Expand our adventure.
We all know, or should know, stretching before exercise is good for the muscles and I could tell you all about it, but since this has nothing whatsoever to do with the rest of this article, I will move on.
Recently Jagex sang the praises of HTML5, by comparing it to the current game. Where the current game is 'claustrophobic,' the much increased draw distance makes HTML5 'open and expansive.'
They showed examples in a video which indeed are impressive. However, the larger draw distance also shows, and will show, something else: the RuneScape map is full.
Urbanization has hit Gielinor! This remains a game and with it, part fantasy, as we all read last week, so while I will not complain about the lack of land to sustain the population and stuff like that, what I do want to say is: this game is supposed to be an adventure and it needs room to be that.
So, the RuneScape map is filling up at a fast pace with Jagex introducing new things that need a spot on it regularly. It has been suggested on this site and elsewhere that Jagex expand the map beyond the borders and that would be a great idea in my opinion, but there are more options.
You will by now probably know where I am going, since I started talking about stretching: I suggest Jagex stretch the map to 3 times its size and in doing so expand the distance between everything on it.
Jagex is constantly updating the graphics and talking about updating the big towns, looking at earlier examples, this will mean expanding them in size also. Probably they do so to give them a more realistic feel, but this decreases the areas between them which makes for less realism and also a less adventurous feel. It is not only the cities; there are other massive structures and some have grown like the cities did, one example being the slayer tower. This is possible because of the updates in technology. I think these advances should also make expanding the map possible. Maps on other games get bigger and bigger, and while RS does not need to emulate the others necessarily, they do so in other areas. If you keep expanding the graphics, the structures and other items, but not the map, you run in to trouble sooner or later.
If the map were to expand we could have real forests, farmlands, jungles and such. Wastelands to explore and to get lost in. Meaningful travel between places and who knows, they could even introduce some horses... I know, blasphemy, but still.
There are downsides to every idea and the one to this would be mostly the investment needed.
Jagex could minimize this by repeating pieces of content, like patches of forest or fields and by not having too much real content. Travel and adventuring only benefit from the loneliness of forests where all trees seem the same, expansive fields of grain and large empty desserts.
I do not think gameplay is a problem at all, since travel can be fast with all the teleports, shortcuts, ships, flying apparatuses and such. Stretching the map would actually make many obsolete travel-options useful again. Everyone who did the desert tasks should have grinned and shook their head about a crossbow-shortcut across the river Lum right next to a bridge (not THE bridge that the town is named after).
RuneScape is getting more and more modern, except for the part that is looking over their shoulder to 2007, so it is logical that the map is filling up. This happens in real life, with cities swallowing little villages that become suburbs, but we do not need Gielinor to become one giant city-state do we?
It should retain its medieval-fantasy feel and with that have a big rural area and many forests.
Jagex has retconned quit a bit of lore to become more logical and they have connected a lot of separate pieces of content in to one story. A big update to the map would allow them to complete this process and get the most out of HTML5.
I think Jagex should be quite bold and, like I said before, stretch it to three times the size so they really have room to work. The map should not limit them in developing new, exciting updates.
I realize I am asking for a big step, but Jagex has shown to dare to take them in the past, and this should not run in to a lot of opposition, since, if done right with taking travel time to important locations into mind, it should not hinder game play. The effective distances (travel time) between locations and banks that actually impact gameplay are not dependent on the actual size of the map. Jagex can easily tweak them to gain the desired effect. A strategically placed teleport location at the right distance from, let’s say a mine or a runecrafting altar, is all it takes.
In conclusion: while sitting in our lazy boys, in our moms basement, with a supply of sodas and snacks at hand, we want to pretend we are really going places! We are real adventurers and need room to adventure in!
Thanks for reading,
Dracae... Not from his mom's basement...
(It’s the attic)