Team Structure, PvP Changes and Upcoming Poll
This blog highlights some of the recent changes to the Old School team's structure, our plans going forward with content development, new updates we'd like to propose for polling and some changes we're not polling.
[25/07/18] - Added further detail to the Looting bag changes stating how we intend to reduce the cost of purchasing them from the Bounty Hunter store.
[25/07/18] - Added further detail to the Teleblock changes to clarify that upon logout, immunity to Teleblock would be removed in addition to the duration of the Teleblock effect.
[25/07/18] - Added further detail to the Spell Casting Delays changes to clarify that any changes are not intend to hinder those skilled enough to switch to and click on the spell icon before it is highlighted.
[25/07/18] - Added Poison ivy to Poll Question #3.
[25/07/18] - Added an additional poll question offering players the ability to reobtain all pieces of the Ghostly robes from any of the ghosts after the completion of the Curse of the Empty Lord miniquest.
Team Structure Improvements
Old School RuneScape has flourished since its release, clearly visible by the increase in player numbers and also the ever-expanding list of Mods that can be found at the bottom of our blogs and news.
One of the most important things about Old School RuneScape is the community. We love the suggestions you provide us which help shape the future of the game and we believe it's important for us as a team to remain agile so we can quickly act upon those suggestions.
It's no surprise that when we have a big project to work on, such as the Theatre of Blood, the resources we have available to look at your suggestions or quality of life improvements are limited. Whilst we have still found the time to provide 59 poll questions for you to vote on since the Theatre released, we're aware there is much more we could be doing.
With this in mind we're making a few changes to the structure of our team which will complement large releases by allowing us the resource to move quickly when met with good suggestions and requests. We'll talk about the changes to the team structure shortly, but we'd also like to point out that we expect our team to continue increasing in size over the next 12 months. There'll be more people joining the array of new faces to the team (hi Mods Bruno, Lenny, and Munro)!What's Changed?
To put it simply, the Old School team now consists of smaller teams. Each team has a clear focus which will guide their efforts. The aim is to ensure that we've got different types of content being developed all the time, now that we've got enough staff to do more than we could before. For example, it means that QoL polls won't need to stop for months while we're focusing on a big project, since different staff will be working on these things in parallel.
We're still settling in to the new structure, and whilst it isn't finalised, here's some insight into what the new team structure is like and what their focuses are.
One team will be responsible for delivering the larger content updates you've grown to love. To give you an idea of the sort of content that this team will be delivering, think: the Inferno, Fossil Island, Dragon Slayer II, and the Theatre of Blood.
Another team will be responsible for getting your suggestions, quality of life changes, and smaller updates handled. We'd like to start giving you more in-game polls, with a more consistent focus on community-suggested content. This is the team that will be taking your feedback from the Old School forums, Reddit, Discord, and the Q&As, and making them a reality! Think of it as the team which will be delivering the typical weekly update, but with the resource to do lots more of things you're asking for!
Another team will be focusing on competitive gaming. Their responsibility is to experiment and innovate in order to revitalize the PvP community. They'll mainly be focused on larger scale elements of PvP, such as Deadman, Bounty Hunter, and Last Man Standing. In addition to this, they'll also be exploring the potential for competitive PvM and Skilling.
Lastly there is a team responsible for the in-game content development (separate from the engine and technical development) of Old School Mobile, plus everything else that doesn't quite fit into the above.
What does this mean?
Essentially this now means we have more time and dedicated resource to do more for you. We'll be able to continue developing larger updates without having to reject the smaller and less complex changes that you find so valuable.
Now that's all cleared up, we're able to showcase some of the fantastic work this restructure is allowing us to do going forward...
In February 2018 we focused our efforts the entire month to some quality of life and content changes, labelled as "QoL Month". The third week of QoL month had a PvP focus, and the work included unpolled changes which we considered to be matters of balancing, with the intent of benefiting those who engage most with the content. The changes were positively received by both the PvP community and the wider playerbase.
Since implementing them, we've noticed more areas of concern we'd like to address in the coming weeks. This list is just the start of many changes and improvements we intend to make to PvP, but we felt that before adding new content, we needed to address these first. The following changes will not be polled:
Banners, also referred to as flags, are wieldable signs that double as crush weapons. Often players will equip Banners in PvP and Bounty Hunter worlds to grief other players due to their large clickbox, preventing them from properly fighting.
We'll be preventing Banners from being used in PvP and Bounty Hunter worlds. When this change goes live, you will be unable to equip Banners on those worlds. Any equipped Banner will also be removed when logging in to those worlds, where it will be automatically moved to either your inventory, your bank, Perdu (who can hold up to 1 Banner) or if all else fails, the floor under your character.
The Old School game engine often has to deal with two players doing something at the same time. This could be dealing damage to a monster, dealing damage to a player, picking up an item, and just about anything at all. The game engine needs a way to decide whose actions (player one or player two) are processed first. This process is called PID.
Currently, PID is randomised once every 100 to 150 game ticks (60 to 90 seconds) per player. It is often the case that when in a fight with another player, only one player will have PID, putting them at an advantage when compared to their opponent.
In order to make fights fairer, we'd like to change the way PID is assigned in PvP and Bounty Hunter worlds only, so that it's randomised once every 40 to 60 game ticks (24 to 36 seconds) per player.
Bounty Hunter Targets
Worlds 318 and 319 are the dedicated Bounty Hunter worlds (they rotate every two weeks). When a player enters the Wilderness on this world, the Bounty Hunter target system will track down a player that is close to their combat level and will match them both up as targets to fight one another. It is often the case that the system will assign a target that is deep within the Wilderness whilst the hunting player is found within the lower levels of the Wilderness. In these instances, the player in the lower levels of the Wilderness will usually skip their target. If too many targets are skipped, a penalty will be incurred, and the player will be unable to receive a new target for approximately half an hour.
As part of the PvP QoL Month, we drastically reduced the penalty for skipping targets that are more than 5 Wilderness levels away from you. This change had a noticeable impact on the frustrations players were facing when trying to get targets to fight, but it hasn't helped enough.
We'll be giving the Emblem Trader, located in Edgeville, the option for all players to toggle the ability to receive a Bounty Hunter target past level 10 Wilderness. Once toggled on, players will only get targets in levels 1-10 of the Wilderness.
We'd like to improve the functionality of the Looting Bag, making it more accessible to use for all players. The Looting Bag will be given a new option, allowing players to "Open" or "Close" the bag via a left-click. The existing interface would remain accessible via a right-click. We'll also look to lower the number of points required to purchase the Looting bag from the Bounty Hunter Store.
When the Looting bag is opened, anything picked up off the floor whilst in the Wilderness will be automatically placed inside it. This would mean if you wanted to pick something into your inventory, you would left-click the Looting bag to close it (if it was open), then pick your items, which will be placed into the inventory. This gives you the flexibility of being able to quickly loot a whole pile of loot by spam-clicking whilst the bag is open, but also to loot potions and food directly into your inventory when the bag is closed.
Teleblock is widely used throughout the Wilderness. It's a powerful spell that players should be fearful of. Unfortunately, it is being abused by teams or solo players to prevent them being Teleblocked for the full duration. This is done by applying Teleblock to your character via an alt or a friend and waiting for the Teleblock duration to expire, granting you 1-minute of immunity against another player applying Teleblock to you.
We'll be changing the way Teleblock works so that the effect is completely removed when logging out. This includes the current 1-minute immunity period that is applied when the effects of Teleblock wear off normally.
This will mean that any player who gets Teleblocked, but is fortunate enough to have logged out, will have the Teleblock effect completely removed including the 1-minute immunity period. In that situation it's generally accepted that they've escaped anyway. If you were to get Teleblocked but were unable to log out and had to survive for the full duration, once the effects of Teleblock expire you would have the current 1-minute immunity from Teleblock being applied again.
PvM Deaths in PvP
At times, players will get a kill in PvP and receive no loot. This is due to the way the game determines who should have been assigned loot in a PvP situation, and it not being able to correctly identify the intended recipient.
This is an issue we've been aware of for quite some time, but were previously not in a position to be able to resolve it effectively. With recent improvements to the game engine, we've been investigating the cause of this and the potential fixes we could implement. We're well aware that a recent video has covered this particular issue in some detail, and we'd like to assure you that this issue was never ignored.
We'll be looking to change it so that we would give the loot to whoever dealt the killing blow if:
No PKer is found by the existing system.
The dying player had been hit by another player recently.
The death occurred in the Wilderness or a PvP world or equivalent area.
Old School RuneScape is over 5 years old. In that time, players have mastered the game and figured out numerous little tricks to change the way they play the game. One of these is using animations of different actions to delay what other players see their character doing.
In PvP, it's increasingly common for somebody to use the Home Teleport spell to begin its animation, before hitting an opponent with a special attack (usually something hard hitting like the Armadyl godsword). The Home Teleport animation causes the animation of the attack not to show, giving the opponent almost no chance to react.
We'll be changing it so that you're unable to use Home Teleport if you've been in combat recently. We'll also be changing the Home Teleport so it no longer stalls movement. In addition to this, we'll also be looking at changing the way dropping items work so it no longer interrupts animations either.
If you're aware of any other items or animations that are being used to stall movement, please let us know via the "Report Bug" function in-game!Special Attack Stacking/Trading
Players in single-combat zones can currently be subjected to excessive and repeated special attacks. This is extremely frustrating and unfair for a player who is expecting to engage in 1v1 combat versus another player, only to find that a team of people are able to unload their special attacks against them in quick succession.
We'll be changing the way special attacks work so that if you're attacked by a player using a special attack whilst in single combat, you cannot be hit by a special attack from a different player for 10 game ticks (6 seconds).
This change would mean that a player who attacks with the first special attack will freely be able to continue using special attacks against you (until their special energy depletes), but if a different player attempts to special attack you, they will be unable to do so until at least 6 seconds have passed since the first players special attack.
Some weapons, such as the Bandos godsword and the Ancient mace, have a Smite effect which accompanies damage dealt with a prayer drain. Currently it's possible for over-hitting damage to inflict more prayer drain than the player's hitpoints. This shouldn't be possible since the player doesn't have enough hitpoints to warrant losing so many prayer points.
We'll be changing it so that Prayer reduction should never be for more than the player's remaining HP.
Spell Casting Delays
Currently, even if you lack the runes or Magic level required to cast a spell, you are able to select it. If you do this and attempt to cast the spell on another player, it will cost you a game tick. For example, if you cast Ice Barrage but have your stats lowered due to using a Saradomin brew, you receive a message stating that you don't have the required Magic level to cast the spell. You then have to wait for the next game tick for any new interactions to register, even if you have restored your stats to the correct level and attempt to cast Ice Barrage again.
This can really mess with your attack priority when in PvP and PvM, so we'll be investigating ways to prevent this delay from happening. We're currently leaning towards changing it so you are unable to select and use a spell on a player you do not have the runes or Magic level required to do so. We'd like to make it clear that our intention with any change is not to punish players who are skilled enough to switch their gear, open the spellbook and click on a spell faster than the game will update the spell icon selection.
Combatting Ragging and Emblem Farming
We've also added a whole host of PvP related tracking variables to the game to help us better gather data on various things.
These tracking variables will help us better identify people involved in "ragging", where players with no intention of actually fighting will constantly attack other players just to prevent them from getting a fight and improve the work our anti-cheating does to combat Emblem farmers on Bounty Hunter worlds. From there we will be able to take action against players more reliably than we are doing so currently.
As always, your feedback is invaluable to us and we encourage you to reach out via the links at the bottom of this post to provide any.
As mentioned earlier in this blog, part of the newly structured team means we're able to offer you more consistent polls for smaller content suggestions and improvements to the game. We'd like to start by kicking things off with some of the more requested features sent in from the community.
Poll Question #1Should we add an in-game collection log? This would be an in-game interface that keeps track of how many of each unique drop you have obtained. The collection log would only show new information from the date it is added to game.
Poll Question #2Should Bob Barter be able to decant potions into 1, 2 and 3 doses? There would be a cost similar to that of a Vial for each dose decanted that would have otherwise required a new Vial.
Poll Question #3Should the crop yield of White berries, Cave nightshade, Limpwurt roots and Poison ivy be increased to a random quantity based on your Farming level, similar to how allotments work? Regardless of the results of this poll, we will look to rebalance the drop table of certain monsters that drop Limpwurt roots.
Poll Question #4Should it be possible to reobtain all pieces of the Ghostly robes from any of the ghosts after the completion of the Curse of the Empty Lord miniquest? The ghosts would also allow you to claim more than one Ghostly robe set.