This week's live stream featured another general Q&A! Topics included:
- New features on the Steam and mobile clients
- The Wilderness boss rework
- Adding Nex's pathing to other NPCs
- New activities in older quest areas
- Another tier of clue scrolls
Thanks to Mod Kieren (Associate Design Director), Mod Ash (Principal Content Developer), Mod Goblin (Community Manager) and Mod Ayiza (Lead Community Manager) for their insight!
Missed the live stream? Check out the transcript below!
DISCLAIMER: Livestreams are a glimpse into the ongoing creative process at Jagex. J-Mods are speaking off-the-cuff and their comments are not intended to be read in the same way as prepared updates from the company. Please keep this in mind when discussing the Q&A Transcript!
Can Abyssal Sire and Cerberus have one central 'peek' option that checks all the areas at once, or even be given optional instances, since they are solo bosses? I realise some people may want to keep the non-instanced versions for alt methods. GGs, Kraken and Hydra all are instanced by default or have the option.
The ďpeekĒ option, we could definitely do that, and itíd be rather good QoL. The personal Instances should be fine for Cerberus. Honestly, Iíd prefer that over the way that maps are at the moment anyway, because there are three different directions that all lead to identical rooms facing the same way, so I totally support that!
The Sire is a bit more problematic because it supports quite a lot of NPCs in a fight. We are going to remain limited in how many of those we want running concurrently on a game world, in case it hit some magic cap that causes the NPCs to stop working across the whole game, which can be a thing. It happened with controller entities on New Years' Day 2020, Kieren fixed it. So with Sire, we probably donít want to go with instances, but Iíd hope itís not too badly crowded there most of the time, and with the peeking option thatís described, maybe thereíll be less need for it anyway.
Should be a lot easier to find a world if you can just hop in one spot for all six Sires.
Or if anyone gets to elaborate on the idea you had all those years ago, for getting the ďpeekĒ information from all things across all worlds to one central menu that you can reach anywhere you like - that would be really nice.
Can the mounted dig site pendant be made to work like the mounted glory? Right-click menu currently shows only your selected left-click, whereas glory shows all 5 locations. Would be nice to have that unified!
The usual limit there is how many option slots the thing's got. We've got five, one of which has to be Remove, because itís in the POH, plus Examine. But that should actually be enough for the Digsite, Fossil Island, Lithkren and a Configure option for unlocking things on it - I'd have thought that would be able to handle this. Unless Iím missing something about it, but I think the first three destinations plus configure should be alright.
Now that RuneLite-esque features have been implemented into the mobile version of the game, are there any plans to implement them in the desktop version?
The straightforward answer is: Yes. We already have a desktop client thatís the same as the mobile client, at least underneath. The Steam client has all of these features - the same ones that are on mobile, if not more, being made for desktop.
With the release of the new mobile app, how will further changes to the app be managed? There's obviously a long list of plugins used for clients such as RuneLite. Will you choose what you feel is appropriate for the app or will there be another method of customisation? I personally would love to see ground items as that's my biggest drawback with playing on mobile.
First of all, ground items will be coming to both the Steam client and the mobile client! Any feature we add to one will generally be on the other. I understand completely that not being able to see the items, and having to right-click loot piles, itís really annoying, I completely agree with you.
In general, we have a whole plan to be adding a lot more features to these clients, many of which youíll be familiar with from clients like RuneLite, and will make the mobile experience better over time. This isnít the end; every feature we add should now go onto mobile too. So thatís really exciting. Thereíll be more drops of features coming in the near future, for sure.
With the recent update bringing some much-needed QoL to the mobile client, Iím curious to hear where the developers stand on integrating a feature similar to the Menu Entry Swapper plugin on RuneLite.
Much like the ground items and a bunch of other features, like the tile highlighting that youíve already seen, we are absolutely looking to see what we can do with menu entry swapping as well. Much like those features, itís also important for our clients and we would very much like to bring those to the table.
We donít know exactly when or exactly how we will implement it just yet, but certainly all these will be coming, with all the toggles and settings you would really want!
Does the team ever plan to collate all the areas of the games with counters / kill counts / timers etc. into the one menu? I would love to see these get some TLC and be trackable without having to run to a heap of different game areas to create screenshots.
That was originally the plan for the achievement galleryís big book of random stuff! It doesnít have all the random stuff it could have. In fact, I found a bug in there while I was working on something for the PvP Arena, where itís meant to try to output duel counters, but it wasnít. So thatís getting fixed next month. But that was what the achievement gallery was meant to have, and more stuff could definitely be put there, and probably should.
Now that the PvP arena rewards have been settled, what is the general goal behind the Wilderness boss rework?
Why was the exit to the rev caves moved even farther from the entrance?
Well, ever since the entrance and exit became separate places, one of the complaints was that while people were running between them, it was quite hard to land a freeze, especially given people's magic defence against that kind of thing. So if we increase the distance, it might give you a better chance to land one in between. It is, as you've seen, something that iterates over time; if more changes are needed, more changes can be made. Considering some of the concerns that people have raised about the last version of it, we hope this will help a little.
The first change that happened was around the first week that I got here! We just saw a lot of complaints about essentially that even if it's good to escape with, it's not particularly enjoyable to just "click on the entrance, click on the exit, click on the entrance, click on the exit". By moving them further apart, you incentivize people to maybe make some different decisions when they're escaping. I don't think it's particularly majorly skewed to the balance in favour of either part of that particular interaction. But I think it's a little bit less frustrating as a PKer and maybe feels better as a PvMer to properly juke somebody out rather than just, you know, this kind of Scooby-Doo running through the doors over and over and over again.
Gaining Wines of Zamorak by planting the grapes, harvesting them with the blessing and finally making them with Jugs of Water is a great addition to the Ironman way. But the fail rate is way too high and really demotivating. Could the success rate be boosted, so it's a viable alternative to tele-grabbing them? Maybe lower the XP rates to balance it.
It currently scales a bit with your Cooking level, but not very much. If we were to do this, I would like to do that by adjusting how it scales with your Cooking level. So rather than being a flat increase, it would be a scaling increase and that would address the success rate. We should work out what kind of XP rates could arise from this. They would be locked to higher Cooking level players, but we should still check that they're reasonable, whatever way they might turn out to be from this. That's how I'd like to address it anyway.
What progress has been made against the upcoming Wilderness Boss Rework? Are you able to share any information regarding the scope of the project?
Just been in a meeting about the graphics planning for it. Now, Callisto and Venenatis aren't too bad for their appearance. Vet'ion on the other hand, it's a scaled up one of those ghosts from down in the Viyeldi caves. Can't remember which one, it's Irvig Senay, Ranalph Devere or San Tojalon. One of them got scaled up massively and... I think it looks awful! Works fine as a pet because itís small.
So, fortunately, some of the graphics being made for the raiding dungeon are quite suitable for a great, big, stonking, bipedal boss of that nature. What the artists are likely to do is to use the same rig, but make a new model around it, so they don't have to redo all the animation, etc. So they can give us the option of a better-looking Vet'ion.
This has led to the question of "what's the pet gonna do then?" because maybe people like their Pet'ion as it stands. Current thinking is, if there are two updated versions of Vet'ion, standard and enraged version, the purple and the orange, we have those as how the pet can look, but we also keep the two legacy versions for those who really liked it that way. It's not so hard when it comes to pet transmogs. It would be if we had to do all the different versions for items!
So I think that's likely to be how the graphics for bosses go. Also, looking at some of the mechanics - we've said before that we didn't want to make it a completely radically different new boss. There are a few thoughts though about putting something on the ground that you don't want to stand in. Where the graphics for those can be sourced, how they could look, and the projectiles that they could be using, because, as you may remember, in 2014, when those bosses were made, we didn't even have any artists in the team. While we got a 3D model editor, none of the team had ever learned 3D modelling and weren't really going to be able to become professional artists in the course of that project. So most of what those bosses used are recycled assets.
We've got a bit more scope to make them look more custom these days, and preferably we'll get away from the fact that one of them is lobbing a thing you cannot defend against. There's nothing you could possibly do to defend against it, other than you will be hit by a lot of damage if you don't stand behind a tree. As I understand it, that's the kind of thing that is most likely to be changed.
Will there be more calquat patches/uses for the seed saplings? Calquat is so underrated and unused for such a lovely plant!
Got to say the most reuse we've had of it was when I showed you (Kieren) how to recycle assets effectively, and you made the entire Chambers of Xeric potion system out of it, which I thought was rather well done - especially as you were quite new as a developer at the time!
The thing is, it's a vessel for putting fluid in. Somebody said as a suggestion the other day, about how if you could drink all the doses of an energy potion in one go, that would save you a lot of clicking and also it's not likely to rebalance combat metas just because if it only worked for the energy potions. So maybe if we let you pour them into one of those and then gulp the whole thing down, that could be the rapid restore energy solution.
I'm really looking at this just as uses for Calquat patches and the fruit. I haven't got that many others to share, but that player suggestion from last week just sprung to mind as something that is wanted for consuming potions in more bulk.
Now that NPC pathing was added with Nex, can we see that technology implemented to thralls?
Please, they're literally like a Roomba! They just get stuck on everything, they never do what you want them to do.
There may be some concern if we have too many NPCs all trying to do that level of processing around the world, but I don't think the number of thralls simultaneously in use in the world is gonna get anywhere near that. I was actually wondering whether we could do it for all pets.
Yeah, it'd be very nice to have on pets! Those definitely get stuck all the time.
And there's a limit to how many pets there can possibly be because let's face it, you're not going to get more than 2000 pets, most likely. So hopefully that could be all right. Unless people like legacy behaviour because they enjoy the tradition of getting their cat stuck somewhere, but hopefully not.
I know people will really want pets to run as well, but unless you want them to look like they're just walking really fast, we need run animations as well. It does look a bit silly if you use the walk animation for them to run.
There are a few you could get away with it, like Chaos Elemental, for example. Or the Kraken. It does look quite amusing if you've got a cat skidding along behind you. So personally, I think we can get away with it. I think players might have a bit of a tolerance for things looking a bit silly when it's a cute pet. Especially given how wacky some of our pets are!
Yeah, maybe we should just try it and see how it looks.
And players can just imagine the Yakety Sax theme if they don't like it!
Can Abyssal Bracelets be buffed to prevent Prayer points from draining when you enter the Abyss?
They could do this. It's not likely to become OP, it saves you a prayer potion or so for when you want to do some training in there.
Yeah, I think they're just a bit useless at the moment.
Back in about '09 I think they were given a special use; they were renamed as Forinthry bracelets and given a special use in the rev caves - partly to give them any use at all!
It sounds like something nice to just add into a QoL poll whenever the next one of those comes around. I know that Mod Light had been asking for suggestions on Twitter last week.
The tricky bit is that Poll 76 still has quite a few things that ain't ready yet. Some of them are not tiny to produce, such as the party room for your Clan Halls. I don't know if they've seen how we pulled off the Chambers of Xeric shared storage, but it was not trivial. I think some poor person is going to try and do that for the Clan Hall. I look forward to seeing the look on their face...
Can we please look to extend the 5 min AFK logout timer? For many that feels far too short.
I'm qualified to say we could look at it. I don't know enough about the tech or the impact it could have on service stability to say whether or not we could, that's probably more Ash's. But we've definitely seen a lot of people asking for Neverlog, given the recent stance that we've taken on third-party clients. While we probably wouldn't be keen necessarily on fully endorsing Neverlog as a RuneLite plugin hub offering, I think an approach that might include rethinking the current idle timer is a good one if it's something that players want. And it feels like players do want it, it comes up quite a lot. It's probably one of the more common feedback posts since we put those new guidelines up.
I don't see the tech being a problem, although a part of me wants to say that you young people don't know how good you've got it! Back in my day, it was one minute and you had to actually click on the login screen while pressing Enter. That's proper RuneScape that, not like the RuneScape you get these days!
That aside, while it is not something that our team can change - it's in the game engine because they never expose that functionality for us to customize - I think it would be lovely if we tweaked that damn number. Although, I also think there might be some interest for players to be able to choose to keep it as it is, the reason being you're playing RuneScape in, say, a house with more people, you don't necessarily want your account to stay logged in as you walk away from the computer for any length of time. If you take a bathroom break, and things just take longer than you were planning, you maybe would prefer your character to log out after the five rather than it being on for an hour.
I think it should be a trivial engine change to just up the number. But I also think there could be a legit call for people to be able to toggle out of that, in case sometimes things take their time.
Not only was it one minute back in the day, but if you're AFK, there's a good chance you're coming back and you'd been killed by a plant or, *insert other random event*. You couldn't leave your screen without wanting to log out because you just knew that the second you left your machine, that's when it was going to spawn and kill you.
And somebody would have taken all your stuff...
Yeah! You wouldn't dare go away from your machine.
What are the developers' opinions on adding content to otherwise useless quest areas in the game once their quests are done, such as adding high-level mining spots inside the underground pass or a high-level agility course in Meiyerditch?
I think agility courses in the area, why the heck not? But the thing is, we have got quite a few of them. Is it going to really stand out? Well, maybe if we make it better than any of the others you can access at that level. That is the kind of thinking that can ramp things up quite a long way, if we keep trying to rejuvenate things with agility courses. The mining one, on the other hand, my issue there would be just how good a mine is it going to have to be to make you want to travel down that damn place? Given all the other places you could be mining!
I do think there are a lot of dead quest areas. Whether those two are the best examples I don't know... I don't know many people who are just really, really wanting to go back to Meiyerditch, let alone Underground Pass. There are some cool areas though. There are plenty of others as well that you just visit once for the quest and that's really the only purpose it serves.
Recharging your Iban's staff used to be a thing. Not a very fun thing. I just couldn't see it being a great item resource area, so probably not that kind of skill activity.
I do think there's some potential though with it, especially as I think on the last Q&A that we were on we talked about more content for mid-game and that early-to-mid. Maybe some of those quests areas could serve as those places that players just go to that aren't so focused on playing efficiently, and are just immersed in the world. I know that Dorgesh-Kaan area, for example, is one that gets brought up very often; there's a whole village that you just have nothing to do in there!
I think for me though, the crux on it is would we gain more value for the player reworking the older areas and adding more content into them, than we would if we just added new content straight up? Especially now that a lot has changed in the way that we approach things, compared to how some of the areas were added and developed in the past. I would love to turn around and just focus on the older content. It's just, realistically, would that happen over adding in something new on this scale that it would need to be beneficial? I'm not sure.
When working on old content, there are different ways we can work on it. Adding a thing to make people want to go through Dorgesh-Kaan occasionally, it would take a pretty substantial investment to make a piece of content there that was worth visiting more than just hopping to the bone guy, or buying teleport orbs from Oldak.
Whereas if you take Trouble Brewing, there's quite a lot of scope there to make it more desirable without having to make such big changes. Sure, it's pretty darn dead. But if we were able to give it some rewards worth having, if we could guarantee you mature ale and buff the quantity, that's quite a big improvement over what it currently does. There's a lot of usability stuff in that minigame as well. Ideally, it'd be good if we could give players something to do in there that means they're not just going to walk around in circles for 20 damn minutes waiting for the game to end so they can get their reward points and tick off the diary!
If we're going to work on old content, I'd actually like to see us work on that old content where there's more obvious potential to build on. The problem with Dorgesh-Kaan, it has lovely scenery, but it doesn't have the foundations that are just one step away from interesting gameplay. Some of the older minigames feel as though they have much more. There's always the idea for the ultimate lander on Pest Control, which takes you to a different island where there's a boss as well as the other stuff.
Also, I would love to see the Varrock museum get that use for the rare fossils one day - the one that Maz designed a long time ago. The design was such an extreme boss that we were never really gonna get the graphical assets to do that, if it could even be done at all, over the multiple vertical levels! Damn cool idea, though.
Will the team look at the Corp drop system, especially now since with Raids 3 the shields represent a progression item? Corp is very clearly intended to be a group boss. Can we shift the drop system to be like the other bosses of its calibre - Phosaniís and Nex - so that irons and solo players can find small teams to do the content with as intended?
I don't see why not. It's already got a damage counter after all, just for the sake of the numbers. Using it for something isn't a bad idea!
I think it's a controversial one. I know why we did the system at Nex, and did the system at Nightmare. I know it gets a mixed opinion. It's nice when the player that does the most damage gets the drop; there's just something about that that just feels good. I don't know how we best solve it. RuneScape back in the day did the loot share system as a solution, so you had the option. You could always bring back that idea again.
Take Chambers of Xeric - that one scales linearly, based on the number of points you've got compared to the number of points everyone's got. It doesn't have to be linear though! If we were to do the same thing but square all the numbers, then the player who's done the most damage would have a substantially bigger chance of somebody who's done less because rather than being just linearly increased, it would be squared. That would give us a point system that for very little extra processing, that very strongly favours the MVP but does not guarantee it.
That means there is still some hope for those who weren't the MVP. That kind of maths trick could be applied. We've not done it before, as far as I'm aware, anywhere. If people were actually okay with it having a loot distribution chance such as this, we could do one that is not a copy of what the others have, probably quite easily. So I wouldn't rule it out completely. Unless people really want to stick with MVP always get it, and there is no alternative to that even as an option for the group.
I think there is a solution there. Something along the lines of what you're saying, Ash, sounds like a pretty good way to go. I know certainly, that other developers who've been part of the Nex projects and the Nightmare loot tables aren't really that happy with how those systems turned out. Certainly, there are learnings from those that we can hopefully do better in future. Maybe this is a good opportunity to look at it and spend some time thinking about it a bit more.
In the January Gielinor Gazette, there was the mention of a Corrupted Rat boss for f2p. Has there since been any further development on that project?
I do not believe so. It was a tasty pitch though, and I'll be glad to see additional free-to-play mid-level content or low-level content that's more interesting than grinding on the cows. So I think it was Malik the Corrupted Rodent. I think it was Malik...or was it Jed? Anyway, Malik the Corrupted Rodent felt as though a pretty good way of going about this.
The idea of a F2P boss that isn't locked behind the key system, and is open to teams - I think would be really cool. Because Obor and Bryophyta, you grind giants for a long time to get a key, then you fight it once. This would be a more traditional boss encounter, that you could fight in a group. It would be really cool. This could be it.
Will the toggleable blood fury ever be polled? It was brought up on a Q&A last year and had lots of support from players and jmods at the time.
We've discussed this fairly recently, right Ash?
It was in the player suggestions review meeting. It did not end up being accepted on this occasion. It was expected that if players had that item and could toggle whether it was doing that feature, it would be still so powerful the rest of the time that people would never want any other amulet in the game. I think that was the reason given! I was a little surprised, because as I say, it comes up a lot as a player request, and apparently everyone who has discussed it on any of these streams has been cool with it too, probably including me at some point in the past! But for the moment, I think other ideas might be chosen over that one.
It doesn't mean it's gone forever. Even if we said we will never do this, you know full well in the next year or so, future devs might find a very strong reason why they should and probably end up suggesting it to us too. So this isn't being ruled out forever, but for the moment, it's just not on the horizon.
Would you be open to reworking the Shades of Morton coffin? Itís currently one of the clunkiest items in the game to use.
Have we ever managed to get a storage item that sits in your inventory with good convenient ops for using it? When we try to improve the usability of these things, we've gone with open and closed versions and it's already got that! I'm not sure we've yet got a good one.
Perhaps we need to get smart. When it's full, we give it empty options and stuff like that. We haven't got the infrastructure written quite yet for that but we do have the technology now that can support us messing with ops like that very conveniently.
Yes, I could see the Runecrafting pouch as being the first to get a benefit from that since I think they already do transmit their state to the clients, or if they don't they can be made to do so. I did that to RS3 after their similar inventory conversion back in 09. Having written something to make the inventory expect ops swapping, adding these additional items becomes a relatively easy lift.
Certainly, if you have it equipped we might be able to do better on the options. I'm not sure what options it has when you're wearing the thing. I think we all agree, it's not great at the minute, and we'd love to do something with it.
Are there any plans for a clue scroll expansion? Either new clue steps are a whole new clue tier above master? Grandmaster maybe? It would be fun to have some ridiculous clue steps from an even rarer tier of clues.