Runescape, being an essentially multiplayer game, has lots of content that’s created for multiple people to use. The prime example of this would be activities (or minigames if you prefer). Take Stealing Creation, for example. This is content that can’t be played without other people involved and, therefore, you need some way of organising groups of people into teams in an efficient way. Lo and behold, there are the two pens which try to create well balanced teams automatically. This is the most common way that we come across this sort of feature and we take it very much in our stride.
Stealing Creation also has another pen, for groups organised into Clan Chats to set up their own teams and play each other. This is an example of Jagex handing the rein of team management to us and, when it’s used well, everything is fine and dandy.
Let us look at a piece of content which isn’t quite so fine. Dungeoneering. Putting personal opinions about the skill aside for a while, it’s fair to say that Dungeoneering has become a commonly used skill in the game and has been with us for quite some time now. At least to me, it doesn’t feel like it’s been six whole months since the release of Dungeoneering in April. Time does fly by, doesn’t it?
So why, after so long, are we still standing around in W117 shouting ‘F30 5:5 Large!’? I’m rather surprised that people haven’t cottoned on yet. Dungeoneering is best trained in groups and, therefore, Jagex created a system that would allow players to form their own groups with relative ease. The great building above the entrance to the dungeons of Daemonheim has many different areas for players to enter and become automatically grouped into teams. There are ones for each floor type, where you can select the floor you want to do and then when there’s enough people who want to do the same floor, it groups you and sends you on your way. There’s also a large area for automatic grouping that puts players together into the lowest free floor that they all share.
In theory, this all works very well and we have a cohesive and efficient method of forming teams and playing Dungeoneering. In reality, however, nobody does that. People stand around in Dungeoneering worlds shouting an assortment of letters and numbers, waiting for people to trade them as a request for joining their team. People also just stand around and wait for someone to shout a team that they want to be a part of. All this is done without even thinking about the useful grouping tools already available to us.
If everyone used the system that Jagex created then it would be easier for everyone to play! But, because the majority of players don’t, those who are aware of the system and would want to use it can’t. It would be nice to be able to use it, but since nobody else does it’s not a realistic option.
When Dungeoneering was first released, this was understandable. Fewer players than would be ideal actually read the whole news post when an update is made, or look at the Knowledge Base (though the KB is often not the most accurate source you can find straight after an update). So you might be forgiven for not realising that there is a tool there that Jagex want players to use to form groups. It’s now six months later, and if you still haven’t looked at those pretty particle barriers and wondered ‘what do those rooms do?’ and bothered to find out, then you know now. They’re the alternative to wading through endless spam to find players.
Of course some of the tools that Jagex provide aren’t perfect , for example you can’t specify that you want to rush a dungeon, but they’re still there. It’s a bit of a shame that the effort that has gone into coding and developing these systems just falls by the wayside because people just don’t use the tools.