For the past four years, I have set myself a New Year's Resolution in RuneScape. The goals have more or less always been the same: get strength to 99, get all other levels to some arbitrary point (60 or 70 or 80), along with a total of some multiple of 100. Needless to say, I've always failed miserably. For some reason real life has found a way to win out over RuneScape.
I'm happy to announce this past June I finally achieved one of my longest standing goals: 99 strength.
I decided early on this year that there was absolutely no way that I'd get 99 strength after the combat update. There were too many variables I couldn't account for; I didn't know how fast combat training would be or even if players would be able to gain experience in the same way. I didn't even know if I'd be playing RuneScape afterward. I also wanted to experience player killing while hitting as high as anyone ever could in this version of RuneScape, and this impending change provided an excuse and a hard (although still yet to be determined) deadline.
I also used this as an opportunity to level other skills that I normally would not train. I decided to make my first 99 a milestone level: 1300. For most 'Scapers, 1300 is a cakewalk. They'll breeze on by and later hit 1900 without breaking a sweat. That wasn't the case for me, I had irrational rules (pure f2p, combat level equal to my strength, no breaking the bank) placed on my main from the get-go. I had to gain about 40 different levels without training melee combat (no dungeoneering, unfortunately). To top it all off, I planned on dropping 13M in items at my party, even though I only had about 500k of things I could bear to part with.
Working through this construct, with the moral support from my friends chat, hundreds of GE trades, and relentless hours of grinding, I was there. I did it. And to be perfectly frank, I accomplished... nothing. I'm not afraid or ashamed to say it, because I've read the comments in other goal and achievement discussions. JaGEx could pull the plug on all its servers tomorrow, it could ban my account, it could do away with F2P, or limit the amount of experience or time F2Pers can access their account. Like the Runespan, the combat update could make training so easy that every player and their goldfish could have maxed combat on their accounts by the end of the year.
I get it, I understand. But I still take pride in knowing that I set a goal all those years ago, and even though I've failed three times to meet that yearly deadline, I finally made it. In a way I can say that I'm accomplished in accomplishments, I've achieved my achievement. In doing so, I've also learned a bit about myself and hopefully I'll be able to apply that to something else in the future.
While my accomplishment is "empty", I feel that's one of the good things about a RuneScape goal. I failed three times to reach it, and other than being disappointed each year I set that goal, nothing bad happened. I didn't fail a year of school, I didn't have to retake classes, I don't feel like I wasted time or money on the effort like several other goals I've had. I don't feel like I set myself back or let anyone else down.
The biggest thing I learned about this experience is that in order to motivate myself, I need a hard deadline. When I look back at all the goals I've set in the past five years, including non-RuneScape goals, the ones that I've done the best with are the ones with a hard deadline. My mentality is "It gets done," or I'm going to do everything in my power to move things along. This is especially true when others are depending on me. That has to be one of the bigger problems with achieving my RuneScape goals; very rarely is there a hard deadline, and even more rarely do others depend on me for my levels.
Although others might not see the value of my accomplishments or the accomplishments themselves, hopefully they'll be able to appreciate and understand the value of completing long-term goals. It took three failed yearly resolutions to reach 99 strength, but eventually I got there. Looks like I need to find another long-term goal; let me know in the discussion thread if you have any ideas.