Over the past year I’ve nearly been bested by the unclimbable mountain that is the RuneScape soundtrack. With well over 1,200 tracks currently existing in the game, it’s sheer folly to try to listen to it all straight through. That, of course, is exactly what I’ve been attempting, yet with new tracks coming out all of the time, I feel that there’s no end in sight.
If I’m to be forever working my way through an MMO soundtrack, RuneScape is a great place to be. As I’ve been discovering, there is such a sheer variety of interesting and catchy tunes on display covering a wide swath of biomes, races, events, and situations. What I perhaps like best is how RuneScape’s score isn’t in the slightest self-conscious with being silly and bizarre. In fact, it seems to revel in it!
So today let’s take an odd musical interlude to listen to six goofy and weird RuneScape tracks before we all get serious again about our video games.
After four years and over 700 MMORPG music tracks, the Battle Bards have arrived at their 100th show! For this centennial spectacular, Syl, Steff, and Syp reminisce about the most notable shows, their best soundtrack discoveries, and their favorite tracks. This super-sized show gets wrapped up with a bout of listener emails and a promise of another amazing hundred episodes!
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 100: Centennial spectacular (or download it) now:
RuneScape just opened up a giant city of Menaphos. Do want to peek inside and see what is different in the game’s first big expansion? MassivelyOP’s MJ does! She’s going to explore the city to see what she can see. Maybe she’ll find some of those hidden cats, or take a turn The Shifting Tombs. Chances are she’ll get into some kind of trouble in the desert. Join us live at 3:00 p.m. to finally get through those long-closed gates.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 3:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 8th, 2017
Old School RuneScape’s playerbase isn’t showing its best side this week.
Motherboard reports that following the announcement by a Jagex employee that a small gay pride quest will be implemented in the game, Old School RuneScape players have flocked to Twitter and Reddit to complain (the latter with over 6000 upvotes, though the original poster has since updated to note he no longer wants the event removed because of the inevitable “media backlash” that could tank the game’s rep). Objections range from reasonable (the event wasn’t put to a community poll in accordance with the server’s guidelines) to tedious (no politics in my games! think of the children!) to overt homophobic screeds that I won’t reproduce or dignify here. Just imagine really bad stuff, then crank it up to 11.
In fact, some players are plotting to riot (their word) in-game while the event is live, not against the LGBTQ community (they say) but “in support of keeping this game free of any agenda.”
One of the worst teases in a game for me is to see a place and not be able to go and explore it. RuneScape players have experienced that to the 12th degree! Not only were the walls and gate of the city of Menaphos erected 12 years ago with no way for players to get inside but different quests in the game would hint at the story that existed behind those unbreachable walls. And as of today, fans can finally get through those gates and experience the city.
But before the city gates opened up permanently, Jagex slipped me in for a guided tour of Menaphos, the Golden City. While I wasn’t able to play the game myself, I got see the sights and learn many things about the game’s first ever expansion from Jon Wilcox (senior communications manager), Dave Osbourne (lead designer), Joseph Redstall (product manager for the Menaphos expansion), and Benjamin Luff (gameplay development graduate.
Old School RuneScape has gotten a fresh update this week, and it’s going to do its best to kick your ass: with a lava-drenched solo PvM challenge called The Inferno.
“This challenge is not for the faint-hearted, and is designed to strike fear in to the most hardened gamers out there,” warns Jagex. “Located in the fiery depths of the volcanic city, Mor Ul Rek, players fight their way through increasingly difficult waves of monsters and challenges. Only once these have been defeated, will the truly skilled adventures battle it out against the final boss, TzKal- Zuk.”
Special armor, thieving targets, and lava fishing await intrepid adventurers, along with special prizes — including RuneFest tickets and lifetime subs — for the first players to best the encounter.
Ever since the Destiny 2 reveal, everyone seems to be freaking out about this follow-up MMO shooter. Will it be the new hotness or a repainted product that’s being sold again to the same audience?
The reveal made Dragonchasers change his mind: “I guess I have to applaud Bungie for trying something new. They freely admit that they’re trying to do something about the frequently toxic environments brought about by matchmaking.”
“I have to say I am not disappointed in the least,” Tales of the Aggronaut enthuses. “In fact at this very moment I am feeling inordinate amounts of Destiny love. There were a few things that were released that gave me all the feels.”
That doesn’t mean everyone’s fully on board yet. “I appreciate the changes the game is making, but I had expected a proper sequel to Destiny to actually be a bigger game with actual new stuff to do, stuff that couldn’t be done in the first game,” said Virtual Bastion.
Improbable keeps popping up in news stories relating to MMOs lately — that’s thanks to SpatialOS, what the company is calling a “distributed computing platform for building large virtual worlds for gaming.” The platform is now in use on MMOs from Identity and Worlds Adrift to Chronicles of Elyria and Metaworld; its most recent partnership was announced last week with RuneScape studio Jagex, and it’s already working with Google to bring the tech to “hundreds” of developers.
GI.biz has a great interview out with Improbable CEO Herman Narula today that illuminates what the team worth over a billion bucks (an extrapolation based on the fact that Japan’s SoftBank’s half a billion dollar investment bought less than a 50% stake in the company) is focused on. It turns out it’s mostly video games — but it’s also bigger than video games.
“Our long-term objectives, and it is long-term, is to literally create other worlds,” explains Narula. “Not just in the context of gaming, but in the context of being able to solve really important problems. This core problem of massive distributed systems and engaging large-scale virtual worlds, is as important and significant as AI or space travel. It is just as important for the future of what our experience will be like as human beings in the world, and how we are going to solve some of the most pressing problems that we have. […] A lot of people just can’t believe that we think games are important. They are incredibly important and they’re going to be more important. Hypothetically, one day, if 100m, or 1bn, people entered simultaneously into a virtual world, that would cease to be a game, that would be a country.”
Just because RuneScape’s standard skill cap is set at 99 won’t stop the team from busting through that ceiling when next month’s expansion arrives.
On June 5th, Menaphos The Golden City will launch in the game, bringing with it a brand-new slayer dungeon experience (among other features). This slayer dungeon is not for greenhorns; characters need level 88 in the skill to enter it. The crazy news is that with the expansion, the slayer skill will raise its cap to 120 to accommodate all of the action that this instance will get.
The dungeon sounds pretty neat: “The path into the depths of the dark dungeon will take players from the burial tombs near the surface deep underground, where the corrupted monsters and worshippers of the gods dwell. In a shift from typical slayer dungeons, loot dropped by vanquished enemies can be automatically sent to a brand-new loot chest during the course of the adventure, allowing players to focus on combat whilst knowing you’ll be able to pore over all your gained treasures at the end.”
Source: Press release
Massively OP reader Minimalistway recently wrote to us with a rant about how bizarrely hard it is to quit MMORPGs and delete your account. “Jagex asks for a copy of a driver’s license or a passport sent by mail (not email!); Square Enix makes you jump between websites to disable your account,” he says. “If Google allows people to delete their accounts easily, there is no excuse for MMO developers to make the process hard!”
I suppose that’s because they don’t really want us to leave, right? They want to give us the option of returning. I’d rather know my account is still there; I remember back when studios would delete old characters, and there are games I never went back to once my toons had been wiped from inactivity. But still, really, a driver’s license?! And here I thought Steam’s insistence that I boot it up on my phone to hunt down an ever-changing authentication key in order to sell a trading card for 4 cents was the height of dumb.
So for today’s Daily Grind, let’s broaden the topic: What’s the worst tech or account annoyance in MMORPGs?
Add another gaming studio partnership to Improbable’s file: RuneScape developer Jagex announced today that it’s teamed up with the tech company to deploy SpatialOS in “future game production.” SpatialOS, you’ll recall, is a “distributed computing platform for building large virtual worlds for gaming.”
Improbable has been showing up in our feeds a lot lately. Earlier this month, the company picked up a cool half-billion bucks in investment from a Japanese telecommunications corporation. SpatialOS is being used on a number of up-and-coming MMO-related projects, including Identity, Worlds Adrift, Chronicles of Elyria, and Metaworld. Oh yeah, and it’s partnered with some company called Google for cloud distribution – probably no big deal, right?
The PR doesn’t directly say that RuneScape itself will make use of the tech, just that it’ll be used as a platform to “bring new levels of depth and scale to Jagex’s future creations.”
Earlier this week, a studio rep apparently accidentally leaked a stream slide with the logo for something called “Next Gen,” which also may or may not be RuneScape-related as we outlined Monday.
Source: Press release
During a weekend stream of RuneScape, Jagex Community Manager Shaun “Shauny” Akerman appears to have let slip a logo for an unannounced Jagex project called “Next-Gen.” The community is more or less united behind Shauny, who expresses concern on the video that he may be fired. He won’t be, by the by; another mod posted,
“Don’t worry, Shauny! Honest mistake, we all make them. This was a slide from an internal company livestream, so there must have been something leftover from that. God bless you Shauny – we just have to teach you to cut feed when a stream is over!”
Other folks on Reddit are a bit more cynical, suggesting that the whole thing was an intentional leak by the studio in the service of starting up the rumormill on whatever Jagex is working on next.
So what the heck is it? It could be RuneScape Remastered, which Jagex confirmed last year. It could be the VR tech for RuneScape the company hinted at earlier this spring. It could be just a throwback to RuneScape 3’s internal name. Or it could be a new property altogether, though it hasn’t had the best track record there (RIP, Stellar Dawn and Transformers Universe).
Remember Runescape: Idle Adventures? Probably not, which is probably a good part of the reason why the game is rather quietly shuttering its doors on May 15th. The farewell letter to the community explains that while the community for the game was solid, people weren’t sticking around to justify the cost of developing new content, which meant the title fell into that perilous trap where there’s no new content, so people leave, so there’s no reason to develop more, etc.
The spinoff launched into early access back in September of last year with microtransactions and a free-to-play business model. Multiplatform development was planned but never materialized. Our apologies to the players who are losing a game they enjoyed and the developers forced to pull the curtains on the project.