On June 24th, 2010, came the first release of the Void Knight quest series set to be released over this summer. This update also came with a few extra things in the ‘in other news’ section: an update to the elemental combat spells’ appearances and animations; a Smithing anvil next to the furnace in Lumbridge; a waypoint system for the world map; changes to the efficiency of churning cheese and, most controversial and significant of all: an update to Rock Climbing boots obtained during and after the Death Plateau Quest.
This update significantly raised the price of Rock Climbing Boots (previously officially known as Climbing Boots) from 12 gp (200gp on the Grand Exchange) to 75,000 gp. This was to make the cost of the boots reflect the combat stats that they have. Everything sounds well and good, right? It’s a logical change to make. However either through a miscommunication or simply ignorance of what some players are like – this caused a huge problem since many players had several of these stashed away in the bank. Some people, like me, just had one or two pairs, but some players had thousands and possibly even hundreds of thousands of pairs if the rumours are to be believed.
The problem isn’t the purchase price, which is just a bit over-priced when considering the prices and stats of alternative boots like Adamant and Rune boots. It’s the 45,000 gp sale and High Alchemy price. Many PKers had a lot of these banked because of their decent stats and previously low price. They were useful and expendable so, for a PKer, having several hundred or thousand of these might be quite normal practice. Now, multiply a hundred pairs of Rock Climbing Boots by 45k gp. Yes, that’s right, 4.5 million gp. 4.5 million gp for absolutely no effort at all. That’s just a hundred pairs of them. There has been a screenshot circulating of a person with over 300k pairs. 13.5 billion gp. Yeah, that’s totally fair.
One of the biggest problems with this, aside from the ridiculous amounts of money to be gained through the price change, is that the economy does not need this influx of money at the moment. I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Runescape economy but even I can understand that this amount of gp being flooded into the economy is not good. Many prices for items will change as more people can afford them thanks to the tidy little cash pile sitting in their bank from a few hundred alchs. How long the effects on the economy will last, nobody can quite say yet until we understand the true amount of gp that has inflated the system, but it is a fact that this will impact the economy at least in the short to medium term.
Quite how this was allowed to happen, I don’t know. The rising in price of the boots isn’t the problem, but the amount that they can be sold or alched for is. While many people support the rise in price, there were riots in Falador over the alchemy price and, for once, I actually agreed with them. Immediately after the update, there were many people expecting Jagex to do a rollback so that the gp brought into the system could be removed. Comparisons to the Runecrafting bug in Dungeoneering and this were drawn. Huge amounts of Runecrafting experience were gained within just a few minutes by many players because of a small error in the amount of experience gained per 10 crafts. Jagex saw how unfair this gain was and quickly did a rollback to fix the problem and remove the Runecrafting experience. While I don’t completely think that the two are similar, both deal with an unfair advantage. Had the people who had gained the exp been able to continue playing with that experience intact, there would have been many complaints because of the unfairness of it. The update to the Rock Climbing Boots brings about a similar unfairness. Those who were lucky enough to have lots of boots in their banks have been able to profit massively off this, to the detriment of the economy and the overall feeling of ‘fairness’ in the game.
Yet, despite all of this, Jagex have not done a rollback and do not have any announced plans to change how much money can be made from alching or selling the boots. Simply reducing the amount that these boots alch for would be an obvious and easy to do change that would fix the situation. At least if they wouldn’t do a rollback, they could prevent even more gp flooding the game. But Jagex apparently don’t see any of this as a problem. It is unlikely that they intended this to happen, but I fail to see the logic behind refusing to fix it.
In the end, there isn’t really much that any of us can do. Lots of money has been brought into the game and it isn’t going to just disappear. Prices will change and the economy will be affected. However the thing that I think is worst is Jagex refusing to remove such an unfair mechanic from the game. This situation could have been prevented, with a bit more insight into the game and the people that play it, but it wasn’t. This situation could then have been eradicated, through a rollback, but it wasn’t. This situation could have finally been dealt with, by fixing the problem, but it wasn’t. To me, this represents a failure on Jagex’s part, one that has greatly impacted both the economy of the game and the integrity of Jagex itself.