May SKOTM Signup

posted by Fred Bot on 24 April 2018 at 00:00

Signup for the new Skill of The Month has started! The skill this month is: Thieving. Please signup at, you will need a valid forum account to signup. Signups close on the first day of the month. The competitions begin as soon as signups close.

The April competition continues until May 1st.

Char’s training cave is the main attraction and this has severely hot ramifications, heralding the return of line Firemaking. Also a recap of the Summer Content Showcase and Game Jam 2018.

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So, guess what? The community asked for it, and the designers at Jagex responded. Training your Firemaking skill by making fires in long strips all across the landscape is now once again a viable training method. Compared to the hugely AFK'able update that was Bonfires.

This is what everybody wanted. To light the entire map on fire. Fire that, for the most part, is entirely safe to walk upon. It does not affect its surroundings, nor does it damage enemies. It's simply there to cook your food if there isn't a range nearby.

Of course, there's more to it than that. There's this whole thing with a pitch can that makes it faster and funner, Char's minigame got a heck of an update, and even bonfires got an upgrade as well. It's just an all-around Firemaking buff. You wanna read about it, read it here.

But I want to take a step back from all this hype and instead help everyone understand... well, why IS there hype? Why are there people who prefer Line Firemaking? ... heck, why IS Line Firemaking a thing in the first place? What's the story?

Well, to simplify, in order to light a fire, you use a tinderbox on some logs. Your character will animate a bit, and then a fire is made. To assist in the animation, your character is automatically moved one space to the west. Because, you know, it would just look ridiculous if they lit a fire and just proceeded to stand in it.

Since this was the only way to get Firemaking experience, players found sections of the Runescape world that were these big long straight lines so they could more-or-less automate that process. Rather than moving themselves around repeatedly, they simply lit the fire, let the character walk on their own, and light another. And so on.

It's not a fad, it's a system born purely out of efficiency.

Let me take you guys back in time. A way ways back.

Before the days of moss giants and lesser demons (yeah, a WAY ways back), we didn't have much to fight. That being the case, our skills were not that high. Our hitpoints wandered the range of level 10-20.

Naturally, with weak stats and armor, we needed food to keep fighting. Fortunately, items like raw chicken, beef, and rat was always a viable food source because of how easy it was to get. There were plenty of chickens, cows, and rats wandering around, and collecting their meat was mandatory for us to continue our training our combat.

And training our cooking skill. This is before we even had Fishing as a skill, folks. Apple Pie was a prestige food back then, and not burning every second and third meat was a dream on its own. Yeah, the demand for food was very high.

Like Cooking, Firemaking is also one of Runescape's oldest skills. We used to only have one type of tree. Cut the tree, one type of log. Light the log, we got a fire. What do we do with the fire? Cook chicken, or beef, or rat. That was it. Lighting a fire was a convenience. One that helped supply us with the food and experience we needed to get better.

Like Cooking, first time Firemakers will notice that at a low level, sometimes it takes a while to light a fire. When it takes a while to light the fire, suddenly the convenience isn't as convenient. There were players out there who would actually hire good Firemakers to follow them around and light fires on demand so they could drastically improve their cooking. It became a collaborative effort.

Back in the days of really old Runescape Classic, we didn't have banks to stockpile thousands of logs to withdraw. What had happened was we usually had to chop down the trees ourselves, and them immediately light them. That was the best way to get Firemaking experience.

In my own early years, I remember I would spend hours up in Lumbridge castle tower lighting up the log spawns up there. They spawned each minute, allowing me to light them, then pick up a round, then light the next. And so on. Once my inventory was full, I'd just light them up around the rest of the tower while waiting for them to spawn. This got me to a nice high Firemaking level, and I could light fires first try every time. Prestige.

When Fishing came out, and there was a huge demand for Firemakers on the ports of Karamja (there weren't any trees with wood there), Firemaking as a skill actually became profitable for a while.

Alright, so what am I getting at with this story?

In a nutshell, even back then there was a legitimate need to train Firemaking. So naturally, players would not only train their skills, but try other things to improve how they trained their skills.

They balanced three aspects: Speed; how fast the experience comes in, Ease; how much effort and focus it takes, and Accessibility; how readily players are able to actually apply this method of training.

Speed was simple. There was only one way to train Firemaking; lighting logs on fire. So, naturally, this was the fastest way to train it.

Ease was a little more interesting.

Back in Runescape Classic, Firemaking had a different behaviour. You had to physically drop the logs from your inventory, then click the tinderbox, then click the logs on the ground. Once the fire was lit, that was it; your character was left standing in the fire. To optimize this training method, players would walk around while repeatedly dropping logs in their wake, then walk back the log trail and use the tinderbox on them one by one.

I actually remember there used to be troll players who would actually sabotage players trying to train like this by either lighting their logs for them, or even better, picking the logs up themselves. There wasn't much of an item spawn delay back then.

When Runescape 2 (now called Old School) came out, the Firemaking animation changed. Players made an animation for a moment, stepped one space to the west (actually, I think it used to be north at one point), and they lit a fire. If they stepped west in the right spot, then they were already in a spot to light another fire, which saved them having to manually move to the next spot. This mind-blowing breakthrough made people realize; if we could find a very long line of empty squares going to the west, it would be the ideal Firemaking training method.

This method carried onto Runescape 3, and was later joined by the bonfire method to help promote AFK training. Because that's what we want; to have to play the game less to play the game.

As for Accessibility, the best place to have these west-facing strips was within a bountiful forest so players could chop more logs. Or nearby a bank, when that became a thing. Actually, in Runescape Classic, a lot of the banks were actually really big, open, empty spaces for exactly that reason. Gave players a lot of room to train Firemaking.

So, you got to see a lot of burning banks back in the day.

... which, in retrospect, was a lot better than what I used to do to them.

So what's the appeal of line Firemaking? Runescape 2 nostalgia, nothing more. It was the way to train Firemaking back in the days after Runescape Classic, which had its own variation of line Firemaking. If you've gotten good with training via bonfire, I recommend you continue to do so.

Until next time,

Cheers, cannoneers!

7 years later and we finally rebuild Edgeville! Also discussion of compacted jewellery disappearing and patch notes, building a backlog of updates including a guild rework. Finally, an update on changes to the Mining & Smithing design.

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Duration: 2:02:52

5 Steps to Harmony with Jagex

posted by Shane on 12 April 2018 at 15:20 | Discuss on our Forums

Jagex has always been the victim of the swinging pendulum known as the RuneScape community. There are days where the community loves Jagex and there are days where the community absolutely loathes Jagex. Keeping the pendulum in balance results in harmony for both sides. Here at Informer and Update we would like to believe that we aim to keep the pendulum in the middle. But more importantly, if that pendulum swings too far to the loathsome side, that’s bad news for Jagex. That happened in 2017, even though it may not have been fully warranted.

2018 needs to be a year of victories for Jagex. The importance of a victory is that it builds morale within the company and builds trust within the community. Jagex is well on their way to accomplishing this: Aura Bag, Clue Scroll Overhaul, Deep Sea Fishing, and Pieces of Hate. These are bread and butter updates that benefit the community and in large part were released without issue. This is important not only for these updates but the updates we will see later in the year and in 2019. Remember this as the First Act.

Remember back to the day when a Behind the Scenes news post was a luxury. One of the first regular Behind the Scenes news posts was for Desert Month when the Desert Treasure quest was released. After that it become common occurrence to have a Behind the Scenes or Month Ahead news posting. After that we moved up to “Week Ahead” videos for a while and then back to a Month Ahead post as we have right now. As a player of RuneScape I would love no more than to be surprised with each update that arrives to the game. Unfortunately that’s not possible anymore, the hype that can be built from Month Ahead videos and posts, live streams, and revealing tweets is too valuable.

This is not to suggest that abandoning these videos would be a good idea in 2018. I would like it but that’s just me in my own desires to make certain segments of the community suffer and for myself to be happy and surprised each week. It would also make producing Update and Informer a lot harder. All in all it’s probably something that we can’t go back to at this point. The point of this discussion is that with a little bit of hard work, Jagex can get the community back to a point where surprise updates would be tenable. If we were at a point where surprise updates were tenable Jagex would be able to do a lot more with their current release and communication strategy. For example, Jagex would be able to make updates to combat (such as removing primary materials from drops) with greater ease.

To get to this point, building trust and morale is the first step as we’ve seen so far in 2018. The Second Act is to engage in large community based design (i.e. Prifddinas). We see this so far happening with the Mining & Smithing rework as well as the upcoming Player Owned Farm update. Jagex has been incredibly open with these updates and their designs while still maintaining creative control over and not letting them fall to the mob. If these two updates are executed successfully Jagex will have successfully tested and implemented a new development strategy without telling players.

Why is this important? Every major idea in the Mining & Smithing rework and Player Owned Farm will be run through a JMod before being prototyped and brought into existence. Gone will be the days of a blank cheque given to the community in the form of a RuneLabs idea and Jagex being forced to create whatever was listed (i.e. Waterfall fishing). Jagex presents a general direction that they want to go (update Mining & Smithing) and they take in all the community input and discard ideas that don’t fit within their general design. What’s effectively happening here is that Jagex has the final design and objectives that they want to accomplish which is great. But what’s happening is the community submits the ideas, Jagex takes the great ones, massages ones that need work, and discards the crazy. That’s called player driven design without a blank cheque.

To recap, morale and trust has been building within Jagex and the community. If the Mining & Smithing rework along with the Player Owned Farm are successful (by a metric that Jagex is free to allow the community to set blindly), Jagex will have unencumbered themselves from the era of RuneLabs and Power to the Players (Player Power). So what does this mean? This means that for the Third Act Jagex is free to do whatever they want, that may have been completely unimaginable in 2017. And what may this be? Well, this could very well be removing primary drop materials from NPC drop tables while seeking input from the community. Jagex would state their end objective: removal of primary skill drops from NPCs and bosses. The community would offer suggestions which creatures to target first as well as their replacements (both items in-game currently and new items that have similar value). And what does Jagex do if a crazy idea comes in? Throw it away! What if a decent idea comes in but needs work? Adapt it to their vision! What if the perfect idea comes in? Use it as is! Everything accepted must conform to Jagex’s grand design and players must be lead to a point of acceptance by utilizing their feedback.

What does our Fourth Act look like, the climax? Well, the climax in this adventure results from Jagex hitting the marks mentioned and at the tail end of 2018 starting on a surprise update. The idea behind this is that Jagex will have learned a great deal about the community in 2018 to the point where they can read what’s going on better than ever before. If need be Jagex can solicit ideas in general for their surprise update by occasionally asking pointed questions. Before RuneScape High Detail came out in the summer of 2008 Jagex began updating in-game graphical assets and asking players about the specifications of their computers. These two things tipped me off on the podcast back then that something was coming that was going to change RuneScape, then we got RuneScape High Detail. Prior to the teasers being released not many guessed this. This is the kind of pointed questioning that could be used. At the end this would culminate in the release of a large update on the scale of Construction or Prifddinas that’s a complete surprise to players, and the majority (vocal or not) would enjoy it.

The conclusion (Act 5) is harmonious. If all goes as planned, Jagex will have gone from a case of having effectively zero community trust to pulling off some of the biggest updates in game history in the span of 18 months. Jagex will have a boat load of new metrics in house that they can use to develop game content for the next 2 years (or more). Jagex will know how to position an update and how to ask for feedback on building it. The community will trust Jagex more than they do today and way more than they did in 2017 (but not absolutely). The players (in majority, silent or not) will get the updates that they want. The players will have a closer relationship with Jagex as a result of this collaboration. At the end of the day, this could be very transformational for the game development industry.