Archaeology, the 28th skill is here! We cover the tutorial, core gameplay, dig sites, lore, mysteries, xp rates, and rewards including relics, ancient summoning, and ancient invention. Also, I already have my 120 Archaeology cape, we’ll talk about what happened.
The first Yak Track of 2020 is here! We go through the rewards and a majority of the cosmetics are on the free track. We learn more about Archaeology rewards and then we have a roundup of all the lore you need to be aware of heading into Archaeology.
Despite a late game update we have patch notes on the first time user experience, big game hunter dinosaurs, and more. Also, a live stream showing more Archaeology game play and Mod Warden stops by the stream for an unexpected chat highlighting the roadmap and more.
A lot is going on in the world today. Everywhere you look, life has changed dramatically in a small period of time. In these trying times, keeping a sense of normalcy is important. That is why this month instead of talking about the elephant in the room or the world for that matter, we are going to talk about double XP weekend. Double XP weekend has a rich tradition in RuneScape. It has always been very special to the players but has also changed over time. Double XP weekends went from a decaying experience timer to a flat out double experience weekend, to what we have now which is a double experience weekend extended. It is often said that when one door closes another one opens. That is the case with a double XP weekend. The days of trying to get as little sleep as possible are over, and with it the end of an era, however, every end is a new beginning and the era of double XP weekend extended has just begun.
When double XP weekend first started they weren't called double XP weekends though all. They were referred to as bonus experience weekends. This meant you had a multiplier that would decay over time as you are logged in. You only had a certain amount of bonus experience available to you, and it usually didn't last more than a day or so at best. With that being said, you did find the beginnings of strategies of what skills to train, and the best way to get the most out of the bonus experience you had, these weekends were extremely limited though. Many of the things we take for granted now were not eligible to be trained back during bonus experience weekends. These early forerunners of what we know to be double experience weekends were extremely restrictive. You could not train Prayer or Summoning and in many experiences boosting items did not work. This was a period before 2012 and there were much fewer items that would boost your experience. Overall the bonus experience weekends were pretty egalitarian. It didn't matter if you were a hard-core player or a casual player. You had the same multiplier and the same amount of time. It was so short that most players were able to use it up with no problem.
Jagex took the gloves off in 2012. This was the first year we had a true double experience weekend. There was no multiplier just straight double XP. Double XP weekend would start on Friday morning and run until Monday. This gave players three days of double XP. Not only that, like a conservative politician, they also got rid of regulation and restrictions that had been in place in the past. You could now train Summoning and Prayer albeit not at your Gilded Altar. There were also a host of XP boosting items and gear that was no longer prohibited. This was the golden era of double XP weekend they became almost cultural events. Players would plan and save skilling supplies all through the year just to be able to train at these times. A wealth of guides, videos, and streams was born to help people in their endeavors. Many players with full-time jobs would request Friday off. Many more players would plan their meals ahead of time so as to reduce as much XP loss as possible, this was a time when players would push themselves as hard as they could, sleep as little as they could, and push themselves to the limits.
Double XP weekend was something all the players could rally behind. At a time when the community seems to be fracturing this was one thing that brought us all back together, it was wonderful to see your friends list light up from people that hadn't been on in a long time. Voice chat servers would be full and it was a time to catch up with friends. Gone were the days of a trickle-down multiplier. The good times were here and we were gorging on XP. Hard-core players benefited the most from these double XP weekends. These are the players that push themselves, so they gave it all they had during these times.
By 2019, it wasn't uncommon to see someone put up 300 million XP over a double XP weekend. That sounds incredible, however, the players that were doing this were pretty incredible to begin with, of course with the hard-core players giving all they had they gave the rest of us something as well, in many ways efficiency-scape was born out of these weekends. There were only three days after all, and it was a job want to maximize your efficiency and get as much experience as possible. This is where we learn how to stack refer-a-friend bonuses, avatars, skilling outfits, pulse cores, urns and anything else we could get our grubby little hands on to maximize our performance. This was the time of the high score chaser the hard-core player the quintessential no lifer reigned supreme. These were some of my favorite times in-game, and some of my favorite memories come from these weekends. All good things must come to an end, however, and after a seven-year run change was on the horizon.
In November 2019 Jagex held the first double XP weekend extended. This was a new twist on the traditional double XP weekend where players would have a certain amount of hours of double XP to be used over 10 days. Jagex had delved deep into their analytics to find the right number of hours to give everyone. The number they came up with was 36. They told the players that most of them used this amount of time, and it was only a very small percentage that went beyond 36 hours. The reaction from players was for the most part very positive. Most players loved having the flexibility to play as they saw fit. The fact that you could spread your double XP time over 10 days was pretty freeing. The one issue players had was the 36-hour number. Although many players didn't dispute that the majority of them used that amount of time it still felt like they were losing something given that a two day weekend would have yielded 48 hours. All in all double XP weekend extended was a pretty big success. It was evident that the players were ready for a change. That's not something RuneScape players are known for. Still, other players thought that this would be nothing more than an experiment and the traditional double XP weekend would be back in no time. That didn't end up being the case. The fact was double XP extended was a success and improved upon in February 2020.
Jagex did learn and make improvements to the double XP weekend extended in February. One thing that was noticed the first time around was that players were reluctant to change what they were doing even when brand-new content was available to them during that time. Farming and Herblore were extended to 120; unfortunately, if you had stocked up and prepared to train something else during the double experience it prevented you from participating in the new content. So needless to say Jagex doesn't release big updates during this time anymore. Another change that was made was to give players a full 48 hours of double experience. Whether this was needed or not didn't matter. What mattered was it gave players the feeling of having a full weekend and it also gave Jagex the appearance of listening to player feedback. It was a win for everyone. That being said the most hard-core of our community were limited to 48 hours of double experience. This was in part an exercise in Jagex's new duty of care strategy. This meant Jagex realized that some players were going overboard and pushing themselves too far. While this had always been a personal responsibility issue in the past, Jagex decided to be proactive with the care of their players. On one hand, this did put a damper on the celebratory nature of double XP weekend. Players didn't feel compelled to have to play over those three days and could do it at their leisure, therefore we didn't see the same kind of communal experience we once shared. However, the freedom and flexibility of double XP extended let the casual players shine. Now instead of doing a 12 to 18-hour marathon session, players could just put in a few hours a day and use up their double XP. This was perfect for the casual gamer who in many cases gained more experience from double XP extended than they ever did during traditional double XP weekend.
Double XP weekend has changed over time, and with the end of the traditional double XP weekend, it is the end of an era. Double XP weekend extended however has just begun. The time of the casual player is now, and we can expect going forward to see more changes in that direction. Along with that, we will also see more measures that will be in place protecting players from themselves. Whether you agree with that or not it is the way that it is going to be for the foreseeable future. I was hesitant at first about this new way of doing double XP weekend. However, I put in more time and received more experience this time around than I ever did before. While I miss seeing the voice chat servers full and my friend's list of over three days I do appreciate the change that was made. Now Jagex will have to rely on quality content to bring players back to the game, and maybe that is as it should be. Until next time, Happy RuneScaping.
We've not seen much from the Ninja Team around the end of 2019. They seemed to have slowly been dwindling their updates to a couple of so minor things and, for a while, vanished entirely for a short while. Now, the Game Updates are excitedly referring to them with their latest rounds of fixes, no longer keeping their posts drowned in the big giant forum post that advertises weekly updates.
So what is the Ninja Team? No, it's not a team of assassins sent by the folks at Jagex to sneak into and remove trouble players in their own IRL homes as they sleep at night (pphh... sleep...). That would be silly. No, instead they are a group of developers and programmers whose primary job is to mess around with Runescape game code Game-Jam style and make cool things happen!
What kinds of cool things? Mainly quality-of-life updates. Better UI interfaces (make-X was a game-changer), fixing nonsense points (I'll miss being able to stack cannons), and the occasional OH-MY-GOSH-THAT-MAKES-THIS-SO-MUCH-EASIER update. You know, patch notes, except stuff you probably would actually care about. Need more space to store compost in the tool leprechaun? Does the fishing platform's deposit net have an annoying obstacle you can't surge through in the way? Send it over to them and they'll probably maybe take care of it!
Wait, though, what makes them stand apart from the rest of the development team? Specifically, the fact that they work on these Quality of Life updates rather than generate whole new content in the form of skills, mini-games, and QUESTS! You'll probably get an extra character interaction or two from the ninja team; they're not about creation, but instead modification. Fine-tuning things. If content developers were statue-carving chisels, they would be the sandpaper finishers.
You get the idea.
They get a cool name and their own spot on the weekly updates section because their updates are usually a lot more pertinent to the every-day Runescapian player. Quite often fixes entail spelling corrections, graphical tweaks, and repairing quest content. Their stuff is more, "Lots of players are experiencing this when they do that, so how can we help make that easier to do this?"
Quick and simple.
Except it's not. There's a lot of decision-making behind the scenes. What do the players actually need? What is worth the time and effort to do? Most importantly, will it break the game? For a small team like them, this can be a very arduous planning process. They have to research into the player-base, pinpoint the trouble-points through thousands of feedback messages and subtle hints, and ultimately determine what actually needs to be done to make Runescape a better experience for all.
So, what are they going to do to help this process?
They are going to let us tell them what to do by their new "Dojo" feature (https://rs.game/ninja). It's basically a sub-site with the ability for us to submit ideas specifically to their team. Then they pick the best or most commonly requested ones and... they do them. Game-jam style.
Quick and simple.
Now, in theory this is a splendid idea. Players get to pitch their ideas to the ninja team and they effectively get to collaborate to get Runescape into the perfect game that everybody likes. Thing is, this is something I have seen done so many times before. Game developers trying their best to listen to their player-base and appease them as much as possible. Everybody working together in harmony.
The thing, though, is that players usually have no idea what they want. Or more specifically, they do not think of the repercussions of what the changes they want may have on the overall game.
For example, say one of the suggestions is to boost base player damage by 10% so that there's less waiting while fighting stuff. Sounds simple. Unfortunately, this simple change would make several of the main bosses in the game many many times easier, causing the prices for many of the higher tier weapons to drop due to availability. Then said players more easily obtain those weapons, their DPS becomes huge, and then they too start fighting these bosses and getting these drops. And just like that, tier 92 is no longer anything special; Jagex content creators have to come out with new bosses that drop tier 95 weapons super rarely and difficultly, and the other bosses become obsolete and fairly dead content (poor King Black Dragon), and the cycle renews.
But the ninja team is better than that. They're pros. They don't just obey the player-base blindly and think "oh, that's a cool idea, let's do that right now!". They know these sorts of repercussions and have the long arduous discussions nevertheless. In fact, this decision-making is usually why much of their updates often take so long to do; coding the game really doesn't take that much time. Although, at this point, I imagine Runescape has so much source code that these guys are just absolute gurus at this point.
To conclude, don't underestimate the ninja team. They've been doing this for a good long time. They deserve this recognition because they really contribute a lot to the game. They work just as hard, if not harder,
Until next time,