Not sure where else to place this feedback on future skill of the months, so placing it here until we see a new place formed.
Reasons to KEEP allowing combat skills to be as they are:
The Combat Conundrum -
1) Runescape has 3 Elite skills - slayer, dung, Invention, all of which almost require combat to be done 'properly'. There are ways around the best methods, but in theory these skills were designed to have combat involved in them.
2) Combat 'support skills', for lack of a better term, include Slayer, Prayer, and Summoning and arguably Hitpoints. Like the above, you sort of need to engage somehow in combat to 'best' train these skills. Yes, there are ways around this, but we are focusing on the 'design' of the skill.
3) Attack, Strength, Defense, Range, and Magic are the 'styles' we chose to attribute XP to. Hitpoints is kind of.. forced XP that comes along for the ride, ha ha ha. Defense is also diverse because we can train ANY of the styles to obtain its XP.
4) Looking at the above, if we combine all the categories that Jagex 'intended' you to use combat, this is a LOT of skills. 12 of the entire 27 skills - nearly HALF are combat related. If we are looking to 'portion' out the skills, it actually makes more sense to figure in a 50/50 chance or an every other month combat / non combat skill choice.
Non Combat Skilling Concerns:
So, you would rather never poke a bear or pk, and you hate to be told what monsters to go kill for your cash. Infact, if we could just sit on the beach and soak up the sun or chop down some trees for the rest of our life, that'd be great! Infact, they call it 'SKILL' of the month, so can we please just make combat go away? I mean, 15 of the 27 'skills' are actually... skills, not glorified monster poking, and they do not affect my pure's ability to enjoy the game. Let's JUST skill. Everyone can do it, no one needs to be a great clicker who can prayer flash, whatever that is, and it doesn't require a ton of money in supplies. Right? Right!?!
But Luke! If we did solely skills, or even 9 of the 12 months on skills, it would be way more fair!
Okay. I am just going to make 2 'piles' of skills.
Invention <-- [oh shut up Luke, that skills is way unbalanced for skillers and shouldn't be included in this. It also has high requirements to access it. I concede it to the combat category, so take it away.
Dungeoneering [Okay Luke, I get it, this skill also requires me to either be combat efficient, or have friends who will let me just ride along and maybe afk to game of thrones. Fine, we can leave it out of the 'skilling' category, too.]
Notice the 2 Piles. Of the 15 [non elite skills designed by Jagex that you can pick up at any moment and do these skills without frontloading combat somehow, we produce an interesting problem.
Suppose that we run the lotto of possible skills as 9 a year are non combat. Out of the 15 Remaining skills, we have another uneven proportion. 7 of these skills, cost little to no money. But 9 of these skills, basically favor whoever has the largest bank. [Probably someone with high PVM or Slayer tbh.]
My concern, is that if we shuffle off to Buffalo with a new regime, we actually have to draw skills from 2 different 'piles' - otherwise we are going to hear 'omg it's always a buyable! Buyables aren't fair!'
And this brings me back to my original thoughts...
If we start categorizing skills based on some random perception of fairness - say combat or money, we are actually cutting out a lot of potential enjoyment. Someone is always going to find a reason to whine. Guaranteed. I have won the Skill of the Month 10 times now. [Other players have also won this many times], and I also heard plenty of undertones about how often I do, or do not win. I have been asked if I bought the xp with TH keys or if I had xp laying about from a minigame. People look at my 200m construction xp and assume I am one of those billionares with cash to spare so 'why even sign up because Luke is going to just win anyway. Sigh.]
If you actually look up the most efficient xp/ hr for skills, my 20m thving xp last month was actually pretty paltry. at 700k + per hour, I basiucally spent less than 1 hour a day on average actually training the skill of the month, and I [b]still won[/.] Yep. Barely any effort.
Last February we had fishing. Touchpad, Myself, and Undoer all threw in everything we had. We competed to the last day. I won because they both ran out of xp potential, lol. But had they not, I may not have actually won. But I think we each spent near 6+ hours a day on this skill of the month.
My point is, everyone has a different motivator. Mine? This year I said I wanted to gain the MOST XP in all the combined competitions. I realized that I very soon want to have all 200ms and every 200m I get, is yet another competition I am 'locked out' of. After being in a painful car accident, I didn't even log in in June and I barely played in May when we had a cooking competition [yay a 200m I already have!]. But I also looked at XP Rates and unfortunately, some of these months, even where I won, I only needed an average of 1 hour a day playtime focused on the skill to win. I prefer to camp skills straight through, so some days I obviously played more and some I may not have even logged in.
I lagged on the Theiving competition, on purpose, kind of. Dwarf traders being nearly 1,000,000 XP/Hr meant that ANYONE could get a ton of xp and switch out that result. In the last 4 days, we could have seen anyone else with the same quests done that I had, beat me by 10-20m xp. But, we didn't.
So, if we are going to compete, let's take a deep breath, and focus on doing our best. But if you are a daily player and you actually want to 'win', then maybe try to put in an hour [or more] a day into the skill. That's if you wanted to win. But some people sign up for other reasons. To motivate them to log in, or to try for a 99, or a 120, or hell, a 200m.
Whatever skill is chosen, someone out there is going to be motivated. Combat, Buyables, heck a whole year of the gathering non money costing skills [though we could buy silverhawk feathers for agility], won't matter. The best part of the skill of the month, is knowing, that literally ANYTHING could be chosen, and I like knowing this. It gets me excited at the end of the month and it makes me excited to log in and do something fun. I have made some epic friends by hanging out in the Bitsbytes Friendschat and by training together. And at the end of the day, it should be fun, regardless of the result.
So, my vote, again, is to keep doing what we have been doing. And either way, I will see you all in next year's competitions and make the most out of it. The skill of the month is what has always brought me to this community because no other fansite or community has gotten it right. I'd hate to see it change, but I will not be deterred if it means more time crafting or mining instead of wondering how many charms I will wish I had.