New Combat Abilities and Upgrades (free players and members)
We’re making some significant under the hood changes to the way magic works, which means we can offer true dual wielding capabilities to all the mages and sorcerers out there. You'll be able to select a different auto-cast spell for each hand, or even cross-class, with any combination of magic, melee or ranged weapons in your hands.
All dual wielding will benefit from this change, as we are also reworking duel wielding damage calculations to bring them up to the power of the 2-handed weapons in the game.
We're also adding four new basic combat abilities to the host of choices available to mages and rangers. These are designed to give more choice in ability rotation and adrenaline generation, especially for deft dual wielders or two-handed titans. Highlights include the ranger's Needle Strike and the mage's Concentrated Blast, both of which raise your crit chance.
Wilderness Warbands (members only)
Recently, Guthixian seers have sensed a shift in the attention of the gods. You see, they’ve been sending loyal followers into the grim wasteland of the Wilderness to search for sites of power; places where vicious battles took place, and where relics remain buried under the corpses of fallen warriors. They look to harvest these relics and cash in on the forgotten resources that have laid undiscovered for many an age.
In true Guthixian tradition, the seers are worried about disruption of the balance of power, and they plan to bring opposing forces together to counter the growing incursion. To do this, summoners will need to brave the hostile Wilderness and conduct secret rituals to bring forth the opposing forces into battle. Seers rarely involve themselves in combat, and most just stay and home shaking bones and reading tea leaves – so they will undoubtedly need your help.
Gameplay-wise, it’ll be a real feast of stealth, combat, and old-fashioned skilling with some fantastic rewards available. If you’re careful, you’ll be able to sneak in with a group of like-minded lunatics and conduct the ritual without even lifting a blade, bow or staff, earning extremely generous XP in Summoning and Prayer.
Stealth isn’t the only option available to those of you taking up this high-risk challenge. Once the sneaking around's done with, it's time to throw down and clear out the NPC combatants! There are unique characters and even 'General' NPCs, with Slayer XP for those who defeat them. Once the dust from the fight settles, you’ll be able to raid the storage tents of the gods' minions for loot, and for Thieving, Farming, Construction and Mining experience.
Some of these contain rare new loot, including the Wand of Treachery: a new, tradeable mage weapon aimed at mid to high-level players. These NPCs will also be the first to make full use of the new combat system, using their own tactics and countering yours as they fight to protect their camp. It's a dangerous business picking up the wand, though, as it'll live up to its name and highlight you to those around as its bearer. You may end up needing to defend yourself to hang onto your prize!
Don’t forget: this is the Wilderness, and a more wretched hive of scum and villainy you will not find on the face of Gielinor. Traitors lurk on every corner, so you’ll have to be prepared for back-stabbing and item loss if you’re tempted by the rewards on offer. Such are the high risks and rich rewards of PvP combat.
Easter…but not as you know it (free players and members)
This month we're taking a different approach to our Easter event. For years we have celebrated holidays by strangely twisting real-world parties and making them uniquely RuneScapey. That’s all fine and dandy for some, but I’d much rather celebrate dates that meant something in RuneScape and the citizens of Gielinor. Don’t worry, you’ll still get costumes, items, emotes and members-only content but it will be far less egg and bunny-themed. Right now, I won’t ruin the surprise of exactly what that event will be, but I'm confident it will mean something to each and every one of us. The majority of the event will also be available to free players.
Game Changes (free players and members)
Talking of free players, we're changing the trial system so that new players once again start off as a free player. To do this, we're making Burthorpe and Taverley part of the free game, as well as the associated quests and training areas within it. We are also allowing free players to train members’ skills up to a maximum of level 5, giving them a taster of the kind of content there is on offer for players who subscribe.
We're also making some changes to the way that run energy affects the game. All players will soon find themselves spending far less time walking as we reduce the drain rate and weight penalty, and increase the restore rate for all things run energy- related. We’re also adding an auto run feature that will automatically put you into run mode once you have the necessary energy to do so. Leveling your Agility skill will still be the best way to keep on running, even more so at lower levels, but everyone should see a marked improvement.
Other alterations we intend to make this month are changes centred around the flower games and associated 'risk' gameplay that currently dominates the Grand Exchange. Exactly what these changes are and what form they take is going to be up to you – we’ve built a variety of solutions from rules changes, content changes and even our own versions of the games - and we're planning on chatting to you to work out what solution works best for the community. Keep an eye on the news for details.
Finally, as well as some new promotions on the Squeal of Fortune and new items in the Solomon's General Store, we're making some functional improvements to the existing Solomon’s Store items. You’ll notice extra support for prestige items in the keepsake box and more flexibility with animation and weapon overrides, including the ability to select multiple overrides at the same time.
Design Director – RuneScape
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What is a 'Behind the Scenes' article?
Behind the Scenes is a sneak peek at the planned game updates that we hope to launch in the coming month.
This, however, is only a plan; not a promise that a particular update will be released in a particular way or at a particular time. To get you the highest quality updates as quickly as possible, we usually keep on tweaking and testing right up until the moment before release, so sometimes things change or take a bit longer than expected. We aren't afraid to change our plan if necessary, as we will never launch an update before it is ready.