On the 28th of July, it will be 100 weeks since an update that may have had a huge impact on Runescape’s evolvement. Jagex published the first three elements of a new range of content, named Distractions & Diversions, after its purpose to lighten up tedious training. These three D&Ds (as they are abbreviated) were the penguin hide & seek, the evil tree and shooting stars. The change from constant grinding was welcomed gratefully by most, but some players decided they hadn’t even reached their full potential yet.
Clans which were solely dedicated to finding those penguins, shooting stars and evil trees, were brought to life. It seemed like a lucky hit for Jagex. Not only that this content was generally well-liked, but it also created new like-minded communities which were a great addition. Therefore, advocating the development of this type of content seemed like a good idea. And that’s probably when D&Ds started to turn for the worse.
The circus, while being a good idea in itself, offers only a very limited amount of time spent. Fish flingers can be fun but lacks useful rewards (considering the effort needed to get them) and, unfortunately, concurrence within the game. It’s not so hard being the best fisher if you’re alone. The system of players competing for rewards was not completely thought-out. Familiarisation is only played for the triple charm drop and even that rarely, due to the hassle finding an active obelisk.
Court Cases was an utter disappointment for me. I really liked the corresponding part of King’s Ransom, but I found out that Court Cases is a lot too easy, once again, the rewards are disappointing – and there is a complete absence of any logic. The correct options are picked by understanding the developer’s mind instead of anything actually inside Runescape. In King’s Ransom, you could know what witnesses were going to say as there was the option to talk to them beforehand. Also you had to gather any physical evidence yourself. In Court Cases however, there is no chance of knowing what anyone is going to say – even including your own character. And guessing at the thoughts of the developer should not be the spirit of this D&D.
Regarding Shattered Heart and Ancient Effigies, my disappointment is even bigger. Experience in any skill should always be the reward – either for work on the skill, quests or activities. It never should be the content itself. While some argue that free experience is never bad – something I definitely disagree with – even those will mostly agree that D&Ds like this don’t add any real content. While the pointless experience gain can be neglected for shattered heart as most stones are only able to be received from methods which don’t yield the highest xp/hour and the overall rate of stones is relatively low, we are not yet able to say the same for Ancient Effigies. It is probably too early to confirm any drop rates, yet, despite some counter-examples (a friend of mine needed around 2000 kills to get one), they do seem rather common. That’s why I’m currently opposed to a change to the assist system – the hassle required to find assistance for an effigy works as some kind of regulator to prevent massive xp gain.
So, what will be the reaction of players when they hear of this date? While most won’t even notice it, those who know of it have their own thoughts about it. It’s definitely most important for the penguin clan chats as Penguins were one of the three original D&Ds and they have a week-based timer that resets every Wednesday. The clan for World 60, probably the most popular group for penguins is planning an event for Week 100 where 100 players will get a skill to level 99 by using penguin points (The list isn’t full yet, in case you want to sign up, visit the current thread for penguins by Canada Grrl on the RSOF). Other D&D clans may plan similar events too. Yet, if you ask any player not deeply involved with any of these clans, there is a good chance that they will react rather negatively, complaining about the lacking quality of recent D&Ds and the developer time that is taken away from other projects. The concept of this type of content may be good – but Jagex has to rework several parts of it. Mindlessly shoving out D&Ds that are not fully developed and thought out is not the way to go. Otherwise, these updates will only be a distraction – unlike diversion, this word does not necessarily imply a positive view on it. Jagex recently forgot the second D – and that’s why this content is not liked. In The Knight’s Sword, you ask Sir Vyvin: “Can I just distract you for a minute?”
If Jagex asked this question, most players would currently scream out loud: “NO!”