A new year often brings with it a sense of change or new adventure. For some, this rebirth is a nice, friendly affair, involving a new haircut and a resolution or two. For others, it means complex nesting rituals and a fiery demise...or perhaps a new beginning? Could we be talking about the legendary phoenix?
Our first update of the year is actually one we have been talking about for a while – the new Summoning familiar you voted for during the Summer. Of course, we could have just produced a simple Summoning creature to follow you around and do the occasional funky trick, but we decided that a legendary creature such as the phoenix deserved the full treatment. So, it will have its own tutorial-style quest, in which you learn how to deal with the unusual nesting habits of the giant, fire-drenched beast, AND a repeatable challenge you can take on every day, should you wish.
Once you’ve helped the phoenix you’ll be able to summon a smaller phoenix familiar to help you in battle, just as you would with any other Summoning familiar. Not only will it be able to fight alongside you (dealing Magic damage), it will also have the ability to fire ashes at your opponents, temporarily blinding them and making it harder for them to attack. On top of this, the phoenix will be able to be reborn from the ashes, leaving nearby nasties scorched by the accompanying flames.
We will also be releasing the next of our Achievement Diaries this month – this time set in the peaceful Seers' Village and its surrounding woods and castles. As always, the intention of the Achievement Diary is to introduce some of the hidden or 'non-quest' activities associated with an area, so expect to be learning all about coal carts, the Piety prayer, forgotten sorcerers, poisoned chalices, pet fish and bullseyes! Rewards include additional experience when cutting down maple trees, and a handy flax picker (similar to Bert, who collects buckets of sand for you after the Hand in the Sand quest).
Another of the changes prepared for January is a great suggestion from our forums – the ability to re-order your spell list. Now, don’t worry, this is totally optional (and the default will still be the 'level order' setting you're currently used to), but you’ll be able to set up the list with the combat spells first, or the teleport spells first, etc. This is all managed via a handy series of buttons at the bottom of each of the three (normal, lunar and ancient) spellbooks. We’re making this change because we feel it could be useful, but if you think it could be even MORE useful, we’d like to know how - please let us know what you think.
Hopefully, you’ll have already read the Behind the Scenes 2009 newspost written by Mod Vince, the new Head of RuneScape. As he said, we intend to spend a lot of time this year reviewing older content, making it more useful and user-friendly, and ensuring that yesterday’s content is of the same standard as tomorrow’s. The changes we plan to make cover all aspects of the game - this month we’ll be increasing the length of the auto-logout timer from the current 90 seconds to about 5 minutes, and a ‘You are here’ arrow on the world map. We’re even looking back over our old word lists, to remove words accidentally starred-out in chat.
Lead Designer - RuneScape