runescape!

So I planned my double exp weekends. I found ways to multi-task AFK skills like fishing and fletching. I let Priffdinas in all its glory take me in. Before I knew it, I was starting to get level 99s almost effortlessly. Construction. The rest of my combat stats. Slayer. Herblore. Heck, I had even gotten 7 level 99s in one login session (8 if you count Dragon-Cuddling; more on that here [might have lost a couple images]).

Finally, I was down to my last three skills, each at level 99 with 10k exp to go! The end was within reach! I would have gotten the max cape if… well, if Invention didn’t suddenly appear. That’s what I get for procrastinating my training.

But Invention was quick to train, and after getting level 99 in all my other skills, I drilled it. One augmented item after another. As many components and gizmos as I could build. So many energy tanks that Mega Man mailed me an informal letter of complaint and a live cougar.

Then, all of the sudden, I was standing there. With a level 12 augmented scythe, and 300,000 exp until 99 invention. On Yu’biusk (don’t ask how I wound up there). That was the last level I needed for the Max Cape.

I called some friends over to WITNESS ME, and there it was. Level 99 invention.

… well, actually I missed and got level 100 invention by mistake, but you get the idea.

I put on the Max Cape. Yay me. Was it euphoric? … not that much. It was cool to get into the Guild and all, but because I use a custom wardrobe cape, nobody has ever really seen it beyond my celebratory conga walk from Varrock to Priffdinas (I didn’t know what people did when they got their max capes, but I imagined there was a lot of drinking involved). My new status capes are the ones from Runefest and the 15-year cape, because not that many people wear them.

But Alex 43, you might say, the reason you didn’t feel anything is because you didn’t put that sort of incredulous effort into it. You’re right, I reply. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to struggle for years for a few moments of glory. I just played the game to my pleasant enjoyment. That way, it was always fun. I don’t need my feel-good stuff in big bursts. Not super-healthy.

Of course, that’s just my opinion. Please, continue to dominate my sorry hide in PVM.

So, will I get the Completionist cape? Yeah, I think I will one day. I’m not going to proactively grind for it, I’m going to take my time as usual.

Of course, by the time I finally do get it, they’ll have come out with the 120 max cape, the super-completionist cape, the 200-mil max cape, and the Apoco-Cape where its emote literally makes you an Elder God and you reshape Gielinor like you would with a heavy-duty Minecraft mod.

Like I said, it never ends, so you might as well enjoy it.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!