Alex’s Analysis – Starting Fresh

posted by on 24th January 2020, at 12:56am

Happy new year, and happy new decade, and enjoy perhaps the only year in your life that will have the first two and last two numbers match, and enjoy the countless 2020 vision jokes. It’s 2020, and it’s the start of new beginnings, and we’re all going to have a wonderful time in Runescape, as there are a lot of exciting new things planned!

To start the end of the month, they are bringing out a piece of content called War’s Retreat. Our good friend War, whom we met during an odd anomalous Halloween event some years back, and he’s set up a sort of mini max-guild style area for mid-level folks to get some sweet stuff for killing bosses.

The idea behind this place is that it will function as a sort of “Boss Guild”, where players will be able to conglomerate, discuss strategy, and exercise bragging rights. There will be a boss grouping area where strangers can gather and immediately get thrown into a bossing group, similar to how Barbarian Outpost and the quick-start Daemonheim rooms that nobody ever uses works. Saves us having to negotiate the boss tab and get automatically sorted into groups, eh? … yeah, I don’t foresee this being a popular feature. I might use it, though. I’m not that big on bossing, but it might incentivise me to fix that terrible way of thinking.

So, that’s not out yet. Still being developed. In the meantime, what do we have? We have… wait, where’s the Month Ahead? There isn’t one! What?

No matter, let’s just check the news feed … we have patch notes. Lots of patch notes. OK, that’s something to talk about! Let’s see…

… spelling corrections, graphical tweaks… oh, General Bentnoze got a graphical update! … um… yes…

… OK. I don’t have much to talk about for these. Nothing game-changing, just a few quality-of-life updates. Huh… what gives, Jagex? All this hype about starting the year strong, and we’re not getting anything exciting? Laaaaame! … I’m joking.

In fact, you know what? There’s a valid reason for this. They are developing a couple of really big updates for Runescape right now. Alongside the multi-part update for War’s Retreat, they’re only working on a little something called the New Skill Archeology!

So you may be thinking; if it’s such a big update, why not just release it in small clumps just so we can have updates to play with in the meantime?

I’m afraid it doesn’t quite work like that. Big updates take a lot of work, and it’s not a simple case of splitting it off into smaller sections. Things have to flow in a big update. Environments need to be completed, programming needs to be solid and responsive, audio has to be composed, and things have to be tested. Splitting up these tasks isn’t as simple as “doing only half the work”; graphics and programming have to be done or else it’ll be broken.

If the team decided to just release half an area to keep the hype up, it would look very awkward, wouldn’t it? It wouldn’t be nearly as hype as the build-up into the full, overwhelmingly awesome product if we waited just that little bit longer (*cough* Prifddinas *cough*).

Plus, as we’ve seen with updates like the Manor Farm and Mazcab, if the content is released incomplete with the promise of more stuff in the future, it tends to take an age and a half for new content to be made (still waiting on the third boss, guys) because it’s not as exciting to develop as new stuff. It had been mentally labelled as “complete”, and thus getting resolved to focus on it again is strenuous on the team because they have to work with old assets and old code. As a programmer, I can assure you that this is really annoying.

No, it’s much better to just buckle down and let the team finish the content while everything is still freshly baked into their minds. Deal with the weekly patches, try a couple new things, grind a couple skills or make millions, maybe even take a small break from the game. Then, when the big giant update comes out, Runescape will be a whole new experience!

So that’s why I don’t have much to talk about. Sorry about writing such a short, uninformative article, guys. I’ll try not to do it again. Can be one of my new-decade resolutions, you know? That, alongside doing more pushups and sit-ups. Seriously; don’t underestimate a ten-minute daily workout regiment.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!


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