Friday, September 11, 2009

How I accidentally quit Runescape

When Jagex first came out with Fun Orb, like a lot of Runescape players, I checked it out. Mehh, I thought and moved on. A while back I thought I'd give it another look. A few more game had been added and a couple were pretty good. Jagex has a deal where if you already subscibe to Runescape then Fun Orb only cost a couple of bucks more, so I decide to pay the extra $2 a month and get full access. I played a couple of games like a fanatic for a couple of weeks and then left.

Well, when I say left I mean I stopped playing in Fun Orb - but I was still paying that extra $2 a month. Eventually I realized I was just throwing this money away so I decided to cancel the Fun Orb account. But wait . . . there did not seem to be a way to cancel just Fun Orb, I had to cancel both Fun Orb and Runescape at the same time. So I did, but my Runescape account was still paid up for a couple of weeks. I figured I would just sign up for RS again when time ran up .

One day I logged on and found I had been transported to Fally in a free world. Oh yah, my account had lapsed. I logged off 'cause I didn't want to deal with it just then. The next day RL was busy so I didn't sign up again then either, same with the next day.

I had a strong urge to play the game but had to wonder - was I addicted to it? Could I quit, you know, if I wanted to. I didn't really want to quit but I wanted to find out if I could. So day followed day. I would still read about updates and visit various forums, but I would not play the game.

I'm thinking of it as a break. The game had become a little boring, but I realize the reason it was boring was because I had got into the habit of doing the same old things over and over. There are lots of different ways to play RS, if and when I come back I will not play the same way I have been for the last year.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Familiars For Skillers

I was fishing monks up in Piscatoris and wondered if I should hop into the bank and get a familiar to help out. Nah, I decided - too many clicks for just a +1 bonus.

The next day I read an article berating players for not making better use of summoning familiars. Hmm . . . guilty. I then looked and saw that my Ibis would have given me a +3 to fishing, not just a +1. I probably should use familiars more often.

One of the problems with familiars is that most of the bonuses they give are invisible. This means, of course, you can't see the bonus. This makes it seem less real to me and causes me to forget what the bonus is. Invisible bonuses also do not let you do things you can't already do: the +10 invisible mining bonus from a Lava Titan will not allow you to mine any ores you can't mine without the titan - it just helps with speed and efficiency.

But the biggest reason I fail to use familiars is that I just forget. There are so many familiars with so many different traits that I can't keep track. So I learn two or three of them and those are the only ones I end up using.

In an effort to fix the situation I made a table I call "Familiars For Skillers". It divides familiars up into categories based on what skill they might help. None of the combat familiars are included in the table unless they have non-combat benefits. I don't know if the table will help me yet, but check it out. If you think it could be useful then you are welcome to borrow it, steel it, munge it to your own twisted purpose, whatever. Enjoy.

Familiars For Skillers

Monday, May 11, 2009

Measuring the Unknown

I read a fun article speculating on the geology of Runescape and that got me thinking. Just how big is Gielinor anyway? How long before Jagex fills up the entire map?

First take a look at the Runescape map. There are still a lot of unbuilt black areas. Hmm . . . OK, I have too much time on my hands, here is what I did. First I opened an image of the Runescape map in Photoshop and measured the width and height in pixels. Then I drew rectangles covering all the unbuilt black areas. I measured the area of those rectangles and did some math. Turns out that 34.84% the map is still unexplored territory. Given that from December 2001 to April 2009 Jagex filled 65.16% of the map, it would take them another 47.5 months to fill out the remainder - about 4 years.

Of course, if they ran out of room they could just go beyond the current borders. But how big is Gielinor? When will they completely run out of room?

There are a bunch of globes in Runescape so we know that Gielinor is round. The Runescape Wiki has a mention about sextant coordinates being used to compute the size of the planet. But I just couldn't follow the logic, so I made my own calculations (which don't match the wiki's).

The Runescape sextant presumably works the same as real world sextants, and the latitude and longitude system is much like our own. We know that the observatory is at zero degrees East, and that the little peninsula in the lake at Taverly (where you get Excalabre) is at exactly 15 degrees East. There are a total of 360 degrees around the world from East to West, so 15 degrees is 1/24th the way around the world. I measured the East-West number of pixels in my map from the observatory to the Lady of the Lake, multiplied by 24, and increased the size of the canvas accordingly.

Next up; North-South. In the real world system there are only 180 degrees from the North Pole to the South pole (+90º to -90º). In Runescape the mine in the jungle near the nature altar is exactly 4 degrees South. So I measured that distance, multiplied by 45, and increase the canvas' North-south dimensions accordingly.

If you printed out nineteen Runescape maps and tiled them out; 5 1/3 across, and 3 1/2 tall, you would see how big Gielinor is.

This big:

19 times bigger than everything we've seen so far.

Proportionately on Earth it looks like this:

The known RS world is proportionately similar to the size of Europe on Earth.

If you assume the ratio of ocean to land in the future is going to be the same as it has been so far . . . and you assume Jagex builds new territory at the same rate they have been so far, then . . . (drum roll) . . . they will finish mapping the entire globe of Gielinor 203 years and 7 months from now!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Suggestions


Before the invention of the spinning wheel in the real world, women spun using a drop spindle whorl. These look like a large wooden top, the wool is attached to the spindle and then it is spun like a top but in the air, suspended by the strand it is spinning.

The advantage of a drop spindle would be that it could be carried with you. You could spin in the bank, in the flax fields, even while you are walking (in the real world people can spin using one of these while they walk). Disadvantages of using the spindle would be that it takes longer and requires more skill.

Time to spin: twice as long as when using a spinning wheel.

Skill level required to spin using a spindle:
Ball of wool: 9
Bowstring: 22
Crssbowstring: 22
Magic string: 35

Quick find code: 77-78-357-58513971


Mage Armor

Where you sit in the combat triangle is determained less by your skills and more by what you have equipped. The triangle is critisized for being out of balance. One way of nudging the triangle more toward ballance would to create a new set of Magic armor which would help spell casters survive against Melee attacks.

First let's look at the current situation with common armors. It is difficult to make comparisons but I'll talk only about the less exotic armors and am interested only in their defense bonuses. For this comparison I've taken a rough average of Stab, Slash, and Crush defense and call it Melee defense. I also am only looking at "sets" covering body, legs, and head (not boots or gloves).

Melee Defense = 157
Magic Defense = -11
Range Defense = 159

Black Dragonhide:
Melee Defense = 90
Magic Defense = 93
Range Defense = 93

Mystic Robes:
Melee Defense = 0
Magic Defense = 39
Range Defense = 0

Rune armor makes complete sence within the triangle - melee fighter are supposed to be weak against magic so a -11 is fair. The Black Dragonhide armor is nearly equal in all forms of defense, this is why it is often used by melee fighters when fighting against mages. It would have been better if Black Dragonhide had very poor defense against melee, but that is left for other threads. The real problem is the magic armor is simply terrible!

Let's look at other common magic armors.
Infinity Robes:
Melee Defense = 0
Magic Defense = 44
Range Defense = 0

Still awful!

Bark Armor:
Melee Defense = 67
Magic Defense = 78
Range Defense = 32

Better, but far from being good enough.

Mage needs better armor.

Two new armors:

Totenkopf Silk Robes, made from silk recovered from giant Totenkopf Moth cacoons.
Requirements: Deffense 30, Magic 45
Magic Attack: +20
Stab Defense: +15
Slash Defense: +180
Crush Defense: + 5
Magic Defense: +80
Range Defense: +5
The silk also sometimes wipes poison partially off any blade that cuts through it, so anyone wearing this armor is 50% less likely to be poisoned. This armor would offer fantastic protection against slash attacks and some protection against other attacks. It protects mages from three of the most feared melee weapons: dragon claws, whips, and poisoned daggers. A good mid level armor.

Harmonic Robes: These robes emit harmonic energies which disrupt attacks. They are not effective against ranged weapons however.
Requirements: Deffense 60, Magic 75
All Melee Attack Bonus: - 35
Ranged Attack Bonus: - 40
Magic Attack Bonus: +40
Stab Defense: +120
Slash Defense: +100
Crush Defense: +180
Magic Defense: +90
Range Defense: 0
This new high level armor fits in the triangle by protecting mages from melee but not ranged attack.

These two new armors might, at first, look too powerful, but even these are less powerful than simple rune armor is for melee fighters.

Quick find code: 77-78-104-58513980

Monday, March 09, 2009

Suggestion Blitz

I decided to make March suggestion month. Here are suggestions I made on the official forum last night:


Ordan's notes

Mining and smithing could use some more rewards at upper levels. This is one small possible reward.

Ordan works at the blast furnace selling ores. He also can un-note lower level ores. If a player has both mining and smithing skills at 80+ then Ordan will admit that he also has a private store of adamantite. He usually only makes this available to dwarves and he would get in trouble with his boss if he sold the ore to you, but he can un-note any adamantite the player carries . . . for a price.

If a player who has 90+ in both mining and smithing talks to Ordan then he will also admit that he has a similar store of rune ore. Like the adamantite, he can't sell you the ore outright, but he can un-note any rune ore the player wishes; also for a price.

Quick find code: 79-80-979-58506125

Herblore Defensive Ointments

Problems addressed:
~ Herblore is not as popular as other skills.
~ The Defense potion is not often made because Ranarr Weed is used to create Restore Prayer potions instead.
~ Potion prices are often lower than the price of components.
~ Some herbs are underused and cheap, so farmers are not motivated to grow them.

Introducing: Defensive Ointments.

Ointments are mixed in the same way as potions. Only one dose per vial is created however. Instead of drinking ointments you pour them over your own head. Each ointment offers 5-25 points of protection against one specific type of attack. This bonus is added to the effects of your armor.

Stab Defense Ointments: Guam + oak root. Level 28. Exp 70. Temporarily adds 5-25 points to your stab defense bonus.

Slash Defense Ointments: Marrentill + willow root. Level 35. Exp 82. Temporarily adds 5-25 points to your slash defense bonus.

Crush Defense Ointments: Tarromin + maple root. Level 40. Exp 90. Temporarily adds 5-25 points to your crush defense bonus.

Range Defense Ointments: Harralander + snake skin. Level 44. Exp 95. Temporarily adds 5-25 points to your ranged defense bonus.

Magic Defense Ointments: Spirit Weed + crushed gem. Level 49. Exp 110. Temporarily adds 5-25 points to your magic defense bonus.

The effects stack with other ointments and with other potions.

If a person wants to protect themselves against whips and claws they may decide to apply some Slash Ointment before doing battle. Or if a player wishes, he could apply Stab, Slash, and Crush ointments and even drink a super defense potion before doing battle in melee: the effects compliment each other.

Quick find code: 77-78-381-58506130


Make Satchels work like the Cornucopia

Satchels came out with the Tower of Life quest. Although they can hold a banana, a cake, and a triangle sandwich, they are not stackable and are almost never used by players.

I propose that they be changed to work like the cornucopia (earned during the Thanksgiving 2008 holiday event): place food in a satchel and it stores the food's healing points.

10 points can be stored in a plain satchel,
14 points in a red satchel
16 in a black satchel
18 in a gold satchel
20 in a rune satchel

Quick find code: 77-78-694-58506132


Redo Runecrafting multiple tables

Both Paul and Mod Mark stated in the recent Q&A that it would be good if players were able to do something new every time they went up a level. They also admitted they needed to fill in the gaps at high levels. One easy place to effect this sort of change is in the creation of multiple runes. I propose the levels at which you can craft multiple runes be changed thus:

If you consider the levels where you can create combination runes, and the levels where you can get pouches then something new would be available most of the of the time you level up.
Each herblore level where you could do something new:

Effects of this change:
People are motivated by frequent rewards, gaining new abilities for almost every level will keep runecrafters motivated.
More multiple runes means more experience gained, so it would become easier to work up RC levels.
More runes means cheaper runes and that would make magic cheaper to use.
This would also have a large effect on the rune economy, but I'll leave that to others to predict.

Quick find code: 76-77-336-58506123

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Unreal Graphics

Everyone is awaiting the graphics update that Runescape will get next month. A lot has been said about the update and most of it good. I was surprised that they will be doing moving shadows and procedural textures, very cool. I was more pleased that the screen shots look like RS will keep its cartoon-like looks; and this is what I'm going to talk about here.

Many people seem to think that the goal of game graphics is to make things appear "real" - I couldn't disagree more. Here are three separate ideas from three separate sources which help argue against realistic graphics.

A guy named Scott McCloud spent a lot of time thinking about comic books and trying to figure out why they work. He wrote a great book called "Understanding Comics" (which I recommend to everyone). One of his key points is what he call the Picture Plane

Look at the bottom of the picture and you see a continuum of images going from photorealistic to iconic or "language".

If you look at a realistic picture of a man you see him as a distinct individual, you also see him as something other than yourself. If you look at a cartoon picture of a man you understand that it represents an individual but that it also represents the idea of a person and you are included in that idea of person-hood. This means that it is possible for you to feel more connected with a cartoon image than with a photographic image. The cartoon is not only a picture it is a form of language.

Computer games used to be played with text which, of course, existed even further in the realm of language. If the text says "the monster is hideously ugly" then each reader may picture in their head what a ugly monster looks like. As soon as you draw a picture you are going to loose some people. No matter how you draw the monster some people will think, "It's not that ugly".

I recently saw a lecture on-line by Julie Taymor. She has studied theatre for years and is most famous for doing the stage production of the Lion King.

In that production she never tries to hide the fact that these are people in costumes or people working puppets. The audience sees how the magic is done, and that is part of how the magic works. In the lecture I saw, Ms Taymor spent some time talking about struggling with a sunrise that opens the play. They were able to use technology to create a very realistic sunrise but she tossed that idea out and instead made a simple disk of silk and metal strips which lays folded on the stage. The disk is slowly raised and unfolds. The audience knows it is strips of fabric and metal, but the audience also knows it is a beautiful sunrise. This is what makes the difference - she didn't try to "fool" the audience by creating a fake sunrise, instead she created an atmosphere where the audience is allowed to fool itself into seeing a sunrise. Through unconscious use of imagination the audience become the magicians who make the magic possible.

I saw the movie Sin City on video not long ago.

Frank Miller and his team used advanced computer graphic technology to purposely create unrealistic images. He uses stark graphics, usually black and white with reduce gray tones. Color is used only when they purposely decided to use color. The move has truly grotesque scenes of mutilation and decapitations. If these scenes were depicted realistically I would probably have turned off the TV, but these things were presented unrealistically - as ideas, in a sort of visual language, so I was able to stomach them. Sometimes I see kids post in the Jagex forms that they want to see blood and flying limbs in Runescape. Not me.

OK. I'm about done being pedantic.

Runescape is a game where we can imagine we are heros who can slay demons and save cities. Games of imagination don't require graphics which are too realistic.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Simple Case of Cause and Effect


Here are screen shots of the 30 day graphs of gold ore and coal prices. If you look at the last three days you see gold is still climbing at the maximum the GE allows (5%/day). Coal, however, is slowing down slightly.