Prestige is the shadow of money and power. - C Wright Mills
A development blog recently announced that at some point in November a prestige system will be implemented into Runescape. You will be able to level your favourite skills that are currently 99 all the way through starting back at level 1. Most people will agree that something like this is long overdue. Devblogs are rarely ever set in stone and are always vague, but this rightfully opens up lots of questions and thoughts about how this could impact the game. Let's take a look at prestige based on what the blog divulged.
High Scores Will Recognize Effort, Not Age
As the high scores work presently, the rankings are based on who got that certain amount of XP first. With the prestige system, the high scores will be based on who has worked the hardest and not just who has been around the longest. When you reach 99 and choose to prestige, your high score will give you a prestige of one, but take you back to level 1. You will, however, be above someone that has 99, regardless of their total XP in the skill. If someone has 200M XP in a skill, you with your measly 14M XP will still supersede them in the high scores. That keeps the high scores fresh with current players more chance to raise higher - above those accounts that have sat at the same XP for years. Don't worry though, the old method based on total XP will still exist.
To set apart those who prestige even more, there will be a collective prestige high scores, with total amount of times you've prestige being ranked. If you prestige all your skills, like the singular skill's table, you will get a 1 for total times prestiging all your skills, and you will appear above those who have prestige a single skill over and over. To add to the challenge, each level of prestige will take twice the XP of the previous level, truly rewarding those who are working hard now with a spot on the high scores.
The drawback here is that those active players that have, say, 40M XP in a skill, will essentially lose that progress under the prestige system. As it was stated, the XP you gained before the prestige system is wiped out, and everyone starts back at 0. So unless they do some sort of introductory XP transfer, those of you with 50, 100, or 200M XP are out of luck on the prestige high scores.
A Never Ending Grind
By far the largest complaint (besides the above paragraph) is that folks feel that this makes Runescape never ending - that there will be point to say that you have "beat" the game, but that's the point. The community is so overrun with people who are flooded with nostalgia. They want to play quests over. They want to get a 99 again. They want to go back to the challenging aspect of playing with limitations on XP and items they can create. This means all those people (minus the quest lovers) can relive the all the pleasures of making prayer potions and smelting cannonballs not out of necessity but because that's the best thing they can do in a skill. I don't personally miss that, but I can see where some people might get a kick out of it. If they decide it is just too painful, it will be possible to swap back to level 99, perhaps at a cost.
Runescape has never had an "end game" situation. One can argue a Completionist Cape is the end, but with content coming out every week and where maybe once a month they make something required for that cape that will take numerous hours, there will always be something to do. 200M XP isn't the end of a skill. You don't get anything fancy, no new abilities, nothing. Level 99 isn't even the "end" of the skill, but it is the only true ultimate goal of a skill. Having prestige merely prolongs and allows you to experience this over and over. This doesn't and shouldn't take away from playing the game for enjoyment as it stands now. This shouldn't turn people away from the game, if anything it'll draw all the people who quit due to boredom to come back.
One Player's Trash is Another's Needed Resource
The economic impact that this will do to the economy should be a major discussion. On one hand, we could see thousands of players using up previously garbage resources like iron ore, low level herbs, and logs that provide a great new source of revenue for low level players to make money, where prestiged players sink and burn money to level from bottom to top again. These prestige players then would output resources that others would need, making the supply and demand shift so that some resources would see a change that allows levelling methods not only stable but perhaps profitable again.
On the other hand, we may see thousands of new noob skillers sucking up resources that already don't have enough suppliers, causing currently cheap and low level resources to be outrageously high due to deep pocketed prestige players. Consider the following. Just because you're a low level prestiged player in Fletching doesn't mean you are low level in Woodcutting. You probably won't go chop a willow tree with a Dragon Hatchet to fulfill your need for that level in Fletching. You'll buy them and thanks to your recent Nex trip where you got 2 drops, money is no option. This has the potential to cause massive price manipulation to resources. Gems are already in a state that their end products aren't enough to justify buying and using them to skill with, because no matter what you make with them you lose money. There's a potential for an unbalance, because not everyone will start fresh. While you have prestiged lvl 40 cooking, you may only have non prestige 80 fishing, which is no help or a waste of time if you gather the lobsters to cook. The amount of players catching the lobsters may not be able to keep up with those wanting to cook them.
One can only hope Jagex does, or already has done, extensive research to know which direction the economy will go in. We can only hope that the first option is the direction things go in, because we're in trouble if it's not.
In the End, It Really Doesn't Matter
Your view on prestige really comes down to your own playing style. If you like a skill or several skills, by all means keep levelling and having fun. If you are content with your 99s, don't participate and keep your skills as they are. Prestige, besides the economic impact, will ultimately be a personal player option. They've already said you can switch between your prestige level and your 99 at will, you can't switch randomly in PVP, and ultimately won't impact anyone but yourself. There's still a lot of questions and things we don't know exactly how it will work, but anything that gets players back to doing things they love I'm all for.
This was originally posted as an Informer Runescape