It was only three short years ago when we were last anticipating a new skill. An image that depicted a Sailing skill featured on the high scores circulated around fansites earlier that year. Many people fell for it, thinking that the Photoshopped image was real and that the next skill we’d see would, in fact, be Sailing. Despite Jagex confirming the new skill would not be Sailing, some still believed it was. Of course, Dungeoneering was soon released and the delusional believers moved on to thinking it would be the 26th skill. Well, “Sailing” is here now, but it’s no skill. Jagex released player owned ports instead.
For not being a skill, it has some relatively high requirements. A player will need to be at least level 90 in either Fishing, Herblore, Prayer, Runecrafting, Slayer, or Thieving to even begin using the content and all of them to use all of the content. So there’s already a pretty high barrier to entry to even try the content. Despite this, Jagex apparently tried to make this a money sink by having to wait several hours for a ship to be repaired or paying a high fee (surprisingly in RS gp and not Rune Coins or cash). With so few people being able to access the content, it won’t be much of a money sink.
The journey supposedly leads to the highly anticipated Eastern Lands. I was under the impression that this was supposed to be an entirely new continent (probably with content mostly geared toward high level players). Instead, we found out that the Eastern Lands are merely an archipelago. That was an underwhelming disappointment for something with so much potential to be incredible. I just hope there is more planned for the Eastern Lands in the future other than a few isles.
That’s not to say the whole update was terrible. One interesting aspect was how ships are named. The process of choosing a preset prefix, first name, and second name allows users to pay homage to Star Trek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Firefly, the Royal Navy, the U.S. Navy, and My Little Pony, among other things. Some players haven even come up with a few names that I’m sure Jagex didn’t have in mind, which are always good for a laugh. Never underestimate the lengths at which players will go to use content for purposes other than how Jagex intended.
Another positive aspect of the update is the new rewards brought by player owned ports. There are three new sets of high level armor (one for each side of the combat triangle) that degrade over time. There are two new types of food, shark soup and rocktail soup, which heal very high amounts of life points. Those could certainly come in handy at any bosses where Sardomin brews are ineffective. Finally, there are also scrimshaws that go into the new pocket slot. These bone fragments offer increased or new abilities to players such as combat bonuses, higher skilling efficiency, and better “luck” at finding gems and birds’ nests.
All in all, this was actually a positive and beneficial update that brought one potential unfortunate consequence (miniscule Eastern Lands), one unnecessary inconvenience (the money sink aspect), and a myriad of good content and good rewards. Jagex also learned from its mistake with Dungeoneering and was wise not to arbitrarily call it a skill instead of a minigame. For starting off as such a terrible concept as the Sailing skill, this update fully exceeded my expectations. Who would have thought that one poorly Photoshopped image from three years ago would have such a beneficial impact on the game?