This week came an update that was nearly 20 years in the making. Multicannons, an artifact from the times of RuneScape Classic, famous for being the most expensive weapon the game had to offer, have been updated to be a single-slot item rather than a 4-slot component.
... yeah, that's it. Multicannons are now a single slot just like Oldak Coils and Kinetic Cyclones. That's pretty much the whole story here.
... sooooo... what's the big deal?
In RuneScape Classic, multicannons were a legitimate force to be reckoned with. Originally, how battles worked was that your character attacked the NPC and was literally locked in combat until one of you were dead or ran away. Ranging worked only when there was a barrier (you could not shoot enemies who were meleeing you) and magic simply supplemented combat because you could use it during melee, but didn't nearly have the potential DPS capabilities. Plus, RSC had no Runecrafting, so runes were scarce, making it the most expensive skill to train next to Herblaw. ... yes, I spelled that right. Herblaw.
But the cannon was different. It attacked EVERYTHING, and in RuneScape Classic, it did DEATH. Hits were nearly 30 damage each (higher than the 27-28 damage a dragon battle-axe could do). It was rapid and quick, operating faster than any other weapon. What's more, because of how you operated it by your character's action, it did the attacking rather than you yourself, meaning that NPCs didn't agro back. In fact, they were left stunned in place because they were trying to attack an unattackable target in retaliation. This meant that if you set up a cannon somewhere, as long as you kept your distance, you could end anything without getting touched. You could clear entire spawns and get tons of loot in a matter of minutes, and in places like chaos druids, it actually was pretty financially beneficial.
The caveat? The cannon was the most expensive item in the game at 750,000 coins (or 800,000 if you bought components one at a time), and cannon ammo could only be smelted. One cannonball per steel bar. And this was before Kingdom of Miscellania and Burgh de Rott ramble, meaning that any iron and coal you got, you got manually from mining or from buying from other players. Oh yes, and it took up 4 slots of your inventory. This miraculously balanced it out a bit, but because cannon ammo was just too hard to get, it was rare to see them in action.
That, and there were no ownership IDs on cannons, meaning that if you set one up, anyone who had already set one up could take it. I've got a TON of stories where I abused this feature; comment if you're interested.
Anyways, since the cannon, there were no true multi-target moves until Ancient Magic spells first came out. Then the dragon 2-handed sword and its multi-target special came out with the Chaos Elemental. And then, the Evolution of Combat update made multi-target combat "the way to do it".
Along with these updates, also came higher tier weapons and stuff. The cannon's damage output dropped down to being about mid-tier range at around 14 damage or so (rebalanced by making each steel bar give 4 ammo and enemies agroing), but it was still a viable weapon because it allowed the player to effectively battle whole spawns alongside their cannon like a summon. It was a support weapon, but it was a very effective one.
... then, came the evolution of combat, and originally, the cannon was forgotten during this. It continued to deal 14 damage when everything's HP was buffed literally 100x. After a while, this was fixed, but the cannon never really recovered. It was degraded to merely an agro machine in larger spawn areas, never really used for real DPS anymore.
The Artisan's workshop helped, with the addition of the gold and royal multicannon that stored more ammo. Yet another update allowed cannons to automatically reload, leaving them fully automatic, and Invention introduced its two melee and magic brothers. However, they were single-item machines, which made them more popular than the cannon itself. Not to mention they could both attack multiple enemies with each cannon shot, so they were more efficient at the job. All the multicannon had left to its name was its impressive range and the fact you didn't need a high invention level for it. It was practically its lowest point.
And during all this, it always remained the 4-item component-based setup machine it's always been. The setting-up became automatic so it would appear after a single click, but losing a seventh of one's inventory just to bring it made it questionably worth it.
A pretty intense journey it's been on, and being tuned down to a single-slot item might not help bring its past reputation back of being a machine of death, but it'll at least bring it back on par with its two brothers.
Nevertheless, it's a very welcome update, and I will be using my multicannon a lot more often as needed. I hope that one day, a lot of the placement restrictions are lifted (can't set it up in a slayer dungeon or many boss arenas, for example), because since it's now more a supplementary damage weapon rather than a DPS death machine, these restrictions really shouldn't have to apply anymore. Especially with the aggression potion doing exactly the thing that forbids cannons from these locations in the first place.
Until next time,