Its that time of year again where players from across the world flock to the UK to share in the experience of going to Runefest. The event was held a couple of weeks ago and is usually where Jagex will reveal their biggest plans for the upcoming year; this year was no exception. While we know not everything they talk about will ultimately end up in the game, it is nice to discuss what could be coming. Its always a good idea to let things settle in a bit before really breaking down what was revealed and I think we are at that point now. Some of the most shocking and/or controversial announcements have had a chance to sink in and we can discuss the merits of the ideas. Let's take a look this month at the biggest changes coming to RuneScape in 2017.
Finally after all these years and as many band aids as possible the bank is getting some love. The headlining features of this update will be place card holders, unlimited tabs and new sorting tools. Obviously this is the most overdue update of all those announced. It sounds good but of course the reaction I've heard among players is concern that something will be screwed up and they will lose items. Its an understandable reaction, however, it was stated when this update was revealed that this update will be in Beta when it is ready and thoroughly tested. Trust me, Jagex knows the importance of your bank and I highly doubt they will take any chances with this.
This update is sorely needed, and if all goes well, will be looked upon as a highlight of 2017. I am a big fan of quality of life updates. They are often unappreciated but they make the game much more enjoyable and easy to play. It really is the little things in life right? If you really think about it we spend a great deal of our play time in our banks and that experience should be as smooth and streamlined as possible.
The biggest reveal at Runefest was the shake up to next year's schedule. Instead of weekly updates and headliner monthly updates RuneScape will receive expansions next year. This is something that the community by a slight majority have been polled on and agree with. Don't worry this isn't the usual expansion pack that you have to pay for on top of your monthly subscription. The normal subscription is all you need. Its just a way to organize and schedule updates we would get anyway in a more coherent fashion. According to Mod Osborne, there will be an expansion every three months. What this means is they will be bringing us something of Elf City size and scope every three months. No more batches and no more thrown together updates. Each expansion will have a focus and will include things like new locations, quests, skilling methods and more. It is also important to note that there will be small updates like patches ongoing.
I am a big supporter of this idea. It yet again helps bring RuneScape up to date with contemporary titles. RuneScape has always been different because of its update schedule, however it has become clear players are looking for quality over quantity. I think that is what expansions can do for the game. Give the developers time to create meaningful content that is connected. There is also an element of exploration by finding some of the new content and having it lead into other aspects of the expansion. It should also help give Q/A a chance to do their job. There have been more than a few times this year alone where players said "Where was Q/A, how did this happen?" Invention I'm looking at you. Jagex even went so far as to say players are tired of feeling like beta testers and that it shouldn't be on the players to Q/A the game. I couldn't agree more. That being said if something is in beta and its open to you, by all means test it out if you have the time and patience. All and all I believe they are on the right track and this is a huge step in the right direction.
The first expansion we will be getting is Menaphos. Its planned to be out in June and like Prifddinas it'll be coming around the ten year mark of first being introduced. Finally that big black rectangle on your map will be filled in and I can't wait. It is planned to be an alternative to Prifddinas; whether or not that's a good idea I'll address later. There will of course be quests and lore content coming with this expansion and new slayer dungeons with new mechanics as well. It was also described as a risk/reward skilling location. Basically it will offer the absolute best xp rates but have no guarantee of getting them. In addition to all that it was mentioned that there might be a new city wide type of pyramid plunder. That's a lot to digest but lets take a look at some of the finer points because this does appear to be a mixed bag.
First off, I'm not down with the idea of a new Prifddinas. Its like they just can't help themselves from competing and killing their own content. Prifddinas is just fine the way it is, we don't need another Prifddinas in the desert. On top of that Jagex fundamentally misunderstands skillers. Skillers won't go for a risk/reward skilling system. No, they will figure out how to do it right every time and never fail. If there is some kind of mechanic that assures failure periodically, skillers simply won't engage. They have to understand that they have turned players into one trick ponies over the last few years. You're usually either really good at PvM or gaining maximum xp. There are players that are good at both but they are the best of the best and therefore there's not a lot of them. There are also players that dabble in everything not really excelling at any one thing. Once again not a lot of those either. Neither group is what Jagex is targeting here; they are targeting skillers. Skillers are super efficient and the possibility of losing all the time they put in training, if with the possibility of higher reward, won't appeal to them. Now that I have metaphorically peed in Jagex's punch bowl lets look at the rest of the expansion.
The idea that we will have to find and unlock quests and lore around the city is awesome. It gives you a sense of meaningful exploration. The slayer dungeon sounds really interesting as well. Jagex talked about a central loot chest which would really help inventory management and a slayer boss you could unlock with keys dropped by the mobs. Also a survival type wave all of which sound really good. The new city wide pyramid plunder sounds fun too. Its about time we took our Indiana Jones skills to the next level.
2017 looks to be a great year. It looks ambitious but I think they are taking us in the right direction. These were just a few things they mentioned at Runefest but you can find all the sessions on YouTube and hear the full breakdown. There are many more updates that were mentioned like Pet Parks and expanding the slayer skill level cap to 120, however I feel these are the most relevant and we know mod Mark can get a little excited at Runefest when revealing plans for the upcoming year and mix in his hopes and dreams with what we should expect. Not that anyone in the gaming industry would do such a thing, cough-cough Sean Murray. Next month I'll be stepping back to take a broader view of gaming news so lookout for that and until next time, Happy RuneScaping.