Efficiency is an important concept in Runescape. It’s something that many players embrace, or have to embrace, when playing. Before delving into this subject matter, I think it would be best to define what efficiency is. I find an apt definition to be: “skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort”.
Let’s face it: Runescape is mostly about the grind, the rote repetition of clicking the same things over and over. Without getting into whether this is a good or bad thing, it’s still a fact. By the time you reach fairly mid-level gameplay, it becomes obvious that Runescape is just a sequence of clicking, moving, banking, eating… just in different patterns depending on what skill.
Many players, particularly high-leveled people or people that are trying to become high-leveled, try to be as efficient as they can with their training. This usually involves a lot of calculations with XP per hour, cost per XP and estimated times to reach a goal. Not everyone bothers with the number crunching beforehand, some just get as many resources as they vaguely figure would be enough, then go and do whatever method of training it is. It all depends on the player. This is something I expect to be saying a lot in this article.
However, as of late, there has been a flare up of arguments over the question “Is efficiency ruining Runescape? Is it good or bad?” You now find players calling high levels ‘efficiency noobs’ rather than ‘no lifers’. Why exactly this has started to happen, I’m not sure. But it’s brought the matter of efficiency in Runescape to the forefront of debate in the Runescape community.
Many people want to play efficiently – making the most xp or gp through the quickest and most economical means. Not many people want to waste time, getting high levels on Runescape can take a long time and is a large investment of time and energy. So, it’s right to play it in the most efficient way, right?
Well… no. I’ve said this enough times to make you all sick of it by now, but I’ll say it again. Playing Runescape for fun is the most important thing. It’s the fundamental reason why we started playing this game and I hope that it’s why we continue to play it. I hate to think that people are continuing to play just because they feel that they have to get high levels, rather than because they genuinely feel that they enjoy the game. Although, I think that many people decide to quit or take it easy before reaching the point where they ‘burn out’.
This is when the debate gets tricky. What constitutes fun is such an extremely changing and subjective definition. We cannot define fun for anyone but ourselves. So much of the Efficiency debate is about personal feelings and preferences. It all tends to boil down to ‘what do you enjoy’?
So let’s try to answer the question – what do we enjoy? Runescape is a vast game and we couldn’t name everything that people enjoy doing, but we can go through some of the main ‘categories’ that are relevant to the efficiency debate. First, and often most prominent, is the ‘average player’. This ‘average player’ is someone that plays Runescape maybe an hour or two a day. They often play it with friends and are what Jagex would consider an ‘average player’ to be: usually fairly balanced, typical stats with not many high levels.
Then you have the second type, and perhaps the most important type being discussed in this article, the high level. I’m going to include people who have certain goals to reach high levels in this category too. These are players that want their skills in the 90’s or even 99. They’re usually interested in playing efficiently, making money and aiming to reach their lofty goals. They tend to make up a very big part of fansites, but not the full player base. This means that they’re often overrepresented on fansites, giving people and themselves a mistaken idea of what the demography of Runescape is really like.
There are many, many other types of players, but the third I’m going to name is the one that plays for ‘typical fun’. I use the name ‘typical fun’ to mean, activities that most players would usually consider to be fun. Playing minigames, Dungeoneering with friends and going to fansite events – you might find a typical fun player doing these sort of things. They might have a mixture of levels, depending on what skills they enjoy and which they don’t. If they don’t like a skill, they won’t train it often unless they really need to so that they can do something they think will be fun.
Of course, I’m only speaking in stereotypes right now. Every player is unique, have their own way of playing the game and, I hope, enjoying Runescape. However, Stereotypes play a big part in the Efficiency wars. What sort of player is stereotypically anti-efficiency? What sort of player is stereotypically pro-efficiency? I’m sure you can guess.
It’s true that many players find efficiency and reaching high levels to be genuinely fun, they enjoy getting the xp and racking up the high scores, there’s nothing wrong with that. However the thing that IS wrong is when these extremely efficient players that see themselves as ‘elite’ start to call people who don’t use the most efficient methods… noobs.
Yes, noob is hardly the most insulting term you could call someone, but it’s the idea behind it that matters, rather than the actual name-calling - the idea that being efficient makes you fundamentally better than other players. Yes, you may have more xp and higher levels than that player, but that doesn’t make you ‘better’ in any other way than stats. In fact, if you’re highly efficient even though you dislike having to use certain methods - maybe you genuinely hate it, but you continue anyway because it’s the best xp per hour and you need that xp… then you are possibly a worse player than the person you’re calling a noob. Maybe that person has low levels because, rather than spending their time training, they like to play Castle Wars for a few hours a day. Maybe they like Stealing Creation, or spend their time at the Burthorpe Games Room… I said maybe!
It would be wrong to suggest that it’s just the pro-efficiency players that can be accused of calling names. No lifer has been an insult for a very long time to label the highest ranking players who obviously put a lot of time into the game. It’s often that high level players got there by playing, at least in part, efficiently. If they enjoy their time on Runescape then that’s all that matters. It’s not anyone’s place to judge.
And where do I stand on this matter? Well, I think after much discussion on this topic I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to play is however you want to. It’s best to respect other player’s game choices - as long as it’s not autotyping spam in the GE, or anything nefarious like that. I think that if you’re enjoying yourself, then you’re playing as efficiently as you need to be.