2009, the year of upgrades, and I can’t wait for it to be over.
Since the now infamous RWT updates in 2007, RuneScape has experienced a glut of PVP updates, and understandably so. Recently, the PvP system has been one of the most adversely affected parts of the game, and it seems only natural that Jagex would want to restore its popularity. Today, it seems that every other update is another tweak to the current PvP system, carefully trying to balance out the needs and desires of PKers, preventing abuse of the new system, all while maintaining an immovable position against real-world traders. The remaining updates have typically been minor: patches to correct bugs and glitches, improvements with NPC communication, supplemental tools to assist players, graphic and animation improvements, and the occasional sprinkle of new quests and minigames.
The one update we are long overdue is a new skill. It’s been 18 months since Summoning was released, and this has been the only new skill released in the last 33 months. Few updates have the ability to revolutionize the fundamental game strategy in RuneScape like a new skill. It’s a new skill that sparks my interest more than any other update.
All of the upgrades this year have made our tasks easier, but now I’m getting bored. This has been labeled the year of upgrades, but did the developers require this much time dedicated to maintenance? Was it not possible to make upgrades and perform maintenance in tandem with writing new, big content? This has been one of the driest years for new content, and I have to wonder if we will ever see the light at the end of this tunnel. At the close of 2009, there will still be an endless list of bugs, glitches, and much-needed improvements to RuneScape. A perfect program is as mythical of a creature as the unicorns and faeries we see in the game.
In addition to a whole year of upgrades, Jagex has also made great efforts to be more transparent and communicative with their fans. This has also been a year of Q&A sessions, staff blogs, interviews, and tweets. After skimming through the Q&A sessions, a pattern begins to emerge. Apparently, that new skill I’ve been asking for is in the pipeline, along with just about every other thing ever asked for. Is the pipeline clogged?
With the removal of the Behind the Scenes, it’s impossible to gauge not only when to expect certain updates, but which content is taking priority. Any RuneScape veteran has learned that just because Jagex says they are working on it doesn’t mean we will see it anytime soon. Even Michael Phelps wouldn’t bother to hold his breath to a Jagex timeline.
And pulling Jagex off of unrealistic timelines was supposed to be the reason for the removal of BTS. We were told that no updates would be released until it was done and completed, but we are still seeing new content released containing game breaking bugs within it. On Friday, a Jagex blog stated that the Q&A team is still held to a stringent schedule, unable to thoroughly test new content and forced to prioritize how they will test it.
Meanwhile, Upgrade Year keeps chugging along. Call me selfish, but I’m still waiting for a big update that hasn’t come along yet. What I used to consider small patches and improvements to the game are now considered front-page, headlining news. While the improvements to the familiars and butlers are welcomed, are they really that important to brag about with front-page titles, or was it a slow week?
Consider this a public call for an early end to our year of upgrades. It’s time to roll up the sleeves, Jagex. Knock the rust off of those creative valves and give us something to remember in 2009 before it’s too late. Otherwise, wake me in 2010.