This article response is strictly to "In Hindsight..." and has nothing to do with the other. WARNING: if you have the attention span of a gnat - don't bother starting to read. My response is LONG thus the simple or dull minded will get bored easily. From now on, "RS" refers to Runescape. "BPW" refers to Bonus Points Weekend. Regular acromyns apply.
My first thought, upon seeing the title was something along the lines of "Well that's a great big batch of DUUUUUH!!". The pattern was clear after the SECOND bonus points weekend. Sure, one could argue that there's no rule that says Jagex must now have a bonus points weekend twice a year nor that each one should come around 6 months after the prior like clockwork. Jagex themselves stated clearly after the first ever BPW that they may or may not do it again. I seem to recall them saying the same thing after the second too. For all I know, they even said the same thing after the third... I wasn't even paying attention at that point because I (along with a multitude of other players) predicted exactly what week it was when the next Jagex announcement would come rolling down the pipe for the ensuing BPW. Some even guessed the exact date (I missed it by one... and lost a load of sharkies in a bet to a fellow player... whoops!). In any case, it was totally obvious to anyone with a brain bigger than the size of a pea as to what to expect as far as I'm concerned . If you failed to plan ahead... well, I'm not going to mock you but I won't feel sorry for you either. You should have known better. New players being the exception, naturally.
Yes... unfortunately, the pattern is clear now... and that Jagex seems to be willing to keep it up indefinitely. Just how long "indefinitely" will really prove to be is anyone's guess... but most players I know have decided that it will most likely be a regular thing from now on for a variety of reasons. In fact, I started preparing for the second BPW after the first one was finished on purpose... just in case. It was easy to do. How so? Instead of converting my herbs and seconds into pots as soon as I gained them... I started saving them instead. Ditto for items like Coal and Maple logs and other things I'd normally use up right away or sell off right away. My logic was that even if I saved all my herbs (and other merchable items) for an entire year then it would be a huge advantage to me to do so. All I had to do was plan out my method of pot making & in what order and I could gain the most exp from the next BPW. If there was no next BPW in the next year? I lost nothing... other than some bank space for the herbs and other items. After all, I could always convert the materials to finished pots at any time I so chose to do so be there a BPW or no BPW. I could also always sell my merchable items when it was to my advantage as well. I had plenty of cash to hoard them, so why not do it? It made sense.
What was the result of my planning? It was twofold. I gained mass exp in Herblore and scored a 99 long before I actually ran out of pots to combine into extremes. I also made out like a bandit as a merch noob. Since I carefully bought secondary ingredients when prices were at a low average on the GE, I was guaranteed a healthy profit when reselling during the frenzy over the final two days before that BPW started. How much did I make? I won't say... but here's an example. I made 400 million from merching zammy wines alone. I sold them for 5500 each. No, that's not a typo... FIFTY FIVE HUNDRED EACH. If I had known what was coming, I wouldn't have been conservative in my merching either. Mort Myre Fungus went for 3300 each as another example. That seems crazy after the last BPW we just had... when you could buy MMF for as little as 143 ea. But what happened... happened and all I did was use my brain and go with the flow. What it all meant to me was a huge success in both areas. I attained 99 Herblore and made loads of cash too. You could also say I made loads of cash off the pots too... but I kept them all rather than dump them onto the market. Some players didn't believe me when I told them how much I made... except for those that were smart enough to hoard items like me. They also made out like bandits so they knew the truth.
Speaking of loads of cash... on this last BPW we saw the result of the continuity of a BPW every 6 months. Since it was totally expected this time around (and even the most lame brained players knew it)... bot users were in high gear the whole time. So were merchers, hoping to cash in. The result? I don't think ANYONE cashed in this time around... as prices crashed and they crashed hard. In fact, as was mentioned in the article, this year... the smart thing to do would have been to buy up a mass of supplies AFTER the BPW was over. From a cash perspective... that would have been the smart thing to do both as a player desiring to level up in a skill AND as a mercher. Did anyone see the reality coming? I doubt it... but I bet a few smart players guessed correctly and have done well. Or should I say... WILL do well once they sell. There are always a few who guess right - it's the same on Wall Street in real life as it is on Runescape in fantasyland. Some win, some lose.
One might bring up the question of whether or not what has happened was by design... the design of Jagex. That's an issue best left unspoken at this time... my article is already rapidly expanding. I will say though that if that's true, all they did was support cheaters IMNSHO. Now... let us get back to that whole bot thing... yeah, you knew I was going back there. You so totally did!
Jagex has effectively created yet another monster. Yes, I said it and I'll keep saying it. We all already know they're intent on doing squat about bots so let's not go there - we don't need to and the reasons why are irrelevant. But a BPW effects all of us non-cheaters in a HUGE way... whether we like it or not. How so? Cheaters (be they players trying to gain cash and/or easy points in a skill or simple gold farmers who sell it for real world cash) have a huge incentive... to cheat more now than ever. Oh yes. I said it and I'll keep on saying it. They have a HUGE REASON TO CHEAT YEAR ROUND, NOW SO MORE THAN EVER. Call it an unintended consequence... and that may or may not be true... but it is the new reality. Sarcastically I say to all who are reading, "Gee thanks Jagex. You freaking noobs! You've screwed it up even worse than it was before". In all seriousness... sometimes I swear all they do is sit around trying to think up new and ingenious ways to screw up the Runescape economy or screw over the average joe player. You know... players like me. Players that are not Runescape addicts... fame seekers... or cheaters. We play for fun and friendship. Runescape is a GAME... and it is SUPPOSED to be FUN. It's not a contest. Not a way to seek glory or bragging rights. And it certainly should never be about money. Either for Jagex or real world traders that use it as such a device. The integrity of the game must be 100% absolute. PERIOD.
Yes, I understand Jagex is a business... and a pretty big one at that. However, we're still talking about a GAME folks. What went from the desk in a room at the parents house in the basement to a company of 400+ in its own complex is now a monster in and of itself. The brothers G let it get that way... and they certainly didn't stop collecting the membership money. Money that has now made them both richer than the average joe will EVER get. That money... is probably why their involvememt is limited. They're out enjoying that same money on things other than the game IRL. By the same turn... I should still be getting the same bang for my buck as I used to get. I should get a game without cheaters... one that's FUN to play IRL. In other words... both the brothers AND all of us should be enjoying life.
The bottom line here is that if the trend continues, BPW will do nothing but continue to be a greater and greater threat to the RS economy thus causing average joe players like me to think again and again as to why we should bother to continue playing. I'm already on the edge... and am close to selling off and going back to F2P. For the third time. The worse it gets... the closer I come to deciding to jump off the P2P side and over the fence onto the F2P side. I've done it before... two times for 3 years total out of the last 10 that Runescape has been in existence. In fact, all 3 in the last 5 when the nightmare got really bad. Yes, I came back AFTER free trade and the Wild (in regards to PvP) were eliminated as an example but then Jagex reversed course and look what has transpired... it's the nightmare scenario all over again and it's even worse. Now? I wish Jagex ditched free trade permanently. It has been the only action that worked thus far against cheaters. Sure, it didn't eliminate them but it certainly helped a lot and that cannot be argued. What's another solution...? It's been brought up before but I'll spit it out again anyway. Make players decide on one of two selections: free trade servers or no trade servers. Permanently. If you're on the free trade servers, you never get to piss, moan, complain or whine about anything related to free trade, merching, item costs or the GE. If you're on the no trade side? You get the benefits of being there and have a lot more room to [bleep]. I know how that suggestion will go over... but it was... just a suggestion. Don't get the undies in a bunch. I also realize the technical problems it'll cause too but that is also another entire article so I'll stop now and not go off on that tangent.
So... at the end of the day... what do I have to say about a future BPW? I say do NOT eliminate them. However, Jagex should do a few things before continuing them. Here's my laundry list:
01) Consider doing them once a year instead of twice... but flip a coin as to whether or not any given year gets a BPW. If Jagex brass chooses twice a year, flip the coin twice. Some years may get two... others will get ZERO. The idea is being unpredictable and nobody will know just how long it will be... for the next one.
02) Only do a BPW at random on the calendar... in other words, don't make the date predictable. Write a simple program to determine the date. It won't be tough. You can even toss 365 marked cards into a box and pull one at random after you give the box a good stirring. For about an hour. Do whatever works... just do it!
03) Don't make the number of BPWs in any given year "public" inside Jagex HQ. I cannot stand it when a JMOD that's friendly with certain players or fansites lets information "slip out". That's not fair to the rest of us. If the top handful of Jagex suits knows and participates, that's all that needs to be done. Well, as long as THEY don't let anything slip out. If one has loose lips, give them the Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden?!? EXCELLENT!!
04) Don't make the DATE of any randomly drawn BPWs "public" inside Jagex HQ. For the same reasons listed as on number 3 above.
05) Announce a BPW a mere 24 hours before it happens. No arguments. I can hear the outcry & rage already... but that's too bad. They should be completely unpredictable and how much you bank in advance and for how long if you're trying to predict a BPW should be something that's tough to do. For everyone.
06) If the randomness means that a pair of BPWs will be a very short time apart, make it so. Even if those weekends are literally back to back. Let the coin tosses and dates fall where they may... no matter what. It's all about the integrity of Mr. Random and Dr. Murphy Law! Murphy... man i hate that guy
07) Include F2P and get it over with. F2P bot users & RWTers already sell collected items on the G E anyway... so why not let legitimate F2Pers have some fun too? Unless you separate F2P GE transactions from P2P GE transactions... you're doing nothing but punishing the legitimate players. That... is unacceptable. Stop making them feel like third class citizens. They already get the shaft as it is. More like... multiple shafts.
08) Consider putting a max on collecting certain items. Yes, I'm referring to how many you can have stuffed in the bank. Jagex already regulates how many items can be bought & sold in an "X" number of hours as it is... so why not make it so that no one player can flood the market with 2 trillion of one type of item or more all at one shot? I'm sure there will be arguments and rage about that too... but there was rage about the GE from day one and we all got used to it. This will be no different... and the ragers will ultimately stop raging and just play.
09) Last, but not least... consider tying how many of an item any player can have banked to their skill level. Yes, I know this will cause another uproar or raging... all I'm doing is putting forth an idea. Aside from making it harder for low level bot users, it will help stabilize the market somewhat. Which is mostly why I made the suggestion to begin with.
Obviously, it's hard for me to say what anyone will think of my response. I'm sure it'll be a love/hate thing. Some will love it, some will hate it and everyone else will fall into the wide area between those two extremes. All the above are my thoughts... that's all they are. Yes, I did try to keep it short but I could have gone on a real writing rampage and branched out greatly so be thankful it's as short as it it. Comments and criticism welcome. As long as it is constructive. Thanks for reading and best wishes!
You can take the woman out of the South...
but you cannot take the South out of the woman!