|Start date||25 April 2017|
|End date|| 21 May 2017 (Golden pet cut-off)|
6 June 2017 (1st raffle entry)
12 June 2017 (2nd raffle entry)
|Prizes||Pets, tickets to RuneFest 2017, lifetime membership subscription|
|Description||Disentangle the fabled story of the Golden Path|
|Organisers||Mod JD, Mod Lee M, Mod Jon, Mod Parrish, Mod Pucca, Mod Barnes, Mod Scratchy, Mod Rowley|
The Golden Path Challenge was an alternate reality game and competition that served as part of the build up to the release of Menaphos. It was released on 25 April 2017 alongside the Menaphos trailer and website. The competition could be entered until 12 June 2017.
The basic Magic carpet pet can still be obtained by completing the challenge as outlined below, but players will not be entered into a prize draw as the competition has finished.
Starting the challenge
|“||Look to the negatives to find the positive. Consider it nothing, everything: Menaphos – ageless, the infinite city.||”|
The first letters of all of the words in this hint results in the word 'cinematic', referring to the Menaphos cinematic trailer released a month before. 14 seconds into the video, corrupted forms of Het, Scabaras, Apmeken and Crondis are shown, along with text in the Menaphite language. The translated text reads "bit.ly/gotogoldenpath", which is a shortened link leading to a hidden page on the RuneScape website.
The website contains more text written in the Menaphite language, with versions in English, German, French and Brazilian Portuguese. When translated to English, the text reads:
|“|| The Legend of the Golden Path
The golden city of Menaphos stands today as it has for generations: resplendent, affluent and prosperous. But beneath the surface lies corruption, decay and destruction. The Pharoah[sic] grows richer, while the poor of nearby Sophanem rot in ditches. Menaphos's four districts are ruled by four leaders - a commander, admiral, worker and grand vizier - each in some way complicit in the citi's[sic] desolation.
These four faction leaders hold the key to riches beyond compare. Dare you embark on the Golden Path Challenge? A once-in-a-lifetime reward awaits the winner.
The code is the key.
Viewing the source code for the page reveals text which is a clue for the sundial that was located north of Menaphos. Since the release of Menaphos on 5 June 2017, the sundial is located in the Grand Library in the Imperial district of Menaphos.
|“||The path to Menaphos shines in the sun.||”|
Interacting with the sundial allows players to rotate the gnomon to point to letters in Menaphite script. Throughout the challenge, the sundial is used to enter specific words that will allow entry into the associated competition.
The link to an Instagram page was also found in the source code of the same page. The account's posts were made over the week of 24 April 2017. Each post contains a screenshot of a character or location, and a small text riddle.
The first letters of each of these characters and locations spells W-A-D-U-D, revealing the name to be Admiral Wadud. To complete this part of the challenge, enter into the sundial.
|“|| After inputting the code W-A-D-U-D, you hear a click.|
The Admiral is pleased with your progress so far;
— Game message
On 9 May 2017, the same date indicated by the game message from the last step, the first Road to Menaphos livestream took place. Throughout the livestream, various plush toys are visible on the table in front of the Jagex Moderators, including a cat. In the second half of the stream, the cat gains a sticker of a YouTube logo on its chest.
Three days later, the third episode in the official Road to Menaphos series on RuneScape's YouTube channel was uploaded. At around 2:25 in that video, a cat meowing can be heard. The image on the video during that time was of a corrupted thrall, which can also be seen as a promotional image on the microsite for Menaphos. At the bottom of the image were red and yellow distorted characters and symbols.
If the image was opened with a text editor, it displays ASCII art resembling the Reddit logo and several words of text, including 'HERO_BATAL'. A Reddit user with the same name was found who has a number of comments on various threads. These comments include three instances of the message "I am the code". To complete this part of the challenge, enter into the sundial.
|“|| After inputting the code B-A-T-A-L, you hear a click.|
Batal's shadow looms over you, blocking out the sun.
— Game message
After taking the first letter of each word before the punctuation marks in the last message (friend, outcast, risk-taker, underdog, memorandum, shadow), it spells out F-O-R-U-M-S, which indicated that the next clue would be posted on the RuneScape Forums.
On 15 May 2017, a thread for that week's update was posted on the forums. In the same thread, a post by a Jagex Moderator called Vizier E was posted. The message posted was in Arabic, اتبع لي إذا كنت تستطيع, which translates to "Follow me if you can." The account also posted in the forums for other languages. The next day, the same forum user posted again in another thread with the following message:
|“|| Rig akmg tm uj ish mburu M'ye bmrn cbn qted cbn qmrd. Rbmburq jhkntib avef oswi.
Zr aapnia iufl ref tfdikhl uyqr vevw - fasu fraczh
This text is a Vigenère cipher using the keyword "TUMEKEN". When decrypted, it says:
|“|| You wait as if you think I'll hand you what you want. Nothing further will come.
My golden path has already been laid - look behind
During the Road to Menaphos stream on the same day, various concept art was shown. In one image, there are faint Menaphite script characters at the top and bottom which translate to "Keep looking". In the same image, the characters ("UM") can be seen on all four corners. This can be read as "Keep looking [in the] forums".
It was discovered that the first post in the forum thread that the Vizier E account posted in, by Mod Kalaya, had been edited by the vizier. When comparing the forum post to the near identical news post, it is seen that the bottom of the post is different.
During the week, a chatbot was found that uses the name of 'Grand Vizier E'. The bot contains responses that are triggered by certain words and phrases. Upon sending messages with certain keywords, clues are given:
|“||Haha, welcome back – Crondis’ brethren has come through for you. Number 2 is a little tougher – it’s both the second and seventh letter of the alphabet. Grab the letter, take it home – Find the next clue in the catacombs!||”|
— The chatbot responding to crocodile
|“||Like a snake traversing the arid plain, Your next letter slithers in vain. Hissing and spitting, lovers cleft and twain – Do you choose the ibis, or do you choose the crane?||”|
— The chatbot responding to tombs
|“||Always starting, never finishing – The indefinite article is always unforgiving. Your penultimate letter is also the first. Our final path is elsewhere, it’s well-versed.||”|
— The chatbot responding to crane
|“||Your final letter – the last hurrah. It's found in everything, but even more so in nothing. The Golden Path, does it have another victim? Go forth adventurer – it is my dictum!||”|
— The chatbot responding to sarcophagus
The clues result in the letters H, S, A, and N (appearing twice in the word 'nothing' and once in the word 'everything). To complete this part of the challenge, enter into the sundial.
|“|| After inputting the code E-H-S-A-N, you hear a click.|
Ehsan salutes your ingenuity, your infallible wit.
— Game message
On 21 May 2017, a promotional video for Menaphos was released by Jagex. During the video, a lot of concept art can be seen for around half a second each. There are Menaphite characters on the art that read "The Golden City of Menaphos", apart from one that read "The Golden Path of Menaphos", which displays the four faction leaders. In the art, the second person's sword has characters on it that read "CMNDR_A", and directly underneath it on her leg is the Twitter logo.
Throughout the week of 22 May 2017, a Twitter account named 'Commander__A' posted concept art for Menaphos with various hints. The capitalised letters in the second tweet from the account spell out "IMAFAKE".
On 25 May 2017, a second Twitter account named 'CMNDR_A' posted the first concept art that 'Commander__A' posted. However, this version had Menaphite characters hidden on the left side of the artwork that read "I am the real deal".
On 26 May 2017, the second account posted two additional altered artworks with the first having the Eye of Horus over a walkway, the symbol for Menaphos inside a canal and a black creature inside the pyramid in the upper levels concept art. The following clue was the original Menaphos concept art with a hidden message in the road that read "Foll me" and the Menaphite character "J" with Spades added next to the adventurer pointing towards Jack of Spades.
Later on 26 May, the Jack of Spades microsite for Menaphos was released and the header video file was visibly corrupted. If the WEBM was opened with a hex editor (or notepad), it displays ASCII art resembling snake charming with the message: "Your hunger for the Golden Path, its hunger fails to abate. May 30th is your next port of call, don't be late."
On 30 May 2017, the last Road to Menaphos livestream was broadcast which showed the reputation system that will be added for Menaphos. During the stream, a task list was displayed during the stream that had Menaphite script reading "Git gud". While demonstrating the reputation system in a release candidate version of the game, the name "Akhomet" was briefly shown on the imperial faction section of the reputation interface. Additionally, Mod Chaplain used the in-game name "ArednammoC", which is "CommanderA" spelt backwards, during his walkthrough of Menaphos in which a Quick Chat message "ArednammoC of the Imperial district: fancy a site seeing tour of Menaphos?" was visible. Adding the name to the end of the official Menaphos microsite's URL takes you to a page that displays an animated GIF, containing hidden frames of Menaphite script.
The YouTube description of the Tome of Menaphos video that was published earlier contains the text "Find out more about the Golden City of Menaphos right here" along with a link to a Twitch channel by "cmndr_a".
On 31 May 2017 at 16:00 UTC, the aforementioned Twitch channel started broadcasting for approximately 10 minutes. There was no audio, but visuals using the in-game freecam option were shown around Al Kharid palace and the Duel Arena. The player using the freecam was wearing the Book of Faces override. After the stream had ended, the banner for the Twitch channel was updated twice.
The Book of Faces override refers to RuneScape's Facebook page, in which they uploaded some images on 2 June of various Menaphos characters. The image of Het (which the statue shown in the earlier stream and banner is of) has differing Menaphos script to other images. It reads "The chosen four".
Appending the phrase to the end of the Menaphos microsite URL results in a page displaying all four faction leaders - Wadud, Batal, Ehsan and Akhomet. The image of Akhomet on the page contains faint hidden Menaphite script letters that can be seen when viewing the image without a background. It reads:
|“|| Het amok|
Find my gnomon in the
From this clue, and a screenshot that had also been released on the Menaphos website depicting another sundial, it was indicated that the last word will be entered there when Menaphos releases in-game on 5 June 2017. When Menaphos was released, the sundial that was located outside of the city was moved to the Grand Library inside the city.
To complete this part of the challenge, enter into the sundial.
|“|| After inputting the code A-K-H-O-M-E-T, you hear a click.|
Congratulations! You have solved the mystery of the Golden Path and have been entered into the prize draw!
— Game message
- Magic carpet pet
- Three people are chosen at random to win all-expenses paid trips to RuneFest 2017 or lifetime standard membership subscriptions for them and a friend.
|Golden magic carpet||Over 1,400 players|
|All expenses paid trips to RuneFest 2017 or lifetime standard membership subscriptions for them and a friend||Fire Noob|
After the final part of the challenge was solved, when Menaphos was released, many players complained about the lack of information given regarding the prizes that are awarded. In particular, players criticised the lack of information regarding the golden variant of the magic carpet pet, noting that there was no indication of having to enter the first two codes before 21 May 2017.
Many players believed that the newspost for the challenge, which stated "Everyone who completes the challenge in its entirety will get a special, Menaphos-themed prize (and those who are speedy will get something even more awesome!)", indicated that players that finished the challenge soon after the final part was able to be solved would receive the extra reward.
One of the Jagex employees behind the competition, Mod JD, stated that he expected codes to be inputted into the sundial as soon as they were available, as that would be required to see the riddle for the next part.
Ease of completion
Players also criticised how easy the challenge was to complete upon Menaphos' release, as it only required simple entry of codes into the sundial to receive the prizes (apart from the golden pet variant). The ease at which the challenge was completed meant that the server-wide announcement received when a player completed the challenge, Player has solved the mystery of the Golden Path!, was heavily spammed. As a result, the broadcasts were changed to be friends only announcements in a hotfix on the same day.
- The letters W-A-D-U-D were guessed by a player on 26 April 2017 after they tried different combinations of Egyptian and Arabic names using only the first three letters that were confirmed at the time.
- The letters E-H-S-A-N were guessed by a player on 15 May 2017 after trying different Arabic names that began with the letter 'E'.
- Prior to 13 June 2017, 23,470 players took part in the challenge and 95% of those players completed it in its entirety.
- ^ a b Jagex. "Win an all-expenses-paid trip to RuneFest for 2!." 18 May 2017. RuneScape News.
- ^ Mod Easty. Game update. 15 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-15.)*
- ^ Vizier E. Spoilers sobre Menaphos. 15 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-15.)*
- ^ Vizier E. Der Spieler-J-Mod-Plaudertreff. 15 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-15.)*
- ^ Vizier E. Bienvenue au Café Jagex. 15 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-15.)*
- ^ Vizier E. Menaphos Trailer, Site & DXP. 16 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-16.)*
- ^ Mod Kalaya. Menaphos Trailer, Site & DXP. 25 April 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-16.)*
- ^ Commander_A. Commander_A on Twitter: "Look high, look low - Adventurer, you have far to go. #GoldenPath https://t.co/gnpTzD6lXv". 22 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-22.)*
- ^ Commander_A. Commander_A on Twitter: "Inside the bowels of Menaphos, your answer awaits. Adventurer! Finish what you started. Accomplish! Kneel! Elate! ⛵️⛰💧 https://t.co/HChUCb2K88". 23 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-23.)*
- ^ Commander_A. Commander_A on Twitter: "The #GoldenPath is illuminated, lit up in front of your eyes. Keep searching, adventurer - #Menaphos is full of surprise. https://t.co/8Gsd6XYdu7". 24 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-24.)*
- ^ CMNDR_A. Commander A on Twitter: "My compatriot teases you, With her efforts to block - But which one of us is real? The Golden City amok! https://t.co/JZeuoWIOEM". 25 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-25.)*
- ^ CMNDR_A. Commander A on Twitter: "Spot the difference, It's more difficult than you think. Look high, look low - Don't stop to blink! https://t.co/MLb1S6HKr9". 26 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-26.)*
- ^ CMNDR_A. Commander A on Twitter: "The Golden pyramid, a monolith of awe, Nobody but me knows what's in store. Continue the path, be on your way. Time to hassle, not to delay! https://t.co/cKzeoRkLBI". 26 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-26.)*
- ^ RuneScape. RuneScape's Road to Menaphos stream #4 - Reputation and last-minute tips. 30 May 2017.*
- ^ RuneScape. RuneScape - Posts. 2 June 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-06-02.)*
- ^ a b Mod JD. The Golden Path - Prize Clarification. 5 June 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-06-05.)*
- ^ Mod JD. "Win a Trip to Runefest!." RuneScape Forums.
- ^ Mod William. "Aiding the Exile: Menaphos Event." 19 June 2017. RuneScape News.
- ^ a b JagexJD. We are the guys behind the Golden Path ARG. Ask us anything.. 13 June 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-06-13.)*
- ^ Shaunyowns. Shaunyowns comments on Doesn't seem like much of a mystery to me. 5 June 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-06-05.)*
- ^ Shaunyowns. Menaphos Hotfixes - 05/06/2017. 5 June 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-06-05.)*
- ^ Jagex. JD 🍕's Twitter account. 10 November 2017. (Archived from the original on 11 November 2017.)
- ^ Crondis. Crondis on Twitter: "@SurviveDeathx @JagexRowley @JagexDaze @JagexOrion I was looking through a list of Arabic and Egyptian names, and typed in all of the ones that began with Wad and Wao. Wadud worked. Thanks!". 26 April 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-16.)*
- ^ Crondis. Crondis comments on New "Golden Path" progress so far [Compilation]. 27 April 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-16.)*
- ^ Gametanone. Next Golden Path clue brute forced before the clue came out in the Patch Notes. 15 May 2017. (Archived from the original on 2017-05-16.)*
|Golden Path Challenge|
|Countdown to Menaphos||