Tier 92 elite tectonic and sirenic armour is finally viable for PvM use! We also breakdown the latest from the Player Advocacy Group (PAG) and discuss PAG vs. game design. Finally, we detail the Tetracompass method of Archaeology training.
RuneScape Mobile is a product that players have been craving for years, well beyond the summer of 2017 when the project was first announced. Jagex has done an incredible job of making RuneScape run well from a performance angle on mobile devices, and we're are at the point with RuneScape Mobile likely being released this year that the focus has to turn to a critique of its usability. There’s a saying in the software engineering world, you can have all the performance in the world but if you have a bad user experience, you have nothing.
I have detailed the issues of the RuneScape Mobile client from a usability perspective a few times on the podcast now but we’ll go for a brief summary here. These are issues that don’t impede the performance of the app but severely inhibit how one feels while using the app.
Font rendering on the top level app interfaces is atrocious. If at any given time a player is interacting with the inventory and chat, there are three different fonts on screen at the same time. Font headings in the spell books, prayers, and skills interface are all different, and font sizes are different between the above mentioned font renderings. In the end, a player should not be subjected to multiple different font styles on an interface.
The buttons are also tiny. I have experienced the RuneScape Mobile beta on an iPhone 8 Plus which is a 5.5” screen at a resolution of 1920x1080; it's not a small phone. The tiny button problem is most exemplified by the bank interface. The chat and bank are no doubt the top two interfaces players interact with. Having a bank that has major usability problems is a huge no-no.
In the bank aside from withdrawing items, the most used feature is presets. Presets are designed with the desktop in mind, and currently the preset buttons are so tiny that it’s entirely possible to tap the wrong preset. This is the case for all buttons in the bank interface and also extends to the close and help buttons in the top right side of the bank interface among others. A player should not have to worry about tapping the wrong button on an interface.
Combat setup is more confusing on mobile than it ever was with the launch of the Evolution of Combat. At the bottom left of the interface always sits the button to toggle your action bar. This will present you with 14 quick fire ability buttons. You can also of course activate revolution. But the act of activating revolution and setting your revolution action bar is difficult.
To activate revolution one must go into the Powers interface and tap the sword and shield button in the lower left. On this page also sits two drop down menus for setting action bars. The drop down on the right sets your action bar that appears when pressing the combat button on the main game interface. The left drop down sets an action bar at the bottom of the powers interface. This is the revolution bar.
I want to preface this discussion by mentioning that everything in the last two paragraphs was discovered by me, by accident. I have played since 2004 and consider myself relatively informed when it comes to how revolution works in the main game. A player should not have to discover the interface by trial and error.
The intention as Jagex has laid out is to go to a full commercial launch of the RuneScape 3 Android and iOS mobile beta products later this year. The Apple App Store and Google Play Store are huge store fronts that will bring an influx of new users. Just recently Apple Sign-in was implemented in the iOS client. This means that anyone who downloads RuneScape 3 on iOS can start playing immediately.
This new flow of users will be accustomed to mobile games that are designed mobile first, and RuneScape is a game that is still desktop first and mobile support is nowhere near equal. The incoming user base aside from existing players are players that need a good first tutorial experience, a compelling game loop, and a good user interface on-boarding. RuneScape’s tutorial is ever evolving and is the subject of a different article. The game loop is highly dependent on skill, and the user interface is something the mobile team has direct control over.
The very fact that there are questions about font consistency and legibility, tapping the wrong buttons, and that interface elements are discovered by trial and error speak volumes for first time mobile users. A user shouldn’t have to deal with any of this the first time they launch a new game from the app store.
Apple users are very picky about iPhone applications (and Android users to a lesser degree are picky about their apps too). Applications on the iOS App Store that don’t behave like an iOS application should are often unsuccessful. Right now if RuneScape Mobile launched in its current state, for me, it would receive a rating of a maximum of 2 stars out of 5. The game performs well but its usability is severely lacking for what is expected in 2020 on a mobile application.
So! Yak Track! What a lousy idea!
Yes, the Yak Track makes a return. Again. It's got a Zarosian theme to it, but it's just a theme; little more. The event itself is more or less the same as it's always been.
50 levels of skill objectives, each with a good bounty of experience and stuff on completion. A sort of hardcore daily challenge list that one can strive through in the course of two weeks.
Not for me, though. With the previous Yak Tracks, I've not really had much interest in them. Basically they are meant to help give players something to do. An objective, if you will, spanning across the different skills of RuneScape, possibly even helping players try something new. And, being a veteran, I don't really have need for these things. To me, all it is is a glorified incentive to grind, and that's just not how I like to play the game. I do my dailies, I play quests, and I enjoy myself, not looking to show off or make any statements. Ergo, I'm not interested.
So, unless they can provide me some proper incentive, I don't think I'm ever going to invest myself into-
... OK. Alright. Alright, I'm interested. Doesn't seem like it would take much to get this little guy. Yeah, this might not be so bad. What sort of progress do I need to-
So! Yak Track! What a great idea!
I started off fairly strong. Only took a few minutes to half an hour for each task. The first ten go by quite satisfyingly quickly, and I did get a lot of experience lamps and stars for it, all things considered. Plus, it got me to use up some of the stuff I've been stockpiling since I never train any of those skills anymore. Seeing as I'm level 99 and all. Lost the need to train and grind. Bit sad, isn't it.
But it was nice, getting to do those things again, and seeing how some things change. For example, I didn't know you could craft dragonhide boots. That used to be a thing you could only get from Fist of Guthix. I don't even know when that changed. Pretty wild. Fishing, Cooking, and making potions also helped me to restock my depleting supply of equipment so I can go on slayer and reaper tasks again... which the Yak Track incentivizes me to do with Kill Monster and Complete Slayer Task assignments as well. It's like they thought of everything.
The tasks progressively get longer and more tedious, requiring more materials and a higher level. For example, where the earlier Crafting tasks let me make 400 green dragonhide boots, several levels down I had to make 700 black dragonhide boots (it only counts the thing made, not the materials used). One of them had asked me to make, and I kid you not, 1,555 items. Going bare-minimum on materials, I had to make 1,555 mahogany toy boxes. That's over 3,000 (protean) planks, over 50 flat-pack compressors, and at 5 seconds per chest made, over a whopping 2 hours straight to complete. And this was only level 25; halfway through the list! Imagine the next construction task after that!
But, see, that's the thing. Some of these tasks aren't meant to be completed in one sit-down. That's why we get a full six weeks to do this, after all. This is more something that players are supposed to do by routine. That's why that, despite these incredibly long tedious tasks, there are several sort of freebies in between. Right after this Construction example, there's one that sees you harvest 30 high-level herbs, which can be done in a single Farming round if you've planted them. If not, just buy quick-grow from Manor Farm, and you can get it in 5 minutes tops. And, let's face it, a couple of these are troll-worthy freebies:
Oh yes, and there are skip tokens. Brilliant, brilliant tactic there. If a task seems like it'll take 3 hours, you can skip it. Chances are good the next task is a lot quicker, you do that, and boom, you're done both tasks in much less than 3 hours. How do you get skips? By redeeming bonds and though Treasure Hunter. Yes, you can buy your way through this list; entirely too, if you're absolutely nuts about that dragon like me. However, if you play your cards right and think tactically, considering how much trouble and how long the tasks will take you, you don't really need that many skips at all. There's almost always a do-able choice.
Case and point; at the time of writing this, I'm already at level 37, and the first week isn't even done yet. Only used two skips, haven't bought any. We haven't even hit the weekend yet! It's intimidating and tedious, but definitely achievable.
... and, well, knowing me, Mollik isn't going to be replacing Mordout Jr. anytime soon.
Until next time,
Oh, and in case you are curious:
Totally worth it.
We Yak to the Shadows with a new Yak Track and introduce RuneScape’s new community manager, Mod Hooli. We then answer the question: is a Chinese fund suing Jagex? Finally chat filter updates and discussion on Mixer folding into Facebook Gaming.
The Grand Exchange user interface has received a massive overhaul, we go over account security and not getting phished in RuneScape, and then we reminisce about 15 years of RSBANDBUpdate! Then we top it off with a discussion on Chrome Books and TV shows.