Well, would you look at that! Another year is almost over. I have no idea where the time went. Looks at skills table. Ah, yes, that would account for it then, wouldn't it? Eighteen combat levels, 25.5 million experience points, and 253 total levels doesn't just happen overnight.
This weekend we'll ring in the new year with Robert Burns' famous song (frequently "alcohol-enhanced" and slightly off key), For Auld Lang Syne. For those not familiar with it, it's a celebration of times past and the friendships thereof. And it's the friendships of RuneScape that I want to talk about today.
I'm not a great fan of those "year in review" posts. I'm more interested in what's to come and how I can continue to have a good time in game while not going crazy trying to level up all my skills.
It has been quite a big year for Jagex: two new skills were released, the long awaited Construction and Hunter; the Pest Control mini-game gave many people's combat levels a much needed boost; and the Skill Capes gave all the high-level players a chance to flaunt their achievements. The 100th quest, Recipe for Disaster, was released and then followed by another 16. Questing has become somewhat of a full-time job for those who have the quest skill cape and wish to continue to wear it.
The game engine has been upgraded, and much of the world has been redecorated – starting with the rather startlingly bright makeover of Falador. Many of the monsters have been redrawn too. Efforts have been made to deter autoers, scammers, and others who would rather spoil the game than play it. The Blokes at Jagex Towers have had a very busy year indeed.
As a result of all that hard work by TB@JT, we've got a bigger and better game to play than we had this time last year. I'm not sure that they can top this year in terms of content addition and all-around upgrades to game play. However, I'll be happy to stand in Varrock centre and publicly eat my words if they do!
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere! And gies a hand o' thine ! And we'll tak a right gude-willie-waught, for auld lang syne.
The one part of the game that Jagex didn't write and can't upgrade is the friendships that form between the players. Some people come into the game because their friends play, some make friends in game. Most of us do both. Friendships change, grow and develop, and what started off as a bunch of people having a bit of fun together metamorphoses into a clan. A lazy afternoon killing dragons with the guys develops into a regular outing to visit the King Black Dragon or the Kalphite Queen.
Certainly being part of the larger Tip.It community, as well as my own personal network of friends, is what keeps me coming back to RuneScape night after night. Some of my in-game friends are also friends outside the game, some are not. It doesn't make any difference in the end. It's the conversations that I have while endlessly smelting, smithing, runecrafting, farming, etc., that makes it possible for me to keep on doing it. Having friends who'll go with you on a treasure trail to the wilderness, or as back up on a quest with extra food and potions, not for a share in the rewards, but because you're friends, makes a huge difference in the amount of fun the quest or treasure trail is. Puzzling out a new quest with a friend or two is more fun than doing it alone. I have to own up to having some odd friends – including one or two who'll meet me in Lumbridge after I've died to give me back the items they've salvaged and hand over my bones as well! You'd think they could at least give me a decent burial, but no – they have to bring me back the bones. I suppose I should consider myself lucky they don't feed them to the sheepdog at the farm South of Falador. Eeeep!
A few years ago I resolved not to make any New Year's resolutions, and I'm happy to report that it's been the one resolution I've managed to keep. However, if I was going to make a New Year's resolution, it would be to remember to appreciate my friends in-game and to be sure to be at least as good to them as they've been to me. When it comes to the crunch, it's not the pixels that matter, it's the people behind the pixels: the friends you play with, your opponents at Castle Wars or in the Wilderness, that blithering idiot who keeps stealing your rocks or your logs, the n00b who won't leave you alone, the people at Jagex who make it all possible, and the staff of Tip.It who provide us all with a huge amount of information and tips to maximize our game playing experience.
Whatever next year brings, as long as I've got friends to play with, to celebrate our triumphs, commiserate over our defeats, and complain about whatever it is that's annoying us in game, I'll be sure to have a good time.
So ladies and gentlemen, please raise a glass of your preferred drink and join me in a rousing chorus:
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup o' kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
May 2007 be at least as good to you as 2006, if not better! Happy 'Scaping!
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