Alex’s Analysis – Spoiling the Player?

posted by on 19th November 2011, at 4:45pm

Though I don’t seem it, I’ve been playing Runescape for more than 10 years. I remember once paying 40 000 for a red party hat the day after they were dropped (because out of respect, I didn’t play Runescape during Christmas), and traded it away for some start-up members gear (a few dragon items and a glory amulet, as that was its worth). I remember trading in some runite for a red and blue halloween mask; one of which I gave away. Christmas after that, I picked my santa hat off the ground just like everyone else. Never had I thought they would rise to such incredible prices. Especially the party hat.

But I regret nothing. I’ve still got the red mask from so long ago, and I bought a blue one, catching it at 14 million. Lucky break for me. Besides, if I sold it for a billion coins and used it to get all level 99s, then why would I want to keep playing Runescape? The whole fun is derived out of all the level-based goals I can still set for myself.

Then came the scythes and bunny ears (still got a couple newer accounts with both; though I really ought to check their banks one day). This time, they were deemed untradable due to those people getting the benefits of being there for the drop and unfairly selling them for massive profits (hundreds of thousands back then). Despite them being every hour for 24 hours, clearly not everyone could’ve attended the drops, so it was very unfair to the majority. Not to mention the drops themselves were quite scattered (could only really see 3 holiday items on the ground at once wherever you stood, and there were hundreds of players online).

Since then, they’ve been releasing the items through holiday events, giving players a full two+ weeks to get them. As usual, they remain untradable, leaving only the party hats, masks, and santa hats as the permanent gold crowns of the game. All in the spirit of being fair, of course. In fact, back then, Jagex were all about being fair and letting all players equally enjoy the experience that was Runescape. That’s why they got rid of free trade and the wilderness so long ago (and I was almost completely unaffected by it); so that players who “so happened to have money” could no longer have an advantage over the more … well, “fair” players.

Games are a practice, after all. You devote more time to it, the better you get. I don’t play every day, so I naturally have no idea how to take on Nex or the Corporeal as opposed to those crazy guys who twist the game mechanics to their favor with each and every click.

But lately, I’ve seen seeing more and more of these things that Jagex once stood against. Buy a Runescape membership card, you get a katana or green skin (I went for the latter, but was disappointed that there was only one shade). After every 3 months or so, a bonus exp weekend is hosted where players can dramatically boost their skills in a limited amount of time. Have membership for a month, you get points towards some pretty sweet emotes and auras. Even these past few weeks, I’ve seen these daily bonuses to celebrate bot-nuking day, and even the weekend where dungeon drops and dungeoneering rewards were doubled. Kind of extreme for being an even celebration. Before we know it, they’ll have a “be invincible for a day” to celebrate the release of their toughest boss challenge yet (fight Zamorak himself?).

This gave players who “so happened to be there” an advantage; something Jagex had stood for ever since they first dropped the scythe. Although I’ll admit, it’s a simple bonus. Just experience and normal drops. Anyone can get experience. But what about the katana and green skin? Sure, it’s not really combat-worthy, and they’re not tradable, but it’s again something for players who “so happened to have money” to show off that other players can only dream of getting now, like party hats and whatnot.

I know I make it sound like Jagex are deviating from their practice, but personally, I respect them too much for such a claim. I mean, considering all they’ve done for their game; risking losing their entire fan base to help get rid of Real-World Trading and nuking at least 60% of all their member players to get rid of bots. Huge risk, and it was only by the support of true Runescapian fans that they were forgiven (and even respected) for such a tactic. They want Runescape to be fair for everyone.

So I want to instead see their bonus exp weekends and such as “rewarding the devoted”. I’ve seen lots of rants calling it “spoiling players with money and time”. And why not? It’s the player’s decision. Rather than rant about it, maybe they should get themselves a good paying job so they too can afford such benefits when they become available. I see it as incentive. You shouldn’t be overly devoted to playing every hour of the day, is what Jagex is trying to say now, but instead you should find balance in your life. Play Runescape maybe an hour a day; that’s all you need. Don’t RWT for an unfair advantage, and don’t bot just to get some undeserved status. Just play the game in your own time. Have fun, try something new, set a goal, and succeed.

That being said, from what I’ve seen, it’s only a matter of time before Jagex open a “virtual store” where players can spend money on unique items (like Team Fortress 2). Nothing as powerful as the Godsword, or as useful as barrows armor, of course, but something that allows players to express their uniqueness and the fact they “so happened to have money”. Maybe the purchasing of Member Points. Again, not deviating from the practice of keeping Runescape fair for everyone, (technically any player can access these items at any time), but instead trying to help players find a balance and rewarding those who HAVE been fair while they themselves making a bit of profit in the process.

Just my analysis. I am but one guy with a keyboard and an ideal that will not be wavered by anyone who cannot punctuate. Not naming any names here, just want you guys to incorporate the practice so it comes naturally. Trying to improve the world here, not rise over it.

Until next time; cheers, cannoneers!

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