Searching for the RuneScape Endgame

posted by on 1st August 2019, at 1:08am

Another Double XP Weekend has come and gone in RuneScape. We now live in the era where three Double XP Weekends a year is an assured thing. XP is given out at community events, XP is given out through Treasure Hunter, and to top it all off insane amounts of XP comes in on Double XP Weekends. Fletching hits 4m XP/hr on Double XP Weekend with Dragon Darts, Firemaking upwards of 7m XP/hr with the Pitch Can and best logs. Doing the math and putting these rates outside of a Double XP Weekend still raises concern.

In our community and Clan Quest an immense amount of experience was gained. Of note one person gained 25.4m Slayer experience. Another gained 26.1m Farming experience. 25.2m Smithing experience for another. If you want to have a look at what our communities did as a microcosm of the greater game, have a look here. Recall that to get level 99 you need 13,034,431 experience in a skill, 104,273,167 to get level 120 (except Invention: 36,073,511 for 99 and 80,618,654 for 120). I hope everyone now sees that experience in RuneScape, assuming you have beyond level 90 in most skills, is tremendously simple to get if you work for it. Dungeoneering, Invention, and Slayer are the only skills that truly go to level 120. After 120 players will naturally target the 200m experience hard cap.

This leads us to ask the question, how can experience be an endgame in RuneScape? Our community is a small picture of the wider game, if people are getting multiple 99s of experience in one weekend, what’s happening in the wider game? When we remove Double XP getting 10+ million experience in a weekend is still possible! Skilling methods in both Fletching and Firemaking will still award millions an hour without Double XP Weekend. Jagex has already begun the work of toning down skills such as Hunter and Farming. This is why we need to ask, how can experience be an endgame in RuneScape?

First, drastically lower the amount of XP coming into game. Lower the XP from gameplay, seasonal events, and Treasure Hunter. Move the game back to a point where a top XP rate is 300 to 400,000 xp per hour. Any future skills to come into game should be rate limited to this rate at the high levels. While this would represent an entirely different RuneScape, it’s untenable.

RuneScape 3 has its completionist community that relies on high xp rates. RuneScape 3 has its PvM community. And there are those who simply play the game casually. Those who play casually don’t purchase Treasure Hunter keys. The PvM community can buy Treasure Hunter keys with Bonds through GP if they want. The MTX revenue spent on RuneScape 3 is a massive chunk of Jagex profits. Lowering XP rates by way of Treasure Hunter will cut into the bottom line and lowering XP rates by cuts will severely upset one of RuneScape 3’s core communities. It’s not feasible.

The second option is to allow for XP growth beyond 200m. Only in a world where the 200m XP barrier doesn’t exist, do our currently astronomically high rates make sense. The first option to combat this is to increase the XP cap drastically but this is a huge technical limit to overcome due to the way XP values are stored. The second is to bring in a prestige system. Imagine a system where your XP increments as it does now and you hit 99, 120, then 200m XP but instead there is also another XP counter for each skill counting down to the next prestige level. Prestige levels would at 99 increments (13m xp) and you would get a special skill pet that would change in appearance each time you prestige.

Back in 2016 we got Prestige Mode on the big 2017 RuneScape survey. Prestige met an unfortunate end because the initially proposed design was not explained properly and the community ran with this and branded it as a horrid idea. Amongst chief concerns were that the high score tables would be disrupted and players didn’t want to be constantly working to maintain a certain rank. The sad news here in 2019 going into 2020 and beyond is that if we want to keep our current XP rates we need something like prestige for skills.

With that being said the situation is summed up simply:
1. Aside from chasing comp or killing bosses, there is no real endgame in RuneScape.
2. Having XP rates north of 1 million xp per hour that put completing skills within the range of 3-6 months showcase a significant problem with the endgame player experience.
3. As demonstrated by the changes to Hunter and the Player Owned Farm there is little appetite for XP nerfs.
4. We must assume it is not technically feasible or it is prohibitively expensive to increase the XP cap beyond 200m.
5. That leaves prestige as the lesser of two evils to solve RuneScape’s endgame problem.

If you have any suggestions as to how to provide an endgame for RuneScape please do post in the forums. XP per hour is nice but if it is handicapping the endgame experience for players it must be fixed in some way before high level players who don’t want to go for comp or kill bosses move on.

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