In this blog we hope to demonstrate that we're aware of the concerns that you have, and invite you to help us resolve them.
Old School RuneScape recently celebrated its 6th birthday, and it's safe to say that throughout that time we’ve gone from strength to strength. The recent release of Old School Mobile has been met with a phenomenal response, building a strong future for the game we know and love.
But we can't just be satisfied with how far we have come - we need to make sure that we're listening to our players and acting on their concerns. There are some topics we need to be more open about. In this blog we hope to demonstrate that we're aware of the concerns that you have, and invite you to help us resolve them.
Player Support and Account Security
The subject of Jagex customer support is one that has been raised increasingly across social channels in recent weeks. To address some of the points that we’ve received:
- We have seen many comments suggesting that our account security is not as effective as it needs to be, and that the systems we do have in place (such as authenticator) are not doing enough to protect against things such as account hijacking.
- There is frustration at the lack of a lost items policy (outside of extreme circumstances).
- Account recovery difficulties are being encountered.
- The belief that the only way to contact Customer Support is via Reddit & Twitter.
- A desire for more effective direct communication channels.
- That the support centre is a maze of FAQs.
- It feels like there are too many bots in some areas of the game.
- There’s a perception that some bans are unfair or false, for example with bans applied when an account is hijacked.
Over the coming weeks and months, we want to build on the areas above and build a detailed understanding of what the main issues are for all players - not only those active on social media.
To demonstrate our commitment, these are the three things we aim to do this year:
- 1. We will continually survey all players, rather than just those on Reddit or Twitter, to understand what you think is important from a Customer Support perspective. We’ll use this to inform our priorities and measure our progress.
- 2. A series of detailed blogs on these topics will outline plans involving:
- Upgrading our systems
- Account security, recovery and lost items
- Challenging myths about Customer Support
- Toxicity in game
- 3. Updating you regularly when things get fixed, released or improved.
We won’t promise the moon and deliver an orange. However, Jagex has already scheduled significant work on Customer Support and Account Management systems in 2019. Some of this is already underway in the background, and some won’t begin until later in the year.
The reality is that the many of our systems are bespoke, meaning we face legacy issues. We are working to improve our systems and processes, and in 2019 we have already increased our investment in these areas. And there is more to come.
We understand that this is our problem, not yours. But we also want you to understand our situation, and then hopefully see why some of the support you currently receive isn’t as good as it needs to be. Please do understand that we are changing that.
To be totally honest, there are no quick fixes. These significant issues will take time to tackle. And we will talk about it all as openly and honestly as we can in the coming months.
Jagex Customer Support Team members, tools and systems serve both Old School and RuneScape, so we will be sharing this to both communities.
Fixing Old Content
We are frequently asked to place less focus on new content and instead concentrate more on existing content. Player activity data proves that new content is a big driver for the community, but nonetheless we strongly agree that older content needs more attention. And work has already been moving in that direction.
Although January kicked off with the Kebos expansion, most of the updates since then have concentrated on existing content. This includes the balancing work in the Chambers of Xeric and the delivery of long-requested features to w45 (the permanent Deadman world). Much of the work polled in February focused on adjusting existing content, too.
Moving forward, we definitely feel there’s more to be done, especially in regard to neglected content. In particular, players have provided numerous suggestions for rebalancing older weapons so that more weapon types have useful niches. Updates to various minigames have also been requested. Over the past few months we have been adding new developers to the Old School team, and you can expect to see their impact on the game soon. These differences will become more obvious through April, both in our communications and our updates.
We know in the past couple of months that there have been some high-profile issues with content releases. This has rightly led to many questions from the community about our processes, and some believe that our launches are being rushed. We acknowledge that none of this has been good enough, and we apologise for that. We’d also like to tell you what we’ve been doing to improve this:
- We have restructured our processes to allow for more testing time prior to release.
- We’ve begun investing more in better tooling to help us increase test coverage and prevent major issues. One of the tools being developed would have directly prevented the recent twisted bow issue and subsequent rollback.
- We’ve reviewed our release processes and are making changes to improve the stability of our releases.
- It has always been standard practice for us that when an issue arises it is discussed, and an investigation into the root cause is conducted, allowing us to learn from it. We’re continuing this with a view to fix the issues at their source as opposed to temporary solutions.
Some of these changes may impact the rate we deliver our updates as the team gets up to speed. Our goal will be to minimise this disruption and make sure you are getting a better service overall.
Every single person in the Old School team is dedicated to the quality of our releases. All of the changes and improvements are being made as a team. This goes from the initial idea, through to development and then release, as well as everything in between.
At the end of the day, everyone in the team plays and loves the game too. We care about providing something we can all enjoy. We genuinely appreciate your passion, and that you care enough to call us out on this – please keep doing it. It holds us to account and ensures we make the necessary improvements.
We’ve all seen your requests to hide poll results. We polled it previously, and we’ve discussed it on livestreams before. The truth is that we think there’s more to address with the polling system than simply hiding poll results. It's important for us to understand why you want the poll results hidden, and what you think it would solve. To do that we need to understand how you feel about polling in its entirety, rather than making changes without understanding the roots of the problem.
Polling is an incredibly important factor in what makes Old School the game it is. However, only a very small number of players actually vote in the content polls. Why? Perhaps there’s a huge number of players who are disenfranchised with content polls, or are even unaware that polling exists. However, maybe a lot of players simply choose not to vote, preferring instead to trust the opinion of dedicated voters. We are looking at how and why players vote or do not vote, and we will find ways to improve the voting experience for everyone.
As an example of one of the challenges, we’ve all seen the ‘vote no to PvP polls’ memes. It’s difficult if content is added to the game which only benefits smaller niche group of players, whilst having a minimal impact on the wider player base. Before we can set a strategy for how we resolve it, we need to establish what you really think about these issues.
We also want to understand whether polling in its current format works for you. Are you happy with the way that your ideas and feedback are translated into the questions we poll? Is there a better way of using the poll system to work alongside one another to deliver exciting content that you want?
We’ve began undertaking extensive research to answer these questions, and that will guide any changes we make. We’ll maintain the conversation with you each time we make meaningful steps.
The state of PvP
It might seem like we’ve forgotten PvP, but strengthening PvP and competitive gaming is a key priority of ours. Old School has had incredible success with our competitive events, and we continue to enjoy an engaged PvP playerbase. With that said, there is no quick fix. In the section above we mentioned the difficulties posed by polling PvP content. It’s crucial to resolve our approach to introducing content geared towards PvPers before we can make notable changes.
We want to talk to you a lot more to make sure we’re making the correct decisions. In the past we’ve established working groups with players who engage in the PvP scene and this approach certainly has its strengths. However, it also means that when it comes to PvP content, we’ve historically ignored those players who have stopped PvPing, or who don’t PvP. So, we intend to establish a process to involve those of you from different player groups. We’re a thriving MMORPG full of players who engage in lot of different types of content. It’d be wrong not to involve everybody, even if the updates are catered towards specific groups.
We’ve discussed reworks to the likes of Bounty Hunter and Last Man Standing in the past. But we want to make sure we are focusing on what will make the biggest difference to PvP. We believe that there are more fundamental changes that need to be made and working with our core PvP community will help us to make the right decisions to fix the root of the issues, not just band aid the problem.
We know that content changes for Deadman Spring and Deadman Summer have disappointed our dedicated Deadman players. This was part of a conscious decision we’ve made. We want to breathe new life into Deadman - we have some monumental changes coming later this year and we are sure they will blow you away. We aren’t able to share precise details just yet, but we’ve never attempted anything to the scale of what we’re planning to do.
We’ve spoken about how we want to involve you, but it’s equally as important to make sure we are strengthening our in-house team. With a new Director of Community and the impending arrival of a Head of Esports, coupled with continued recruitment of content developers, we’re positioning ourselves to be able to take PvP and competitive gaming further than ever before.
Old School has grown with, and because, of the deep connection between the team and the players. This blog is just the start of how we will work together to make this game even better. We know we have a way to go and we know this will be a journey. We want to bring you all on that journey with us. Watch out for more updates on the topics here in the coming weeks, including in a livestream tomorrow (Wednesday March 20th) which will feature some of the Old School leadership team, at 5pm GMT on Twitch.
Mods Acorn, Archie, Ash, Bruno, Curse, Ed, Gambit, Ghost, Gee, Husky, John C, Kieren, Lenny, Lottie, Mat K, Maz, Nasty, Roq, Ry, Sween, Tide, Weath, West & WolfThe Old School Team
and the Player Support leadership team: Mods Kelvin, Mixx, Steve w, and Beno