To say Shooting Stars have been a hot topic as of late would be the understatement of the century. In this blog, we'll be detailing a series of tweaks we'd like to make to these astrological attractions to help safeguard various aspects of Old School's health both in the short- and long-term.
Following yesterday's blog release, we've got a couple of things to update you on, we'll dive into a little more detail below, but here are the highlights:
- We will no longer be adjusting the prices for Dusuri's Star Shop.
- A clarification on star landing: stars will land between 20 and 50 minutes after game worlds reboot. From there, they'll fall in 90 minute waves, with a variance up to 15 minutes per wave. Effectively staggering star spawns and reducing downtime if you're actively hopping around for new stars.
- We'll be re-enabling Clue geodes at stars alongside next week's update.
- Next month, we'll look to talk about and poll some small tweaks to other pieces of Mining content, with the intention to release these changes in early 2024. This is likely to encompass content like Zalcano, Volcanic Mine, Blast Mine, Motherlode Mine
- We will not be re-enabling crystal shards from Prifddinas stars for the sake of server health and avoiding condensing players on worlds with stars landing in Prifddinas. We'd like to affirm that we will look to increase crystal shard gain from existing sources, including the more 'passive' sources like Woodcutting, Mining in the Trahaern mine, and Farming Crystal trees.
Let's run through them in order!
Dusuri's Star Shop
The first iteration of this blog stated that we'd be doubling the prices of everything in this shop. We cited concerns about the potential long-term price of gems with a reasonable number of them being introduced by something with low requirements and extremely low attention, as well as on impacting Iron progression in ways we hadn't intended to. We could use this time to get into the weeds of PvM loot tables and the balance between raw GP, supplies, uniques and unique consumables, activity vs. reward etc. but ultimately that's a bigger topic than we're aiming to tackle with these changes, and what matters most is that this change clearly isn't resonating with you.
With that in mind, we'll be leaving the prices as they are. It's true that stardust gain will be lower than before (though likely increased on size 6 through 9 stars) and doubling down on this felt a little too aggressive of a change for many of you. If we reach a point where we're taking a more detailed look at improving the output of Mining content like Gem rocks, we'd like to keep the potential for future tweaks on the table so long as we can adjust other more involved content to compensate.
Star Landing Mechanics Clarification
We saw a handful of players asking about 'staggering' stars, and saying that with the downtime between waves there would still be huge swathes of players flocking to the first star called out after that downtime. To clarify, with next week's game update, stars will land anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes after game worlds come back online. One a star has landed in a given world, a new one will fall in that world after anywhere from 75 to 90 minutes. By spreading out the spawn timers, reducing the wave spawn timers and keeping some variance in them, we're able to better ensure players are spreading out rather than flocking after a period of downtime.
This also means that if you're actively seeking out stars and hopping around, you might find yourself having more uptime than before, while also taking some strain off of our servers by spreading yourselves far and wide in search of stars!
Recently, we prevented players from being able to obtain Clue geodes while mining stars. This is because running a script that checks every single inventory you have (inventory, bank, death's storage) against every single tier of clue and runs all of these checks every 3 (or 2.833 or 2.75 depending on your pickaxe) ticks is an expensive script to run that was contributing disproportionately to server issues.
In the background we've been doing some work to optimise these scripts significantly and while there's still some more optimising to be done, we believe they're in a spot where we'll be able to re-enable these without notable impacts on server performance or stability. So, if you're a Clue scroll enjoyer, or if you're ImplingOnly (check her out on YouTube) then rejoice!
"Fix other Mining methods!"
In the first iteration of this blog, we acknowledged and agreed that Mining is historically a pretty unpopular skill. While it's among the most varied of the gathering skills in terms of unique ways to train, there's clearly an issue with player perception of the skill that leads to many of these methods proving extremely unpopular, which trickles down into the skill as a whole.
'Fixing' Mining isn't something we can do in a short timeframe, and with server stability being our #1 priority for the mechanical changes to stars, it's essential that we move quickly to reverse the impact of our previous change on our servers. However, we will be putting some time aside in the near future to talk about Mining. We still don't have the capacity right now for a whole rework (and that brings up questions of its own around Old School, nostalgia, and making significant changes to the core of a skill that's almost 23 years old) but we would like to spend some time and look to deliver small changes to other pieces of Mining content in early 2024.
When we say small changes we mean things like XP rates, resource output, approachability or the activity required for content like Zalcano, Volcanic Mine, Blast Mine, Motherlode Mine, Amethyst etc.. Effectively to take a look over the things that make Mining such a diverse gathering skill and trying to better encourage more of you to try more of the things on offer in search of those Mining gains. We'll likely be talking to you about these tweaks (and hopefully finding time to poll them) before Christmas, so keep an eye out.
To rip off the band-aid, we're sticking to our guns on this one. Primarily because this is exactly what makes stars in Prifddinas so much more appealing than other stars, condensing players and straining servers. Additionally, we saw a great number of people saying 'gathering in Prif gives shards, it's clearly not a bug!' and we'd like to do a quick little lore dump.
Resources in Prifddinas give crystal shards because the Elven deity, Seren, shattered herself into countless shards to ensure the elves could live on without her. Everything in Prifddinas benefits from this and contain tiny pieces of Seren, whether that's the trees, the rocks in the Trahaern mine, or various other activities where you receive them. Shooting stars come from space, not Prifddinas, and they should never have been giving Crystal shards in the first place in the same way that smithing a platebody or fletching a dart in Prifddinas doesn't pop Crystal shards out.
To reiterate, this change is entirely in the interest of server stability, we'd be more than open to leaving something unintended in if it were popular and not all that damaging, but this one is damaging and we have the lore to back it up - thanks Eluned & Ilfeen!
That's everything we've got to update you on, we appreciate all of your feedback (particularly the constructive variety, but it's all valid) and for your understanding around most of the changes we're making in the interest of server health. Let us know what you think of this little update, have a fantastic weekend and good luck on your gains!
Next week, we'll be making some tweaks to Shooting Stars that we believe are absolutely necessary to improve server stability and performance for all players, as well as the long-term health of Mining as a skill. We've gone into extensive detail in the blog, but you can find an effective summary at the bottom of the post detailing all of the changes we'll be making.
In case you're been living under a rock, let's get everybody up to speed on exactly what Shooting Stars are, why we made changes to them in September this year, and why we feel we need to make further changes.
What are Shooting Stars?
Shooting Stars is a Distraction and Diversion (a.k.a. D&D, but not the tabletop game or the chaps who brought us Season 8 of Game of Thrones) for the Mining skill, first released into RuneScape all the way back in 2008, which we backported into Old School in early 2021. Distractions and Diversions, the most notable of which are Treasure Trails, are activities that are possible to grind, but are more often interacted with sporadically as they are encountered while doing other content. Treasure Trails are a prime example of this: you get a Clue Scroll, then it's up to you to decide whether you want to take a break from what you're doing and chase that Casket, or bank it for now and get to it when you feel like breaking things up a little.
Shooting Stars' initial goal was to offer a fun and social Mining method as a break from the ordinary grind, for players to engage with periodically - meaning it wouldn't compete with other, more conventional Mining methods. Alongside all of this, while it's not well-defined, there's some expectation that D&Ds are activities found across the world of Gielinor to give players the opportunity to stumble across them by chance, while also allowing players to seek them out if they'd prefer, similar to pickpocketing H.A.M. members for Easy clue scrolls, opening Eclectic implings for Medium clue scrolls etc.
Why did we change Shooting Stars in September?
While Shooting Stars were well-received by players, a common piece of feedback has been around the 'social' aspect. Though initially pitched as a communal activity, the most rewarding way to engage with Shooting Stars was to find one, tell nobody, and mine it entirely by yourself, since multiple players mining the same star would cause it to deplete faster. Even though this was common feedback and something we'd discussed internally on several occasions, we hadn't landed on a set of changes that felt as though they made stars feel like less of a solitary activity while also feeling well-balanced in groups.
This kind of feedback peaked in September 2023, due to the removal of an unrelated (and ultimately unintended) Mining training method, where players could mine Salt deposits inside Duke Sucellus' prison for roughly 10,000 experience per hour, but could keep themselves logged in by either interacting with game intermittently or holding a key down to gain roughly 60,000 Mining experience while completely idle. Off the back of this increased feedback, we opted to fast-track changes to Shooting Stars and have them degrade at a consistent speed regardless of the number of players mining them.
At its core, this change did what people had been asking for and made Shooting Stars the communal activity that many players had always wanted it to be. However, in looking to deliver the change quickly, we didn't really afford ourselves the time to anticipate and alleviate some unintended negative side effects.
Why do we feel like we need to change Shooting Stars further?
As a result of changing the rate at which Shooting Stars deplete, it's safe to say that - on average - any individual star will last considerably longer than before the change, resulting in a significant increase in Mining XP and Stardust per star. In their current state, it's possible to spend in excess of 80 minutes at the same star, clicking a total of nine times for a hefty chunk of mining XP and passive GP (or gems, if you're an Iron). The level of reward for the effort required has sent the popularity of Shooting Stars to the moon, with what was initially intended to be content engaged with sporadically and periodically instead becoming the Mining training method of choice for a massive number of players, and reducing engagement with other Mining methods as a result.
Understandably, many players reacted positively to this shift since Mining hasn't been a popular skill in the past, while others pointed out that this sudden shift to the Mining meta might not be healthy in the long-term, and instead would have preferred for us to make existing Mining methods more desirable. This is exacerbated by the fact that Shooting Stars can be engaged with all the way from 10-99 Mining, while other popular 'very AFK' methods like Anglerfish, Redwoods or Amethyst tend to sit at the top end of Skills. Our recent change in approach regarding changes to the Chambers of Xeric highlights the benefits of looking at the root cause of an issue (i.e. "Why is Mining unpopular?") rather than trying to circumvent problems and risk creating others, and the same likely holds true for Mining.
In addition to the long-term health of Mining, the more important immediate issue is that this sudden increase in engagement has had a noticeably negative impact on server performance, since every new star falling sees hundreds and hundreds of players hop to a single world, in a short space of time, to mine in extremely close proximity to each other. This is extremely problematic not only because it damages server stability, but also because it harms the gameplay experience of anybody on affected worlds even if they've no interest in mining Shooting Stars - and can be especially frustrating for people taking on high-intensity PvM or high-risk PvP.
With the above in mind, we need to step in and make changes to Shooting Stars to maintain the short-term health of the game by lessening the impact of Shooting Stars on our servers, and the long-term health of the game by leaving us space to improve Mining without it turning into a skill exclusively trained while at work or while playing other games.
For clarity's sake, here's a list of goals we feel that the changes we make need to meet:
- Impact on server performance caused by Shooting Stars must be completely reversed.
- Other Mining training methods must still have a place in the game and should not be largely superseded by Shooting Stars.
- Finding and mining Stars must remain a communal activity where players aren't punished for working together.
- Mining Shooting Stars should remain low-intensity, but players should be expected to interact with the game on a semi-regular basis (e.g. every 5 minutes, rather than every 10/15)
- Stars should primarily be an activity done for XP, with a reduced focus on item gain.
- This might sound a little unusual, but the number of gems generated presents some concerns for gems economically, the passive GP on offer, the 0-time Crafting XP on offer for Irons, and the reasonably significant impacts that vast quantities of jewellery have on early-game Iron progression.
- XP from Stars should scale properly with Mining level. High tier stars should always be better XP per hour, rather than the current 'curve' favouring tiers in the middle or at the bottom for both XP rate and 'time spent AFK' respectively.
- Ultimately, aim to bring Shooting Stars into a healthier spot without outright upsetting all of you who've been enjoying them as they are.
So that's what we're trying to do, let's take a look at how we'd like to do it!
In this section, we'll tackle the changes we'd like to make, provide context on what the current behaviour is, and explain how each given change helps us meet the aims outlined above.
The problem: Inconsistency between different Star sizes. Some Stars prove to be much more favourable than others, since different sizes have different durations, Mining success chances, and different XP drops. Unlike with most pieces of content, low- or mid-tier stars often prove the most lucrative because of these inconsistencies, and means these inconsistencies contribute to server instability since many stars aren't considered 'worth' engaging with. On top of all of this, the way Stars currently work can be confusing to understand and subsequently difficult to balance.
The change: Make star degradation consistent regardless of size. Each size will last for 7 minutes before degrading to the next, assuming there's at least one player constantly mining the star. This means that a tier 9 star will last 63 minutes after somebody starts mining it (down from the current time of approximately 86 minutes). In conjunction with other changes to XP and stardust (more on those in a bit), this should help prevent some star sizes being far more appealing than others and concentrating players more heavily.
How it helps:
- Different Star sizes are no longer significantly favoured over others.
- Intensity becomes consistent. Low-tier Stars are no longer too AFK, high-tier Stars no longer feel like they're 'not AFK enough' by comparison.
- Easier to understand how Stars work and what XP they're getting.
- Easier to balance Stars both now and in future.
The problem: Reducing the time taken for stars to degrade from 86 to 63 minutes means a lot more waiting around, since stars currently drop in waves of 128 minutes. Additionally, stars can land at any size from 2 to 9, meaning players tend to gravitate towards the higher tier stars so they can spend more time in the same world, which condenses players and worsens server load. Moreover, stars landing at lower tiers mean it's easy for players to reliably train all the way from 20 Mining into the 90s at stars alone, limiting our ability to diversify Mining training methods.
The change: Reduce the total time of a 'star landing wave' from 128 minutes to 90 minutes. Stars begin spawning between 20-50 minutes after servers reboot following a game update. From there, stars will spawn in waves of 75-90 minutes on any given world. Stars spawn between sizes 6 and 9, as detailed in the table below:
|Size||Chance of spawning|
How it helps:
- With star degradation being slightly quicker, decreasing the time between the spawns reduces downtime, so players can bounce between worlds to keep mining.
- This means more stars over the course of a day, which should lead to players spreading out more rather than condensing on a small handful of worlds.
- Increasing the 'minimum' size for stars mean the time stars last on each world is more consistent, reducing how favourable some worlds are vs. others when you're looking for your next star.
- Higher Mining levels prove more beneficial since you're still able to interact with all new stars as long as you're above 60 Mining.
Star Mining XP and Rewards
The problem: It's often preferable to mine lower size stars than your maximum, since the increased success chance when mining makes them higher XP/hr despite having lower XP drops while also allowing you to spend more time AFK. This also means that low-size stars are significantly more appealing for stacking up on stardust.
The change: Each star size will have the same success chance and XP drops. Instead, success chance will scale better with your Mining level, starting at 29% at Level 1, scaling up to 46% at Level 99 Mining. The XP per dust obtained (i.e. per successful mine) will be changed to 32 across all sizes. This changes XP/hr slightly, ranging from around 22k XP/hr to 32k XP/hr at higher Mining levels and with better pickaxes, since better pickaxes effectively have an improved Mining 'rate', where Rune pickaxes mine every 3 ticks, Dragon pickaxes every 2.833 ticks and Crystal pickaxes every 2.75 ticks on average - it's small, but it adds up! This XP rate is a slight nerf for some players but in some cases will be a slight increase in XP/hr.
This also means that the rate at which stardust is obtained will be reduced, and range from around <600 dust per hour up to 1,000 dust per hour.
How it helps:
- Different star sizes will no longer be significantly more favourable than others. Though players with higher Mining levels will likely seek out higher tier stars to spend longer in one place.
- High Mining levels become more beneficial than they currently are.
- Reducing stardust gain means lessening the 'passive' additional benefits of stars and better solidifies their identity as an overwhelmingly XP-focused activity.
- It becomes easier for both players and us to understand exactly how stars work and what XP they're offering.
The shortest of all the sections, we're on the home stretch!
- Stars in Prifddinas will no longer give crystal shards. This behaviour isn't intended and is technically a bug, but we think it's particularly important to fix because it makes stars in Prifddinas significantly more appealing than in other locations, which condenses players. We appreciate that this appeal might come from Crystal shards not being the most enjoyable to obtain - especially if you've already done your time in the red prison - and would be open to looking at crystal shard rates in the future if it's something you'd like to see.
- Random events and cannons will be disabled in the areas around active stars. We know it'll be rough to not have those extra XP lamps or Stale baguette chances while you're mining, but these contribute significantly to client performance issues. You might have noticed after a lot of star mining that your game client performs a little worse until you restart it, and this is a part of the reason why. Interestingly, these have minimal impact on server performance - we thought making the difference clearer might help you all to understand what is and isn't problematic in the future!
Now that we've gone over everything, let's summarise what we believe the effects of these changes will be in simple terms:
- No star will be significantly more favourable than others, spreading players out more.
- Stars become easier to understand for players and us, meaning you'll know exactly how much XP/hr to expect, and we'll have an easier time making balancing adjustments if more are needed down the line.
- The core identity of stars as a communal Mining activity will be retained.
- XP gain scales better with Mining level, and relies less on star size.
- Item/reward gain is reduced back to pre-change levels.
- More stars are available in general, also spreading players out more.
And just to recap, if you saw the scrollbar on the left and muttered "ain't reading all that" under your breath, here's a tldr of the changes:
- Each star size will last 7 minutes, meaning a size 9 star will last 63 minutes before degrading entirely.
- Stars will land in waves of 90 minutes, down from 128 minutes.
- Stars will land between size 6 and 9.
- Star mining success chance and XP no longer varies with tier. Success chance scales from 29% at Level 1 to 46% at Level 99. XP per dust is 32 at all sizes, meaning XP per hour scales from roughly 22k to 32k.
- As a result of the above, the amount of stardust obtained per hour will now scale from around 600 to 1,000.
- Stars in Prifddinas no longer provide crystal shards when mined.
- Random events and Dwarf multicannons will be disabled in the areas around active stars.
Our number one priority with these changes is lessening the impact on our servers of players engaging with Shooting Stars, and we believe that the changes laid out in this blog help to alleviate that. At the same time, we don't want to give a heavy-handed nerf to star mining since it's clearly a hit with many of you (and us, this entire blog was written while mining stars) but we don't want Shooting Stars to become to be-all end-all of Mining as a skill, since it makes it difficult for us to look at the underlying problems that lead to Mining's lack of popularity with players if everybody's content just Mining while at work or playing other games.
After reading all of the above, we hope you understand our reasons for making changes as well as the changes themselves. Ultimately Shooting Stars should remain a familiar and social Distraction & Diversion for those of you seeking low-intensity Mining XP, without sending players' average tick rate into orbit in the process.
Let us know what you think and if anything's unclear at all, and good luck on those Mining gains in the meantime!
You can also discuss this update on our official forums, on the 2007Scape subreddit, the Steam forums, or the community-led OSRS Discord in the #gameupdate channel. For more info on the above content, check out the official Old School Wiki.
Mods Abyss, Arcane, Archie, Argo, Ash, Ayiza, Boko, Bruno, Chilly, Crystal, Curse, Daizong, Dylan, Ed, Elena, Enigma, Errol, Fed, Gecko, Gizmo, Goblin, Grub, Halo, Harold, Hend, 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, Sova, Squid, Starry, Stevew, Surma, Sween, Tide, Titus, Torrance, Tsourorf, Tyran, Veda, Vegard, West & Wolfy
The Old School Team.