The Beach is back for another year and into the hole we go. We also take a peek at the Zamorak Undercity rewards. Finally, Mod Stu joins us for another instalment of Behind the Crown where we learn why he plays RuneScape and what brought him to Jagex.
Caution; there will be spoilers ahead, but if you didn't avidly do quests to begin with, I don't know how on Earth you are reading this right now.
You know that absolute best part of a quest is? When they throw those sudden random curveballs. Like V's quest, for example, where we are promised a quest featuring the Fremennik and their deity, only for him to suddenly get slain by the dragonkin in the first real Dragonkin-lore heavy quest in RuneScape. And at the time, they were always eluded to as an immensely powerful, shadow-hidden species starting to rise again. Nobody sees it coming, it was never advertised in the updates, and nobody teased it in the video docs. All we knew was that it was a Fremmenik quest, and that was it! It was nuts!
And I loved it! It was like me going into a Dairy Queen for a sundae and they surprised me with a parfait at the same price. Not what I asked for, but undeniably better, so I really cannot complain.
We have seen a number of quests do this, like the
But now, with the Twilight of the Gods quest, coming so shortly after the finale of the Elder Gods series (or so we thought), I didn't think there was going to be any more big surprises in store. Sure, I expected that we were gonna be fighting Zamorak for a bit of vengeance against what he did during said series, and quite frankly he's had it a long time coming. But how we are going to do it, and all the in-between stuff... holy smokes, I was NOT prepared for it!
I'll summarize, and again, spoilers. After some investigation into an incursion of demons, it starts off by chatting with Naressa, who's personally been my favorite dragonkin so far as far as they go, and holy fudge she stars in a quest so hype! But she's not alone; we've got Gregorovic there too!
And that's not all! And he's been so absent in all of this compared to other pivotal boss characters like Helwyn, Vindicta and Gorvek, and even the Twin Furies. Part of me imagine that, since the other three bosses pulled out, he'd have the Heart of Gielinor to himself, so why wasn't he capitalizing on it? The answer; he's not actually Gregorovic, but an abyssal demon merged with his soul!
And that's not all! After investigating the demon incursion, we end up doing a side quest where we help out kalgerion demons and abyssal lords, who end up revealing to us that they were the missing dragonkin tribe all along who had traded bodies just like the yellow salamanders!
We haven't even gotten into the meat of the quest involving Zamorak, and already all this crazy stuff is going on involving some really cool characters and revealing so many cool things! SO HYPE! I'M STOKED!
You complete the puzzle, which is just the right level of tedious and complex, yet relatively straightforward, and you finally actually complete the quest's first step; figuring out where these demons are coming from. Surprise surprise, it's Zamorak. He's replenished his forces from the Elder God Wars and is striking Gielinor hard in full opportunist fashion. Saradomin just can't keep up, and he's getting chastised by the Godless in the process.
The world needs the World Guardian. It needs Guthix. And since he's not around, you as the World Guardian will have to do. And thus, in order to defeat Zamorak, you'll have to fulfill your destiny:
Restoring the Edicts of Guthix. The spell that broke with Guthix' death that allowed the Gods to return to Gielinor. After some experimentation, you determine several things about this method. While it is possible to perform, you will need to make a sacrifice. Not only will this spell banish ALL the Gods (sorry, Armadyl...), but it will also consume your World Guardian powers.
With the edicts back up, the Gods will be banished again, and you will return to a regular human adventurer.
That's right. The questline has come full circle, resetting Gielinor back to the state it was in during the Fifth Age.
... say it with me now...
I mean, what a way to end it! An actual conclusion to the entire questline that returns us back to the regular Runescape timeline ,thus allowing us to not only carry on with other cool questlines, but also give way for a whole new epic quest series! The potential of a 7th Age, the threat of a whole new force of destruction even scarier than the Elder Gods (Erebus and Zaros), and the freed-up resources and development potential for telling whole new stories and lore is just way too hype for me to handle! It's like we're heading right into Runescape 4 after this next event, and by golly, we're going in with a bang!
I'm excited. I loved this quest because it was crazy with the reveals and it has left me so excited. Way to go, folks at Jagex; you've become absolutely phenomenal at telling stories.
Until next time,
The Zamorak demons invade bringing unknown slivers, re-rolls, and lore. We revisit mobile with the shocking realization that one in five players play exclusively on mobile. And, Jagex is working on a RuneScape survival game, what should we expect?
RuneScape launches its first Pride event featuring stories from Gielinor’s NPCs. Then we dive into last week's live stream featuring revelations on mobile, skill reworks, and switchscape. Finally, how much hype is too much?
When Jagex announced they would be launching their own launcher (no pun intended), including support for multiple accounts, hopes immediately went up. Somehow, the belief that multiple characters per account would be supported made its way into the world. Soon after, this was debunked on stream. Still, we knew from the get-go that Jagex wasn't going to support multiple characters per account, at least not without making you pay extra for it.
To understand this, we need to look at monetization for videogames more generally. For decades, publishers sold games for a fixed price. Perhaps there would be one or more DLC released afterwards, but that would be it. Unless you're The Sims, then it would be dozens of DLC: even back then EA was squeezing every single penny out of its audience. Over time, virtual distribution of games become more commonplace. No longer did releasing a DLC come with the overhead of creating physical disk images and distributing those.
At the same time, prices of AAA games kept rising, until eventually hitting the important $60 mark. While we are starting to see more breaks with the trend, games more expensive than $60 were very rare for a long time. It is one of these magical numbers where we perceive any number bigger than that as way more expensive. So releasing a game for $70 would actively harm sales.
DLC proved to game publishers that different people are willing to spend different amounts of money on a single game. When EA released DLC after DLC for The Sims, they were onto something. Not only are some players willing to spend more money, some people have almost no limit in how much money they spend on a game. The industry calls these people "whales". As the miniaturization of DLC continued to the point of micro-transactions, a new golden rule developed: always be creating spending opportunities.
The relation to RuneScape is clear. In the world where spending opportunities are the key to success, subscription-based games suffer a large disadvantage: either you have access to the game, or you don't. Before RuneScape introduced micro-transactions, even if you wanted to spend more on the game, there isn't really a good thing to spend it on. Multiple characters have limited value, because the replay value of RuneScape is limited, but it was the only way Jagex could ever see more than a single subscription fee per month from a single person.
When Old School came out, having people pay a separate subscription for both was an option that was on the table. Within the context sketched above, you can see why. Jagex must have realised that the overlap of people who play both would be limited, and having players be able to jump ship to the other RuneScape when they get bored of their current RuneScape must've been too big of an advantage to split up the subscriptions.
Fastforward to today, we have Treasure Hunter, Solomon's Store, and RuneMetrics bringing in auxiliary revenue streams besides subscription fees. At the same time, many of the players who play actively often have at least one alt (an ironman for example). Paying for membership of an alt through bonds is not uncommon, but every bond is still paid for in real money at some point up the chain, so it makes little difference to Jagex's bottom line. With subscriptions still being a significant portion of the overall revenue, all the revenue in case of Old School RuneScape, cutting that revenue in roughly half makes no sense from a business perspective. Making players' second character free would do exactly that.
The world of monetization is complicated, and it is not unlikely that at least some of the lost revenue would be made up by increased sales elsewhere as people's budgets clear up. However, the history of monetization in videogames has shown that budgets are either non-existent - in case of the whales - or that budgets are less important than perceived value in purchasing decisions.
We have seen many studios release their own launchers in the past few years, often to the detriment of the user experience. Yet, even if we aren't getting multiple characters per account on RuneScape, I believe the Jagex Launcher will be a step forward. Account management for RuneScape has been a thorn in the side for anybody playing more than one character, and third party tools wrapping the RuneScape client are more popular than ever. Jagex can bring some of those benefits to their own launcher, providing a better experience for everyone without sacrificing account security. Most importantly though, there will be no change to the account structure, because risking a major revenue stream is a much bigger decision, and likely one that would have a negative outcome.