2016 has been a pretty good year for Runescape. With the release of the new client, the game is posed to really take on new feats that were never possible before. Even saying this, the continued waning of the Java client until it is completely dropped is the next big step that will remove any limitations to current update releases. Today I want to talk about what direction I would like to see Jagex take the game in 2017 and 2018. I feel I need to add 2018 to this as I am assuming that 2017 is mostly written in stone at this point.
Jagex is moving towards a larger update like elf city every quarter to semester of the year. This is a huge change already which will take a lot of development time. I hope that this will also mean that the content will be more nested together in a way to prevent dead content. The release of Menaphos is the first major update that we are aware of and I could imagine that 2017 will be themed very heavily with desert style updates similar to summers of old. I like this approach as long as the ninja team can maintain other areas of the game that are supremely dated. I think that this will become a bigger issue when the Java client is dropped and there and the content presumably takes a leap in quality and graphics style. Jagex has developed an art style for the game over the years that is unlikely to change and it needs to stay that way.
I think If Jagex tries to do anything incredible that they need to set that as their ceiling for quality so the rest of the game has a chance to catch up. There are so many missed areas still that are in dire need of a tweak. I would almost argue that there needs to be an initiative to take care of old dead content similar to the Rat Pits in order to make sure that there is not extra work that can be potentially missed. If Jagex plays their cards right, we will see slight improvements to the NXT client than the ones we have seen already and the rest of the game coming up to standard for a ceiling of graphical quality that Jagex artificially sets over the course of 2017 and 2018.
Dead content. I touched on this very briefly but if the content is dead and looks super dated, find out why, if it's just the rewards then tweak them. If it's because the game isn't a challenge for anyone, tweak it. If it's neither, strip it out. The game is becoming packed to the brim with content that is now noticeable on the world map. Stretching the map out is obviously too big of an undertaking, but something needs to be done here. Everything is coming so close together for lack of room that it begins to ruin the immersion for me. NXT is capable of handling a larger world and I think that this is the direction that Jagex really needs to consider taking. I wish I had a good solution to this but a western continent with the full focus being sent there would create more and more dead content on the mainland. If it was feasible to stretch the world, I would set a small team on getting it done even if they only did one area small area at a time. As time passes this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue for me that ruins a sense of adventure between cities that is mentioned in Betrayal at Falador. They could double or triple even everything except for structures in the game. By structures I mean the cities and buildings that already exist making the areas in between more forest like or desolate. I don't think that cities need to be expanded and it wouldn't be hard to write in trees and hills into the game that it currently already has between cities. The thing that would honestly take the most time is tweaking the treasure trails and the quest hot-spots that are in these areas between towns in game.
I commend Jagex for taking a risk with the bank rework. They have told us this is dated code that could blow up a lot if done wrong. As a developer, I know that working with critical parts of anything is dangerous. But the technical debt here is mounting and it's time to make it healthy and less cumbersome so we can see better things come from bank updates and make it easier to use for players. I am not going to say much else on this because we will be hearing about it in the future.
As for the Mining and Smithing rework, I am getting more and more excited for this with every release of a developer blog. I think that Jagex can really set themselves up for success if they want to start moving skills to 120. I hope to see this mid next year and would love to try out all the methods that they have added and also see how it will effect drop value from bosses.
I could probably go on for hours about things that I want to see in the 2017 and 2018 years of Runescape but the biggest ones are just taking care of an aging infrastructure similar to how they took care of an extremely dated client. So I am curious as to what everyone else would like, no idea is too large to dream of so let me know below. But thank you Jagex for a great year in Runescape a good way to celebrate this many years of the game. It's not time to stop revitalizing and improving those old areas of the game. thank you everyone who has taken the time to read any of my articles throughout the year. And "I will be back".