This week's Q&A Livestream covered two major topics - first the updated rewards for Tombs of Amascut, then a look at the updates to Group Ironman! The JMods covered questions on:
Thanks to Mod Light (Community Manager), Mod Elena (Content Developer), Mod Husky (Content Developer), Mod Kieren (Associate Design Director) and Mod Arcane (Senior Content Developer) for their insight!
Missed the livestream? Check out the full transcript below!
Arcane, do you want to talk about some of the new changes we proposed in the blog that just went live?
Will the accuracy and damage triple passive only work with the inbuilt spell or with all spells casted while wielding the staff?
It will only work with the inbuilt spell because it's more like a powered staff, similar to Sang. It'd be anything you attack with that inbuilt spell. So if you've manually cast a Barrage, you're not gonna be benefiting from a triple accuracy and damage. That'd be crazy!
I liked the Heka, can we still have it?
There was a lot of that sentiment, that the Heka was quite quirky and unique. I think going forward, we generally feel raids aren't the place to have these wacky weird rewards. We want to really push these really powerful, in-demand BiS items from raids. Other pieces of content like group bosses and solo bosses, I think that'd be the area to experiment with more interesting items like the Heka. We definitely are still interested in offering that weapon, just potentially not from here.
We can’t equip the ward at the same time, is this a problem?
There's a bit of sentiment around this - we have the offhand, the Ward of Elidinis which is a new BiS mage offhand from ToA that passed . You wouldn't be able to equip that with the Shadow. Obviously, that's kind of lame... You want to be able to equip the two new best-in-slot items from this raid! I get the sentiment behind that completely. The Ward is still going to have a lot of use though. Wherever you're using barrage, Kodai, things like that, it's still gonna be best in slot. Wherever you're still going to use Sang, because four-tick still really relevant, and all of that health Sang can give you - it's still gonna be very desirable in a lot of pieces of content. It's not like the Ward has no purpose, but it's obviously got less purpose compared to the Heka. I don't think that's necessarily a problem though!
Magic is still kind of broken, why not fix magic as a whole?
This is something we've talked about quite a lot. Magic as a whole is kind of wonky. Things have got ridiculously high defences, and the standard spellbook's quite lacklustre and janky. There are a lot of things we can improve about Magic and we still want to do that. It's just a huge project, and we want to do it right. That's not something we're looking to tackle with ToA as a whole, it's gonna be a smaller scale, but we'd definitely be interested in doing it in the future, for sure.
Weapon doesn’t have any strict drawbacks like scythe/tbow, is it too strong?
Scythe can only be used realistically on a 3x3, Tbow can only be used effectively on monsters with 200+ Magic level. That is seen as a restriction, but in reality, it's not really much of a restriction. Most bosses in the game are 3x3 or above and the Scythe is pretty good at that. Tbows good at a lot of monsters so it's not really niche, it's a fake niche. But I get the point, it gives you a different way to balance a weapon and give other weapons viability.
What we're leaning on here is the fact that you need quite a lot of magic switches for this weapon to get really, really powerful and worth using. That's the drawback - if you only want to bring Sang or a one way switch, this weapon isn't very good, and obviously you're going to lose all the healing from Sang, if you're comparing it to that. If we do eventually get around to rebalancing Elemental, Harm, etc. Harm would still have its purpose, its power.
Can Harmonised staff be buffed? Can you fix the autocast on it?
We agree with all of this! Tome of Fire is janky, the autocast system is janky. Harm is just in a weird space where it's really, really rare. We're still aware of it but we're not looking to fix it short term or anything. I think the best solution personally is reworking elemental spells and elemental defence. It would be more natural, where Harm ends up becoming better. This may end up affecting Harm and Tome of Fire in some different ways as well. I think that would fall into that Magic rework as a whole.
Lots of MMOs and other popular games use events to boost engagement. One great thing about Old School is how conservatively this is applied. What can you do to reassure players that OSRS won't lean too far into events and other limited releases?
How will the raffle tickets affect your chance of winning? Because it works as a raffle? Right? It's not like the most amount of people, the most amount of points wins. So can you explain a bit more about that side of things?
The term "raffle" is just the best way to describe it. I'm not sure if people are familiar with that... If you can imagine, every time you kill a boss a ticket drops into the hat with your name on it. If you've got more tickets in this hat, when we pull out the winners, there is going to be a higher chance your group's name is going to be on this ticket. The first name we pull out would be a lifetime of membership, then the next nine would be a year membership. You could be an all-maxed account, super-efficient, playing 12 hours a day, and you might still only have 5% of the tickets which would be a 1/20 chance, and we all know how drop rates work after playing OSRS so even then you're still not guaranteed but you're definitely increasing your odds. I think this makes it more fair and open to a lot of people. It's less about "how can I optimise and get the most kills per hour", but more just "hey, let's participate in this", and it could change up your activities. For example, say you were going to grind out some primordial boots but you notice the raffle is on and slayer bosses are not included in it. Now maybe instead you'll say to your group "Hey, let's do some nightmare tonight, see if we get lucky and get an Inquisitor's piece of an Orb and we'll also get some raffle tickets on the side!"
Are we planning or looking at implementing the raffle system for other types of accounts?
I can actually speak to that - I looked at the survey results today. I know it's only been 24 hours, but it does seem like the majority of respondents to that survey seemed in favour of implementing this system across other types of accounts, not just group Ironmen.
Absolutely. It's got the potential to do that. Right now it's just an experiment to begin with, and with group Ironmen we like the social dynamics of groups. Getting group Ironmen to do something together is part of the desire here! Now that we've got a system, it can naturally be extended in theory to all accounts, or indeed, different types of content. It doesn't have to be bosses, it could be anything arbitrary. As long as we tell you what it is, and give you a list of points for completion, we could absolutely do that. I think that even ties into one of the ideas we talked about in the Game Jam yesterday, the Seasonal HiScore system. We can provide a competition such as "most agility laps completed". Okay, that maybe isn't the most exciting idea but you can see how this system works. Every lap you complete, you get a ticket. We can even have that on the HiScores so you can see how many tickets you've got compared to other people. I think there's a lot of potential to do more of this. Right now though, we are going to be looking at how well this one works, if the community likes it. Then we base our decision on that. So far there certainly seems like there's the appetite for this to extend to other things too!
Will there be Free to Play bosses added to the Boss Bash?
We've been focusing on group bosses, and there aren't really any group bosses in free-to-play. So that makes it only members for now.
King Black Dragon isn't free-to-play but that was the first one that jumped in my head where I thought "is it?" You're right though, it is just focusing on group bosses.
Maybe we'll look towards some free to play type things if we decide to hold this type of event in the future.
Will there be a penalty for Group Ironmen who joined a team just to win the raffle and then leave straight away?
From my conversation with ADSE, which is our analytics department, they'll be doing the draw for this. The way we send the data across to them, I believe the group that will win, is the group you had at the time of killing the given boss. If I'm in a group with Husky and Kieren, we go kill DKs. Then my name gets pulled from that DK kill, even if the draw is a week later, I was still in the group with them at the time which means that all three of us won, even if I left the group after.
What are our plans to stop cheaters from winning the raffle?
We do a "sense check" on winners when we're holding a competition. We do that sense check like we do for DMM, etc. I believe that we'll be doing that in this situation. That's generally how we tend to approach these types of things
When the winners are chosen, the sense checks will be done. If any players have broken the rules, the win will go down to the next pick on the list!
Can the raffle be broken down by team size? For example, a five-man team might have better odds at winning against a two-man or three-man team.
It's something I did think about when we were thinking about this, but we thought that we would rather keep it simple. Now I do realise that means a five-man team has an advantage over a two-man. But because it's in this raffle system and it’s not most tickets wins, it's kind of fair. It's still open to everybody. Generally the more you do, the better chance you will have and it's not going to make a drastic difference that the day. That's the feeling on it. It's totally possible we could look at this more in future. We'll see when we are able to take a look at the points distributions and see how many points the groups got. We can use that information to improve things in future.
Where is the negative feedback on GIM tradable untradeables? Most feedback appears in favour. Why wasn't it polled and would we be open to Polling it as most GIM players seem to feel in favour of this change?
We’ve seen a fair amount of feedback asking about raising GIM Group Numbers. Could we raise the player cap for (Unranked) Group Ironmen?
Due to our current engine limitations, it's not really viable. Our infrastructure doesn't support it. When we built the Group Ironman system, it was very much built with the intention of five being the max. We can expand that but it would take a lot of work, and a fair bit of engine work too as it's not just changing a variable, it's not a trivial task. That said, theoretically, it is possible to do. It's based on the clan system, and clans can have many, many players. That means it's definitely within the realms of possibility.
Could we allow regular ironmen to join Unranked GIM Groups? If there are no HiScores and the goal is to have fun with friends, this is something that might increase player accessibility.
I've been thinking about this a fair bit, actually, since it came up. The reason we didn't do this initially on launch was the fact that we didn't have unranked, everyone was starting fresh on new accounts. That was the thrill, the excitement of being the first to get a cool drop or first player to max. We didn't want to take that away from people by letting regular Ironmen convert to GIM.
Now that's not really an issue anymore, now that we have unranked. Personally, I would be open to it! I've seen a fair bit of concern about people bringing in items to the group and that being unfair. That is going to be a possibility between groups anyway when unranked becomes available. For example, I could be in a group, get a Tbow in that group, and then move over to another group. That is the reason why we had this really strict system in the first place. A lot of people also found that really inconvenient because they just want to play Group Ironman with the gang. We'd like to remove the restrictions for the people who just want to play a bit more casually but in return, you cannot be on the HiScores. We want to do that unranked.
I'm seeing a bit of feedback come up as well about wanting to see a difference between these accounts in the game. If you see an Ironman today with a Tbow, you know that that person got it themselves. If you see an iron group with a Tbow, you assume that some person in that group got it. Due to unranked, that's not going to be the case anymore, necessarily. We actually have the ability to change that icon, if that's something people want. There's a world where the unranked Group Ironman icon is green instead of blue, perhaps!
I'd be super interested to hear what people think about that. Should we make that distinction in-game? The reason we didn't offer that initially was that we just didn't want people to feel bad about making that choice. You just want to play casually! We didn't want to see people make fun of you for being a "filthy casual" or something like that.
This small icon change makes perfect sense. I think it's about showing off your status. That's the key thing, people can see the level of achievement you've had because of those chat icons. When you see some character and he stood there with a Twisted Bow, it's important to understand what level of achievement that is. Did they just buy it off the Grand Exchange? Did they use their mum's credit card to buy bonds, and get it from the credit exchange that way? Or is it an Ironman who's earned it? Or even a Group Ironman? I think that's really important.
Allowing Ironmen to join unranked is perfectly fine. It just becomes about whether we can technically do the work and actually tie that change in. I will always believe it's acceptable, as long as the player is moving from a harder game mode to an easier one. As an Ironman, you are playing solo. To be able to switch into a game mode where you're playing with four others - that's absolutely fine. You're not getting to a position where you can show off achievements that you've circumnavigated.
Do we plan to allow GIM to change to regular ironmen?
No, we will never make that change. As Kieren said, we like going from a harder game mode to an easier one. We wouldn't want to do it the other way around. If you go from a group, you've had help from up to four other players and to suddenly become competitive with other players who've come this far on their own... It's not really fair to those people.
Here's an example; You could get a whip from somebody in your group. You could have 1 Slayer and then become an Ironman and have a whip. Which somebody else has from 85 slayer! It wouldn't be fair.
We saw some questions about future GIM Group content. A lot of players seem to want things like partner slayer. Can players expect to see this return in any capacity?
There are no current plans in that specific example. But I do have a huge "bee in my bonnet" about doing more social content in general, which partner slay obviously does fit.
I'd love to understand what people want to see with partner Slayer. Are they happy for it just come back almost like it was? It didn't really have much incentive other than you can have a bit of fun with your friend. It wasn't necessarily efficient to do it unless you were kind of abusing the system. Is that fine? If so, why not? But absolutely, we could bring it back.
This speaks to something we were talking about yesterday on the Game Jam stream; a lot of the content in our game is single player. Old School RuneScape is one of the most single-player MMOs available! There is some group bossing and some of the more recent content we've done, like Guardians of the Rift, You can do with other people and you can form a team and do it. Content such as Tempoross, you can do with other people.
But if we come back to mining... If somebody else is in your iron ore spot or your granite mine, you're hopping to find another world. If somebody's chopping your trees, it's a disadvantage to be in the same world. That is the content that I'd love to find a way to make more social so that you can do it with others. Following on from that, I would love to find more spaces for actual team group content. Rather than doing content around other people, you do the content with other people. A raid is team content. You need a dedicated team to do that. I'd love to have some more of that through the mid-game. I find that it really does lack until you get to the endgame.
I think group content is really what makes MMORPGs stand out from regular RPGs. I don't think there's inherently something wrong with allowing solo play in an MMO. I think that's actually really important! If you're like me, you don't always want to spend time with people. I personally like being able to when the time is right. But sometimes I just want to sit back, mine and watch Netflix, or something along those lines.
We don't want to change what old school is at the same time, right? Let us embrace that is part of the game, not diminish it, We would just like to add to it and give you social options. Group Ironmen has really highlighted this to me, how much fun it is when your group reaches God Wars and you can team up and do God Wars. You're finally experiencing everything Group Ironman was designed to be! It's so much fun getting together with your friends who have worked so hard for months to get together, ready to finally go on that Bandos trip at God Wars. It is so satisfying. We would love to have more of it. Maybe even earlier than God Wars, because it takes quite a while to even get to God Wars with a reasonable setup.
I've been seeing this before as well. I'd love to see more early game or early to mid-level group bosses. That's something that came up around the release of Group Ironman, because the majority of people are only now getting to bosses. It's been such a long time since Group Ironman came out. What if we had more to do on the way to this point? That'd be good!
When can GIM display their prestige status on HiScores?
This is something that we promised in the design. On the release of Group Ironman as well, we said that this would be coming in the future. It is. It has been coded and developed, it's just waiting a time to release really. It's a matter of weeks at this point! Hopefully, it comes out with the raffle. I can’t guarantee you that though!
We've had players really express their interest at seeing their boss HiScores on the HiScores. I know that this has proven to be technically difficult. Would you mind giving an explanation as to why this is so difficult?
Currently, when you look up a single player, you can see their boss kills. You can't see that when you look up a player via the group HiScores, and you also can't see the group's combined HiScores. It is on the radar for the engine team, but unfortunately there are just some other things that need to take priority. They're having to do a lot of stuff for Dead Man and other content such as raids, and that's really taking up most of their time. It's still in the backlog of things to do. We just don't have a timeline for when it can get done.
Are incorrect group sizes going to be fixed on the HiScores?
We planned to have a tool that would fix all of the incorrect group sizes automatically. We were waiting on that to be ready. Unfortunately, that tool failed. So for the time being we need to do all of those manually.
If you can get in touch with me either on Twitter or on Old School RuneScape's official social media accounts, we can help! Just send us your group name and size and we'll pass it over, and it will be manually fixed. It's not ideal, we know, which is why we're continuing to work on that tool, but it hasn't worked so far. So we just need to do it manually. So if you're out there with incorrect group size, let us know.
Do unranked Group Ironman accounts appear individually on the main HiScores?
No, they will appear as if they were a main account.
Would we ever consider allowing them to appear individually on the main HiScores?
It's kind of against the point of it, isn't it, if you’re unranked? I'd be open to feedback on it, but I personally don't think they should be.
Comment from Elena: I think perhaps I misunderstood the question on stream and thought they asked about appearing on individual GIM hiscores. All players will show up on the main hiscores. Unranked GIM will simply not send updates to their group hiscores anymore. That includes their individual score within the group.
We saw some questions and concerns of the Unranked Mode from those who might see them not as players who achieved their items, but rather paid for high level unranked GIM to sell you items via black market concerns. In light of this, would we consider removing/changing the GIM symbol or armour for these new unranked GIMs. The main reason for this is the issue where, in-game, Unranked GIMS would be pretty indistinguishable from actual GIMs which doesn't seem right to some players. Should we look at giving unranked GIMs a different symbol/armour or something like that?
We may not be able to do that for a launch, but that's definitely something we can just add in later. It has some engine dependency, so we have to configure the icons properly. We can't just do it very fast. It takes a little bit, but we can do it retroactively. If we do decide to do it, and it's not there on launch, it could still be done.
What is the main difference between an Unranked GIM and a main account?
I can see why players would ask this. I guess the only difference is that the unranked Group Ironman has the ability to be in a group with other players, while a main account cannot. That is really it!
There's the worry about people bringing items across groups and just trading with whoever. That is an issue, it is why we didn't do this initially. But with this, we're stopping the game from limiting you. It's in your hands now to limit how much you want to play into the rules of the game mode, if that makes sense.
I see it as If you really wanted to become an unranked Group Ironman to then just spend your time going through the tedious process of grouping up with various different people to get all the items you want - you would just probably become a main! This is really for people who still want to play it in the "Group Ironman way". You just want to group up with some new people because some members of your group have left. I think it's as simple as that. I think the amount of people who would want to abuse this to try and get different items is probably small.
This is about allowing people to play Group Ironman because it's fun. People want that social engagement with their friends that they can't currently team up with because our current restrictions stop you from doing that. I think it's as simple as that and utterly harmless.
How do groups deal with items when becoming unranked? Do you still lose all tradable items?
Have we considered reworking the group storage functionality to protect groups? A player has got in touch saying that removing the trade restrictions entirely means people can jump into groups, steal all items from the group storage and run off.
What we can do is add a cooldown after joining where you can't take anything from the shared storage. It should probably come with a toggle as well if we do that, because some groups may actually trust the new member in their group and may just want to let them have whatever. I can see it done both ways.
I think that sounds good. A toggle would definitely be something I would suggest. I don't want to have to "nanny" the players because quite reasonably, you probably are friends with the person you're inviting to the group, and you are saying you trust them. So in theory, I think it's fine. I haven't exactly heard of mass scamming happening with Group Ironman today. Obviously, the restrictions as they stand today don't last that long. We could still be seeing that happening, but we're just not.
Would we make solo bosses available to group irons as well with unranked mode? Group Jad, Zulrah, Inferno, etc.
I think, for the same reasons we wouldn't allow you to trade Fire Capes, Infernal Capes etc. when we're talking about untradables - these pieces of content are still designed to be done solo. Let alone the technical changes that it would take to actually pull it off, to me it just undermines the point of the content. I don't think this is a good route to go down. Although five-man Inferno might actually be quite fun! I just don't think it's the right call to make.
Will there be restrictions on how often unranked GIMs can join other teams?
I believe unranked GIMs will still have the one-week buffer when leaving a group, and this is a safety measure to make sure that you really want to leave the group and that you have the time to change your mind. This is also for security reasons, if your account got hijacked they couldn't just leave your group. Obviously, with unranked, you could just be invited back in again, so the consequences aren't that bad. We still think it's best that there is still that one-week cooldown before you can leave a group.
Will we be looking at Player Owned Houses again? Players have requested a single house to use together, or a house which members may access while their owner is offline. It could be locked specifically to the group's home world.
When this came up before, with the launch of Group Ironman and in the months after, we discussed different implementations of this and how it could theoretically be done. One thing that a lot of people wanted was to be able to go to someone's house even though they're offline. Unfortunately, we can't do that due to tech limitations. We can't read a player's variables if they're offline. This means you can't find the right house variables and all that. We also thought about doing something similar to the clan hall. That was a really big project at the time, or a big part of clans at least. We didn't feel comfortable spending that amount of time on something that is this niche.
We found we could instead improve the POH experience for these accounts, which is why you can now enter your groups' house, can teleport to their house, etc.
The teleports have definitely made an improvement. That's certainly made it a lot easier to do this. I see it as what people want. They want that one member of the group to be the person who trains construction and then everyone can use that house pretty easily. But unless there are any other easy improvements such as the teleporting that we've done, I don't really see a technical way to achieve exactly what people are asking for.