This week’s livestream was another general Q&A! Topics included:
Thanks to Mod Light (Community Manager), Mod Tide (Content Developer), Mod Kirby (Junior Content Developer), Mod Arcane (Content Developer) and Mod Elena (Content Developer) for their insights!
Missed the livestream? Check out the full transcript below!
We’ve seen a roadmap for the Jagex Launcher, which was great, but we have not received a timeframe with dates yet. The PvM Community are curious about whether the Runelite version of the Jagex Launcher will be available in time for Tombs of Amascut’s release?
So I asked the Publishing Platform team and they've confirmed that we're aiming to have the RuneLite version in the Jagex Launcher by the end of April. We're really keen to ensure that RuneLite is supported on the Jagex Launcher as soon as possible, and so that looks like it should be okay. But obviously, we'll keep you updated if anything else happens, or if we have any news to share.
When is this year's Easter event set to release? Any teasers you'd like to share?
I know, Kirby, you have a teaser that you would like to share about Easter. I have asked Mod Havoc, he's given me a very cryptic sentence. Basically, the Easter Bunny is having some delivery issues – something about chocolate melting in hot temperatures. There might be some camels and a kebab involved, so stay tuned for that.
What do you have for them, Kirby?
Are you familiar with the Alice in Chains chain song "Man in the Box"? That's it. That's the tease. That's all you're getting.
When can we expect the pet reclaim changes and Elite Clue Casket changes from Poll 76 to be implemented?
We know the major changes that you guys want to see from Poll 76. The team is very aware and we want to ensure that we get these changes out to you as quickly as possible. In the meantime, I know that Mod Arcane has shared the KC reduction changes, like the numbers, via his official account.
This will allow you to see what kinds of grinds you're looking at when those changes come out. I know some of you have pointed out that some of these changes don't seem like huge major changes, they should be quick to get into the game. We just want to give you a bit of context on that we need to ensure each of these changes are properly tested, and they fit into the work we have each week. Development on the main game is paused for the next week, as we have a game jam, which some of you guys may know about. We work basically to ideate some new ideas during that whole week. We don't develop on the main game during that week, but we're working to create exciting and cool projects for you. Poll 76 changes are developed to fit as soon as we can get them in. We can't just stick them in if there is a lot of other stuff in that week that needs changing. So for Guardians of the Rift, there were lots of initial feedback changes that we needed to prioritize.
In reference to the KC changes, as well, we want to clarify that it's not just about changing numbers. We need retroactive checks to complete tasks for players. QA will need to test the new numbers, make sure they work, make sure the retroactive checks work. It's a lot of different KC reductions across the board, so there are a lot of individual elements that will need a lot of testing.
The TLDR is we're getting it to you as soon as possible. We understand which changes you want, and we will endeavour to get them to you ASAP. No game update next week, so we're looking at the following week hopefully.
I just wanted to get QA stuff done, because I broke the tutorial for Guardians of the Rift in like 10-15 minutes when it launched, because I put in a hotfix that was one line to try and help out with something else. And that just broke the tutorial temporarily. I'm sorry if you were affected by that, by the way. But getting stuff through QA properly is important.
Is there an ETA for when we might see another blog for the Equipment Tier rebalancing changes? Or will the changes be as stated in the most recent blog, and if so, are there plans for when this update will go live?
I have poked Mod Ayiza for this. It's looking like these changes will be coming out around May time. The only change since the last blog from December is that we'll be making scythe requirements 80 attack and 90 strength. The other items will be as per the tier rebalancing blog that was published in December of last year. So, go check that out to refresh yourself on those changes, and you can expect them to come out around May time.
When is the timetable for the re-run of DMM reborn finals and will we ever get DMM 2022 again?
Mod Sarnie is actually going to be publishing a Gazette ASAP. In short, we'll be looking to run the base on April the 20th, with another happening the week after, but only for those who participated in the 2021 DMM finale. We look to hold the re-run in May.
Sometimes players get frustrated that new content takes a long time to come out. Can the developers go into detail what it takes to go from coming up with a new idea to actually releasing it? What steps do they go through in order to make sure the content is enjoyable by everyone?
First things first, is coming up with the idea. Then you go design it, figure out how everything's gonna work, how players will interact with everything. Is it going to be fun to play? Then you go and make the content. You would have playtest the content , making sure it's all fun, fun to play, and balancing, as well at the end of it. Then you go from there.
The fun part is at some point, you do also need to poll it, which is on the design stage. And that's a lot of back and forth, admittedly for me it's back and forth to the CM. But the CM do it through the community, so they get heavily involved sometimes just helping us improve the design, as well. This generally can pan out a lot of work we need to do in the early stages. And then, we also have to consider how long we want to develop the thing for in the first place. Because as much as we'd like to work forever on our projects – until they're actually perfect – at some point you, the players, would probably like to play them, as well. So, a lot of things need to go into consideration to actually plan and design and develop projects.
I just want to sit and code. That's all I want to do, but it's not that easy.
Polling is definitely a fun part of the process, but a lot of players can sometimes want more information than we have. I noticed with Guardians of the Rift, there was some stuff that we hadn't yet sorted out in the design phase, or the XP rates in particular. I felt like it was difficult to give an exact estimation of XP rates to players in the blog stage, before the content had actually been designed. So that's kind of a lot of the part of the process of it. But we basically want to strike a good balance between giving you as much information as possible, but also incorporating that feedback so that we can make sure that the content is really enjoyable.
Is there any update to the current road map? How are the other projects progressing? Do you have any leaks or WIP pictures?
I talked to Mod Kieren about this. Tombs of Amascut is coming along really well and hopefully Mod Arcane can expand on this in due course. We're currently working on the design phase of a Smithing update called Giants Foundry. We shared a bit about that or we'll be showing some more information in the gazette. And a blog should be coming around mid-April to let you know more about this proposed update. Yeah also in the planning is another Summer Summit, which you can hopefully expect. We also have a teaser image for ToA....
Looks absolutely gorgeous. I'll let Mod Arcane speak to it! We don't want to give too much away about this room. Keen lore lovers might know from the detail which room this is going to be.
Hopefully some of you guys already can figure some stuff out. Mod Jerv and Mod Grub wanted to emphasize problem solving here. So, puzzles, scrolls, placed around the path. There's also the theme of the pantheon being repeated around the room.
I love the concept art we going now. Like it's obviously mainly for the artists, right? But it gets the developers so excited because I've been staring at placeholder models for like six months. And it's really tiring to see the same placeholder, like basic monkey or scarab model all the time. It's hard to get really excited about that. But obviously this is early days development. So as soon as art starts coming in, what the concepts are, and eventually models and animations, etc. It gets me pumped up.
There's something funny about placeholder art, though. We used to have a bunch of characters walking around with like lime green or bright pink weaponry and gear. It just looks silly, I do love it.
Remember when the Sepulchre had the bots being fired out?
Yeah, entire people were being used as a projectile.
Following on from this though, Arcane can you speak a bit about the kind of work that you're doing on Tombs of Amascut, without giving too much away? What can you tell players that isn't secret?
I could give them some sort of update in terms of where it's at since obviously it's this big black box right. I was like oh my god they've been doing working on ToA for ages. We're currently in the phase of we've written all the designs to the bosses, we've implemented like the functionality of every boss. So technically the raid is playable in a really, really rough, and probably not very fun state.
We're currently in this phase where we're effectively going through each boss, after all the functionality and special attacks are all created, etc. and just playing them. I'm just going like, "Does this work?" Because some things are really good on paper, but then you actually implement it, and it's like – okay this doesn't really work. Every year, we've reworked entire bosses that seemed really cool on paper, and then I absolutely hated it. So we're just reworking it, and trying to make the bosses fun, make them have their own gimmick or core identity. And this is just going to be a constant iterative process. But we're getting to the point now where every boss is starting to feel pretty good, and we're pretty confident in the boss designs.
That's not to say there isn't much more to do. We need something to iterate a bunch of numbers, and difficulty balancing, and then we've got invocations and all the other systems that the Raid has, right? But the most important part of the Raid is the bosses at the end of the day. We're getting a really good stay on that now. (It's) starting to become something. It seems like a piece of content, as opposed to just random models doing random effects, which is cool.
Depending how far along you are with ToA, have there been any 'giga busted' or funny things that just didn't work out?
There has probably been some weird mechanics that were just created badly. I think one thing I didn't realize is on paper it's really easy to say the boss summons this minion that does x or y, and the players are supposed to interact with it in this way, and then you do that four or five times and all of a sudden you've got this boss that just constantly summons dozens of ads that all do different unique things, and it's just absolutely chaos to try and figure out what the hell is going on.
That's something I feel like I've learned in this process. You can't just throw 50 mechanics at a player expecting them to figure it out, there's got to be a gradual process and maybe try and simplify some of them. Only have complexity where complexity is needed. It's quite easy to get carried away in a paper design and just do a million things and expect it to work.
I'd like to hear some actual discussion around the J-mods thoughts on the future of OSRS. There are some serious issues around power creep and technical limitations to the game which will eventually lead to some tough choices. What do you think you’ll do for OSRS, will you go in the direction of RS3 or another way?
What does the team consider to be "acceptable" power creep in terms of weapons from big PvM releases like Tombs of Amascut? Maybe a hard thing to quantify, but in terms of % DPS increase compared to the previous options?
I don't think there really is an answer to this. It's completely contextual. Raids should offer bigger chunks of DPS increase than other pieces of content. It depends on the content, the difficulty, the rarity, it depends on so many things. I think everyone can agree that a 2-3% jump in DPS, regardless of what the grind is, is underwhelming. That might be one max hit, so there's probably a minimum threshold there, but the maximum scales depending on the content.
Another thing is "what have we done recently" as well. We recently released Torva, it would be kind of weird if the next super amazing thing was similar. If we released a "Scythe 2"... I mean a Scythe 2 would be nice, but wouldn't you rather have a Scythe but it was magic? We haven't had an amazing magic weapon recently. We need to constantly fill the gaps we're leaving as we raise the power level, and I feel like that's more important than just how much percent do we want to jig the numbers by.
I think this would all depend on the piece of content really. How hard is the content, what would the item serve for the content, if it was to have a niche or anything. You don't really want to go overboard as well, because you might all of a sudden have this really amazing item that's now the best thing to use. So much so that you don't want to use the Twisted Bow anymore and the Twisted bow crashes.
That's the exact reason Blowpipe was such a problem. It was cheap in every way and good everywhere. Even if Ranged wasn't particularly amazing, Blowpipe was insane.
Is power creep in PvM treated differently to power creep in PvP? Do we try to stay away from power creeping PvP?
PvP is a weird one because they don't play on the same linear scale. Where PvM players are constantly going for the next item, PvP is in this weird situation where technically it's not always optimal to go for the best item, hence the existence of pures and zerkers, where they can abuse the combat bracket system to their benefit. There is some consideration that we don't want to overload those lower brackets either, but they do play on separate scales I feel.
PvP is really weird as well because DPS isn't always the most important thing. Price matters a lot. You've got items like harm staff that absolutely slap but they're obviously a huge risk, and the economy kind of balances that. If you have a bunch of really cheap weapons that are amazing in PvP, that's obviously a much bigger problem than really expensive weapons and armour being really good in PvP. GP is a bit of a balancing point there as well. I think the biggest thing we have we have to consciously avoid all the time is max hits, because if you all of a sudden increase a max hit too much and people are just getting one shot consistently, it really hurts PvP. That's kind of what led RS3 to the damage absorption system and additional defensive layers that PvPers could build, so then we could keep raising the max in PvM because generally that's fine. We can make bosses scale with that but we can't make players scale outside of like obviously Virtus and Torva and what they did back then.
It's also sort of why I'm scared of the new PvP armours a little bit, in that we are giving the players another percentage bonus. It's probably fine now, but as we release more and more gear into the game, that's another amplification, and at some point people are just going to get one shot. It's probably fine, and we can probably deal with the numbers as they come up, but it's just something that's been plaguing my head for weeks now. Are they gonna get people one-shot in PvP? Is that okay? It might be okay if we have ways to play around it with prayers or special mechanics or something. At the point where max hits do become 99, I think we need to have a discussion.
Would the J-Mod team consider creating new raids every 12-24 months? Are there enough resources to make this happen? I understand that a low % of players interact with the content but I believe if a healthy power creep was introduced with each raid, it would make the previous ones easier over time which should boost average player interaction/interest in that content.
I'm probably going to get a lot of hate for this. I think raids are a really inefficient use of our time. We could create five or six separate releases that could be super interesting, in depth, with their own reward tables and completely unique mechanics in the time that it would take to create a raid, but raids just kind of hit different. A raid is just so much cooler than any individual boss, and is a completely different experience. Playing with your mates is just completely different.
I don't regret making raids, and I think raids are amazing and we should keep doing them. It's a really inefficient use of time and I don't think we should keep trying to churn them out every year or two. I think three years is probably a decent ratio, and then we just try and create interesting things in the meantime.
It's not like PvM stops as soon as a raid is developed. I think we should do other stuff as well, like individual solo bosses and group bosses. I'd like us to experiment with different things as well. You can categorize all the bosses in Old School into three things. You've either got a raid, a solo boss like Zulrah, or you've got a group boss like Corp. Gauntlet's kind of different, Inferno and Fight Caves are kind of different. That's it.
I'd like us to experiment with something new that we've never done before. Obviously that's hard to think of because we've not done it before. I think it's just that the past three or four years has been a bit rough because we had such a big boom with ToB, Inferno, and CoX in a short period of time, and then it lulled a bit. We did have other releases like Gauntlet, Nightmare, and Nex, but they just never really hit the same as that era. I think we can do the same without releasing raid after raid, we can just release better content after better content.
How difficult should PvM content be? What's the philosophy behind it, should everyone be able to somewhat participate on release or close to? or should it be so difficult that you can't participate until you've become "good enough" and with that creating something for players to strive towards.
Do you anticipate having to nerf any more items in the next 1-2 years? Or maybe longer term like 3-5 years?
I don't think we're planning on nerfing anything currently, and I can't really say that we planned that far ahead to be honest. I think I can see people in chat complaining about my rants but I feel like I have to rant again.
No, your rants are good! Go for it!
I think Magic is in a really bad state. I want to rework Magic, and that's not "I want to nerf Magic", I want to rework Magic. Not just the standard spell book, I want to rework all of it. I want to rework the gear. I want to rework the prayers. I want to rework the weapons. I want to rework the defence formula. I want to go through all the bosses and give them appropriate defence levels. There's a million different ways of doing that. I want to rework the standard spell book because it's so boring, and the damage doesn't work in this day and age, and it doesn't scale at all. It's just weird. It needs so many little things changed to make it better. I don't want it to become "oh it's just Ranged, but Magic," because that'd be so boring - then there's no difference between Ranged and Magic. You stand ten tiles away, you click on the boss and it dies, right?
You want it to feel different and have a unique purpose. I think Magic does sort of feel different, and it does have its purpose, it's just not quite there. There's so many small gripes with it, it's just such a big project.
It's not EOC, I'm not saying we need a complete rework of everything to do with how Magic works. It's just so many bits like Occult giving ten percent, none of the prayers having any damage, Ancestral being two percent, the weapons having 20 accuracy while range has like 100. I created a spreadsheet of all the defences of every monster in the game. I have experimental formulas to see if we just cut the Magic defence of every monster in the game by a third, would Magic actually become good, and there actually is like five or six new bosses and NPCs that you would actually probably use Magic instead.
Instead of Evolution of Combat it's the evolution of Magic!
To bring it back to the question a little bit, I can easily see us nerfing items in three or five years when we inevitably release an item that we think is fine, but then people are going to combine it with some other items or maybe we just get the numbers wrong and we get the rates wrong and we just ended up in bad a position over time. Maybe not quite as bad as it was before the combat rebalance, but it's getting there so we'd like to get ahead of it and take some items down. I could see us doing it. I hope its not going to be as controversial.
I hope so!
Absolutely not is what I'd like to say, but like Kirby said, something might come up or we will overlook something or players will find some weird interaction with something and we'll be like "ah you shouldn't do that, you need to stop that".
How do you generally go about designing a new boss from beginning to end and how do you decide how click intensive it should be?
it's kind of a hard question to answer. For ToA at least we had distinct themes that we wanted to fill. We knew we were having five bosses and we had like distinct themes. We kind of want something in this area lore wise and then it's like "What kind of things would that want to do? What actually like makes sense is fitting? What are those monsters known for generally? It's just coming up mechanics are interesting. Other than that, you just kind of write a load of stuff in a Confluence Document and then you refine it over time.
Then you need to think about what would actually work? What compliments each other? Then you will need to think about making a strong enough gimmick to go with this. Then you get to like actual development stage and your implementing it and you think "This is horrible, delete it". Then you're back to the drawing board and then it's a very iterative process. We're all gamers, we also look at other games for inspiration, "What's cool? What could be work done in Old School? At the end of the day every boss is going to be cool. If a boss isn't cool, it's boring. What's the point? You want these like really cool epic bosses that do all the wacky stuff and you have got to figure it all out.
In terms of designing how click intensive is, I don't think that's something we discuss early on into a bosses design. That's something that comes a bit later on once the boss is better fleshed out. Questions we think about are "Do we want people to be swapping gear mid combat? Is that is that going to be a core mechanic or an important mechanic? Do you want everything in this room to have the same weakness or do you want some varying weaknesses? Would that make the encounter better or would it just make it annoying or worse? All of that just depends on the encounter.
If you're going to be swapping all of your gear every three seconds it's probably going to be a pain. If you're doing it every now and again it might be okay. There's the time scale as well - obviously Nylocas at ToB, you're swapping gear constantly but that's only for a minute. It's a pretty short encounter compared to the entire raid. It's fine some bosses are naturally more clicking sensitive. If you have got to move a lot, you've got to kill it, click on a lot of minions and you've got to click and dodge a bunch of things then it's going to be slightly more click intensive. I think the only other quick and sensitive activity you can add is really gear swapping and prayer swapping and that's probably it (innately anyway), just basic mechanics.
I haven't really designed much combat content. I've mainly been on the client a lot of the time. so I don't really have much experience with the bosses on designing bosses for RuneScape unfortunately.
I'm assuming with the client you don't want it to be too click intensive right(!) - you have to be very simple.
I'm actually in the same boat as Tide here where I have not designed any combat related stuff in Old School, at least not bosses. I've mainly been on systems like Clans and Group Ironman and there aren't that many Clan and Group Iron Man specific bosses in Old School unfortunately. I can speak to a little bit of like click intensity when it comes to content in general because I was on Guardians of the Rift. It's not a boss obviously it's more of a skilling method minigame. We had the idea that we would have several ways of reaching the goal, so you can kind of chill and be afk but you can also if you want; to be more intensive. That's how I like to approach things, that you can get away with not clicking a lot for example in combat you can get away with just doing a couple of switches or you could go all out and do like a full eight-way switch or whatever you want to do and and get more rewards for that effort. I think that's something that can be applied to most things in our game.
Are you still planning on introducing Virtus through a piece of content like a standalone boss?
We do have a piece of content planned after ToA. We're thinking of putting Virtus in as a reward.
How much do Polls hinder the Old School Team on content development, balance and overall health of the game from a dev POV?
I just want to start this by saying we had some questions about polling and asking our general thoughts on it. I'm sure that we will do a dedicated Q&A about polling at some point! Ayiza should be present when we talk about that, because he's lead Community Manager and he'll know about this in a lot more detail. I thought it's important to include the developers' point of view on this for today's Q&A because we've got a lot of questions about it.
It's such a big topic, right? Overall I think polls are good. That's the baseline, polls are good because they elevate the quality of what we do. But that comes at the cost of things taking longer to do.
It's because of the whole process - we need to write a blog first so everyone knows what we're talking about, then we need to do iterative rounds of feedback with the community and then it needs to pass a poll. If we've not sold you on the content yet, then it's not going to come out and then all that time up to that point was wasted. Unless, obviously, it only failed by a little bit and maybe we can make some tweaks and repoll it, etc... So it comes at a big risk to time spent and we spend a lot of time just polishing up blogs and and making sure that we're selling things right!
On the other hand the great thing about that is that we can't get away with cheap solutions a lot of time. We can't sell you stuff that you don't want, which automatically elevates the product a lot.
Overall I think it's good but how it directly affects us, it takes longer to do stuff and and obviously dev time is a bit more precious because it's more risky to start on something that isn't polled yet. It takes a lot of planning to do as well, which can be a bit annoying.
I think Elena said a lot of the things which are relevant which are correct about polls. They are definitely good to do, but they do increase the time it takes to do a project because you have to poll something and if players don't like it or something doesn't pass you'll either go back and think about changing what that is, or just completely scrapping it all together, or replacing it with something new. But it does mean that everything that goes in most players like and want it.
There's also another thing where it does force players expectations in a way. To go back to the start of the stream, where we talked about stuff from Poll 76 - this is stuff that has been polled and the players just see that "it should just be a number change, surely". Obviously, the dev side is a little more complicated than that because we can only really start doing it like once it's actually been polled and at least looks like it's going to pass. Obviously it has to go through due process and whatnot. Players just see the blog and they want it now, and why shouldn't they want it now? It's hard to give a time frame on some of this stuff especially as it's going up between everything else. It's just that sort of thing in the back of your head, like "I want to give you everything but I can't! I'm not physically capable of doing it!"
I 100% feel you on that one, especially when it comes to Poll 76. Players have seen it in late February - they love the changes, but we can't actually get started on the work until it passes the poll. Time goes by and players are wondering... But yeah. Great to hear your insights, everyone!
What are your thoughts on Exploration, a new skill for OSRS? You sail to randomly generated islands, loot them, raid them, skill and kill, do the puzzles, and then bring home your loot with your mighty ship you built and customised. This would combine aspects of the Sailing skill and Player-owned ports (from RS3), to bring an exciting skill with plenty of variation.
Will you ever consider the possibility of some form of XP lock for PvP?
I spoke to Mod Ayiza about this. I have an answer from him - he said "I'd be happy to see pure and skiller accounts become official game modes people can play, that will allow the locking of XP and preventing of XP gained in areas that it would normally be granted. I don't have too much else to share on that."
I'm okay blocking them gaining combat XP, but I still feel like if they were going to do something like Monkey Madness or the like for the getting onto the island, they should still have to take the Defence for that.
You are willingly playing a limited game mode. I'm okay holding you to that game mode, but don't expect any benefits for it.
There's been a lot of barking from PKers that want the PJ timer reverted, and that would leave PvMers severely in disadvantage with the boxing mechanic gone. What are your thoughts on that?
I have another reply from Mod Ayiza, he said: "If the PJ Timer was to be removed, then so would the NPC PJ Timer."
I saw the player numbers. For people in the wilderness, it does look like it's actually been increasing week-on-week since we made the changes. So I'm willing to bet, at least in the short term, we're not looking at making more extensive changes to the PJ Timer. But as I said, if we were to remove the PJ Timer, it would apply to NPCs as well.
I’d love to see a discussion between J-mods of what they think is the best way to get new players into OSRS. How do the team feel we can best boost membership and get newer players engaged with the game?