Truly remarkable achievements in RuneScape are becoming a rarer and rarer feat – as more people play, the amount of rare achievements falls. However, the few untouched (thus far) achievements are the realms of seemingly unachievable levels of experience points – requiring a strong mix of determination, perseverance, gp and selective sight, to avoid the inevitable negative discussions.
Elias is the first player to achieve the feat of 3 billion total XP. Whilst it could be argued that it is ‘only’ halfway, the sheer amount of effort put into this achievement makes it one of those truly rare achievements. Since then, only two other players have been able to match this achievement – and that was a while after Elias quit.
In this exclusive interview, Elias talks about RuneScape, Real life and about his creation, Slayning.
Hobgoblinpie: Firstly, let me say congratulations on reaching 3 billion XP! It must feel fantastic to be the first to achieve such a milestone. But, how long ago was it that you really decided to push forward and achieve it?
Elias: Thanks a lot! I think it was sometime in March/April this year after having trained a lot of construction that I realised that I could probably get rank 1 if I kept going. At that time 3 billion XP was still so far away though, no one was close to it. So I didn't think about it much until after I achieved rank 1, which was in the middle of June. When Gertjaars became the first player to get 2 billion XP, I said to my friend "I wonder who will be first to 3b" and he said "maybe you :) ". Obviously I didn't think so back then (and I'm sure my friend didn't think it seriously either) considering how many active players that were still far ahead of me, but I thought it was kind of funny when he reminded me when I actually reached 3 billion XP, haha. I found a really old screenshot of my hiscores;
And compared to now:
H: The fact that it wasn't planned until recently makes it even more outstanding. At what point did you consider how far you'd go in RuneScape?
E: Probably around summer time in 2008 when I was getting 200M Thieving xp. I used to have high total xp compared to my total level and I liked getting xp in skills I was already 99 in, but at that point I knew I'd get all 99's one day. I didn't think I would become one of the top players until about a year after that though, when I maxed overall and started caring about overall ranks (which never really mattered to me before).
H: Do you see yourself as being the first person to get 4 billion xp, or the even more magical number, 5 billion xp?
E: Nope. To even stand a chance of being first to 5B xp I would have to play as much as I have done in the past for probably at least another 1.5 years (depending on game updates), and that's not something I'm willing to do. After a lot thinking and reasoning as well as university starting in a couple of days I came to the conclusion that I should stop playing RuneScape completely. Getting 200M xp in every skill was never my goal anyway, so I don’t feel like I’m leaving anything unfinished behind me. It has been a fun run, but there are so many other things I want to do in life rather than playing an online game all day.
H: Have you ever 'quit' RuneScape before now, or taken any long breaks?
E: No, not until now after 3B xp. The longest break I've had before this must have been in summer 2007 when I was on vacation with my family for 3 weeks, other than that I've played pretty much every day.
H: At your peak in RuneScape, how long would you say you played per day?
E: I played about 20 hours per day whole June and a bit into July this year, I have never played that much for such a long period of time before. I wasn't feeling very good IRL and it was a nice way to escape reality for a while, and of course rank 1 was a big source of motivation too. Usually I'd "only" play about 10 hours a day.
H: On that subject, what do you do to stay healthy?
E: *shrugs* - I don't do anything special really. Well, I started running again now, usually 10 km's every other day, but when I still played Runescape a lot I didn't do any regular physical exercises to stay healthy. I have never had any problems with my back or anything because of how much time I spent in front of the computer, and I've always been slim, so I've never had to worry about my weight. I guess my eating and sleeping habits are - in general - pretty healthy. It's up to each individual to decide how they want to live their life and take responsibility for their own health though. I don’t really understand why people like to discuss other player’s health so much – if the person is able to spend their time, enjoying what they do, and staying relatively normal health wise, then I see no problem. Here’s a photo proving my healthy eating habits:
H: What does your average daily routine consist of?
E: Routines are boring, I try to make each day somewhat unique. It's also hard to have any real routines when you don't go to school and/or work, but maybe it will change soon.
H: You mentioned that you’re heading off to University soon. What are your long-term plans education/career wise?
E: For the next 40 weeks I will be studying psychology, just out of pure interest really and it is a just a basic course. I'm not exactly sure what I want to become yet, but maybe a pharmacist as I've always enjoyed chemistry/biology and apparently it's easy to get a job once you're done. However, that will have to wait until next autumn because it's too late to apply for it now and I will have to move to a different part of Sweden. I also have plans of going to Australia with a friend on a so called "Working Holiday" in a couple of months and we will probably stay there for quite some time (the visa is valid for 12 months), so that might delay my career choice even further. I will still be able to continue with my psychology course there though (online).
H: What would be your dream career?
E: Astronaut maybe. It would be pretty sweet to be sponsored to go on a spaceship and get the honour to represent all of mankind’s historical experiments in space, while at the same time contributing to a very fascinating field of science. That is not very realistic though and it's not something that I will try to pursue. I am just happy if I find out what I want to do and then get to work with that, and enjoy it. The salary and the "status" of the profession is not too important.
H: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now, in real life and RS?
E: In 5 years from now I have hopefully done a lot of travelling around the world, met a lot of interesting people and experienced many new things. Maybe settled down someplace nice with someone, and have a job that I enjoy going to. I was going to say kids too, but give that 10 years instead lol. I don’t see myself playing RS 5 years from now, and I honestly doubt the game will still be up and running (with updates etc.). I’ll probably still be at 3 billion XP exactly, hehe.
H: That’s interesting. It’s good how you’ve been able to move away from RuneScape so easily. Have you ever met up with any RuneScape players in real life?
E: Yeah, a few. The first person I met up with from RuneScape was my girlfriend (now ex gf..) in July 2008. She lives in a different part of Sweden so the long-distance relationship was hard because we could only see each other on school holidays and such, but after I finished school and she managed to get her own place we moved in together for almost 11 months before it came to an end earlier this year. Klonki, who used to be top 10 overall a few years ago, are good friends with her and they live in the same town so I have met him too, a couple of times. I've also met Elvis on a few different occasions.
In July 2011 I met up with both Elvis and Klonki together for the first time, it was quite interesting because they used to hate each other on the internet, especially during 2008-2009 when they were competing with each other over the ranks, lol. We went to an amusement park where we also met two other players - Clamp15 and Snajparn. Of course I've also met many players from my local area, but I knew most of them before I started playing, and almost all of them have quit by now.
Here are two of my favourite photos:
I don't know why, but this is Elvis and I in a toy store. He's a huge Hello Kitty fan as you can see.
Pro RS meetup at "Liseberg" (amusement park), from left: Elvis, Klonki, Elias, Clamp15. There’s over 8 billion XP in that picture!
H: What other games do you play besides RuneScape?
E: I don't really play any games at the moment. I used to play Counter-Strike a lot though, before I started playing Runescape "seriously".
H: Do you think that you'll ever play another game with the same dedication as you have with RuneScape?
E: Probably not, unless I get paid for it.
H: It seems like a lot of the highly ranked players are Swedish! Quite impressive. Besides gaming, what are your other hobbies?
E: Besides gaming.... Hmmm, lol. I guess spending time with my family/friends, listening to music, watch movies etc. I'm not a person with a lot of interesting hobbies. I like long-distance running too, my goal is to be able to run a full Marathon next year, it will take a lot of training though.
H: That really will take a lot of training, but it is a brilliant goal to work towards. Are there any other sports that you’re interested in?
E: I'm not a big sports fan but I find athletics / track-and-field to be the most interesting sport to watch (e.g. Olympic Games).
H: Going back to RuneScape, the road to 5 billion XP, let alone 1 billion XP is incredibly expensive, how did you go about making your money?
E: Definitely solo merchanting using the Grand Exchange (flipping). I started flipping in early 2009 and have done so almost every day since then. During 2010 I made about 25M gp per day on average.
H: I assume when you say Solo merchanting, that you’re implying that you’ve never used a merchanting clan?
E: No, the only type of merchanting I’ve ever done is flipping and you don’t need a clan to do that. However, I have been in a few IRC channels with other good flippers where we would sometimes share prices, or tell the current max/min bids in GE to help each other out. Particularly useful if you just woke up or if you’ve been away for a day or so. Me and Tg (world's most epic scaper <3) worked together a lot when flipping, we would take turns to do max buys/min sells and always kept each other informed about the current prices. We even texted each other sometimes to make the other aware that GE updated if one of us was afk, haha! Good times... You can flip all by yourself and make just as much money, but you do save some time if you help each other out, and it also makes it much more enjoyable. It’s a bit different now with FT though and you’re probably better off flipping on your own nowadays. Last time I flipped was in May and it was still decent money.
H: Yeah, that makes sense. What’s the most money you’ve ever lost from one single merch then?
E: I've always been pretty careful while merching and not taken any big risks, but no matter how careful you are you always end up losing money sometimes. I think the most I've ever lost from a single merch was between 500-1000M, not long after the free trade announcement and everything was crashing.
H: You’ve played for quite a few years, so you’ve obviously seen the economy progress and change, and it appears that things hit rock bottom, so to speak, when Free trade was reintroduced. What do you think of the RS economy?
E: It has its similarities to the real world economy, but is much simpler. The prices on most items are determined by the supply and demand and the market is, in general, controlled by the players themselves. Sadly, bots also have a huge influence on the market nowadays. Not much to say really.
H: But, the reintroduction of Free Trade allowed people to create new ways to make money, such as the highly controversial Dicing clans. What do you think of both staking and ‘dicing’?
E: I have nothing against staking as long as it’s done fairly. Dicing... Meh, it’s not against the rules but I don’t think it’s a respectable way of making money. Then again, who cares about that now that Jagex welcomed the bots, hackers, scammers and rwt:ers to the game again.
H: That’s fair enough. How much wealth had you accumulated at your wealthiest?
E: Around 6 billion gp I think, I usually spent my money on skills as I went along while still merchanting for more.
H: That’s quite a lot considering your outgoings. What would you say is your favourite skill, buyable or not?
E: I enjoyed training Thieving (pyramid plunder) a whole lot and I have so many good memories from that time. Firemaking is also a skill I've always enjoyed, but I have to pick Thieving as my favourite skill.
H: And what’s your least favourite skill?
E: Agility and Smithing are very boring skills, so either of them I guess. I would say Runecrafting too but I actually enjoyed getting 99 in it because of the money I made from double natures - back in the days when it was still one of the best money making methods. I haven't trained it since then though.
H: I can’t say that I’m surprised to see Runecrafting listed – and I’m sure not many people are either! How did you go about reaching 200 million XP in all the skills you currently have at that stage?
E: Thieving was done by playing Pyramid Plunder. For Cooking, I did Sharks for most of the XP, but I also did some wines. Firemaking was achieved mainly with magic logs, but also some maple, eucalyptus and yew logs when I didn't have a lot of money. I got Fletching by making magic longbows for nearly half of the XP and broad arrows for the rest of the XP. Crafting was blue d'bodies for most of the xp, also some green d'bodies and cutting emeralds, rubies, diamonds and dragonstones (depending on prices). Dungeoneering was done with 5:5 large dungeons with friends most of the time. Herblore was mainly extreme attack potions and overloads and Prayer was dragon bones to like 50M XP and frost dragon bones to 200M XP.
H: So a mixture of expensive and bang-for-the-buck training methods then. What would you consider your all-time favourite activity on RuneScape to be?
E: Dungeoneering on a Saturday night with a pro team of good friends and lots of energy drinks. <3
H: In general, when playing, do you creates plans for training your skills, or do you just do what you want and see what happens?
E: I usually just do what I feel like doing and see what happens but sometimes I make up some kind of plan and set goals for myself, like when getting 200M XP in a skill.
H: Makes perfect sense! Had anyone in RuneScape inspired you?
E: A lot of players have inspired me in some way, I can't list all of them, but... Yogosun inspired me a lot in 2007 for being a good old school player with a very relaxed attitude and cool videos. Allar/Lan in 2008/2009 because of how balanced stats they had compared to most other top players at that time who pretty much just had a 13M xp base with a few 200M's. Klonki inspired me too because of how much he played when he was getting 200M's after he maxed in 2008.
H: When did you start playing RuneScape?
E: In late 2006. I did play some RSC back in 2001 though. A lot of my friends at school played it so I tried it out, but I didn't have broadband at home yet so I could only play during lunch break at school and at friends houses. I had many different accounts but none of them had good stats and I don't remember the password to any of them.
H: So not that long then, compared to other players. How many days of gameplay have you reached on RuneScape?
H: Have you ever fallen for any scams?
E: Yes, a couple of times in late 2006 or maybe early 2007 when buying skill supplies, before the trade windows had all these warning messages and price check things. It was nothing too serious though and I think everyone has been scammed at least one time, but you learn from your mistakes.
H: What would you consider your ‘noobiest’ moment in RuneScape?
E: Oh I've had so many noob moments... I once added like every player in the top 50 on hiscores to my friends list and said hi to those who had their chat turned on and then nervously waited to see if they would reply, and some of them actually did!
I got stuck inside Draynor Manor once in RSC, I couldn't find the way out and there was no such thing as home teleport or anything. I was like 10 years old and not very good at English but I managed to ask someone there for help and he was like "m8 u see all these skeletons, they used to be players like u and me but they got stuck and died, nobody escapes this place", I believed him and almost cried lol, but then I found the way out.
A few weeks ago my IRL friend (rsn: Faffan) sent me a text file of MSN conversation logs with me and him from 2006 when I just started playing again and created the account Elias (or back2pray as it was originally called). I was really surprised he still had logs from 5 years ago. He was the experienced one and I was a total noob asking him all kinds of questions about the game (those kinds of questions that I just ignore when people ask me them in RS today). It was a hilarious read, I wish I could share it with you but it's all in Swedish and Google-translate won't work because of all the slang words/typos/abbreviations. One thing I found very funny was when he told me to become a member because it's so much better than the free-to-play version, to which I replied something like "I'm not going to pay for a crap game like this". I did however become a member a few weeks after that.
H: It’s always good to look back on our mistakes and laugh. What would you say is the worst or least useful piece of advice you've received?
E: Any merchanting advice from Squall (also known as Codeski/Cody) is the worst possible advice you can get. Not going into more detail than that!
H: And what would be the best advice you could give to a new player?
E: Quit while you still can!! Haha, no but I don’t really know. It’s hard for me to image how a new player experiences the game because it has changed so much since I started playing, and the future of RuneScape doesn’t look too bright. I don't have any uber-mega-super-secret-pro advice to give that you wouldn't hear from any other player, I'm sorry.
H: What do you think about the 'recent' updates in RuneScape, such as the Wilderness returning?
E: I voted No to bringing free trade back, and I am still against it. The way I see it Jagex are just trying to get as much money out of RS before they dump it and move on to a new project (Stellar Dawn maybe?). I don't think I even need to comment on the Refer-A-Friend thing, it's just so pathetic. Ever since Mark Gerhard became the CEO in 2009 everything has just gone downhill.
H: What did you think of Dungeoneering when it first came out, and how has your opinion of it changed over time (if at all)?
E: When it first came out I was very confused, just as everyone else. It was not like any other skill and nobody knew how to train it in order to get good xp. I think I was level 90+ when I did my first 5:5 large dungeon and people started to realise that it was definitely the fastest way to train it. I didn’t like the fact that you had to rely on other people to get good xp, but I accepted the fact that Dungeoneering was meant as a teamwork skill, and I had to get used to it. My mum didn’t like that I always ate in front of the computer instead of at the dinner table, but oh well, can’t let your team down.
I just wish that all floors would have been released much quicker so I could have kept training all the way to level 120 instead of having to wait for months for the occult and warped floors.
I enjoyed Dungeoneering most of the time, I have many good memories from it and I actually miss training it. It could be really stressful at times though. For instance:
Early days of Dungeoneering, I really miss those times :(
The almighty Bear is holding two orange corner keys (credits to Joe for the beautiful singing too).
H: How about Effigies? They certainly changed the game – cannoning Cave Crawlers for effigies is generally faster than actually Runecrafting, for instance.
E: Effigies changed the game drastically and I hate them for doing that. I liked how RuneScape used to be, when you actually had to train the skill to get experience in it.
Me and Squall (Cody) always took pics of effigies to make each other jealous, funny thing is I didn't even notice the second effigy on the ground when I took the pic. I ended up getting 4 effigies that task, my personal record. Good old times, before the bots took over at black demons and the cannon didn't cover all of the nearby drops.
H: On the subject of effigies, they’ve become a mainstay in many efficient training methods. You’ve used your fair share, but do you consider yourself the most efficient player at the moment?
E: There are so many ways to define and measure efficiency in RuneScape, it really depends how you look at it and you also have to take a lot of things into consideration before saying that someone is efficient/inefficient. I consider myself an efficient player, but not the most efficient.
H: Who do you consider to have been the most efficient RS player and why?
E: Ox or Zarfot, either of them really. They both came very far in a short amount of time compared to other players, and that without spending all their free time playing. Zarfot was well known for his efficiency and he was the most successful player out of these two, but Ox could have gone just as far if he didn’t quit so early. He was quite unknown because he didn’t make any guides or YouTube videos about skilling like Zarfot did, but he was a very talented player and probably the best merchanter out of all serious skillers at that time.
H: Has fame ruined the game for you, or improved it?
E: I’ve never strived to achieve any kind of fame by playing RS and I have always tried to keep a low profile, but obviously a lot of players recognize you if you are high ranked, and that hasn’t ruined anything for me. It is nice to get some recognition for all the hard work you’ve put in, though I can’t really say that it has improved the game for me either. I have never used any of my so called “fame” to get any personal advantages, and I am proud of that.
H: On the subject of fame, a lot of highly ranked and famous players cannot turn their private chats to ‘on’, instead leaving them set to ‘friends’. Can you keep private on without being bombarded with messages?
E: During the first 5-10 minutes after turning it on I get a lot of messages, but after a while it’s not that bad. I used to have my chat on most of the time but when I reached top 3 it became a bit annoying. It’s hard to have a conversation with a friend in PM with other people constantly interrupting.
H: What would you consider your greatest achievement in RuneScape, and your greatest achievement in Real Life?
E: In RuneScape it's probably rank 1 overall / being first to 3B XP. My greatest real life achievement was to beat Elvis at minigolf by 1 stroke. There's still a lot of time left to achieve even greater things in real life though, if that's possible. Another of my favourite achievements was getting 200mil Herblore XP;
But to get the best overview of my RuneScape career, you’d be better off taking a look at this video:
H: And what would you consider to be the greatest achievement that any other player has achieved in RuneScape?
E: When Zezima became the first person to get 99 in every skill. I didn't play when he did that but I remember my friend telling me about it at school (I knew about the game), and I was really amazed that he got 99 in every single skill.
H: If Stellar Dawn is released before the end of RuneScape's lifecycle, would you consider switching, or would you stick with RuneScape until the end?
E: If I had to choose I would probably stick to RuneScape for the simple reason that I already spent so much time on it.
H: If you could create one item in RuneScape, what would it be and what would it do?
E: No idea, lol. A charm magnet would be nice, though it’s not me who came up with that idea. It would work in a similar way as bonecrusher/herbicide, and pick up all charms from the monsters you kill.
H: This question is probably the most important in this entire interview – Do you think Jagex listens to its players?
E: They only listen to the feedback they want to hear, and ignore the rest. And not only do they not listen, they also feed us lies all the time and then just expect the players to believe them, stay quiet and keep playing their game. I have seen so many examples of that, especially during the last year or two.
H: And how about the High Level Forums? Since the accumulated knowledge and experience of the game in the HLF is incredibly high, surely Jagex listen to those in the HLF with greater interest?
E: So many players have access to the HLF now and I don’t read it anymore so I can’t really say anything about the current situation. I know that some Jagex mods used to be pretty active there and communicate with the maxed players more than with the non-maxed community, but I don’t know if that’s the case anymore.
H: Is there anything in RuneScape that you'd do differently, given the chance?
E: A lot of things. For example I would have focused more on making money at an earlier stage instead of training buyables using "cheap" methods.
H: And finally, Is there anyone that you want to thank or mention for supporting you or helping you on your journey? Personally, I would like to say thanks to you, Elias, and your friend Ineedcash12 for contacting me to get this interview going!
E: I want to thank you (Hobgoblinpie), Tip.it and my old friend Ineedcash12 for making this interview possible, I was a bit hesitant at first but I am glad I decided to do it, it has been very fun!
A very special thanks to Tg: We’ve talked every day for at least the last two years and we’ve had so much fun together. All these inside jokes that we have, nobody can make me laugh so much and as easily as you can, and I know that I wouldn’t have come this far in RS if it wasn’t for you. I really hope that we will keep in touch even though we both stopped playing. <333
Thanks a lot to Aus James for being such a nice and generous friend, and for letting me and Wim stay at your place when we are coming to Australia. Cya there soon and don't forget to wear your pink biebershoes man!
Jag vill också ge ett stort tack till Jesper Töllinen a.k.a. Heroww!
I also want to give a very special thanks to the following people that hasn't already been mentioned somewhere in the interview (alphabetical order):
A13d, Adamm, Calibanio, Dallysworld, Drumgun, Lowlander50, Makaveli 93, Maybe Down, Nise 00, Richard-, Ry4n T05, S U O M I... You are all amazing! (ok maybe not Adamm, but the rest)
...and everyone in clan “E”.
…and thanks to EimmY a.k.a. Meow for helping to create Slayning!
And a huge thanks to all my other friends and everyone who has supported me in some way. <3