Alex Analysis – Too Much, Too Fast

posted by on 27th February 2022, at 1:47am

Got my 20-year cape. Heck of an achievement. Been playing Runescape for 2/3rds of my life, and still at it for the sake of the lore and the story. Which, with the Elder God wars continuing to escalate into a dire outcome of us losing and being on our last wit’s end (looking at you, Seren…), has never been more exciting!

The next part in the whole saga appears to be revolving around the Abyss and its denizens, releasing a number of high-level slayer monsters and some epic drops. Which includes a tier 92 version of the abyssal whip which, back in the day, was the most awesome sought-out weapon of all time due to both its strength and uniqueness. 85 slayer was super hard to attain at the time (when slayer first came out), and those who had it effectively monopolized the toughest weapon in the game, turning it into a symbol of status all by itself. It was epic, it was famous, it was beautiful…

… and now I dismantle them on a whim.

What happened to such a pivotal piece of equipment? Obscurity in multiple ways. Greater weapons like the Godsword and Tier 90s came out, and slayer became gradually more and more easier to train to the point where you could level yourself up in only a couple dozen tasks from level 80+.

How much easier? Enemies became quicker and easier to kill in bulk thanks to the Evolution of Combat. They became automated with aggression potions and the cannon (well, more so, since it existed since RSC and got a lot of buffs to ammo creation). We got special equipment that supercharged our attack strength on slayer assignments (slayer helmet and invention perks to name a couple), and even the experience itself was practically quadrupled with the addition of slayer points and high-hitpoint slayer monsters. Oh yes, and boss enemies also give slayer exp now thanks to the Reaper tasks because why not?

And now we have this event going on at the time of writing this. Double-exp weekend alongside a slayer extravaganza with free elder overload buffs, increased task points and exp per task, boosted drop table rate, and free freakin’ deaths. Wow. I picked the wrong time to get level 120 slayer last year, didn’t I? Eh, no regrets.

As you can imagine, this is going to create some very mixed responses from the player base. Newer players are going to be all “woo, faster slayer exp! I can get my level much faster!” and more experienced players are going to be all “where the heck was this when I was grinding for 4 months?!”. Or they’ll be keen to capitalize on it to get 200mil experience like the lunatics they are (unless Jagex actually up the max level to 126 that requires 200mil, to which case, fuuuuudge). My point is, some will like it and some will hate it. It’s a guarantee at this point with every single update that comes out, no big deal.

So what’s the issue? The issue is that it’s making the skill too easy.

This isn’t the first time these absurd buffs to certain skill have come out. Runecrafting, one of the most tedious skills to train back in the day, got the Runespan, which turned it into an ordinary gathering skill as easy to train as woodcutting. Construction, one of the most priciest skills to train, unloaded things like the plank-making Lunar spell, the plank-maker machine, proteon planks, and the Construction Contracts, making it… well, still relatively expensive, but with the economy exploding, it ain’t exactly hard to make a million coins nowadays. Herblore; now there’s a skill that took tedium and price to a level all on its own. Where you had to invest in tens of thousands of herbs and secondary ingredients just to up your level from- aaaaaand they added a high-exp weekly D&D and crystal flasks with potion bombs and powerbursts with considerably high experience gain for relatively cheap materials. Oh yeah, and farming, so you didn’t have to rely on, you know, killing a zillion enemies for your herbs. I miss the aberrant specters…

I looked up once and saw level 99 as a pipe dream. Something that would forever be unattainable unless I put immense, crazy hours into making coin, grinding skills, and persisting. And then, before I knew it, I was getting 7 level 99s in a single celebration party (Zaros is yet to recover from that), I nearly got a level 99 during a live-in-person Runefest when they casually announced they’d be handing out certificates for it (soooo close), and as of right now, I have attained my Completionist Cape, meaning I have gotten every last level in every last skill.

I am officially done training in Runescape. No joke; I don’t even go for lamps and fallen stars anymore from Treasure Hunter.

And it was so… freakin’… EASY.

And now… now it no longer felt like a real achievement. It didn’t take much at all to get those levels because of the vast exp options available. I didn’t have to grind much, I didn’t have to pull all-nighters… heck, I barely even played half the time because a ton of the skills were fully AFKable. And AFKing used to be an enforced rule of the game that you could report players for! Wild, right? I achieved the greatest honors of Runescape without even playing the game for them!

I got that metaphorical abyssal whip at long last, and… now it’s not even that valuable anymore. Everyone’s got the slayer level now. Everyone’s got the whip. It’s not an achievement anymore. It’s now merely a goal. Breaks my heart to think about that now.

That’s the problem. Stuff’s been made too easy. We’re getting things too fast. The grind sucks, yes, but at the same time, that’s what made the achievements achievements. Level 99 skills were a show of devotion and ambition. They were a badge of honor to wear, a sign of respect. That you could perform valuable actions and services in the game that the majority of folks could not. Because it’s now so easy and so fast to train, that accomplishment has diminished into something meagre. Like, nobody in the Max Guild brags about their skill levels when that’s the whole reason they made it that far into Runescape’s most prestigious building. That’s how bad it is.

So, as it stands, I’ll continue playing Runescape, but it’ll no longer be about skills and fighting enemies. It’ll be all about the lore. I’ll have to start looking out for my own achievements. Maybe I’ll try taking on some of the bosses, I dunno.

… unless 120 construction comes out with a fully revamped Construction update. Now THAT will be an achievement! Looking forward to it, folks at Jagex! Really am!

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!

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