Guest Article: Prestige Thoughts

posted by on 30th November 2013, at 10:32pm

This is a guest article submitted to RSBANDBInformer! courtesy of Pyrnassius. If you wish to submit a guest article you may find out how to do so here.

Hello everyone.  I would like to discuss the recent move by Jagex to do a complete reversal on their plans to introduce a new Prestige system into Runescape and the way they went about it.  First, we get the hype about bringing “new life to competitive Runescape levelling and allow high-level players to enjoy the game afresh”.  Then, of course, as with most new updates Jagex introduces, we get a group of players blowing up the forums, screaming about how it will “ruin the game”, and it “isn’t fair”, and “we worked hard for our 200 mill xp”.  Well, only a select few on that last point, since most who have capped out on the game have moved on.  It seems a lot of players were simply repeating what a few popular youtubers were complaining about.  Very few sat back and looked at the overall picture.  In a time where MMORPG’s are declining in player numbers, Jagex looked at the community and saw what we see every day; namely a lot of players who have moved away from the social, fun aspect of the game and are now worrying about “xp waste” and gaining levels the fastest way possible.  So, they developed the Prestige system.  Now, I will agree that it was not perfect, but then, most new content they introduce rarely is.  However, over time, they refine it and tweak it here and there and, for the most part, improve it for the advancement of the game.

The Prestige system offered players who didn’t worry about hi-scores an opportunity to revisit favourite skills and retrain them without having to develop a whole new character.  It wasn’t mandatory to do once you hit 99.  For those newer players who like to see their names on a hi-score list, it offered them a chance to do so.  The current system is locked by players who did it years ago, many of whom no longer play the game.  But Jagex wasn’t just forgetting about those who spent all those hours training to get there in the past; the old hi-scores and ranks will still be on the website.  And if you don’t want to prestige, and liked the idea of chasing a skill all the way to the 200 mill cap, you still could.  Simply put, there was no real downside to the Prestige concept.

Side benefits of this system would have included a new boost to the economy, as resetting players would need all those lower level items all over again.  High level players who were already past newer introductions to the game would have had the chance to try these updates in a way that was actually useful to them as they pursued that second level 99.

Now, after the first few pages in the forums, a majority of which were positive and in favour of the update, we got the usual responses to any update. Very few of the players against it actually gave a counterpoint argument of WHY they were against it, other than rants about losing their spots on the capped scoreboard.  I do say very few, because there were a couple of reasonable arguments against it, but they were few and far between.

So, what was the response from Jagex on this topic?  Let’s do a poll!  So, a poll was set up, where they wanted 75% approval before it would be introduced.  Unfortunately, it was a simple yes or no vote, and only 28,594 players actually voted, with 39% saying yes and 61% against.  What Jagex don’t tell us, is how many active players they have playing the game on a regular basis, and just what percentage this 28,000 represent of the overall player base.  There are many players who simply don’t care, or who didn’t understand what Prestige would do for the game, and either didn’t vote at all, or voted no because they were unsure how it would affect them personally.

My problem with Jagex running these polls, is that they are too simplistic and don’t give the players enough scope to really get their point across.  Yes and no polls do not give players who like an idea, but would like to see a few changes with it an opportunity to say so.  Even options like “yes”, “no” and “I like the concept but not in its current form” would have given a truer indication what players wanted.

We have seen them set targets on polls before that have not been reached, yet they turn around and pass them anyway.  Does everyone remember the 07 server polls? It would only be offered for free if they reached 500K votes.  It fell over 60K short, yet it was still introduced, to the detriment of the current game.  And there wasn’t a “no” option for this for those players who were against it.

In closing, I would just like to state that I would rather see Jagex develop the game that we pay for each month in the best way that they see fit, and not rely on simplistic polls that divide the players even more.  They are a multi-million dollar company running a successful business that we, as consumers of their product, put our faith in to continue advancing the game and ensuring its future. One small glimmer of hope is the final paragraph on the results page of the poll:

“We’re going to re-evaluate both our goals and our implementation in light of what you’ve told us. With your feedback at the fore, we’re going to think of new ideas that meet your expectations and fit in with the way you want to play RuneScape. Whether we come up with a single system or a choice of multiple systems, we’ll work with you to decide what goes into the game. We’re definitely not abandoning the idea of aspirational content, but we want to make sure we do it in a way that you’re happy with.”

Let us all hope that this is not the end of Prestige and that we will see it in one form or another introduced.  Runescape needs it for the longevity of the game.

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