The new year's almost here, and we're resolved to make 2014 the best year in RuneScape's history. For that to happen, though, things need to change. We've taken stock of 2013 - what went well, and what not so well - and our new year's resolution is clear.
In 2014, we're taking RuneScape back to its roots – making it a truly collaborative effort between developers and the community. I don’t just mean things like picking the results of in-game battles or the occasional content poll – it needs to be more radical than that. I want to give the power to the players to decide what we do and when it happens.
The New Poll System
In mid-January, we’re going to launch a new in-game poll system, which will give members at least one new content poll to vote on each week. In total, there will be up to seven guaranteed content polls each month, covering a range of topics including quests, minigames, combat updates, skills, bosses, reworks, core gameplay changes and much more besides. Polls dealing with the biggest questions might last as long as a month, whereas smaller polls might run for seven days.
These polls will decide which content we work on first and what direction to take while developing them. You won’t need to worry if your favourite option doesn’t quite make the cut – valid content will appear again in future polls.
The polls will also focus on things that really mean something to you: high-level content; important game storylines; and the everyday mechanics of the game that you spend much of your time with.
It’s not possible to ask all the big burning questions straight away so we’ve tried to get a real mix of things in for each month. So - what are the polls we're launching with in January?
Invention vs Elf City: our biggest and most anticipated updates. Which do you want first?
What type of Easter event do you want? Traditional fun with bunnies and eggs, or a comedy 6th Age event featuring Marimbo and Brassica Prime?
Which group of creatures should receive a drop table rework first?
Which new dragon would you like to be added to game?
Decide on a themed map for the brand-new, secret minigame we're working on!
Should we change the quantity and type of game worlds?
These are just the very start, but give you an idea of how wide-reaching the polls will be. Each week there will be another important decision for the community. In time, I’m keen on having your suggestions to go into the poll system too.
Polls - when completed - will be commissioned as new projects, and work will begin on them straight away! Each piece of content will have an ETA, and we'll keep you updated as development progresses.
We'll Handle the Rest
There will be a few things we won’t be asking for votes on. We’re focused on the future, so we won't be polling things from the past like EoC, or things essential to the day-to-day upkeep of the business, such as microtransactions. While we do need your feedback on these things, they're not what the new poll system is for - you'll be able to give us your thoughts on the forums, as always.
We also still need to make updates for smaller groups of players, or updates that attract new players to the game, which won’t be appropriate for large-scale polling.
Overall, though, the majority of content updates - and all major updates - will have been selected by you.
Here's to the Future
The Power to the Players poll system is the cornerstone of our plans for RuneScape in 2014, but we’ve got some other important changes in the works, too.
Firstly, we want to increase emphasis on high-level content. New content from last couple of years has been aimed at quite a wide spread of player levels, so we’re going to focus more specifically at higher level content and activities for veterans.
Secondly, we need to increase the number of quests we release. This year we really upped the fidelity and depth of quests, but in doing so sacrificed quantity. So we’re going to have more of a mix: from epic quests full of innovative content and high production values, to traditional, more story-focus quests like we’ve made in years past.
Thirdly, we’re going to improve the everyday gameplay experience by having our Ninja Team focus on fixing niggling issues, implementing quick-win features and listening to your suggestions for small-scale improvements. This should improve everyone's quality of life within RuneScape.
As always, we’re being ambitious, but with hard work and your help, everything here can be achieved. Above all else, we’re determined to make RuneScape the game you want it to be.
I’m sure that you’ve got lots of questions after that little lot. For now, take a look at our Power to the Players FAQ, and look out for more info leading up to the launch of the polls in the week of January 13th!