At the start of the year, Jagex stated that they would be getting rid of the monthly Behind-The-Scenes that so many people looked forward to and replacing them with development diaries.
Behind the Scenes has been a huge part of RuneScape for many years now, since the first one on the “desert theme month” in April 2005 until the last one in February 2009, these provided players with an excuse to speculate about what was coming out that month as well as giving players a chance to prepare themselves for those updates. Unfortunately, all this speculation often led to disappointment as players themselves managed to overhype something from just a few lines of text and think that the update was going to be something completely different to what they read in the BTS. Although Jagex still managed to throw off players completely, very few people realised that two lines at the end of a BTS would refer to one of the most anticipated updates in RuneScape history – Player Owned Houses.
Since the removal of these monthly articles Jagex has released four Development Diaries, similar to the ones we had seen previously in relation to Summoning released that year. Previously these Diaries aim to give the user a little more insight into how the updates happen, from the brainstorming stage all the way to release day. So far two of the diaries have been about different stages of quest development. Another has looked at the work that had to put in to make Dungeon Maps possible in game. The fourth and most recent one released on the Friday prior to this article goes into the graphical improvement of Zanaris included several concept pictures of the new look fairies and their homes. These articles are showing great promise and it will be interesting to see what Jagex has in store for us some time in the future. It will give many players an idea of how game development takes place from many different parts of the Jagex team.
Jagex haven’t stopped there though. New CEO Mark Gerhard (Mod MMG) has been answering questions in game in his Clan Chat and on the forums regarding future updates and discussing the game with users, something which previously was very rare. On top of this, all of Jagex staff seem to be more open to discussing updates on the forums and if there would be one released in a certain week while not giving too much away. Since the removal of the BTS Jagex overall have seemed to be a much more user-friendly company which reminds me of how they used to be back in “Runescape Classic,” where you’d often find Andrew or Paul in game talking to players about what they think of updates.
If a lack of Behind The Scenes means that Jagex are more open about updates then I’m all for it. I know a lot of people will miss their monthly read but a bit of surprise is always nice and it seems that Jagex aren’t rushing out updates due to their own time limit set by the Behind the Scenes like they have done previously, this also means that players will not be disappointed by the lack of a certain update like they have been many times in the past.
I hope this is the start of a great thing for RuneScape and hopefully Jagex try and get the community more involved. So far, they appear to be doing so by opening the forums to certain free players and by trying to set up links with various fan sites. Let's hope to see more!