Jagex has brought the wilderness back, but it’s as dead as its landscape. The big clans that populated it are gone and you’re unlikely to find anyone beyond even level 5. The reason for that is simple: There are few to no incentives to visit the wilderness.
Beyond Edgeville PKing, where you’ll constantly be set upon by Pjers and have few chances of actually gaining a decent profit, you will find no one to fight and few valuable resources to claim – Rune rocks and green/red dragons being the only spots that are even worth it to consider going into the wilderness, but they aren’t that interesting either. The rune rocks offer only a slightly faster respawn rate compared to rune rocks outside the wilderness and the dragons are even completely identical regardless of location.
Before I go on, I want to mention that I am not a PKer. I never have been nor will I ever be. It’s not my type of gameplay. Yet I still want to write this article, hoping that I may offer a slightly different viewpoint.
I do wish for these changes, even though there is the danger of them negatively affecting me. I do so mostly because I think PKers would deserve some updates to properly reinstate their part of the game, something that Runescape has lacked for a while and that could give quite a popularity boost. Apart from that, PvP would offer a long needed item sink to prevent weapons and armour from constantly going down in price, plus it would fuel demand for food, ammo, potions etc. If executed in the right way, this could be beneficial for all parties involved.
This discussion has recently been brought up by a video the Wilderness Guardians posted on their YouTube channel, though it has existed before that. Essentially, the wilderness needs two things. The first would be a rework of the combat, death and reward systems, making it worthwhile to risk more than rune, to lessen the easy risk-less gains of 1-itemers and to balance out combat styles. The latter will hopefully be fixed in the combat rework that is supposed to come out some time later in this year. Hopefully the former two will be adjusted at some point as well. The second, more important issue to be fixed is the fact that the wilderness lacks a food chain to populate it. Large clans can arrange wars against each other, but without smaller clans to fight for profit, they are losing a lot of members – enough for some clans even to have to close down. The smaller clans aren’t present in the wilderness, because there’s no one they can fight, such as smaller groups or solo PKers. And those are missing skillers to kill, who don’t visit the wilderness as there are few reasons to do so. Of course you can add a lot of elements in between the chain parts I named, but that’s essentially how it works. As such, what the wilderness needs is skillers to go there – the rest will, hopefully, follow suit. So, let’s just add tons of valuable resources and this will fix all of the problems? Well, not quite.
The general concept is the right one. Resources have to be added to revitalize the wilderness. But this mustn’t be done thoughtlessly, for other problems will arise if done so. The correct balance has to be found, or other groups of players will find themselves to be annoyed at these changes. Non-PvP content should never be exclusive to PvP or it will exclude those players not interested in PvP, as they will be disadvantaged either way. They won’t be able to access said content if they stay away from PvP, but if they don’t they’ll have to put up with being in PvP situations, something they won’t be happy with either. Though not entirely fitting, let’s take penguins as an example. They were originally introduced in the wilderness with revenants. Though death at that time was likely not just as frequent, the value of items lost was almost certainly higher. Where nowadays next to no penguin hunter would risk anything of value, this was not too uncommon before the wilderness reinstitution. Yet, despite less being lost, complaints about wilderness penguins are far more frequent.
Why is that? Simply put, some do not like PvP, and dying on the hands of a PKer can be a lot more annoying than dying to a revenant. This is one example where players have to bear with PvP if they want to access a certain piece of content. And whether you agree with that or not, you’ll have to acknowledge that a number of players dislike this and you can’t simply dismiss but rather should find a solution that caters to both sides. The newly introduced bloodwood trees are already a first example of this, offering increased yields for the wilderness trees while still being available if you do not want to enter the wilderness. At the same time, the yield increment should be far higher if you really want to draw players there and one resource alone, especially one that is only available every six hours, isn’t enough by far.
Jagex still has a long way to go if they truly want to fix the wilderness, but if they take their time and do it properly, they will find that it is well worth the work put into it. They should be careful not to mess it up though, or they will have to expect a lot of criticism.
The wilderness had been a lush paradise before the God Wars. It’s been home for PKers for years. Today it’s just an empty wasteland. It’s time to act!