Evolution, Convolution, Revolution

posted by on 22nd November 2012, at 4:06pm

A process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions.

An intricate, involved, or confused matter or condition.

Don’t you just love the English language? You can use two words that have similar soundings but can mean different things.
The two words lists I used are from Dictionary.com. You can look the words up in any dictionary if you don’t believe their meaning, but the general gist will be the same.

For something to be Evolved, it must make small, gradual, changes slowly over a long period of time.
For something to be Convoluted, it must be twisted, complicated, and intricate, requiring much knowledge or action to use.

Now, what do these two have to do with Runescape’s combat system?


The combat system currently is pretty darn straight forward. You might even say it’s point and click. All you need to do is click an enemy and your character will fight it until one of you dies, usually the creature will die. If you want to do something special you need to be wielding the right weapon and have enough special attack power. Then you can do a special attack, which usually does massive damage to the target.

The new combat system is… not quite as straight forward. While you can still click your target to initiate combat, you can’t just watch your character fight after that.
Well I mean you can but it’s likely you’ll do worse or even die than in the old system.
Now, if you don’t want to die you can select some attack options in the spellbook-err, I mean the ability book. Go and select some abilities from there and drag them into the abilities bar. Now when you’re fighting you need to hit a number button between 1-0 on your keyboard and also – and =. You’ll then use the ability that is in that slot. You’ll find that when you constantly use these abilities while in combat you tend to do better. Nifty, eh?

Eh, not so much. You see, this is drastically different than the old system. Thus, not a slow or minor change, thus, not Evolution. More like a…

A far-reaching and drastic change, esp in ideas, methods, etc.

Hmm… yea, that fits better. Ain’t nothing subtle ‘ner slow ’bout these changes. They’re definitely far-reaching and drastic.

But why did I use the word Convolution above? Convolution refers to something that is twisted or complicated. That, is the new combat system. You must interact with the new combat system to fight effectively.

Is interaction in combat a bad thing? Not specifically. Many games require interaction in combat. Even Runescape itself already requires interaction when fighting some monsters, but it’s a different kind. You don’t have to worry about which attack to use, you only have to worry about which prayer to use or when to eat or when to drink a potion.

With the new system, you must also choose which attack to use.
Well, you don’t HAVE to.
But then, if you don’t, you’re just hurting yourself, right?
I mean, if you can use those attacks you should, right?
Oh, wait, haha, I forgot that you now HAVE to use those new attacks to be on par with your old combat style.
So now, to equal your previous self(and surpass it occasionally in some areas) you MUST do the following:
Use the right attacks at the right time,
Eat food at the right time,
Switch prayers at the right time,
Drink potions at the right time.

Granted, the prayers and potions are only required against some of the most formidable monsters.

But is more interaction a bad thing? Not in and of itself. You see (I’m sure many people are aware of this) many games already require you to watch this stat, do this action, check this, and move here, simultaneously.

The thing is…

Those games which require lots of interaction have a steady connection to the game servers and often do many of the calculations on the player’s side. This allows the connection between server and player computer to be more open and faster, so actions are done at the right time.

Runescape, however, does not do this. The reason this is a problem with the new combat system is because you have to constantly push buttons to determine which attacks to do. Because Runescape has a drastically slower connection to the game servers (compared with the games Jagex is trying to compete with), your combat actions will always be slow.

This means you really must use skills before you want to use them to use them when you want to use them. Use what I mean? Err, see what I mean?

In Conclusion

The new combat system is far from required, the current one works just fine.
The new combat system is much more complicated than the old one.
Complicated systems are not evil. Many effective games have complicated systems, it’s one thing that makes them effective.
Runescape’s combat system is effective because it is simple. Runescape is unique in this.
If people wanted a more complicated system, they would switch to another game. Considering hundreds of thousands of people still play Runescape, it is apparent that Runescape’s combat system is not keeping people away. On the flipside, I’ve heard many people say they will quit when the new system is added.

Do not fix that which is not broken.

This article is filed under Runescape. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can discuss this article on our forums.