You say you want a revolution
Well you know
We’d all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well you know
We’d all want to change the world
– The Beatles’ “Revolution”
The support and collective sigh of relief with the release of revolution combat in Runescape is something we aren’t used to seeing with combat’s uncertain status these days but it was a welcome change. No matter where you are in the combat debate, I think we can all agree that revolution was a positive improvement to combat. The constant key pounding didn’t make combat more interactive or more strategic. It was just annoying and what felt like pointless. As many have said, we kind are left to ponder how different the setup of Runescape would be had this been introduced from the beginning. Revolution is a good step forward in overall enjoyment of combat, but does it revert too much back to how things were and where can we go from here?
Revolution is great in that it strikes a nice balance between being hands on but with the option to auto-pilot if you want to. For Slayer, you may be getting kills so fast that basic abilities are all you really need. I particularly like revolution while Dungeoneering because of the stop-go nature of combat room to room. It’s up to the player as to how efficient they want to really be. Some people say it takes combat back to pre-EoC, but I disagree. Really, your loadout on the ability bar is even more important than before because of how it auto-fires abilities. You don’t want to use the magic basic ability Chain if you are in an area where multiway combat wouldn’t be good, for example. Before you would just keep that ability on the bar and not press it, but now you have to think about your setup more. You have to set them up and pick and choose more carefully than before and you have to plan and use more mental power as to when you want to use those thresholds and ultimates. This achieves the goal of making combat interactive moreso than making you mindlessly press keys every second.
I really hope this is a trend we can continue in combat. What revolution does well is that it statically gives certain combat styles built in attributes, but that I can pick and choose. Go back to the Chain magic basic. Without having to really think about it I have that multi target ability that now defaults. Now in my mind magic has that sort of ability. Before I didn’t really have that sort of mentality because basics were just kind of there. Now that I always use them all, I can associate all of those basic abilities more easily. It’s like small special attacks that I can apply to all the weapons in that class. It separates things better in my head, even though they have always had the same abilities available.
If only we could get the armour types to have that similar system. Weapons have classes that perform differently, such as dual wielding, two handers, and sword and shields. As it is, and as I’ve highlighted in previous articles, all the armour classes kind of blend together despite having labels like “power” and “hybrid”. What if we had these same static ‘basic abilities’ for armour classes? Take melee armour, for example. What if power armour had a sort of damage absorption or a power to deflect attacks that happened automatically in combat? Like offensive abilities, they could require certain levels or quests. If you consider this sort of mechanic you can really fundamentally change people’s decision on armour rather than just having people throw on the most expensive stuff they can afford. Showing my age here, but when Barrows was released players consciously made a decision whether they wanted to use Veracs or Dharoks or Guthans (funnily enough, each melee Barrows brother uses a different class of offensive weapon and we all know their set abilities complement that). There is no reason why we can make a broader and less powerful version of Barrows that applied to all armour of a certain class. That would really make you think and have to interact with combat! Fighting would be based on your knowledge and preparation rather than the size your coin purse.
Now, that’s kind of a stretch to go from the relatively minor thing of auto-firing basic abilities to an idea like that, but it gets the wheels turning. From what I gather from the beta these days is that nothing is really out of the realm of possibility. After all, anything is worth trying if it makes for a more enjoyable experience. Better to do them now while they are tinkering with other things than how they dealt with things after the EoC, where they were I kind of wonder if Jagex is glad the elf quest was voted for over the Inventor skill because it has the potential to impact combat in a major way. I don’t blame them if they take this opportunity to make some changes to ensure the compatibility with Inventor and the modern combat mechanics. If they really wanted to revolutionize the Evolution they most certainly could.