It’s here, everyone, the update we've been waiting for, the hotly anticipated Smithing Update set to revolutionise the way that we smith FOREVER.
Too bad that’s wrong.
There has been a big build-up for this update, not to the degree of the massive advertising done for the Free Trade and Wilderness update, but over the past few years we’ve had a constant trickle of hints towards "The Smithing Update". Although there was very little information confirmed about The Smithing Update, it was hailed as revolutionary and a way to save Smithing.
If any skill is in need of regeneration, Smithing is on top, or at least near the top. Being able to smith Rune Armour is not the profit-making high point that it once was. Rather, it’s simply a drag to get there and when you do reach 99 Smithing, there’s nothing. It’s the same for most skills but Smithing in particular has been crying out for an update for a long time. Everyone knew this and pinned their hopes on this being the great Smithing update that would finally bring some use to the skill.
Smithing is a skill which many people have created new concepts and suggestions for like enhancing current metal armours to make them into untradeable, higher level armour or introducing new ores for high level Smithing & Mining that you could make into high level armour. Players could also smith items that have nothing to do with creating armour, such as being able to smith tools for use in other skills like Woodcutting. The list goes on and on, and all the suggestions we've heard have one thing in common: they give the Smithing skill a use once again.
The training of Smithing might be slow and tedious with only a few set ways of getting decent experience rates when you get to the higher levels, but that’s not what many people are complaining about. People don’t want a way to train Smithing, they want a reason to do so. The Artisans' Workshop doesn’t provide this, it only provides another way to train the skill. Sure, it’s a well thought out and executed method of training, but it’s not what the skill really needed.
I’ve spent some time smithing Ceremonial Swords and, while being rather resource-intensive, it’s quite an enjoyable method of Smithing. It’s almost fun to do (I say "almost" because when my hammer decides to make a size 5 dent and breaks the sword, it’s not fun) and is definitely a break from the grind of the usual training methods. It’s fun, it has good xp rates, but it’s just not what I wanted.
Of course, not everyone is going to be pleased with this update. It doesn’t give 99 smiths much to do and there are some that find fault with updates on principle alone. However, it’s mainly because we were expecting something much more than this, we heard tales of revolution and rework, not an expedient method of training tucked away in Falador. Even I, in my Times article last month, suggested that Jagex didn’t introduce a Decorative urn for Smelting because they had the Smithing update planned soon. I was right, but I was wrong in thinking that this update might render such an item useless.
The problem with all the slight mentions of the Smithing update by Jagex is that they kept the details hidden and let us dream up fantasy scenarios of a perfect Smithing skill when, in reality, what they delivered was far from our dreams. Of course, nothing could have lived up to our Smithing fantasies but this just doesn’t match in any way what we were told.
Since the update, Jagex has said that just because they didn’t introduce a new reason to train the skill, doesn’t mean they won’t do so in the future. They claim that this allows them to consider higher-level Smithing updates without the worry that people won’t have the required levels. This seems like a bit of an afterthought and a cheap way of deflecting the rage. I believe that if there is going to be a new Smithing update, then it’s going to be at least another year off.
Is it our fault for having such high expectations, or is it Jagex’s for not letting us know that this wasn’t going to be the saviour of Smithing beforehand? Personally, I blame us. For all the ranting and complaining the community does, one would think that we would learn not to get our hopes up too high. Yes, it’s sad, but there comes a point where you can’t trust what Jagex says all the time. I’m sure that when the time comes for an update similar to what was hoped of this update, we’ll turn to this as a learning experience and not let ourselves get so carried away.