Og Blog: Evolution of Combat
I’m sure that, by now, all of you who are reading this Og Blog have heard that we are working on a brand new combat system. Over my 9 years at Jagex, there have been plenty of things that we’ve just wanted to pull out and rebuild from the ground up, but it’s always been easier to invent new things than to go back and fix older content, especially when dealing with something that’s integral to the game that you guys know and love. You deserve the best, though, so we’re taking the bold(and scary!) step of starting again and designing a system that’ll take RuneScape charging forward – teeth bared and scimmies brandished!
With a strong desire to add new equipment and combat abilities to the high-level parts of the game, and a team of amazing developers clamouring to take on the challenge, we’ve got something we’re very proud of. In fact, it’s almost ready for our best and toughest reviewers - you - to put it through its paces. So, what’s it all about? Well, for now I’d like to list the challenges we have set ourselves to overcome, and in later blogs from me and the team we’ll be explaining how we’ve met them:
Refocus combat to be more about player skill - Combat should be an opportunity for you to use your skills as a player. That means making it more about mastering techniques, rather than navigating interfaces at speed.
Encourage variety in combat equipment - We want you to be thinking carefully about the equipment you choose for any given situation, tweaking and making alterations according to your enemy’s strengths and weaknesses. The problem is, at the moment, there aren't many reasons to change from your favourite weapons or armour. We’d like to give you those reasons.
Make it fun! - There’s room in combat for situations that require a greater deal of attention and skill to overcome, hopefully making it more fun. In these situations, you'll be rewarded for your efforts with more XP. In-game combat - particularly training on standard enemies - currently involves clicking on a creature and waiting. We'll do a whole lot more to make these situations challenging, rewarding and - ultimately - more fun.
Make it easier to access - Several combat options (special attacks, combat styles, spellbooks) are tucked away, hard to access, or on various different interfaces, so we’re planning to bring all those options together.
Give rangers and mages a fighting chance – The combat triangle can be less of a triangle and more of a pancake – flat and a little out of shape - with melee dominant in training and PvP situations. Let’s put rangers and mages firmly back on that triangle.
Fill the gaps in existing equipment tiers – We’ve got an opportunity with the Evolution of Combat to plug holes in the tiers of combat equipment. Magic 'armour' is rare, and generally caters for a small level bracket, while melee and ranger sets are missing gloves, boots, etc.
Encourage challenging fights - We’d like the most challenging, rewarding and fun creatures to also be the most efficient creatures to fight. At the moment, it can seem more efficient to train on creatures that deal little damage and go down without a fight.
Fix the relationship between Defence, life points and damage outputs – Your ability to heal damage, through food or similar mechanics, should be comparable to how much damage you receive. That’s not quite true at the moment, and we’d like to address that.
Allow players’ combat levels to truly represent their ability – The combat level calculator is complicated and encourages players to not train certain skills in an attempt to create a false impression of their damage potential (pures).
Simplify the code and balancing – We want to add more high-level (85+) equipment to the game, but the existing system can make this extremely difficult. Flexibility would allow us to even add more combat styles in the future.
Be brave, but be traditional where possible - We are a game with a proud heritage and a player base with clear expectations of the game they want to play. We don’t want to make a game that we can’t even recognise anymore.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, but you’ll have to wait a little longer to hear full details of what we have in store for you combat fans. I know there are several big pieces of news that will excite you all!
No doubt, some of you are apprehensive what were planning to do. After all, it’s a game many of us have played for 10 years or more, and this is the biggest, most fundamental change in its history. As always, we only change things because we truly believe they need to be changed; every single update has strong reasons to exist, and this is no exception. With your feedback and your help, though, we can make this the best update yet, and one that’s as much yours as it is ours.
During the Beta, we will be on the forums every single day, reading your posts and starting conversations with those of you pushing the combat system to its limits. Even though we have a team full of experts with thousands of game hours between them and more 99’s than you could shake a completionist’s cape at, we realise that we can’t cover everything, and that’s where you come in. Between us, we can make an update that’s fantastic for everybody!
See you in the Beta worlds – I'll be the one getting pwned. In the meantime, enjoy the QBD!
Mod Mark (Og)
RuneScape Lead Designer