As you’ll recall from my previous RuneScape story, Jake and I didn’t become fully paid members until we attended college together. It was during this time our accounts began to flourish.
Even though we’d played for years, our accounts still left much to be desired. We never realized just how much of the game’s content was reserved for members until we unlocked it. The game felt completely new to us, and we were filled with a rekindled desire for exploration and adventure.
We had scores of new skills, quests, locations, and items to experience, and we couldn’t wait to discover it all. These new features allowed us to properly level up our accounts, and we finally began to put genuine effort into learning the game at a higher level. We scoured the online wikis and guides, looking for all manner of tips and suggestions.
Along with exploring new locations, we were also eager to explore locations previously available to us that we weren’t skilled enough to enter before. One location in particular immediately jumped to mind: The Wilderness. That terrifying, barren wasteland of monsters and mad men. We’d always been too afraid to cross over, but now, we were members! Nothing could hold us back. We had fresh gear, fresh stats—what could possibly go wrong?
With a 33 percent faster respawn rate for nonexclusive resources and alluring skilling opportunities, how could we pass it up? We nervously gathered supplies for the journey.
“Let’s not take our best equipment, in case we die,” Jake suggested.
“Agreed, I’m leaving behind my good armor but bringing my best weapon to balance it out,” I replied.
Even though our gear was far from amazing at this stage, it was all we had. Getting it took years of work with free accounts, and losing any of it would be a devastating blow to our progress in the game.
We reached the borderline of the Wilderness and scanned the horizon. It looked innocent enough at first glance. A few weak skeleton enemies stumbled around, and a handful of players milled about, minding their own business. Nothing too threatening.
“Okay, let’s do this,” Jake said. We hopped the line. We were now in the Wilderness. Anyone who plays RuneScape knows the intense feeling of vulnerability consuming you once you’ve entered the Wilderness. You feel helpless and afraid. Anything could attack you at any given moment. Death is highly probable, and you need to keep your wits about you to survive.
We sprinted deeper and deeper into the wild, never looking back. We wanted to get far enough away from creatures and enemy players so we could rest and peacefully explore without threat of death, if possible. However, our sprint energy was depleting, and we were already running low.
“We’re gonna need to stop and rest soon,” Jake pointed out.
“Okay, let’s find somewhere that looks empty,” I replied. We were in deep-level Wilderness now. We’d ventured further into this realm than ever before. We were totally enveloped in the unknown.
We managed to find a quiet area among some trees and hills.
“Let’s rest here,” Jake suggested.
There were some nearby creatures that could attack us, so we wandered a little deeper. I kept my eye on the mini-map in the event a white dot (indicating another player) might pop up. All of a sudden, I spotted one.
“Look out, there’s another player ahead,” I warned.
We turned off our sprint and slowly approached the other player.
I hovered my mouse over him to see his combat level. It was crazy high.
“Should we attack him?” I asked.
“No, we’ll get our asses kicked. I think we should just go,” Jake responded.
The player was seated beside a fire. He appeared to be resting. There was enough space between us and him that we could make an escape, but right as we went to back away, he addressed us:
“Hey! Do you guys need help?” Avenger14 called out.
“What do we do?” I asked frantically in our private chat.
“Well, it is just him. Let’s see what he wants,” Jake said.
“What if it’s a trap?” I questioned.
“Then we’ll teleport out of here before he can kill us,” Jake replied.
It was a perfect plan! Our inventories were stacked with teleportation tabs, which would allow for an easy and quick escape in the event of danger. With this in mind, we approached Avenger14.
“What’s up?” Jake asked.
“Are you guys trying to skill out here?” said the player.
“Yeah, we’re gonna try and train some combat,” I answered.
“You guys can use my fire if you need to cook food,” he offered.
“Cool, thanks!” Jake proclaimed.
We still weren’t fully rested at this point, so Jake and I sat down by the fire with the other player.
“Are you doing PvE?” Avenger14 asked us.
“Yeah, do you have any suggestions?” I questioned.
“For your level, Greater Demons are good. I can show you where they are.”
“Perfect!” I said.
At this point, everything seemed fine. If he wanted us dead, he surely would’ve attacked by now; and maybe because we outnumbered him, he would play it safe.
But Jake remained skeptical:
“Just be ready to teleport. This seems fishy,” he said privately to me.
“If you’re ready to go, we can leave now,” Avenger14 suggested, getting up from his resting position.
“Sure, let’s do it!” I exclaimed.
WOOSH! THWACK! WOOOOOSH! THWACK!
From off screen, crossbow bolts began flying from several angles at us. The volley of bolts were connecting fast and dealing huge amounts of damage.
This was a trap. Jake and I hurriedly devoured what food we had in our inventories, fighting desperately to stay alive.
Any ‘Scaper knows the panic that sets in once you’re under attack. There are so many things you need to do at once: healing, defending, and fleeing. Our fingers couldn’t move quick enough as we frantically fought for our lives.
One thing quickly became clear: we were not prepared.
“Lol gf idiots,” Avenger14 teased, as he used spells to paralyze us.
“Run, dude! Run!” Jake shouted.
We couldn’t move. His comrades who were firing the crossbows moved into frame now. They closed in, resuming their assault.
“Fuck you!” I cried out at Avenger.
“Use the teleport tabs! Use the teleport tabs!” Jake yelled.
I violently clicked the teleport tabs as quickly as I could. Why wasn’t it working?! In Guthix’s name why?!
“It won’t work!” I screamed.
Were we long-time veterans of the game or total noob failures? You decide.
In any case, we learned a lot about the Wilderness that day. For instance, we hadn’t known that once you reach a certain level of distance within it, you can no longer teleport to safety.
“This is a total disaster,” I said.
Jake shook his head, laughing, “I know, dude.”
Between not being able to teleport and being paralyzed by Avenger14’s spell, we were dead pretty fast.
“No!” I yelled out, mourning the potential loss of my best weapon.
We respawned and panic began to sink in.
“We still have our gravestones, right? Maybe if we get back quickly enough, some of our stuff will still be there!”
Once again revealing my ignorance, I was unaware that gravestones did not generate in the Wilderness. Jake was more aware of this rule.
“I don’t know, dude. I think our stuff is gone for good. I don’t think you get it back at all if you die in the Wilderness,” he said, half-laughing at how dumb we’d been.
“Are you kidding me? I spent so much money on that sword!” I yelled.
He humored me, however, and we traveled all the way back to the spot of our death. The fresh ashes from Avenger14’s campfire were the only shred of evidence someone had been there. The gang of highwaymen had vanished, and they had taken all our stuff with them.
“Good thing I didn’t really lose anything of value,” Jake stated as we scoured the wasteland for any remaining pieces of our inventory.
“Fuck! I’m so pissed,” I said, defeated.
It was not the first time, nor would it be the last we would be duped. It was a lesson learned on multiple levels:
- Never enter the Wilderness unprepared.
- Know the rules. Do your research.
- Don’t bring anything you’re not prepared to lose.
- Remember your attacker’s strategy so you can use it on the next unsuspecting sucker.
All in all, it was a learning experience for Jake and me. It would be a long time before we explored the Wilderness again. But ain’t that just the way in Gielinor.
Special thanks to Arthur Hickman for the amazing illustrations. Please go check out his stuff, and give him your money!
Note: All screen names mentioned in this piece have been altered to protect the privacy of other players.
Looking for more about RuneScape? Check out the first in our A RuneScape Story series: “A RuneScape Story: The Assassination of ImCool9000” or our coverage of the RuneScape vinyl collections: “What We’re Listening To — RuneScape: Original Soundtrack Classics” and “What We’re Listening To — RuneScape: The Orchestral Collection.”