Jagex has been shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to pets in RuneScape. I can understand that many of the pets are buyable and important to keeping the game funded. But when you factor in that there is a skill in the game that's intention was to summon creatures, why are pets separate?
Many have said that they loves pets. It's no secret to anyone that I am not really happy with the pet system they way it is. Currently there are two ways to look at having familiars in the game. You can buy them, familiars that level up and do crazy things with their abilities. Or, you can train up a your Summoning skill and get summoning familiars that do very little but specific things that help out smaller tasks in the game. Here in lies the problem folks. these two options are not balanced in any way. There is no reason to train the summoning skill when these pets do all of this already, and better with minimal at best requirements. It's these short sights that are causing issues with the game and making content die and or become redundant.
Updates in the past had staying power. and what I mean by that is that they were unique and offered things that could not be received somewhere else. Things that would be useful for a large sum of time regardless of the players level. The content we are seeing today is all about power creep and diversifying options which is something that needs to be done right and very very carefully. If you factor in every update that has been out since the release of the game. how many of those developer hours, artists hours, planning hours are no longer receiving any capital reward? With the exception of quests, there are just so many areas of the game that are now receiving updates that even recent updates just become mute and a waste of money spent by Jagex to develop them.
Pulling this back a little, I want to take a careful look into some recent updates that have simply destroyed relatively new content. What better place to look than Summoning. The now glorified pouch making skill has been bastardized from it's own initial goal of getting charms and turning them into pouches that can be used to summon creatures. This skill is really fun to do, it involves a lot of gathering through combat and skilling alike. the skill tree is fairly filled in as well. But over the years this skill has been missing updates that sound like summoning to most for detached content with the same overall end point. A creature that follows you and gives you bonuses. So what is Jagex thinking doing this? This is the same situation that we are seeing with so many other skills, such as Woodcutting, Fishing, Mining, Construction, and many others. If you step back and look, it becomes obvious that there is a big problem. And it's not just skills it's the gameplay as well.
Daily scape is running rampant on the game, do a herb run, hit up the now 20 + stalls to sell the items on the GE for profit. Use the wicked hood and make those runes. cap at the citadel once a week, do your daily challenge for large reward. Do that one dungeon and get the experience for two. Send out your ports and wait till tomorrow to get the results. It's bad. And Jagex has stated that they want to attempt to make amends here which is all good and fine but it contributes to the point here. There is a development pattern that is cancerous on other parts of the game and I will best explain this with another example, the toggle system.
Good lord is there a lot of toggles. the interface is becoming less efficient, there are so many options on top of options that even experienced players are having a hard time finding all the toggles that they desire for their game. So what am I getting at with all this? Jagex has had a development strategy of give every play style possible a place in the game, make the options so vast that there is no longer a possibility to do them all in one day. This sounds like a good idea, but it creates confusion and lack of an idea of what each update is truly going to effect, or make obsolete.
Back to Summoning here, it's because of that lack of foresight that this skill has become useless. The world wants pets and pets offer more than Summoning ever could. Pets are the definition of what Summoning should be along with what it already is except pets are virtually absent from the skill. Is there even a way to mitigate this to keep players buying these pets and at the same time make Summoning useful? Yes there is, and it's a simple fix that even the ninja team would be able to pound out in a short amount of time.
Step one. Make summoning familiars more potent. Give them enhanced abilities where they are lacking and leave the good familiars where they are at. Summoning needs to be useful for not just levelling. there needs to be familiars out there that cost more to make but are the reason to train the skill because they cannot be bought. enhancing the skill specific familiars would give them a good reason to choose to use them over a legendary pet when doing different tasks.
Step two. Give those familiars a chance to grow. Like pets do, familiars if investing more should be given more abilities or stronger effects. simply if you use more resources, you can unlock non tradable pouches that that can be used to do what you wanted more efficiently.
Step three, make those buyable pets tie into summoning. Lets face it folks, pets are Summoning, they are. Cosmetic is not what I am talking about here but maybe that should even be included with a level requirement to take care of or have walk around with you. These legendary pets need some summoning tie ins that will give a reason to train the skill they stole their identity from.
Summoning was a really unique skill that had cool effects in the past, but now is just sort of junk. Like so many other things Jagex has done recently, because there are so many options, there is no way of knowing what will really effect what anymore and it needs to change. Jagex needs to invest more time into their content and make sure it jives with everything that already exists so that investment in time and money doesn't go to waste 12 months down the road. If you are creating a monolith of a game, than it should be a cohesive monolith, not some monolith that only has activity on one portion of it.
I want to say a quick thanks to everyone that took the time to read my articles while I was with Informer. It was a cool experience and I was glad to provide my opinions on the game over the last couple years.
Until next time.