We are well aware of many problems with the current death system. Subject to your feedback, these are changes we will be making. Of course with changes to such a central area of the game we don't want to make any changes without you, the players, being happy with them.
This system will introduce several benefits over the current gravestone system, with the key points:
Please note that this post contains simple information that's relevant to the core of the system. The FAQ has additional details about the system and why this approach was chosen. Any responses to common player questions will also be posted there!
- Items will no longer be lost due to disconnections
- We will be able to allow one free death when we're aware of server issues, based on when you died
- There will be no rush to return to the location you died
- We will introduce a gold sink to help the game economy
Replacement gravestone mechanics
Initially it's worth mentioning that these mechanics only apply where your death would normally result in a gravestone. This means that dying in PVP, the wilderness and safe areas remain unchanged.
Instead of getting an interface automatically opening on death to select items to protect you will immediately respawn in Death's office, where Death will be holding all of your items.
You can speak to Death to get your items back, but this will come with a cost.
Speaking to Death will open the interface below. In this case a player died with rune equipment, which they want to keep. This player has decided they don't need to get their food back, so they will lose it, however it also makes it cheaper to get their items back.
Image displaying an example death. Note that the prices in our development environment are different to the live game. Click for full size.
There's a chance that you won't have the coins available to reclaim your items, but this is not a problem. You can leave and return at any point! This allows you to head to the Grand Exchange and sell some items or spend some time making money.
- Protected items: These are saved for free, and are calculated in the same way as normal - by default you protect three items, the protect item prayer can allow an additional item as can a sign or portent of item protection.
- Saved items: A percentage of the items value is required to get it back - this is covered in more detail later.
- Lost items: A percentage of the items value is granted for sacrificing this item, greater than the cost for saving it - this is also covered in more detail later.
- Saved items (bottom): These are the items which are always protected on death.
Be warned, though. If you die and lose items a second time everything Death is holding will be lost and replaced with the new items. Additionally Death is not known for his patience. He will only hold on to your items for 3 days before disposing of them.
Gravestones provided up to 60 minutes to get your items back in real-time, meaning if you died at 2:12 you would not be able to get items back after at 3:12. Death chooses to work differently, counting only days that you have logged in. This means you could die on the 5th, next log in on the 10th and still have 2 days available. On the final day you will also have 10 minutes of in-game time available to reclaim your items, and warnings to let you know about this at each stage.
Once you've decided what you want to lose and what you want to keep selecting confirm will open up an extra confirmation panel to ensure you're happy with your choices.
Item confirmation panel.
After confirmation and payment all of your items will automatically be returned and equipped if possible. If for any reason you can't equip the items they will be sent to your bank.
Changes to existing content
There is a lot of content which is designed around the current death system which we would like to retain the current value it has, so the following changes will be made to existing content.
Gravestones themselves will remain in-game, but more as a marker of "Player died here". Their timers will be reduced to a couple of minutes, and all you will be able to do is read them.
Instead, your level of gravestone will reduce the overall price you pay to reclaim your items.
These percentages are low as gravestones provide a permanent reduction with a one-off cost, which will be recouped over a long-term period.
Signs of respite
Signs of respite were previously used to extend a gravestones timer, which means players used multiple at once. In order to retain value for this item they will instead take a set amount away from the cost to reclaim your items.
These initial values are based on the current exchange prices of the materials required to make them, and may change at a later date.
You will be able to use a dropdown menu to select up to 10 signs of respite to use, which will be used in the order of highest to lower tier.
If death's deal was active when you died, the cost to reclaim all degradeable items will be reduced by 50%. You will not be able to purchase death's deal if Death is still holding your items.
As previously mentioned, the current degrade on death mechanic will be removed.
This applies both to degrade to dust and repairable equipment.
Degrading on death was initially added to introduce a cost to death, which is now introduced game-wide and so is no longer necessary, removing the inconvenience of repairing items more frequently and potentially making degrade to dust items more desirable, as you can guarantee you get your full 10 hours worth of combat.
The price you will pay to get your items back is going to be one of the most important parts of the system, and the area with the biggest impact on how you approach dangerous game content. Unfortunately this section needs to be math-heavy, so tables summarising costs with existing equipment sets have been provided for those not interested in the finer details.
There's a large difference in low and high priced items, which means a static percentage has very little impact on untradeable equipment with lower costs or general low-cost items, and as such the percentage value to reclaim an item changes depending on the value.
To get the initial cost for an item its Grand Exchange price is taken if tradeable, or its protection value if untradeable. These are also unchanged from the live game. The cost to reclaim an item will scale from an initial value of 10% of this GE value towards a minimum cost of 1% for any items worth 10M or more.
See the below tables for a more practical comparison. The first table shows the current cost of fully repairing degraded items without protecting anything, while the second displays the new comparative value based on the new system.
The above table displays the amount of gold dying in certain equipment sets would cost in equipment recharging costs.
The above table displays the amount of gold to be expected based market values at time of writing.
^Value is based on Nex equipment, with an additional cost per piece of equipment.
* All individual pieces of equipment are values higher than 10M, so use the 1% value.
Throughout both of the above tables there are various variables not taken into account:
Another table comparing equipment sets will hopefully make the impact much easier to understand.
- Both systems can have items protected for free
- Both systems can be impacted by Death's Deal
- Smithing level can have an impact on repairing costs
- Gravestones will reduce the final value of the new system
- Signs of respite can be used to reduce the final value of the new system
Why change death so much? Losing items when disconnecting is all that's wrong with gravestones!
Losing items when disconnecting is a major problem with gravestones, however it is the perfect opportunity for us to resolve the secondary problem of death otherwise having very little penalty for most players.
There are very few situations in which returning to a gravestone before the timer expires is difficult, let alone risky, and that's without signs of respite or another player blessing your grave. Unless you have degradeable equipment the only real penalty is a slight inconvenience in returning to where you died.
We could make it more difficult to get back to your grave, but the items players die with have so much more value now than prior to gravestones so losing items on death no longer seems suitable. We wish to replace this with a penalty which scales with the equipment you're using, rather than only punishing players using higher tier equipment.
What about using another mechanic instead?
We have spent a lot of time looking into various death mechanics which we would be able to utilise, Each of which have their own drawbacks and benefits.
Some of the most viable have been:
• Equipment losing durability, payment required for repair.
• Short-term stacking debuffs.
• Returning to the location of death, without any fast-travel options available.
Each of these come with their own drawbacks:
• Making all degradeable equipment is simply not feasible at the moment, and it would also be game changing in many other ways.
• Stacking debuffs are very difficult to get right.
• Debuff is too small, you continue fighting ignoring the debuff - effectively no penalty.
• Debuff is too big, you can no longer do what you were doing until the debuff wears off.
• With the amount of non-combat content available in RuneScape a debuff is also easy to ignore.
This is largely what we currently have, though this adds little other than a time penalty and makes most sense in conjunction with the other ideas, rather than on its own.
Will this be removing death as an item sink?
Prior to gravestones death was a significant item sink, however outside of disconnections few items are now lost on death so the amount of items removed by death shouldn't have much impact. Item sacrificing, a time limit to reclaim and the requirement to reclaim all items at once are all designed to give a reason to opt-in to item sinking.
Additionally, prior to gravestones the most expensive combat equipment was either dragon or barrows. While that was never nice to lose, a lot of content which has been released since has much higher prices and can take much longer to obtain so the same type of mechanic would be much more punishing now.
It's best for us to focus on other ways of sinking items over the long-term, such as how the wildy wyrm weapons have been designed.
What about bossing teams? Bosses such as the Kalphite King can insta-kill!
Bossing is largely a matter of risk vs reward, a large amount of bosses will generate enough reward to still be worth risking dying for under the new system. We currently have tracking in place to see how active certain activities are, so if certain bosses have a dip in activity we will be able to react and make changes as necessary.
I was thinking of learning to boss, but now it will be much more expensive.
The "Boss Practice Mode" revealed by retention team 1 recently will be able to alleviate this issue. Free or safe death could be available in practice mode, so you can learn the bosses mechanics and try it for real once you're confident.
What about server issues?
In a situation where a server is having connection problems we intend to have a hotfixable system to enable no-cost reclaiming. The world number and time of death will be recorded so that only players who died within the specific time period are able to reclaim for free. This will be limited to one free return per hotfix, to limit the potential of any risk-free farming.
How do I know how much an item costs to save/sacrifice?
In one regard the current deathkeep interface will be updated to reflect the new values, so you will be able to see a representation of the cost to reclaim without needing to die.
Within the item reclaiming interface you will also be able to gain additional information from tooltips, displaying how much an item is worth in both cases, and an overall summary of what the total cost was.
Item tooltip for the previous image, detailing how much the item costs, including any per-item discounts.
Item tooltip for the total cost, detailing how the final value is calculated.
For the players who are interested in the mechanical aspects, the order of calculation for final price is:
Base price: The amount to save.
Death's deal reduction if used.
Gravestone percentage reduction.
Sign of respite reduction if used - will stop using signs as soon as value hits 0.