The weather at Catherby beach is lovely this time of year. The fishing was excellent and just for a change, there were very few silly rude kids or River Trolls. Had a couple of good games of gnomeball on the beach, got myself a nice tan and even managed to stock up on a few lobsters – it just doesn't get better than that!
So now I'm back, and what do I see? A nice shiny new quest and new prayers. I'm all a-quiver!
Well, the quest was nice and easy. Just what a post-vacationer needs to get back in the swing of things. The only bit that gave me trouble was unlocking the machine. I didn't have quite enough fingers to count on, so had to resort to using my toes as well, and that's not a pretty sight!
The new prayers however, leave me in a bit of a quandary. On the one hand, they're an excellent addition to the current repertoire – they look as if they'll be very useful to mid-level rangers and mages. On the other hand, they're all mid or low-level prayers. Take a look at the prayer list some time. The highest level prayer is Smite, at level 52. The highest F2P prayer is protection from melee, which, although extremely useful, is only level 43. Unless you're a member of the Heart Unit clan, there's no real reason to raise your prayer beyond level 46 – Retribution is great fun if you know you're doomed. So why bother? Why spend countless hours collecting and grinding bones to worship the Ectofunctus, or 4 times as many hours burying them? Well, higher prayer lasts longer. Big deal.
The only reason I've got my prayer level to where it is (in the upper 60s) is because I have this "thing" going on where I like to keep all my skills at approximately the same level. I'm currently working on getting all my skills to 70 or better and I'm almost there. Even Agility gives you something at higher levels: both the useful ability to run longer and some useful shortcuts right up to level 85.
The problem with prayer is actually a problem with the game as a whole at the moment. While the 3 newest skills, Slayer, Farming and Construction, which have items and tasks for players through level 85 or so included, almost all the other skills top out relatively early on. OK you can't make your own Rune Plate till level 90+ Smithing, but that's not that big an issue as it's easily available and you can wear it and get all the benefits from it with a defence level of 40. Even the ultimate in armour, Dragon, can be worn by a fairly new player with level 60 defence. A quick check of the High Scores table reveals that the bottom player on the Defence table is at level 50. Further research finds about 520,000 level 60 players. That means over half the players on the high scores table can wear the best armour and wield the best weapons in the game.
Naturally, there are more mid-level players than there are high-level ones. Not all of us have been playing since the game came out. Not all of us play the same amount of time, nor put the same amount of dedication into the game. Despite that, a 2-week hiatus dropped me almost 2,000 places on the overall high scores table. I was not amused. I don't know how many people play RuneScape, the high scores table only list the top 1,000,000 in each skill and you have to be at level 30 or better to make the table at all.
So sooner or later you reach a plateau – you've done all the quests, you can use all the best armour and weapons, you can get anywhere you want to go. All that's left for high-level players is to conquer Ancient and Lunar Magicks. Then what?
By the time one gets up there in the skills totals, let's say something like 1,850 – 1,900 total levels or so, the game's pretty much done. There's very little to play for any more. However, you've probably been paying for the game for at least a couple of years, so Jagex has gotten a couple hundred of your hard-earned dollars. Why carry on playing? Well, if you're like me it'll be simply to keep in touch with the friends you've made in-game. Or maybe play Pest Control, though even that can get a little old if you play long enough. I can't believe I just said that!
So how about it, Jagex? How about new armour and weapons classes for level 70 or 80 players? They could be obtainable from a quest or as a monster drop, something that will keep them expensive if tradable. Reward us for hanging in there, for coughing up our $5 every month, for sticking with the game. Give us something new to chase.
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