It's no secret that 2017 wasn't exactly kind to RuneScape. Between half finished updates and the debacle that was expansions, many people were just ready to say goodbye to that year. The time to look ahead with new optimism and vigor is here. RuneScape turns seventeen years old this year and needs a win. If Jagex could put together a string of small victories and get some points on the board, then a successful launch of mobile and Smithing/Mining rework could really knock 2018 out of the park. The potential is there from what we know is coming in 2018.
Jagex received some criticism for having so many smaller updates in its year ahead video; however, I think they are taking the right approach. They have the data to back up their decisions and not every update needs to add content to work through. In fact, the year ahead video talked about a lot of updates. Not all of them can be talked about here today, but what I can do is make my predictions for the coming year. Of course, no year ahead article would be complete without giving Jagex some free tips on how to make this a year to remember.
First, let's take a look at some of the updates I'm looking forward to and have the potential to set the stage. The updates we've had so far in 2018 weren't bad, but it's also hard to call them a win. That is why the winning streak begins in February. The Mining and Smithing beta will be released in mid-Feb. Finally, Jagex seems to have figured out how to do a beta properly. Limited function, no bosses, and the content being tested is the actual rework - kudos to Jagex. With that being said, participation will probably be smaller, however it will be more dedicated and helpful. All and all it will be a win in something I'm not sure Jagex has ever won in, a beta.
Then there is Jagex's return to Game Blast. This is the right call without a doubt, and it is a win-win for everyone. It gives the players something to rally behind while enjoying a double XP weekend. Jagex does the right thing and gets good press all while helping people with disabilities be able to play video games. Next, we have the bank rework taster. This update has the potential of stealing the show in the first quarter. It may seem small but I predict the player is going to love it. It makes all your presets visible and easily accessible while adding Diango and player-owned house storage to the bank. Hear me now, quote me later - this will be a great update. The aura bag will also be making its debut, once again saving you space in your bank. This will be a quality of life update that will be well received. All this being said, Jagex does have the ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory if they don't test the updates properly. Let's hope they learned the proper lessons of 2017 and we don't add any more unfinished business.
The next group of updates I want to address is what I would call exploration updates. These include the clue scroll rework, new quests, and replayable quests. The clue rework is interesting. There is a substantial amount of content being added to clue scrolls. There's a new outfit, new tier of clues, new puzzles, and new rewards. If you are into exploring Gielinor by tracking down clues, this update is for you. Of course, this update will be interacted with by a smaller community and as such, beware the ho-hum feelings by the community at large when it's released. Jagex is looking at releasing around six quests not including pieces of hate this year. Once again the people who like doing quests really like doing quests, however, it's not a large demographic. Some of the quests this year may be really good, but unfortunately, there has been nothing said about any elder god or Dragonkin quest lines. It's that kind of quest that has important game lore that can encourage players that aren't normally questers to do the quest. That does put pressure on Jagex to make sure the hardcore questing community is happy with them because the player base at large will probably not care very much.
Finally, Sliske's endgame will become a replayable quest. There will be tons of options on how you want to replay it and you even get one replay that can be canon if you choose. This will be a good update to prove replayability on a quest is a doable thing. With that being said, this is a Lorehound update. No one wants to replay that quest that isn't hardcore into lore. I'm going to stop there because I still have some PTSD from that maze.
Two updates will probably come to define 2018. The Mining and Smithing rework and of course, mobile. The Mining and Smithing rework could be a huge win for Jagex especially if the beta goes as good as I suspect. From what we know I think it looks really good. There are some concerns however, and it's not the content I worry about. Sometimes it feels like as players we've forgotten what the 'RP' means in MMORPG. Its always about the best XP per hour, the best GP per hour, what's your DPS, and "look how rich I am". This rework brings role-playing back to skillers. If you want to center your game around being a smith you actually can with this update. This update will be great I just hope the players can get back to our roots a little and recognize it.
Mobile will also be interesting. It will make RuneScape accessible to thousands of players that haven't heard of it before. The question is will they try it and more importantly, will they become members? Mobile will be great for all of us that already play. AFK training will be great for mobile and those of us with multiple accounts. My only fear about mobile is, did Jagex wait too long? If Jagex would have started mobile development back when they were telling us it wouldn't happen it would have put RuneScape squarely in the mix of the rise in mobile games. Now the mobile market is saturated and it will be harder to draw new to players to RuneScape. At the end of the day whether there are new players or not, mobile will be a success. RuneScape players will love it and in the end, it may be the win Jagex has been looking for.
So there you have it, my take on 2018. It should be interesting next December to see how close I was (or wasn't) with my predictions. Here's to a great year and until next time, Happy RuneScaping.