Very meaty blog entry today. I hope you like my opinions, because I'm reviewing July.
The first update of the month was Love Story, a tale of the Wise Old Man and his estranged lover Zenevivia. (Spoilers.) Zenevivia, a PKer who despises adventurers and questing, challenges you and the Wise Old Man (her ex-boyfriend) to a battle. Then, basically, you go to her house, battle through her dungeon, and fight her. It's not an especially complex plot, but it works pretty well and it's a lot of fun. The characters are great--Mabel, Zenevivia, and the Wise Old Man all have great dialogue and plenty of personality. The opening bit is a tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of typical quests that put a smile on my face. The final fight is very well-designed and uniquely challenging, definitely on par with any of the boss fights in Daemonheim and much better than some of the classic quest battles that are so easy to beat with brute force. (Took me three tries before I figured out how to beat her!) Additionally, it's generous of the quest to supply you with so many house tabs and free teleports, although it is unfortunate that you still need to run back to Rimmington to use the chipped tablet. And the cutscenes are great.
There's some room for improvement. I don't think the quest made as good a use of the Wise Old Man's character as it could have. While it's great to have him around, he didn't actually help much until the final fight. In the teletab maze puzzle thingy, there's no real explanation for why he doesn't chip the tab himself--he's obviously more skilled at it, so why doesn't he just take the chisel and do it for you? And while I was controlling the mannequin, I felt like he might as well have been lying there taking a nap. A better set of challenges would have made use of the ability to work with two characters, or at least given some decent justification as to why the WOM can't help. And as Neo Avatars pointed out, the camera in the mannequin segment is jerky and awkward.
Still, it's an excellent quest. The rewards are pretty awesome too. The new wallpaper is easily my favorite style, and I've been using chipped house tablets to Brimhaven and Rimmington constantly during my fruit and bush runs, as well as for shooting stars and other miscellaneous activities. The huge chunks of xp (I gained two levels from them) and the butler discount are just gravy. Very tasty gravy at that. And a new room for the dungeon? That's like a cherry on top of the gravy! I don't even know what I'm eating here, but it's delicious!
Rating: Approve :thumbup:
Jagex followed up Love Story with the long-awaited Dungeoneering update! Let's take a look at what it offered:
Solo dungeon improvements
A highly-anticipated patch to solo dungeoneering, it is now possible to select medium dungeons in a solo party! Great! Additionally, solo dungeoneers can log back into their dungeon within 10 minutes of logging out or losing connection! Also great! All upside here. :thumbup:
The upgrades are, for the most part, costed and balanced correctly, as far as I can tell. It's a shame the melee classes only work with their specific stances, but aside from that I'm happy with this portion of the update. If I were a more enthusiastic dungeoneer, I would probably be able to offer more specific feedback on this feature, but I haven't quite gotten the swing of it yet. Hopefully some other blogger will step up with a more detailed review; I'm sure it would be an interesting read.
The groupstone portal is amazing. It makes getting around so much easier. I don't know why anyone would even bother to build something else in its place. It's great. I love it. It's good to have the option of the photo booth, farming patch, and prayer altar as well; I'm not sure the range is very useful, though. Still, thumbs-up! :thumbup:
- Gatestones now require only cosmic runes. Significant improvement to convenience. This makes it much easier to get around dungeons/fight certain bosses. :thumbup:
- Bones can be used on an altar for 4x experience. Meh, I don't pick up the bones, but if you do, sure, it's fine.
- The autogrouping system has been improved. This is fine, but I don't think people actually use the autogrouping system. Still, can't complain!
- There are 18 new titles on the dungeon completion screen. They're amusing. Again, can't complain--it adds a bit of fun.
Here's where I have something to talk about. I and many others asked for dungeoneering rewards outside Daemonheim; well, here they are. There are 14 of them, and I think they're worth going over individually.
Level 10: Edgeville Dungeon
The lv10 resource dungeon has chaos druids. That's fine, they're pretty crowded and can use the extra spawns. More notably, though, there are ranarr and irit spawns. These are pretty significant, and even though they take 30 seconds to respawn, that adds up to a lot of ranarrs and irits entering the game, and so we get a price drop. Ranarrs are cheaper and will probably stay cheaper. Prayer potions have dropped to meet them. And this is the best spot for killing chaos druids--very profitable. It's great for low-level players, but I lose money from this dungeon because I already stocked up on prayer potions and I get lots of ranarr drops on my slayer tasks. :(
Level 15: Dwarven Mine (F2P)
With a bank deposit box in a convenient location, this is a boon to F2P miners. It's a great place for mining coal and/or mithril (although neither is really worth mining), and a great place for banking iron--there are iron rocks just outside the entrance. That just about says it all, I think...best place for mining iron in F2P, which is the best ore to mine in F2P. Not sure if it's the best place to mine iron in P2P; probably not.
Level 20: Edgeville Dungeon (F2P)
Lots of hill giants! Excellent! The hill giants in Edgeville Dungeon are far too crowded in F2P worlds, and the 11 new spawns are a huge help for training and moneymaking in F2P. There are also 4 spawns of limpwurt roots, which, while being excellent profit for those free players, also makes me lose a lot of money on the limpwurt roots I've been farming. #-o But aside from that, I heartily approve of this dungeon, and any free player with the dungeoneering level would do well to make use of it. A fine F2P moneymaker and training spot.
Level 25: Karamja Volcano (F2P)
Lots of lesser demons! And some imps! Lesser demons aren't actually worth killing, even in F2P, so it's not a very exciting dungeon at first glance. However, it happens to be a superb location for hunting for champion scrolls of both the imp and lesser demon variety. It's a good place for hunting with impling boxes too, provided you can tank the damage from the lessers until they're tolerant. And in a pinch, F2Pers can train there if they really want. (There's even some safe spots.) Seems okay to me.
Level 30: Daemonheim Peninsula (F2P)
Notable as the only place for free players to chop maple logs! This is exciting for about 30 seconds until you realize that maple logs are terrible xp with no profit and not worth chopping, ever, at all. Ever. Horrible xp. Don't chop maples, guys. Seriously.
The willows are okay, though. Great place to chop and burn willows. Nice scenery an' all.
Level 35: Baxtorian Waterfalls
Okay. Fire giants. Fire giants are fine. I know there are people who like to cannon them, and this is a good place for that. There are also people who aren't comfortable killing them in a multicombat zone, and this is a good place for them too. Me, I always killed them in the Chaos Tunnels and never had any problems with crowding, plus I can use a combat familiar there. But if you're not like me, there are 11 spawns here, which I'm sure will help you with the crowds in the waterfall dungeon--this is the second-best place to kill fire giants.
Level 45: Mining Guild (F2P)
Best F2P addy mining spot, best F2P mithril mining spot, best rune mining spot if the rocks are available. Moving on.
Level 55: Taverley Dungeon
There are 12 hellhounds here. It's multicombat, so cannon away, slayers. If you're slaying for speed, this just makes hellhounds another boring, fast task that wastes a ton of money and has no drops. Yawn. Power slayers like this, and that's fine. I blocked hellhounds ages ago, so I don't care.
Level 60: Taverley Dungeon
Here be blue dragons. This is, obviously, a good spot for killing blue dragons. That's good, because there's not enough dragon spawns to adequately meet the demand for dragon bones. More blue dragons will only help in this regard. They're a fine moneymaker if you camp them, providing you have the agility of course; obviously Kuradal's dungeon is better if you're on-task. The blue dragon scales here respawn quickly, making this a good place for gathering them, but if you have 60 dungeoneering, then you've probably figured out a less embarrassing moneymaker by now. Anyway, I approve of this one. Like I said, we need more dragon spawns.
Level 65: Varrock Sewers
I can't say I see a use for this dungeon. It has some moss giants, some limpwurt roots, and some magic trees, but it's not available to F2P, and P2P'ers don't care about moss giants. We have more moss giants than we know what to do with, what with Cairn Isle, the Chaos Tunnels, Pirate's Cove, and those ones in Kandarin. I'm sure the limpwurt roots are a nice bonus, but any member with 65 dungeoneering is clearly past the point where moss giants are a relevant training method, or at least I hope so. As for the magic trees, they're completely useless. There's 6 of them, but more than 4 is already overkill, and they're way too far from a bank to be worthwhile. This is the first resource dungeon that gets a thumbs-down from me. :thumbdown:
Level 70: Chaos Tunnels
This is the one with black demons. Not much to say-it's pretty much just an extension of the black demon room you just came from, only there's more spawns and it's kinda harder to safespot them. It's not exciting, but it's fine.
Level 75: Al Kharid Mine
There are gold, silver, and gem rocks here, but they're kinda far from a bank, so I'd say it's only worth mining if you're using a gem bag. What's really important are the impling spawns, because there's a lot of them! I'm told the spawn rate was nerfed, and they now spawn slower and fewer of them are high-level. Big whoop. They're still a great source of hunter + mining xp with profit. Even most lower-level implings are worth around 2k in a jar. I like this dungeon. :thumbup:
An interesting possibility: you could mine gold, mine gems, superheat the gold, use Forge Regent scrolls to craft bracelets, and alch it all in one place. Not useful, but it's a cute thought, isn't it?
Level 80: Brimhaven Dungeon
In another age, these 8 iron/8 steel dragon spawns with a hammer and anvil in the same room would have been awesome--a great spot to kill iron and steel dragons with no crowds, and you can smith the bars as you go? Sign me up! Sadly, Kuradal's Dungeon makes it kinda obsolete. The +40 damage every hit is just better. If you want to camp here, well, uh, be my guest, but it's really not worth camping iron or steel dragons. And they're still really far from a bank, which is just a pain. And the whole axe/gp thing to get in too. This one falls a little flat for me.
Level 85: Asgarnian Ice Dungeon
ZOMG FROST DRAGONS. These guys are AMAZING profit. Their 100% drop is worth what, 19k? Something like that? And you can kill them pretty damn fast. And you can even cannon them. Apparently they're the best moneymaker in the game, or so I'm told. Definitely an adequate incentive to get 85 dungeoneering. :thumbsup:
Plus, you get xp for exploring the resource dungeons! Sweet!
I'm still not 100% sold on Dungeoneering. But I'm getting there. Everything about this update was positive, except for the moss giant dungeon, which was disappointing but easily ignored, and some of the other things, which are arguably awesome! A great update.
Rating: Approve wholeheartedly! :thumbsup:
But wait, there's more! That's right, this blog entry is a triple feature! Actually, that was a pretty long thing with the resource dungeons, so let's call it a quadruple feature! As a bonus, I thought I'd comment on the latest Magic: the Gathering expansion. So here, in no particular order, are my top 5 favorite new cards from the Magic 2011 Core Set.
Jace's Erasure is a well-designed, flavorful, fun, repeatable mill effect that plays well. You can build a cute deck around if you want, and I'm a big fan of the way it enables mill decks in draft.
Amazing utility. Crystal Ball isn't flashy, but it plays really well, the flavor is spot-on, and it's going in all of my EDH decks. I like it much better than Sensei's Divining Top.
It's no secret that I hate regeneration as a mechanic--it just doesn't resonate flavorfully or mechanically. Reassembling Skeleton is soooo much better than his predecessors, the Drudge Skeletons, in every way I can think of. Flavor, power level, combo potential, fun, elegance, everything. Definitely a hit for me.
Another all-around excellent card, Liliana's Specter is strong in multiplayer, one of the best black cards for Limited, and a solid creature in constructed (although I'm not confident that it's good enough for serious tournament play). And again, the flavor is strong and, well, like I said, it's an all-around excellent card and I find it aesthetically pleasing. I like it.
What can I say? I like Ophidians. Scroll Thief is a better Ophidian. Not just in power level, but in art, flavor, creature type, and all-around cuteness. I didn't think you could get much better than the ninja version, but somehow... <3:
¡Qué loco! La regresa al juego en vez de tu mano, jaja. Bueno, es mejor que el Familiar chacal de M10, que no puede atacar ni bloquear, nunca jamás. :roll:
And that's my July review. See you in August!