With Double XP LIVE happening and a Divination buff we're doing a Divination SKOTM for May. Normally we don't arbitrarily pick skills but this month seems to make sense to do so.
As promised in Forgotten Lore VI, this instalment will be all about two of the twelve Elder Artefacts: the Siphon and the Blade. They function (to some extent) as counterparts, and both have the interesting property that they have a rich background story that deserves to be told. And it will be told today!
Image Credit: RuneScape Wiki
First off, we have the Siphon. It is more widely known as the Staff of Armadyl, after its most famous user Armadyl. It is conjectured that this staff was involved in Armadyl’s ascension to Godhood, but we won’t know until the quest that may not be named, or its development will be delayed by another month (it rhymes with Pite of Rassage, though). It has a number of uses as an Elder Artefacts, the most important in which is the ability to fuse elements cleanly and with precision. Secondly, it can be a used as a means to transfer power, possibly inadvertently; the most obvious example of this is when Zamorak used the Siphon to impale Zaros, which caused Zamorak to ascend by siphoning some of Zaros’ power to him. Sliske pulls the same trick in Sliske’s Endgame when he transfers some of his essence into the World Guardian. The third use of the Siphon is more obscure, though; it can be used to comprehend and manipulate the relationships between the nature of things. This sounds extremely vague, but this is exactly the way Lucien describes it in the transcription of his Mahjarrat Memory. It is believed that this ability made it possible for Zaros to curse the allies of Zamorak who aided him in the assassination attempt; the Siphon allowed Zaros to see the metaphysical links that connected everything, allowing him to curse those responsible for the Siphon falling into Zamorak’s hands.
The Siphon has appeared often in the quests of RuneScape. It was first stolen by Lucien from the Temple of Ikov (with or without the help of the player character). After Lucien’s power trip, the Dragonkin took off with the staff, but not for long; Sliske tricked the Dragonkin tasked with guarding the staff, Strisath, and consequently used it to kill Guthix and propel Gielinor into the Sixth Age. After Sliske’s God-killing competition, the staff was believed to be lost, but it is revealed in Desperate Times that the Dragonkin Kerapac managed to get a hold of it after the collapse of Sliske’s maze in Sliske’s Endgame. Kerapac used the staff, alongside another Elder Artefact known as the Needle (but more on that in some future instalment), for his own nefarious ends in Desperate Times and its sequel Desperate Measures, but his plans were ultimately foiled when he was taken prisoner by the Elder God Jas. The whereabouts of the Siphon are currently unknown, but it’s likely in Jas’ possession.
Image Credit: RuneScape Wiki
Secondly, we have the Blade. It has the power to separate elements cleanly and with precision, and in this sense, it is the Siphon’s counterpart. Contrary to the Siphon, however, it hasn’t been in a single spotlight ever in the history of RuneScape quests. During the events of The World Wakes, the player character discovers the Blade, lying shattered on a table in Guthix’ cave. In fact, that’s where the Blade resides to this day! However, the Blade had seen better days, primarily in the hands of Guthix. Guthix mainly used the second known power of the Blade, namely its ability to cut through the fabric of space and time to open portals between planes. Guthix came across the Blade when his homeworld of Naragun became the battleground for two Gods, Tuska and Skargaroth. Skargaroth used the Blade to blind one of Tuska’s eyes. In retaliation, Tuska attacked Skargaroth with such force that he stumbled and caused the collapse of Guthix’ storm cellar, with Guthix’ daughter Aagi inside. This resulted in her death. Skargaroth had dropped the Blade during the stumbling, and in his anger, Guthix picked up the sword, blinded Tuska in her other eye and stabbed Skargaroth, killing him and causing Guthix to ascend.
After the ravaging of his homeworld, Guthix travelled the cosmos with the help of the Blade, discovering many worlds. One world we have talked about in a previous instalment of Forgotten Lore is Renmark, a magical world with a parasite at its core. Guthix attempted to use the Blade to cut away this parasite; however, this attempt failed, and rather than killing the parasite, he quite literally caused the planet of Renmark to explode, freeing the parasite in the process. Eventually, Guthix discovered Gielinor. He wasn’t done travelling, though, but he hadn’t properly learned from his mishap with Renmark; he managed to shatter the Blade when he cut too deep into the fabric of space and time, inadvertently piercing the Void. This caused Void pests to swarm unto Gielinor, and Guthix tasked the tortoise Valluta with defending Gielinor against these pests. The effects of this are felt to this day, as the Void Knights are still actively aiding Valluta in the defence of Gielinor against these Void pests.
Much to Guthix’ dismay, the Blade seemed irreparable. Nevertheless, he found a use for its shards when he harnessed the power of the Stone of Jas to create the World Gate. Guthix used the World Gate to stabilize some of the gaps he had created in his cutting of the fabric of space and time. Also, the World Gate facilitated the migration to Gielinor of many races that were previously scattered throughout the universe. More recently, during the Archaeology-related exploration of the Stormguard Citadel, the World Guardian attained the knowledge to turn one of the Blade’s shards into an Archaeology relic known as the Subtle Blade, unlocking the Abyssal Link relic power. It is believed that the Blade can only be restored to its former glory at the hands of an Elder God, so it might – at long last – get its spotlight soon in the Elder God Wars storyline.
That’s it for this instalment of Forgotten Lore. There are definitely more instalments coming related to the Elder Gods or Artefacts in the run-up to the Elder God Wars Dungeon, so stay tuned for those!
The Rex Matriarchs, delayed following the great lockout of 2021, finally graced the now packed island of Anachornia in April. The design team billed the three bosses – Rathis, Orikalka, and Pthentraken – as the spiritual successors to the famous Dagannoth Kings. A trio of bosses representing the combat triangle, only killable by its style weakness. The bosses were intended to be somewhere in the low to mid-tier range, nestled snugly in the relatively un-occupied space between God Wars Dungeon 1 and God Wars Dungeon 2. The drops were intended to be good, but not great – something unique, but nothing overpowered from such accessible and easy to defeat content. In all, aside from some release day accuracy issues which were swiftly fixed [these bosses have some of the highest defense in the game which resulted in tons of splashing on release which was soon nerfed], the bosses were a big success in terms of being as advertised.
Additionally, the area, NPC artwork, and animations are vibrant and beautiful – something that I believe is increasingly important in lower levelled content to introduce players to what RuneScape is capable of delivering. The graphical gap between now ancient content like God Wars Dungeon 1 or the Queen Black Dragon, who previously occupied positions as the only real entry-level PvM bosses and the Rex Matriarchs is enormous, and I’m glad they took time to be creative with the designs of these dinos.
Whether devoting bossing development time to lower/mid tiered bosses is worthwhile is a separate question, it is both easy to see these bosses as dead-on arrival except as yet another tedious requirement for titles such as Insane Final Boss or Golden Reaper, and also to see these bosses as precisely what Jagex needed to give us. For this article, I’ll briefly cover strategy/mechanics and the rewards before elucidating a deeper discussion about the purpose of bossing in the modern game.
Since their intention is to be highly accessible content to even relatively new players, the mechanics of these bosses are straightforward and easy to grasp. Each boss has its own side of the combat triangle – melee (Orikalka), ranged (Rathis), and magic (Pthentraken). Each must be taken down by the opposing side of the triangle – magic, melee, ranged respectively. Just like the Dagannoth Kings, using a different style from the bosses weakness makes them functionally invulnerable to damage. This forces either a hybrid playstyle or focusing on just one boss at a time. Alternatively, players could team up in groups and divide up the bosses based on their chosen combat style.
Each has its own special mechanic. Orikalka, probably the most annoying, would freeze the player drastically slowing down ability cooldown and creating rifts that cause damage when stood in [I would highly recommend entangling her repeatedly so you never even get attacked]. Rathis, by far the easiest, simply launches poison pools which can be reduced to negligible damage with anti-poison ++ potions or the venom blood perk. Pthentraken, who hits the hardest by a good margin, can set lightning onto the ground, and can send a beam of lightning down on the player, all of which can be easily avoided. For those learning prayer flicking, Pthentraken presents an excellent opportunity to prayer switch between praying magic, ranged and soul split.
In all, I would put these bosses exactly where Jagex advertised – right between God Wars Dungeon 1 and 2 in difficulty, right in line with the Queen Black Dragon. For those interested in just camping them for pets/title, I’d recommend getting as much kill count towards thresholds as possible at Rathis, as she can be fought entirely AFK either with a berzerk bar while on task or with a vampirism scrimshaw, or with a less DPS but safer bar featuring Pulverize which won’t require a vampirism scrimshaw. Assuming decent perks/armor, venomblood or antipoison++, and a ripper demon, you should never need food. A penance aura can fully sustain prayer as well.
This is a complicated question – and one worth exploring in further detail. I think the answer depends a lot on your perspective. From the perspective of a high level PvMer, these bosses contribute very little to what makes PvM interesting and fun. For two of the three bosses, they’re too repetitive and uninteresting to be engaging, but have mechanics that are too punishing to AFK. They’re in that middle tier between an exciting challenge and something that can be done while playing an alt, doing work, or watching a favorite show.
However, they also represent important stepping stone for learning higher level PvM. Getting used to weaving in entangle or vulnerability at Orikalka can help later on for more difficult content like Telos. As mentioned above, Pthentraken is an excellent place to learn prayer switching which is crucial at places like Raksha or Araxxi as well as dodging ground-based mechanics. While the rewards aren’t too valuable, an occasional 10m drop in the form of a spear piece still makes the content worth doing for lower levelled players or players new to PvM. I think for the overall health of the game, they’re a great addition and work as intended.
In terms of the rewards, it feels a bit misguided. The four heart drops corresponding to the four types of rings dropped by the Dagannoth Kings (warrior, archer, seer, berserker) represent the games new best in slot rings. Adding items that create a best in slot item to mid-tier PvM doesn’t make that boss more profitable (they’re so easy to farm in mass and have no relevant sink such as good invention components that the hearts are worth very little) yet they make upper end PvM such as Solak even easier, with a ring like the Berserker ring representing a flat dps boost with no downsides at low-defense bosses and the seer ring being a big upgrade.
Additionally, until something is done about death costs – which is the topic of a previous article I’ve written for Informer – the rings are mostly not-viable, as the small dps boost isn’t worth spending 12-15m to recover items from deaths office compared to using a Ring of Death. The spear, however, is very cool. It’s a viable alternative to the highly priced Noxious Scythe for nearly all low-mid level bossing and slayer content as well as being stellar for Elite Dungeon 3 trash mob runs, which are still the best xp, best source of blue charms, and best low-requirement money maker in the game. In general, I think the rewards are fine – I wish the rings had been implemented differently either to create a better sink for hearts or couple them with a change to death costs to make them more viable, but the spear is excellent and an enormous upgrade for mid-levels.
Improved Divination has arrived and XP rates are off the chart. From a five fold XP rate increase to wisp clustering and the economic impact we question the future of Divination. Mobile has also received a UI update to mixed reviews, we provide our own.
It’s D&D&D week but the D’s depend on your disposition. We run through the trojan horse showcasing how important it is plus we detail next week's Divination update. Will it devalue your divine energy? Then Double XP LIVE arrives Monday.