Scary title isn't it? I thought so too, but it's a conclusion I came to when I was deep in thought on this new Dungeoneering skill. So let's ask ourselves the question first; Is this it?
Remember the Strange Power event? A few months ago, the magic button was pressed and everyone online at that point turned and faced the place where Daemonheim would soon be. Speculation ran wild, from Zaros' return, to it having something to do with the earthquake in Haiti.
Then another mysterious update. A castle appeared, but entrance to it was blocked off by the Fremennik. So to peek inside we all brought our Orbs of Oculus, and proceeded to draw horribly wrong conclusions about red, blue and green tents.
Fast forward to today and consider what we currently know. Dungeoneering is a skill you can level up by going on expeditions (suspiciously minigame like) into the Daemonheim Dungeon, and all the awesomeness that comes with it. And that awesomeness is what prompted me to write this article.
I admit it was a bit confusing to me at first. Everything looked magnificently different and the immediate purpose was unclear (why the need to re-start from the top again and again?). But, fortunately, with the complexity levels we got eased into learning all the new names and what everything is and does. Although, today I still play with the Knowledge Base opened in a different window.
Trying to advance myself deeper and deeper into the Dungeons of Daemonheim I suddenly realised something. My Kingdom had been left unattended, and I hadn't done a 'daily' in over a week. Was I alone in this? More to the point, was this skill so isolated from the rest of RuneScape?
For sure, the Dungeoneering skill is as of yet completely useless outside of Daemonheim. And I remember reading a long while back in a Developers Blog that there has been a consideration to make all this a stand-alone game.
But, as you know, it is now integrated into RuneScape, probably because the Dungeons themselves do not offer you any real means to level your combat or other skills needed down there. This was later confirmed in the Live Q&A. The Dungeons are supposed to be a place to use the skills that you trained in the rest of Gielinor. But how far does this go? Are we supposed to prepare in 'normal' RuneScape for the Dungeons?
There is also the storyline (spoiler alert). The Mahjarrat known as Bilrach, second in command to Zamorak, has been digging for a while now. Whatever he is searching for, after sifting through all the journals, we know he has been busy getting to the bottom of this for at least 825 years. And he's brought whole tribes with him (who've set up settlements in the dungeon), and even gated creatures in from other worlds just to ruin your day.
So here's my guess where this story ends. It occurred to me that Thok, the supposed master of Dungeoneering, is not actually wearing his skillcape. Reading the journals, it is very likely that Marmaros (Thok's brother) did not continue further down after meeting Stomp, and without his brain, Thok's brawn could only go on so much further.
True skill mastery is at level 120. Add the +1 bonus from the Skillcape to access floor 60, and I think we'll actually have to fight Bilrach there, who has been spooning that awesome fabric-warping source of power for who knows how long. We may even have to do it with just the stuff we find on that floor of the dungeon.
Just for those who don't know what a Mahjarrat is, I'll explain. While mortal, they are an extremely powerful race of warriors, most of whom have aligned themselves with Zamorak these days. Zamorak himself used to be one of them, but he leeched his 'godhood' from Zaros, a god who once ruled over all Mahjarrat. During the quest "While Guthix Sleeps" we learn that the ambition to become a god runs deep within Mahjarrat blood as Lucien also attempts this.
Judging from what we know about Bilrach, he is extremely powerful. He created K'ril Tsutsaroth and calls himself Zamorak's right hand. As time progresses it becomes clearer that the other Mahjarrat vastly underestimate him. I believe that defeating him may prove even more difficult than Nomad. But I almost missed my point.
I believe that Bilrach is, by any definition, the last boss, the ultimate power-craving antagonist; The Darth Sidious of RuneScape. So once you defeat him? Game over?
And let’s take a look at the rewards. Everything you can get out of the Dungeon needs to be purchased with Tokens. In the Live Q&A we learned that there are no plans for alternative means to earn Tokens and XP outside of Dungeoneering. Maybe that is not such a bad idea, considering the awesomeness of some of these items. So let's look at a few of these.
First up is F2P. What immediately caught my eye were the new items for each of the warrior classes. The Arcane Blast Necklace and Tome of Frost will make both binders and blasters more dangerous than ever before. With increased damage and accuracy, these items could very well mean a breakthrough for mages at F2p Clan Wars. On top of that, the Tome's unlimited Water Rune supply also saves the binder a valuable inventory slot. But to really go all out on maximizing your spell's damage, get yourself a Gravite Staff too.
The Longbow Sight could make the previously unused Maple Longbow a weapon of choice for snipers. Considering its massive attack bonus, it's not hard to imagine people ranging in full melee armour either, creating a new range/tank hybrid. It is worth noting that the Longbow Sight can be removed and attached to other bows without any cost. If anything, the Maple Shortbow is now obsolete when compared to the Gravite Shortbow too.
Finally there is the Gravite weaponry for fighters. I'm not sure if these are as great as advertised. They are not as good as Corrupt Dragon equipment, but they last a lot longer, and cost less to recharge. They are an improvement for warriors over Rune weapons, but not as much as their maging or ranging counterparts. The Gravite 2h Sword however, is an exception to this. It resembles the Dragon 2h Sword which is a pretty big step forward. Yet it lacks a sharp blade or pointy tip, so I have to wonder why they didn't call it a Gravite I-beam. But who knows, perhaps the Combat Triangle has been equalized enough to finally see "all styles" become the norm over the "melee & binds" counterpart in wars at the Clan Wars arena.
On to P2P. Right off the bat, everyone will have scrolled down to the bottom of the list to behold what might be the ultimate weapons of RuneScape. Rangers and mages will have been terribly disappointed. The Chaotic Crossbow is only marginally better than the Rune Crossbow, and the Chaotic Staff is completely outclassed by the Staff of Light.
The Chaotic melee weapons tell a different story. The Maul would probably have been the best weapon in the game, if only it did not require two hands to wield. The Rapier is, considering damage per minute, the best training weapon in the game. But if you really want to hurt other players, and cannot afford in excess of 10m an hour for Vesta's Longsword, then the Chaotic Longsword is your best bet. One handed, it allows you to wield a shield or a defender. It is also faster than a Godsword, so the only thing it really misses is a special attack.
The 200k Token shields really force the Combat Triangle on us again, except for the Eagle-eye Kiteshield. It could still be wielded if one was a fighter, in order to prevent some magic damage. But I would not buy any of them as the damage they take considerably hastens the depletion of the charges of these shields.
There are other items, but since Tokens are so hard to come by, none of those are anything you'd buy before those I have mentioned. That does not mean they are not any good, though. The Prayer Scrolls will certainly be bought, and even the Anti-poison Totem will prove useful in many situations (DKS or Zamorak GWD, when the glitch is fixed).
A lot of people are expecting new rewards when batch 2 finally arrives, and most of you will not have bought anything yet for that reason alone. So what can we expect? The Ranged counterpart of the Scroll of Augury is probably the most obvious one. But what about Tomes of Rock, or Tomes of Fire? Chaotic Two-handers? Gravite Mauls? Ask yourself what other Dungeoneering rewards you'd expect from batch 2. Now compare that with all of RuneScape. Doesn't it seem like a lot of gaps have suddenly been filled? As you may have read in the interview that accompanies this article, there will even be a Dungeoneering Diversion and Distraction.
Let's recap. At the start of this article I asked if the Dungeons of Daemonheim and the corresponding Dungeoneering skill is the kind of end-game material that you'd normally find in platform games. We've talked about the rewards, and came to the conclusion that they are better than anything previously available, or filled up a gap previously left open. We've seen how RuneScape itself is preparing you for the expeditions down those Dungeons. And we saw that the story behind Daemonheim might lead up to the most difficult battle ever.
I wish I could say that these were the only things. But the Q&A suggested that there will be no other skill coming after this. Even more so, the sheer awesomeness would suggest that there wont be anything to top this. Cuz not only is the gameplay (with teamwork, the graphics and all skills incorporated) unsurpassed, but the Dungeon itself it could not be more complete. Just think about it; it has everything in 'regular' RuneScape balanced out, filled in the gaps, streamlined, and condensed into one single feature. The only one which got its own separate page of credits, no less.
There is one final nail in the coffin that is the question that I asked at the start of this article. Believe it or not, it has been starting us right in the face all along. When you open the page, you can see that the game we all love is now called RuneScape - Dungeons of Daemonheim.
So yes. This is it. This, the whole Dungeoneering skill (including batch 2), was, is, and probably will be the biggest awesome-est update in the history of RuneScape since its creation.
But I don't mind. It takes a team of five of the best players you can find an hour to complete a single large floor, and we've only accessed the first 35 floors so far. So we'll be enjoying this for a while. And I'm still playing the rest of the game too. In fact, levelling up so I can access the next tier of everything has become quite the driving force behind my recent training.
So kudos to everyone who contributed to the creation of this game, and making it a part of RuneScape. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say:
"Thank you for giving us something to shoot for!"