The Audio Read
Between the Wilderness Boss Rework, Bounty Hunter, and the long-awaited return of Deadman, 2023 was a bumper year for PvP. There's still some work to be done on pre-existing content, including the loot changes and tutorials from Poll 80, and we want to continue improving what we’ve already got in the Wilderness throughout the year. However, Summits give us the chance to put new (and hopefully exciting!) ideas in front of you – so what else have we got planned for PvP in the first half of 2024?
In recent years, an awful lot of activity has been occurring solely in Level 20-40 Wilderness. In fact, around 70% of all Wilderness deaths occur in this range (and many of the deaths outside of this range result from fights that break out in this area), driven primarily by the Revenant caves and reworked Wilderness boss lairs.
This means that you’re constantly at risk of being attacked by players significantly higher level than you – sure, this is the inherent risk associated with Wilderness activities, but it presents a problem for specialised and more accessible account builds. The likes of Zerkers and Pures have long struggled to engage with Wilderness PvP, since their odds of getting into fights with builds totally beyond their own in power are extremely high in any active Wilderness locations.
2024's first PvP update should breathe some new life into a low-level location, and provide a hotspot where players can make themselves some cash, score some new Wilderness or PvP-focused uniques, and find fights with players around their level. Specialised and limited account builds have been around far longer than Old School has, so they're often easy accounts to put together and tend to risk a little less GP than so-called 'Maxed mains' (the level 126s in Barrows gear and beyond that you might expect to see in other locations). This makes them solid entry points into PvP for players looking to experience one of the most unique aspects of Old School's combat. So, on that note, let's take a look at...
Not to be confused with the temple housing the Chaos Altar – we're talking about the Chaos Temple housing a regular altar just east of the Ferox Enclave! This is the one full of those Elder Chaos druids – the chaps in red robes who teleport you all over the place as you're running by, spanning roughly level 9 through 14 Wilderness. These pesky druids have been wreaking havoc unopposed for far too long and we think it's high time they met their match! Fortunately, we've received word from our scouts that a ship full of Undead Pirates is due to crash upon the Wilderness' eastern shore, and the Chaos Temple seems to be the perfect destination for their looting spree to begin…
Look at these peaceful fellows, now imagine this pleasant scene full of pirates and slowly descending into all-out war between the most unlikely of enemies!
Adding Undead Pirates to the Chaos Temple isn’t revolutionary, but we don't think it needs to be – all it needs to do is prove rewarding enough to generate activity. We're hoping it might convince you to take your Pure out of the PvP World Grand Exchange for a little while and try something new!
Those pesky pirates sport a relatively tight loot table and should prove quick to kill, allowing you to build up consistent profit over time that isn't overly reliant on uniques, so that you're constantly assessing whether or not it's time to make a swift exit or to stick it out for more juicy GP.
Rather than multi-combat bosses like Venenatis or Callisto, where there's every chance for interruptions each kill, these fellows won't put up much of a fight – the expectation is that you will absolutely shred through them and be able to rack up bountiful booty with ease assuming you remain uninterrupted. Of course, that's the kicker; remaining uninterrupted isn't highly likely in a multi-combat zone where account builds of all types can finally come out to play.
Whether you're looking to fight back and hope to avoid a group of players, get involved in some clan vs. clan action, tank your way to the single-way combat zones to the east or west, or even tank all the way down to the ditch through the nostalgic span of Wilderness just north of Varrock, you'll need to stay on your toes! We're not talking about hovering over a teleport and dematerialising at the sight of another player either, because the Elder Chaos druids are dipping into their magical knowledge and empowering themselves with teleblocking capabilities to try and overcome their undead opposition. It's worth saying that this change isn't just a case of "Oh, this will make things riskier!" but is actually aimed at encouraging more interesting combat.
Typically anybody looking to PK below level 30 Wilderness is outright required to use the Standard Spellbook the whole time, or make use of a Magic Skillcape for a Spellbook swap - this isn't the end of the world, but it does diminish your options a little if you're someone who enjoys using Magic. By giving the Elder Chaos druids teleblock potential, we open up new options for people looking to PvP like looking for massive Vengeance stacks on their Zerkers, or perhaps tanking to a single-way combat zone and using Ancient Magicks for No-Honour (NH) Pure fights, which have been sorely absent from the Wilderness content for these players.
So, let's recap: Undead Pirates have descended upon the Chaos Temple in low level Wilderness and are locked in combat with Elder Chaos druids in a multi-combat moshpit. Killing these Undead Pirates will reward you with some Wilderness/PvP-oriented uniques (more on those in just a second) and consistent loot from their prosperous plunder, letting you amass wealth (and by extension, risk) over time, while weighing up whether you want to stick around or make a swift exit.
Elder Chaos druids will teleblock you, opening up all types of account builds to use spellbooks beyond Standard and give low-level builds like Pures and Zerks some variety in Wilderness experiences, on top of a Wilderness hotspot where they're actually able to find fights with similar types of players. It's worth keeping in mind that high-level players will still be able to start fights with other players around their level, just that placing this hotspot at a lower Wilderness level enables these other account builds to actually engage with worthwhile Wilderness content for the first time in a long time!
While the area itself is multi-combat and will likely see the 'pirate slayer → solo PKer → small group of friends → bigger group of friends → clan → clan vs clan' food chain make its way there as it has at Multi Revenants in the past, or the reworked Wilderness bosses, it's also not too far from single-way combat zones on either side, meaning fights can break out with the risk of multi combat and likely descend into 1v1s to the death if you're looking to tribrid against like-minded players on a limited build!
Should we add Undead Pirates to the Wilderness Chaos Temple and adjust the Elder Chaos Druids, with rewards to be polled at a later date, as described in the blog? This would make the area a profitable low-level hotspot.
Now, what about those unique rewards?
To reiterate, this section only covers proposals for some new tradeable unique rewards we've been considering - these are all intended to be consumed in some way, and to remain desirable so that they maintain some value and add to the consistent profits. At this stage we're just sharing our ideas with you in the hopes that you might provide us some feedback, we'll be polling all of these at a later date with as much detail as possible, as well as any potential tweaks we make following your feedback!
With that out of the way, why don't we kick things off with a Prayer scroll?
Chivalry Prayer Scroll
Throughout the blog so far, we've made numerous references to iconic limited builds like Pures and Zerkers. This first proposal is built with them in mind. Chivalry isn't anything new, though you'd be forgiven for thinking that it is, because there’s a good chance you've never used this Prayer in your life!
Currently, Chivalry sees little use. Requiring 60 Prayer, 65 Defence, and completion of the King's Ransom Knight Waves, this prayer provides a boost to Defence, Strength and Attack all in one, offering 5% more Defence, 3% more Strength and the same Attack as Steel Skin, Ultimate Strength and Incredible Reflexes respectively. In essence, it's a weaker version of Piety, which is obtained the same way but with slightly higher requirements. The problem is that by the time you've unlocked Chivalry, you've probably already got the Prayer level for Piety and thus Chivalry remains unused. Perhaps Chivalry really is dead (sorry, we had to!) – or perhaps we can give it a space.
We'd like players to be able to obtain a Prayer Scroll that would provide an alternative means to unlock Chivalry (we're not touching Piety, only Chivalry), and which would allow them to use the Chivalry prayer when read – so long as they're willing to obtain the scroll as a drop or buy it from another player. We've got a couple of aims and motivations for this proposal:
- As mentioned, Chivalry sees little-to-no use at the moment. This gives the Prayer a place in the Prayer book, and still gives players the freedom to unlock Chivalry via the conventional means if they're in that 60-69 Prayer level range.
- This unlock gives lower-level players (ranging 40-100 Combat, though perhaps slightly on the higher end of this range) a slightly improved chance against players who have access to tiers like Piety, Rigour and Augury. These lower-level builds haven't had any meaningful Prayer-based meta shake-ups since Old School's inception, and in light of the Ruinous Powers being shelved, this helps out a little. It's not going to fix every issue with balance between builds or make punching up feel like it's always worth doing, but it might allow a 45 Defence Zerker to clash with a 70/75 Defence Med-level and not feel like the fight is a foregone conclusion.
- Ultimately, the offensive improvement for builds with lower Defence are marginal at 3% more Strength and no difference in Attack, though we'll be asking a separate question to look at potentially adjusting this slightly.
- Finally, consolidating three prayers into one makes these builds a little easier to pilot for players with less PvP experience. Pures are a perfect starting point for new PKers, but switching from Eagle Eye to both Ultimate Strength and Incredible Reflexes actually adds a lot of difficulty which can be off putting. By condensing these prayers slightly, limited builds better mirror what players are used to with Piety, and feel more natural.
We know that some of you may have objections to a proposal like this and we're open to hearing your feedback, but we’d like to hear strong arguments against. It's not uncommon to see comments like ‘they chose to restrict themselves’ in response to proposals like these, and while we get where this sentiment comes from, we often support people in spite of their limitations or add content that solves problems those groups of players run into, whether they're Irons, 10HP Skillers, Ultimate Irons etc. We'd really love to be able to support a different group of players with this proposal and deliver on something that limited Defence builds have been requesting for years. Let us know!
We hope we've made our reasoning clear. This could be a neat way to give Chivalry some kind of a use – perhaps it's something new for you to look forward to if you ever take the plunge and fire up a PvP-focused account build of your own!
Remember those 40 Mithril seeds you got as a reward for Legends' Quest? If you're not experienced with PvP, you might not know that they actually have a pretty interesting use! When planted, Mithril seeds sprout a lovely crop of flowers to spruce up the scenery, but more importantly they move the player who planted them one tile westward, even when frozen. In PvP scenarios, this can be a great way to get yourself behind an obstacle and break line of sight when frozen, so that you can log out – or it might push you out from underneath a player who's trying to log out on top of you while you're frozen. They add some spice and variety into the mix for securing or denying an escape, but they can be a little predictable.
Get the party streamers ready, then, because Adamant seeds are here to revolutionise Wilderness flower-planting! You guessed it, they're the same as Mithril seeds except they move players east! Are you going to go left, or right, or not at all? It's impossible to know, which adds some variety into the mix while giving you more options to either escape or deny escapes.
Just like Mithril seeds, these would be consumed on use, so we'd hope to see them hold a nice value and help the consistent loot side of things! It's been over 20 years since the addition of Mithril seeds, so we'll see you all in 2044 for Runite seeds - will they move you north, south, diagonally, or in an L movement? Only time will tell...
Blip Blocking Scroll
Cast your mind back to earlier in this newspost where we spoke about the aggravating 'teleporting you all over the place and there's nothing you can do about it' abilities of the Elder Chaos druids. Annoying, isn't it? If you've not ventured to the Chaos Temple in the past, you might have encountered the same thing while fighting Abyssal demons.
In their ongoing arms race, these Undead Pirates have been hard at work trying to gain an edge over their chaotic enemies, and have figured out how to block this teleporting effect. Conveniently, they've written down what they know on a scroll – and it's yours for the taking!
This would be a reasonably rare scroll that grants you the ability to block the teleporting powers of Elder Chaos Druids and improve your Pirate-slaying experience. We're not sure at this stage whether we think this effect also blocking out Abyssal Demons' teleportation attacks would be welcome – it does add appeal and value to the scroll itself, but might inadvertently buff Slayer moreso than we're intending to. Let us know your thoughts!
Just like the other rewards in this section, this scroll is something we're envisioning would be consumed on-use to provide a permanent 'blip block unlock' and is tradeable to other players if you'd like to sell them on or buy one for yourself!
There you have it – lots of possibilities for low-level Wilderness action! And there's more to come, but we'll talk about that later on in the year, on top of the changes you're expecting from Poll 80 – but there is one more thing we'd like to get out of the way now, so you’re not left wondering...
Mods Manked & Kirby took a quick look back at Deadman: Apocalypse during our Winter Summit and even chatted a little bit about how we might build on it for next time, take a look!
Deadman Mode will be returning in 2024. We'd like to build on the incredible success of Deadman: Apocalypse using all of the feedback we received for it in 2023. We've got absolutely loads we'd like to improve, ranging from QoL surrounding Bank keys and looting improvements, Sigil rebalancing, and tweaks to the iconic Breaches (which we'll definitely be looking to bring back). We've got a few months before we get started with the design of this one, so it's not really possible to say how much it will differ from Apocalypse... just know that it's happening!
If you've got ideas for things you'd like to see done differently from the last DMM, get in touch with us across socials or drum up some fancy yellow text/black background imagery to share your thoughts with us – and we will of course be working closely with you when we approach the start of design.
Something that Deadman Mode has historically been pretty good at – which we saw again with Apocalypse – is bringing people back into PvP for the temporary game mode and getting many of them to stick around afterwards in the main game. The hope for us is that building on a strong foundation for another Deadman while also improving the variety on offer in the Wilderness will work hand-in-hand to bring players back to PvP and keep things active for a long time to come!
Beyond what's mentioned in this blog, we'll have more to talk about in the second half of the year, including some smaller projects dotted throughout which will build on some ideas from our backlog and previous Game Jams. These include things like Resource Area, Agility Course and Fountain of Rune improvements, Wilderness Slayer tweaks and more to try and pave the way for a stronger and more varied Wilderness offering for veteran and aspiring PvPers alike.
With so many big plates spinning this year as the team chip away at Varlamore and Sailing, we're looking to roll these smaller projects out as frequently as time permits. We'd also like to ask you another poll question so that our (for the most part) PvP-focused team can get a green light to start working on some of these smaller improvements!
Should we work on designs for improvements to the Wilderness Agility Course, Wilderness Slayer, Wilderness Resource Area and Fountain of Rune, to be fleshed out and locked in at a later date?
Thanks for reading all this way! We're excited to keep building on everything we learned from 2023's PvP changes and we hope to see veterans and prospective PvPers alike join us on the journey this year. Make sure to get out there and vote on the Chaos Temple changes (as well as everything else in the Summit) and let us know your thoughts!
Mods Abyss, Arcane, Archie, Argo, Ash, Ayiza, Blossom, Boko, Bruno, Chilly, Crystal, Curse, Daizong, Dylan, Ed, Elena, Enigma, Errol, Gecko, Gizmo, Goblin, Grub, Halo, Harold, Hend, Hooti, Hornet, Husky, Jalo, Jerv, Keyser, Kieren, Kirby, Kurotou, Lenny, Light, Mack, Manked, Markos, Maylea, Meat, Moogle, Morty, Necro, Nox, Nylu, Other, Pumpkin, Redfield, Regent, Rice, Roq, Ry, Sarnie, Shroom, Sigma, Skane, Skylark, Smithy, Sova, Squid, Starry, Surma, Sween, Tide, Titus, Torrance, Tsourorf, Tyran, Veda, Vegard, West & Wolfy
The Old School Team.