he year is over again, and when things come to an end, for some reason people start thinking back. And that is exactly the spirit of this article, looking back on the year. Not on North Korea testing their first nuke or the results of Dutch elections, but on the year for RuneScape. For us it is now 2007, for our RuneScape characters, it's some year in the fourth age, I don't have a clue which year exactly, but that does not matter. I will write about the most remarkable updates in RuneScape, and how they influence the game. Happy reading!
The first big update of the year was launched at the fourth of January, the Mage Training Arena. It contains fun minigames to train magic. With all updates it is the same: starting out big, then usually less people doing the new minigames, but they never die out totally. And that's also happening to the Mage Training Arena, there are always people training, but it is never crowded. The impact on RuneScape is very small, some people use it for quick magic training, but it is not of great importance. Another one of those many small updates is the Agility Pyramid. Another one of those fun but unimportant minigames, I do not think many people manage to reach the top of the pyramid.
I am not intending to make this a long list of updates, so I decided to leave the quests out, but I'm making an exception for Recipe For Disaster. The 100th quest Jagex released is a sequel to the first and easiest quest, and the biggest one ever. In my opinion that deserves a place in this article. I myself have never finished the quest totally, but so far, it was fun. It is definitely one of the more original quests in RuneScape.
One of the biggest, most important and influencing updates of 2006 was definitely Pest Control. Not because the minigame is so fun and so popular (I think there are still more people playing Castle Wars than Pest Control). But it is that important because of the HUGE impact on the way people, or actually members, train their melee. Once it was quite an accomplishment to get your combat level higher than 100. Now it is quite easy, if you are a member. Someone once said on the clan forums that there are a lot more people with three digit combat levels since Pest Control is launched.
Another big and famous update was construction, for 1000 pieces of gold; anyone can buy a small house with one room and a garden. Everyone has always looking forward to this, a home for every RuneScape member, so you can finally hold private parties for your clan without noobs disturbing you. Everyone was enthusiastic, until they found out how expensive it is to build your own house. Not only do the rooms cost a lot, up to 150K, but also the furniture is not cheap. Especially making planks costs a lot, but also special building materials are expensive.
If you want to describe the construction skill in one line that would be: "A new popular skill everyone wants, but which is very expensive so less money gets into the RuneScape economy." If this intention worked out is something different, but it definitely decreased the impact on RuneScape construction could have. Maybe that would be a nice idea for another article once.
It is unbelievable how many minigames were added to RuneScape during 2006. In June the Warriors' guild was added, in July Pyramid Plunder came. Pyramid Plunder is another minigame of the "fun but unimportant" kind, while the Warriors' Guild is the source of the famous defenders. Defenders are fun, and excellent if you have good armor, but they have not really changed combat in RuneScape.
Now, there are still lots of updates, but I will only discuss two more, hot air balloons and, of course, the hunter skill. Hot air balloons are interesting, a way of transport, but not really used often, probably because you need to unlock routes first, and then bring logs every time you travel by balloon. But hot air balloons are actually a great way of getting around, I found them very useful, especially when rebuilding my house. I wonder if Jagex meant to make a constructors' life easier when they added hot air balloons. For some reason, the Varrock balloon station is next to the sawmill operator, and the stations at the Crafting Guild, Taverley and Castle Wars are quite close to the popular house locations Rimmington, Taverley and Yanille. Are these meant to make travelling to and from the sawmill easier? Maybe...
The last big update of the year was the Hunter Skill, not the most useful skill ever launched. There are no really good rewards, training it is quite boring and the impact on RuneScape is minimal, also because you can't combine it with other skills. But the skill is original and funny nonetheless, and it may be interesting to train it if everything else gets boring.
And that is it, the first Herald article of 2007. I would like to invite everyone to discuss this article on the forums, and post a top ten of what in your opinion are the best updates of 2006. I wish all of you a happy 2007!