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RuneScape: what are the consequences of teleports?

Helm Lardar

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Disclaimer: this isn't as good as the grind post, and I'm not sure it's even worth putting up. Anyway...

 

 

Runescape, despite having a relatively small world (20 minutes to run from end to end), has a vast variety of teleports. Seriously. It's loads. These teleports make any area exceptionally accessible to the average player, and form a convoluted network with no clear boundaries. Since new teleports are added constantly to different areas as they become relevant, one may assume that the abyss (the fictional explanation for teleportation) is truly, as Mod Osborne said, riddled with holes "like Swiss cheese".

 

This may not entirely be detrimental: unlocking faster travel is a rewarding and enjoyable experience, and the other gains of teleportation like increased safety, the ability to funnel players away from boring areas, and the chance to encourage players to use specific places more, cannot entirely be a bad thing. However, it has had several negative consequences, and some of the effects of teleportation are both good and bad in this regard.

 

This isn't rocket surgery: teleport effects are obvious. Here's a big one: travel isn't intuitive. If people want to know the best way to get somewhere, suddenly the answer is not "just run or use this specific list of spells/gems/mushrooms", it's "look it up". Teleports are too convoluted for most people to know them all, so they don't. This takes the players out of the game (reducing immersion), but could encourage social gameplay and communities who help each other in things like this.

 

Second obvious thing: it reduces the effect of distance on the economy. This, combined with the Grand Exchange, makes supply and demand on a small scale pointless. It would not be cheaper to buy, for example, elf mcguffins from players at their source in Tirannwn and bring them to the grand exchange to sell for a profit, because anyone can just teleport back and forth. This removes a potentially fun aspect of gameplay.

 

A third thing: it makes the map seem bigger. This isn't perhaps so obvious, but when you don't run through everything, you don't notice that the areas between different facilities are incredibly small. Since increased draw distance from html5 further reduces this, it isn't as much of a big deal.

 

Teleports reduce credibility of the world. If I can get anywhere in seconds, why does anyone sit still? They don't even try to explain lodestones. And who is giving out capes and rings with custom teleports? How do they make this stuff? If it's cheap enough to give away this stuff, can't I make my own?

 

Teleports are boring, and discourage exploration and running around seeing the world, because it's less interesting and less efficient.

 

So what can be done? I believe nothing. This is a classic example of power creep gone too far: what was once a fairly simple and reliable system now makes little sense and is a monster of epic proportions, but one that helps the player. Without annoying players hugely by getting rid of most teleports, one cannot affect the teleports system helpfully.

 

If I could make RuneScape, I'd do a lot of things very differently. Firemaking and slayer, for example, wouldn't be skills. Grind would be vastly reduced (I'd have started by making the level and experience cap 60, and working up from there). Summoning would have been implemented in a very changed manner. But the point of this article is to discuss teleports, so here's what I would have done.

 

Separate teleports from the combat skill, magic. It is strange and somewhat unfair to allow one combat class much better travel. Second, make teleports out of combat impossible. Teleports should require time, concentration, and a lack of pressure. Third, I'd make only one 'teleport from anywhere', and it'd go to a single, inconvenient place. Some sort of central town, without a lodestone of its own. Finally, I'd make only one teleport network: the lodestones. You have to touch them to activate them, you can only travel from one to the other, and I'd set up a clear story basis for them. They'd be at the centre of every major city, but none of the minor ones.

 

So, what would this create? A game where travel in the wilds was inevitable and necessary, but where cities were a refuge from danger, and well worth travelling towards at least once. A game where teleports were a privilege, and an extremely limited factor (which is only logical). A game where teleports made sense, but weren't being used all the time. I think it'd be a better game. Although it might not be recognisably runescape.

 

 

Besides, ideas are nothing. Execution is the King.



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I like teleports. I find walking to be incredibly boring and a waste of time (excluding quests) and would much prefer to simply arrive at my destination ASAP.

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Don't forget that many training methods that make 99s doable (say for farming) more or less require teleports that don't cost you an arm and a leg. Though in your plan to cap everything at 60 (which seems a bit low but that's a different matter) that would probably no longer be an issue.

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Useful perspectives, thanks! This being utterly impractical does make it less interesting to discuss, i suppose.

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I'm not sure why the impossibility of things makes them less interesting :P I think it's a very interesting concept, it'd just require tweaking.

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Maybe you're right. I did like that the grind post felt like it was applicable to future content, though.

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I'd argue that most of your points are baseless - I know all (or, if not all, the vast majority) of teleports in the game, if anything, it makes it more of an adventure trying to figure out how to get somewhere, as rather than "run there" it turns into a game of "where should I teleport to, and via which method, and how much does the teleport cost me/how much time (if any) does it save" etc.

 

Regarding the economy, distance has never played a massive effect. Prices stem from people not being bothered to gather the item themselves and having the convenience of buying it in bulk; it would barely make a different if white berries were right next to a teleport or in the middle of Tirannwn - I still wouldn't want to pick up 10,000 myself if I could pay someone else to do it for me. Updates like Summoning have even further reduced this (arguably near-negligible) effect with familiars like the Pack Yak, that can just bank items for you.

 

Even before the yak, if there was somewhere desirable to be that was far from a teleport, people would just camp there, making the distance they had to travel essentially meaningless as they have to make the journey so infrequently - especially with alchemy spells, which allowed them to not miss out on drops from camping somewhere.

 

In regards to perception of the map - I'd argue that it doesn't really have a major effect. Perhaps it's just due to me having a good idea of how big the map is already, due to how long I've played, but I'd presume a new player would quite quickly grasp how big (or small, if you prefer) the map is before they even got access to most teleports.

 

That ties into your next points - teleports don't really reduce the credibility of the world. If anything, one could argue they reduce the credibility of the distance one has to travel to get to various places (which is a different thing), but the vast majority of teleports have (albeit varied and not necessarily always high) requirements behind them.

 

There is also the issue of the size of the game world - even without teleports, travel isn't especially difficult. It takes longer, but it's not difficult, expensive or dangerous. Teleporting, for the most part, enables you to enjoy the game more and adds another layer of complexity to the game.

 

It also connects the world - without teleporting, imagine if you were in Yanille and your friend was having a 99 party in Varrock, it'd take you ages to get there, and then ages to get back. Teleporting lets you and your friends meet up/connect without having to waste time walking to each other. Look how deserted areas with no teleport and no reason to visit there over anywhere else once you've completed the initial content are (e.g. Burgh de Rott prior to Branches of Darkmeyer) - no one ever went there, despite there being a bank, as it was just inconvenient.

 

Inconvenience doesn't make a game hard, it makes a game annoying.

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