RuneLabs Revisited

posted by on 1st July 2015, at 4:54pm

Back in January I wrote about the release of RuneLabs. I was critical of its flaws and didn’t pull any punches. This month we’ve seen the release of the first two updates to come from RuneLabs, so I thought this would be a perfect time to check back in and see if any progress had been made. It looks like to my surprise, RuneLabs are doing better than what I originally gave them credit for. Unfortunately some of the problems I pointed out still persist, but overall it has worked out better than I would have thought. What is working and what still needs improvement you may ask, that’s what we’ll dive into now.

Let’s deal with the bad news first. It’s still difficult to search for an individual idea. The URL is the best way to find a particular idea you’re looking for. I was hoping a better search mechanism would be in place by now, however, this must be pretty low on Jagex’s priority list. The usability of RuneLabs still leaves something to be desired as well. It feels clunky and not easy to navigate. Although I will say it looks a little better than it did before ascetically. Other than that most of my original skepticism has worked itself out.

Take the trolling issue I brought up, for example. It was a big problem with its initial release; however the support system has really helped alleviate this. Ideas that people like rise to the top because they are supported by other players while troll ideas and bad ideas stay at the bottom of the pile. Of course this does beg the question, how does a good idea get support in the first place? Jagex is also doing a good job of providing feedback on ideas that they wouldn’t do. I was hesitant of how well they would do this but so far they do seem to be sticking to their guns.

The best evidence for the success of RuneLabs has come over the last two weeks. First with the slayer belt and then Rune Dragons. The slayer belt was one of those ideas that I thought “um ya, we don’t really need that”. Now that it’s here, I can’t believe we didn’t have it before. Honestly I’m surprised Jagex hadn’t already dreamed it up and threw it on treasure hunter. The thing that impressed me so much about the slayer belt was its usefulness for high and low level players. Most high level players don’t have much need for the slayer items that can go in the belt, however low to mid-level players use those items on tasks all the time. High level players do use bone crushers, herbicide, seedicide, and charming imps though. That’s the beauty of the slayer belt – it has wide appeal. It illustrates how Jagex will navigate the RuneLabs process. They take the raw material (player ideas) and polish it into something really good.

Next we had the new Rune and Adamant Dragons. This one was a long time coming. I’m not going to lie, I think this may have been sitting around on Jagex’s priority list somewhere and just never made it to the top. That being said what we do know is that this idea was posted in RuneLabs and received a lot of support. It was voted for in a player power poll and I have to say, I like how it turned out. The Rune Dragons are a high level monster, no question about it. You must have completed a ton of quests just to access them. They require dragon bane ammunition that you can only make after doing ritual of the mahjarrat and you also need access to the world gate that comes from fate of the gods. I think this is appropriate given the kind of loot they can drop and their difficulty. They have three phases including one flying phase and a berserk phase. There’s also a chance to spawn an Elite Rune Dragon. It works just like Edimmus where you have a greater chance to receive the boot add-ons which is their best drop. They also drop Rune Dragon bones which are the best prayer experience in game right now. The Adamant Dragons are a bit more geared towards mid-level players. No quest requirements and regular ammo will do. They of course drop adamant bars and adamant dragon bones. I can’t say enough good things about this update. It’s been awhile since a slayer creature presented any challenge at all and while this isn’t a boss fight, I found it to be fun. It definitely keeps you on your toes or you will die. The fact that these came out of RuneLabs I find kind of shocking given my previous opinion.

I’m the first to admit when I’m wrong and while not everything I pointed out is fixed with RuneLabs it is a much better update than I originally gave it credit for. Searching is still an issue and yes it’s still a bit clunky as far as usability but I think the good is finally starting to outweigh the bad. There is nothing better than being surprised by an update especially when you think the update is unnecessary. The slayer belt is a perfect example of this. I just couldn’t see why we needed this and now I couldn’t imagine not having it. Rune Dragons are just awesome. I mean we have tier 90 boots now from them and Jagex even wove some lore into their release. Jagex is monitoring RuneLabs better than they did on release and actually adding notes to some ideas when it’s something they wouldn’t do and explaining their decisions to players, which seems to be helpful. To sum it all up I’m happy with RuneLabs now and I’m excited to see where they will be going. I think it’s also nice to see how terrible they were at first and how much they’ve improved over the last six months. Until next time keep those good ideas coming and as always, Happy RuneScaping.

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