A Year’s Change

posted by on 28th September 2010, at 2:50am

Today I was reading over some of the Informer’s old articles to find a topic to write on. What I mean is that the RuneScape Bits & Bytes Informer has been going for so many years (4 years last June) and we have and have had so many good writers over those 4 years that it can be quite a challenge to find a good topic which has not already been written about.

I found a post about a year old written by myself on Mark Gerhard’s Q&A session. After reading over it I thought it would be good to see what has happened that was talked about in that Q&A. Since there are 44 questions I won’t talk about them all.

1) Melt The Ice asks;

“MMG has mentioned F2P will be updated a lot more frequently, stating that F2P is NOT A DEMO.”

“We are working hard on a new skill, which will be available to free-to-play and members and which shows our continued commitment to the free game. We are also looking to improve some of the free quests as well as early graphics. The free-to-play game is epic – there are tens of thousands of hours of gameplay and we are working on a number of updates at the moment.”

At the time of my post last year there were pretty much two rumors going around for the new skill: Sailing/Boating and Martial Arts/Ninja. As we all know, neither of these were true and instead we got Dungeoneering, though many people will admit Dungeoneering is not a skill as it can not stand alone like all the other skills.

To be a skill an activity must:
Be able to be practiced without using any other skills,
Be able to be practiced in multiple locations around Gielinor,
And have useful lasting rewards.

Examples are:
Woodcutting, Mining, and Fishing can all be used independently and do not require Fletching, Smithing, or Cooking to train.
Trees, mineable rocks, and fishing spots are all over the world.
Woodcutting allows you to chop more trees and faster, Mining lets you mine higher grade rocks and faster, and Fishing allows you to fish higher grade fish and faster.

Relies completely on all the other skills and can not be done by itself,
Can only be practiced in Deamonheim, no where else,
Does not give many good useful rewards which last.

Higher levels on Dungeoneering have no effect on the speed at which you complete a dungeon, only other skills effect completion speed. They have added ‘Resource Dungeons’ around Gielinor but these cannot be used to train Dungeoneering. Dungeoneering has absolutely no effect on what happens once you enter a dungeon, it only effects the Dungeon when you start it.

I do not see this new skill as continued commitment to the free game as although it is a new thing for Free to Play, they cannot get all the rewards, nor can they even access all floors of the dungeon. Jagex also penalizes free players who are level 90 combat or above by reducing the experience reward by 50%. Members who are level 90 or above do not suffer this penalty. Also, many of the higher level rewards are members only, further implying that this is not a skill aimed at free players.

MMG talks about improving some of the free quests as well. So far this seems to mostly be removing some classic quests such as Sheep Shearer and Witch’s Potion because they were now ‘Too easy’. They’ve also most recently removed Romeo and Juliet and replaced it with Gunnar’s Ground. I do not think the removal of quests is a good thing as it tears history out of the game.

I’ve never really been much into grading Jagex’s graphics. They’re nowhere near as good as big games like WoW and Lord of the Rings online but that’s to be expected since those are big client games and Runescape is a browser game. The engines are simply different and I don’t think Jagex should try to compete graphic-wise with the ‘Big guns’ of the gaming industry as doing so will either require them to release a client(thus making Runescape a client game and no longer a browser game), or increasing lag on lesser computers. Both of which would push people away.

2) Soldier 1033 asks;

“Do you have any exciting plans for the forums that you can discuss at all? How did you feel when you became the CEO of Jagex?”

“Becoming CEO of Jagex was hugely exciting for me and is still a real honour. As for the forums, we are planning to make a number of improvements to the usability of the forums and make them more interactive with avatars and the ability to quote, as well as allowing more of our free players to post. “

Unfortunately only a few changes have happened to the forums, those being the addition of avatars and more free players being allowed to post. Jagex needs to allow certain BBCode to be used on the forums.

5) Taco 50 asks;

“In one of the previous Q&A threads, “noob-free” worlds were mentioned, for players with a certain amount of total experience. These seem to be taking a while, have they been cancelled? “

“Yes, this is still a project we are working on and the project has not been cancelled, we just have a load of other big projects going on at once. “

November 9th of 2009 saw the release of these two Skill Total worlds requiring 1,000 total levels for the free player server and 1,500 for the members server.

6) Pur35 Ownage asks;

“Would there ever be a console version on RuneScape like for xbox360 + PS3, i think that they would be a great success if you could get the controls right, but they would have to speak not type which is much better. “

“Yes, indeed, we are looking at all the consoles at the moment and deciding which one or two are best for our community. “

This hasn’t been done yet and to my knowledge no more information has been released about it. I’m not sure how well this would be received because as I said earlier Runescape’s graphics are not client-grade, which also means they aren’t Console-grade. If Jagex found a way to make good universal graphics this might be interesting for those that have consoles.

13) J 36 asks;

“I have seen many people ask about a film or cartoon version of RuneScape but not seen any answers, is this something that you have thought of. “

“Yes, indeed, we are talking to a number of people about doing a film of some of our games. I expect this would be a full feature film rather than some sort of cartoon. “

Nothing more is known of this either. I expect they’ll get the hype up about it via Facebook and Twitter once they start work on it.

15) Ispl Unlegit asks;

“Does Jagex have sit-down meetings to discuss the future updates for RuneScape? If so, do you ALWAYS keep the current players in mind or do you just think about the bettering of the game for future players?

It just seems like most of the updates are to look more appealing to newer players and you generally don’t worry about the current players who work really hard towards their goals every day.”

“We probably spend 80% of our time talking about improving the game for our current players and I do not suspect this will ever change. In fact, most of our updates are aimed at current players rather than for bringing new players to the game. We all spend a lot of time in game talking to players, so we always try to design content that we feel our players will enjoy. “

Unfortunately, this does not seem to be true. Lots of content released within the past year has had a sense of ‘newby-ness’ to it which makes it feel aimed more towards new players than veterans.

17) Sadiyq1 asks;

“Hello Mod MMG I would like to know what action is going to be done about Merchanting Clans.
I am mainly posting because all thanks so merch clans they have sent the prices for items flying high and its unfair for people who make money by earning it on RuneScape, they just have to work a lot harder while other people who merch and make money for not really earning are able to afford this. Do you see how this is affecting people’s gameplay especially new members?

It would mean a lot to me if you read this post and replied. “

“I see merchanting clans as pyramid selling schemes, where, typically, only a handful of players actually make any money and everyone else loses money – just like real-life pyramid schemes. Because of this, we are not in favour of them in RuneScape, and try to warn players not to participate in them. “

MMG admitted these were exactly the same as pyramid schemes in real life but he said nothing about stopping them. There also has been no change in how merchanting clans ruin the economy so I believe that Jagex is not worried about them.

18) Find Emotion asks;

“You’ve stated before that you wish to raise the demographic for RuneScape, ultimately making it a game that appeals to a much older audience than it currently does. Is this still your intention, and if it is, how do you intend to achieve this effect?”

“The fact of the matter is that our current player demographics are a lot older than a lot of people think, so we don’t have to change the player base itself, just peoples’ perception of it. We have dealt with this by nuking the “kiddy” content, for examples, the Stronghold of Player Safety. I do love the fact that we have a game that is suitable for an incredibly broad, worldwide audience. “

In my opinion they have not helped make Runescape seem like an older game throughout the past year. if anything they’ve made it look worse. Older people do not want to be told what to do every step of the way. Many people prefer to figure stuff out for themselves. The advisor system is one of the prime things I think ruins the perception of Runescape as an older audience. Older people aren’t going to be like, “Oo, I just got some bones, what does Mr. Roddeck tell me to do with them?” They will be more like, “Bones…Left click option is bury, I guess we should bury them!”.

20) Roasted Duck7 asks;

“Mod MMG, in the RuneScape Classic Q&A session you mentioned making RuneScape Classic servers in which all players would receive the cheat codes, as to stop any cheating in the game. This sounds like an absolutely terrific idea, but so far, all I have seen for it was the Q&A. If you are still considering creating these servers, or if they are already in the works, could you give us a time you expect them to be released?”

“This is currently in development. It has taken a long time, since we had to get all our old code compatible with our latest code libraries and back-office systems. There is still a lot of work to do – probably a few more months – but, rest assured, we are working hard on this. I think it will be very popular when it does finally come out, as we are packing in a bit of a surprise at the same time. “

On November 11th 2009 Jagex reopened RSC for two weeks to members. Anyone who logged in at the time would be able to log in after the two weeks. There has been no more news on the suggested ‘Cheat-o-rama’ worlds. These worlds though are planned to allow any player to make almost any item.

24) Fuzziekiwi asks;

“I was just wondering if one day you guys will be working on RuneScape High Detail so it takes less CPU. TBH I think RuneScape is a CPU hogger.”

“Yes, we have a project underway to better utilise the CPU, so as to enhance the software mode of the game.”

They have done a few graphics updates recently but I don’t think those have helped this particular issue.

26) Hellroses333 asks;

“Now that you have upgraded your bot detection systems, is there any possibility of free trade returning to RuneScape?

I’m tired of using junk to trade occasionally when buying or selling something – it seems completely idiotic to me: you’re basically giving someone a rising item and some junk that won’t sell in the GE, but essentially you’re getting the item for midprice anyways, so the buyer always ends up with profit.

If you will not be planning to return free trade, then is there a possibility that you may try returning free trade for a minimum of one week, just to see how it goes? Obviously it would take months of testing to witness the true number of gold-farmers you would be dealing with again, but hopefully your macro-detection systems would catch them before they did any real damage to the RS economy or your company again.”

“Our ability to detect all botting is not really related to free trade. We are looking at improving the trade system, and we may consider relaxing our trade limits a little more in the future, but this is still under discussion at the moment. “

This is a good question and issue. Thankfully Jagex did do an Update on February first of 2010 which allows longstanding friends to trade 2 times, 3 times, or even 4 times as much as people who don’t know each other. This same system could be applied to allow the trade limit to continually increase(I.E., if you’ve known someone for 2 years you could trade 24 times the base trade limit). Since the trade limit was initiated to stop RWTs this would still allow that to work since most RWTs probably don’t keep the same account for more than a month. This progressive trading would allow upwards of 1,440,000 coins worth to be traded every 15 minutes(this amount is after 2 years). This would severely help reduce the trade limit impediment on veteran players.

29) Timmy7072 asks;

“I hear rumours of a “Name Changing System” can this be confirmed? If so, how would such a system work?”

“Yes, we are planning to release a new display name system shortly. This will essentially allow you to change your in-game display name to be different from your login name. “

October 1st of 2009 saw the addition of a feature which allows players to change their names. I can’t say I wholly agree or like this system but it is good to see they came through with something and that it was widely received well.

31) Bluesonic43 asks;

“According to “Forum Focus (21-Jan-2009)” the top choices (although less than 50,000 voted) were to include a image of your avatar, adjust formatting of posts, etc. I would like to know when I could make THIS in italics or THIS in bold. Thank you”

“We have taken player feedback onboard and, as mentioned previously, we are now planning on improving the forums with avatars as well as other new features. “

Unfortunately, THIS has yet to be released. If they made their forums much like normal forums I’m sure they’d see a large increase in use.

32) Sir Sral asks;

“Being a fan of the RS music, I’d love to see many of the awesome and creative tracks made into very high quality versions available for download.
Do you see something similar to this as a worthwhile addition at some point in the not too distant future?”

“This is a great idea, I will go and speak with the audio team now!”

For being so excited about this we have yet to see anything about it. I know many people don’t like some of the music but I’ve found a few tracks over the years which could sound nice if recorded with real instruments.

34) Haon Nave asks;

“Well I was wondering if there will ever be a RuneScape app for the iPhone/iPod Touch.”

“Who knows what the future may bring 🙂 What features would you like to see on the iPhone?”

Jagex has released multiple FunOrb games on the Iphone however they have yet to release a Runescape related item. I’m not entirely sure what they would have it do.

37) Robeddarknes asks;

“Hi I was wondering when you were planning on releasing the ability for us to look at our character’s statistics such as number of x-monster killed and x-number of hours played and what date our accounts were created, as this has always interested me and I believe I read you were planning to release it.”

“Yes, we currently have a project underway to provide players with a lot more information about their avatar progress and status in game. “

Something like this was released on the 18th of November in 2009. The Adventurer’s log tracked boss monster kills, levels made, quests completed, and milestones reached(such as Achievement Diarys completed). It also shows how long the player has been playing, however this is only shown to the owner of the account.

39) Bigb4199 asks;

“Due to the growing size of your company, more resources have become available to you. To compete with other MMO’s, do you intend to use voice actors to bring NPCs to new life?”

“This is an interesting idea and one we are currently discussing. “

Unstable Foundations, the tutorial quest, received vocals for the NPCs involved in it on the 21st of April 2010. I don’t like how those sounded and I’m not sure how full vocals in Runescape would feel. They would have to make them be able to be turned off in the options if desired.

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  • Ben Ryfos Says:
    30th September 2010, at 10:36pm

    First off, I’m going to say that almost entirely throughout your post, I hold a far different view. So, mostly everything after this is talking my opinions on your post.

    1) Name a skill that doesn’t have members-only content, faster leveling for members, etc. There isn’t one. Also, does Slayer not require other skills? It can’t really be done by itself except in small ineffective methods. The same thing goes for Dungeoneering.

    Slayer can only be practiced in certain locations throughout RuneScape, where you’re given the task.

    Does not give many useful rewards that last? All of the high level armor and such doesn’t count as rewards? Neither do the bonus prayers you can earn?

    Also, removing Sheep Shearer and Witch’s Potion was nothing more than removing them from the quest list. They’re still in game. They can still be played through. They just don’t give quest points now. Romeo and Juliet was a stupid quest, with nothing related to RuneScape, and no reward except quest points. Replacing it with a quest that gives parts of the history of RuneScape, actual rewards, etc, makes the game far more interesting, rather than “Oh, it’s a copy of Romeo and Juliet. Boring.”

    And on your graphics comment, for the first time, I actually agree with you. Jagex is competing in an entirely different market. Graphics aren’t top priority. Content is. Graphics don’t make or break a game. Any REAL gamer judges games on content. If you’re judging a game solely on graphics, you shouldn’t be playing games.

    2) The forums have needed updates for a LONG time. They’re so outdated. Honestly, the forums and how unfriendly they are make it so that many people – such as myself – don’t even go on them. I sit in the Fansite Staff forum every few days, but that’s about it.

    6) Last I heard on the console games was that the technical problems were related to the console makers — each console maker has policies stating that game worlds must be unique to their console, and that you couldn’t share your RuneScape account on, say, Xbox, and then go play on a Wii. That pretty much ruins RuneScape. (NOTE: I don’t have proof that this is the official reason, just that this is what I heard.)

    15) Honestly, I feel it’s more true than you see. Lots of content released within the past year seems, to me, to have been directed at fixing areas that needed improvement. These updates include the Elite Treasure Trails and those rewards, the Elite Achievement Diaries, the removal of free quests, and additions of the two new free quests, as well as many others. These specifically fill in areas that were left open for development to be fixed up. Right now, RuneScape has hit a point where I feel the game isn’t expanding in new content quickly, but rather, polishing up the old content to be up to standards.

    17) Merchanting clans are not a big deal. They may change some prices, but then the prices fall just as quickly when the clan is done. A few days of inconvenience. The only people really affected are those who are stupid enough to fall for the “get rich quick” schemes.

    18) RuneScape does seem like an older game, to me. We no longer have the Strongholds of Security and Player Safety being actively advertised all over, as well as Lumbridge Advisors and such. It’s been all merged together into one button, which is entirely optional to click, giving you additional help if needed. Doesn’t that seem much more mature to you?

    20) From what I’ve heard, the RSC cheat worlds were scrapped due to technical limitations, and the current RSC reopenings are the best option for now. That may change in the future.

    24) Actually, the graphic updates DO help CPU. In fact, my computer CPU use goes down a LOT. DirectX support moved graphics processing from the CPU on many Windows computers to the GPU. The Z-Buffering update recently also took more stress from the CPU and moved it to a GPU. Unless you don’t have a high power graphics card, you should see huge differences.

    32) Several music tracks were remixed and available for download. Check out the RuneScape downloads page.

    Overall, a well thought out post, even if I don’t agree with some of your opinions. RuneScape’s overall development style is changing, and whether or not it’s accepted as it is, I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay.

  • Josh Says:
    1st October 2010, at 8:16am

    Well,unlike the last poster I actually agree with most of them.

    R&J was an awesome quest thank you very much.

    The rewards also aren’t related to the skill, making it even more less of a skill.

  • Mot Says:
    16th October 2010, at 8:49pm

    I agree with most if not all of your opinions. Poster #1 seems to be arguing for the sake of arguing.