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Protecting Game Integrity: Upcoming Changes

June 28 2018
Protecting Game Integrity: Upcoming Changes

Over the last 8 months we've been discussing a number of content changes we'd like to make for the purpose of protecting game integrity. These changes will be implemented without a poll, but we were receptive to feedback on both occasions we published our suggestions (November '17: Protecting Game Integrity and March '18: Protecting Game Integrity: Revision). As a reminder, this work isn't intending to replace any of the work done by the anti-cheating team. We remain dedicated to ensuring that the anti-cheating team keeps growing, and the methods we use to detect bots keep advancing. These changes are simply to see if we can improve the playing experience of legitimate players. These changes will not all be going out in a single update. They'll be developed and released in the coming weeks, though any death mechanics change may take longer to implement.

Pickpocketing NPCs

To deter players from auto-clicking pickpocketing NPCs we have opted to continue with the Coin pouch solution we proposed. There was notable feedback which was concerned with the negative impact it would have on lower levels (who generally need to carry more food) and Ultimate Ironmen (for whom inventory space is at a premium).

With that feedback in mind we decided to implement a change to the initial proposal. The Coin pouches will now be stackable, but only 28 can be carried at any one time. The Coin pouch will have a left-click option which allows you to open them all at any one time. This change ensures that inventory space isn't consumed by the Coin pouches, and that the XP rates from pickpocketing aren't negatively affected.

If a player happens to be using Rogue equipment whilst pickpocketing then the player would receive both the Coin pouch and Coins.


Change to Box traps

To aid legitimate players when competing against bots, initially we pitched the idea of having completion of Eagles' Peak required to be able to use Box traps. This was received very positively, with no notable concerning feedback.

We added a non-combat alternative for quest completion. Previously you had to kill the kebbit, now you're able to Threaten the kebbit, causing it to retreat.

It's possible for you to release the ferret after it has been captured in the quest (which doesn't require a Box trap), and to catch a new one you'd need to use a Box trap. We've changed our approach to this, meaning that to use Box traps you will not have to complete the quest, but you will need to have reached the stage of the quest in which the ferret is caught.


Anti-Dragon Protection

Initially we proposed having started the Dragon Slayer quest as a requirement for wielding the Anti-Dragon shield. This was received positively, though there were some concerns that it would impact F2P pure builds. Ultimately we've opted to proceed, since it is entirely possible to acquire 32 Quest Points in F2P without gaining Defence or Prayer XP. We've decided to expand the restriction beyond Anti-Dragon shields.

Players will now be required to have started Dragon Slayer in order to use any form of Anti-fire protection. This includes the Anti-Dragon shield, the charged and uncharged versions of the Dragonfire shield, Dragonfire ward, and the Ancient wyvern shield, and all forms of dragonfire potion including barbarian variants.


Zaff's Staves

To make it more difficult for bots to purchase all of Zaff's stock, we proposed adding at least partial completion of What Lies Below as a requirement for purchasing battlestaves from Zaff. This is not to be confused with the Diary reward, and other Staffs in his store will still remain accessible without meeting this requirement.

Again, this was received positively but there were concerns from pures as What Lies Below yields a 2k Defence XP reward.

Partial completion of What Lies Below will unlock access to the battlestaves. This is after the battle in the library, but before you speak to Rat Burgiss to complete the quest. We will make it clear at this stage of the quest that you can now purchase battlestaves from Zaff and that going on will reward defence experience so players don't run into any accidental defence experience gain.


Wine of Zamorak

To help deter the botting of Wine of Zamorak, we proposed that the Monks of Zamorak on the ground floor would be aggressive when the Wine of Zamorak is taken, even when telegrabbed. So as not to disrupt a valuable F2P moneymaking method we also proposed the construction of a second floor.

A second floor, accessible by ladder, has been added. Accessing this floor requires 500 Total level and a set of Zamorak robes (Members are able to equip the Zamorak Vestment top and bottom). Telegrabbing the Wine of Zamorak on this second floor will not result in the Monk of Zamorak becoming aggressive (though picking it up by hand will).


Magic Guild Store

To make it more difficult for bots to purchase stock from the Runes and Staves store in the Magic Guild, we proposed adding the completion of The Hand In The Sand as a requirement.

We'll be proceeding with the proposal, with only slight changes planned. The dialogue of the store owner will change if you are yet to complete the quest, the store being unlocked is mentioned on the quest complete screen, and the store owners have been renamed from Magic Store owner and Robe Store owner to Wizard Akutha and Wizard Sinina respectively.


Magic Training Arena

Initially we proposed adding a Magic requirement of 68 to pick up Dragonstones in the Enchanting Chamber. This wasn't a popular suggestion as most bots had 68 Magic, and so would be unaffected. We then proposed making the room instanced with a maximum capacity of five. Whilst you'd encounter less bots, it still didn't do enough to tackle the underlying issue which is: the nature of the Enchantment Chamber meant that you were best off hopping worlds for maximum points, meaning that you'd be competing with bots across multiple worlds.

With this in mind we have opted to change the points rewarded for enchanting shapes. These would now scale per enchant type, similar to Dragonstones. Enchant sapphire will now yield one point, Enchant emerald two points, Enchant ruby three points, Enchant Diamond four points, Enchant dragonstone five points, Enchant onyx 6 points, and Enchant zenyte 7 points. Additionally, the bonus points given for enchanting the correct shape has been increased from one point to two points.


Duel Arena

Initially we proposed a number of changes with the intention of stopping such things as scamming and odds staking.

We proposed a 1% gold tax on all stakes. It was widely felt that 1% was too high, so instead we'll be proceeding with the idea of a gold tax, but it will apply only to winnings, and will scale depending on the amount staked. Generally speaking, the lower the winnings, the lower the taxation applied.

We proposed adding an option to boost combat stats to 99 (it wouldn't affect the equipment you're able to wield, and you wouldn't gain XP). The feedback we received was that it didn't feel particularly Old School. We've opted not to proceed with this approach.

We proposed added a trade weighing limit to ensure there was some parity with stakes, with the intention of limiting odds stakers. Generally, this was well received, but it did lead to fears (that we feel are unfounded) of it heralding a return to the trade limit which was imposed in 2007 and removed in 2010. We are still going to proceed with this change, which means that stakes must be fairly balanced, but we'd like to assure you that this update will not bring said trade limit.

We're going to be making another notable change, one which wasn't previously pitched. Once the update occurs it will only be possible to stake either Coins or Platinum. This was felt to be a necessary change as a result of the stake balancing change (listed above).

We earlier proposed making a change to tackle scammers which involves preventing players from emptying weapons within a duel. We'll be proceeding with this change to prevent unexpected items such as darts and runes from entering duels when an opponent may not be expecting it. You'll no longer be able to empty or uncharge the following weapons: Trident of the Seas, Trident of the Seas (e), Trident of the Swamp, Trident of the Swamp (e), Toxic blowpipe, and the Sanguinesti staff.

The above changes are significant, we do appreciate that, but it means that you're better protected against scams, and we expect it to be effective to counter odds stakers who engage in Real World Trading. It's important for us to reiterate that this is not indicative of any other trade restrictions, and that you are still free to stake as much wealth as you like, but it has to be in Coins or Platinum, and your opponent has to stake a similar amount.

In March's Protecting Game Integrity: Revision we announced our intention to make changes to the current death mechanics. On Old School RuneScape's release, the death mechanics in place were as such: when a player died, in a non-PvP environment, all items carried at the time of death dropped to the floor except for the three most valuable items. Players had 2 minutes (real-time, not logged-in time) to retrieve lost items from the location they died, except if the death occurred in an instanced area (in which case the items were lost). Targeted DDoSing of our game worlds meant that in 2015 we increased this 2 minute timer to 60 minutes. As evidenced by the recent connectivity issues, they still remain a consideration of ours.

Our proposal was presented via survey, and firstly we'd like to thank all 16,000 of you for taking the time to give us you thoughts. In the survey we asked for: players thoughts on the current death mechanics, the length of time to reclaim items, using item reclamation (paying to retrieve your items) as a goldsink, whether dying should involve risk of losing items or wealth, a change to the grave timer so that it counts down only when logged in, items lost in instances re-appearing outside of instances for a cost, items lost on death reappearing on any game world (regardless of the world you died on), and then our own proposal.

The proposal itself was as follows:

Here's what we took from the results of the survey: unsurprisingly the playerbase quite like the extremely generous death mechanics currently in place. They do feel that there's too much time to reclaim items, however, and the majority of players are in favour of at least a modest gold sink to reclaim items. The grave timer only counting down when logged in was overwhelmingly popular, as was the idea of items lost in instances re-appearing outside of instances for a cost, and items reappearing on any world on death.

Our proposal proved to be well-supported, though it's clear we overlooked a few things. Just under a quarter of players would prefer to keep the current death mechanics, however every Ultimate Ironman who responded to the survey belonged to this group, which is understandable when you consider that our proposal did not cover how it would affect their gameplay. Just under a tenth of players would prefer something like Old School's release, but as DDoSing remains a concern of ours, this will not be implemented. The remainder prefer our proposal.

We altered our design following your feedback, and we're now well-placed to present the proposal we'd like to implement:

  • We'd like to proceed with a gravestone system.
  • There'd be 20 minutes to return to your grave, after which all items will be destroyed.
  • The grave would be accessible on any world.
  • The 20 minutes timer would decrease only when you are logged in. The timer would not decrease if you have your grave open, but the grave would only remain open when in the vicinity of your grave.
  • The grave would persist across reboots (such as the game update on Thursdays).
  • The interface would stay open when in combat.
  • It would appear outside of instances.
  • We'd add a grave system to Zulrah, with a fee of 20k to retrieve items lost.
  • The fee itself would be 1% of the value of items within the grave, with a maximum cap of 50k. This fee will be payable from your bank, and there would be a function to discard items, if you couldn't afford the full fee.
  • The location of the grave would be indicated on the world map, if in a mapped area.
  • The countdown timer would be displayed on screen, and clicking this would open the world map, showing the location of the grave.
  • Untradeable items would go into the grave.
  • Items we perceive to be "useful" could break, as they do in PvP currently.
  • Food and potions will be re-obtained for free, and will drop the floor if the grave was lost.
  • Tradeable items under a certain value can be re-obtained for free, to aid newer players.
  • We'd look to waive fees in certain game modes, such as Deadman.
  • Exceptions would still persist where items remain permanently, such as Torfinn (Vorkath), the chest outside Theatre of Blood, and Priestess Zul-Gwenwynig (Zulrah). Higher static fees will remain.
  • The Items lost on death interface would be updated to reflect the new behaviour.
  • We'll be communicating the changes heavily, prior to them being implemented, to ensure that no players are taken by surprise.
  • For Ultimate Ironmen we'll be handling their death mechanics separately: items would drop the floor for an hour (as they currently do - this would countdown even when logged out) and would also reappear outside of instances. However, this grave would not be present across other game worlds (this, and the countdown timer continuing to countdown even when logged out is related to how we'd be dropping items on the floor outside of instances). Untradeables will no longer be treated separately, and they would be kept. The permanent grave exceptions (Torfinn, the Theatre of Blood chest, and Priestess Zul-Gwenwynig) will still be used as usual.

Discuss this newspost on our official forums, the community-led 2007Scape Reddit, or the community-led OSRS Discord in the #gameupdate channel.

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