It's time to channel the king of pop, and I mean Michael Jackson, not some player who mastered player owned ports. Sing with me (and be glad this is not an audio blog): “Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for and the entire human race." I don't think it will come as a surprise to most when I say I am talking about the Divination skill. It seems we are 'healing" the world from wounds caused by Guthix demise. Not surprising, when you consider that many cultures across the other world we inhabit, Earth, use something called 'divination', being inspired by a deity as a healing method. Jagex also nicely incorporated the other meaning, fortune telling, in the skill since it also involves gathering Guthix's insights.
The new skill seems to fit the times we live in since it is a form of environmentalism for Gielinor. Warmongering gods and their followers have created a huge mess and now we are cleaning it up. The world should already be awake, but if not, can there be any clearer sign that we need to rise up and get rid of all gods? Death to Saradomin, death to Zamorak, death to Zaros...well, you get the drift. I do wonder, would the demise of one of them create even more damage, or was it only Guthix, with his deep connection to Gielinor, who had that effect. Let's play it safe and ban them all, again!
So, we are healing the world.. but wait a minute, there is a paradox here, if we actually succeed the skill will cease to be. That might be good for the planet, but it certainly is not for the game. So we can already conclude we are working on an endless task and the craters will stay. Luckily the rewards seem to be good enough that we will want to continue skilling for a long time. There are daily options to make a buck, there are new ways to heal yourself, boosts to certain skills, and an easier way to 'pot' for Dungeoneering doors. I am sure I am forgetting many other things, since I have only scratched the surface of the skill.
Talking about the skill part of this, is it actually a skill?
There obviously is only one answer, since Jagex made it to be a skill, but like Dungeoneering this does not have the 'feel' of an old-fashioned skill. We can all easily imagine what Woodcutting or Fishing are, as they are very concrete skills. Even Magic and to an extent Summoning are things that fit an historical mold we have seen in many books, games, and such. Besides this, the gameplay of Divination seems to be more like a minigame. Does that mean its a bad skill? No, Dungeoneering has the same feel and I for one think it's rather fun. After working on this new one for a few days, it is not as diverting as Dungeoneering, but also not horrid. We get to play with others of approximately our own level, and even though every skill in RS is repetitive, this is less obviously so than some others. The XP rate seems a bit on the slow side—maybe Jagex has listened to the criticism that the game has become too easy with all the new ways to do the different skills, but much more likely there are other, faster ways to climb the divine ladder to follow. I see no reason why Jagex would not treat this skill like all others. This skill also follows the trend on RS of moving away from constant clicking of the mouse nicely. So, for now this seems to be an average skill as far as fun is concerned, not great and not a total pain either.
There is an other somewhat paradoxal part to this skill: it is both a gathering skill and one that is buyable. I do not think buying energy off others is a lot faster than gathering yourself, but it certainly is a bit faster. So again the question comes up, is this bad? Part of me certainly thinks it is--I prefer progress to be based on doing the actual skill and not on the size of one's wallet. But the other side is, this skill, at least for now, can be a profitable gathering skill only because it is somewhat buyable. We all know the main thing a lot of players are willing to pay for is xp and it seems that Jagex cleverly used this to make Divination a true gathering skill that one can make money on. What ever the reason was, this is the only gathering skill you can actually buy progress in easily. I know you can buy high level tree seeds for Farming, but that is not the main focus of the skill, while energy is for Divination. In conclusion, Jagex seems to have cleverly used our wish for fast xp, but with it also devalued the skill in the eyes of many, since buyable skills generally are looked down upon. So, while the frontrunners hit 90 Divination, level 65 'diaper rash', level 70 'sleep deprivation' and a decline in their social skills, I am plodding along, leveling a bit, while over-thinking the meaning behind the skill and dealing with problems with clan avatars.
Which, even though it doesn’t totally fit this article makes me want to say something:
My clan has been looking for a new homeworld, because the old one is lagging a lot more, so I have spend a lot of time on different worlds at Divination and almost everywhere wardens with an avatar in tow get a lot of abuse. This irks me. These people expect us to show “respect to other players” (literal quote) by dismissing the avatar, while they show no respect whatsoever to the community-minded clan admin helping out his/her clanmates by walking the avatar. It already is a pain to do so often; you can not do Dungeoneering, Runespan, the GE, summon a yak or many other things and you are yourself most likely to misclick on the avatar when trying to click something else. It is rather rare, when paying attention, to misclick on someone else's avatar; you are more likely to click another player, or a wisp while trying to catch a chronicle. No one can really claim avatars are more annoying when doing Divination than the trees in Seers or the useless Colossuses you also seem to see everywhere. Still, somehow those walking an avatar get the abuse. Avatars are a legitimate part of this game, made by Jagex and yes, they can, like many other legitimate things, be a little annoying to others (ever been pk-ed just before you spy a penguin in the lava maze?) But does this mean we should not use them? I say it does not.
Realize clans work hard to get and keep avatars and while 3% bonus is not a lot, it also brings clans together and shows the leaders are willing to do things to help their members. The upsides of an avatar might be partly in people's heads, but so are the problems and that is not a reason to get rid of a much-used part of the game. Lately, all my admins have been at Divination, so there was no other alternative. Of course, if someone who is not doing the skill is available it's preferable they walk it, but it's a new skill, and many want to play it. My solution would be this: let's all ask Jagex to put poles (like the ones at saloons to tie a horse to), or pools (etc.) at certain spots around the world, so the warden can tie the avatar to it. Have the avatar resume following the warden again when they move a certain distance away from the pole. This keeps the warden system that I am sure Jagex made for a reason intact, but still takes some of the annoyances away. It would be nice to have such poles at mini games and Dungeoneering also. A constructive solution that helps us all instead of us cursing at each other.
And you know what? I started out saying this skill seems to fit the times we live in; well, this problem seems to also. I have noticed we are less and less likely to accept little annoyances from our real-life neighbors, whereas we used to understand they were inevitable. At least on RS we can turn our public chat off.
One last note: A friend of mine, who wanted to be funny, claimed the craters for Divination were caused by aliens. But you know, it's actually true. Mahjarrat ARE aliens to the planet Gielinor and one of them stabbed Guthix, who himself was an alien.