The Tip.It Times

Issue 27499gp

Noe Lonely, but Alone

Written by and edited by tripsis

Look at it. Just look at the game you're playing from a distance. It's got almost everything anyone might ever want from an MMO, and then some. It's got a role-playing element, character development, exciting combat, complex economics, extensive lore, a diverse community, and to top it all off you get something new to look forward to several times a month.

The game has by now progressed so far with catering to the wishes of almost every individual, that it's hard to come up with something that this game is really missing. Even the most stubborn EoC-denying PvP-ers have been catered to by giving them a whole version of RuneScape all for them to do in and with whatever it is they do.

And just in case there really is something missing, you'll get asked about it. Whether you send your opinions to the world via the official forums, or cast your vote on one of the many polls that are run in the game itself, Jagex will take it, however briefly, into consideration.

And yet you see fewer people at minigames, Edgeville Bank is not nearly as crowded as it used to be, and your favourite skilling spots are all yours, even during the Bonus XP Weekend. Why?

Is it because of the dwindling amount of people that play RuneScape? Graphs that show the data say that it isn't. Is it that the bots are all gone, and you've really been the only real person cutting those Magic Trees down? Bots have been gone a while now on RS3.

Or is it that the game has become too diverse? Maybe. Usually when something is popular, like some Runite Rocks to mine, people have to forcibly take a spot to get at the precious resources that can be gained there. However, if you're going for Mining XP, you're better off going down to the Living Rock caverns where an infinite amount of people can mine the same rock (and they do on World 84).

But for things like the God Wars Dungeon, it used to be different. There are only so many worlds, and only a fraction of them are Loot- and Coin-shared. This meant you had to be out looking for a world that had nobody already flexing muscles at Nex, or it meant that you had to go in and out-perform the group already there. Now though, you can order your own little private room to cosy up to Kree'Arra and no one will bother you without you wishing so.

It's not just the GWD bosses either. It's from as lowly a "boss" as the Giant Mole all the way up to Vorago. And now it's been introduced with the latest minigame Heist, and I don't think this is the last we'll see of this type of privatization or instancing.

I'll fully admit that this gets rid of a lot of the strife between players, but there's a massive downside at the end of this slippery slope, which I hope to explain with the following analogy:

I suspect a lot of you use WhatsApp and/or Facebook. For those who haven't heard, one of these recently bought the other, and as a reaction, many have already switched from WhatsApp to the very similar Telegram. Facebook's problems with privacy are to blame as people think that their private WhatsApp messages will no longer be so private. But there's more.

A number of critics think that Facebook will use the things you talk about to your friends and family over WhatsApp to give you better targeted ads and such. For example, if you talk about cars a lot, you might see a rise in notifications about Formula1 and Nascar (I'm not saying it's a perfect system).

Now, when this is done with ads, there isn't much of a problem. On Amazon and IMDB I find the information that you find under "People who liked this also liked..." quite useful. But it doesn't stop with ads.

It's with newsfeeds also. Usually when you like what you read or see, you're inclined to want to come back for more. Whereas you DON'T like it, you will NOT come back for more and go look somewhere else. This, when you distil it down to get to the essence of it, basically means that the headlines on our same newsfeed might read something about the Olympics for you, while mine says something about Ukraine's potential civil war.

This is called confirmation-bias (seriously, read up on it), and is in the age of the internet a dangerously divisive phenomenon. And it's coming to RuneScape.

We already have two major games (RS3 and 07), and there's work being done of dividing up one of them into two different combat systems. I don't know what's next, but this trend of micro-targeting and catering to everyone's singular need is also dividing up their resources, time and manpower for some actual development.

At least in the long run you can take comfort knowing you will have the game that is perfectly tuned into your needs, but you'll have nobody to play it with.

Do you have any thoughts or comments about this week's articles? Want to discuss these articles with your fellow RuneScapers? We invite you to discuss them in this forum topic.

Tags: Current Events Emergent Gameplay Future Updates and Speculation Jagex

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