the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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Even more random geekery for the mid-week slump.

Ok, I have at least one person in my Neighborhood that plays Runescape, but everyone should be able to appreciate this horror:

If you can't see the picture very well, that is a pixelated white guy with a 'fro, aviator-style sunglasses, a party hat, and parachute pants.

It's like Disco Stu and MC Hammer had a kid or something.

Ok, granted, this is a game where a party hat is rare and in demand to the tune of several millions of coins in game.
This NPC was always wearing a party hat, though.

But to give a white guy an Afro and THEN put parachute pants on him, and then, before you release him out into the game, crow to the players about how groovy he is?  Andrew and Paul Gower, what the hell were you thinking?  *snort* Oh, that's right, you made the Times' list for the Top 100 richest people in the UK or something like that… you have people to think for you?

Hannah, please tell me that this is just some odd hallucination by two computer nerds, and not a real representation of what Brits consider funky.  Actually, for a moment, those parachute pants looked like knickerbockers, and Party Pete was going to do the Little Lad Dance from this Starburst Berries & Cream commercial:

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FunOrb

(a.k.a. Jagex's Other Games, Reloaded)

Some of you might recall that I posted a little bit about playing a British MMORPG called RuneScape.  It's a bit of a red-headed bastard stepchild of the MMORPG world, as it does not use DVD/CD-ROM software for players to permanently download game files.

Jagex stands for JAva Gaming eXperts, and that is the code that Paul and Andrew Gower stand by.  Despite yowls of many gamers who protest the limitations of Java, I maintain that their code for Runescape is pretty good, considering all such limitations.

But I digress.  I found RuneScape myself through casual gaming– free Java/Flash games and the like.  FunOrb is Jagex's return to these casual games, and it looks like they've done a good job of it.  RuneScape veteran players might remember the company previously dabbling in such games, although at the time, they were not very well designed and were a bit of a laughingstock.  (One of those games, Flea Circus, has returned, but it has been redesigned a bit.)

While RuneScape occupies a rather small niche in the MMORPG game world, I would definitely recommend FunOrb if you do enjoy casual games for coffee breaks and other times you are pretending to work, or just need a quick game to pick up and set down.  If you play RuneScape, you'll find that friendslists are linked.  The list is maintained to compare hiscores; supposedly chat is possible, but I am unsure how it is initiated from FunOrb games.

This is better designed, in my opinion, than many of the other sites out there, including Miniclip and Real Network's RealArcade.  (The forums are much more accessible, too!)

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The world map of online communities

A friend from the Runescape fansite communities (for those that know, this would be LordBaer) shared this link with another RS friend and I:

Online Communities (at http://xkcd.org)

Follow the link for a bigger picture, but here's a post-sized version:

Frighteningly enough, I'm familiar with 95-98% of these communities (not counting the ones with tiny text that's hard to read)– spot on, and funny as hell.

I figure if he added VOX, it would be a super skinny peninsula, or a small island just off the shore of LJ, separated by a strait of some size.

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Why do I like Runescape?

It seems to me that Runescape (RS) is sometimes considered the red-headed (sometimes even bastard) stepchild of the MMORPG world. I think that’s pretty harsh for a number of reasons.

What makes a good game for me is a degree of originality. The arcades had a glut of shoot ’em up and fighting games at various times (and many nostalgia/retrogamers slam Capcom/Namco for participating, and going away from more original games) and so it was a treat to play something that was different. A lot of those games today I still enjoy playing, even if their graphics terribly date them.

What’s not argued enough is that RS occupies a very particular niche. It can be played on lower-ended systems, and is designed to be windowed. You still need a fair amount of processing power and memory to do other things, but you can certainly do so. There are definite things it lacks, particularly clan support and separate chat channels, but most of this is addressed by fansites.

The game attracts gamers in different categories, not necessarily the ones that are hardcore fantasy gamers. Many gamers that like to organize things (such as Sim/Sims series games, and Roller Coaster Tycoon) take great pride and pleasure in organizing their banks. Some adult gamers that like to play puzzle-style games enjoy the puzzles found in the game. Other adult gamers find the repetitive activities on the levelling treadmill relaxing and soothing. Gamers that aren’t as fond of combat, or like a diversion, have plenty of non-combat related skills, which is much larger in scope than most all other MMORPGs put together.

It’s been said that the plotlines of various quests are predictable, and sometimes inane. The creators don’t obsess about continuity, and most plotlines/storylines ARE written for the primary audience– children. But I found a few that are imaginative and magnetic in appeal, even if many names are borrowed and modified from known sci-fi/fantasy work. The history concerning the gods of Glieninor (for such it was originally called according to the history) are very appealing to some, and some are quite passionate about a particular god their characters choose to follow, such as Guthix (a nature god that espouses an Eastern philosophy), Zamorak (an ancient general who rose to power as a war god after defeating Zaros), Saradomin (a god of law and order, believed to have created the human PCs and NPCs), and the fallen Zaros, although most Zaros enthusiasts just like the powerful Ancient Magicks granted by certain quests, and is the only spellbook that grants offensive area effect spells.

Which ones do my character supposedly follow? Most assuredly Guthix, and Armadyl, an ancient god of goodness that has a very sketchy history, but may be filled out by Jagex at a later date. The history concerning Zaros is interesting, although not a “RS religion” I attach to my character.

Overall, basically, it’s all about the story for me, especially when it reaches epic proportions. I was very drawn into the White Wolf World of Darkness series (for pen and pencil/tabletop and LARP) because much of it was an epic storyline, even when there were mistakes that the company would like to forget. When they re-created the game world after letting the previous storyline reach its climax and eventual conclusion, they stripped most of the new universe from any epic qualities. Many changes were made, I believe, to counteract powergaming and other abuses, although such will always be present. So… the company lost a lot of customers for their new products in that line.

But I also play RS to relax. Before I got into one of the early versions, I mostly played Java and Flash games that were quick and entertaining for me. Of course, it’s much harder to set down a MMORPG, and I was reluctant to join the game at first because I understood the time commitment, but it’s easier for me to set it down, at least as far as training is concerned, because I can resume it at any time.

I generally associate with small, tight-knit communities, often of adult players, and that suits me just fine. I know larger amounts of people my age would rather play WoW or even a first-person shooter (FPS), but this is about right for me.