January is here and we eagerly await the first updates of 2020. One of these will be the incoming PvM Hub (War's Retreat) and in a little while Archaeology will arrive. What we're going to do instead of talking about these updates is imagine we are transplanted forward in time 1 year. We'll have a look at what an ideal 2020 would contain and how the game has improved over the next year.
Archaeology was the first skill in 4 years since Invention to be released. It is a skill that provides lore for the lore hounds, has a gathering side, has a processing side, and brought new mechanics into game. The skill while initially scheduled to ship in January launched in early April before Easter. Archaeology is this decades Dungeoneering, some love it, some hate it, but it broke the mould entirely. The skill ultimately succeeded in getting the players ready for the next quest, Desperate Measures.
The Anachronia / Fossil Island storyline was left hanging last year with no follow up to Desperate Times. In talking with Mod Osborne last year he revealed that there was going to be a quest launched following Anachronia. That was Desperate Measures and it continued the Kerapac storyline moving us closer to a confrontation with the Elder Gods. There was one problem though, it looked like we were headed for another multi-year arc similar to Sliske's Sixth Age arc.
Through community feedback it was decided that the Elder God story arc would end in early 2021. At RuneFest 2019 we were teased the city of Senntisten quest and an Azzanadra quest. The storylines of both of these were altered slightly to point to a finale in 2021. 2020 shaped up to be the most impactful year for narrative since 2013.
While most enjoy the big and flashy lights of splendid releases such as Archaeology or narrative focused quests, there was also a focus on remasters. The remaster was made with updates such as the Mining and Smithing rework on the large end or on the more conventional end, the Clue Scroll overhaul. We saw three big updates that fell into the remaster category in 2020. They were the Managing Miscellanea rework, the Karamja rework, and a God Wars Dungeon rework.
The blueprint was set with content like the Player Owned Farm and Ranch Out of Time. it is possible to have content that can be checked on daily or somewhat regularly and not have it be a grind. The revamped Managing Miscellanea kept the hands off approach valid if players wanted but added mechanics that reward engaging more regularly than every 2 weeks. This remaster also brought new rewards for Farming, Woodcutting, Herblore, Fishing, and of course Mining. Aside a graphical rework, this was the update that provided a final use for Stone Spirits.
The Karamja rework was primarily a graphical rework alongside quality of life updates to Tai Bwo Wannai clean up, Shilo Village, and Herblore Habitat. This graphical rework was worked on in conjunction with a third party graphical studio resulting in visuals similar to that of Anachronia. Finally, a long side this, the long awaited continuation of the Karamja storyline continued in what could only be described as a traditional RuneScape quest.
2020 also saw the quests doubled from 2019's paltry 3. We saw 3 epics in the form of Desperate Measures, City of Senntisten, and the Azzanadra quest. We then saw three smaller quests being the Karamja quest, a fall harvest quest, and the next in the Elemental Workshop series. The community struggled for at least a week before a guide could be crafted to the newest in the Elemental Workshop series.
After delivering on most of the RuneFest 2019 keynote promises, the second half of the year came. The previous grand survey showed that there would be interest for Ranged and Magic "Smithing" type updates. Most of the mechanics in Woodcutting, Runecrafting, Fletching, and Crafting were fine compared to those of Mining and Smithing. As a result it was just decided to add on high level equipment to Fletching and Crafting while leaning on Woodcutting and Runecrafting.
With the arrival of Mod Warden from Blizzard, community events took an increased presence in 2020. For Easter while taking part in the Hunter, Farming, and Archaeology skills you received increased holiday event tokens to unlock a series of 5 Easter themed cosmetics. The beach returned with a new limited set of activities in the summer allowing you to participate at the beach for full token credit or elsewhere in the game at a slower rate. Christmas followed a similar suit bringing back Santa, unique Christmas themed events, and a boat load of cosmetics to customize our character's appearance.
2019 was tumultuous for micro-transactions and changes were indeed on the horizon in 2020. After the successful Yak Track event at the tail end of 2019 we saw 4 Premier Pass events go off in 2020 without a hitch. In November we also the premium currencies of RuneCoins, Loyalty Points, and Oddments all unified under the Oddment banner. As a result players now can gather currency in-game to buy premium cosmetics, services (action bars, presets, bank slots), and the former loyalty rewards.
And there's one more thing... Treasure Hunter no longer exists. XP Lamps and Bonus XP can now be bought directly with Oddments, a scaling limit is also in place based on your level. From time to time there are flash sales featuring more powerful lamps (celebration, smouldering, etc.) but these are limited as well. Gnome Chests are a new addition where time limited cosmetics can be found along side cosmetic items geared towards the headlining update of the month. These chests can be opened by purchasing keys with Oddments.
This is 2020 and the transformation of RuneScape 3 into a more modern and accessible game is underway. Granted we just had a glimpse of what 2020 could look like, there are more reasons than not to be optimistic. From Mod Osborne's new content strategy to Mod Warden's new approach and the drive from Mod MIC's team to modernize monetization in RuneScape, things are changing.
PS: It probably also goes without saying that we'll see some progress on mobile this year. I would expect an iOS beta at some point this year for mobile and a full commercial launch at or around RuneFest. (Fingers crossed)