I recently used up around 1700 protean bars I saved from the protean bar promotion a while back. I got over 650k Smithing experience from the bars after my Blacksmith’s Top and the portable forge. That was over 650k experience (protean bar experience scales with your level; I have 75 Smithing) —mostly AFK—that did not cost a single gold piece and did not require any banking. I loved those experience points, because Smithing is fairly expensive. I was ecstatic that I could gain that much experience so quickly. Similarly, I got a boatload of experience from protean planks and protean traps (especially the planks), and Jagex intends to create more of these experience-rich items. In addition, players as a whole, including me at first, seem to view the addition of more protean items favorably.
My initial reaction to this announcement was of joy because of the possibility of huge experience gains, but upon further reflection, I’ve come to the realization that this is bad for Runescape. One of the reasons why protean items are bad for the game is that they are not balanced. Protean bars give one of the best experience rates for Smithing in the game, without costing any gp. The experience rates are better than making Adamant ingots (iii), but without the 30gp/exp price tag of ingots (protean bars potentially get over 300k exp/hr). Also, the proteans seem as though they were rushed to the market, as certain protean items seem to have many problems and oversights.
The power of proteans is amplified, too, because they are acquirable on the Treasure Hunter. This means people with better financial situations in real life can acquire a real and visible advantage over those that cannot, particularly with already overpowered proteans like protean bars. Future proteans that have been suggested, like protean potions and protean bones can make buying experience via the Treasure Hunter a legitimate method, if they are as powerful as protean bars are.
If new protean items are going to be released regardless, then they should at least be modelled after protean planks. Protean planks are creatable in-game using portable sawmills as a side effect of making construction planks. This means that everybody has access to protean planks and those in a better financial situation in real life do not get as huge of an advantage over those that don’t. At the very least, protean items should not be acquirable solely from the Treasure Hunter.
“You’re just a maxed player who doesn’t want to see other people catch up in experience and are raging about the better experience rates now.” Quite the contrary. In fact, when you look at my stats, you will see that I am in need of some major protean action. However, I’m thinking about the future of the game, and am interested in reducing the possibility of any ‘pay-to-win’ scenarios which deter potential new players. With the advent of even more protean items, the ‘pay-to-win’ possibility increases even more.
In my opinion, SoF should not have prizes so exp-laden like protean bars or other future protean items. Sure, there are lamps and stars already, but just because there are already poisonous items there, does not mean adding more is okay. One of the best features of Runescape was that everyone who goes on is on the same playing field, regardless of real life situations. While Runescape is not the ‘pay-to-win’ scenario that many players complain about (yet), these protean items are moving Runescape in that direction. It is not for personal gain, but for the community and the game that I do not support more protean items, and I implore people to likewise set aside personal experience desires for the greater good.