Well the RuneScape road trip is coming to a close but what a wild ride it has been. People say it's the journey and not the destination that really matters, however this update challenges conventional wisdom and makes the destination just as rewarding. There were some differences this year that I'll take a look at. Some changes were welcomed by players but the devil's in the details and there is always a trade off. So put on your hiking boots and lets hit the road and take a look at this years road trip.
This year the challenges were divided into five categories: skilling, combat, mini-games, social, and miscellaneous. You could complete one challenge yourself per day as well as one chit per day by meeting up with a JMod or their clone. That's right, this year JMods had clones which made getting the chits much more convenient. The chits could be stored up and you could use as many as you wanted in a single day and this will come in handy later when we talk about rewards. All and all it was a pretty simple update that was easy to complete.
The rewards for completing the road trip were pretty much what you would expect from this kind of update with one major exception. Of course each challenge completed gave you a small xp lamp and after completing the road trip you received a compass that showed you the way to the final rewards. They included a medium xp lamp, the hikers outfit, and fluffy a new pet. If you've done the gnome quest line you may recognize fluffy. The best reward I've saved for last, the explorers aura. This aura granted you access to your own resource dungeon. That's right, you own resource dungeon and you could pick whether you wanted a combat or skilling one. However there is a catch, you unlock the aura by completing a whole category of the road trip. For example if you completed all the skilling challenges you unlocked the aura for five minutes. Each time you completed a category it would add another five minutes to the aura until it topped out at thirty minutes. I know, I know, the math doesn't compute but hey its Jagex what are you going to do? Now this is where it gets interesting, the aura is good for thirty days after initially unlocking it. So if you complete a category you unlocked the aura and the thirty day timer started. Are you starting to see the catch here? The best way to do the road trip this year was to complete 4/5 challenges in each category and use chits you stacked up to finish off all the categories at the same time. This was the best way to get get all thirty minutes of resource dungeon time for all thirty days, pretty sneaky Jagex.
The best way to look at this is just to compare last years road trip to this years. First, let's look at the challenges themselves. These challenges aren't meant to be difficult, with that being said this years challenges did feel easier. There was less globe trotting and only one challenge had something you had to find. Some players may have liked this, but I found it to be somewhat disappointing. Next up is the addition of the JMod clones. This is where players will really start to diverge in their opinions. Last year you had to find a real JMod in game to get your passport stamped. It was harder because you never knew for sure when they would be on and I remember clan chat being a buzz with information about when and where the next JMod would be. There was also something novel about knowing that it was a real JMod, something many players had never seen in game before. I know that it was the first time I had ever seen a JMod in game. This year though, the JMods had clones of themselves which was cool because it gave you a specific place and time everyday where you could get your chit. It was convenient but I can't help but to feel like we lost something this year using them. When it comes down to it I guess it's all about player preference and I would surmise that this aspect of the road trip probably had the most differences among player preferences.
Now lets look at the differences in the rewards. Last year was simple xp lamps for each challenge and cosmetic gear along with a pet. This year was much the same with the exception of the explorers aura. The explorers aura was a unique reward and I like that you had to put a little thought in the way you unlocked it. The question lies in how much of a reward it was. The combat resource dungeon was okay for combat xp, nothing great but not terrible either. The skilling dungeon on the other hand is a different question all together. It contains runite and adamant ore but don't get excited it takes forever to try to mine it. Magic and yew trees both can make an appearance, once again whoopie. Crimson skill chinchompas and fishing spots also really slow. Finally, we get to what people are actually using this dungeon for, herbs. You can pick up to one hundred twenty five torstol herbs a day. This is by far the best and most rewarding way to utilize your aura. Although I will tell you now torstols are dropping a bit on the G.E. Hmm, I wonder who could have seen that coming? It's still worth it to do though bringing you around 500k+ a day.
Well, you know what they say it's been real and it's been fun but it ain't been real fun. The road trip is almost over and if you haven't completed it yet you should. The explorers aura is worth getting, especially when you consider the minimal effort it takes to get it. There were some differences this year vs last year but all and all I can't say one was better than the other. It really comes down to player preference. Are you a player who values convenience or a player that values more social interaction and uniqueness? There is no right answer, and I think I straddle both those lines. I guess all that's left now is to take off those hiking boots, unpack that backpack, and put them away until next May when we'll do it all again. With that, I bid you adieu, until next time Happy Runescaping.
This was originally posted as an Informer Runescape