March SKOTM Signup

posted by Fred Bot on 22 February 2017 at 00:00

Signup for the new Skill of The Month has started! The skill this month is: Thieving. Please signup at, you will need a valid forum account to signup. Signups close on the first day of the month. The competitions begin as soon as signups close.

The February competition continues until March 1st.

Game Jam 2017

posted by tanishalfelf on 20 February 2017 at 01:39 | Discuss on our Forums

What’s this Game Jam, is this a typo? Don't you mean Game Blast? No, it turns out this year Jagex is turning away from hosting and sponsoring Game Blast. Jagex has hosted the event the last two years. The event is Special Effect's premier event to raise money for their charity and Jagex had been an invaluable partner. Game Blast had been a hugely successful event with Jagex's help raising a large amount of money to help disabled gamers. Something changed this year however, and due to Jagex’s silence on the matter we're left to only speculate. What is certain is that there will be a double xp weekend starting on February 17. The winter xp bonanza that we all love and save up for all year will be continuing and Jagex will be doing an event called Game Jam instead. Now let's go through what Game Jam is, how it differs from Game Blast, and ponder why Jagex changed it up this year.

Game Jam begins on Friday, February 17 at 12 pm. GMT, as usual. Xp will be doubled throughout the entire weekend. One major difference from past years is that this year there's a cool down period. After the weekend has ended, xp will still be doubled and gradually reduced through the week. Don't get too excited, this is only in effect for the first million xp, the week after it goes back to normal. It is nice for those who can't play on the weekend by giving them something as well. Obviously all the previous restrictions still apply, such as prayer alters, brawling gloves, etc. Everything will work just how you remember it from the last double xp weekend.

Game Jam is a wholly different event than in the past. Of course there is no connection to charity which we will talk about in greater detail later. However, there are some hold overs from Game Blast events. Primarily the live streaming. Jagex will be live streaming though out the day showing J-Mods hard at work on their Thursday Afternoon Passion Projects (T.A.P.P.). In addition, they are taking some ideas from the RuneScape community and developing them right there on the spot. It will be a window into how content is developed at Jagex and should be very interesting. Some of the projects you see will be going into game on Monday from what I understand. I look for these to be small quality of life updates not massive pieces of content. All and all Game Jam should be a fun event to watch while getting all that sweet double xp however the question remains, why the change?

The past two years Jagex sponsored Special Effect's primary fund raising event, Game Blast. Jagex would do a 24 hour live stream soliciting donations, doing funny games with J-Mods, etc. The players enjoyed a double xp weekend and could donate to The Well of Goodwill or buy special items in Solomon’s Store where the proceeds all went to Special Effect. Jagex even matched the donations they raised, and they always raised a lot. It was the kind of thing you rarely see any company do, let alone a game studio. It was something I was very proud of Jagex for doing and something that always heartened me to see how generous the player base could be. Unfortunately Jagex has been tight lipped about why they didn't partner this year. In fact I have been unable to find anything they have said explaining the change. I guess that makes sense if you have been known to raise money for an awesome charity in the past and suddenly decide not to participate one year, you’re probably not going to talk about that.

Perhaps Jagex just wanted to try something different. I have my doubts about that though. It always comes down to the bottom line. My best guess is that they don't have the same freedom to do charitable things that they had in the past. Jagex is under new ownership now and they want a return on their investment. The other possibility is that Jagex just didn't have the money this time around. I don't think this is probably the case either. While I don't think Jagex is swimming in dough they're not hurting either. Player membership appears to be steady and micro transactions are at an all-time high. I also must point out there has been a noticeable decline in charitable events in the general sense the beginning of the acquisition talks. I can remember one year where Jagex did Game Blast, a WWF Save the Wildlife event, and an event where you could pick the charity you wanted to give to. 2016 only featured Game Blast and now in 2017 that has been cut as well. Does this mean it’s the end of Jagex’s commitment to charity?

Only time will tell if Jagex is done giving to worthwhile causes. Personally I hope it’s just a blip on the radar and they go back to what they were doing. I was always so proud to be part of a community that was supportive of disabled gamers. The good news is that Game Blast is still going to happen this year. They have different partners and different events and the event will take place on February 24-26. You can find out more here Special Effect is an amazing charity that helps people with disabilities be able to play video games by using assistive technology, modifying existing controllers, etc.

February is where I usually, in addition to covering Game Blast, I give some suggestions on how to make RuneScape more accessible. Honestly this year the suggestions I've made in the past are still needed and I can't think of any in addition to those. I've come to a point where I think the game is better than most when it comes to accessibility but has room for improvement. At the same time I think that improvement will only come if it happens to line up with something a larger audience wants. The truth is to any company, time is money and the amount of people that would be affected by these changes is small. That doesn't mean RuneScape won't improve its playability for disabled people but it does mean it will be a side effect not the set goal. Either way, I'm happy as long as it continues to get better. There are some small things they can do that wouldn't take much time. For example, naming colors in the examine text within dungeoneering skill, quests, etc.

Well there you have it, my take on Game Blast vs. Game Jam. One thing is for sure, we'll all have fun getting that sweet double xp this weekend. Good luck on your skill pets and until next time, Happy RuneScaping.

Part 2 of the Valentine update arrives, a few patch notes, a look at the 120 Slayer FAQ, and a word about update weeks going forward.

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When I was 16, I had my first real “drink”. It was summertime, my grandparents had gone away for the weekend and had left my 20 year-old cousin in charge of the place. Needless to say, we found a way to procure alcohol. I thought it would feel so cool to drink, to get drunk, all the stuff older guys do… right? Wrong. I started off the night before people really had even gotten there when my cousin (another cousin) and I shotgunned a couple of warm Miller Lites. I nearly vomited. From that point on in the night, it was rum, more bad beer from beer pong, and vodka mixed with Dr. Pepper. By the time everyone else was just starting to loosen up, I was trashed. I desperately tried to eat slices of plain bread to “soak up the alcohol” to no avail. I ended up regurgitating said bread along with the previously consumed alcohol onto the couch. I was a mess.

So yeah, my first experience with alcohol was not so great. This tale I have chosen to include to let everyone who might read this article know that I am not without my mistakes in this realm. After that night, I practically swore off alcohol for good, especially when I really got interested in nutrition and health. Alcohol provides 7 calories per gram in comparison of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates clocking in at 9, 4, and 4 calories per gram, respectively. This usually puts an average 5 ounce glass of wine at roughly 100-150 calories (depending on alcohol and sugar content) and a pint of beer anywhere from 125-300 calories. It didn’t make sense in my mind to be drinking my calories, so I didn’t have any qualms leaving these beverages out of my life.

However, life changed, and wine soon became very alluring. As I’ve written previously, the mystique behind it, the chemistry involved in the process and in the finished product, the whole air surrounding wine made me want to pursue the industry. I am a Christian, but as a reformed guy, we see alcohol as a gift from God, not something to be reviled. My only holdup was health. If I was going to be drinking this stuff, there had to be sufficient reason for me to do so, and so here we go, the health benefits of wine and other forms of alcohol:

  1. Moderate drinkers (being 1-2 glasses/day) with high blood pressure proved to be 30% less likely to fall claim to a heart attack in comparison to those who do not drink.
  2. Consumers of 1-8 glasses of wine per week have been shown to have nearly half the incidence of colon cancer when compared to nondrinkers.
  3. Reduced mortality and risk of heart disease are both attributed to extraction of certain polyphenols found in the skins of red grapes.
  4. Those who consume moderate amounts of alcohol in general were roughly 30% less at risk to develop Type II Diabetes in their lifetime.
  5. All levels of alcohol consumption show a decreased rate of neurodegeneration.

Wine and other strong drink usually oscillate from being the panacea of a time period to being the most damnable and health-damaging drink around. Usually with two extremes like that, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Wine is awesome. It provides antioxidants, polyphenols that may contribute to heart, blood, and other forms of health, and it makes you feel good. Heck, even if you’re not much of a wine person, the same research cited above often applies to moderate consumption of beer and other forms of alcohol. In fact, beer additionally provides a bioavailable form of silicon which has been confirmed to play a big role in bone health.

Right around this time of year, I love to sit down in front of the tv, the computer, or a book with a nice, dark stout in my glass. Or when I’m out to dinner, a glass of zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon. I also like to alternate sips with a long draw from a tobacco pipe, but de-stigmatizing that would take another article! So please, next time you’re at the bar or contemplating buying some drink “to make one merry,” remember that it’s certainly not all bad for you. Heck, even the great reformer Martin Luther many times said, “He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.”