It is written by Mod Jack and is dated 25 August 2017.
On the 4th September we're planning to put out a poll to decide what we do with Mining & Smithing. We can't squeeze too much detail into a poll, so here's a devblog to explain what's going on.
High-level Mining & Smithing update
We're at a crossroads with Mining & Smithing. Delivering the full rework will take so long and involve so much development time that it'll put a serious dent in what else we're able to produce. If one update is a large quest, minigame or skill update, we're talking 4-6 updates worth of dev time. It's been clear from expansions that such a lack of updates would be sorely felt.
Most of that 4-6 updates worth of time isn't actually spent improving the Mining and Smithing skills. Some of the time is spent on that, but the majority is spent tidying up everything that it breaks - fixing slayer drops, rebalancing artisan's workshop, that sort of thing.
We would like to propose a different plan: rather than changing things in one go, in a way that requires all the above fixes, we will take all the new rewards, mechanics, ores and so on from the rework (largely benefiting mid-to-high level players), separate them out and release them earlier.
This new content includes:
- New tiers of ore and gear for levels 70+
- Useful high level armour
- A smithing "overload"-like item (a powerful unlock that is a reason to train the skill)
We would place this new content within a specific area, such as a reworked mining guild, artisan's workshop, or an extra floor in living rock caverns. This would create an isolated but complete economy for the top end of Mining & Smithing, to address the core problem with the skills: that there are very few good reasons to train them or make anything with them.
Until you reach the newly added tiers of metal, the Mining & Smithing skills will look exactly like they do now. The new tiers will overlap the old tiers (since runite will still be a high tier ore, for example). We estimate the update will bring 80% of the benefit of the rework at about 25% of the cost.
All that said, we'll continue to make sure whatever we make is an open design created with plenty of player feedback as we've done so far.
What’s not included?
Chiefly, the shuffling and rebalancing of the metal tiers. This is something that is important to the long-term health of the game, but it's what produces the huge majority of the time spent on the rework. We also wouldn't be making any changes to drop tables, old content, etc.
There also won't be any new content for lower levels, and XP rates will not increase, but neither of these things would be included in a full rework regardless.
Take it to the polls
So that's what we're going to poll next week. We want to get the question right, so here's the intended text of the poll. Let us know if you think it's clear enough, and whether you think it's too biased in favour of either answer. We will aim to change the poll based on your feedback before it opens for voting.
The poll will use a simple 50% threshold. This is because we're asking you to choose between two alternatives for an update. A higher threshold is appropriate when we're asking you to choose whether to add/change something or do nothing. In this case either option means a change to the game, so we just want to know what the majority want.
What will the outcome mean?
We want to be open about what a yes and no vote will mean.
If YES wins, we'll begin work as soon as we can on the high level Mining & Smithing update. The rest of the rework, like fixing the tiers, is still important to us, but it will be prioritised as what it is: a very expensive update that has a significant impact only on low level players. We already have many high priority projects for low level players, including the early game experience and how new players come into the game from mobile.
If NO wins, and feedback tells us you want the full rework, then we will prioritise it accordingly. It will be put back on our release schedule and assigned for development in the future. As noted earlier, this will mean less of other updates. It is very likely that if NO wins, the full rework will come a bit sooner, but the high level benefits will come much later.
Based on your feedback, we've made two changes. Firstly, we've updated the Yes and No descriptions to include more detail. Secondly, we're now requiring a 75% threshold for the "Yes" option to win.