Livestream Roundup (25/02/20)
Did you miss the Archaeology livestream on February 25th? You can catch up with all the news right here, or alternatively head to the bottom of the post to watch the entire thing!
As you may now know, after a long stretch ripening under Gielinor’s soil with the worms and other assorted insect life, RuneScape’s newest skill, Archaeology, will finally arrive on March 30th!
So get that day clear on your calendar. In fact, maybe take the week off. Or take the month off. Perhaps even take the year off, as Archaeology brings you an unprecedented amount of stuff to get stuck into!
“Archaeology is the joy of uncovering powerful elements, artefacts, relics, for you to use as a player. One of the thrills for me is finding and exploring unexplored areas lost to time, delving into the God Wars, and finding elements that were very powerful. And now it’s yours. Now you’re fixing them, and now you’re taking them and incorporating them into your skilling.”
- Mod Osborne
It’s been a long, long process getting this skill to the point where we’re both happy with it and really, really excited. In terms of scale, Archaeology is large enough to be classed as an expansion. It’s also the first new skill in RuneScape since January 2016. We’ve done loads of testing internally, and pleasingly noted that a lot of our developers have continued playing even after testing has finished!
It all begins with Kharid-Et, the ancient Zarosian fortress that fell at the end of the Second Age. Then we have Infernal Source, which is underneath the Jolly Boar Inn at the edge of the Wilderness. That concerns itself with cults and demons and hell. Then we have the Everlight, which is where the Icyene had their base of operations during the Third Age and the God Wars off the coast of Morytania (Vanescula doesn’t like the light). Stormguard Citadel follows, which is Armadyl’s secret fortress in the sky that he held during the God Wars. And then lastly, we have the Warforge! the Bandosian one, where Bandos held all of his armies. That’s where the Crucible was.
You can check out a flyover of Everlight here.
Some of you will remember when the God Wars saga first descended on Gielinor in 2007, bringing rich characters like Zilyana, Graardor, Kree’arra and K’ril Tsutsaroth. And if you want to know more about those gods, and those God Wars, and what happened during that god time, Archaeology will very much scratch that itch.
If you are a lore-hound and you’re interested in the Second Age and the start of the Third Age, Archaeology boasts baked-in story elements that delve deeper into Gielinor’s history than any skill before it. There was a taste of this in Dungeoneering, but take that and multiply it by 10 to get an idea of just how much this new skill offers.
“There’s just been so much love and passion poured into this project. I can’t wait for people to play it. I’m not nervous – I’m just super, super excited.”
- Mod Timbo
At the same time, those who are not interested are free to largely ignore the lore. We looked very closely at the playing experience of Mods who are less interested in the story to ensure that the gameplay itself was ample enough to keep them engaged.
Relics are the primary reward for players who get their hands dirty with Archaeology. With just a couple of development sprints left between now and release, we’re now more or less at the point where we’ve locked all of them down.
“The way that relics work is that you can only have so many active at any given time. Each one costs a certain amount of energy and you’ve got a limited pool of it. So that allows us, from a balancing perspective, to go crazy. It can be kind of imbalanced, and give effects that are game-changing, and that’s lovely.”
- Mod Osborne
We’ve been reluctant to give out exact numbers as we’ve continued to tweak them – reigning in relics that were perhaps a bit too powerful and spicing up those which lacked a bit of power. Archaeology will launch with between 25-30 relics. And when big updates arrive in the future, they’ll add even more.
A Skill For Everyone
When we’ve previously capped skills at level 5 for free-to-play players, it’s not really allowed them enough time to get a proper feel for the content. So with Archaeology, everyone is able to access the skill all the way up to level 20! This means you can open your first dig site, explore it and enjoy the payoff of breaking through the wall into Kharid-Et. And a pop-up on login will give you the option of teleporting straight there!
At the same time, Archaeology is a 120 skill, meaning members will have hundreds and hundreds of hours ahead of them.
From a progression point of view, Archaeology feels very different from previous skills because it is technically a gathering skill. Importantly, it doesn’t have a closed economy, so most things are tradable, and the way that everything interconnects is complicated. On its face it can look like a gentle AFK-orientated skill, but once you understand the systems behind it – collections, screening, Ancient Invention, Ancient Summoning, the way the materials interact with each other – it forms quite a complex web that will reward dedicated players.
“There are probably people who are sceptical about that 120 number. ‘It’s a new skill. How could they possibly take the skill up to 120 and it feel satisfying?’. Well, we’ve achieved that. There’ll be quests, there’ll be other rewards that drop in – 120 leaves some space open for us to put some stuff in there too. It’s got a long life ahead of it. We think it’s the right call.”
- Mod Osborne
Getting It Right
When we originally revealed Archaeology at RuneFest we announced a January release date, and obviously March 30th is not January! So what did that wait give us?
Primarily the extra time allowed us to greatly improve the environmental art – we’ll confidently state that this looks even better than The Land Out of Time. It also allowed the devs to really get stuck into smaller details, providing lots of the Ninja-like fixes that may have otherwise followed after launch. Archaeology may arrive a couple of weeks before Easter, but there are TONS of Easter eggs waiting to be found, too.
We’re really, really passionate about making sure that we’re updating the game regularly, and that we are offering solutions to any pain points players are encountering. It’s so important that we’re elevating support for it within our dev team and putting a whole load more resources on it than we have in the past. Fronting this drive is a brand new, revamped Ninja team! We’ve had Ninja teams in the past, of course, but alongside the additional resources, we’re also working in a brand new way.
The Ninja team will be working alongside you, our players, to figure out where their ‘Ninja Strikes’ (our name for when they swoop in from the shadows with an improvement!) are most needed.
“Broad Strikes will be like a scattergun – little improvements here and there. But we’re also going to be doing Themed Strikes, when we’re looking at one piece of content and the entire experience surrounding it.”
- Mod Kalaya
Some players will have noticed that the Ninja team is already striking, having recently struck to improve the Invention interface and stop all the God Wars Dungeon drops that you no longer need. This will be followed on March 9th by the Herbicide interface.
The team asked themselves: ‘What is the purpose of this interface? And how can it better achieve that purpose?’ Essentially it boiled down to min-maxing certain drops. Do you want this to keep these items for yourself because it’s valuable to you, or do you just want this XP value instead? And at the moment, that’s very difficult to do, requiring you either study the wiki or spend half an hour looking up everything in the General Exchange. This new interface, however, will mean making informed choices is a lot easier.
So, how do players get in touch with the fearless Ninja team? Through the Dojo! Submissions to the Dojo can be made here.
The Dojo is where you can submit challenges to our Ninjas. There’s some guidance about what we’re looking for before you fill out the form and how to give us the best kind of suggestions for Strikes. Obviously, the Ninjas can’t do everything. If you say ‘Construction rework’ that’s probably not going to happen! We want to hear about the little problems you come up against very regularly that you think we could improve.
The next project to emerge from our Game Jam is Solak scaling. A lot of you kind of knew this one was coming, but perhaps not when and the good news is that it should be with you now!
Back in 2018, we released Solak with two modes – Duo and 7-Man. This was of course tricky for smaller groups. Now, however, Solak scales no matter the amount of people you go on! You still can’t fight him solo, and it still caps out at seven, but this will open up the boss to lots of new people.
“I’ve done a lot of podcasts and interviews and spoken to the players about learning from things like Angel of Death and Solak. It’s allowed a lot of time to gather feedback to reflect on what I would’ve done differently. Why not act upon it? When we put out a poll in previous years, three or four was kind of the sweet spot for group bosses. So why not open it up to everyone?"
- Mod Ramen
We’re already looking at existing bosses – speaking to the devs who originally worked on them or designed them – as well as potential future bosses, to ensure that these sorts of changes are reflected more widely in the game.
Finally, a lot of you have been asking: when are we finally going to see RuneScape Mobile hit iOS?
“We’re making builds. I’ve got a build on my phone. We’ve got a whole lot of new tech in the game just to be compliant with Apple’s ecosystem, so that’s going to take a little bit of time to work out. But it is part of our strategy. We’ll want to bring it out in beta first, and there’ll be a limited amount of people that’ll be able to participate in that initially, but as soon as it’s ready we’ll bring it to the wider market.”
- Mod Warden
And that’s everything! You can check out the livestream in its entirety here.