Alex’s Analysis – Mercy Finishing

posted by on 31st August 2017, at 6:20pm

Before I start, no, this isn’t about the update to the Overwatch character. You’re on the wrong fan-site. Go away.

Anyone like the Livid Farm? I mean, not just using it as a viable means of training, but also because it presents an interesting, rather unique challenge that piques your interest more as a gamer rather than a completionist? No? What about Skullball? Running around and precision-kicking a ball mini-golf style for agility experience. Easy to play, difficult to master? You… even know what Skullball is? How about the Nexus? … you know, that thing in the Lumbridge Swamp that you go back and forth and… get this thing and… put it in these bowls… and…

Right. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about. And if you do, it triggers very minor memories of events way back. Unless there’s actually a huge 2000+ player Nexus Community out there that I’m really offending right now. In which case, I ask; why is there a huge 2000+ player Nexus Community?

In this latest update, the Livid Farm received yet another aid. Stackable planks and plant bundles. Makes life much easier for those who are yet to complete it. Couple that with some upcoming double exp weekends and those mini-game weekends that double your produce points, and it has become considerably easier to complete.

So, question: why did they do that?

Easy answer; to make it easier for players. And it’s true, but not really for the sake of making it easy for the players to do something. Rather, it’s to help them progress through these challenges at a doable rate. Or, at least make them doable in their lifetime as a player.

Runescape’s an ever-changing game. Content is added to the game with every passing week. From large, age-changing quests to the little conveniences that give the Ninja Team a popular name among the development crew. New puzzles, updated code, improved graphics and audio, and all sorts of other things.

So what about the old content? Stuff that the player hasn’t completed yet? Well, it’s still there, as there are rewards and benefits. After a while, the content will build up, until there’s a whole bunch of stuff to do. So much so that it would take a very long time to go through it all.

How long? Well, think on this. Runecrafting didn’t use to have the Runespan; you’d have to do nature / law runes until and past level 99 if you wanted that cape. Castle Wars only got you two tickets per win, if you did win (none if you didn’t). You had to get 750,000 produce points instead of 420,000 for all the spell unlocks. Heck, there were times before make-x was even an option for just about every skill. You had to click on everything, repeated-click on rocks and fishing spots for each fish (you could still fail). In fact, many skills only went up to level 13 or so because that was all anybody was anticipated to get.

So, after a good long time, newer, better methods were made to train these skills, and several of these older minigames got these… don’t wanna say “nerfs”, but rather, shortcuts. Of course, they’re always subtle; there’s not much hand-holding or giveaways. It’s still hard work to get to the goal, but it’s still definitely do-able. Rather then one tedious goal, time had us end up with multiple, easier ones.

I chose the title “Mercy Finishing” because that’s exactly what it’s about. Letting us finish something easily when it would otherwise poses an intense challenge. Creating shortcuts, if you will. Actually, I’d have named my article that, but I really wanted to get that Overwatch joke in at the start.

The idea is that existing players will be able to easily finish off pre-existing content for their completionist challenges at a fair, doable rate. It also helps new players to go through all the existing content without getting overwhelmed by all that Runescape has to offer. If there’s too much content, or there’s too much that just takes forever to do, they’ll never be able to finish anything.

This is part of game management. Balancing all aspects of itself so that effort is made on all fronts. Not to ensure things are good, but to ensure there are no bad, breaking moments that pull the players away from said good aspects. Doesn’t seem like much, but for many players who desire playing a game to its completion, this is a vital step when changing the game.

Not everybody’s on board with this idea, mind. Especially those who had already accomplished all that stuff when it was next to impossible. Imagine Runescape’s first and only level 99 runecrafters up until the runespan came out. Can’t imagine just how frustrated they would be that such an intense achievement turns into something as trivial as level 99 fletching. While I sympathize with that, I still have to give it an odd look. Who wants to brag about level 99 runecrafting via Nature Altars anyways when all it is is showcasing your ability to do the same thing over and over for a ridiculously long period of time? Killing Telos in under a minute is a lot more impressive because it’s a show of skill and practice rather than bragging about unlimited devotion towards the most mindlessly mundane of tasks. Not something I’d want to brag about. No offence to you guys.

Plus, you can still say “I’ve had my skillcape since 2007”. … actually, having a year marker on those things would be interesting.

So don’t underestimate the Ninja Team. Their work is just as important as the designers and developers of the next Elder God quest. … which really can’t come soon enough, but I still hope they’re taking their time with it.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!

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