Ah, how I love the Summoning daily task. Take some yak hide and some crimson charms and you get mondo free exp for a few seconds of work. Awesome. Every time I get this, I take the lodestone to Taverley, make the pouches, and then take the lodestone to Burthorpe right after. As I was turning in my task, I stopped and thought “… I just used a lodestone to go a 10 second walk – Am I really that lazy?” It’s an interesting thing to think about, are players getting lazier or are updates like the lodestones making it too easy to get around? I sometimes find myself not wanting to do something, like the desert area task sets, just because there is no easy access to it and I have to walk. What gives? I’ve had some great memories traversing Gielinor, like climbing through the rocky cliffs of Trollheim, trekking (and dying in) the difficult Underground Pass, and taking the dangerous, winding path to the Elven Lands, but you do that once and then never have to again. After that, it’s teleport here and lodestone there. Runescape just feels so small and cramped now. How did this happen?
Most of you are experienced enough to know what life was like before lodestones. You had your free teleport to Lumbridge via the Home Teleport, but unless you wanted to fiddle with the hassle of using fairy rings, you were shelling out for law runes and teleporting to the closest town and then running the rest of the way. Lodestones killed law runes and teleporting in general. Nine times out of ten, I use lodestones to get where I need to even if there is another option closer. It just is so easy and I don’t need to be burdened with remembering to bring runes. I’ll sacrifice the five seconds of my life for the extra inventory space. Convenience pays a major factor in this decision. Sure, it would ultimately be faster to teleport straight south of the GE, but I huff it from Edgeville’s lodestone or south of Varrock every single time. It’s mindless, it’s easy, and it’s free!
And that’s the problem – there’s no cost or effort needed. I personally don’t like the idea of the lodestone network or even the home teleport (not that it stops me from using them). Free convenience should not exist and it cheapens the game. I touch a platform and now I get to travel there endlessly for free? Not only does it not make sense with the lore of the game (why do lodestones work without the use of magic of any kind?), but there is no requirement to use them. At least make them a reward after doing a quest or an easy/medium task set! With the addition of the second batch of lodestones in more previously remote areas, places that I have struggled to get to and spent many collective hours running around to get to before is now time wasted. I almost feel cheated. At the very least, you should have to pay a fee to use them, much like the carpets in the desert. No doubt that wouldn’t stop people from using them. It’s all about the convenience.
What’s the price of convenience? Ultimately, when a new convenience comes out, other things will suffer. Put it in this perspective: You stop at a gas station to fill up your car with gas. While you’re pumping gas, you remember that you need a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread at home. There’s a grocery store a ways down the road, but you’re already at the gas station anyways, so why not just pay a little more to pop inside and grab them here? Most people would probably go ahead and get what they needed there. Now, imagine there was a sign in the gas station window that read “FREE MILK AND BREAD WHEN YOU BUY A TANK OF GAS!”. Well well, how convenient! You’d be stupid NOT to go in and get the things there. To compare in Runescape, walking to a location would be like going to the grocery store, buying at the gas station would be like shopping at the gas station, and lodestones are the freebies with the gas. Walking costs time and money, teleporting costs money, and lodestones are free. But if the gas station ran that promotion all the time, they would suffer and the grocery store would suffer. Lodestones, and free teleports in general, do the same to other traveling methods. Law runes are now worthless and no one walks anywhere for longer than 30 seconds. This shrinks the world and makes it lose its feel as an immersive experience.
Despite this, pending some unforeseen act, lodestones are here to stay and free to use. Even before them though, with many teleports and different methods of travel in game, the Runescape world has seemed to be getting smaller and smaller. Let’s face it, Gielinor isn’t exactly Skyrim with its vast spaces between towns, though it should be. After 10 years of additions, the world map now looks like one complete occupied mass. Minus a few places like Feldip Hills and north of Seers, there’s not any more wide open spaces to roam. After the release of Runescape 3 and the sixth age’s storyline, I believe the spacing of the world map will be the next big project for Jagex to tackle, but it’d probably be easier than you’d think. Consider the city of Varrock. It has many places on the outskirts of town like the lumberyard and the champion’s guild. It also has many pointless buildings within its limits that really just act as space filler. If they take out these empty buildings and move things into town, it will make things feel a lot more complete, with more vastness between cities, making the trek seem longer and teleports seem all the more useful. Falador’s massive expanse of wasted space near the park of the village with the fountain also comes to mind. How great would it be to remove that area except the essentials, move the Farming allotment closer to town, and then have more space between it and Port Sarim? Move some things from Port Sarim to be a part of the current useless town of Rimmington, and you can see how this would make existing towns more important while having new room to grow (or better yet, allow it to be nice and empty for a better feel of traveling distance). The reworks of Taverly/Burthorpe and Al-Kharid made things far more crowded feeling, but made these towns actual hubs rather than just places to teleport to.
If Jagex was to do this, it would almost make lodestones feel like a necessity rather than something to make me feel lazy. The RuneScape landscape seems conquered and just doesn’t have the allure for adventure that I felt so long ago. I think it’s possible to rekindle that, without making it more difficult to do what I want to do in a fast and efficient manner. Sometimes though, a little jog would do Rickles some good, if only to see his run energy drop below 50% for the first time in a long time.