A Brief Look At RuneScape's Menaphos Expansion
In the 16 years that RuneScape has been online, it has seen 250 million players enter its world. It has a total of 205 quests, 6583 "unique characters," and over 25,000 items that players can collect. Today, those counts are about to go up a bit more with the release of the game's first expansion, Menaphos. I was recently given a tour of the new Menaphos content and am going to discuss what was shared in this article.
For those that don't know, Menaphos is a city that has been alluded to in RuneScape for over a decade. The degraded gates of Menaphos have been available for players to visit for some time now, but the city has never actually been open to visit. With the release of the Menaphos expansion, that has finally changed.
The city of Menaphos is a massive new zone that has clearly been inspired by Egyptian architecture and mythology. It is split into four distinct zones with a pyramid placed in the center—whereas the elf city was said to have the shape of a pizza, Menaphos is said to have the shape of a waffle.
The gates of Menaphos open to the Merchant District. This zone features a number of stores and NPCs that players can pickpocket.
To the West of the Merchant District is the Workers District. Menaphos' poorer citizens live in this district. This district is also home to a number of rocks, which makes it a great place for mining.
To the South of the Workers District is the Port District. This district is home to new fish to catch, a tavern, "artisan amenities" like spinning wheels and anvils, and a ports portal. You'll also find your ship and its crew here, should you have already visited the Arc.
In the center of it all is the Imperial District, which houses the city's pyramid. The Imperial District houses a bank, a lodestone, and RuneScape's third Grand Exchange. Here, players will be able to visit the Pyramid itself, its Throne Room, and the Grand Library of Menaphos. Interestingly, the Grand Library of Menaphos will actually contain a number of stories written by players. Jagex opened up submissions previously and were impressed with the quality of many of the submissions, so there will be quite a few stories for players to peruse.
To the East of Menaphos is the city's sister city of Sophanem—which is basically just "Menaphos" backwards. The city is "quarantined from Menaphos" and is known as "the city of the dead." The new Slayer dungeon is located here.
In order to access Menaphos, players will need to play through two quests from three years ago. The quests have no requirements, meaning that anyone can play them and gain access to Menaphos at any time. At the end of these quests, you will be required to fly to Menaphos on a flying carpet, which gives you a rather nice look at a complete graphical rework of the desert that launched alongside Menaphos.
An interesting note is that Jagex takes the modernization of RuneScape very seriously. It was stated that "almost half of [their] development teams" are dedicated to the modernization of the game. One of said teams likes to be called "Team Bacon."
Menaphos is intended to be somewhat of a hub that is used to access the wider world of RuneScape. Jagex wants it to be "the place to be." As part of this, the city of Menaphos gives players a 5% skilling buff to all skills.
The story of Menaphos consists of four quests, each of which is between 75 and 90 minutes in length. It follows players gathering an "entourage" to rebel against the Pharoah, who is somewhat of a tyrant. The entourage will include at least one god from the desert pantheon. The story culminates in a boss fight against the Pharoah.
In addition to the four story quests, Menaphos introduces a new system of dynamic quests called "City Quests." City Quests are simpler, dynamically generated quests that require players to complete tasks like fetching items. Many of them are said to contain humorous characters.
The city of Menaphos is also home to a number of cats. These cats figure into the game's collection system, offering achievements in exchange for finding them. There are supposedly be "different parameters to access all of the cats." A similar system is employed for a number of gems, as well.
There are several factions throughout the city and players are be able to "show fealty" to one of them through a new "Reputation" system, contributing all of their Menaphos-related activity to that faction. Players unlock quests through the Reputation system, as well as earn faction-specific rewards at various Reputation milestones. You can contribute to each of the factions, but you are also required to get to a certain level in order to unlock the final quest.
One of the new activities included in Menaphos is The Shifting Tombs. The Shifting Tombs is a non-combat activity that requires players to run through a zone, smashing pots, opening chests, and solving puzzles in the most efficient way possible within five minutes. Rewards are based on efficiency, with players that smash the most pots, open the most chests, and solve the most puzzles being rewarded the most. The puzzles in question revolve around sarcophagi with tiles around them; the sarcophagi will shoot waterballs at the tiles in a specific order and players must then hit the tiles in a specific order to open them. The experience earned from this activity can be "directed" to whichever skills the player wants to level at that time.
Another of the new activities is the aforementioned Slayer dungeon. The Slayer dungeon is an "endgame" dungeon of sorts, meant for players who are working towards the new Slayer level cap of 120. These extra 21 levels added to the Slayer skill are said to have doubled the amount of effort that it will take to make it to the level cap.
The story of the Slayer dungeon is that you are slowly making your way towards the game's underworld, starting in Sophanem. At one time, once you reached the gates of the underworld, a god would have decided whether or not your soul would be devoured and you would be sent to the underworld, but "things have changed." It was noted that players have been able to get into the underworld before, but that this provides the story of this Slayer dungeon will provide "context."
The dungeon itself features a number of enemies, such as glowing green scorpions and komodo dragon-like monsters. It works like a "traditional dungeon," in that you will continuously work your way further into the dungeon, defeating stronger monsters as you go. Among other items, players may be able to obtain Sigils from the dungeon.
Another item that you could obtain from the dungeon is a "key" of some sort. It was only noted that the key "might contribute to something later on," something "post-release." If you manage to get one, be sure to hang onto it.
A feature that is unique to this dungeon is the "Slayer chest." There is a chest at the beginning of the dungeon that holds all of the loot that drops in it, instead of requiring you to pick it up and keep it in your inventory.
Menaphos is out now, finally allowing players a chance to explore the city. The expansion is only available to subscribers, but a free weekend is set to run from June 9th to June 12th, allowing anyone to play the new content.