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Bread and Butter
For: Sat Dec 6th, 2008

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There comes a time when you have to SERIOUSLY stop ignoring things.

I'm sure that the older Runescape players were in denial about weapons at first, watching the dragon weapons overcome the Runite weapons, only to become surpassed by Barrows, which then got trumped by God Swords, then...meh, I'm rambling. The main issue with keeping this weapons' explosion unchecked is that the next highest weapon (currently the elaborate over-kill spike called the "God Sword") is an automatic handicap to the other person.

For crying out loud, I feel like I'm going up against the Yankees baseball team! All getting beaten by them does is show that the person with all the money to buy all the good players will inevitably have the best track record, and I'm sitting here with a half-rate baseball team because of my low budget. And that's what I think about God Swords and the plain inflation of doomsday-weapons as a whole. It gives that artificial feeling of power, power manifested not by skill, but by money.

As an example, I fought someone ten levels below me in a duel tournament. An easy win, right? Not quite so; he was decked out in full Bandos, a God Sword, and a fury amulet. And he won. Badly. What perturbed me was that he wasn't winning based on stats. It was based on equipment, and whenever a game allows equipment to massively trump skill, all strategy goes out the window. The fellow I dueled probably had enough gold to sink the Titanic, but the iceberg beat him to that so instead he poured it into the best imaginable armor. And that's the only reason why he beat me.

And even the weapons themselves are starting to become rather absurd. Take, for instance, Dharok's Greataxe. Not only is it enormously colossal, it's also impractical - impractical to the point where it'll miss because its designated target stepped five inches to the side. You'd then spend the rest of honorable duel trying to wedge the axe from floor while your smug opponent contemplates which of the numerous holes in your armor through which he'll eviscerate you.

And don't even get me started on God Swords! They've got enough spikes to turn a porcupine green with envy, easily to the point of overkill. I think that's what Jagex wanted, and they've hit their target, smashed through it with their huge motorbike, and went a few million yards too far. That God Sword…thing…is so ridiculous that…well, sure, the weapon will assure a kill, but you'd take the rest of the war trying to pry the darned thing from your opponent's corpse. Eventually, you'd just get smart and strap an extra twenty to your back, that way you could leave your original weapon behind and whip out another one.

What this clearly represents is what I call "JRPG Syndrome" (Japanese Role Playing Game), the phenomenon which occurs when the developers of a game don't know what to release, then deciding that the best thing to do is add an absurd form of weaponry. Like the God Sword.

As an example of "JRPG Syndrome", Final Fantasy (a shining example of a JRPG) bugs me a lot. It's not the people with huge, disproportionate eyes, the consistently picture-perfect bodies that each of the characters boast, or even that Cloud's hair manages to remain in firm cohesion no matter how many climactic struggles he goes through. It's more the fact that he wields two absurdly huge swords which he controls with superlative dexterity, swinging them around like plastic toys. And every Final Fantasy character and their dog has this sort of thing, be it a colossal gun, another really long sword, or a giant claw.

And this is the pit Runescape is in danger of falling into. So far, they're teetering on the edge with a modicum of restraint, but all they need is another crazily huge weapon of their own invention to swing down and sever that restraint, leaving them to tumble deeper into the pits of ridiculous weaponry.

All in all, I think that in hindsight we needed some good weapons, considering that Runite could get a bit old after a while. The dragon weapons were cool-looking and would've been a fine stop, like a little butter on the bread to liven things up a bit. But apparently Jagex translated a "little" bit of a weapons upgrade as "a freaking huge amount" and dumped a truckload of butter on our single bread roll, smothering it to the point that we didn't know we have that bit of bread to begin with.

Everything said and done, I think that a peek into the history books would dictate that players wanted some cooler weapons back in the days where Runite was the single, solitary equalizer, and Jagex took that idea and carried it off on their huge motorbike into the very distant sunset. They gave us a bit more than we asked for.

All we wanted was a bit of goodness spread over our otherwise bland bread roll, and Jagex coughed up enough to weight down a semi-truck. Thus, Runite weapons are no longer decent as far as members go, and other forms of whacking-sticks are so expensive that risking one in player-vs-player combat is for the extremely, extremely financially sound, only.

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