I, along with many other players, have been excited for the release of new game content requiring higher skill levels. Last week with the release of Player Owned Ports, those wishes were granted. Although Player Owned Ports isn’t similar to any other minigame currently in Runescape and doesn’t actually involve your character doing anything, it has so far been an instant success among the Runescape playerbase. I have witnessed many players in the clan chat and friends chats that I frequent as well as players standing outside the Player Owned Ports Portal talking about their ports and discussing their strategies for maximizing their ship’s success chance. On top of that, no matter what world I am I often see or hear of numerous players standing outside of the Player Owned Ports Portal or insider their Port, just waiting for their ships to return so they can send them out on another voyage.
A midst enjoying my time managing my port and learning more about how it will play out and the rewards obtained, I began to wonder what the future of player owned ports would be after most players had unlocked and made all the armours and scrimshaws they needed. After that final voyage returns with the last trade goods I need for my Superior armour sets, what is going to keep me returning to my port day in and day out?
Now a quick answer is to get more scrimshaws, rocktail soups, or standard tradeable versions of the armour to sell. These answers do indeed have some credibility in certain cases. As far as the new scrimshaws go, it is still hard to tell how useful they will be. With the pocket slot being so new and there being no information on how helpful or easy it will be to obtain these scrimshaws, it is difficult to say whether or not they will make it worthwhile to continue managing my port. I can indeed see obtaining daily or making daily progress towards rocktail soups being a good money making method, similar to daily Potion Flasks. Although Potion Flasks have fallen below 1000 gp each, for a long time mining and crafting them every day was a very profitable and quick activity. So with PvMers always looking for the best food out there, I can see a high demand for these rocktail soups. Initially getting the tradeable versions of the armour will most likely be profitable, as plenty of wealthy impatient or lower leveled players will want to get their hands on the armours without having to get it via Player Owned Ports themselves, however I don’t think it will end up being very profitable as time goes on. I would compare the tradeable versions of these new armour to Ganodermic armour before the Evolution of Combat, as they both are high level armours and degrade to nothing after a certain time period. Killing Ganodermic Beasts was very profitable not only because of the flake drops used to make the armour, but the seed drops as well. Plus, there was a very high Slayer requirement to kill them, so they could not be killed by a large amount of players. When getting armour from Player Owned Ports, you aren’t getting extra anything on the side and there is a substantially larger amount of player that have access to the ports and the ability to make the armour, than can kill Ganodermic Beasts. On top of that, I would argue that Ganodermic Armour before the Evolution of Combat was much more useful and powerful than any of these new sets will be.
Suppose I’m wrong about all this though and Player Owned Ports stay profitable for a substantial amount of time. I still don’t personally believe that this update will have enough staying power to keep me going back, at least, not for the right reasons.
Let’s look back at something I mentioned earlier. Player Owned Ports is a very unique update because it doesn’t actually involve your character. The closest thing I can equate this to in the rest of Runescape is the Burthorpe Games Room. Why? Because just like someone with no prior knowledge of Runescape can play Draughts, Runelink, Runeversi, or Runesquares (checkers, connect four, reverse, box it respectively for those unfamiliar with the games room), can also manage a Player Owned Port just as well someone who has been playing Runescape for years. Although this certainly doesn’t make Player Owned Ports any less fun, I think it devalues the content in the long run.
Granted Jagex still has a lot on their plate as far as future updates go and it is evident that a lot of work was put in to Player Owned Ports, here is where I would like to see them take Player Owned Ports in the future: Quests. Now, there already exists storylines that hint at a future in to the eastern lands, but I think tying in Player Owned Ports to them would be an easy and great addition. With the ports there were six new adventurers introduced in to the game: the Missionary for Prayer, the Convict for Thieving, the Biologist for Herblore, the Assasin for Slayer, the Whaler for Fishing, and the Occultist for Runecrafting. These adventurers open of room for new storylines though quests large and small as you use your port to help these adventurers achieve their missions in the eastern lands, exploring more of it yourself as you go. Imagine after helping each of these adventurers progress all the way to the eastern lands and set up their respective trade, you had a quest culminating all of them together for a large Grandmaster Quest, akin to Recipe for Disaster.
In the end this would be a very big project for Jagex, but in my mind a very doable one. For now I will continue to enjoy managing my port cut off from the rest of Gelinor and continue looking forward to the various rewards to come. But in the back of my mind I will always be thinking about my final voyage and hoping that there is much more to come.