All of us know that the biggest RuneScape update since the release of RuneScape 2 was released earlier this week. With it, came a beta testing faze that included select RuneScape players and 50,000 other players, which seem to have been randomly selected instead of selected upon membership or combat level as players were led to believe. Moreover, for the first few hours of beta testing, there were massive sever issues and players were not able to log on, causing even more of an uproar. Initially, it seems that Jagex was off to a rocky to start with their major and already controversial update.
After all the server issues were fixed, I only saw about 10,000 players online testing the Beta, mainly at the Duel Arena and in low level wild testing out those shiny new abilities in hopes of PKing full Torva. After thinking about it for a little bit, 10,000 players seemed mighty low. With a server limit of 20,000 — since there are 10 servers and each can hold 2,000 players each — RuneScape Beta was only running at half capacity. Moreover, with all the people who were selected automatically coupled with 50,000 other players, it seemed as if the servers would be jammed packed with anxious players. But nonetheless, there were plenty of players to try out the new abilities so I continued my adventure.
Being a rather small gamer, as in I haven't played any other online games and only dabbled with Xbox games when given the chance, this entire ability "thing" was new to me. Unlike my good Skype friends who actively play WoW, I felt as if I was at a severe disadvantage as they would be better with key binds and using the correct combination to stun and kill me instantly. Well... I was right; they slaughtered me nearly every single time we fought. It wasn't until after they started guiding me on when to use certain abilities and which abilities were best did I begin to understand the entire basis behind the upcoming combat system.
After a few hours of using different abilities and fighting with a variety of weapons and combat styles, I started to figure out what was overpowered. First of all, stuns are majorly overpowered in blocking ultimates and stopping your opponent from eating when they need it the most. Coupled with abilities that do higher damage when someone is stunned, stuns are a massive threat in PvP game play. After many many fights, I began straying away from the very cool and well animated dual wielding and turning to a more conservative and old RuneScape style of game play: wielding a shield. A shield was a definite must in trying to beat any dual wielder. While your DPS is lower, you unlock the use of a plethora of other abilities that allow you to heal, take less damage, be revived, and even reflect or block all upcoming attacks, which can do major damage to someone without a shield. The same applied to range dual wielding vs. shield and crossbow, and while I hadn't tested the magic dual wielding, I have heard from many players that it uses runes at an extreme rate and, even with the reduced rune costs, it was quite annoying to keep up with the amount they use.
On another note, two-handed sword animations are quite amazing and they have a lot of unique abilities that makes them very balanced when compared to dual-wielded weapons, but it seemed like they had a slight disadvantage when paired against someone wielding a shield. I did a lot of testing with shield fights and dual wielding fights, and it seems that the best way to beat any fighter is to use a shield to use your defensive abilities when needed, and then switch to using dual wielding abilities when you want to have DPS. Moreover, in the right hands, any weapon and set of abilities is for sure deadly, and in the wrong hands any weapon can be extremely underpowered, which is much different than the RuneScape we are used to. On a related note, I find that using your thresholds, and having more than one on your ability bar is much more useful than using your ultimate in very close fights, which I thought was very odd as I figured there'd be major incentive to use your ultimate vs. thresholds.
Overall, I very much enjoyed the first few days of the Beta and it seems like a lot of players had a knee-jerk reaction of love or hate even before they had the chance to test it. I dislike the fact that the beta was severely limited and therefore a lot of my friends who are not active members were not able to test out the shiny new toys I was playing with. Moreover, it seems as if a lot of players just started striving to duplicate party hats and other rares and it just is a shame to see a hundred people dicing when they are a wasting such an opportunity to test the game play when people are anxiously waiting for yet another week to test the beta.
In general, my PvE experiences were very different and much easier. All the GWDs bosses did very little damage output compared to live game and with Soulsplit I was able to use abilities and gain back any damage they output — quite disappointing to say the least. However, my biggest annoyance was what they did to Spirit Shields. Making the Divine=Elysian=Arcane and leaving the Spectral out of any sort of buff was a massive change and ruined what made the Elysian unique. They also adjusted the Grand Exchange buy and sell limit per 4 hours for the spirit shields to 1, which was a good play to lessen the panic that ensued once the news of that update was out. However, it didn't stop the panic sell off and all the spirit shields crashed (with the exception of Arcane, which is rising dramatically). Even Nex gear crashed nearly a hundred million for the sets.
In conclusion, the Beta was a pleasant experience and I expected it to be full of bugs and glitches, which it was. Specifically, Dungeoneering is very buggy and the Hexhunter is now even more overpowered than before, giving a lifepoint boost nearly equal to a Torva Platebody. My main criticism is that more players were not allowed in to the test the beta when it is hard to find even 100 people on every world in the Beta and less than 10 is not a rare sight at all.