Warning: This article spoils the end of The World Wakes Quest. I doubt there are many players who don't know the twist at the end considering how the community and Jagex have publicized every detail, but if you haven’t finished it: go do the quest now. It's not too long or hard and the rewards are great, not to mention the fact that every lore-based update that follows it will assume you've finished it. So go on and do it. The article will be here when you finish.
Next week's update follows the two themes that Jagex announced earlier this year; the year of the gods, and the year of the players. Specifically, the Gods are returning and the players get to choose which faction gets to come out on top through events and minigames, changing the map based on which God's followers do best. All in all, it has the potential to be a highly involved update that rewards the community for doing what it does best. Right?
That is the ideal, but the truth is that most of the community couldn't care less about the game's lore unless it comes with powerful rewards, and most of the rewards that we know about are either cosmetic or lore-based. More to the point, Jagex's last attempt to gather the community in this way fell flat; The Triumvirate allowed players to choose one of three sides that neatly corresponded to the original three gods, and offered community events that pitted them against one another. Unfortunately, both Jagex and much of the community lost interest within a month or two.
Fortunately, the God Emmisaries update has the means to prevent this from happening. For starters, it's in-game where the Triumvirate was entirely forum-based, and it actually has items to signify which side the player chose, as well as more choices to suit the diversity of its community, instead of restricting the choices to Lawful Good, Chaotic Evil, and True Neutral. Rather than having no reward other than bragging rights, the Gods may end up with their own sections of the high scores, if not pieces of the map that they've wrestled away from other factions. And finally, Jagex can always tie it in to future quests and updates—in fact, it'd be foolish not to, with such a focus on the player character's relationship with the various higher powers.
There is a catch, however. I mentioned earlier that most of the community does not care about the lore; so that large fraction of the community is effectively locked out of tools that they could use to make a decision. Saradomin , Zamorak and Guthix are highly publicized and very visible parts of the setting, while Zaros, Bandos, and Armadyl are present but reasonably well hidden, and Seren, Sliske, and the Godless will only make sense to players with a quest cape. If the Triumvirate is any indication, the numbers won't be particularly balanced between the factions, and it would be very easy for one of the 'original' three gods to dominate the competition through sheer numbers.
Regardless, the update has the potential to succeed where its precursor failed, and actually turn the community into a community rather than just a loose collection of grinders. At worst, we get a cool banner out of it and nothing really changes.