To say that I'm having difficulty with the Branches of Darkmeyer is severely understating the issue. I've completed everything up to the part where I have to fight Vanstrom Klause. He is pwning me every time. I can't yet say that he's the new Nomad, in the nervous twitching of my Runescape nightmares. Nomad whooped my backside many more times than Vanstrom Klause ever has. But somehow Vanstrom seems worse. Much, much worse.
It might be because no-one else seems to be struggling with him at all. MsClick and Fred are both wandering around in their quest capes, having taken him out early on. People like Wolfhe beat him first time. With Nomad there was company! Forums filled with people bemoaning the fact that Nomad was just too hard, too high, too fast, too reliant upon twitch gaming to defeat. I appear to be a lone lost soul in the Wilderness here. The only one breaking under him. Moreover, I couldn't see how to learn from my failures. With Nomad, the strategy was clear within a few attempts. It was merely a case of surviving long enough to apply it. Each visit saw me learning a little more, getting a little further, taking something away from the post-match analysis. This time it's not like that at all. Apart from the couple of times when I've accidentally clicked the exit door (and still been killed through it), I've been at a loss.
Last night, I was encouraged by MFI, Fred and others in Canting to try again. It's been a while since I was there, so I figured it was worth starting out fresh. MFI spoke strategy into my ear in Skype. Links were produced, which I clicked on to read. I familiarised myself once again with how Vanstrom Klause fought and how his special attacks worked. He loaned me his Amulet of Fury. Meanwhile, Fred met me in Edgeville Bank and handed over his full Bandos and dragon claws. MFI and Fred both came with me to Darkmeyer, so that I wasn't so scared.
I was. I freaked. My ring of life saved me and I couldn't type for shaking. Silence descended over the Skype call, as MFI, Whiskas, Elizabeth and Hannah tried to work out if I was being physically assaulted IRL. I panicked so much. As the story spilled out into Canting, Warlock left Killer to his own tribulations in the Fight Caves and rushed to Darkmeyer too. I now had MFI, Fred Gwyar and Warlock standing with me in Darkmeyer Bank, killing vampires in my path and helping with the post-match analyses. I went in there another three or four times and each ended in the same way. Vanstrom kicked my backside and I either died or was rescued by my Ring of Life. (There were people in Canting, newcomers to the game, telling me that they were investigating even now in Rings of Life from the GE. They were understanding from my blog and Vanstrom attempts that these rings were vital to game survival. MFI was trying to tell them that he never uses one.)
The only commonality in these fights were instances when I seemed to freeze. Vanstrom does have a split second stun attack, but this didn't feel like it. We all hopped worlds, when it was demonstrated that this one had an unknown ping. I went for the lowest pinged world available to me, which was inexplicably in the USA. I didn't lag so much, but this was the worst freezing of all. I didn't even see the creatures come out, until Vanstrom's health was renewed. He immediately did his 'darkness' attack and I had no time at all to move away. MFI, Fred and Warlock began experiments outside, as they tried (eventually successfully) to entice me back to Darkmeyer for another attempt. Their conclusion was unanimous. The 'bloom' effect made the graphics up there really lag. They advised lowering my graphics.
I did. It was a different world. Ok, you could see every pixel, but I could move! Vanstrom himself seemed slowed down, as I was given valuable seconds to react to his special attacks. I could run without apparent blanks in the narrative. The whole thing was so much calmer that it made me realise how people could beat him. I had another couple or three attempts and he beat me each time. But these were because I was unlucky or noobish. It felt to me like a fight that I eventually could win.
But Fred and Warlock had already had to go, and now MFI was off to bed too. I didn't want to be up there alone, so I called it a night too. I returned MFI's fury, but I haven't seen Fred to return his armour too. Vanstrom will wait for another day.
When I do eventually meet him, I'll have a couple more tricks in my arsenal. Under MsClick's advice, I've cut 500 blisterwood stakes. She found range much easier than melee with him. I've also camped out in Meiyerditch, killing over 150 vyrewatch generals so far. Their corpses are stacked up in my bank. As well as the psychological satisfaction of this, there's also the fact that I can burn those vyrewatch in the Paterdomus Columbarium. 500 dead = 50+ bonus on all blisterwood weapons. Maybe that will give me the edge that I so sorely need.
In other news, and on a brighter note, I've also had a couple of very generous gifts just recently. Beyond the priceless gifts of time, support and advice, in these Vanstrom times, I've had two people ninja in expensive presents too. Firstly, there was Live Mma. He was the noob who lost everything and was given so much by people in Canting and those reading this blog. Within a week, he'd taken those donations and used them in staking up the Duel Arena. He'd made over 100 million. When I heard, I was cheering him along. Staking scares me, but it seems to have worked for him.
Live Mma came to meet me in the citadel, where I got him chopping wood. (The citadel is really falling down now.) Suddenly he traded me. He wanted me to have a dragon platebody, worth nearly 8m. I naturally said no. It's his money and I can't take that off him. He told me that he wouldn't have had anything, if I hadn't helped him out that first day. I also introduced him to his clan and most of his Runescape friends. This was his way of saying thank you. I was very touched, but still refused the platebody. He logged out. But he was still talking to me in Skype. He told me that he'd dropped the dragon platebody on the floor and, if I didn't pick it up, it would disappear. I didn't believe him, right up to the moment when the platebody appeared at my feet.
So, now I have it and he refuses to take it back.
Second up was Fred. He was lending me things with which to fight Vanstrom Klause. I received his full Bandos and dragon claws, alongside a polypore staff worth over 4m. I just thought it was part of what I'd need and it was all being returned later. It wasn't until I was equipping them, that Fred informed me that the staff is a present. It's not a weapon to take to Darkmeyer at all. I protested, but he was adamant. Love that man. <3