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Below is a suggestion that I first posted on the RuneScape forums shortly after they removed NESW from the in-game compass, written in response to all the complaints from players who could not figure out where they needed to go because they never properly learned how to read a compass. I understand that this change made it easier to translate to foreign languages, however not all players have as thorough an education in navigating, and hopefully this quest will be both entertaining, and educational. My suggestion below contains both the main story/quest, and then a repeatable minigame afterwards for some additional small rewards and help learning to read the compass. In this article, I've initially reposted the minigame and quest in story version, but then afterwards posted it again in a more explanatory (rather than as a story) version.

Btw, for those who are confused, Bomberdanium is me, I've just changed my online identity to be Adarajin somewhat more recently than when I first wrote up this suggestion. Just ignore the long dashed lines - the forums have a 2,000 character limit and I had to break it up into posts for that, and never bothered to pull the lines back out before posting it on my own personal site.




Disclaimer: The n00by main character of this story ĎJeskaí is a completely fictional character, I apologize if there actually is a player by this username and do not mean to call them a n00b.

Fresh from Tutorial Island, Jeska has just arrived as a brand new active player of that great game that we like to call RuneScape. He finds himself in the main courtyard of a castle, surrounded by other people. He has heard from his friends that Varrock is the place to go if you ever need to buy something, so he decides to go see if he can find this place. Heading off, then making a left out of the courtyard, he decides to follow the path for a bit to see where it takes him.

Getting bored of looking for this place called ĎVarrockí, he decides to leave the path and see if he can find someone to give him directions. Spotting some players chopping at a really tall tree, he thinks "Wow, thatís a big tree, if they are able to chop that, they MUST know where this Varrock place is".

Jeska: Excuse me, but do you know where Varrock is?
Jeska: Hello? I just started playing, could you please help me to find my way to Varrock?
Jeska: Hmmmm...guess you arenít feeling talkative today, Iíll go find someone else to ask.

Continuing to head in the direction that he was heading, he soon spots some players killing goblins. This time, the players are nice enough to tell them where to go - East across the river, then North. Oh, and be careful to run past the dark wizards real quickly. Now that he has directions, Jeska heads off, in a slightly different direction from before because he doesnít think that there is a river in the direction that he is going right now.


Keeping an eye out for those dark wizards that he was warned about, he suddenly finds himself under attack. ĎWhat the, there arenít any dark wizards around, whatís attacking me?í. Standing right next to him jabbing with a sword is a...mugger? They didnít warn him about - wait, where am I now? Iím back where I started. Oh well, obviously that wasnít the right way to go, maybe Iíll go the different way this time, a large city such as Varrock is supposed to be MUST have a graveyard nearby.

After getting killed by a rat this time, he decides that it is time to ask for some serious help. Spotting a player with the name Hans appearing in yellow over his head, he heads on over and starts to talk to them. To his amazement, it's as easy as just choosing from a list of options what to say, and one of the options is asking for help navigating around the map.

Hans: Well, the first thing you need to know about navigating your way around is how to use a compass, that will tell you what way you are going making it easier for others to tell you where you need to go. Here, have why donít you follow the directions on this scroll for a bit, then come back when you are finished and Iíll give you a little something for your trouble.

Reading the scroll, Jeska sees that it starts off by telling him to look at the compass located up and left of the mini-map. N shows what direction is North, and if North is pointing up, West is to the Left, East is to the Right, and South is straight down, or behind you. The first direction on the scroll is to move 3 squares West. Well, thatís easy enough, just walk to the left a bit.


"Wait, whatís happening to me?" Jeska cries, "Everything is spinning in circles!!!" After a moment or so, both his character and the camera have finished spinning around, and the next direction is being displayed. Move 2 squares North. Easy enough, just go straight forward and - why is it telling me that Iím going the wrong way and I need to check my compass? North is forward isnít it? Checking his mini-map, Jeska sees that the N is pointing to the right. Turning the camera until it is pointing up again, he tries to move forwards. This time, the scroll is telling him well done, and suddenly he is spinning again.

Next, he is asked to head East. But wait, he canít remember which way is East, maybe heíd better just head in random directions a few times and hope he gets lucky. First, he turns the camera so that N is up, and then heads backwards - nope, thatís not it, thatís South. Maybe to the left? No, thatís not it either... yay, now itís telling him all 4 directions again, East is to the Right.

After a few more directions, the scroll is telling him to go talk to any of the helpers to claim a prize. Donie is standing nearby, and her name is on the list, so Jeska wanders over and receives a Newcomer Map and some shrimp to eat if he gets low on health. She also asks if he would like to learn the compass some more. Since he is still a bit confused, he says yes and off he goes. This time he talks to Han again, and receives another map, along with a few gold pieces. Wanting to make certain that he properly knows his directions, he continues to go through this little game, and gets some more food, armor, coins, and of course, a bunch of extra maps. He just dumps the extras on the ground though, someone else can use them, he already has plenty.



Then, one time after following the directions of where to walk, instead of some useful item reward, the helper hands him a raggedy old book. "Wait a second, this isnít something I can use!" he thinks to himself, and talks to Gee again to complain.

Gee: Would you like to learn your directions again?
Jeska: NO! Iíd like to have a reward that I can use for my last one!
Gee: Oh? And why canít you use the last reward?
Jeska: Because itís just a stupid raggedy old book, thatís why.
Gee: Oh, that old thing - itís some notes on some strange experiment or other, I thought that it might be helpful to you.
Jeska: How would it be helpful to me if I canít understand it?
Gee: Maybe you should ask someone knowledgeable on old things about it? I hear that the Curator at the Varrock Museum is quite informed in that sort of thing.
Jeska: But I donít know where Varrock is.
Gee: Just head East across the river to where the goblins are, then North until you get to Varrock. You DO know what way North and East are right?
Jeska: Yes, thanks for the help.

Following the directions that heís finally able to understand, Jeska soon finds his way to Varrock (quickly running past those dark wizards that he was warned about before of course). Wandering around, he eventually finds the Museum and its Curator. Unfortunately however, these notes are on a MAGICAL experiment, so itís nothing that he would know about. Jeska should go talk to one of the wizards at the Wizards Tower to find out more about this experiment. Instead of telling Jeska how to get to this Wizards Tower however, he says to use the World Map to find his way, with a reminder to properly orient himself to North before heading off so he doesnít end up going in the wrong direction.


Once at the Wizards Tower, down in the basement (after all, thatís where all the REAL magic occurs), Jeska found the wise and knowledgeable wizard Sedridor. Letting Sedridor read the scroll, Jeska waited for the answer as to how this scroll would be useful.

Sedridor: Whatís this? This seems to be talking about combining a lizard with a piece of magnetic metal, but thatís just crazy. No one around here would ever do anything like that.
Jeska: Are you certain that there is no one else who might know more about this though?
Sedridor: Well, there has been rumor of a crazy old scientist that has been living up in the Draynor Manor, perhaps he might know something?
Jeska: Thanks, Iíll go talk to him now.

Making his way to Draynor Manor, then to the top floor, Jeska finally encounters the owner of the experiment, Professor Oddenstein.

Professor Oddenstein: Ah, thank you, you found my old Journal, I was wondering where that had gotten too.
Jeska: Not so fast, I was given this, and told that it might be useful. The wizard Sedridor said that this is about an experiment where you tried to combine a lizard with a piece of magnetic metal.
Professor Oddenstein: Ah, yes, the Compass Lizard. I locked it up in a shed out in the yard a while ago, but I lost the key about the same time as I lost that journal. Now may I please have my journal back?
Jeska: Well, I guess so.

Remembering that those friendly helpers had been the one to find the journal, Jeska wonders if maybe they found the missing key as well. Fortunately they had, and he runs back to go take a look at this strange lizard. Picking it up, he finds that it is a lot like the compass that the game provides, except that this one says ALL FOUR DIRECTIONS all the time, rather than just saying which direction North is. With this compass, he won't have to work so hard to remember what way is what. This IS a useful reward he got, even though it was a hassle to finally retrieve.



Here is a paraphrased comment that I pulled off of the initial story thread where I posted this suggestion 2 years ago:

One of the reasons that Jagex changed the compass is that the game interface is an enormously complex program, and very difficult to modify and translate. Since the Compass Lizard would be an in-game item that would display much like some of the quest items that point your way (the cat finder for finding Bob in that one quest comes to mind) and only displays on the main game window, it should be significantly easier to program (and also do substitutions on graphics depending on language) than it is modifying the interface.

As far as winning the quest item from the minigame goes, since there are many players who don't need to learn the compass, perhaps there should be a "Is there anything else you can give me instead?" option when you recieve your reward prior to doing the quest to be able to immediately start. If you don't choose this option, there is still a chance you will recieve the quest item at random.


FULL DISCUSSION: Most of this is just a repost without a whole lot of editing, just a warning ;-)

It has come to my attention that there has been a lot of debate about the new compass change, more specifically, the removal of South, East, and West from the face of the compass. I have proposed a suggestion on a way to better educate the players of runescape on their cardinal directions so that they no longer need to rely on rs providing the directions for them to read right there in front of them.

***for those of you that don't understand my fancy language, I have an idea to teach people North, South, East, and West***

What I propose is a 2-part idea.

First of all, I think that there should be an additional step on tutorial island, this guide would help you to orient yourself on the compass. He would know what way your camera is facing, and ask you to move in a certain direction a few times to help you get oriented. That's the first part, good for new players or old players creating new accounts.


Now for the part that EVERYONE would be able to use at any time in their runescape career. I think that their should be a new mini-quest of a treasure hunt revolving around the compass. I think that you would start by talking to one of the lumbridge guides (Donie, Gee, & Hans, NOT the new skill tutors) and asking them if they have any quests for you to do.

They will give you a magic guide scroll (similar to a clue scroll) with directions on it. The scroll will start from wherever you are currently standing, and will tell you to go X number of steps in a certain direction (North, East, South, West). If you go in the wrong direction, it will re-start that step from your new location.

After you complete each step, it will then spin your camera (and your character so that you can't orient back on him/her) around a bit, and then tell you to go a certain distance in another direction. There will always be a hint at the top to look at your compass to figure out what direction you are facing. Each time you achieve a part of the task, and it has finished spinning you around, the scroll will change its directions.

After you have successfully gone the way you have been directed a number of times, say 5 for example, the scroll will now say "congratulations on your good compass orientation, please speak to a lumbridge guide to recieve your reward".

When you talk to a lumbridge guide (doesn't need to be the one you spoke to in the first place) they will take the finished guide scroll from you and give you your reward. I think that newcomer maps should DEFINITELY be one of the items you recieve as a reward, perhaps as a 100% reward, with other items being other rewards. These can be small amounts of coins, maybe a bit of food for you to eat and heal on, or low lever armor/weaponry. (maybe black as a rare reward, but probably not mith or higher).


Side Note:
The Terms & Conditions of RuneScape state that: "This website is targeted at, and intended for an audience of 13 years and older. It may contain features that are not suitable for children under that age. If you are under the age of 13 you must not create an account or provide us with any personal information unless you have the consent of a parent/guardian, and it is permitted by applicable law."

What this means is that runescape is made for players who should already know their compass directions. Because that is not 100% true, my suggestion is aimed at helping to fix that problem within this game and provide an educational experience that can be applied to real life if you ever find yourself in need of knowing how to read a compass.


NEW QUEST: "The Compass Lizard"

Ok, to start the quest: as a semi-rare reward from the mini-quest would be an old book.

Examine: it seems to be some notes on an old expirement, perhaps I should talk to someone more knowledgeable about them.

Talk to the museum guy in varrock (curator?) and he says that it looks like this was some kind of magical experiment, perhaps you should talk to one of the wizards at the wizard tower.

Talk to Sedridor at the wizard tower, and he will tell you that this looks more like someone was trying to turn a lizard into a compass, and without using any magic to boot, but that's entirely crazy. He mentions that he HAS heard of a crazy scientist inhabiting the haunted manor nearby, maybe you should go check it out?

Now you need to go talk to the crazy scientist Professor Oddenstein in draynor manor upstairs and he will tell you about the failed expirement he had where he was trying to combine some "magnetic metal" with a lizard using his machine, but all that happened was that the lizard's tail always points north now. He declared this a failed expirement, and locked it up in a shed outside the manor. Unfortunately, when he lost his notes *the book you have* he also lost his key to the shed.

Go back and talk to a helper *it doesn't matter which one* and they will say "oh yeah, I DID find a key with that book". They will give you the key.

Go to the door that the scientist told you about, and use the key on the door. Inside you will see a "compass lizard" scurying around the room. Go ahead and choose the "catch lizard" interaction option.

Reward: 1 quest point
The "Compass Lizard"

*more on next post*


If you go back and talk to the helper again, you will have the option of: "Can you tell me why the lizards tail points north?" When you ask this, the helper will then explain that obviously the magnetic metal was merged into the lizards tail, and that it is being drawn north by magnetic fields or something like that. *basically they explain how a compass works, I'll let jagex figure out the exact wording.*


ok, here is how the lizard works. First of all, there will be the 3 options when you right-click on it, "Orient Compass Lizard", "Examine Compass Lizard", and "Drop Compass Lizard".

If you choose the "Orient Compass Lizard" a box will pop up in the middle of the screen showing a compass with all 4 directions clearly labeled. In the middle of the compass will be a lizard with his tail pointing up (North). Pointing in the direction you are currently facing will be another arrow. *see next post for why I think this will be an idea that jagex can implement MUCH more easily than changing the old compass back*

Examine Lizard: "A lizard who's tail always seems to be pointing north."

Drop: if you drop the lizard, a message will come up saying "The lizard scuries off back to the shed." To get the lizard back, just go back to the shed and get the lizard back. If you lost your key, just talk to one of the helpers and they will give you another one. This key can be stored on your keyring.


Note: this lizard will be non-tradeable, because I want people to have a chance to learn how to read a compass from just the N sign before they get this "cheat".


If you lose your key, you can just talk to one of the helpers to get it back. (or maybe you need to do the mini-quest again until you get another instead of the book). This key can be stored on the members keyring.



Ok, the old compass was changed because it was too difficult to make it multi-lingual (able to be translated into multiple languages).

The problem with modifying the current compass some more, is that it is a part of the interface, meaning that any modifications to it affect everything else within the interface. So one tiny mistake will mean that no-one would be able to play the game, because the window that you play the game in wouldn't work properly.

To make things simpler in the creation of this item, I propose that it be made by assembling 3 different objects together into one whole item. Due to the way that I have assembled this item, it should be rather simple to translate it.

Part #1: This will be a background image of a lizard with it's tail pointing upwards. THIS IMAGE WILL NOT SPIN AS YOU TURN IN CIRCLES!!!

Part #2: A series of pieces of text saying "North" "South" "East" and "West". Because these text pieces will not be doing anything other than sit there, they should be relatively easy to translate. Just make it so that the language the text is in depends on what language the user has selected.

Part #3: Ok, this will be an arrow that will point around the compass in the direction you are facing. This is the ONLY part that will actively change to show you which way you are facing *the text only changes depending on the language*


Option for jagex: if you think that it wouldn't be too difficult to program in *and I hear in-game is much easier to adjust than interface changes* I think that something that looks more like a compass (where everything spins) would look nicer...I still think that you should completely spell out each direction though. I'm not going to go into anymore detail on this, because I don't want to make this extension idea too hard to implement...I'll let jagex figure it out if they use it.


COMMENTS/SAVED DISCUSSION (from the complete discussion thread):

*Responding to the post that just happens to be above this one*

Fey Warrior
17-Nov-2006 22:44:12

Hi Bomberdanium,

I find this part of suggestion particularly appealing since it addresses the issue for those who continue to find 'knowing' their compass directions difficult. It gives the a tool to use which should hopefully help them gain this very useful knowledge in-game and in-real-life.

As an added incentive a simple option could be added which as well as showing an arrow that points, could be something called 'Check direction'. It would then print in the text box the direction the player is facing (much like with the Rune Altar Talismans).

e.g. Right click on the lizard - "Check direction".

Prints: "You are facing South South West".

Like the talismans, many players eventually learn where the altars are instinctively and no longer have a need for the Talismans. I think the same 'learning' principle will work here.

This should also earn some kudos points from Schools & parents as it demonstrates how RuneScape can be educational too.


Fey Warrior:

I think the Lizard compass could also help develop the storyline (once written about in Postbag from the Hedge) of the origins of the Lizards.

As holders of the secrets of directions and navigation they could certainly do with more background story.

Regards, Fey.


Fey Warrior posted:
While I was helping some players in F2P around Lumbridge and other places, I noted how the new signs work.

When one clicks on those new signs the screen rotates around so that the directions given are "North", "East", "South" & "West".

I'm not sure if that function or feature would prove of any use on this suggestion ('chat box text' direction giving compass players can carry around), but it's good to know that Jagex did have similar things in mind (text based directions in places other than the interface compass).

Bomberdanium responded:
I think that there should be 2 options for jagex....

Easy Graphics: the background lizard doesn't move, just the arm pointing which way you are facing. There will be a button on the bottom saying "face north" and it will automatically spin your camera around for you.

Complicated Graphics: This looks more like a lizard lying on a wheel that spins. "Up" will always be the direction that you are currently facing. It could have a "face north" option as well.


Other suggestions have been to add buttons to spin your screen 90 degrees to directly face a specific Direction (either directly to a direction, or slowly spinning in a circle) or to spin your character instead.



Sounds good, even though I knew my compass when I was 8...

A thought on a reward, you can get letters (N, S, E and W) that you collect. These would unlock a chest which contains a mith object (Not good for us, but good for newbs). The letters would be rare and are destroyed when used.

That's a great idea on greater variety for the rewards. Where do you think that the chests should be located? Somewhere close by and easy for everyone to find? Or somewhere a bit more remote forcing new players to explore a bit more?

If the chests are more remote, how do you suggest that players be guided to them? being told by one of the helpers as a sort of mini-treasure hunt (clue scrolls) with only one clue (or rather exact directions) is my personal idea for that right now.

Well, I was thinking mabey the cooks dungeon, but a remote location sounds ok. Maybe the guide tells you to follow each letter. Operating the letters tells you how many steps to take in each direction, once you unlock the chest it disappears with the letters to a different location. The chest is in a different place for everyone, to avoid 'cheating'

cooks dungeon sounds good....or if you are operating the letters, perhaps you need all 4 at once, then you will operate them and they will tell you how far away from the treasure you are (maybe a chest that you have to dig up). N would tell you have far you have to travel North to find the casket, and the same for the others.

EDIT: all 4 letters would crumble when you gain the casket of course


A thought on rewards, everytime you get the mith piece from the chest you earn a Compass Point. You can talk to the guide for a different lvl Compass Clue, 5 for easy, 10 for medium and 15 for hard and 20 for very hard. These would work basically as clue scrolls.

lvl 1: Rather easy, may earn Omp*** clothes or any mith item.

lvl 2: Slightly harder locations. May earn trimmed compass clothes or any addy item.

lvl 3: Hard locations, must defeat a Compass Mage (lvl 89, uses mage and dds). May earn gold trimmed compass clothes or any rune item.

lvl 4: Hard to do quest locations, must defeat a lvl 96 Compass Licilyte (Reptilian monster). May earn God Trimmed compass clothes or any rune item.

Compass clothes are robes with a picture of a compass on them, and may teleport you (better clothes for better locations). Depending on what kind they are is a letter symbol on the front. N for normal through to W for God-Trimmed.

ok, I like the idea for the compass clothing and trimmed compass clothing, but I think that the monsters are a bit too tough, and addy armor might be a bit much.... I had intended this to be an update that EVERYONE could participate in, including brand new players. I won't say that it's not a good idea, and wouldn't say no to a programmer implementing it, just that it's not where I had originally intended for this idea to go.

Well, I was thinking add those higher things to keep high lvls happy, otherwise the rants would be very busy again. This way there's something for high and low players (I'm med by the way). That would probably make it more of an update everyone can do since if it were just low lvls, high lvls would stop it pretty much straight away