Loyalty Additions and Lodestone Network

Highlights from the Spring/Summer collection include 20 new auras, two of which are brand new. ‘Invigorate’ recharges your special attack at a rate of an additional 20% at tier 1, and an additional 60% at tier 4. ‘Harmony’, meanwhile, is a variation on ‘Corruption’ and ‘Salvation’, with a neat twist of having Guthix-themed wings. For those who have scrimped and saved, we can offer tier 4 versions of all existing auras.

For those who like to skulk moodily in the shadows and scare their friends, we can offer cosmetic auras that make your eyes glow in a choice of 8 colours.

Without ruining the surprise, we can also announce the following additions: another 6 titles, including ‘the Undefeated’; 2 new costumes (a wee hint: if you howl at the moon or you like your ears pointy, you’ll appreciate them); 3 new recolours including options for the Ancient Staff; and 4 new emotes, including the ROFLcopter (you’ll need the ROFL emote to make this beauty work).

The eagle-eyed among you will also spot a permanent price reduction on many auras. If you’ve already purchased and upgraded auras at the old prices, don’t worry; we’ll be applying a Loyalty Point refund to your account within the next few days. There are a fair few accounts to go through, though, so please be patient.

Our current special offers-valid until the 31st of March-are a 50% discount on auras and items from the first Loyalty Programme batch, and 25% off auras and items from the second batch. If you’re owed any Loyalty Points in accordance with the price reduction, you’ll have them in plenty of time to take advantage of these offers!

If you are yet to sign up to the programme, please click here or visit the RuneScape homepage (select “Members Loyalty Programme” from the Account drop-down menu). 

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Bonus XP Weekend

The next Bonus XP Weekend will begin at 12:00 GMT (midday) on the 16th of March 2012 and will end at 12:00 GMT (midday) on the 19th of March 2012.

Whether it’s planing planks for your house, stocking up on seeds for Farming, getting ready for an extended Slayer trip or just limbering up to take on your favourite Agility course, now is the time to prepare so you can make the most progress possible.

Once the Bonus XP Weekend begins on Friday the 16th of March, the XP modifier will come into effect for all members. The modifier will begin at x2.7 the rate of XP you would earn from standard training activities, and will drop to a new multiplier every 30 minutes of game time. The table below should help with any preparations you wish to make:
Game time (mins)     XP Multiplier
Up to 30     x 2.7
30-60    x 2.55
60-90    x 2.4
90-120     x 2.25
120-150     x 2.1
150-180     x 2.0
180-210     x 1.9
210-240     x 1.8
240-270     x 1.7
270-300     x 1.6
300-330     x 1.5
330-360     x 1.45
360-390     x 1.4
390-420     x 1.35
420-450     x 1.3
450-480     x 1.25
480-510     x 1.2
510-540     x 1.175
540-570     x 1.15
570-600     x 1.125
600+     x 1.1

The ‘XP’ button will change to ‘XP+’ when the weekend begins, tracking how much XP you rack up over the course of the weekend. It will also have a tooltip to show you what your current XP modifier is.

As before, Summoning XP will be boosted by a set percentage of 10% over the course of the three days; all other skills will follow the schedule noted in the table above.

Further details of which actions will and will not be modified by the Bonus XP Weekend, and more information in general, can be found here. 

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Game Card Promotion: Barbed Bow

Those of you redeeming 90 or 100 day game cards between the 9th of March and the 31st of March 2012 will receive an exclusive barbed bow; with a superbly spiky look to set it apart from common-or-garden shortbows, and with a unique firing animation to boot!

The promotion is running in the following territories, through the retailers listed:

United States: Gamestop
United Kingdom: GameStation, GAME & GAME Wallet
Canada: EB Games (newly available)
Australia & New Zealand: EB Games
Republic of Ireland & mainland Europe: Gamestop

For help finding your closest store, or for information on game cards in general, pay a visit to our store locator page.

For further information on game card promotional items and how they work, take a look at our FAQ 

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MMOs Set to Grow

A report released today by media analyst Screen Digest suggests that massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) are here to stay and are going to become even more popular over the next several years. Titled “Western World MMOG Market: 2006 Review and Forecasts to 2011,” the report finds that the MMO market in North America and Europe hit one billion for the first time in 2006.

Most of the cash generated from MMOs comes from subscriptions, which account for 87 percent of the market. But new business models like in-game advertising and microtransactions are on the rise, and are expected to slice a bigger piece of the pie in the coming years. In 2006, the North American subscription market hit $576 million, and Europe rose to $299 million. Europe has seen the fastest growth over the last few years, rising from $74 million in 2004, and is expected to see the most growth over the next few, as well.

  

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RuneScape Hits a Million

Today, flash-based game publisher, Jagex, announced that its MMO-offering RuneScape has exceeded one million paying subscribers around the world. This number is in addition to the millions of players who play the game for free without opting to pay the subscription fee. RuneScape subscribers are charged $5 a month for additional content such as items, skills, and quests.

“Reaching the record breaking 1 million member mark is a massive milestone for RuneScape. It is a huge acknowledgment from our global gaming community that being presented with new adventures and challenges in a rapidly evolving world are what gamers want in a multiplayer online game,” said Constant Tedder of Jagex. “Development efforts have been rewarded with a steady and steep rise in player numbers. And we’re not resting on our laurels – there’s a huge amount still to come!” 

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Jonric’s Journal #38

Opening my eyes to web-based MMOGs
Back in June, I ran a two-part Focus article on web-based MMOGs. Although I had been aware of this sector for a number of years, I had been glancing at it from time to time rather than watching it consistently. So, the background research I did for the piece turned out to be not just interesting, but also enlightening in terms of how many titles are out there and how popular some have become.

It’s a broad category, as demonstrated by the fact that two experts who agreed to share their perspectives represented quite different types of offerings. Part 1 featured Maid Marian Entertainment principal Gene Endrody, creator of the Shockwave-based Sherwood Dungeon, which has accumulated some 1.5 million accounts despite very limited exposure in game publication. In Part 2, we heard from Lars Koschin, who heads up the US office of Gameforge. This company, which develops and operates various browser-based titles such as Ikariam and OGame, states that it has 10 million active users.

In looking at their games and many others, it was readily apparent that I hadn’t kept up very well. Sure, RPG Vault has covered a few releases, and I knew of others. However, the segment as a whole turned out to be much larger and far more popular than I had realized. Naturally, I’m trying to catch up my awareness, and also to set up more coverage. One piece that’s coming soon is a Q&A on RuneScape, which has largely flown below the radar in terms of visibility, but is generally regarded as number two in terms of subscriber count with about a million.

And considering the titles mentioned above are less than the proverbial tip of the iceberg, there’s much, much more out there to learn about. So, I’m looking forward to presenting more frequent coverage over the coming weeks and months as I bring myself at least a little closer to being up to speed.

MMOGs for younger users
Last Friday’s column included some personal comments on the Austin GDC, which I had just returned from the day before. As mentioned therein, MMOGs targeting younger users was a focus at the event, both in various formal presentations and as a frequent topic of conversation. This was largely expected, especially the former since the session schedule was available beforehand. Consequently, I was able to arrange for a feature on this topic area. Part 1 is up today, with observations from representatives of KingsIsle’s Wizard101 and Gaia Online. Part 2, which is scheduled for next week, will feature a co-founder of Meteor Games, which is currently working on Twin Skies; the company’s principals previous endeavor was Neopets.

Many of the projects in this area have a major are socially oriented component, so they’re not “traditional” MMOGs with the kinds and mix of content that term implies. There’s also a connection to the topic above since quite a number are web-based. These factors and others have contributed to lower overall visibility for this segment too. However, even hardcore gamers may want to pay it some more attention.

Why? Well, a major reason is that games for kids and youths can also be fun for other age groups. With more of them coming, the likelihood of finding one (or more) you’ll enjoy is growing. It’s easy to sit back and tell yourself you’re a serious online gamer who only plays traditional releases. The same “reasoning can be used to justify not looking at so-called casual MMOGs, web-based ones, etc. But if the result is not trying releases that you’d enjoy, whether regularly or occasionally, this attitude becomes self-defeating. As always, I encourage you to make informed choices as to what you’ll play. 

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Aviansie Hunting Guide

Aviansies are popular creatures because of their profitable drops and low levels, making them a potential monster for players with relatively low combat levels to kill effectively. They are flying soldiers of the god Armadyl; as such they cannot be attacked with melee weapons. You must engage them with either Magical or Ranged attacks, the popular method being Ranged. Aciansies are located in one of the most dangerous areas in the game, the God Wars Dungeon, but with the proper equipment most of the dungeon’s dangers will be harmless!
As the Aviansies you will be targeting are relatively low-levelled creatures (below 100), killing them at low levels is not very difficult. However, consider attaining the below-mentioned levels – they are by no means a requirement, but will make the task much easier.
Recommended levels for Ranged:

70+ Ranged
70+ Defence, or 40+ Prayer for Protect from Missiles
55+ Magic for High Level Alchemy
66+ Magic and completion of Eadgar’s Ruse for Trollheim Teleport
Recommended levels for Magic:

80+ Magic for Polypore Staff
40+ Prayer for Protect from Missiles
Completion of Eadgar’s Ruse for Trollheim Teleport
EQUIPMENT

Note: Items are listed from the best to the worst.

Note: This guide is aimed towards low-levelled players with less access to high-end gear. As such, most item suggestions are cheap and/or low-end; higher-levelled equivalents can be substituted as far as your budget allows.
EQUIPMENT

Note: Items are listed from the best to the worst.

Note: This guide is aimed towards low-levelled players with less access to high-end gear. As such, most item suggestions are cheap and/or low-end; higher-levelled equivalents can be substituted as far as your budget allows. 

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Armadyl’s Eyrie

Kree’arra, although the lowest levelled of the God Wars bosses, has the highest max hit, an impressive 690 using ranged. He can also hit up to 500 with melee, and up to 250 with magic. However, he will only use his melee attack if no-one is currently attacking him, so melee attacks usually aren’t much of a problem in groups. His magic and ranged attacks are performed at the same time, and hit every player in the room. Kree’arra’s minions each attack with their own combat style, similar to the other boss rooms in the God Wars Dungeon. It should be noted that the ranged minion Flockleader Geerin hits the highest and the most often compared to Flight Kilisa (melee), and Wingman Skree (magic). Prized drops from Kree’Arra and his minions include Armadyl ranged armour, Armadyl Godsword hilt, and godsword shards. To enter Armadyl’s Eyrie you must have level 70 ranged and use a mithril grapple (with a crossbow) to cross the gap. All of Armadyl’s minions fly too high to be attacked using melee weapons.
Ranged/Magic: This combination attack is the primary attack used by Kree’arra. As previously noted, the ranged damage is considerably higher than the magic damage. This attack also has a chance to push your character away from Kree’arra.
Melee: This attack is a secondary attack used by Kree’arra only when not under attack. To prevent Kree’arra from meleeing, simply keep attacking.
You can get killcount either inside or outside of the Eyrie. Pray ranged and kill aviansies, preferably the lower levelled ones. They drop noted adamantite bars fairly often, which can often fund part of your trip. Aviansies to the east of the chasm require a Saradomin item. Getting killcount inside the Eyrie, you will only need an Armadyl or Nex item if you lure the Gorak as shown below. Using Zamorak’s unholy book is also an option. This keeps Zamorak’s creatures unaggressive, and can speed up killcount slightly, but at the cost of an inventory space.
When fighting in a team, this boss’s attacks hit everyone in the room. Kree’arra will only use melee while not being attacked by anyone: this occurs very rarely in a team. Always pray ranged, and emphasize ranged attack and magic defence, as well as prayer bonus. You can use enchanted ruby bolts for the first half of Kree’arra and then switch to enchanted diamond bolts, or just use diamonds throughout the fight. Kill the minions in any order (usually Wingman Skree – magic, then Flockleader Geerin – ranged, and finally Flight Kilisa – melee) praying appropriately. Kree’arra’s minions, unlike other minions, do not switch targets while Kree is alive. They attack during the kill at random, and afterwards attack whoever is attacking them, instead of whoever dealt the last damage to Kree. Pray ranged before Kree spawns: the first attack without protection can be deadly, especially combined with the minion’s attacks. It is helpful to stand under the spot Kree’arra spawns, as this makes him move around before attacking, giving yourself and others extra time to turn on prayers.
Solo Armadyl has both drawbacks and benefits over teams. It’s much easier to start a trip, and you get to keep all your drops yourself, although your trips are much shorter, and usually more expensive. There are also higher requirements, and Kree’arra’s melee attack is used much more often when only one person is in the room.

Recommended Levels:

95+ Ranged
90+ Defence
90+ Prayer
96+ Summoning
90+ Magic
The strategy is different than in a team. Kree’arra only uses his melee attack when there is no-one attacking him, which means that whenever you drink a potion, you may be attacked by melee. While eating, you should take a few steps away if he is close to you, sticking close to the walls, and attack him as soon as you can. Try not to let him melee you to avoid taking high damage. The recommended equipment is the same.

Praying Rigour/Leech Ranged or other boosting prayers will help you suffer less damage and kill Kree’arra faster. Using these prayers is always better than not, unless of course you are low on prayer potions. Using a summoned familiar helps the most during solo runs: you can use a Steel Titan to get much faster killcount and minion kills, a Pack Yak to greatly increase your inventory, or a Unicorn Stallion for greater healing.
While fighting as a team in this multicombat area, use the LootShare chat system to ensure honest reporting of monster drops. Not only will this system report your team’s drops for everybody within the chat (with at least the minimum set rank), but will also increase each individual’s chances of getting drops, opposed to drops being limited to only one or a few individuals who consistently do the most damage.

To have a chance at the drops from the LootShare system, you must be within 16 squares of the killed monster. Also make sure that your rank is set high enough to have a chance for team drops if you are in a team using LootShare.

If the Clan Chat owner has the Coinshare option enabled, all those entitled to receive lootshare drops will have it activated. Coinshare is applied only to certain drops. The drop will be converted to coins and all lootshare members will receive an equal split if Kree’arra or any of his minions drop any of these items:

Godsword shard 1, 2, or 3
Armadyl helmet, chestplate, or chainskirt
Armadyl hilt
Dragon dagger
Dragon helm
Dragon spear
Shield left half (dragon)
Remember that you need to be in a world with LootShare enabled in order to use it. You can check which worlds are suitable through the Lobby interface as you log in to the game. 

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Ancient Prison

Nex is one of Zaros’ most powerful weapons of war and until recently lay frozen in the ancient prison behind the frozen door of the God Wars dungeon. To reach Nex players will need to collect the pieces of the frozen key which are dropped by the followers in each of the Gods’ stronghods. Once the key has been recreated it will allow access to the Frozen Door and the Ancient Prison where Nex awaits. Nex is considered the most dangerous monster in RuneScape having a variety of special attacks and a maximum hit of over 850. Alongside Nex are her four servants, the ancient mages Fumus, Umbra, Cruor and Glacies. Each of these mages channels power to Nex, and in the course of battle you must defeat each one in turn before you can finally kill Nex. Those who can brave the danger and reach Nex however will find a variety of valuable rewards that cannot be found anywhere else in the game.
Nex is a highly intelligent monster, possessing a vast repertoire of special attacks. She also sports unique combat mechanics far above the capacity of other inferior creatures. Learning Nex’s mechanics is vital to efficiently killing her and ensuring your own survival.

Nex’s aggression operates on several variables, which are the effective Magic defence of a player, comprising Magic level, Defence level, Magic Defence equipment bonus, and any defence bonuses from active prayers, and the player’s distance from Nex. Nex identifies her primary target based on a combination of both of these elements; she first seeks out the player at the furthest distance from her, or if all players are at the same distance (usually melee reach), she will then target the player with the lowest effective Magic defence.

Nex also has the ability to jump around the room, covering large distances in almost no time. If Nex is unable to attack her target for a duration of time, she will either jump towards or away from the target – either to the centre of the chamber, the corners in front of each ancient mage, or the end of each of the lanes in the chamber. You can make use of this mechanic throughout the various phases, forcing Nex into more desirable locations.

The battle with Nex is conducted in five phases, each one triggered by Nex losing one-fifth of her lifepoints and one of the ancient mages being killed. During the battle Nex will use her standard melee, magic, and ranged attacks in addition to several phase specific attacks.

Nex’s attacks follow a pattern of relative predictability. A general rule is that she will use one of her special attacks, followed by four standard attacks, before then using her other special attack. This allows you to roughly anticipate and avoid several of her deadlier special attacks, which is crucial to being able to efficiently kill Nex. The tables below describe her standard and special attacks for each phase in detail; select a phase to display its attacks. 

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Account Security

This week is Gamer Safety Week, and Jagex are taking part.

Gamer Safety Week is an annual opportunity to promote account safety and security, and ensure that you have the knowledge you need to keep your accounts where they belong: in your hands.

A couple of minutes spent taking a few simple steps will prevent your online experience turning sour should someone try to hijack your account.

These are the front-line options for ensuring that only you have access to your account:

Jagex Account Guardian

Once you’ve enabled Jagex Account Guardian (or JAG), only specific devices chosen by you will be able to access your account.

Email Recovery

Registering an email onto your account ensures that you can recover your account at the drop of a hat if your password is forgotten or changed by someone else.

Bank PIN

Set up a bank PIN and – should the unthinkable happen and someone else gains access your account – they won’t be able to steal your loot.

The following methods are applicable across all online accounts:
Ensure your password is strong and not easily guessable.
Use anti-spyware or anti-malware software and keep it up to date. You can find a list of good programmes here.
Educate yourself on phishing and avoid opening potentially harmful emails once you know the warning signs.
Most importantly, don’t share any of your personal information! The vast majority of account security breaches occur because of a shared password – keep it to yourself. 

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