I really should have done this sooner. This round of Choose My Adventure is starring my husband, and almost immediately the difference in having steady company in RuneScape was palpable, even if the content we followed up on wasn’t really conducive to duo teaming.
By the narrowest of margins — a difference of one vote in both polls — I picked up a melee weapon as my primary method of attack and continued to follow the tutorial guides to Varrock. My husband did the same, except he decided to go with a mage character named Llwynog Hud; we invite any readers who know Welsh to translate that one.
As we pressed on with the Varrock mission and beyond, it slowly became apparent that our questing was basically being done aside one another instead of truly cooperatively. Every instance we went in to was solo, and objectives were completed in tandem as opposed to through joint effort. As disappointing as that was for us, however, we were still having a good time.
Everything about my introductory experience with RuneScape can be described as “pleasantly janky.” To be fair, jankiness is not usually a positive trait one attributes to gaming, but something about RuneScape’s age and presentation just feels oddly delightful.
Movement is pretty dated, but I’m starting to get used to it (kind of). There are a lot of menus to navigate, but they become obvious after some time (kind of). Every quest step we followed had the distinct, delicious flavor of fantasy cheese (without question). As we pressed on through the tutorial steps, I found myself slowly succumbing to the game’s charm. Like a small bird puffing up its feathers, RuneScape just tried to look more grand than it actually is, which makes you feel less threatened and more compelled to go “Aww” at it. I really kind of love that.
Admittedly, this game’s obtuse, aged method of gameplay is not too dissimilar to the feeling I got while playing Legends of Aria, but I am significantly more forgiving of RuneScape’s weirdness. Part of that is out of appreciation for this game’s age, but most of that stems from a truly superb series of tutorial quests. The steps were guided but flowed naturally, and in no time at all I was building confidence in navigating Gielinor. If you’re going to make a sandbox MMORPG, this is the tutorial experience you should follow. Seriously, it’s not rocket science. Jagex has cracked the code.
I think after a while, my husband was beginning to get back in to the swing of things. At a certain point we decided to stop our tutorial mission following and chip away at some rocks for ore and crafting. This was pretty much an experience that was guided by him as he tugged me along to a nearby mine, then to a smelter, then to an anvil and forge. Old habits die hard, I suppose, and I was pleased that he was remembering what I assume were long-forgotten habits.
Incidentally, crafting in RuneScape has the potential to be an interesting time sink, even if the actual making of items is as passive as it always seems to be in MMORPGs.
Some of that age isn’t patina, however. Combat, for instance, is pretty basic to the point that I can effectively do something else entirely without paying too much attention right now, though I think there are some options in the Settings menus that can make things a little more active there. The actual task of forming a group required a lot of squinting, research, and baffled looks back at one another for a while.
Then there is, of course, that whole problem with not being able to run quest content with my husband in my party and in the same instance. Which is a shame because at one point I had to fight this giant squid thing and that was pretty neat.
After our tutorial missions wrapped up, we decided to follow through with doing some Challenges, and then we decided to follow up on a quest that rewards my husband’s mage some Runes for his spellcasting. I would much rather do these things with him at the same time, but we still coordinated our efforts and helped one another out with advice and information. Obviously, we’re beginning to lean in to RuneScape’s idea of tandem coordination. It’s inelegant but effective, and it got us talking to one another. Or, to put it another way, it’s pleasantly janky.
It’s very obviously early days yet for our time here in RuneScape, but so far things are moving along pleasantly. There’s enough delight being had here that I am really looking forward to opening this whole thing up some more. I am extremely intrigued by what’s coming up and I cannot wait to learn more with my husband in tow. This game is beginning to get under my skin, and I really kind of wish I had sated my curiosity about it sooner.
On the subject of opening things up, there’s really only one poll I can come up with for this next round of CMA. That said, it’s an important one, as it will continue to steer our ship.
As I’ve mentioned before, questing is a thing but only a tandem thing; it sucks, but we can still find the fun there. However, there’s also the question of what more can be done as a duo team, and a bit of research has opened me up to a couple of possibilities for this week’s poll. We can continue to nibble at the quest list, we can get out there into the wilds to see if there’s some self-made adventures we can take on, or we can become Members and fully crack this thing wide open starting with Slayer.
So, what’s it going to be, friends?
What should we do next in RuneScape?
- Questing. Tandem teamwork FTW! (22%, 53 Votes)
- Wandering. Only one way to find if there's things to do out there. (19%, 45 Votes)
- Slayer. Become members and do the Slayer thing. (59%, 143 Votes)
Total Voters: 241
As usual, this poll will wrap up at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 11th. Incidentally, if anyone reading has suggestions for what there is to do as a duo that isn’t otherwise in this poll, feel free to let us know so we can consider it for next time. Until then, we’ve got to pull together for a quick bit of side-by-side questing. The husband needs those Runes, after all.