Alex’s Analysis – The New Year

posted by on 12th January 2015, at 6:20pm | Discuss Article

A 2015 Manifesto. Basically an agenda or a list of New Years resolutions. It takes quite a bit of work, effort, and ambition to go through a New Years resolution, but to make an entire agenda of them is another level of a challenge. Good thing we’re reviewing the ever-reliable minds at Jagex, or this article would turn into a mocking fit. And that’s just not my style.

… that’s my New Years resolution talking, by the way. Stop making fun of people that don’t deserve it. … maybe.

So our friends at Jagex have put together a list of things to come in the new year, hiding the more secretive and possibly exciting stuff and instead highlighting the big and anticipated. RuneLabs, World Events, 200th quest, and more! I know I’m quite excited for this one. Their 200th quest has to top the finale to the elven lands, after all, and that was a wicked fun and epic final boss fight. … yeah, I know, to those like me who hate spoilers, you have to expect this sort of thing in a game where the primary past-time is fighting monsters.

So, what have we got in the list? Let’s go over it:

RuneLabs

In a nutshell, think the Steam workshop except the customers are the folks at Jagex. Players create ideas, add images, videos, the whole nine yards, and then submit them. Good ideas get thumbs-ups from other players, and the best ideas will have the highest level of popularity. Then when they decide it’s time to incorporate a community-posted idea, they simply check out this lab, go through the popular ideas, and then make them happen. I probably won’t be a hardcore idea submitter, but I can at least help add a +1 to a few favourites that you guys may have. Not overly excited, but I still am looking forward to seeing what the community will come up with.

Better get your ideas set up and ready to go as soon as possible. I have a feeling those first really-good ideas will be quickly going to the top of the list and staying there.

World Events

The Tuska event that’s upcoming is different than previous world events. Rather than pick sides, you are given a side: world guardian. Simply enough, you have to fight Tuska back and save the world from destruction. What I like about the world events is that they’re entirely player-controlled. What happens, and which side is the more powerful, is strictly determined by the majority of the players and how much effort they put into playing. I like this version better because it sounds like the world will change based on how the entire player base as a whole will respond to such a singular threat, and that’s exciting. This means no matter what you do, so long as you put in some effort, you are contributing to a greater cause. You are becoming a part of something great. Who knows, with enough muscle, we might even be the ones to take Tuska down with our own hands. Here’s hoping, anyways.

Skills

Level 60 to 80 does seem to be the sort of drag-on median where skills start taking ages to train, and you don’t get as many interesting benefits from them as you used to. I agree with the team on this one; there should be more options in this range. Getting from 80 to 90 is a challenge in itself, and once you’re at level 90… well, anything can go from there.

They also want to improve neglected skills like Farming and Construction. Hopefully they can add fletching and cooking to the mix; those skills are wicked-boring to train. Looking forward to the new rooms too. And what this about letting the community choose the rooms to add? Hmm…

Combat

I like the idea of combat scaling, where some quest enemies scale to our individual combat levels so not only weaker players stand a chance against them, but stronger players don’t right-away one-hit kill them without getting into the real crux of the fight. Kinda wish dungeoneering bosses were more accurately scaled; then I could get a few hits in before the speed-run team wipe it out while I’m making a potion for a level 101 farming door.

I also like how some bosses require more than simply striking over and over and eating when your health is low. A popular method of making a fight more dynamic is getting players to run around to dodge attacks. Another mechanic I like is how you need to use a stun technique to prevent an enemy’s attack, or even how flurry stops an Airut from using their special.

By the sounds of things, they’re upping the ante. Making boss monsters so devilishly difficult even Vorago would cower in their prescence. Considering what I know about that collosus, I imagine they may add a few new tricks for the player to try. Maybe jumping to a specific point using Surge, or forcing players to quickly navigate a maze where walking on the walls kill you. Or maybe something entirely new, like a directional parrying ability (jump two spaces to the left as you strike) or a wave-charge ability that only works if you’re currently running and affects enemies in the general area. … just throwing ideas out there.

Quests

Things are happening! Exciting things! Quest-lines are being completed, the Sixth age is progressing towards the peak, and Gods are starting to get owned. We may see some storyline behind the dragonkin, finish the pirate series, solve the mysteries of Daemonheim, and have fun doing it! And who knows what’ll happen when the Elder Gods get involved. Scary thoughts!

This is my favourite part of the game; the quests and story. So you can bet I’m looking very forward to what’s coming our way!

Community Development

RuneLabs appears to be the tip of the iceberg. They had already been bringing over fansite owners to the studio for interviews and tours, as well as cameoing in their Youtube videos and podcast interviews. They answer FAQs, host live forum sessions, stream live Twitch feeds, and even hold the Runefest. Not too many game companies do that sort of thing at this level of frequency, and I respect the team for that. The community is a very important part to them, after all.

Ninja

No debate here. The ninja team are our friends. They make these tiny little sometimes unnoticeable changes that make gameplay much more smooth, fluid, and appealing. A little too convenient here and there, though, but the general rule is that you don’t complain to a ninja. Or they will take it out. Swiftly and silently. Then you’ll start to regret the thing you could’ve had that would’ve made your life so much easier. After all, it’s not about how fast you train; it’s about how fun you train.

 

Again, this is the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of plans, and with an average of one update per week, we’re looking at around 50 big changes to the game for 2015. I for one embrace these changes. It’s what helps keep the game interesting and fun to play.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!


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