Behind the Scenes - February
This month we welcome a few new faces to RuneScape’s “who’s who” list in the form of giant Slayer beasts. These avatars just happen to be the main focus of our new safe, conflict minigame...Soul Wars! We will also be waving goodbye to a few of our old random events, adding a new feature that will let you sort your quests, building price-checking inventory options for your items, and adding a new distraction and diversion (whose bark is far worse than his bite).
On the deepest, darkest, most mysterious of our backwater islands, an eternal struggle rages, unknown to the residents of RuneScape until now. Structured much like Castle Wars, this will be a “quick to access, tough to master” conflict-based minigame. The avatars of Destruction and Creation vie for control of the Soul Obelisk, an ancient and powerful artefact used to harvest the souls of the weak and unready. Get ready to grab your blade, staff or bow and battle through Slayer creatures, collecting fragments of their souls to feed to the ever-hungry obelisk. Rewards include combat XP while playing the game, Pest Control-style XP rewards and a few new pets for you to lead.
Random event update
Over the last year we've been very keen to make changes to RuneScape's system of random events. After all, no one likes being forced through a long dialogue with a desperate doctor or an over-enthusiastic security guard while they're surrounded by aggressive monsters.
The most obvious change in the update will be to the rewards. At the end of most random events, you'll be handed a random event gift box. When you open the box, you'll get the chance to choose a reward from a selection of items including coins, runes, ore, seeds, charms and perhaps even a genie lamp. If the random event previously offered emotes or costumes, you'll be able to choose those from the random event gift box's menu. So whatever kind of reward you want, there should be something in there for you.
We're also making a major change to the rate at which random events appear, basing it on your skill total and your record of successfully passing random events. So, if you correctly solve every event you encounter, you'll experience fewer events in the future. On a related topic, the game will remember which random events you get, so it can aim to give you a greater variety of events, rather than always giving you the same random events over and over again.
Some random events will be removed from the game. Poison-gas chests, smoking rocks, broken pickaxes and ents will become things of the past. The Drunken Dwarf will be retired as a random event, but he'll still be free to roam the world, handing out kebabs to his mateys. You'll still be able to obtain shade robes, strange fruit and security books; we do not intend to discontinue any existing rewards.
Other improvements include allowing you to have more than one set of costumes, giving value to old frog tokens (so don’t throw them away!), stopping run energy from draining in the maze and even giving the Sandwich Lady her own café!
Ever found yourself at the bottom of a lonely, dark, depressing dungeon, with only the sound of your Summoning beast to keep you company, when suddenly out of the bleakness come the infamous words ”price check plz”?. Quite often you’ll want to know how much something is worth, even if you are holding back the forces of darkness at the same time. Because of this often-heard request, we have decided to add it as a permanent feature. So you’ll be able to click on a button beneath your worn items to open a new price-check interface, into which you’ll be able to place objects from your inventory (including stacks) to see their trade value.
Quest list interface
This month we will also be adding a new filtering option to the quest list in game. This means that you will be able to filter out all the quests you don’t yet have the level to do, or filter the list so it displays all your completed quests last – to name just a few options.
Also this month we will be bringing you a new distraction and diversion affectionately known as the Evil Tree. This twice-a-day event will focus on providing an alternative to your Woodcutting, Firemaking and Farming training. During this event, a small, innocent leprechaun will be appearing in a variety of locations, using his magical divining rod to try to discover the whereabouts of an exciting new species of plant. He knows that the plant grows into a tree at an alarmingly fast rate, and that budding farmers will be able to use their skills to coax it out even faster; but Farming’s not the only skill you will be using...since this tree is EVIL!
Well, perhaps for us that twist wasn’t so surprising (the name kind of gives it away) but for anyone who hasn’t read this it will be quite a shock to see the innocent, naive sapling turn into a menacing and malevolent fiend! Prepare to grab your tinderboxes and axes (the leprechaun has spares), and go toe-to-branch with this new challenge. Evil trees will come with similar level requirements to their less evil counterparts, and will range from normal, simple trees all the way up to elder trees...evil elder trees, of course. Rewards include generous XP in the aforementioned skills, and access to some unique services to complement your Woodcutting training.
Work continues on this tactical minigame, and we’ve been busily adding new features and continuously developing the game engine to support this new content. Recent additions include:
- Altering the effect that different races of troops can have on your rewards.
- Changing the way in which catapults are loaded.
- Improving the way in which the camera moves around the battlefield.
- Improving the on-screen information so you know what all of your troops are doing.
- Updating the tutorial to be more interactive and straightforward.
- Changing one of the scenarios to feature TzHaar.
As we have said before, this minigame is different from anything ever seen before in RuneScape. The more we test and play through the content, the more features we know we need to add to make the game work the way we want it to. This means that we’ve not been able to launch it as early in the year as we had initially hoped, but we will give you more news as soon as it is available.
Lead Designer – RuneScape