Hey everyone, Cireon here. Some of you will know me from my appearances on the RSBANDBUpdate! or as leader of Clan Quest. As of this month, I'll be wearing yet another hat: Informer writer. With many real life obligations and a lot of time spent on managing Clan Quest, I don't have as much time to spend on the podcast as I'd like to. Many of you will know, I am super passionate about talking all sorts of game design, and I am hoping to use the Informer as an additional platform with easier time management.
I am originally a Quester (hence Clan Quest, duh!), but over the years I have grown more and more interested in the more mechanical side of RuneScape. The last few months have been a delight for the likes of me, with skills getting updates to their training methods across the board. Deep Sea Fishing, Safecracking, Line Firemaking, and Overgrown Idols. They are all there for one goal: skilling diversity.
It is sometimes hard to analyze a new skilling method. Just looking at the xp/h doesn't quite cut it (that was not an intentional Woodcutting pun, btw). There is also afkability and gp/h to take into consideration. Every training method has to do a balancing act in these three attributes (and more). If an afkable method also is the best xp/h in the skill, all other training methods are obsolete. If the best xp/h requires you to constantly click and/or pay attention, then some people might prefer a method that gives less experience, but can be done more easily while watching a movie, the so-called Netflix and (s)killing.
Choice. That is what it is all about. Not every skill has that choice, and as announced during Runefest 2017, Jagex wants to change that. They have already delivered on that promise for Thieving, Fishing, Woodcutting, and Firemaking, with more to come.
Every time a new training method comes out, we want to analyze it in the context of the rest of the skill. The problem is: there is not really a clear context out there. It is hard to tell how exactly a new training method fits in with the rest. Is it overpowered or underpowered? It's hard to tell without a framework to put the method in. That's where I come in.
While thinking about a subject to write about for my first article as Informer writer, this problem came up. I decided to be ambitious: I am going to build that framework. I want to create an inventory of all training methods and how they compare to each other on three axes: afkability, xp/h, and gp/h. Once we have the inventory, we can compare them and get some pretty pictures, and hopefully some fun revelations as well.
As you do on the first month on a new job, I dragged in the rest of the RSBANDB crew to help. Still, this is going to be a large effort that will probably span several articles to complete. Don't worry, I will not bore you with scientific data every month, but do expect this theme to come back regularly.
Thanks to the great crew here at RSBANDB, we have already brainstormed about how to make the data collection as scientific as possible. Here are some of our thoughts:
Experience per hour is something everybody connects to skilling methods. The problem is comparing methods from different level requirements. Power mining iron is absolutely fantastic when you're 20-30 Mining, but it loses out on all aspects when compared to Seren stones at 89+ Mining. We can always make things linked to their level requirements, but it makes comparing methods such as chopping ivy and maple tree cutting hard. We haven't even talked about comparing methods of different skills yet...
Ideally, the rating of how good something is at gaining experience is directly linked to the xp/h, but even that is hard to get, since xp/h can vary wildly depending on your level.
Gold per hour is mostly the same as xp/h when it comes to the problems. You are expected to make more money at 99 Smithing than at 5 Smithing (oh wouldn't we all want bronze helmets to be worth a few 100k?). For gp/h, we also have to keep in mind sinking gold (and no, I don't mean to say that gold can ever float). You can speed up your Invention training a lot if you're willing to burn through a lot of gp in the process. You can also make money on Invention if you spend all your time disassembling. That makes the range of possibilities incredibly large.
Despite the "afkability" of a skill not having a solid number attached to it in the game, it might actually be the easiest to measure by estimating clicks per minute. Still, there are multiple ways of afking. You can complete the Hefin Cathedral Agility lap while clicking on the same spot in a very small window while watching a Netflix series, which is very different from doing a soul rune run, that requires you to pay attention for a minute between batches.
The first steps of this project consist of finding the solutions to these answers. We will probably double back on some of our choices later on, but we need some method to measure skilling variety to get started. Together with the rest of the RSBANDB crew (both Update and Informer), we decided to start an analysis on Woodcutting, Fishing, and Cooking. Together they form an important triplet in the early-game, and it covers both gathering and artisan skills.
Below I have put some of the most common training methods of these skills into a chart (the format of which kindly suggested by Tyco Elf). No numbers involved, just my gut feeling about where the different methods sit. Once we get the first results, we can figure out how well my feelings match the results, and vice versa.
As you can see, we already run into some limitations. I think we can all agree that both fishing frenzy and sawmill training are completely focused towards experience (they are not profitable, nor afkable), yet the training methods are very different in nature. This is only one of the problems we have to solve as we work on this project.
So, what do you think? What are you interested in learning from this project? This project is currently in the scaffolding phase, but we know a lot of our readers are interested in this, so we wanted to get you on board as quickly as possible. If you have any thoughts, feel free to search me or another staff member out in-game or in the RSBANDB Discord.