That’s right, The Elf City is coming in September and I for one can’t wait. I began playing RuneScape in early 2008 and ever since that first day that I stepped into Gielinor I have been known as Tanis Half Elf. As you can imagine, this update is very near and dear to my heart. It’s extremely important that something 10 years in the making is done right and goes off without a hitch. With that being said, the first design document of The Elf City was released this week and I must say it looks amazing. The Elf City has everything I could have wanted and more. It’s planned to be not only an end to a quest series or a new place on the map but also a hub for high level players. For many years some players have been asking for an exclusive place for high-level players. Somewhere they can be around their peers and feel a sense of achievement and exclusivity. To that I say welcome to Prifddinas, RuneScape’s very own country club. It’s still in the early stages of development and things can change, but let’s take a look at what they have gotten right and what needs some work and ponder what effect, if any, The Elf City will have on the rest of RuneScape.

If I had to sum up The Elf City in a single word it would be convenient. It really is a one stop shop for all high-level players. It literally has everything you could ever want. The question is not why you would go there but rather why would you ever leave? The whole city is centered around the Tower of Voices. This tower is the center of elven life and holds a shard of Seren on top of it. The tower looks beautiful in the concept art that was released in the design document, although it does need to incorporate much more crystal. Crystal is central to elven life and there should be as much as possible incorporated into all the buildings of The Elf City. Traveling to The Elf  City should be a breeze too with multiple means of transportation to get there. Some of these are already causing quite a stir on the forums, however if you take a step back there are plenty of ways to deal with the more controversial means of travel.

You will be able to reach The Elf City on foot, fairy rings, gnome gliders, as well as Crystal teleports and a lodestone. Now of course there is no problem with the gnome gliders. Everyone knows the close history of elves and gnomes and having a glider there makes perfect sense. The connection between elves and fairies is a little cloudier in my view and why I believe it would be nice to have, but the player should have to finish a fairy ring much like they do in the ancient cavern by adding bittercap mushrooms to it. Crystal teleports are another no-brainer, these make perfect sense and eventually when the whole city is added  they may become the best means of transportation because they can be tuned to a certain sector of the city. Now we come to the most controversial of the transportation methods, the lodestone. There are a few problems with the lodestone, one is that it pokes a huge plot hole in the lore. Unfortunately there’s not really any way to rectify that if the lodestone is already there when you enter for the first time, but by all rights it shouldn’t be. The other problem with the lodestone for some players is that they claim it makes travel to easy. I’m going to disregard the second point because there is nothing forcing you to use a lodestone, if you want to walk then hop to it. The first point however is legitimate and there is a way to rectify the situation. Instead of having a lodestone already present when you arrive at The Elf City for the first time, we could build it ourselves if we so choose. This could make use of our construction and magic skills and the requirements to build it could be set high enough so that it coincided with the rest of the requirements for the city. There you go problem solved, you’re welcome. One means of travel that is conspicuously absent is a magic teleport. Earlier this year the players voted on which spell book new Seren themed spells should be. The ancient spell book won this poll and is why I would propose that a teleport to The Elf City be added in the ancient spell book and that would round out all of the access points.

Next up let’s look at the amenities offered by the Tower of Voices. First off there will be a grand exchange clerk. This has been rumored for years but we really never knew if it would come to fruition or not. There will also be two bank tellers and a teleport to Varrock’s grand exchange. Next there will be a number of NPCs that will make many things very convenient. There will be a Crystal Singer which only makes sense, and five divination NPCs that will wonder the grounds helping with your devine locations, an herb lore decanter and a challenge master along with someone you can turn in your Chronicle fragments to. Last but not least is Xuan’s loyalty shop and yes, Solomon. All of these NPC’s are there to make things more convenient for high-level players. Most of which are utilized by high-level players, with one exception. There has been a major outcry by the players on the forums about having Solomon in The Elf City and I tend to agree. He is not wanted or necessary. The whole theme of the Tower of Voices is to make things convenient and accessible for high-level players, however, Solomon has his own tab on the interface and anyone that can reach The Elf City is quite aware of him and how to shop at his store. It’s the one thing that truly doesn’t belong. Now I know some players are also having a hard time with the divination NPC’s. Don’t fret, this is not a huge obstacle. A good developer and a good writer can weave them into the lore and make a believable case and no one is more passionate about the lore than mod Osborne who is overseeing the project. I know it’s hard to trust Jagex sometimes but we have a friend and ally to all lore hounds in mod Osborne, trust him he won’t let anyone mess this up. Finally there is one NPC that is missing and that is Diego. Of course he can’t be in two places at the same time but maybe he has a brother or a son or a nephew who could be in The Elf City and allow you to access your holiday rewards.

By far my favorite aspect of the Tower of Voices is the teleportation area. This will contain teleports to Dungeoneering, sinkholes, player owned house, player owned port, and clan Citadel. I really love this idea. These are all places that I visit often and it is great to have a single access point to all of these places. I know the criticism is that it makes travel too easy but like I said before you don’t have to use it, I on the other hand would rather not walk. There are also some lesser amenities including a bonfire, and Elven version of the shattered heart statue and chimes. We’ve seen the bonfire before in the last Christmas event and it’s nice but nothing groundbreaking, and we are all familiar with the shattered heart statue and how that works. The interesting thing about this statue is that it will come to life after you have completed 32 rounds and tell you it’s story. This is very cool and very interesting to all the lore buffs out there. Finally something we haven’t seen before are the chimes. These chimes will be located on the open clan towers around the city. Each will play a single note and the idea is that players can ring them and make up their own music. While this is a nice idea I think an opportunity is being missed, and I see the potential for endless spamming which would be really annoying. Instead of this being a free-for-all, I would propose to make this some kind of a mini game or even a mini quest branched out of the last elf quest required to get into the city. We need some kind of structure and reason to play these chimes otherwise I fear it will just be chaotic noise all the time.

I want to save the skilling focuses and additions to skilling content that will come from the city for a later date. There are still four more design documents to come out and for the most part they will be covering each clan and their skilling focuses. I plan to revisit this topic in August before the release of the quest and when all of the information is out and all of the changes have been made. Now let’s talk about something no one is really talking about right now, which is what effect will having a hub for high level players have on the game in general.

At first I was afraid that this new city was so great that it had the potential to turn the rest of RuneScape into a ghost town. With so much to offer why would anyone ever go elsewhere. The answer to that is in the requirements to get in the city itself. The only requirement to access the city is that you have done the quest. So far we know that the quest will have at least 10 skills that will require level 75. It will also require a number of previous quests, including all of the elf content and the prerequisites for each of those quests. By the time all of those quests are completed you could call yourself an avid quester at that point. This means that there will be many players who will not qualify to get into the city nor will they want to even go through all of the quests to get into the city. This means that the rest of RuneScape is safe, albeit there will also be a lot of high-level players that will be holed up in The Elf City. That’s only natural, it is their country club.

So where would we miss high-level players in the rest of RuneScape? Well the most obvious places would be Dungeoneering and PvM. Let’s take dungeoneering first. There will be a portal to Daemonheim in The Elf City. I think this has the potential for high-level players to team up with each other and organize parties outside of Daemonheim. For other players there is no reason to worry. Many times it’s something as simple as asking in clan chat or a friend’s chat who is up for Dungeoneering and boom it’s that easy, party started. PVM is also very safe. Players that PvM will continue to do so, they are not all of the sudden going to switch to skilling, PvM is what they do. Considering there are no high-level bosses in The Elf City as of yet, there really isn’t any reason for them to go there. However, there is one thing that isn’t as quantifiable that high-level players bring to the table and could be missing in the rest of RuneScape, and that is leadership and experience. Think back to when you got started and how many times someone much more experienced than you helped you out. I know when I first started I made a number of friends who were high-level and very experienced. Their knowledge was indispensable to me and helped me learn best practices for what I was doing at the time. Many of these people I met while fishing or woodcutting or bank standing and just struck up a conversation. With fewer and fewer high-level players in the whole of RuneScape the opportunities for these conversations could become limited. In turn new players could become frustrated because they will quite literally be wasting XP not knowing the best way to do things and not having anyone to ask. Leadership is also something that high-level players bring to the table. I know many high-level players who are clan owners because of their experience and leadership skills. Clan owners are always the most accessible players in general but if they are locked behind Elven walls that many of their clanmates can’t reach, that could cause some drama. These are just a few things to think about and it remains to be seen what effect if any The Elf City will have on RuneScape in general.

All in all I love what I have seen so far. It looks great and is serving the purpose set out for it. I can’t wait for the city to get here. It’s been a long time since the half elf has been home and I think a homecoming party is long overdue. I hope to see all of you there and if you don’t have the levels or the quest requirements you still have time, so get cracking, you really don’t want to miss out on this content. Until next time, happy RuneScaping.