We all know the world of RuneScape – a world of socialization, of enjoyment and, in the eyes of many players, most importantly: of training. When playing RuneScape, people are online and talking to their friends, having a good time, or training their favourite skill, be it a combat or non-combat skill. But something is affecting that. RuneScape is changing.
I’m sure you may have noticed it: a vast amount of updates that come out, have some sort of reward which provides a hefty amount of experience. Look to a recent update to see one right there – the Ancient Effigies. For those who don’t know about these, the Ancient Effigies are objects, classed as Distractions and Diversions, given as a drop from a number of monsters. They are for high level players, namely with levels ranging from 91 to 97. They give a massive reward of experience, depending on the skill required in the amounts of 15K, 20K, 25K and 30K experience. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, they give the legendary ‘Dragonkin Lamp’, a rare lamp that is rewarded for giving Effigies full knowledge. The experience given from the lamp is huge. Now let’s just revise what I’ve said: after receiving 90K experience from the Effigy, you then receive a lamp which gives you another hefty experience reward on top of that.
Let’s say, for example, you get an Effigy that gives you that 90K all in Runecrafting, then you use the lamp for Runecrafting again giving you a nice bonus of 45,177 experience (because 97 is the level for the highest Effigy). That’s 135,177 EXP in the skill. Now I’m not an expert in Runecrafting, but I know for a fact that it’s almost universally agreed as the hardest skill to train with the slowest rates of EXP. 135K is a blessing of EXP to Runecrafters. 4 hours of Graahk Nature crafting wouldn’t even get you that much, but with an Effigy you can get almost 3 times as much EXP in just a few clicks.
This is my main point: RuneScape is changing, and skills are becoming easier. Let me give you another example. Mining. We all know the perils of mining, the repetitiveness, the boredom. Although many players find this skill very rewarding, it is considered to be quite a difficult and very repetitive skill. Just ask our famous ‘girl with a tiara who likes to mine a lot’ on the forums – I’m sure she’d explain how hard Mining can be. But then, in September 2009, Mining received an update. We all know of it – the Living Rock Caverns.
The Living Rock Caverns offered a new way to train Mining – an idlers way. Gone were the days of constant clicking Iron Ore and Granite, now all you had to do was find a Coal or Gold deposit (Gold being the prized ore in the Caves) click and then watch the ores fill your inventory. Then they even added a nice little deposit box just a few clicks away from anywhere in the caverns. To combat this easy experience ride, Jagex implemented 3 new monsters, the Living Rock Protector, Strike and Patriarch in the hopes that players would find it hard to mine in the caverns. But obviously, RuneScape has a thriving community, and Jagex underestimated this community. Within days, 3 unofficial worlds were set up, W84 being the most popular, with people who would combat the monsters, allowing the miners to mine in peace. Within days, experience levels flew up and the prices of coal and gold fell dramatically. One of the hardest skills, requiring constant concentration and clicking just became an idler’s dream.
So, were the two updates I’ve mentioned, and othes ones that Jagex has implemented with similar intentions of raising experience rates, completely necessary? Was it necessary to release updates to skills, making them a lot easier, in the hopes that the skill would be revived?
But before I finish this article however, let’s just think about the effects of making EXP gain easier. It is obvious that people are going to gain the beloved level 99 in their skills easier, but what does this mean? We all know that Dungeoneering has a maximum level of 120. Can a possible increase in the amount of people owning level 99 in skills (i.e. being maxed out) push Jagex towards raising the level caps to 120? Some people may quote this and a Mod post saying that they are not, but the post says that they had no plan to raise the levels ’at the moment’. That’s now, when only a few skills have been affected, but what will it be like in future when several skills could possibly be ‘revived’? I wouldn't put it past Jagex for them to raise the cap to 120 in certain skills, it bearing some sort of ‘über reward’ with the raise of course. And while that future may be a distant one, perhaps it is something that we need to consider. Fast experience rates seem great in the short term. But in the long term it just leaves older, slower methods, to be abandoned and unused. Expectations for people to have high levels will rise, and Jagex may be forced to bring the level cap to 120 just to cater for all this.