This is the article I wrote for the February issue of the santafish monthly
Back and gone again
Almost 2 years ago I left runescape on the day after they started with “squeal world trading”, it was the first of April. You can find my leaving blog post here. But now with the introduction of runescape bonds I got the opportunity to get back into the game as a member for free. And during holidays vacation I took that opportunity and bought myself a bunch of bonds to get me “bronze” membership, good for 3 months and a bunch of extra loyalty points. Plenty of time to check the game out and see if it is worth it to come back and maybe even stay.
Back and in totally outdated gear!
All the new items
First thing I noticed was that I had a real hard time recognizing whatever items people were wearing, lots and lots of new items clearly were introduced making my old combat equipment knowledge completely obsolete. So I needed new equipment and asked around on the forums to see what it was I needed to get considering my almost completely maxed combat stats. And then I saw that those new weapons and armours are ridiculously expensive compared to their old counterparts, both in simple market price as in ‘maintenance’ from being degradable. But more about the economy and such later, let’s focus for now on all those new items itself. There really are a lot of different pieces of equipment now, and I mean an absolute hell of a lot. Frankly I don’t see why they really needed so many new equipment, each addition rendering the previous completely obsolete. But ok, higher level equipment was indeed needed, stopping at level 70 was silly, I agree with that too. But level 75 equipment makes that point completely moot, that’s adding new stuff for the sake of adding new stuff and thus rendering older equipment obsolete. There really is no point game wise, it just makes people swap one piece of content with another, both the items itself and the means for getting them. Runescape now really seems flooded with items, way more than there is need for and way more than anyone can follow. And to my feeling it doesn't add anything to the game, it just replaces old content which is however still kept active and mainly unused.
One of the skills I was training when I quit 2 years ago was slayer, I was a few levels away from 99 and so that was the first skill I got back into. I think I did about 10 slayer tasks in my comeback period and, except for one, all of those cost me more than they made me. The only exception being a grotworm task. All the ‘old’ slayer tasks, even high level slayer required tasks which are supposed to be the reward for having such a high slayer level, didn’t make me any money. Combine that with the fact that the price of a set of the “best” weapons in the game is around 150m and you know that something is very much wrong with the economy here and that the skill itself became totally obsolete.
My absolute favourite runescape activity however has always been merchanting, so when I got back I immediatly started again with my old tricks and saw, to my astonishment, that they still worked in exactly the same way as before. Same items, same rule of buying at minus 5% plus a few geepee and selling at market minus a few geepee. That makes roughly about 2m a day without doing much or even checking prices or trends on the GE database. Enough to keep buying bonds sure but even with this nice trick I would never be able to make me the money to buy me a set of drygores and some new fancy armour of the same level. Before I used to be able to buy pretty much everything I wanted excluding rares (and even those I bought just less fast).
Since my other old moneymaker, the slayer skill, now cost me money too I would have to look for another way to make the big cash I needed. And there is where the problem starts.
It seems to me that the only way to still make real money in runescape is to actually do team bossing, and that is a big change to how it was before. Before bosses would be good money indeed but not the only way to make good money. Now all the rest is nothing compared to bossing.
The world is both empty and overflowing
Another noticeable thing is that the worlds are hardly bustling anymore, with players that is. The GE is my natural habitat and I found it to be nigh void of other players. Often one or two of the 4 boots would have no player at them. And that was weird for me, the GE used to be the bustling centre of the game. Now ok, maybe the game changed and there’s another centre so I didn’t think that much of it at the time, my merchanting tricks still worked nicely so clearly there were still enough players to actually make the economy run so whatever. And then I went to train divination, the new skill. Since there is only 1 skill plot per level increment I thought I would run into many players there. I remember training hunter in the first months after the release and the spots were completely crowded then. So I started to see a pattern when I saw 2 other people training there too at most…. I won’t go as far as saying that runescape is dying, because it ain’t, the running economy is proof of that but it’s hard to not notice how empty the worlds seem. It was a good thing that the clan was active so I didn’t think it was a single player game now :P.
And yet the world is overly crowded too, Everywhere there were new npc's around to talk to, to give you activities, quests etc. When I was training divination I could always see another training spot or event or quest location or quite likely all of those a few steps away. I mean look at the world map, it’s really full of icons. If you see the location of the whisps they appear to be really crammed wherever there was some space left on the map for a new skillplot.
I think I can see an empty spot on the bottom left
Hardly anywhere on RS you still have the feeling of being in a far away location, the runescape world is starting to run out of empty space. If you look at it the mayor bustling city, the Waterdeep of Runescape, is Varrock and it has the feel of a small town… .
That is a change I expected Runescape would have taken already, grow in size. Now the only region that gives the city feeling is Meiyerditch. So it’s not that they don’t know how to do it, they just don’t do it... . Since I have been playing runescape there has been no expansion of the map, none at all. Instead we got flying castles and various other shenanigans to stick stuff outside the world map. And that worked but now runescape has really run out of ‘ground’. There is hardly any place left from where you can’t see the next activity spot. Runescape really needs an expansion in space.
I like playing multiplayer games but I like to play them solo, being in a clan like sal's realm sure but not in a clan where you have to do this or that at a given time. When I play a game I want to decide myself, at the time, when and how long I play. It is why games like WOW have no appeal to me, yes I tried it and saw that I didn’t like it. In my absence runescape has strongly evolved in that direction. I already said that the money making is centered around bossing but that is something I simply don’t want to do, I don’t want to team up with other players. Let me explain myself: If you team up with random players they either shout at you because you do things wrong or leave themselves leaving you stranded. If you do it with a standard team you need commitment to be there at that time until everyone decides it's done for the day. And that also is nothing I want to be a part of. Also this also goes for dungeoneering, team effort where you really have to act as a team is a no go for me. Playing castlewars is fine, I love castlewars but that's different, other players don't have that big an impact on my fun and I don't have it on theirs either. It's something Teacuptime talked about in his blog here on Sal's Realm too, you can read it here. And for players like us Runescape is really losing it’s appeal.
So I heard you like bonus XP so I got you some bonus XP so you can bonus XP while you bonus XP.
Seriously, this is getting completely ridiculous, In the 2 or 3 weeks I played I racked in several mills worth of bonus and free xp. It even got so out of hand that I had more bonus XP in divination than I had regular XP. And that not only from the Hati and Sköll event but also from the upgraded xp rewards from the squeal. The normal 2 tickets a day combined with slayer drop spin tickets got me multiple stars a day, most of them for a skill of my own choosing. RS is clearly focusing on it’s new and shiny high level content and want you to get there as fast as possible.
Technical difficulties and performance
Something else and something more profound entirely. Old mac OSX technical issues, still present from back before my absence, suddenly started to get much worse. It got much worse around the time of the first update of January. Before I used to get flickering screen issues on certain specific parts of the map like running around at the skill plots in the citadel or when teleporting and on other small occurances. Annoying but not game breaking, but now those problems appeared when standing around at the GE too, and the GE is where I spend most of my runescape time. So I went to the official forums and searched for a solution, hoping that in all those years they had come up with a sollution for this annoying bug. The first I found was a Jmod saying that Mac users should install windows if they wanted to play runescape without issues, sadly I can’t find that thread anymore but here is another gem. Keep in mind that this problem has been present for 3 years already.
Because of the blaring fiddlesticks detector in my head I decided to see what would happen when playing in firefox, you see Until now I always played in the client, even before their was an official mac client. And indeed in Firefox there was no flickering screen issue, cheers all around. Happily I flipped the graphics setting to max, like I always do, and immediately the framerate dropped so low that the game became near unplayable. But still absolutely no flickering screen issues….
Now it might be true that the problem was initially caused by a change on OSX’s part but that doesn’t change Jagex’s responsibility to look for a solution, I mean it’s their product that doesn’t work properly anymore. The problem has been there for at least 3 years and for a browser game it is absolutely unacceptable that it doesn’t run smooth in any major OS or browser.
At last something exciting happens
At this time, because of all the reasons stated above, I was already much less into the game but I was still hanging on and mainly enjoyed the merchanting part and chatting in the clan. But even for those thigns I didn’t check in every day anymore. And that is absolutely nefarious for your merchanting profits. But then someone asked me if I would help him with something I didn’t understand and didn’t really bother understanding or looking up. Happy that at least something potentially exciting was happening and thus I went along. Ofcourse I was a bit worried about being lured, I thought at the time that he might drag me into a dangerous monster or something simmilar but frankly whatever, howverI didn’t expect to suddenly end up in the wildy without crawling over that typical well known wall. Anyhow I lost about 300m I estimate, maybe less maybe more and all in all not that big a deal since I had enough cash on me in my money pouch to buy it all back, red Halloween mask included. The only thing that I was a bit mad about was about losing my santa hat pet troll, back in the day when you died you lost your pet but little santa hat is still with me now so all good :).
Ain't he cute :)
After the first 2 minutes I honestly didn’t feel any hard feelings for those guys who lured me, and that says a lot doesn’t it. Looking back at it this was the most exciting thing on RS in my whole return.
This game really isn't my game anymore and instead of slowly dwindling activity this event caused me to me make a real decision instead of stalling and so I decided to quit. About 5 minutes after all this I went to the well of goodwill and tried to drop all my stuff into it but that sadly got the message that it didn't work anymore. So I pondered what else I would do. Going into the wildy with a bunch of rares and announcing it on the forums seemed like a good idea but then I wouldn't be able to enjoy the total chaos myself being the first who died.
And so after a poll in a thread here on Sal's realm it came to 2 drop parties in the citadel announced solely here on Sals and in the Sal's Realm and Canting clan chats.
Thank you all for showing up and making the party awesome :)
One thing I would like to ask, both at the people at the party and to the guys who lured me, if you read this tell me what you did with the loot. Because one thing I know for sure, it will be more than whatever I would ever have done with it otherwise.
Disagree or agree with what I wrote, tell me in the relevant entry in my blog here