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The Future of Official Account Builds

Written by developer on . Posted in OSRS News

Let's discuss what's happening with Official Account Builds!

During last year's Winter Summit, we unveiled a little something called Official Account Builds. This project intended to provide official support to players who enjoy customising and maintaining alternative playstyles, similar to the various Iron game modes that are currently available.

Out of everything polled in the 'Giga Poll', this was the only question that failed, with a pass rate of 66.8%.

This means that the system we polled won’t be coming to the game – but we still plan to support the niche playstyle communities who would have benefitted from this update.

On February 15th, we’ll be expanding the HiScores system to include additional filtering options:

  • 1-Defence Pure: Accounts that have not earned a level in Defence
  • Level 3 Skillers: Accounts with no levels in Combat Skills

This is a big change for everyone who’d like to dip their feet into some alternative playstyles – you’ll be able to see where your official rank sits relative to other members of the community, and who knows? It might even spark some competition. We’d like to thank our fantastic web team for their hard work on this change – we can’t wait to shine a light on different ways to play Old School!

Now, let's talk about how we got to where we are now and what we'd like to do next.

Where We Went Wrong

In their purest form, Official Account Builds were intended as a way to support alternative playstyles that are usually only achievable with self-imposed restrictions – the same thing we did for Iron players back in 2014.

The system would have allowed players to decide exactly which restrictions they wanted, and provide functionality for existing restricted accounts to opt-in to the system and make their lives easier.

Implementing the Official Account Builds system would have let us open up a whole plethora of new ways for players to challenge themselves, without bogging the development team down.

Although Official Account Builds failed the poll and will not be coming to the game, we saw a lot of support for what the system was trying to achieve. This is, after all, something that the niche playstyle community has been looking forward to for some time, and we think the underlying system has huge potential. Imagine if you could hop into Lumbridge and easily set up a Tileman challenge, or automatically lock your account to, say, Morytania.

The possibilities really are limitless, but it was clear there was a lot of concern around our pitched design. We shouldn't have already created fleshed-out designs, so we'd like to explore the possibility of bringing back Official Account Builds with a different design. We want to hear directly from you about what this update should and shouldn’t include. We’ll employ the Community Consultation strategy we’re using for the new skill to gather your feedback and create an Official Account Builds system that works for everyone.

In fact, we plan to kick-start this plan right… now!

At the bottom of this newspost you’ll find a survey where you can tell us your thoughts on the future of Official Account Builds. Have a read through the next section, where we’ll discuss potential new approaches, and let the thoughts percolate before you give us your feedback. We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Clarifications & Potential Changes

Before we look at our proposed changes to the Official Account Builds design, let’s have a look at what’s already changed following your initial feedback. We’ve got a whole blog about it here, but if you don’t fancy reading it at the moment, here’s a recap:

  • We removed 10 HP Pures from the roster of supported restrictions.
  • Restricted builds are no longer able to complete quests or equip gear that they lack the requirements for.
  • We plan to poll items that fall outside of the set restrictions, such as the Heavy Ballista.
  • We added Prestige and non-Prestige indications both in-game and for the HiScores.

These are just some of the main points raised during the initial pitch, but as mentioned, we'd love to get additional feedback as part of this process!

10 HP Builds

One of the builds available in the original design was called ’10 HP Pure’ and, as the name suggests, these accounts were unable to raise their HP above 10 by gaining XP in Hitpoints. There’s already a passionate community of 10 HP Pures and they’ve come up with some fantastically creative solutions over years of experimentation.

However, concerns were raised over two key features of the original design:

  • Making it easier to avoid gaining XP devalued the dedication that the existing community has put into their accounts.
  • Lower-level PvP would have been seriously affected if creating a 10 HP Pure was more accessible.

We felt that the right decision here was to remove 10 HP Pure accounts from the initial pool of restrictions. We had some great community suggestions that would either prevent this account type from earning XP or restricting XP earned from a chosen locked skill, but unfortunately it would simply take too much development time to get right.

We’d still consider polling these account builds in the future, but only if the Official Account Builds system reaches the community’s high standards.

Experience and Restrictions

Lots of you were concerned that the Official Account Builds system would allow restricted accounts to complete content they’d ordinarily have to avoid. This is our fault – we failed to properly explain this aspect of the update.

To clarify, restricted builds will not be able to complete quests or equip gear that they lack the requirements for.

Let’s imagine a ‘1-Defence Pure’ account. They won’t be able to do anything that has a hard Defence requirement – for example, Lunar Diplomacy, which requires 40 Defence, would be unavailable. They also won’t be able to equip Barrows Gloves (41 Defence).

That said, not all content is as restricted as it first appears – there are some areas (especially in legacy content) that could be adjusted, especially if it blocks Skilling content unnecessarily.

One of the biggest requests we see of this nature is Nature Spirit, a quest that players feel locks them out of an area that should be accessible for certain account builds. We’ve looked into it and feel it’s a fair criticism, and there’s a couple of different ways to address the issue:

Firstly, we could change all combat experience from quests to XP lamps or adjust quests on a case-by-case basis to only offer combat experience in the form of lamps. You may remember that we recently made a similar change to Monkey Madness I, where you can now take Daero’s training and return to Ape Atoll without gaining combat XP.

These changes don’t negate the requirements for content, they just make doing the content a viable option for restricted accounts. All it does is open up new areas for players to explore.

This is one of the topics we’re especially interested in gathering feedback on, so be sure to check out the survey at the end of this blog if you have opinions you’d like to share.

Prestige Shared HiScores

There was some confusion around the idea of Prestige and how it works alongside the HiScores, so we’d like to clear that up.

Originally, the concept was that you would hold ‘Prestige’ status for as long as you were able to stick to the restrictions you’d applied to the account. However, if you were to do a piece of content which broke that restriction, you’d lose your Prestige even though the XP would be blocked.

For example, if a 1-Defence Pure completed Nature Spirit, they would lose their Prestige, but the account would remain a 1-Defence Pure and they would still finish the quest and unlock any relevant content.

Following your feedback, however, we’d like to offer an alternative Prestige system.

One approach would be to give Prestige to those players who adhere to the set restrictions and earn no XP in their chosen skills. If you gain XP in any restricted skills, you’ll lose your Prestige. This maintains the challenge while forgiving players for earning a small amount of XP by accident.

However, should you gain a full level in a restricted skill, you would lose your restricted account status altogether and be removed from the HiScores.

Of course, if we opt to block actions that would gain a player XP in a restricted skill, the Prestige system would be irrelevant.

As for the HiScores, there are two reasons we chose to group Prestige and Non-Prestige together:

  • Current technical limitations make this the simplest solution.
  • We’d have to create Prestige and Non-Prestige variants for each individual restriction, which would leave the HiScores bloated and overcomplicated.

If we were to implement this system, you’ll still be able to tell which players have Prestige via distinct chat icons. We’ll also look at more advanced filtering systems, which will allow you to clearly distinguish between different players on the HiScores.

Action and Effect

Another point of contention was the concept of doing an interaction without gaining experience from it. You felt that this went against the spirit of the restrictions and allowed restricted builds to do content that would normally be inaccessible without consequence.

That’s a completely fair point. We don’t want to diminish the hours of theory crafting and testing from the restricted account communities – in fact, we think that’s one of the most impressive parts of this game mode.

We think we can retain this challenge while still giving restricted players tools to help them avoid mistakes.

Firstly, we’d like to explore blocking any action that could give players experience in their restricted skills – so if you’ve decided on No Woodcutting, you won’t be allowed to chop trees. Ever. This gets a bit more complicated when it comes to questing, but it’s something we’d be willing to explore.

The second alternative would only block Combat skills. So, if you’re a 1-Defence Pure, you wouldn’t be able to use any attack option that would usually grant Defence XP. We think this would give restricted accounts a bit more security, knowing that a misclick won’t result in them accidentally levelling the wrong skill.

Please note that it will take us some time to thoroughly investigate these options, as they’re much more complex than what we offered initially. Consequently, we really need to know if it’s something you want us to prioritise – and you can tell us in the survey at the bottom of this blog!

Voting and Niche Communities

When niche content like this comes to a poll, it’s understandable that players who don’t engage with it might not be interested. In past polls we’ve seen that smaller communities tend to be overshadowed by the majority, and this means that content aimed at them finds it more difficult to pass.

Going forward, we’re asking that you (yes, you!) keep an open mind about these niche communities. If you’re not sure what the implications of a poll question could mean for the player community as a whole, you can always use the ‘Skip’ button to abstain from the vote – or, you could have a word with the players involved and get their perspective on the question. Information sharing is something the Old School RuneScape community is great at, and it’s one of many ways we can help lesser-known content make it into the game.

We hope that this kind of thinking can create healthy dialogues between all kinds of players and allow everyone to expand their knowledge of the game.

What's Next?

Now that we’ve addressed your concerns about the initial pitch, it’s your turn to tell us how an Official Account Builds system should work. What would benefit restricted players the most? What key ideas would really make a difference? Is there something that isn’t possible without official help?

Obviously, we’re especially interested to hear from players who have restricted accounts themselves – but we want to foster an open dialogue around this content, with ideas from all over the community.

So, for the last time: there’s a survey at the bottom of this blog (like, literally two lines away) where you can tell us what you think about Official Account Builds. So what are you waiting for? Press the button and let us know your thoughts!

That’s all we have to say about Official Account Builds for now. Following your feedback, we’ll look to poll it again with an updated design that addresses your concerns. Our goal is to provide a system that benefits new and existing players alike, and serves as a way for more people to explore fun, alternative game modes. Until then, be sure to fill out the survey (it’s above this time!) and we’ll update you on the results soon!

You can also discuss this update on our official forums, on the 2007Scape subreddit, the Steam forums, or the community-led OSRS Discord in the #gameupdate channel. For more info on the above content, check out the official Old School Wiki.

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