We unpack the departure of Mods Warden, Kari, and Niku. Mod Warden has also shared a statement with us and we’ll share it with you. Speculation about the future of RuneScape is also on tap this week with that and news that the duel arena is going away.
Today I want to talk a bit about skilled content. "But Cireon", I hear you all ask me, "surely that's a typo and you mean skilling content?" No, I actually want to talk about skilled content. Before we can do that though, we need to define what skilled content actually is. So let's start with a definition: skilled content is content that requires practice and/or learning to be played in an effective manner. Oof, that's a mouthful, but what does it mean? Well, some content in RuneScape you can just play by heading to the place, and doing the thing. You don't need to really understand the mechanics in detail or use any special gear, just show up and dig in. This is unskilled content, because no skill is needed. On the other hand, some content requires you to know what you're doing, or you're going to be completely ineffective. You need to read up on mechanics, or be taught by someone else, i.e. develop the skills to play this content: this is called skilled content.
The best way to get an idea of what skilled content means is by looking at some examples. Many skills are unskilled content: Woodcutting, Mining, Fishing all don't require you to read up on a wiki article before getting started. Just grab your hatchet, pickaxe, or fishing rod, and click the skilling node. You can become more effective by knowing what you are doing, for sure, but not knowing how to optimize your Mining to the tick doesn't lock you out of the skill altogether. Conversely, many bosses are skilled content: if you show up to Araxxor or Nex with no idea what you're doing, you're going to fail pretty horribly. You need to practice, read about the mechanics and strategies, get somebody to teach you, or - most likely - a combination of these.
Skilled and unskilled content may sound like two nice buckets to group content into, but it isn't always easy to categorize content. Clue scrolls and Dungeoneering are pieces of content that you can dig into without knowing much about it, but you're going to be really inefficient at it until you start learning some tricks and strategies (and in the case of group content, terminology). This is why in many design discussions you won't often hear the terms "skilled" and "unskilled". Instead, we talk about skill floors, and skill ceilings. A skill floor is the minimum amount of skill needed to play content effectively, whereas a skill ceiling is the maximum amount of skill needed to get the most out of a piece of content. This brings us to an alternative definition of skilled content: skilled content is content that has a high skill floor.
A different way of categorizing content is by whether it is solo content, or group content. Don't worry, I won't spend as much time on this as I did on defining skilling content, as defining group content is pretty straightforward: group content is content that is typically played with more than one player.
So why did we go through the effort of defining all this? Because common terminology makes it easier to talk about things. There has been a trend within RuneScape to raise the skill ceilings of content, and in particular increase the amount of skilled content. It's not hard to see this, with communities such as the bossing school being more popular than ever. This development makes sense, as many players are now max level, and so rewards need to be gated in different ways. This poses a problem for casual players, because often - though not always - higher skill ceilings are accompanied by higher skill floors, meaning it takes a larger upfront cost (the practice and learning phase) to actually get something rewarding out of the content. This is why casual players typically limit themselves to only some content (specialists), or accept they'll only ever be half-decent at most content (generalists).
Skilled group content poses an even bigger challenge. Players with a large amount of time spent in-game will quickly be able to acquire the skills required to be effective at the new content, whereas a casual player will be struggling to keep up. Often, by the time the weekend arrives and I finally get around to playing the week's game update, many players have already turned into semi-professionals. As time goes by, players either move on from the content - making it harder to find groups - or players get so good, that to ask to join a group as a casual player feels like being a burden to the group: casual players lack the skills, and usually the expensive equipment to push that efficiency.
I was wary of the recent Croesus launch. I was judging it before playing it, and sorta avoided being dragged into it. In reality, I think I was just convincing myself I wasn't missing out on anything good, because I knew that come the weekend, most people would be working on shaving seconds of their personal records, and wouldn't be interested in teaching a noob like me how not to die. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who do drag me along, which is why I ended up enjoying the RSBANDB Patreon event where we got in a few kills. I would play more, but with only a couple of hours of time per week, the barrier to join a group and do the boss is high.
I am a big advocate of adding more group content to RuneScape. It's an MMORPG, multiplayer is part of its identity. For many years, RuneScape mostly released content that didn't make you feel like you needed other players to play with, quite the contrary actually. That is changing, but it is leading to new challenges due to the high skill floor that many new content updates have. Especially RuneScape's combat system has grown into such a complex web that requires knowledge of so many different abilities, use of many different items, mastery of techniques such as player flicking, and an understanding of concepts such as affinity and accuracy (something I wrote about already as early as 2019). While the Arch Glacor aimed to make bosses more accessible, they didn't make combat more accessible. The inclusiveness of modern content updates hinges on the willingness of expert players coming down a notch, and sharing their knowledge and experience with the more casual players. We are fortunate that the RuneScape community allows for this, but whether it is enough to prevent RuneScape from turning into a game that is fun only to those willing to invest (such as many MOBA and FPS games), time will only tell.
Ever had a Goblin community drill holes in your kitchen’s basement? Are your personal bridge guards being murdered by Goblins? Or perhaps you have a Goblin community building underground train-connections to far away Dwarven communities beneath your peaceful city?
Apply now to our open vacancies at the H.A.M. Association. Some may call us radicals, but we’re just a group of humans with some good ideas and a great sense for fashion! We’re devoted followers of the Lord Saradomin, who will stride towards creating a safer Gielinor for all humankind. (Writer’s Note: the H.A.M. organization is currently occupying my office, so this article is biased towards their propaganda. I will try to sneak in some “writer’s notes” to make it more factual).
Why should you join us, you ask? In the Year 164 of the Fifth Age, Asgarnia was attacked by a vicious monster. For a long while this monster, a Werewolf, terrorized innocent human travelers on the way from Taverley to Falador. As defenders of humankind we swore to end this tragedy, but we were sadly misinformed, and so Martin Thwait and his men burned down the wrong house. If we had received more support from the White Knights, we would definitely have given Doric a warning before burning down his hopes and dreams. The moral of the story however is that monsters terrorize Gielinor and we need all the help we can get to rid ourselves of this plague. (Writer’s Note: you were convinced that a dwarf was responsible for these attacks, who were clearly done by a werewolf? Sounds more like you used it as an excuse to get rid of him.)
What do we do? We’re very skilled movers, as we’ve moved our entire underground base across a river. Furthermore we take action to protect the people of Gielinor. For example, our legendary member Sithik Ints. This man recruited a fellow called Brentle Vahn to bring a necromancing bomb to the Ogre burial grounds south of Yanille. Thanks to his work the undead Ogre returned to kill the living ones. How convenient was that? Sadly the now so called “World Guardian” put an end to that plan, and our hero Sithik is imprisoned as an Ogre in Yanille. The poor man has been turned into a monster, how cruel. (Writer’s Note: who knew a mad man would get imprisoned for starting an ogre genocide).
Besides regular members, we’re also looking for influential people like a Duke, King or a rich family head to support our course. Our last patron, Duke Horacio, revoked his support after signing a peace treaty with the recently discovered tribe of Cave Goblins known as the Dorgeshuun. Sigmund, the former advisor of the Duke presented evidence that these Goblins stole from the Duke. That darn World Guardian intervened again and somehow “proved” to the Duke that it was a ruse by Sigmund to incite a war between Lumbridge and Dorgeshuun. (Writer’s Note: I mean, Sigmund literally had the stolen silverware stashed in his personal chest.) The cave goblins are supposedly peaceful, and yet we found the World Guardian and a Goblin girl named Zanik trespassing in our hideout. The Goblin girl shot at least four of our favourite guards. After ridding ourselves of that Goblin we decided to rid ourselves of the problem that is the Cave Goblins in the most humane method possible; We tried to flood their caves. Unfortunately, the World Guardian escaped and even revived that Goblin with help of a giant snake called Juna. Together they destroyed our magnificent and very expensive drill, and attempted to murder the great Sigmund. Sigmund, unafraid as the man was, attacked the murderous Goblin tribe to the north of Falador. Here, he once again faced Zanik and managed to capture her. Instead of ending her life immediately, he tied her to the train track. Her death would derail the train and incite a war between the Dorgeshuun and Keldagrim, ridding ourselves of two problems at the same time. Alas, the World Guardian meddled with these plans once again and Sigmund barely escaped with his life. (Writer’s Note: I really don’t see how you guys can call Sigmund a hero. All of his plans were to start a war and kill hundreds of innocents).
With these recent defeats our morale has been low. Some have even spoken about giving the Goblins a chance. For example, my buddy the merchant, Walton, traveled to the Goblin city to sell his goods. (Writer’s Note: Walton was a member of the H.A.M.) For some miraculous reason, Goblin children became very ill during his stay down there, so they blamed him for it. (Writer’s Note: Maybe because Walton poisoned the food he sold to the goblins?) He was supposed to get a fair trial, so I had faith that he would be freed of all charges in a matter of time. I was wrong. The cold-hearted goblin Zanik murdered him before he made it back to the surface. (Writer’s Note: remember that Zanik was possessed by Bandos at that point. Also she got exiled for this deed) That’s not all though. Sigmund was staying with our brethren of the Ardougne branch. While he was interrogating the criminal Goblin, Grubfoot, Zanik attacked the base in the name of the War God, Bandos. (Writer’s Note: possessed actually) Sadly, this time Sigmund did not make it out alive. To add insult to injury they unveiled a statue in honour of the World Guardian and Zanik, the two monsters that have been the cause of all our problems.
As you can see, we need new members and new powerful patrons to help us save the Human race from these monsters. You may wonder what we’re up to right now; Currently we’re recruiting which is why we’re currently holding this month’s Forgotten Lore writer hostage, so we can post this advertisement of our magnificent movement instead! Join H.A.M. now, we have pink merch!
~H.A.M. recruiting manager.
(Writer’s Note: Thank you for reading this strange version of this month’s forgotten lore issue. I have to clarify that these people are cruel and also pretty lazy. Most of their plans are to have others do cruel things to non-human races. Another note: we really need better security in this office if even H.A.M. members are able to take control of it. See you all next month for Forgotten Lore XIV!)
Ninja Strike 27 brings changes to the bank, Agility click boxes, and the abyss - some good, some bad. We touch on accessibility for the game as a whole with focus on Croesus and share our thoughts on the most recent MTX experiments.
Croesus, RuneScape’s first skilling boss arrives and he’s a pretty fungi. We run through his mechanics, how to get a kill, how to fail, and what’s in store for public instances. We also touch on drops, accessibility, optimal tools and strats.