When you decide to train a skill, you may have one area in mind: a favourite patch of trees, perhaps, or a specific altar to craft your runes. Well, this month's first update, Distractions and Diversions, will threaten to turn that way of thinking on its head. You see, Distractions and Diversions will offer new ways of training your skills, but you'll rarely know when (or where) they'll turn up next...
Take Penguin Hide and Seek, for example. You may be walking around RuneScape, summoning yaks and thieving paladins, when something catches your eye. Is that a flash of beak in that nearby bush? Does that toadstool have flippers? You won't be going loopy - the penguins of the north are spying on us humans, and Larry will want you to spot them first. He'll be willing to pay well for a penguin sighting and will even cash in your Penguin Points for experience in any skill.
It would be hard to get more bizarre than penguins in mushroom costumes, but Distractions and Diversions has an ace up its sleeve. That ace will be Balthazar Beauregard's Big Top Bonanza, a travelling circus that encourages the audience to get up and join the action. Wow the crowds with a magic trick, acrobatic feat and a well-placed throwing knife and you'll gain experience or even an outfit to clown about in.
The last Distraction and Diversion will come in the form of a Shooting Star. Instead of making a wish, you'll need to rush to the crash site and mine its thick outer layers. Break through them on your own or with others and you'll uncover a curious-looking star sprite, the magical inhabitant of shooting stars. As a reward, it might even help you out with some gold, objects and the ability to temporarily mine quicker.
Not all of our updates arrive and depart as unpredictably as Distractions and Diversions; the following release, the Clan Wars Update, is a far more predictable (but welcome) addition to this Behind the Scenes. It'll bring a swathe of new options for creating a clan war that suits you. What options will be available? Time for a list!
The optional ability to run back into battle after death
New obstacle choices
Kills required for a victory
Keep/Lose items on death (without the ability for other players to pick them up)
The option we're most stoked about is free-for-all battles, where anyone will be able to run in and start battling immediately. It won't matter if you're in a clan or not; you'll be teleported to a vast PvP area where you can have a large scrap with anyone else you meet in there.
'A large scrap' is exactly what will be offered in Summer's End. In this dramatic conclusion to Spirit of Summer, you'll be confronted by the beast who has been sapping the family's souls. Unfortunately, yours is particularly tasty, so you'll need swift feet, hard skin and help from some spirited friends if you're going to survive. The quest will be particularly taxing for those who are not prepared, but you'd expect that from a skill-based battle with one of RuneScape's hardest-hitting monsters, right? Don't worry: the rewards and the family's heartwarming smiles will definitely be worth it.
There will be few smiles in our last thriller update, Defender of Varrock. Deep in the Wilderness, braindead hordes will form into ranks, in a manner that the evil dead rarely do. Such an occurrence will need to be investigated, of course, and the identities of those behind it will have to be revealed. The question is, can you turn the zombie tide before Varrock becomes a shambling land of the dead? Reading the Legend of Arrav lores and histories may well help you out in this particular adventure...
It's not all war, zombies and soul-eating this month: there are laughs to be had in the Postbag from the Hedge, with some pictures that are far more handsome than a zombie's ugly mug in our Players' Gallery and wallpaper release.