With the Return of the Players' Gallery, I noticed that there were thick borders appearing on narrow images, so I've fixed that.
I've also taken this opportunity to change a couple of background and heading colours on the forums to increase contrast as well as eliminate a problem that was sometimes causing the mouse to flicker when hovering over links. Both of these changes have a very high chance of causing something to change unexpectedly that I've not noticed, so if you see anything amiss, please shout! :D
Get it now: http://userstyles.org/styles/16009 (screenshots)
Today saw the release of the first Court Cases which were blogged about in November, so I headed off to Seers' Village and the court room.
Talking to the Clerk, the introduction is fairly clear and the notes are in the Drawers. They aren't too long, which is good, and the fingerprints stop it being a 'read this or else' situation. With all the information read, I headed down the stairs to prosecute the Mugger (just because the name ends in -gger, it doesn't mean he has anywhere near the same rep that Hogger does :( - pet peeve each time he gets mentioned in a news post).
I went through, reading every chat option to see if there was anything interesting. It all was. The defender then had a turn and got all the cheers from the Jury that I didn't and won. :/
Back upstairs and I decided to drop the case. I talked to the Clerk again and could choose to defend instead of prosecute. Since I'd just been shown all the correct answers, I decided to do that. Back down again and I realised that all the answers hadn't been given simply because the options you're given to choose from give no indication about what you're going to say. Because of this, I still managed to get two of the options wrong and lose.
A third try and I got all the options right, but chose the wrong jury member. Finally, I chose the correct jury member having got a clean streak and successfully defended Hogger.
It's a nice idea, but implemented horribly.
You can switch from prosecution to defence and back again (I guess this is harder with the other trials since you'll need a summons).
When you summon a witness, you don't talk to them.
When you've finished with a witness, it doesn't give you the choice to summon the other. Instead, you have to talk to the Judge who goes "Whadda ya want, nub?" (or it feels like that after he's said it a dozen times).
The conversations when building a defence really don't flow at all.
When you need to choose a jury member, the judge asks which member you want to pick. There's then an anonymous message that asks the SAME THING. When the Jury panel appears, the message goes, so it's useless anyway.
The jury panel has annoying tooltips that don't help at all since they say exactly the same thing.
When you examine the citizens who are spectating, 6 of them have the same examine, then there's one which has a different examine and makes it unclear whether Seers' Village should have an apostrophe in its name. Two of the citizens also look exactly the same, down to the way they sit.
Making one mis-click means you have to re-do the whole thing, which gets tedious after the second attempt.
(and that's just what I can remember off the top of my head - there are several more individual problems I've not mentioned)
This isn't like The Chosen Commander where a few small issues relating to chat not flowing properly mean it's only 'pretty darn amazing' rather than 'epic'. This is conversations flowing so badly the content feels horribly broken and totally untested. Heck, the entire D&D is based on the idea of long conversations, so there really is no excuse. It simply doesn't work as it stands and I'm not going to be rushing back for more. :/
Please note that this series of four entries about Slayer, of which this is the fourth, happened between the 18th and 26th of February, so mentioned item prices may be slightly out of date
Continuing with my Slaying, I was assigned to kill ~120 Jungle Strykewyrms.
I left it a day before heading to fight them and appearing in the dock in Oo'glog by Charter Ship, I noticed some strange inconsistencies with the fog colour (black when on the boat, white the moment you step off), so stopped and sent in a Bug Report. While standing around on the dock, Pastaking9 came by and recognised me from sals, so we had a chat for a few minutes about various things before I headed onwards to the Strykewyrms.
I'd brought a full inventory of Monkfish with me, expecting to be hit quite a bit of damage. This was a mistake since if you have a Bunyip, that will cover all the healing you need (they also drop single doses of Super Defence Potion, so that'll always be boosted).
These creatures have the special 'dig' attack where they drop into the ground, move towards you and will hit 30 if you've not got out of the way. It took ages for one of these attacks to happen, so when it did I wasn't ready and got hit a 30. I was also hit by the next two of them, but after that I could detect the movement it makes in time and get out of the way. You have 0.5-1s to react if you don't want to be hit, so it slips slightly into 'twitch' gameplay, but the attacks happen so infrequently that you could simply eat from it and bank at the nearby MA bank.
Personally, I love that you need to pay attention to these creatures since much of the combat in Runescape consists of click, then wait until it dies which is tedious and boring. If similar mechanics can be implemented to other monsters in the future, I'll be an even happier Slayer. :/
As well as this attack that I love, they look fantastic.
They're beautiful and their attacks look great.
The Wyrms themselves look great, with a strange glow coming from inside. Around their base, the magic attacks and the death animation also make great use of particles and look amazing (at least in comparison to current spells in RS).
I slowly worked my way through the task, nomming food unnecessarily as more inventory spaces were needed for drops. In this sense, I love that most of what they drop either stacks or is noted. There is no way I'd every consider picking up an Unnoted Guam, Marrentill or Tarromin, but when noted they'll find their way into my inventory without much hesitation.
After 101 kills, I was in for a bit of a shock when I right-clicked on what had dropped.
The most expensive thing a monster has ever dropped for me
Previously, I've not had anything drop for me that's worth more than 100k, so this really was an amazing unexpected surprise. At this point, I had to log off and play some IRL for a few minutes.
Logging back in, I killed 8 more Strykewyrms and was in for another big shock when a second Hexcrest appeared on the floor.
Killing the final dozen Strykewyrms yielded yet more surprises. All of a sudden, a message appeared in my chat box telling me I'd reached level 81 Strength. Another couple of kills later and I'd reached 81 Attack since they were within about 500xp of each other. I knew they'd be close together since I was using the 'Controlled' settting on the Whip, but didn't realise that it was so close.
Attempting to use one of the Hexcrests with my Slayer Helm provided a message saying that I also needed a Focus Sight to extend its powers. somisareg commented in the CC, asking whether I wanted to swap one of my Hexcrests for a Focus Sight. Of course I did! We met up in Edgeville Bank, did the trade and I now have a Full Slayer Helm! :P
Best. Slayer. Task. Ever. ^_^ :D :D
As mentioned, I've gone and updated the Play Classic page so there's no brown on it. In doing so, I finally found out how to blur the edges of an image so it's not pixellated. :( (the 'Feather' plugin for Paint.NET)
The selectors for the AoG 'Updated' text on the homepage have been updated so it looks the same in both Chrome and Firefox.
The menubar above the game applet has been given some blueness so that there's blue on every page on the RS website. The advert background on this page has also been made blue. While doing this, I found a few px of wasted space that have now been recovered and can now be used to make the game window even bigger when in resizeable mode.
If you find the blue above the game window too distracting after playing with it for a few hours, please shout and I'll see what can be done!
Get it now: http://userstyles.org/styles/16009 (screenshots)
A small update has been made to the Runescape Website - Blue skin so that text on the grats on install page after installing the downloadable client is readable.
(based on 15-16-979-61057883, the new downloadable client appeared at some point last week - a quick look at the source shows it to be an older build of this that's been tweaked a bit to fix 4 problems, plus ~100 lines of C++, all put together in Visual C++ (note that I don't know C++ and haven't looked in detail at the source))
Get it now: http://userstyles.org/styles/16009 (screenshots)
(I'll hopefully get round to updating the 'Play RS Classic' page over the next day or two)
What a quest. :P
You start off by finding a book (as with the other quests in this series) and reading it. This gives you a bit of background to the Workshop as well as telling you how to make a key to pass through the Body Door.
Having passed through the door, you find yourself upstairs in a giant room with a strange contraption below. From upstairs, the room has a great feel to it that indicates that there's something powerful at work.
The room is giant and reminds me of fighting my way through Gnomeregan simply because of the giant size and mechanical feel
Having spent a while simply staring at the room below, I decided to descend the stairs and have a look around. Some counters and some levers. Fine.
I spent a couple of minutes looking around before deciding that it was probably safe to pull one of the levers. Something in the pit below moved. I pulled it again. Nothing happened. I then pulled a few more levers at random. Some of these made things move in the pit and others caused nothing interesting to happen. After around a dozen levers had been pulled, I decided to work out what was actually happening.
As it was, I couldn't easily see into the pit to keep an eye on what was going on. Looking around the screen, I noticed the 'Change view' magnifying glass which gave a much nicer view of what was happening. A couple more experimental pulls and I'd worked out how the contraption operated. Now, to work out what to do...
OK, it took about 20 seconds to work out what to do. There's one powered motor with a connection hole coming out of it, along with a load of blocks which can be moved around and have holes in them just like the one on the motor. There are then further holes in the wall at various heights that quite clearly want connecting to. There's a counter on the far side of the room with a number 50 on it by default that decreases when you make a move.
The task at hand was clear, so I reset the puzzle and worked on connecting to the first hole. 46 moves later, it was connected and a piece 2 high came down from a raised platform. I made a further 4 moves before being told it was out of power, so went and reset it again. Thankfully, the platform remains lowered upon a reset, so that was fine. Connecting to the next hole took 48 moves, but was easy enough. The third one took two attempts - my first attempt would have needed 56 moves, so I had to try again. Somewhere along the line, I made a wrong move so had to undo it. In the end, it was connected in 49 moves. :D
The bit in the middle had now descended and had 4 holes to connect to. Looking at it, the idea of connecting everything up in 50 moves didn't seem possible, but there were two counters which could be connected to... I started off by trying to connect to the southern counter, but I couldn't see how to do it in under 50 moves, so I had a go at connecting to the northern one. This worked and I was given an extra 50 moves. I could then connect to the southern one and get an infinite number of moves! :) When that counter becomes stuck, it's really distracting.
Back to connecting to the central column and it was easy enough, except I'd managed to get mixed up and put the 2-high one in the wrong place. An extra few moves and that was solved, bringing the total to around 90. The machine was now spinning, so I went upstairs and had a look around. There was a slot for a narrow bar in the building, so I had a go at using the Mind Bar I'd made earlier in the week with it. This didn't work and I actually needed a Primed Bar instead, so went upstairs and made a couple before putting one in the slot.
It seemed like I needed to raise the machine back up again now that it was spinning, so back down I went and moved the blocks into the same position as brought it down in the first place. This worked and I could now press the Big Red Button and make a Body Bar! Unfortunately, two of these were needed, so it was back downstairs to do some (slightly annoying) rearranging to bring the machine down, start it up and raise it again.
Upstairs to the main workshop and it was time to make a Body Body! I tried using it on the Workbench, but was told I needed the Battered Book, so headed across the road to pick one up before making the body!
I then smithed both an Elemental and Mind Body from the additional bars knocking around in my inventory. The whooshyness upon equipping is fantastic and something I'm glad has been continued from the other equipment from the Workshop. Of course, I also read the tome for the extra Defence and Smithing experience. This is done nicely - the defence experience is optional, so it doesn't stop pures doing the quest. Smithing xp is also nice since it's my second lowest stat. :)
This is a great quest with a fantastic puzzle. It's clear what to do by simply experimenting with the levers for 5 minutes, even if the Diagram that you can find in a crate means nothing. It's then an hour or two of pure fun playing around with this giant toy to try and connect things up.
As with the other EW quests, there's a distinct lack of plot behind what you're doing. In the whole of the trilogy as it stands, you don't talk to a single NPC and the entire series comes from a few books you find knocking around in some shelves. From these books, you're an adventurer who wants to explore and find out more about the strange Workshop. You're not being told to do something for a reward from an NPC, you're doing it because you're a great adventurer who wants to better themselves and possibly find out more about the Workshop.
The lack of plot and focus on experimenting with your environment is an amazing feature of this series and I'm left wondering what's behind the rubble to the south of the Mind and Body doors...
The quest is great fun and the self-drive required to complete it is a fantastic idea
One of the key issues I mentioned in the first of the Colourblindness in Runescape entries was the colour of chat text. Today saw the release of a way to "choose the colour of your split [private] chat", so off I hopped into the game and had a look at what had been added.
After the release of the Notes system and the horrible colour-selection menu that has, I wasn't particularly hopeful. On the plus side, it was being worked on in January (said in one of the Q&A sessions), so this is the culmination of 4 months of work.
So, I logged into the game and found what I was looking for.
15 colours to choose from, OK, that's probably what I was expecting. OK, so nobody's logged in, but there's some 'Sample text' to look at, lets flick through the colours! ;)
*4 colours are looked at, reaching the above position*
Where in the whole of Gielinor is there a location that looks anything like that colour-wise? The chat text is going to be put against the many colours that this world has to offer, not a consistent brown colour. To me, the 'Sample text' in the above image is perfectly fine to read without problems. When, however, it's moved to the 'live' environment of actual text in the game it's painful and difficult to read. Why the background isn't transparent, I have no clue. (Fine, I do. Whoever designed it clearly isn't the intended user.)
Because of this worse-than-useless 'Sample text', I was in need for some real text to play with, so had to ask for people to PM me something that would be useful to test with. :)
Next, who's up for the new version of hunt the stick?
Yes, there is genuinely some chat text there. When playing around with this new interface there were several occasions where I'd set the colour to green and thought that there had somehow been 100 messages scroll past and pushed the PM chat out of the front of the queue because of the lack of testing (nobody would be silly enough to let that into the game with no shadow, right? There's nowhere in the game that it'd be remotely readable in the current state, even Lumbridge Bank Chest).
In total, 5 out of the 15 colours have no shadow behind the text. Even the black text should have something behind it since small 1px wide text is notoriously difficult to read. This is exactly why I mentioned that it should also be possible to change the colour of the shadow. Of the remaining 10, there are 3 that are easy to read (white, yellow and yellow - some would call the second one 'light green', but I see little difference apart from one being slightly lighter).
Beyond the colours, it's made it much slower to actually split the chat text. Previously, it was two clicks and about a second to change the settings when you wanted to alter it to take a screenshot. It's now more clicks and takes at least twice as long. There isn't even a right-click option to simply toggle the chat setting. I'm also surprised that this opportunity wasn't taken to move the position of the split chat to the right so it isn't squished against the side of the screen (so it's harder to read) when in a non-fixed window.
Overall, the current setup is a shambles and changes need to be made for it to be as useful as it should be.
On top of the 15 'simple' colours, there should be an 'advanced' option that allows you to choose exactly what you want from 16.7m colours (both WYSIWYG and RGB). It'd mean an extra couple of bytes of data for those who bother to choose an 'advanced' colour, but the advantages would be massive. It's clear that storage isn't a major issue since the F2P Friends List has been expanded, which will create much more data than allowing a proper range of colours to be chosen.
It should be possible to choose the colour of the shadow.
The 'Sample text' should have a transparent background.
There should be a right-click option to toggle the Split Chat option.
After having 4 months+ to be worked on, this really isn't anywhere near as good as it should be. It's nice, but no more and full of various problems that want fixing.
This is a system made of incompetence, people who don't play the game and lots of unanswered questions about what took so long.
(I presume this release is testing before expanding to the other types of text and that the vital ability to make the chat box permanently opaque is coming soon)
There were a couple of videos / songs I was having trouble deciding between to post today, when I came across the following which out-trumps everything I've come across in a while for being full of pure awesomeness.
'Epic' would be a bit of an understatement. :D
A month ago there was the release of 'Forum Communities' on the RSOF, something which has been slated since release and is going to be made even more confusing tomorrow when more timers are being added. Guthix knows why.
Anyway, for those who want to forget that the silly things even exist, I've created a userstyle which will hide anything to do with the communities, simply leaving you with the 'Everyone' section to post in and explore. It is still possible to access threads in the other communities through profile and external links, but they will not get in your way during normal browsing.
The 'omg u r active in anotha communitee' messages when making a post are still visible to avoid any confusing errors when you forget that the silly system exists, but other than that any traces of the other communities have been removed. If I've missed anything, please say!
Get it now!: http://userstyles.org/styles/30772
(Sal's Realm in a platinum fansite (103-104-6-60844459), so there shouldn't be problems with referring people to this post if you want to spread the word)
Hide all the silly bloat (below) that you quite clearly don't care about!
In related news, the Runescape Website - Blue skin has had a couple of colours tweaked and some minor modifications made to work seamlessly with the above.
The Sal's Realm - Wide skin is also working again.
Please note that this series of four entries about Slayer, of which this is the third, happened between the 18th and 26th of February, so mentioned item prices may be slightly out of date
With Dagannoths as my Slayer task and a feeling that I wasn't going to be able to complete it in a reasonable time at the Dagannoth Kings, I decided to do it the 'proper' way - with a Cannon in the room under the Lighthouse.
I headed off to the Grand Exchange and put in an offer for a Cannon at max. It took a couple of hours for the offer to fill, but that wasn't a problem. I then started an offer to buy some Cannonballs. For as long as I can remember, these had a value of 200gp or 180gp if you were buying in huge quantities, so it was a massive shock to see that they'd set me back 400gp each - twice what I was expecting. Oh well, money is easy to come by, so I bought 5k of them.
Off to the Lighthouse I headed, then hopped worlds a couple of times to find an empty one. I set up the Cannon and off it fired.
Pwning Dagannoths with a Cannon
Fairly quickly, I noticed that they drop huge numbers of valuable Herb Seeds - Lantadyme, Dwarf Weed, Snapdragon. The only problem with these is that they're tiny and with the Dagannoths dying so rapidly, it's easy to miss one that's dropped. It was with a strange grin on my face that I right-clicked on a Snapdragon Seed, clicked to pick it up, ran over and found that it had disappeared. Maybe I can make money too easily on RS if I can let 100k disappear with little more than a 'meh'.
The task ended quickly, then I was off to fetch another one. This time it was Black Demons - those big things that take ages to kill and are horribly boring. Of course, I had my Cannon, so felt a need to use it. Looking around, it appears that all their locations outside the Chaos Tunnels are in single combat. The Cannon would still be speeding up kills, so that's a good thing.
I headed off to Taverley Dungeon and set myself up. It's still horribly tedious and I hate the task, but the kills are faster so the boredom doesn't last as long. Over the course of the task, I averaged about 10 Cannonballs per kill, not cheap, but I'd say it was worth it.
The Cannon speeds up Black Demon tasks significantly, even though it's a single combat area
A couple of tasks later and I was assigned Bloodvelds. For this, there was an option of heading to an overcrowded Slayer Tower or traversing the Meiyerditch Tunnels and finding the Mutated version to kill with a Cannon. Clearly, the latter was favourable. It's a long trek to get there, but the tunnels look great, so it isn't a problem. Once there, I managed about 3/4 of my task before running out of Prayer Potions, so had to tele out. Because of the long walk to head back, I used the Slayer Tower to finish off the task.
After a gap of a few days, I was given another task to kill 210 Bloodvelds. This time, I was determined that I wouldn't run out of supplies, so over-stocked on everything and headed in. An hour later, the task was finished. 40k Melee, 60k Range and 40k Slayer xp in a hour. Amazing speed and well worth the cost of 3k Cannonballs!
Cannoning Mutated Bloodvelds is extremely fast experience
The ammo may cost a fortune, but it is a truly amazing weapon.
I love my Cannon.
I logged into Runescape and found myself standing in the entrance to Zanaris (I'd logged out in the bank) and simply loved the look. :P
I was a fan the old look, but this simply feels magical. First impressions said it looks like the Free Realms starting area, but I'm not totally sure where that thought came from. Beyond the first glance, it was time to do some questing, so off I ran towards the bank and was bombarded with even more hawtness.
Upon reaching the bank, I was extremely happy with how the bankers moved. Previously, you had 4 NPCs swinging around in sync with each other, something that looked totally unnatural. Now, they move independently of each other and it looks much better. :P
The quest started with a crazily long introduction that even I would say could have done with something to break it up. Yes, there was the task to fetch the wand / stick from Gnarly, but it would have been nice if there was another side-task like that to help break up the Giantwalloftextandseveralcutscenes. The cut-scenes (briefings) themselves were well made, although my one niggle is that the 'Censored!' text disappeared too quickly and should have stayed visible throughout the whole blacked-out part.
On to collecting the teeth and you're told exactly what to do. There was no thinking required and no need to even glance at the in-game quest log for any reminders. The conversations themselves were fantastic and very well written, but quests should require you to think at least a teeny bit and I think this was slightly too self-guiding. I'll also agree with Vaskor in that it's a shame that the Enchanted Valley has been given a use.
[name=ftp3-battle][/name]The final battle was designed wonderfully. Rather than needing to bash the bad guys over the head, you could let your tooth allies do all the fighting and stick to a healer role. OK, the healer role meant spam-clicking the tooth allies and hoping one of the creatures you're fighting doesn't get in the way, but it's the thought that counts and the implementation can be improved upon in future battles like this. I also had no idea how to control the tooth allies, simply clicking 'Follow-me' and 'Fight!' randomly when none of them needed healing.
I went in with 20 Sharks, an Extreme Set, a Granite Lobster, the Teeth and the Wand. By the time all the teeth had grown, I was down to 6 Sharks left and I realised I hadn't drunk any of the Potions, so did that too. I also hadn't summoned the Lobster, but left that in my bag. With only one of the Generals dead and a second on halfish health, I was out of food, so left the battlefield and let the tooth allies finish them off, only re-entering to do some healing. Somehow, this worked and I reached the Godfather with 800 health left. The tooth allies attacked, I spam-clicked to heal them and fairly quickly he was defeated (with me on ~380 health)! :P
Some of the good guys appeared and then...
I don't know what it is, but I love the look of the spells that the Fairy Stitchers use to close the Rift. :P
Continuing on with the conversation and the main quest was over.
There were then the additional rewards to collect, which took as long as the quest itself. I love the idea of tiered rewards for people with higher levels, though something like the free weeding of Farming Patches should have been part of the main reward instead of having to talk to Martin again afterwards. The ability to sell Suqah Teeth for 2k a pop also isn't enough to get them removed from my blocked Slayer tasks even if that appears to be the aim of implementing this reward. :o
I had problems with finding and Old Tooth in a level 2 dig at the Digsite - I found one in both a level 1 and 3 dig within 5 minutes, yet ~15 minutes in a level 2 dig yielded nothing. Has anybody else had any luck finding a tooth in a level 2 dig?
Overall, it's a very good quest. The conversations are well written, albeit too long. The graphics are wonderful and the scratched back syndrome makes sense since it's scaled for Fairies rather than Humans. The boss fight is original, although a bit reliant on spam-clicking. The puzzles were practically non-existent because you were told what to do at every stage of the quest. The little teeth next to NPCs names are irritating - I'll accept them on beginner quests, but this is simply annoying. I don't like that the set as objective button is ticked by default when starting the quest, nor do I like that the rewards are shown.
Fairy Tale Part 3 is like Avatar - prettified to the extreme under the hope that the small problems are ignored. Yes, they're small, but they're still there and could have been sorted out while the quest was delayed for a graphical rework on the final battle.
Because nobody's going to care about another post about election result data, here's a quote from Mod Mark about how Dungeoneering works...
GZ: How does the random content generation work with Daemonheim?
MO: The party leader makes a decision about the following options:
- How many players in the group? We can support up to five.
- What size of dungeon they want?
- How 'deep' a floor they wish to play? We have 60 floors and different themes to choose from.
- How complicated they want the experience to be? Ranging from "hack and slash, grab the gear and cleave my foes" all the way to "access to all the skills and allow me to make the most awesome gear in the world.... so I can then cleave all my foes into even smaller pieces"
- How difficult the dungeon should be? This allows players to define the combat level of the NPCs they face and the level of skills needed to complete skill challenges.
After the player defines all of that, we can effectively work out a 'budget' of how tough we can make their dungeon, and what it should be built from. If you imagine that every challenge, puzzle, NPC etc. has a points value, we can spend points equal to the budget we generated based on the options picked by the group leader. That budget can also increase as we give the player access to decent resources and gear along the way.
With that budget defined, the dungeon will be created using the following elements:
- Rooms: We have a huge library of 1000 jigsaw-style room sections, all of which are filled with 'hot spots'. These hot spots can be filled with resource points or locations such as fishing spots, anvils, altars, farming patches etc. The hot spots are weighted to the skills and levels of the party.
- Puzzles: There is a huge variety of puzzles within the dungeon including mimicry, maze and rock-paper-scissor classics. There are also more modern 'twitch game' puzzles and also more 'ferrety- oriented' challenges. Yes, that's right, I said ferrety.
- Monster types: We have a gargantuan (10,000 ) amount of monsters of varying types, styles and levels. The ones we throw at the players are appropriate to the options defined above.
- Bosses: There are currently 20 boss monsters in the game and we will be adding 20 more before the end of the year. From the current bosses, my personal favourite is the Libraromancer. Guess what he does...
- Challenges: Each dungeon is filled with keys, locked doors, treasure chests and a plethora (1000 ) of skill-based challenges to open doors. These cover the entire range of RuneScape's skills.
- Storyline: The deep plotline is unveiled via diaries, books and the mad ramblings of the cursed souls who were left behind as the dungeon dug deeper, ever deeper. Always deeper. Fragments still remain and can be found by those players interested in the back story.
- Equipment and resources: Drop tables and the resource points mentioned above give players access to thousands of new pieces of gear, many far more powerful that the gear available in the rest of RuneScape.
The areas are built room by room so we can ensure that the challenge budget described above can change rapidly and fairly. Effectively, each room is 'seeded' at the point at which the door is opened. Before then, we only have the budget we know we're going to spend on that room.
That's a basic idea of how it works and why.
...and something about what Paul's working on atm...
GZ: What lies in the future for Runescape?
MO: Regarding standard game updates, I'm very excited about a three-part quest we're writing on the various Orders of Knights within the game (that will be released with a new minigame), and also the quest that Paul Gower (the original creator of the RuneScape back story and the other co-founder) is writing that concludes one of our oldest storylines, called "The Ritual of the Mahjarrat". One of the glorious things about being your own publisher is that we really can look at today's news and forum feedback and say "No! We're not doing it right, let's do this instead" and take a complete 360 turn. So you can never say for sure about what lies ahead... but I know it will rock!
I mentioned that I wanted to add a couple of extra bits of information to my Election Results summaries and have done just that. :P
It's now possible to see the maximum number of possible voters in each constituency as well as the actual turnout on both the Constituencies Listing page and the individual constituencies pages. There's also been another link added to the latter.
Data is nice. ^_^
Back in September I made a comment about Ulduar the Movie and how the soundtrack, particularly Dragon Rider is fantastic. Since then, part 3 has been released and I'm finally getting round to posting about it, because the whole thing simply amazing. -.-
As mentioned in the video summaries on YT, it's possible to download the whole thing to view without interruption if you wish to do so.
It may be half an hour long, but every second is amazing. ^_^
After the election on Thursday, I didn't like the way the results and summaries were displayed on various websites (in particular, the grouping of smaller parties as 'Other'), so decided to do something myself. I've wanted to learn PHP for a while, so this also provided a perfect opportunity to do that. :D
I started off by trying to work out how to get the data, which was a mess involving regular expressions that worked some of the time and not others, so I ended up using regexps for some things and other methods where nothing 'sensible' would work. 300 lines of mess and much frustration later, I had the data entered into a database! ^_^
Next, I had to work out a way to display the data, deciding that giant tables with an ability to sort them would be best. I then went through and wrote some scripts to generate or work out useful bits of information that weren't visible in the raw data.
With everything in place, I worked out what information would be wanted in each table before going and creating them.
The end result may not be the prettiest thing in the world, but the data is hugely interesting. ^_^
Above everything else, I had great fun creating the 'Seats' columns on the Party Listing page. Basically, 'how many seats would different parties get with alternative voting systems?'. Of course, the values are horribly crude and a bit of a 'plug in some numbers until the output totals 650 and the BNP doesn't have a majority' situation, but the numbers are interesting nonetheless.
I've learned a lot and it's nice to make something where people IRL can make sense of it too. -.-
While completing Buyers and Cellars and the followups, I felt that what I was doing was totally wrong. I know it's just a game, but the things I was being made to do didn't feel in the slightest bit right.
Pickpocketing NPCs, opening locked chests, plundering pyramids, picklocking locked doors and breaking into Zemouregal's fortress all feel fine, but there was something totally wrong about completing Buyers and Cellars. I wasn't taking items from a farmer's bottomless pockets or a chest that keeps refilling itself. I wasn't taking ancient artefacts which will be replaced within 5 minutes or saving a brave adventurer from a hellish existence.
The difference here was that I was helping nobody with anything important, but harming many others. Father Urhney, Urist Loric, the Guild Registrar. With each of them, I was simply taking something irreplaceable because Darren and Robin are lazy sods.
I've not played MW2, but based on a couple of gameplay videos that I've seen and some reading to try and better grasp the context, the airport scene appears no worse from a moral standpoint than this quest in Runescape and you know the media outcry that was created there...
Buyers and Cellars is horrible from a moral standpoint and I hope that it doesn't become a requirement for any quests central to RS lore.
Having completed the other three parts of Buyers and Cellars, I was in no way impressed by what had been created because of abysmal design in the first conversation putting me in a bad mood.
I left a couple of nights to relax and made my way back to Lumbridge to complete the final part (heading via ToG to gain 9k Dungeoneering xp and skip level 47).
"You need to get me a Vial."
*goes and gets you both a Vial and Vial of Water*
"Noes, you need to make a potion in the Vial first."
Well, you could have said so! :D
I know, I know, it's a really terrible reference to making us share the pains of the development process. It was deliberate and I was in a good mood, so there's nothing to complain about here. :D
Anyway, off to find an Onion to chop up. From the Christmas Party, I recalled that there was an Onion field to the north of Rimmington and headed there to pick a couple before heading to Edgeville to find myself a Bowl and Knife. Use Onion > Knife. Nothing interesting happens. Use Knife > Onion. Nothing interesting happens. Use Onion > Bowl > You get a bowl of Chopped Onion. Riiiiiiiiiiight.
Back to Robin with the potion, enchant it and off to Ardougne. Finding myself lost, I consulted Matej's comment on the last entry and found the Guild Registry. Into the building and there's a nice puzzle made slightly irritating by the way the building's instanced, with the screen fading each time you enter or exit. The same goes for the Thieves' Guild.
Anyway, the puzzle was fun, I got what I was there for and was back to Lumbridge to claim the final reward.
Better than the first part, but the conversations with Robin and Darren still lacked any flow and didn't feel in the slightest bit natural.
"Hi, how are you getting on with your task?"
*present you with a list of options to choose when you've done everything that's needed*
"I'm here to talk about my latest caper..."
Aaaaaaarrrrgggggghhhh!!!!! Other quests shove you straight into the required text when you reach key points, so why doesn't this? (I've a feeling Mod John A is particularly good at making conversations flow well - see the Cave Goblin quests)
Sooooooo, the Void Knight Series will be made by Mods Moltare, Nancy and Rathe.
Mod Nancy (King's Ransom, Cold War, Hunt for Red Raktuber) should write the conversations. Mod Rathe (Nomad's Requiem) should create any fights. Mod Moltare (Buyers and Cellars) should create the puzzles. Split it up roughly like that, with overlap and collaboration, of course, and all three quests have a high probability of being great. Set individuals on each one and the results are likely to be... variable.
The Breakfast Topics on WoW.com can bring up some thought-provoking points and today's (tl;dr: the size of rooms in a raid need to fit the number of people present if it's going to feel epic) made me think about Daemonheim.
Daemonheim is designed for 1-5 people, so the feel of the dungeon should reflect this by being the corret size to hold this many people. Problem is, it doesn't feel right.
I've spent much of my time running dungeons solo, but even then the rooms feel... cramped. As you traverse the dungeon, rooms will have walls positioned in all sorts of directions, with a range of facilities such as Altars, Spinning Wheels and Rocks of ore filling every last corner. Because of this, many of the randomly generated rooms feel more like somebody's broom cupboard than an epic dungeon. The tiny room size is in no way aided by the fact that you need to manually click to move through every door, making even a large dungeon feel like a series of minute rooms rather than an epic entity as a whole.
When you get up to multiple people, the problem gets even worse, with the Magical Construct room being a particularly bad offender, where everybody's jammed into a tiny corner, stepping on each other's feet and generally getting in the way. Many of the other puzzle rooms are much better, with one item taking up a small fraction of the room and leaving space for everybody to complete the task at hand.
When you get to the boss fight, the room feels right for two people, not five...
Three people taking on To'Kash the Bloodchiller, the 4th warrior dead (click for larger version)
In a battle like this, you want to space yourselves out. Problem is, the room simply isn't big enough to do so and everybody finds themselves taking as much damage scratching their back against the wall as from the boss itself. To make the fight feel right for 5 people, the dimensions would need to be doubled (4x the area) so that you aren't having a group hug and killing the monster by removing it's ability to breathe.
Maybe I'm used to soloing some of the 5-mans in WoW and the fantastic settings that they have. Huge halls in Uldaman, a giant ship in the Deadmines and massive statues in the Scarlet Monastery, all providing a feeling that you're facing something much bigger than you are and making it feel more epic.
Huge halls in Uldaman
A giant ship in the Deadmines
Massive statues in the Scarlet Monastery
To me, Daemonheim has too little 'green space' in the non-puzzle rooms and the boss rooms aren't designed for more than two people. If the whole intention was for people to train in pairs, the boss rooms are great, but everywhere else you're simply competing for Oxygen and the problems become worse with more people. I love epic dungeons, but Daemonheim feels a bit too much like a series of interlinked broom cupboards.
I saw it again today.
This time it was only in 2D and wasn't on a giant cinema screen, so lacked that extra 'omg wow' in terms of looks, but it was still amazing and the music was no less epic.
*Neo Avatars wants the sequel(s)
They say first impressions count. That was a perfect example of what not to do.
I started off being unable to find the NPC needed to start the quest. First is a long speech about opening a guild (which was very good). You're then told to punch a bag or something, which you automatically run over to and do nothing other than a Yawn emote and be shouted at by the start NPC. Choosing to punch the bag and I'm given a 'You do not have permission to do that' message, so I click away and talk with the other NPC and repeat. This went on for several minutes until I bothered to 'click here to continue'.
If there's no animation to show that something's happening and you want me to continue a conversation with an NPC who's telling me to do something that I just tried to do, at least end the freaking comment with an ellipsis to show that there may be something else. This simply pissed me off and left me in a bad mood (I was going to write a quest guide, but simply screwed up the paper and deleted the screenshots I'd taken because the quest felt like it was going to be crap).
Finally managing to continue, there are more conversations with NPCs that have no obvious ending to them where you have to pray that you're not going to have to go through the chat again upon clicking an ambiguous option.
[name=objective-ness][/name]My minimap had random white rectangles on it because the stupid Objective system that I don't give a damn about set the quest as my objective (it also told me the reward before I started - WHY THE HELL do I want to have that shoved in my face?).
Not too soon, the quest scroll appeared.
I then did some IDB-y stuff to try and take my mind off things before heading back to do the other parts.
The first part was From Tiny Acorns where you do some short dance in the middle of Varrock square to do with a Ruby Dragon. I'll take this time to note that Twitter Hints like that are too obscure to mean anything and are simply a waste of everybody's time. The dance itself was simple enough.
Next was Lost Her Marbles. 'Go and collect 32 items from various NPCs'. Not difficult, but if I wanted to do collection tasks like this, there are other games that I'd be playing. Whatever the story was about how the fragments went flying also seemed so OTT and out-of-place it hardly felt like it should have been used.
Why the fragments don't all stack together, I don't know. Inventory space is precious and filling up half a dozen with the same item seems like a waste - it doesn't even properly tell me how many I've collected from each type of NPC because they can be sold before all are collected!
Eventually, I finished collecting these items and was given another 5k Thief xp.
I'll leave the last part for tomorrow.
They say first impressions count and that was terrible, simply putting me in a cynical mood for the rest of the quest. Even so, many of the conversations didn't flow at all and several had no clear end-point. The idea of creating a guild is nice, but there were so many other characters invented in the process that it felt like a wild fantasy gone wrong (like if I wrote a quest about Ignatius Vulcan and the Trimmed Skillcape). The dance around Varrock square is fun, but the rest of it is either lacking in most aspects or simply a 'gather-the-items' task.
A Guild of Our Own had better be bloody brilliant.
I'm very much looking forward to Mod Nancy's Void Knight quest.
Since my initial observations about Dungeoneering, I've gained another 16 levels in it. Over this time, I've faced another load of bosses, some of which (Rammernaut, Lexicus Runewright, Har'Lakk the Riftsplitter) are great fun, look fantastic, or both. :(
So, with this additional experience, what would I like that I've not already mentioned?
[/name]The first is AoE Spells. This may be spells from the Ancient Spellbook which allow you to attack multiple enemies at once, or it may be something completely new that you learn from the dungeon (new spells for use in the dungeon buyable with tokens or something). I'm standing in rooms being attacked by several monsters at once and have an overwhelming desire to cast Volley and see arrows and fireballs raining from the sky. <_<
The next I touched upon in the Q&A summary.
There's clearly a desire among the community to be able to re-enter single player dungeons, but this still leaves the problem that the Large dungeons can take several hours to complete - the one I did with Merch and Josh and Mastermax took three hours or so. What I want to be able to do is pause any size dungeon part way through and have several ([at least] one of each size) available to jump into at any point in time.
Imagine the situation. Tom, Dick, Harry, Fred and Cupid decide to run a large dungeon of an evening. An hour and a half into it, they realise that George is having a 99 party that they all really want to go to. Thankfully, when they've all left the dungeon, it's been remembered to come back to later. After the party, two of them have to leave for the night so they all decide to call it a day.
The next morning, Tom logs on and wants to do some Dungeoneering but nobody else is on, so he enters a [small] solo dungeon and gets some levels, being kicked off part way by a System Update. Immediately after the update, Dick and Harry arrive with a note that Fred and Cupid will be on in an hour, so they decide that they should do a medium dungeon to fill the time. Once the hour is up, the medium dungeon has been finished and the others arrive to happily complete the large dungeon they'd started the day before. Tom then finishes the small dungeon the next day.
OK, it's a bit of an extreme example, but it gets the idea across - you should be able to be enrolled in [at least] one dungeon of each size at any one time and power cuts or lag or game crashes or system updates or having to play IRL for a while should not hinder or remove your progress.
Is it possible? Yes, or at least it should be if the back-end is produced at least half-sensibly. How long should it take? I'd put a very rough guess at 4-8 weeks if it was made top priority, though could be off by quite a bit.
When finishing one floor of a dungeon and start the next, the Ring of Kinship jumps into my inventory, only to be instantly equipped again, as does my bound Longsword... why?!?!?!?
[name=chronicles-of-bilrach]I've spent some time today transcribing the Chronicles of Bilrach that I've uncovered and have to say that whoever wrote them is truly evil at heart and, at points, I was genuinely scared for my safety. Skim-reading them doesn't let them sink in properly, but there's certainly something wrong about typing out such evil...
(the rest of the notes, books, diaries and journals that you find are also very well written, but the Chronicles of Bilrach stand out as being more than slightly disturbing :P)