Reinventing The Wheel: First Impressions Of Invention

posted by on 28th January 2016, at 1:25am

Invention dropped like a bomb on January 25th and if you feel like you’re just stepping out of a bomb shelter after the Battle of Britain, you are not alone. To say Invention has changed the game would be an understatement. Normally when I cover something to do with a skill I like to give you different methods of training. I like to give you realistic xp rates and tips to be a little more efficient as an average player. That will not be the case today. For one, the community at large is still working those things out and more importantly Jagex has been changing fundamental training methods daily since the skill came out by nerfing various things. All of this – on top of a skill that is very large and complex to begin with. The best thing I can do at this point is give you a brief overview of the skill and give you my first impressions good, bad, and ugly.

To start Invention you need to talk to Doc in the Invention Guild. The guild is located just north of Falador. Upon arriving at the guild talk to Doc to start the tutorial. This is important – do NOT skip the tutorial. Its not only helpful at explaining Invention, but upon completion you should be Level 7 Invention. The first thing you need for Invention is inspiration. You can gain inspiration by dismantling items, leveling Invention and skilling in general. After that you spend your inspiration points at the workbench to make blueprints. Then you move over to make the item you just invented at the manufacturing side of the workbench. In order to enhance (and I say that loosely) your gear you need to make augmentors and gizmos. Augmentors are attached to weapons and gizmos contain the perks then the gizmo is attached to the augmentor. Confused? Ya, it is confusing but that’s Invention in a nutshell. Now that you have an idea of what is going on lets move on to my first impressions of the skill.

Lets start with the positive. I’m proud of Jagex for really thinking outside the box. Invention is like nothing we’ve seen before. I thought at best it would be like other games where you could enhance and customize your equipment. Turns out I was way off, it truly is RuneScape’s own and quite different than other models. It is also turning out to be the item and gp sink Jagex was hoping for. I expected that, but what I didn’t see coming was the skillers finally having their day in the sun. Oh snap that’s right, it is a skillers market out there. Another positive aspect of Invention is getting people out in the world. Shop runs are for more than just Iron Men now. Invention is also the only skill that has its own end game to it, which is a new and intriguing way to think about skills if you ask me. The concept of an elite skill is another positive although I would have to disagree with many of the decisions that were made about what what an elite skill means. I give Jagex a lot of credit for the overall vision of Invention. It took guts to do what they did. That being said, did they squander an opportunity to gain the confidence of the player base by another poor implementation?

The next section pains me to write. I’m not a negative person. I’m not a forum ranter or Reddit flamer. I am a writer for Informer and I’m extremely proud of that. I’ve been unfairly criticized in the past for being too positive about Jagex. That’s important because I take no pleasure in what I’m about to say. We were given a half-baked update yet again. The skill literally isn’t finished and won’t be for months, yet we have to suffer the consequences. On top of that, I have no idea what QA was doing but it wasn’t doing their job. Invention has received an update everyday since it has come out that fundamentally changed the way it is being trained, that’s just a lack of preparation and testing. Those are the kind of things that shouldn’t happen. They also fundamentally don’t understand the player base and what makes them tick. The training methods Jagex thought would be the staples are at odds with the nature of the player base and antithetical to the incentives players have to train the skill. Namely getting back access to the Max Guild. There’s so much here I don’t even know where to begin but lets take a stab at it and start with the notion of an elite skill.

As I said above the idea of an elite skill is a good idea that could enrich the game. That being said an elite skill has too much overlap with requirements that have traditionally applied to regular skills. I don’t think an elite skill should be a requirement for the Max Cape and Max Guild. That is where many of the problems lie. I could see it as a comp and trimmed comp requirement. I say this for two reasons. First, if its tied to max then the only thing making it elite is having level 80 in three other skills. That’s not enough difference in my view. Second, it exposes the flawed xp curve they’ve put in Invention and creates incentives to train the skill in ways Jagex didn’t intend. In their recent Twitch Q& A live stream, J Mods expressly said we thought people would level by training augmented equipment and dismantling equipment. That is a very passive way to train Invention and if you do that you might get your cape back in 2018. The only and I repeat only viable way to train Invention at this point is to make gizmos. Does it strike anybody as odd that the best way to train the skill wasn’t even on Jagex’s radar? That speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of the player base.

Lastly lets talk about the xp curve and the fact that we only have half a skill. We all know there were issues with the xp curve. 91 probably shouldn’t be half way to 99. The idea was to flatten the curve a little. Well, they flattened it with a sledge hammer. Taking 24 million off of 120 and adding it to the front end to get 99? I don’t get that. Once again providing a disincentive to train the skill the way Jagex intended and instead do it as fast as possible. The other problem is you only have half a skill to work with. I know they have done this in the past, summoning and dungeoneering come to mind, but its the wrong decision. When will they realize we are willing to wait for something to be done right. Especially with this skill considering no one was in a hurry to get it and we voted against it…twice.

Overall my first impressions are mixed. I can see its potential and place in the game, but it has significant problems. Players end game has been taken away in order to train a skill that has no defined and efficient way to train it. The mechanics of the skill are interesting and unlike anything else. I know Invention has potential and could enhance the game. I can see where it fits and why Jagex wanted to do it. Next time maybe a small group of players sworn to non-disclosure agreements should be the ones to test it though. Having a skill change three days in a row since its release is no way to release a new skill. The changes do show that they will work until its right and we can appreciate that. Wait this just in: Gizmos production nerfed by 50%, siphoning augmented weapons and armour buffed 1800%. OK, well on that note have fun and Happy RuneScaping.

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