Saturday, May 12, 2012

Merch Gwyar tour of Jagex Studios

Merch is talking about her trip to Jagex Studios. Don't miss!

Also here is a an additional short post about SoF concerns she tried to raise while being there and NDA she had to sign.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Runescape Places game

I've been working on this game on and off during the last 2 month and now, finally, it's ready and open for players! Yay!

This is my first and, so far, the only experience with creation of online games and I am pretty happy about how it turned out. Game mechanics weren't that hard to implement. As usual, content creation was the most time consuming part. I had to learn how to operate the Orb of Oculus (it's in itself not a small feat!) and search Gielinor for interesting and beautiful places (no complains there!). Also Cremnlin helped a lot by giving me "gamer perspective" on scores, lifes, skips and other bells and whistles - quite fascinating :)

I'll keep adding more places to the game over time (it has 200+ now), hopefully, others will also contribute, but even now the game is playable and actually quite challenging.

So, check Runescape Places out, I am sure you'll enjoy it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

geReporters, Runefest and BXPW

The summer's gone, but my writer hat is still laying somewhere collecting dust and sheltering spiders. I am afraid it'll stay that way for some time more. RL happened and I've been working hard. I can't complain, though - the work I've been doing during the last year or so is the most interesting work I've ever done - in fact, maybe the most interesting work there is in IT business nowadays. So yeah, I am pretty happy about that.

As far as Runescape goes, I still play, but not much: do my quota in the Clan Citadel, a few slayer assignments here and there and a lot of Temple Trekking recently.

Runewise will be at RuneFest. Alas, I can't come personally, but Tabt, Goggie and Jethraw volunteered to represent Runewise at joined Sal's/Runewise stall. I just shipped Runewise's poster (designed by Cremnlin) and some fliers to Tabt. If you end up going to Runefest, come by the stall and say hi :)

I also got some good news from the Grand Exchange Central. They are fully back in business and Absenm has big plans for the future, including hosting an analogue of "World Street Journal" for Runescape economy. Writers are very welcome. If you wish to become one, contact Absenm at People interested in writing for us have two options. One, write guides that give tips and advice. Two, geReporters, who write stories about the eco system not related to giving investment advice. Straight out reporting what is currently happening. Just the facts.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Runescape Clan Citadel Planning

I thought that introduction of Clan Citadels would affect Runescape greatly, but I couldn't even imagine how profound the change would be. It's not only clans that got affected - everything, including gameplay has changed. At least from my point of observation.

Now people have a huge incentive to join a clan and not just any clan, but a big one. It looks like the time of small 4-10 people clans is over - no one wants to struggle with a low level citadel -it's all or nothing. And then comes resource gathering - let's face it, it's quite tedious, even at 1000 mark. Right now it amounts to 2-3 hours of chopping wood in a week, fortunately, not always alone, but still it's a lot of time if you don't play much. My average playing time is somewhere around 5 hours per week, spending 50% of that time on one activity is a daunting prospect. I did 1000 in the first week and I am at 700 this week, but it'll have to change - I am not happy with my Runescape experience. I'll have to find a balance between my inner commitment to Canting Away and the way I prefer to play the game. And I have a feeling that it's not just me who is going through this kind of struggle. And what will happen when say 50-60 members clan stop producing enough resources to advance through the tiers? Dissent and finger pointing? Breaking up? It is a possibility. I hope Canting will be immune from it, but only time will tell.

Will we end up with only really really big clans left standing in a half a year?

Why half a year? Apparently this is a minimum time required to build a tier 7 clan citadel. See Teacuptime's calculations, finding and suggestions for planning clan citadels here:

Very insightful. An interesting twist is that apparently after Tier 7 citadel is built, it's not that hard to maintain the level. If only 12 people out of 50 do their max in resource gathering in a week, the citadel will stand. So maybe, there is a chance for middle size clans after all :)

The magic number is 27775. If a clan makes this number of resources per week on a regular basis - it'll live. If not, I am afraid, there is a good chance of the clan eventually breaking up.

Share your thoughts, please. Especially if you were in a well established clan before the update. How did it affect your clan? I am very curious :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Barbarian Assault. Killing Queen with One Omega Egg

It's funny how little is needed to give an incentive to train a particular skill. I've been shying away from training Agility for several years, then Jagex released auras, I chose Surefooted and suddenly found myself doing frequent 20 mins runs on the advanced Gnome Course and my Agility jumping from 81 to nearly 85. But that's not the topic I wanted to talk about.

I've been using Penance master horn when training Agility, so, naturally, I had to mix my 20 mins runs with Barbarian Assault games in order to refill the horn. This is my favorite Runescape minigame - no complains there :) I love it. Barbarian Assault is simply the best way to make new friends in Runescape.

There is just one thing that frequently tarnishes it: Barbarian Assault Myths...

The biggest culprit is the myth about the egg launcher. You know it: "don't shoot!!! we'll all loose points" and it's variation "don't shoot!!! I won't get as many points as I could for my role". Of course, both statements are completely false. No one looses or misses any points because of other players using cannon to kill penance creatures. But the myth persists and people loose their tempers because of it, name calling ensues and teams fall apart.

I think I got used to it, though. It seems like this myth won't disappear no matter what...

But now a new destructive myth appeared and I am worried about it having bad impact on the game: people insist on trying to kill the Queen with just one omega egg. It's actually not a myth, it's a glitch in the game which is possible to exploit. I found one video where it is shown, see here if you are interested. In a nutshell, it is possible (or used to be possible, I don't know if Jagex already fixed it or not) to load the cannot with some normal eggs, then everybody opens shooting interface and starts spam-clicking on the empty omega egg slot. Then the collector loads just one egg and boom, it goes multiple times, the queen is dead.

I actually don't care that much about this glitch. If it works it presumably saves a minute of the game time, who cares! What I care about is the fact that people start to force their teammates to try it. It is not very easy to do with spam-clicking and all that, so it NEVER works the first time! What happens next is just as bad as it is repetitive. The person who wants to exploit the glitch insists on trying again and the rest of the team begs him to forget about it and kill the Queen in a normal way. It goes on for a while (5-10 mins!!!), sometimes another unsuccessful attempt follows, finally, names are being called and someone quits the game. In short, I have yet to seen a Queen killed when someone mentions trying this "one omega egg glitch". Brrr...

So yeah, if that happens to you, my advice would be to run! As soon as the glitch is mentioned, quit the game and look for another team. Seriously. You'll save yourself 30 mins and spare the rest of the team from a nasty exchange.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Return to Canifis Review

After reading (and enjoying) the first Runescape book "Betrayal at Falador", I was really anxious to get my hands on "Return to Canifis". So, as soon as I got one, I put away other books I was reading at the time and dived into another "away from the computer" Runescape adventure. The promise to travel through vast evilness of Morytania was very alluring. And the author didn't disappoint me, at least not in that area. Both Canifis and Mort Myre swamp came out perfect - just the right mixture of fog, stench, dampness, evil, hope and despair. I do feel different now, when traveling through these parts of Gielinor after reading this book. So, if you are after this kind of experience, by all means, go ahead and get the book!

But if you are looking for something more, like engaging plot, likable new characters and great adventure, I am afraid, I'll have to disappoint you. Despite its many flaws "Betrayal at Falador" was better in this regard... "Return to Canifis" had so many illogical turns in the plot, that it never came out as a cohesive sequence, even at the end. Actually the end was missing altogether - which was another big disappointment for me, I do like books having a logical conclusion, even when they are parts of a series.

So what was the plot? In a nutshell, Kara, Gar'rth, Theodore and Co met in Varrock, spent half of the book there among half developed (and not finished even at the end of the book) court intrigues. There was a monster in the city as well, whose presence wasn't fully explained either. Then they went to Canifis as part of so called embassy, got in a few conflicts with werewolves, escaped, traveled through the swamp to Meiyerditch, got back to the swamp and made a dire escape back to Misthalin. Of course, they got separated and re-joined, met new characters and fought many battles along the way, one wouldn't expect less, there was even a hidden thing going on for Gar'rth, which I won't spoil here, but... Almost none of it made sense, if you just stop and think about it. It bothered me greatly.

  • All those hints about Zamorakians at the court - didn't come anywhere. Groundwork for the next book?
  • Pia's actions throughout the whole book were quite illogical too. What was she doing there in the first place, btw?
  • The whole embassy stuff - it was only used to get our heroes to Canifis, it was never intended to be a real embassy.
  • People from the swamp... they only wanted to get away and get away quickly. So how come they dared to make forays into Canifis or even Meiyerditch? Made no sense.
  • Vampires, being so powerful, were not able to prevent people from going back an forth to/from Meiyerditch and actually let our valiant heroes to escape? Common.
The list could be longer...

Also add to it an overabundance of blood and gore (just like in the previous book) and considerably less humor. Ah, yes, and the jealousy! Quite frankly I was fed up with Kara's and Theodore's jealousy thing going on forever. There got to be something else about their relationship worth writing about.

Anything else? Actually there were several good things too:
  • Fight scenes were very good throughout the whole book and none of them dragged out (like the main battle in "Betrayal at Falador"did). The fights were diverse, realistic and in general very well described. The supposedly climax fight on and around the balloon was quite awesome.
  • Again, just like in the previous book, there were no completely "black" or "white" characters - everybody had something both good and bad going for them.
  • And the scenery. But I already talked about it...

Following my summarization pattern from the previous review:
  • Did I like "Return to Canifis"? - note as a whole, I only liked certain aspects of it.
  • Would I recommend this book to others? - only if you are a Runescape player and would like to get a "feel" for Morytania to enhance your in-game experience.
  • Should other Runescape books be written? - why not? But the next one should be considerably better. I don't want another "Return to Canifis".

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How to kill Jad without a fight

I am still alive, I just went undercover for a while. Almost literally. Anyway, I kept playing Runescape on a fairly regular basis, but didn't do much on the site or (obviously) in this blog. I am not sure if I am ready to come back to regular writing, but today was a special occasion - I finally killed Jad!

I tried to do it time and again for years, but to no avail. Supplies weren't an issue and I learned how to switch prayers without loosing concentration, but as soon as healers would appear - boom, boom and I was dead. I read guides and watched videos, I even tried to tank Jad with turmoil and vengeance, but it didn't work either.

Finally I bumped into the solution. Somewhere in the middle of RS Wiki article about Jad I saw this: "In fact, it is possible to kill TzTok-Jad using only deflect curses. The damage that is deflected back to him does not count as the player's damage, which means that the healers will not be summoned when he is at half health." OMG!!! It is possible to kill Jad without having to deal with healers! I couldn't believe my eyes, but I did try this approach and... it worked. After about 8-9 minutes stand-off Jad killed itself - the only thing I had to do was to watch Jad's attacks, switch prayers and take an occasional sip of prayer restore potion.

So if you are still on a quest to kill Jad and have similar problems, give this method a try! Good luck!

Edited on July 21: this method is no longer possible. Jagex closed this loophole.

Monday, May 9, 2011

History of Gielinor Quiz

I absolutely have to share it with you: just added new quiz called "History of Gielinor" to Runewise (thanks to Wabbit). I think it's the best Runescape quiz I ever saw. Try it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

25 Signs the Runescape Economy is tanking

An awesome video from Excl. The ultimate answer to "RS economy gone bad" remarks :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Latest news from the Grand Exchange Central

I am back from a week long vacation (was exploring Kentucky - loved it) and I do plan to resume more or less regular postings.

Meanwhile, here is the latest update from Absenm about the Grand Exchange Central reopening. Almost there!

Well, The Grand Exchange Central is about 80% up and running. Just cleaning up a few issues. It may seem that two months was an awful long time to fix our security issues. But we needed to use what little time we had to make sure we didn't face these issues again.

First of all, you will see that the site looks pretty much the same. That is because we focused on stuff in the background. Redundant security and visitor protection was paramount. But we also managed to make most pages load up to 4x faster. We also tweaked certain formulas, to make our lists more reasonable in what they display.

The Mock Grand Exchange portion of the site will still be down till summer. The MGE had major issues, and it seemed it was better to simply start fresh with it; building on a foundation focused on security first, and learning from our technical challenges of the past to make an overall better mock exchange.

We are in talks with other fan sites about hosting our forums. Forums are a terrible security risk for a site, and having an outside forums host will protect the main site from attack. In the end, the GEC was never about the forums, so having a trusted fansite take that responsibility just makes a lot of security sense.

Obviously, you'll see nothing new on our site from a visitor stand point. All these months of work went into a foundation based on security. But we did implement some tweaks that will also help us expand in the future.

I'd like to thank everyone who was concerned with our issues, and sent me and the GEC their best wishes for our return. We are almost there, and I hope our former visitors will check us out again and be reminded of why they liked us so much.

Thank you again, Absenm

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