The Tip.It Times

Issue 199gp

True Skill

Written by and edited by Tip.It

In a RuneScape world dominated by ‘post-free-trade’, I would like to relieve the moment by writing about how I viewed society before I left in July of last year.

I was what I considered to be a high levelled player, a skiller – combat et al – the type whom enjoyed the idyllic calm from training and the thrill of succeeding. It fascinated and motivated me, giving me something relaxing to do in spare moments. I loved it even more because it was a complete waste of time. Let’s face it; skills in RuneScape require no skill as such, with all requiring numerous, repeated mouse clicks, effectively meaning the difference between a ‘good’ player and a ‘bad’ one was how much time they had.

When it dawned on me that the bulk of RuneScape required no finesse, I started to branch out and attempt to express what I saw as my true skill in RuneScape. I picked up PK’ing, merchanting and acquired a fire cape, as well as numerous other competitive aspects of the game, always searching for that elusive feeling of awe, exultance, self fufillment-

To my horror, it never came.

Like all those who quit, I began reading the forums more and more, until I was barely playing at all. It was if I couldn’t bear to play RuneScape, yet I couldn’t let go at the same time – as if the idea of RuneScape captivated me but the mindless training deterred. Then it hit: I had found the one thing that expresses skill, true skill that is, the most: knowledge. It isn’t the high levels that make one apt, but how they use them. Neither is it the combat level that makes the ‘noob’, but how ignorant they are of the wider world; while it struck me ‘newbs’ simply differ because they are ready to listen and learn.

It was if I had discovered some subtle RuneScape secret: now I realised why I desperately held onto the forums, clinging on to the feeling of belonging in a wider society where knowledge is power and separates the rich from the poor. The forums were my link to staying in touch with the RuneScape I enjoyed while dismissing what I considered the grind of so-called skills.

People, I for one, get so engrossed in the knowledge that it seems a waste to just give it all up. This results in people not wanting to quit due to their position in the online world. The enormity of RuneScape, and the exclusive club offered by its knowledge, tenaciously holds on to people like as a religion absorbs one, and gives the typical man something others do not have. The fraternity of the high levels is held together by knowledge and their endless pursuit of it, and everyone else is entranced by their wish to join such a club.

But what is the point of insight in such a game? Where does this all lead? It is knowledge of RuneScape which gives a visible advantage to the player over his peers, be it as small as knowing the quickest route to the coal mine to as big as knowing the best way to kill the KBD. Advantage makes one superior to his fellow players and so leads to being able to train skills quicker and more effectively, leading to being ‘better’ at the game. It is this insight of knowledge which gives the advantage which in turn is the true measure of ones greatness.

It is ironic that true skill cannot be measured as such, but the official RuneScape skills can. Just as the elderly are considered wise and world-weary, it is common to associate higher levelled players as more knowledgeable, since they obviously have the experience. However, that is not necessarily true it all. Back in my day (please forgive the expression), it was common to see high-combat players with a low-skill total, whom enjoyed playing the game for the fighting aspect. These players, by ignoring a huge portion of the game, were hence less knowledgeable and so were considered less skilful players.

Also, these players tend to be able to quit easily and completely, since they play for the excitement of combat, not the absorbing knowledge, so they do not feel like they are leaving as much behind. The opposite kind, whom read the forums after quitting, feel like they have completed the game knowledge-wise, and so rightly see the rest of RuneScape as tedium. Which type is best? The pursuit of knowledge or the thrill of the win? Both I find acceptable ways to engage where others do not.

Knowledge also explains why Jagex updates so frequently and so habitually – the new content every single week adds a new angle, another degree of immersion and a further advantage to those who know the details. The great captivation of RuneScape is that it is an ever-evolving world which challenges you to think and take advantage of player-driven updates. Without such content, I believe that the never-changing, tedious world would bring about a recession in player numbers, RuneScape Classic as one example.

Even more, this is what the RuneScape fantasy is all about: a huge world means a never ending challenge of knowing it all, where the only way to quit is to not care. As a new player, does anyone remember that feeling of wonder and awe at the overwhelming detail of RuneScape? Those people who actually knew what they were doing and where they were going were so powerful! Those were the types whom inspired me and who I drove to equal and surpass.

Where does all of this lead? I think it is important to understand the root of your love for RuneScape. Understanding is the first step to acceptance which in turn leads to overcoming such infatuation. In retrospect, I believe I was addicted somewhat to RS, not to the combat, nor the skills, but the challenge the huge amount of knowledge presented to me. Considering I am posting this now, eight months on, is a sign that I have never fully let go – and I never will.

I have written this piece not as an article but as an idea, as ideas are living, breathing things that grow, develop, form and mature, yet never die. It is fitting then that this piece has no formal ending. Let this idea live on through you as you go on playing RuneScape, one thing that I miss deeply and am nostalgic about with great affection. Please add your views and remarks at this post, and let it live on.

Did You Know...
...that Ava's Attractor and Accumulator, while generating Iron and Steel Arrows and objects and retrieving your arrows, does NOT work when you have metal armor on. (Thanks to The Tal Shiar Alliance!)

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Will you use Menaphos to train your skills?

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