Alex’s Analysis – Contract Contact

posted by on 19th November 2020, at 11:05pm | Discuss Article

Read that there was a construction update coming out and I was all:

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHS!

Then I went and played the construction update and I was all:

… yes!

I mean, it’s no Construction Rework. It’s not any substantial sort of update, nor a graphical rework, nor does it involve Player Owned Houses at all. There aren’t even any new sound effects or soundtrack for it. Just a nice new set of pics for the login screen and home page.

In a nutshell, you are tasked to build furniture for NPCs. In return for your services and materials, you’ll get 10,000 exp per 5-furniture piece contract. You also get contract points that are put towards some fairly limited, but nevertheless super-useful construction benefits.

That’s literally it.

So, how am I gonna analyze such a simple, straightforward addition to the skill? This… “alternate” training method? If it can even be called that? That’s right, I don’t really call it an alternate training method.

Why couldn’t it be called that, you ask?

Well, let’s compare it to something fairly similar; Ivy chopping!

When Ivy came out, Ivy chopping was a different method of training the skill that sacrifices profit gain for exp. It gave players, rather than a viable training method, a choice for how to train. Do they keep chopping regular logs and keep going for profit or fletching materials? Or do they just keep going straight for the exp gain and get that level 99 Woodcutting as quickly as possible?

Thing is, Level 99 Woodcutting isn’t overly valuable in its own right. There’s nothing new you can chop at level 99, nor is it a requirement for quests or anything. All it’s for is for the Max and the Completionist cape, and even then that’s a considerably ambitious goal on its own. That, and if you’re going for that, you’re also going for 99 fletching, so you’re gonna want to get those logs. Or, you can chop ivy and just buy the logs.

You see? There’s no real answer. Either method is a viable training method. It becomes the player’s choice. This is why makes Ivy chopping a proper “alternate” method of training.

Now then, Contracts:

Construction Contracts are like Ivy; they sacrifice profit for experience gain. Or, at least they supposedly do, but honestly, Construction flatpacks (the only thing you can financially actually get out of construction) are really not worth very much. So, it’s really not that much of a sacrifice. Thus, it becomes quite obvious what players should do. They should do Contracts, because they get so much extra experience that they save so much cash on Construction materials and can practically turbo-charge themselves up to level 99.

The only time-sink comes from the travel time. Contracts take place in various places around Gielinor, and quite often they are fairly away from banks, meaning that one needs to also take time to prepare materials by studying the contract sheet. This takes focus, and thus, the user can’t easily just AFK this skill as readily as they could at a Construction workbench. That’s the real sacrifice in this one; the focus factor, but even then it’s linear enough that it’s not that big a sacrifice.

So, if it’s not really focus and it’s definitely not profit, then what does Construction Contracts sacrifice as an alternate training method? … Nothing! It’s fantastic experience, and once you get into the flow, you quite easily get into the zone with it. You get so much free experience, it runs quickly, and after you get the full Master Construction outfit, you practically fly through it. It’s not an alternate training method. It’s THE OPTIMAL training method!

And hey, a better method and gear for training Construction? My favourite skill? Heck yes I approve!

However, I’ve only got one minor peeve about this.

When you restore the NPCs stuff, you are presented with hotspots and you get to choose the quality of the stuff you fix based on level. In the menu, you are presented with the housing models to build. However, when you actually build them, they end up appearing as the normal everyday models. This means that you could try to build a four-poster bed and it appears as a shaggy-quilted haystack.

And that takes it away from me. If I could see these updated models, it would make it look and feel like I’ve given these fine folks some real, improved furniture. If the models were instanced and changed whenever I built them, then it would accomplish three things.

First; it would just feel good, walking on by and seeing the furniture inside their places and thinking; yeah, I made that. I’m awesome.

Second; you’re doing a real service to these NPCs. It helps with the immersion of the game, making these computer characters seem grateful that an adventurer actually stops and helps them out as opposed to killing their neighbours and picking their pockets.

And third; it helps with the sandbox aspect of the game, helping the user take in a sort of sense of control of the world. That this is THEIR world to play around in and mess around with stuff. Just like Player-Owned Houses. Just like Player-Owned Farms. All of which involve the Construction skill to make stuff!

That’s the whole appeal to Construction. It’s the Sandbox skill. The skill that allows you to build things in the world and change it both functionally and aesthetically. It makes the world feel more like yours. It deepens the in-game immersion and creates a creative appeal to the user the same way Minecraft appeals to so many. And I think we all know how well games like Minecraft and Terraria do despite the simplified graphics.

So, here’s hoping the folks at Jagex instance the furniture pieces. Swap them out with our POH models, or at least give us the option to. I personally would love to give ol’ Ned the beautiful hand-crafted mahogany bed he so rightly deserves.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!

Alex’s Analysis – Either Now Orthen

posted by on 27th October 2020, at 2:50am | Discuss Article
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posted by on 18th September 2020, at 1:56am | Discuss Article
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posted by on 1st August 2020, at 7:21pm | Discuss Article
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