The Tip.It Times

Issue 15499gp


Written by and edited by Last_to_Kn0w

I took a quick look around my desk before I started writing this. The first thing I saw was my DS resting atop the kinds of plastic containers that its games are sold in. Directly above that, a shelf holding 20 or so CDs, and just to the right of that are 12 of those large cases that physical PC games were sold in a few years back. The computer itself contains a respectable Steam library of fantasy RPG’s and the occasional “shooter.” There are two things I noticed in this setting: One is that I really need to clean my desk. The other is that, in spite of all of these options, I'm logged in to RuneScape and watching a woman craft dragonhide armor for Ritual of the Mahjarrat.

The problem is that I can't stand Agility and Mining - the two other skills that I have to train for the quest - and the prospect of working with them for several hours makes each of the previously mentioned entertainment options seem more appealing than the last. Yet, I will buckle down and train skills that I can't stand for a reward that will last me no more than a few hours. I'm not alone; this type of gameplay is what RuneScape is built on.

RuneScape is essentially a sandbox game; the player is allowed to train anything instead of being restricted to a class. Naturally, players will choose to do what they enjoy in the game, whether that is combat, skills, quests, or some combination of the three. Some players genuinely enjoy the process. Others do not, but will do it anyway in the hope of receiving a future reward. The fact that many players find certain areas of the game tedious is both why players choose to bot skills (obligatory botting reference) and why skillcapes such as Runecrafting and Mining are respected in the eyes of a large part of the game's population.

This is one of the problems with RuneScape's gameplay, though. Not all skills are created equal, but many must be trained as if they were. One does not have to look farther than combat to see how this works: Melee stays at a consistent power level until players have access to level 70 equipment, while magic is incredibly weak until players have access to higher-level ancient spells or Storm of Armadyl, and ranged is rarely worth using at all. Outside of combat, players willingly train Herblore to the highest levels they can because extreme potions and above are a necessity for high-level combat, while Agility and Runecrafting are ignored once the player reaches the point where the skill stops being rewarding.

Of course, not every skill can have something as powerful as extreme potions, or we'd probably reach the point where even Nex is a joke. What the game really needs is consistency. Give players a reason to train these skills at any level, and not just for the highest levels. A skill like Agility could benefit more from more genuinely useful shortcuts than a D&D, just as Runecrafting (the skill where effigies are faster than actual training) would benefit more from a unique training method than a new altar.

Would it make the game easier? Maybe. Would it help skills that few players have had the reason or will to train? Hopefully.

Do you have any thoughts or comments about this week's articles? Want to discuss these articles with your fellow RuneScapers? We invite you to discuss them in this forum topic.


Will you use Menaphos to train your skills?

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