This week's livestream focused on addressing the feedback from the Mysterious Quest Rewards! Topics included:
Thanks to Mod Ayiza (Lead Community Manager) for his insights!
DISCLAIMER: Livestreams are a glimpse into the ongoing creative process at Jagex. JMods are speaking off-the-cuff and their comments are not intended to be read in the same way as prepared updates from the company. Please keep this in mind when discussing the Q&A!
Missed the live stream? Check out the transcript below!
Phantom Essence and Bloodletter Bow
First of all, there is the extremely enticing Phantom Essence. We will use this consumable to charge a lot of the rewards. Some will be used for permanent, one-time upgrades, while others will be a consumable essence. One of the rewards that will use this as a consumable essence will be the Bloodletter Bow.
The Bloodletter Bow is a ranged weapon that requires 80 Ranged to use and has the unique effect of hitting multiple targets in quick succession, similar to the Chinchompa, but with heightened accuracy and a different way of achieving this. Instead of just hitting an AoE like Ice Barrage, it will instead hit one target and then look for a nearby target to bounce over to, and potentially bounce to another target or back to the original target - jumping across NPCs rather than hitting them all at once. This should make for some pretty unique encounters!
Soulblight Icon and Sceptre
The Soulblight Icon is an item dropped from the boss that you can use to upgrade the Ancient Staff. Doing so upgrades the Ancient Staff to the Soulblight Sceptre, gaining a +5% Magic Strength bonus as well as improvements to its accuracy and other stats. It also gives 10% additional effects to all Ancient Magicks - some benefit better than others. I think it’s important to confirm that this does increase in PvP and PvM - it’s across the game entirely, and there are no different restrictions regarding where they’ll be effective.
There is also an increase in Blood Magick to heal more, to Ice Magick so that you can freeze for longer. Shadow Magick makes the stat drain more effective, and Smoke Magick makes the Poison deal more damage over time as it increases the duration of poison on your opponent.
One important detail to note with the updates to the blog - this isn’t the last time you’ll see the Soulblight Sceptre - if this passes a Poll, then we have plans for it in future content that we intend to reveal during the Winter Summit. This isn’t meant to be a “show-stopper” of an item; this content is relatively mid-to-endgame and is not the most difficult content available.
This is where you get to use Phantom Essence on the Imbued Heart to upgrade it and make it a little more powerful. This will increase the Magic buff you get from it, increasing the amount of Magic Damage you can do overall.
This upgrade to the Ancient Brew will slightly increase the Magic level you can get as a buff from the Ancient Brew just to bring it up a little more in power. Again, this uses the Phantom Essence as a consumable to be able to do that.
Changes to Saturated Heart and Magister’s Brew
Initially, there was a lot of confusion as to why the Saturated Heart and Magister’s Brew had the same effect, which didn’t make a lot of sense; why would you use one over the other? So in response to that, we looked to slightly reduce the effect of the Magister’s Brew so that it didn’t feel the same as the Saturated Heart, so it went from a 4(+10%) buff to a 3(+8%) buff to your Magic level.
In the blog, we did mention that we had considered giving the Saturated Heart the Divine Potion effect, but we felt that this would be better suited for future content. That has since changed!
That was the only real change that we made in the blog. The rest of it was mostly just clarifications. We talked about why we wanted it to be another Ranged weapon and why it had to be a bow.
Why another Ranged weapon?
In terms of “why another Ranged weapon?” it’s important to highlight that when you look at the full picture, Melee combat has had the most updates - and with the release of a new BIS Magic weapon from Tombs of Amascut, it felt that Magic was getting plenty of love too, so since we only have the three combat styles, it just felt that Ranged was the best choice.
Why does it have to be a charged weapon?
Why is the Bow not being made stronger? My previous explanation is why - it just doesn’t make sense. If we make it super strong, then it is just adding on power creep for the sake of power creep, and there’s a lot more content that we can bring out that would have much more powerful options than what this is aimed at. This is not meant to be the new absolute BIS. It’s meant to be filling in between gaps.
That being said, there is one change we want to consider making for the Bow, which is based on feedback from the players. That was, “why does it have to be a bow? If we’re going to go with a Ranged weapon, then fine, but why does it have to be a bow?”
At first, I thought we weren’t going to be able to ask this question - there is a reason why a bow was offered in the first place - however, I am happy to confirm that we have put in a question that allows you to choose what type of weapon it should be! A new question was added - Poll Question #2 - which says, “If the Bloodletter Bow is added to the game, should it be in the form of a different Ranged weapon? The highest voted option will win and be added to the game.”
The options are: “keep it as a bow”, “change it to a thrown weapon”, or “change it to a Ballista”. We tried to look at what the most popular suggestions from the community were, and the most popular were “boomerang” - my personal favourite - then “chakrams” and “throwing stars”, and then the Ballista.
We don’t want to have six different options because it doesn’t make sense in a multiple-choice Poll, so changing it to a thrown weapon leaves it a bit open to interpretation. Still, when we say “thrown weapon”, I want to clarify that we don’t mean something like darts or knives that you’d need to collect multiple of. It would be one item that you would charge with the Phantom Essence.
Regardless of how this Poll ends, the Ranged weapon stats would be the same as offered in the blog. The effects would be the same. The only difference that I might anticipate that we might need to make is if it moves away from a bow, then we have to consider arrows and how they offer Ranged strength. Similarly, if it turns into a Ballista, we may have to look at Javelins, and the Javelin ranged strength they offer.
There’s no point in figuring out exactly what to do with that until we know what type of weapon style people want. For example, say that thrown weapon becomes the most popular option, and I endorse Boomerang and convince the team that it needs to be a Boomerang.
Then we look at what we base it off - dragon arrows, rune arrows, amethyst arrows - we’ll then offer that as a secondary Poll question once this question has gone through the Polls itself.
That way, you’ll still have full control over what power level it should sit at, and we can take into account exactly how that would work because you can’t add arrows to a boomerang. It could make for an interesting thing, especially if you power it with Phantom Essence, but that would be the only thing we need to consider.
Otherwise, it would be exactly how it’s offered in the blog - it’s just a cosmetic/theming change more than anything. That’s one change we’ve made, and hopefully, that has made people happy - it certainly made me happy!
We haven’t made any changes to the Soulblight Sceptre. The reason behind that is that, again, the level of content that this is coming from doesn’t warrant it being a super strong item. It shouldn’t encroach on any other magic weapon out there - it should fill a gap.
We feel that it fills a gap well for that midgame player who wants to upgrade from an Ahrim’s Staff but can’t afford a Kodai Wand or Nightmare Staff or is an Iron and isn’t at that level of content yet. It’s a nice, steady level of progression for them, and a 5% Magic strength bonus is pretty good!
The only other item that can compete with it that can auto-cast Ancients at that level is Ahrim’s Staff (assuming you're wearing an Amulet of the Damned!), which doesn’t have the 10% Ancient’s buff - which is small but still a buff. The Soulblight Sceptre also has higher Magic Accuracy. The Master Wand can also auto-cast Ancients but doesn’t have a Magic Strength bonus, while the Soulblight Sceptre gives 5% in Magic Strength.
That’s why we didn’t make any changes. The blog clarifies this stance with extra content discussing the boss' difficulty.
The main piece of feedback on the Saturated Heart, was that players felt it should have the Divine Potion effect, so the stat drain doesn’t happen, and you maintain that level of boost for the entirety of that potion being active unless some other form of game mechanic reduces your stats. So we’ve added a new Poll question alongside the Saturated Heart: whether or not it should have that Divine Potion effect so that when you use it, you will retain the Saturated Heart buff for the entire duration that it is active, rather than slowly declining.
The benefit of the Saturated Heart is that once the cooldown is over, you can use it again, so it should make for a really interesting dynamic.
One question I’ve seen is if the Soulblight Sceptre stacks with the Bloodbark Armour, and yes, it does. There are calculations in the blog that show how that would work - the effect stacks multiplicatively, so it’s 25% plus the Bloodbark Armour.
Why wasn’t the ‘no Divine effect’ on Saturated Heart voted?
I'd like to cover this one because it is in there now, but it wasn't there originally. We didn't offer it as a Poll question, to begin with. Why didn't we? That was because the content that the Saturated Heart is coming from doesn't suit, giving it a divine effect, given where divines come from.
At the end of the day, we decide and determine the lore to find a reason why it can happen. So that was why it didn't originally come from there. Aside from that, we didn't feel like it was necessary. It was just that other content was better suited. We can give it the same effect but not call it divine.
So it won't be like the Divine Saturated Heart. That would be very counterintuitive and misleading. That’s the answer as to why it will now have that effect, at least. If it passes in the Polls, of course.
Can you explain the process of feedback reaching the dev team? Does the community feedback fail to reach the devs?
No, it doesn't. We spend a lot of time in Community Management gathering your responses and feedback. We read through all the comments, trawling through all the hate, anger, and frustration - which is sometimes justified, other times very much not- and it just makes our lives - well, not the best. But that's part of working in CM for Old School at times.
Then we discuss that feedback at great length with the development team. I think it's important to remember that there are many reasons why feedback doesn't always get included, taken on board or considered. Today's blog tries to cover some of those reasons.
There are just so many things, like lore, and the original design, that we must keep in mind, as well as thinking about long-term balance and the game's health. I could probably keep on reading the many different reasons.
I think the key takeaway from this, though, is that we can improve ourselves in terms of explaining why certain feedback points have been rejected so that if you've seen something that's been quite popular within the community that has seemingly been dismissed, you know the reason why and you are aware at least.
We can start looking to improve upon that, especially as we move more towards community consultation and involvement in an era of Polling. All I can say is that it goes to the team, and we talk about it in a lot of detail. We go through various different meetings, but we can't action everything. However, we can at least tell you why we've not actioned the main points, and we'll look to improve on that.
Can you explain the Bloodletter’s ‘Bounce’ effect in detail?
No, I can't; unfortunately, I haven't been involved enough. Sorry about that.
Why is the Bow a combination of single target and AoE? And are there any plans to just pick one and own it?
I think that's the beauty of the Bow - that it can do both, but it's not meant to own a single target. It is more of an AoE weapon, but not full AoE in the likes of Chinchompa and Barrage. We can make items that own AoE; we can make items that own just a single target. This isn't one of them. This is meant to fill a gap that we think exists.
Could there be an alternative solution other than every boss having a unique currency that players need to farm to use the unique it drops?
Probably, yes. There probably are alternate solutions, but I did go on quite a big ramble at the start of the stream, talking about why unique currencies can be healthy additions to the game. We need to strike a good balance between them, and that's what we're trying to do here.
Why is Soulblight stuff untradable? It's good to be able to buy and sell on a Main account, or else we play on an Ironman account.
It's very true, that's fair, but sometimes it's good to just have items that you have to grind for, even as a main, to show that you've unlocked the access to it and you have a certain level of power that is reflective of the fact that it's just not something you can go out and buy. There are quite a few instances of that throughout the game. Look at Vorkath with Vorkath’s Head to make the Assembler.
The Fire Cape, the Inferno Cape, Fighter Torso, and the Defender; there are so many untradeable items you use as a main throughout the game, and typically players have quite liked that. Even something like Void and then getting Elite Void, it's just one of those. I think it's just a part of Old School and what makes Old School ‘Old School’.
We're not necessarily doing it in a way to force players to feel like they have to go out of their way to go to that boss. This is an item that, if you're a main, you can just skip it. You could just go and buy a Nightmare Staff instead; it probably would be better if you could afford it. If you can't afford it and want an alternative, then you can go and farm this item because it’s better than anything else, and it's free.
Plus, having them as untradeable means we can be slightly more generous in drop rates, for example. We don't have to worry about something that might be 1 in 1000 or 2000. It could be a 1 in 50, like Vorkath’s Head.
Will Soulblight be better than Trident?
I think in some situations, it may well be. Still, for the most part, the Trident serves a very particular purpose of being a strong chargeable item with a single target focus, whereas the Soulblight will be used for Ancient Magicks. That's where it's going to fill. So if you use Ancient Magicks, it's very likely that you're using Burst or Barrage spells anyway. So I don't think it will impact Trident's usage.
When do we get the Game Jam blog/stream?
We’re hoping to include a lot of information about what the devs worked on during Game Jam in the next Gazette, which we aim to have next week. It may be out the week afterwards because Mod Sarnie is working on the Gazette, and he has been away this week on holiday, so we might need a little bit more time to get everything together.
Is the Wilderness Expansion still in the works? And is Menaphos or Varlamore below Kebos/The new "Garden of Death" Quest being worked on?
So the Wilderness Expansion was never in the works. It was part of a Game Jam project by Mod Soffan with help from myself, Mod Goblin and Mod Roq. There is a chance that it could be added to the game in the future, but if it was, then you'd be made aware of it because we would be pitching that as a concept and getting your input on it.
At the moment, however, it's not being worked on. Game Jam is now over, and I don't believe Mod Soffan is expanding on it any further. She'd got it to the point where she was really happy with it as a design, and it is now just there waiting to be picked up if it should be.
In terms of Menaphos or Varlamore, no real plans. I know that many players and people within the team have an appetite for both things to happen, but nothing concrete.
Will all future design blogs be like this Mysterious Quest blog?
No, they won't, for two reasons. First of all, we learned a lot when we did this one. We would like to change a lot in the next blog in terms of how we approach things.
Secondly, this was content we'd already had in the roadmap - we'd already designed and set a release date for it before we even made the Polling changes. You have to realise this is coming to the end of the year, and our roadmap was decided quite a while back, over six months ago. For the last half of this year, it was “this is what we're going to look to offer. This is what we feel the players would like the most.”
So it's been difficult because we've transitioned from the old Polling system to the new Polling system but still have old content that needed to get through. I don't think anything will be like this in the future. It will be a lot more driven by you as players after the pitch process.
When will the new quest be released?
We will hopefully give you the release date during the Winter Summit on the 10th of December. So make sure you tune in.
Will we be receiving any hints about Varlamore, Menaphos, the Wildy Expansion, Vulcu, Rat Enclave, etc., during the summit next month?
No, but we'll talk about the Wilderness Expansion in the Gazette as we go over some Game Jam projects.
If there are no targets in range for the Bow to bounce to, does it still consume a charge even though its effect doesn't trigger?
I believe the answer to that question is no; it will only consume a charge if it bounces to a target.
What is your perfect Sunday?
It depends on what kind of mood I'm in! There are many different options. I could go for a long walk and a nice pub dinner, then chill out in the evening by the fire watching TV.
I could instead go to the gym, get home, and want to do some DIY or some hobby projects, and then just chill out. Alternatively, I think a great way to spend a Sunday is getting up, having a nice hot shower, getting into comfy clothes, and then gaming all day. So good! But it feels quite guilty now as an adult. So that's my answer to a perfect Sunday.
Do you think the amount of detail & images required to explain how the Bloodletter Bow works are too complicated/confusing? Any thoughts on having a simpler weapon design that may achieve the same niche/design goal?
Yes, I do think it's too complicated and confusing. I think that puts off a lot of players, and it creates this weird aspect of not knowing what it's meant to do, how good it is, and how bad it is.
So personally, in these instances, less information is more, which is counterintuitive to how my brain works as a Community Manager because I've always been of the mindset of giving as much information as possible. If you look back at some of the older blogs I've put together, they're some of the longest blogs out there, as I used to work hard to try and give as much detail as possible.
However, in these kinds of instances, there are just some things that you can't explain properly in text format or image format. So we need to do one of two things. Number one is: Change our approach to have a concept available in-game for people to try or for us to use as a prototype that we can then showcase and maybe have video content to explain it rather than just pure text format.
Alternatively, we just go very top-level in terms of the details. If players weren't so accustomed these days to getting so much information, a much better way to pitch the Bloodletter Bow would have been to say, “Would you like a Ranged weapon to be introduced to the game that excels at hitting multiple targets?” and leaving it at that - giving the stat requirements and giving the stats that it has but leaving the effect as open-ended as that.
Then the main thing is, what we have to keep in mind is that the Poll questions are meant to be a way to indicate whether or not you want something, and not necessarily how good or bad something should be in its first point of “Do you want it?”.
We can always change things after they've been released. We can always offer a beta before it gets into the game, where you can try it out and determine whether or not it's too weak or too strong. Then we can pull to make adjustments.
In an ideal situation, I would have preferred to have been, “do you want a Ranged weapon that excels at hitting multiple targets? Yes or No”. If that passed, we could develop the Bow, the Boomerang, the Chakram, or the Ballista. Whatever it is, we could develop it. We then offer you a beta, and then after that, we gather your feedback on ‘How do you feel about the new Ranged weapon? Is it too weak? Is it too powerful? Do you think the effects should change?’
Then we can use that period to try and figure out exactly how it should fit when it gets fully added into the game. Whereas at the moment, we're fronting a lot of information, and you can't always grasp the concept of how good or bad it's going to be until you've tried it out.
We could have also just gone with a much simpler design. I agree, but what do you do when Old School is quite simple in its form? It's like another bow that shoots arrows at one target. We’ve just added the Bowfa, so why would we need to do that?
Can you explain what Premier Club Membership is? I can't find any information on what you get for Premier Club vs just paying month-on-month for OSRS.
For Old School Runescape, Premier Club is essentially just a way to get a membership for cheap. It's cheaper than buying each month, but you don't get any extra benefits or rewards because we don't have your traditional MTX in Old School. So it is just cheap membership.
Will Deadman Mode return?
There are no plans for Deadman Mode to return this year, and I can't confirm that there are solid plans for Deadman in the future. I'd like to say that there are, and I'd like Deadman to come back next year, but the reality is that we need to consider how Deadman will look.
Do we want to continue down the road of having tournaments? Do we want to keep it a seasonal thing? How often should it come out? If not, what else can we do for Deadman that satisfies that large portion of players that enjoy it? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Deadman isn't something we're looking to bring out this year.
I'm hopeful that we'll be able to work on something possible next year, but I can't confirm anything. It's more of a personal desire to have it because I love Deadman.
Why don't you do anything about the scam streams? You're the creator of the game and second most viewed to Scammer.
Unfortunately, we don't run Twitch. We report them whenever they come up, but that is not something we have control over, unfortunately. We've tried. The best thing to do is report them, don't click on them.
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