So what’s your brilliant idea?

posted by on 29th June 2006, at 1:42am

Runescape is home to a wide variety of environments, characters and people. It includes twenty-two different skills to work on, twenty-four mini games to vary the game play, and one hundred and six quests to embark upon. How do the people at Jagex come up with all this? Mainly they make it up out of nowhere. There tends to be some pop culture and literary influence but for the most part the content team thinks of something crazy and then makes a game out of it. They want to make their rules easy to enforce and keep people from falling victim to rule breakers’ nefarious schemes, and they want to keep their game nice and balanced with adequate constraints for the benefits offered by any feature.

They’re not alone, however. Jagex has forums on the Runescape website where players can discuss the game and give feedback about it. The most relevant of these in terms of feedback is the Suggestions forum, where the staff looks for ideas for changes and additions to consider. While they rarely take an idea exactly as it’s typed up, they do draw some inspiration from the threads on that forum. Don’t believe me? Bank PIN’s, berets, a magical arcade, gardening, carpentry, uses for fire making, Castle Wars, tweaks and balancing to Castle Wars, a fish between swordfish and shark, cook x. Even fishing started as a suggestion from what I’m told. The content team does think of their own ways of doing things, of course, but they are very often prompted by player feedback.

However, tempting though it may be to make your voice heard, don’t be rushing over there and typing out every idea in your head just yet. There are a few things to keep in mind when posting a suggestion.

Firstly, read the forum specific rules for the Suggestions forum. It’s easy to spot, but somehow far too many people miss it and wind up posting either something really stupid or a good idea that Jagex is already well aware of. It’s not good forum behavior, it crowds out the good threads, and it tends to get locked, so make sure you know what is and what is not worth posting.

Secondly, be thorough and specific. It even says in the forum specific rules that Jagex likes that. Make sure that your suggestion has as many specific ideas as it should. For example, let’s say someone is concerned that there aren’t enough ranged updates, so they post this:

“There should be more ranged updates.”

Kind of pathetic, is it not? Nobody’s going to care about that. That just doesn’t narrow it down at all. Let’s try again:

“Rangers need better equipment. They have a hard time competing with the higher end melee equipment and magic spells. There should be armor made from the leaves of some tropical plant on Karamja. You can buy this armor if you earn points from a mini game in that area. It will take level 80 ranged and 60 defence to wear. There will also be a jungle bow that takes 80 ranged to use and special arrows that hit harder than rune and can only be used with a jungle bow.”

That’s much better because it’s specific. Still has a hole to fill, however. What do we do in that mini game?

“I thought of a mini game called Jungle Hunter. You need to complete Tai Bwo Wannai Trio before you can participate. In this game you will speak to Tamayu and he will tell you of a ferocious beast out there in the jungle. You will need to weaken the creature by shooting a mosquito probiscis dart filled with a special poison at it with a blowgun. You can make the darts by attaching feathers to probosci and you can buy the poison and blowgun from Tamayu for a few trading sticks.

You need to track the creature by looking for signs like tracks or anything else that it leaves behind. You will need to be agile to spot some clues. When you reach the end of the trail you will need to lure it into a trap. Different traps are good against different creatures. Ask Tamayu for details on what to use against what. Once the creature is trapped, shoot it with the darts to make it temporarily vulnerable to your attacks. It will quickly break free to attack you, and it’s tough and uses multiple attack types, so be ready. The darts do little damage, so you may want to switch to another weapon to kill the beast, but be ready with another dart because the poison doesn’t last long.

Once you’ve killed the beast, take its carcass to Tamayu and he will give you some trading sticks and hunting points. Hunting points can be exchanged for a Leatherleaf body (80 ranged, 70 agility 60 defense), a Leatherleaf skirt (80 ranged, 70 agility, 60 defense), a Thunderstalk bow (80 ranged, 80 agility), thunder arrows, or extra ranged and agility exp. Leatherleaf armor is made from very strong specially cured leaves from an exotic jungle plant and gives better protection than black dragon hide. The Thunderstalk bow has about as much attack as Karil’s crossbow and can fire any arrow, including thunder arrows. If you shoot thunder arrows you will get a special attack that hits your enemy with a powerful static shock, stunning them for 4-8 seconds.

Feedback? Further suggestions? Post here.”

Now that’s a suggestion. Yes, I did post it. It started out as just an idea for more ranger stuff, but after considering what specific type of stuff and how to get it, this looks like it could be an actual game feature, and that is the level of quality that you should strive for.

The forums will log you out automatically if you don’t keep moving through them, so if your idea is especially long you should type it up on Word or Notepad and then copy and paste. That way you won’t lose all that hard work.

Now that you’ve typed up your masterpiece, it’s time to take feedback on your idea from other players. If the thread sinks to the bottom of the page, use the bump thread button. Don’t make a bunch of one word posts to keep it up. That’s just spamming. When someone does post, listen to what they have to say. If they ask a question that you forgot to address, answer it and then edit your suggestion. If they build on your idea, consider their words. It might just be good. If you apply good judgment the input of others can be a major help in perfecting a suggestion.

As long as I’m on the topic of feedback, it’s also important to say meaningful, constructive things about other people’s ideas. For example, let’s say you’re reviewing the above Jungle Hunter suggestion and you like it. Don’t just say, “Good idea. I support.” That post doesn’t give any meaningful or relevant feedback. It would be much better to say something like, “That’s a good idea. Equipment like that might just give rangers like me the edge we need to compete with warriors and mages.” It would also be good to suggest something to add to or change about the suggestion. Be sure to ask if there’s anything you’re unclear on or that they left out.

Another smaller thing to consider is that Jagex’s offices are both located in England. I have seen staff moderating during what would be fairly late for them, but you may have a better chance of getting your idea noticed if it’s on the first page during their daytime.

Even if your idea doesn’t get used, it’s still fun to discuss things that would be cool to add to the game, almost as much fun as playing the game itself. It’s a good way to help pass the time if you’re doing something boring like fishing. Just watch out for those pesky random events.

Have any questions for TheMothAssassin? Send him a private message about it. It can be about anything.

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