Alex’s Analysis – Keeping Us Hooked

posted by on 12th April 2011, at 8:51pm

DISCLAIMER: Hey, y’all. Alex 43 here. Unfortunately, I’ve got a negative analysis today. I really don’t like having to rant at and about anything, so you’ll find these fairly rare in my case. Nevertheless, when something arises that I just flat-out disagree with, I am not afraid to make a statement, and though I doubt that anyone from Jagex will be reading this (hi, mom!), my statement and opinion WILL be said to the extent that I want to say it. It will be made public, and people, important or not, will read it. That being said, this is opinion. Nothing more. I will not be held responsible for any depression or disarray your weak mortal minds will be subjected to.

That’s your fault.

And with that …


You know, I can’t help but notice this, but Jagex have been incorporating a lot of very long-term tasks nowadays. Tasks that offer rewards that help a bit with training and combat, but take a lot of time to do just for minute, convenience-based rewards. It’s not that it’s difficult work, but instead that it’s tedious. And it takes a lot, and I mean a LOT of time.

Delayed and extended quest series. Dungeoneering. The Artisan’s Guild. And now the Livid Farm. Tasks that take hours and hours to do repetitively for a reward that’s only a minor convenience. The Artisans Guild lets you spring for an awesome royal cannon, but all it does is let you show off. Doesn’t boost damage or rate of fire, or save every 10th cannonball, or even lets you fire gold cannonballs (which it should; I have tens of thousands of gold bars that could be worked on …)

However, it’s not really the reward that you spring for, but instead the training that is offered. Dungeoneering builds up nearly all your stats while keeping it fun and new every time. The Artisan’s workshop is an involved, more focus-oriented method of training smithing for those who get bored easily. The Livid Farm … I’d personally call it going too far, but by what it appears, the spells are totally worth it if used the right way. And it trains you in magic as well as a few other hard-to-train stats like crafting, farming, and (oh joy) construction.

Kinda wish it came out before I got level 99 magic. I mean, it would’ve been nice. I’d have some real reason to spend 48 hours there. Mostly.

But that’s beside the point. Now, our main men Jagex are focusing on getting clans together with something we are supposed to call “Clan Camp”. They are focused on community-involved events that you’d need to spend an hour on Facebook just to even hear about. They are devoted to keeping large groups of people stuck together and devoted to the cause of fame and popularity.

It’s a mask, you guys! Clans take up a huge chunk of the player populace, with more and more players coming together to join them, and what better way to keep them together and playing longer than their own clan-driven areas. It’s hardly any more about telling an awesome story and creating a fun, entertaining game through expanding quests and back-stories. It’s nowadays more about keeping people hooked on the updates for as long as possible by offering them minor conveniences that will take them forever just to get the momentary satisfaction of applying them to their daily routine!

I personally liked it better when they were more behind-the-scenes. Updates were spoken almost as though the website itself was saying it. Future, unsaid RuneScape updates were left as “rumours”, and that in turn sparked excitement throughout the masses, bring up our wildest collaborative imaginations and springing both on the suggestion forum with new and exciting ways to improve RuneScape (believe it or not, “runite” was honestly and truly a player-suggested update [except it was originally purple; thank Sartranomin they went with cyan]).

It’s just like having a campfire going. In some cases, it’s good to look at and enjoy, but for others, it’s warmth and comfort; something appreciated for what it is and does rather than what it looks like. Eventually, it starts to go out, and you throw in more logs to keep it fresh and flaming. But what I’m seeing with all these clan-based updates and long-to-do repetitive menial tasks is Jagex throwing those chemical-based firelighters onto the fire instead of logs to shoot it off in more incredible colors that’s much more appealing to those who like to look at it. Firelighters that take several minutes to properly disperse into the flames after much stirring and effort. Sure, it looks pretty after the first pack or three, but after a while, the air starts to smell putrid and you wind up with a headache. It’s no longer about warmth anymore. You can’t cook things on this one. You can’t even get near it without the smoke burning your eyes!

But that’s what a campfire is supposed to be about. That’s what a game is supposed to be about. Fun.

If people wanna meet, we’ve got Skype, Twitter (die, you), Facebook, online chat-rooms, instant messengers … or, you know, “friends” that you can “hang out” with. Go “places” with. I totally understand where you guys get with not wanting to hand out personal information (including e-mail addresses, God-forbid), and I approve of the thought process and devotion going to the clan camp to help “save” players from having to do this.

… but really? Clan camp? Is there really going to be all that much more than just having your clan over at your Player-Owned-House, sitting around your throne room and dining table while your cook runs helter-skelter serving beer and pizza? If anything, I’d like to see Construction improved way more than another entire area that serves generally the same purpose. That’s one of the main benefits of construction, after all! Having your friends over in your own private area, away from the world, with all the facilities and requirements (teleport portals, kitchen, prayer-training altar, costume wardrobes, etc) that everyone can just kick back and have a good time with. That’s the full-on purpose of actually getting it past level 90! … or 69, for that matter (once the gilded altar is up, we are done).

I’m serious. Give me one trait about the clan camp that you probably cannot do in your own POH. Just one.

Clan-based banners, capes, and flagstaffs? Dude, there are banner stands in the majority of our houses. You want your own clan-based banner, this was something the majority of us were waiting for as a construction update once the skill was actually released, ya know. Customizable banners. The premise was there. The idea was there. It just needed that one … last … bit of effort …

General meeting area? A house is a house. You could meet in Varrock Sewers, no problem. I’ve once seen a clan meet in the upper floor of the Al Kharid palace once. And we didn’t even have the ability to rest at the time.

Clan registry? Well, maybe I’ll give you guys that one. One of the RuneScape rules is “no advertising websites”, as too many clueless people don’t realize that RuneScape is “not” responsible for bad links and hacked accounts, and that they should “use caution” surfing the net. Not that I’m pointing any fingers; I’m just saying that such people “exist”. At least with in-game clan registry, everything is done in the safety of the Runescape website. … provided they aren’t stealing our credit-card numbers and taking an extra dollar off each time so we don’t notice.

But still, why not get the option to convert our houses into a clan headquarters that comes with said list? Why do we need a big tent-filled area? If anything, I think each clan would like to be able to “build” their own space and customize it to their needs. For example, a cooking clan may want to build a very big kitchen (with a sharable food-bank inside that you add noted food to and withdraw non-noted from [hecks yeah?]), or a warring clan may want to practice in a safe environment with a hectic and deadly dungeon that’s got a few prototype dungeoneering bosses at the end that increase in ability with every additional player inside the house.

Setting up events and clan votes? Probably can do all that in the clan chat. Also, poor Faruq is sitting there, lost and abandoned. Someone give him a hug. And a job!

Rated Clan Wars? … well, yeah, that’s good for status, I’ll agree there. In fact, I’ll expand on it: who wouldn’t want to be able to create a clan-based dungeon with several floors, traps, monsters, and mazes, and then duke it out with opposing clans ON EACH OTHERS’ TURF? Huh? Huh?

There’s probably many other features coming out, but I think you guys get the idea. I’m really just a crazy construction nut who wants a little more creativity in his Runescape diet.

… and I WILL have it.


So here’s my opinion and advice to Jagex, if one of you honest, hard-working individuals read it.

FIRST: Focus on and finish a couple of the quest series. I won’t mind if you leave the Return of the Mahjarrat series alone for the time being (that one can still use some build-up), but please get a few of the others over and done with. The Pirate series, the Elven Lands series, the Keldagrim Dwarf quest series …

… heck, why don’t we get a quest that allows me to replace the “borrowed” statue in the middle of Falador marketplace? It gets rather annoying and awkward to teleport there and always be reminded that you partook in assisting a Kingdom of Misthalin theft from the Kingdom of Asgarnia. I even sent a message to Jagex once asking for an update that lets us fix the statue. The resulting answer: Something along the lines of “Such is the consequence for your character’s questing actions, and therefore cannot be reverted”.

Alex 43 is not amused.

SECOND: Update construction and the POHs. … no, seriously. Give them a bit of a make-over. Or give characters a 75% in-house furniture refund and redefine every last bit of code. More flexibility: more rooms; maybe a second-or-so basement level; perhaps the building of individual walls and (therefore) dungeon mazes, more monsters to stand guard and have entire clans sent against.

… maybe I’ll just sum every last one of my desires into one word: The ability to build all furniture anywhere and everywhere we want. Confined to the room (or rather, “space”) type, of course (no sinks in the fiery oubliette, please; I like my victims crucified properly). For example: I want three altars in my chapel. I want my range and sink right next to each other, with two beer barrels on either side. I want a series of connectable dining tables that stretches the entire span of my house and can seat 32. I want 9 interconnectable fighting rings, set up in a big giant square, so I can actually see myself in a fight.

I imagine it’ll be a tricky one, but you guys pulled off Dungeoneering, community-based events and festivals, $1000 giveaways, and a method of training mining that I can actually do with minimal willpower (and no, I’m not telling anyone what it is, so go find your own methods!). You guys can totally pull this off! Some guy shut himself in his house for 3 years and alone produced the phenomenon called “Minecraft”. You guys totally got this! I believe in you! In fact, I’m aspiring to become a computer programmer myself, and should I need to, I will fly right over there and get myself employed just to give construction this makeover all on my own if need be. I’m “that” confident I can do it. That YOU can do it.

THIRDLY: … you know what, you guys started it, so go ahead and finish the Clan Camp. I’ll bet even I’ll get into it, meet a clan along the way, and take full advantage of what it has to offer. But please, the next time you do this, take a moment and think about what you already have. You’d be surprised at the number of shortcuts you could take. Shortcuts = faster updates = people hooked more on Runescape.

After all, isn’t that what you want?

And with that, I’m out. See y’all at the Mighty Banshees!

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