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2009 Highlights, Part 2

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Troacctid's Top 10 Updates of 2009




Okay, here we go. My top five. Part 1 can be found here if you missed it. Now...ready? Here we go...


5. Forgiveness of a Chaos Dwarf



What is it?

The third installment of the Rise of the Red Axe quest series, released in September. In Forgiveness of a Chaos Dwarf, we were asked to investigate mysterious disappearances in Keldagrim and ended up *spoilers I guess* revealing the secret evil scheme of the Red Axe mining company to invade the city with an army of mutant chaos dwarves. Released along with the quest was the long-awaited dragon pickaxe, which is dropped by chaos dwarves that can be fought after completion.


Why is it on this list?

This quest significantly impacted the mining skill and...well, pretty much the dragon pickaxe sums it up. The dragon pickaxe is something we've been waiting for for a very long time, so it was exciting to get it at last. True, I could say the same thing about the very unexciting dragon platebody...but the pickaxe is actually useful. It's worth noting that it won "Favorite new item of 2009" by a landslide. But of course, that's not all this quest has going for it. Along with the quest release, we got an update to the mine cart system: mine carts are now completely free to use, and, more importantly, a new mine cart was added underneath the Grand Exchange trapdoor, making it much, much more convenient to travel to Keldagrim. Also, the Keldagrim North Mine has become a personal favorite mining spot of mine--it's easily the best spot in the game for mining adamantite and non-concentrated gold...for what it's worth, anyway. But that's me. Finally, this quest began a record-breaking streak of actual high level updates that lasted all the way up to Halloween. Wow. And most of them--with one notable exception--were excellent. Forgiveness of a Chaos Dwarf was also the first quest to showcase Jagex's new (at the time) Developer's Blogs, giving us a play-by-play account of its development and setting a precedent for future quest...blog...things.


While many of the year's previous updates had a lukewarm reception, Forgiveness marked sort of a turning point. Until then, the best updates of the year had an "About [cabbage]ing time" feel to them; I feel like this was the first jaw-droppingly sweet update of 2009.



4. High-level Herblore Potions



What is it?

In early October, the herblore skill received a long-overdue update: powerful, high-level, untradable potions. These new potions use already-made potions as a base, adding another herb to enhance the effects of the original potion. Super antifire potions can make killing even the toughest dragons a walk in the park, while Overloads are pretty much the ultimate power-up.


Why is it on this list?

It completely overhauled a skill in dire need of an overhaul. With the high-level potions, herblore transformed overnight from a useless skill to an incredibly potent advantage in any form of combat. Few skills were in quite the hole herblore was in before this update, its only function to grind out experience at a heavy monetary loss while providing no tangible benefits for the effort. While other skills had similar dilemmas, herblore was probably the worst, costing the most and doing the least. Now, thanks to the new potions, herblore actually has a point.



3. Living Rock Caverns



What is it?

In August, a new issue of Postbag from the Hedge was released. At the end was the following cryptic clue from the Chaos Elemental:


Players quickly noticed that the letters to the right of those underlined in blue could be rearranged to spell "fishing" and those to the left of the red underlined letters formed "mining." From this, the community deduced that updates to fishing and mining were on the way. However, another puzzle remained unsolved: what was the significance of the rock musicians? All the names on the left belong to dead rockers. All the ones on the right are names of living rockers, except for that last one, "Caverns," which doesn't seem to make sense. The title "All in one place" probably refers to the Cavern Club, where each of the musicians had performed at some point. But what did any of that have to do with Runescape?


As it turns out, in September, we got the "Living" "Rock" "Caverns," where mining and fishing can be trained "All in one place." And a massive GROAN was heard throughout the land of Runescape.


Seriously though, the Living Rock Caverns introduced some new high-level mining and fishing training methods.


Why is it on this list?

Simply put, this is what all high-level updates need to look like. The Living Rock Caverns revitalized fishing and mining, stagnant skills that had few uses and, with the exception of runite mining, were poor moneymakers. Now, rocktails have given fishing an actual moneymaker that doesn't suck, and concentrated ores have given mining a viable, high-level training method that doesn't suck as much as granite. Notice that the high-level content here is both a training method and and incentive, unlike the agility or woodcutting updates, which merely provided faster experience without any real rewards. Furthermore, the Caverns' training methods are not unbalanced--because of the high levels needed to train there, it's impossible for rocktails and concentrated gold to replace conventional training methods; you still need to train at monkfish for a long time before you hit level 90. As if this wasn't enough, the area itself is creative and unique. Living rock creatures prowl the caverns, and you need to defeat them and use their remains as bait. However, in order to retrieve the bait from their corpse, you need to mine it. And so mining, fishing, and combat are elegantly tied together: you need combat to kill the monsters, you need mining to get the bait, and you need fishing to use the bait. Each step can be done independently, too--nothing stops you from trading with other players to buy and sell the living minerals, and even if you don't have the 73 mining to extract said minerals, the other drops are still pretty nice. Since each step is efficient on its own, the Living Rock Caverns are a DIY'er's paradise.


So, the Living Rock Caverns are creative, fun, useful, well-balanced, graphically pleasing, all-around cool, high-level, and they fill an important need. An exemplary update in every way I can think of.



2. The Temple at Senntisten



What is it?

The Temple at Senntisten is another entry in the Mahjarrat quest series. Where Curse of Arrav played like a direct sequel to Defender of Varrock, this quest played a lot like a direct sequel to Desert Treasure. I've already described it in detail in my review. The quest deals with Azzanadra's efforts to restore the titular temple and re-establish communication with the banished god Zaros. The reward is a set of Zarosian "curse" prayers that act as an alternate, more aggressive "prayer book." Curses are higher-level than their typical prayer counterparts, but more powerful, including Deflection prayers that act as protection prayers but reflect damage back at the enemy; Leech and Sap curses that drain the enemy's stats; and the powerful Turmoil curse that greatly increases your melee abilities based on your opponent's levels.


Why is it on this list?

Partly because of its impressive rewards and partly because of its impact on the storyline. Curses made it much more appealing to train prayer where previously it was typical to stop at 70 for Piety. The potential rewards are pretty sweet for those willing to commit to the leveling required. Stat draining is particularly helpful against bosses. The prayer update was not as necessary as the herblore update or the upcoming smithing update because the prayer skill was far from useless to begin with; however, high levels in prayer make a lot more sense now than they did before, and that's definitely a good thing.


What clinches it is the obviously monumental shift in the storyline that gives us story buffs jitters at the mention of it...



And my #1 Update of 2009 is...


1. Random Event Update



What is it?

For those of you who are relatively new to the game, random events used to be annoying. They would bother you repeatedly and frequently, sometimes in the middle of combat, and interrupt your training to give you only a small handful of gold. If you took your eyes off the screen for a minute, and evil chicken could appear out of nowhere and kill you with powerful magical attacks. A tree might randomly come to life and smash your hatchet. A fishing spot might turn into a whirlpool and swallow your harpoon. A rock golem might appear while you mine to smash you for disturbing its resting place. It pretty much sucked. Sure, you might get the occasional genie lamp, but you'd be constantly accosted by strange freaks. February 25th changed all that, eliminating the evil "attack you" events, improving the rewards of everything else, and greatly reducing the frequency of all random events.


Why is it on this list?

The random event update was well thought-out, perfectly executed, and universally adored, more so than any other update of the year. It was a slam dunk. Not only did it fix one of everyone's biggest complaints about the game, but it pretty much found the perfect solution and just got it right. The random event fix impacted virtually every part of the game in a positive way. I think the only complaint anyone has against it so far is that it fixed the problem so well that we actually want more random events now. That's right, it was fixed so well, we're begging for more of what we used to despise. Dammit, this update pwned. If it weren't for the pathfinding bug fix, I'd say that the random event update singlehandedly justified the concept of an "Upgrade Year." As it is, I'll settle for calling it the #1 update of 2009.



Happy new year, everyone.

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Very nice list.

Randoms being number 1 was a surprise. Personally its all the small updates which would get number one for me. Everything from the summoning tab, the quick prayers tab and so on. They are used a lot, but rarely get acknowledged as being completely awesome.


EDIT due to a damn typo

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Very nice list.

Randoms being number 1 was a surprise. Personally its all the small updates which would get number one for me. Everything from the summoning tab, the quick prayers tab and so on. They are used a lot, but really get acknowledged as being completely awesome.

I made a conscious decision to exclude those because it would have made it way too hard to pick ten. I had a full 15 that I omitted because I wanted to focus on the bigger ones.


Good list, the random event update was done perfectly and has really improved on the enjoyability of the game. While the logout timer and pathfinding fixes were even better, the random update has to be the best content wise.

I agree with the pathfinding, but it doesn't feel right to me to have a bug fix as one of the top 10 updates of 2009, y'know?


Oh and congrats on being retweeted by the OfficialJagex Twitter. :)

Woah. B)

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meh...tbh i thought the randoms were kind of a nice unique little thing.


And by the way how the hell did The chosen commander not get on there...a quest finisher...and one of the best made quests ever...

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I, too, loved the Random Event update. I just wish that randoms aren't that much rarer, since almost all randoms give you an exp lamp now.

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