It's been a long time since we did anything with the Wise Old Man of Draynor Village, so I'm delighted to be working on a new Wise Old Man quest that will feature combat, puzzles, magical hackery and an extremely twisted old woman. I thought I'd call it Love Story.
The Wise Old Man
Let's start by reminding ourselves who the Wise Old Man is...
He turned up quietly enough as a minor character who'd chat about various topics and pay members to do little jobs for him. Suddenly he revealed a whole new side to himself with the violent robbery of Draynor Bank; clearly he isn't the Saradominist good guy that you might have expected him to be! If you look through his telescope, you'll learn that he might be planning another robbery involving the Wizards' Tower. My Swan Song quest calls for the player to accompany the Wise Old Man on one final adventure to conclude his heroic career (his swan song). Following the events of that quest, the Wise Old Man considers himself to be permanently retired from adventuring.
There are clearly some loose ends here. Is he really going to attack the Wizards' Tower? Will the bank guard ever come down from his hiding place in the tree? What does Traiborn mean when he talks about thingummywuts? Who will get the old man's hat off him?
A quest about questing
I'm very fond of the character of the Wise Old Man because he's so flawed while still being likeable. He's a Saradominist adventurer; people like that tend to be stereotypical good guys; however, the bank robbery shows that he's really not such a good guy after all. Yet he doesn't see himself as a bad guy. If you confronted him about the bank robbery, he'd have explained that he was furious to find that the world had never adequately rewarded him for his lifetime of doing adventures to help people, so he felt that he had the right to take what he wanted from that bank. Perhaps he was never such a good guy in the first place if he did it all in the hope of rewards; I'll leave you to ponder the ethical issues at your leisure.
The Wise Old Man is a sort of archetypal adventurer figure who's done lots of heroic deeds throughout his life. In a way, he's a lot like a player doing quests! What is a typical quest? Someone wants help. They can't solve the problem themselves, so they need a passing adventurer to do the job. At the end, the adventurer is rewarded and is sent away satisfied that they've helped. That's basically the Wise Old Man's history too; it's been established that he did adventures like these when he was younger, helping save villages from monsters and other similar deeds. We can, therefore, think of the Wise Old Man as being like a player who's primarily interested in questing. During Love Story, you'll even get to see him perform the Quest Cape emote.
What would be a fitting opponent for this archetypal quester? I came up with the idea of an enemy who'd hate the Wise Old Man (and you) because she doesn't like people doing quests. So, in this quest, you won't just be fighting for your own life, you'll be defending the reputation of all adventurers against a foe who thinks you're a stupid bunch of do-gooders.
Along with the combat and puzzles, this will be a chance to step outside the fantasy for a moment and take a tongue-in-cheek look at what the game's characters might think of their universe and the players wandering around it.
I've been keen to produce another Wise Old Man quest for a very long time. Despite having been in the RuneScape Content Team for over 5 years, I've only written two quests (Swan Song & My Arm's Big Adventure), which came out years ago. Most of my work since then has been rather less exciting, even if it affects more players (such as the right-click option for replying to private messages), so it's a nice change for me to be working on a quest again.
I first pitched the concept to Mod Mark over a year ago, but it's only recently that we've had the chance to get this quest into development. Mod Mark and Mod John A helped me adjust the proposed plot to make the romance less abusive, then Mod Alex R and Mod MikeW started work on the graphics while I churned out vast swathes of code. As soon as the final cutscene was complete, Mod Bond began creating sound effects and arranging the quest's music.
Mod Animal, Mod Frantic and Mod James H from the Quality Assurance team are now busily hunting for bugs and suggesting improvements. In the meantime, I'd recommend getting your Construction, Smithing and Crafting to the upper 60s, and your Magic to the upper 70s.
I hope you enjoy it when it comes out.
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