You may have heard recently about Jagex's plans for another mode of RuneScape, if you will. This latest idea is to emulate exclusive self-subsistence into the game. No help from other players or group activities is allowed: you're on your own! Players have attempted this challenge themselves for a long time and termed it informally "do-it-yourself" or DIY. I guess the term was too colloquial for Jagex's taste, as they've opted for their own more formal "Ironman" title for it.
At any rate, they've decided to proceed with testing. To the best of my (current) understanding, they plan to do some sort of beta test from a pool of volunteers and see how it goes. I wouldn't anticipate there being that many bugs - just turn off the trade tab and block some minigames and content, and it should be all set. Most likely the objective is to give the community a sneak peek of its potential through the free PR that is players livestreaming on Twitch.
There are a few issues to be ironed out, mostly with exactly what is allowed and what is banned. For example, although Miscellania Kingdom Management does reward players with resources for managing it, many view it as fair game for DIY. Even though you get them out of thin air, it's part of gameplay mechanics and interacting with NPC's rather than a trade/swap with other players. This puts it on par with shops and General Stores, and clearly no one is calling for a ban on those.
As I've said earlier, Ironman is hardly an idea Jagex pulled out of a magic hat. It's community-driven entity. But does community always know what's best for itself? We have already divided the community quite a bit recently with the whole Evolution of Combat and subsequent updates, to the point that some might call it "fractured." And it's a fair point that the community may or may not have approved them, had they been held to a vote at the time. Here's a (not-so?) short list of what we have so far, inclusive of proposed Ironman modes:
- RuneScape Evolution of Combat
- RuneScape 2007
- RuneScape Legacy
- Ironman RuneScape 3
- a) EoC
- b) Legacy
- Ironman Hardcore RuneScape 3
- a) EoC
- b) Legacy
- Ironman RuneScape 2007
- 'Ultimate' Ironman Runescape 2007
That is a lot of slicing up for a community to take. Remember that back with the introduction of 2007 and then Legacy, many had reservations. Some wondered whether sustained interest would be maintained. Others feared it as a one-way ticket out for some of their friends and lamented it. And of course, perhaps just as many celebrated as the nostalgia flooded back.
RuneScape 2007 was born out of a proposal from one player that went viral. After a lot of hoopla and a 'vote' to gauge interest, Jagex decided to create it and devote a small team to it. This Old School version of the game soon started receiving polls and content update carefully based on player suggestions and supermajorities. I don't track it that closely, but when I do visit the page and have a look at polls or discussions I see content and accessibility updates nice enough to make RS3 blush.
This still created some shortfall, to put it lightly. Play EoC or start over with a version of the game from years in the past is not exactly an ideal choice. When adding Revolution as a semi-automatic form of EoC wasn't enough, Legacy mode was introduced into the game. Legacy divided everything by ten and stripped the abilities off the game. This seemed to satisfy a reasonable number of people. Even better, it didn't force people into a whole new game and sever ties with non-friends chat clans or friends who wanted to stick with EoC. The notion that it would be perfectly balanced with EoC may have been less realistic than a childhood fairytale, but it remained a decent compromise.
Ironman will most likely be closer to the latter of these updates. Even though Ironman players cannot trade, or strictly speaking, interact with others, there's still plenty of freedom to talk, join clans, etc. I won't personally be attempting the challenge, but do think it will be fun. I don't expect a lot of new players to attempt Ironman either. RuneScape requires enough of a time investment as it is to get to the fun part without adding on additional handicaps, which would only serve to intimidate newer players more.
There are already a number of people who play both the current version of RuneScape 3 and Old School. If you have had a careful look on our forums, you may have noted that there is a space for both RS name and Old School RSN. It's almost like players are "expected" to have some investment in each. If people really want to play Ironman and their heart is in it, that's great and they should enjoy it to its potential. And even though Jagex has changed their stance on the multilogging rule since, I will end this article with a quote from their former version of the rule which pretty much sums up the sentiment:
"We don’t want our games to become games where everyone feels they need to use multiple accounts at once just to compete! It’s much better to team up with your friends."
What do you think?