A new year has arrived, and with it, the promise of new adventures. Ready for a big one? Take a seat – there's bound to be something that'll juice your squ'irks!
Like jabbing eyes with sticks? For our first update of the year, we've made two existing Stalker Creatures (levels 71 and 99) freely slayable (for those who have completed Dishonour Among Thieves) in a new dungeon beneath Daemonheim. Get up to your eyeballs in, well, eyeballs to earn the Hexhunter Bow; at level 80, this rare ranged weapon deals formidable damage to magic opponents and increases your accuracy for targets with a vulnerability to arrows. Joining the two Stalker Creatures in the first update are elite mobs for you to fight, lore tidbits to discover, a pet to earn and new, high-tier arrows to fletch and loot. And don't forget the Anniversary Cake! That's right, RuneScape is now 17 – old enough to get a UK driver's license.
And the rest of the month? For our skillers, we have the Elder Simulacrum Outfit coming out. Collect fragments while you train Divination and fuse them together to make the outfit and gain exceptional benefits. More of a ranged or crafting person? We're showing some love to a bakriminally underused part of the game with the Enchanted Bakriminel Bolts update: add any effect to Bakriminal bolts from one of the eleven enchanted gem-tips for an altogether tiered-up result! We're also making Skill Outfit Head add-ons obtainable in-game and introducing the changes we've made to the Aura Bag (following your feedback), which include being able to browse and activate auras from a single location. In other news, Hati, Sköll and Fenrir are making a return, Vic the Trader will be on hand to convert the resulting Bonus XP into unlocks, XP and more, and Sliske's Endgame will finally become replayable. Yes, you can now return to the maze to hunt down all your favourite gods.
February, March and April
Now this is where things get interesting. Why? Because this is where we start to see the benefit from the move away from expansions. Highlights below, in no particular order.
Let's begin with the Clue Scroll Overhaul. It includes some things you might expect, like Master Tier clues, new puzzles and new rewards (including Second-Age Saradomin gear, a Robin Hood outfit and dragon masks). But there are also some additions, like a Clue Scroll log to track your overall winnings (it's been tracking your winnings for two months now), hidey holes for emote clues, a clue scroll outfit that makes you a clue hunting superstar, and fixes to Clue Scrolls as a whole, like stackable caskets and the capacity to hold up to 25 clues of each tier.
There's also Solak, a top-tier boss aimed at groups of seven, with a distinct duo mode for those who'd rather stick to one buddy. He's had a makeover since RuneFest (again, based on your feedback) and there's a fascinating story to be uncovered if you can hatchet your way through to it. Hone your skills, get to the Grove and be the first to topple the tree. You might get some tier-92 crossbows for your efforts.
Next up, Pieces of Hate is sailing into port, adding a cargo-ful of adventure, humour and loved characters for the Pirate Quest series' finale. But don't start getting complacent – if there's one thing that's predictable about pirates, it's their unpredictability, so don't expect it to end swimmingly. However, we can tell you this much: war is coming to Mos Le'Harmless, and you've not seen the last of Rabid Jack.
Continuing the nautical theme, you'd better grab your waterproofs, because this is the year of Deep Sea Fishing. Aimed at mid-to-high level players, this update offers diversity to the traditionally laidback Fishing skill. We're aiming for every visit to be different: one moment, you'll be dealing with sea-beasts from far-flung locations; the other, you'll be catching the new best-in-slot catch, sailfish. What's more, it's all based in a beautiful new location that you're sure to fall in love with. Hook, line and sinker.
One more thing: we've decided to bring forward some changes in what we're calling the 'Bank Rework Taster'. You'll find Diango and the Costume Room accessible from the bank, all ten presets visible as standard and junk items highlighted for you to ditch at your leisure.
Time for a quickfire round!
- We're introducing Group Ironman – the difference being that linked ironmen can now trade amongst themselves and participate in multiplayer content, such as group bosses and Dungeoneering.
- Another new addition is Safecracking – similar to Elder Trees, but for Thieving – which will see you travelling to vaults in castles across Gielinor for XP and the new rewards which can be unlocked at the Thieving Guild.
- We're making the Mimic Boss a permanent addition to the game.
- You'll have the chance to forge the future of two new skills with the Mining and Smithing Beta.
- Spring Fayre will return with less focus on RuneCoins to participate. It will also home the Easter event.
- We're building a Minigame Hub: bringing all minigamers into one location and cutting some of the more under-used minigames in the process.
- You'll have the chance to rebuild Edgeville after its dragonkin decimation.
- Brimhaven will have a brand new, high level Agility arena and accompanying graphical rework.
- We're introducing a Calendar of Events in-game so that you can see what's happening in Gielinor at any one time.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so stay tuned. Furthermore, Double XP Weekend will take place from the 23rd to the 26th of February, during which we will be raising money for Special Effect with a 24-hour Gameblast livestream. Get prepping now to ensure you get the best deal on supplies, and please give generously!
The rest of 2018
There's no doubting the headliniest of headline acts: RuneScape on Mobile is due for launch later in the year, making Gielinor available to you on the move. This won't cost a dime extra: it's all part of your membership. We want you to get involved with upcoming betas, surveys and showcases so that YOU are the ones who tell us when it is ready for launch. For us, it's the most exciting development in RuneScape since Guthix took a staff to the chest...too soon?
The Mining and Smithing Rework is intended for the third quarter, and it's the full-fat experience. Ore tiers are being moved down to match the combat stats of their resulting gear, and new tiers of ore are being added to the top end, bringing new weapons and armours. But why stop there? We're chucking in new mining areas, new smithing rewards, quality-of-life improvements (like making Mining rocks inexhaustible) and changes to every single piece of content that is affected by the rework, which is the largest part of the whole project. Phew!
A considerable proportion of the Bank Rework is dependent on RuneScape Mobile, which is why we've scheduled this in post launch. That said, we've separated out the items that aren't (as many as we could) for release earlier in the year, namely as part of the first quarter's Bank Rework Taster mentioned above.
Sore for story? We've got a second helping for you this year, and it comes with a bit of a twist. Introducing: Needle Skips – a murder mystery quest which you can solve by entering clues into a magical artifact. Have fun!
Those are just a few of the definites, but there's a lot more that we're still sitting on to surprise you with later in the year. Continuing on, here are a few projects that we plan to work on this year which aren't actively in development yet:
It's time to show some love to Clans. We've collected info from current clan members and leaders, and we've got prioritised areas of attack: we're eager to make clans more versatile to manage; we want new players to be introduced to clans early, so that they can be guided to the best content; and we want clans to feel a little more competition with each other. We might even bring clans more onto the surface world. It's still early days, and RuneScape on Mobile comes first, but we'll be sure to show you our designs and sneak out some updates in advance, too.
You can also expect to see Skilling Offhands, rework projects to fix Dailyscape and improvements to Shattered Worlds, among other things. It's all go this year!
Last year was bittersweet, with highlights in the form of Nex Angel of Death, Combat Pets and Achievements (among other things), but also a sizable hole left by the move from expansions. In 2018, we intend to see the payoff from that decision, and it's our number one resolution to make sure that you feel the upside more than anyone.
When we look through the Year Ahead, we feel like its ambitious and, importantly, achievable, as we have either started work on all these projects or are soon to do so. It's not just about quantity, either: we're already on track to get ahead, finishing projects well before releasing them to allow more time for polishing. Furthermore, the teams are enthused about showing their work in Content Showcases, betas, social posts, surveys and polls so we can get your feedback in early, to truly make a difference to what we're producing.
We're excited about the New Year, but we want to know whether you think we're in the right direction too, so please let us know. In the meantime, have a wonderful New Year, and we'll start the updates rolling with Stalker Creatures on the 8th of January.
Happy New Year – have a wonderful 2018!
The RuneScape Team