Of course, those pesky developers are at it again: giving me more content to go through even though my highest skills hover around only the level 40 mark. This time it's the Runespan, a brand-new area that helps players level runecrafting by offering them a one-stop shop that is more casual and non-competitive than the normal runecraft experience.
I got the chance to call up some of the lead developers on the phone and ask not only about the Runespan but about the new FPS improvements, so be sure to check that out!
Once in a while, a wizard in a yellow outfit will show up and yell for help. If players can find him, he'll offer a trade: a stack of a specific runes for more runecrafting experience. I watched as the developers gained thousands of experience points in exchange for a stack of runes. Brilliant!
"It could be said that the Runespan is an AFK activity, but it would be better described as a casual way to level up."
The size of the Runespan is impressive. Open up the map and you'll find floating island after floating island, all connected at some point. With the recent performance updates to RuneScape, the beauty of the area is easy to enjoy.
Speaking of performance tweaks, I asked about the recent FPS improvements. If you're familiar with the great Bot Nuking Day that happened not so long ago, you know that after the bot-destroying event, performance dropped. I admit to having issues running the game while livestreaming, making it difficult to play live. Now, however, performance upgrades have made the game feel appropriately snappy and smooth. After all, I can run much more graphics-intensive games like Vanguard or Planet Calypso with almost no issues, so it was a shame that a browser-based game like RuneScape had worse performance. Well, no more.
Jagex looked at it like this: Increased security should not come at the price of poor performance. It took the devs a while, but they finally tuned performance up while keeping the same level of security the players enjoyed after Bot Nuke Day. The new upgrades were too good to be true, I felt, but I verified that the team isn't going back to the way things were before. (I made the developers pinky-swear.) They emphasized the fact that security is always a work in progress and that changes would have to be continually made to fight botting but that performance should go up, if anything, over the next few patches.
I asked about the Squeal of Fortune, the new prize wheel that offers players a chance to win great items like XP lamps or even rare gear that normally require a lot of game time to aquire. In some players' eyes, being able to purchase extra spins means that players are essentially able to buy XP and amazing items. Unfortunately, I was told that we'd have to discuss it another time. I suppose something as controversial as the Squeal of Fortune deserves an entire column. (For the record, I have no issues with it and have even bought 20 or so extra spins. The extra XP has been wonderful for me.)
I also found out about a new player quest line that will start in Rimmington and tasks players with a mystery involving sleeping villagers and a massive dragon that is so large that five of the game's current largest dragons would fit in its head. While a newbie would have no chance at killing the massive end-boss at the end of the new quest-line (it will take a "massively high-level" character), anyone can at least start down the path.
I took the moment to try to squeeze any information I could out of the topic of the huge combat upgrade that's been hinted at, but I got only the standard answer. It promises to be one of the largest and most important updates to the game, and the rule is generally that the larger and more important the update, the tighter the developers' lips. I tried, though.
After our time in the Runespan, I quickly logged in and teleported myself to the area. Within the time I have written this article, I have gained 28 runecrafting levels. I imagine that by the time I am done editing it, I will be able to go to the higher section, accessible at level 33. I grab any chance I can to level my character a bit more quickly when I can play, especially since I play in such unpredictable chunks of time. I would like to thank the developers for taking the time out to take my call, and I look forward to getting them on the line again. I'm sure as we get closer to the new combat upgrade, I'll have a crop of new questions. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some leveling to do.
Each week in MMObility, Beau Hindman dives into the murky waters of the most accessible and travel-friendly games around, including browser-based and smartphone MMOs. Join him as he investigates the best, worst, and most daring games to hit the smallest devices! Email him suggestions, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook.