Ever since Old School RuneScape re-emerged from the mists of time, we've been running polls to let you tell us how the game should - or shouldn't - change. Now we've acquired some new features under the hood that allow us, for the first time, to offer updates to the poll system itself. In particular, we'd like to offer you a menu for voting within the game.
The plan is to list a few ways that in-game polls could work. We're running a survey to see how you feel about these options.
Once it's finished, we'll use the results to write a more detailed blog of our plans, and offer it to you in a formal poll, where you'll get the chance to vote Yes or No on whether we should proceed.
At the moment, our polls are almost completely hidden! Although we mention them in our newsposts and dev blogs, they're very easily missed. Furthermore, many players prefer bookmarking the game worlds directly or using a client so - assuming they even know there's a poll running - it can be quite laborious navigating to the poll page to log in and vote.
We'd hope that voting in polls can be a far less frustrating experience for you once there's the option of doing it within the game itself.
The existing message of the week can be used to let everyone know when a poll's running without otherwise disrupting your 'scaping. The in-game polls shouldn't be intrusive.
We'd be able to show old poll results within the game too, so you'd be able to browse the poll archive without needing to navigate the website.
It won't have escaped your notice that the poll form is quite bare-bones. The website's poll system doesn't support browser links, or illustrations, or even text formatting. The dense blocks of text are hard to read, and it's been a real pain when we've been polling graphical updates to items without any convenient way for you to see what the item looks like!
Within the game, we've now got the ability to post clickable browser links. On an in-game poll form, this means we could provide convenient links to extracts from the dev blogs, or to illustrations, or whatever is needed to help people see what they're voting on.
The requirement to vote in polls is currently a skill total of 280 on a member account. The website poll system knows your membership status, and it knows your skill total, but it doesn't know anything else. Players have often suggested that we change the requirements to include other data; suggestions included combinations of skill total, quest points, recent in-game time, variety of items in the bank, and more besides. However we've always had to say no, since the website didn't support any of these things. But the game does.
If we were to launch in-game polls, and players were then willing for us to remove the website poll system, it would become possible to apply requirements like this sort of thing to the in-game poll menu. Naturally we wouldn't go changing the requirements unless you asked us to, but at the moment we can't even offer you the option.
There are quite a few ways we could offer in-game polls...
- Polling booths in towns
We could add polling stations to major towns, maybe putting them in places like the centres of Varrock and Falador, maybe decorated with official-looking flags, or maybe discreetly blended into the scenery.
- Polling booths in banks
An alternative would be to put polling booths in bank buildings. Most people visit banks often enough that they'd be able to vote without disrupting their 'scaping.
- Town Criers
A few towns have Town Criers wandering around. On a day-to-day basis, players generally don't need to use them for anything. If you didn't want additional scenery to be added for the in-game polls, we could put the poll menu options on the Town Criers themselves.
- Varrock Herald...
One of the more useless items in RuneScape is the Varrock Herald, a newspaper with no news. We could turn that into an item that opens the poll menu. That way, if you kept one in your bank, you could get it out to use when you want to vote. So long as you haven't already filled up all the new bankspace we gave you this summer, anyway.
- ... or some other item
If in-game polls were to be accessed via an item, it wouldn't necessarily have to be the Varrock Herald. We could create some new item, maybe calling it the Orb of Suffrage, which would offer the poll menu instead.
- New buttons
If we put the poll menu on a piece of scenery or a Town Crier, you'd have to go there to vote. If we put the poll menu on an item, you'd maybe end up using a bank space to store the item. It might be more convenient for you if we simply added a button to the game that you could click without having to go to a specific place. We could even make it disappear or grey itself out after you've voted.
There's a bit of space on the gameframe by the minimap, or we could shrink the Report Abuse button to get some space there, or we could add it to a side-panel such as the Options panel.
While we'd have ideally liked to let you vote via a lobby screen, after entering your password but before you appear in the game world, Old School RuneScape hasn't got a lobby system and we're not likely to be able to offer one in the near future.
What happens now?
Use the survey tell us how you feel about in-game voting, and how you might like it to work. The survey will run until next week.
We'll use the results to write a more detailed blog of our plans. Then we'll offer it to you in a formal poll, where you'll get the chance to vote Yes or No on whether we should proceed.
Mods Alfred, Ash, John C, Mat K, Reach, Ronan & Weath
The Old School Team