This article covers the content of Mod Mark and Mod Osborne's Updates of 2016 speech, given at RuneFest on October 3rd 2015.
Hi everyone, and welcome to the big reveals for 2016!
On behalf of everybody at Jagex, thank you very much for being part of the wonderful world of RuneScape. While we get to breathe life into the world of Gielinor, it's your energy, your feedback, your Runelabs ideas, your shouts of thanks and rants in Fally that breathe life into us.
So, from the bottom of all our hearts, thank you.
2016 will be a big, big year for RuneScape. There will be no overarching theme – instead, our objective is a simple one.
We want every update in 2016 to feel essential. We want you to be wowed by everything that we release, and that means a couple of significant changes:
First, we want to change how we update the game, giving you more bang for your buck. Each month there will be a major release – something you can really get your teeth into. To support this, we'll still have smaller, regular updates, keeping the game ticking over smoothly. This was the favoured approach when we polled you about update frequency in 2015, and we think it will really improve the game.
The second part is how we involve you. In August, we tried something new - posting a survey that included all of our favourite large update ideas: your suggestions, staff ideas, and just updates that we've always wanted to do. We then asked you to vote on your favourites, and it's from that poll that we've built 2016's schedule.
While things can obviously change and move around, we have moulded the year around these amazing ideas to give you a fantastic year of RuneScape.
God Wars Dungeon 2
A new God Wars Dungeon was the clear winner from the list of updates. How could we refuse?
Rather than being another dungeon thawed from a past age, we want God Wars Dungeon 2 to reflect today's conflict – that of the Sixth Age.
This will be a solo-oriented experience – very much in the vein of the original. It's a combat update for everyone – you won't necessarily need boss combat experience, and there'll be no elaborate Raid-like mechanics to grapple with.
You'll fight mobs that earn you kill count, in turn unlocking doors to epic bosses with equally epic drops.
Expect new god weapons to fight with, and a good few surprises, too.
God Wars Dungeon 2 comes from the team of RuneScape combat masters who brought you Raids, Araxxor and Vorago. They can't wait to bring the new God Wars Dungeon to life.
Mining & Smithing Rework
This was the top answer from long-term players currently on a break, and third most popular from current RS players. You completely surprised us with this one – it's the Smithing and Mining Rework!
This is the real joy of asking what you want – we've talked and talked about this for years, but we thought you weren't that excited about it compared to the big shiny stuff. Well, we were wrong - and you told us in your thousands.
We're committed to make Smithing and Mining as awesome as they can be. Whether that means new training methods, we're not sure yet - but a priority is making the gear level-relevant. No more rune platebodies at level 99!
Once we've moved things about, we will then be looking at the higher levels of Smithing, ensuring that the skill – along with Mining - is really worth training. These reasons will - naturally - include some top end gear that can complement or give cheaper alternatives to the bigger-hitting gear from drops, without replacing or undermining them.
Stories in RuneScape come out almost monthly. This is an opportunity to serialise storyline and really build some momentum. We haven't capitalised on that, until now.
Next year, we are planning to reach the conclusion of Sliske's storyline, the storyline where Sliske offered the Stone of Jas to whomever killed the most gods.
This will be three quests, building and building to a fourth quest at the end of the year.
We are calling this Sliske's Countdown, each quest bringing us closer to the final event: his Endgame.
The first quest centres around a well-loved character...Nomad. On the brink of godhood after the events of Dishonour among Thieves, he is ready to make his big play.
He wants to siphon every soul, every ghost, ghast or wight, into the soul obelisk – including those from the various Underworlds of the multiverse.
You will be joining up with dead characters from across RuneScape's history to lay siege to Nomad and defeat him. These will include some familiar faces:
We're sure that Sliske, Death and Icthlarin will all have a lot to say about Nomad's plan.
Ballad of the Barrows Brothers
The next part of Sliske's Countdown involves everyone's favourite undead menaces the Barrows Brothers.
In this quest, we will be finding out more about his hold over the Barrows Brothers, but - more importantly... We will be revealing a Barrows Sister, and how she fits into Sliske's grand plan. Can you release her and her brothers from Sliske's grasp? Does she need or want to be rescued? Can you remove the centuries-long curse of the Barrows Brothers?
Ultimately, this is your chance to get close to Sliske, and understand the mystery behind the mask.
We'll skip over the next quest for now - we want to save that surprise for later but the final quest will blow your mind.
This is it: the culmination of the Battle of Lumbridge, Missing Presumed Death, and so many more pieces of iconic, world-shaking content.
Sliske is calling time on his game. He will total up the scores of god kills and invite those with scores to an event.
This currently includes Armadyl and Vorago, but he has a habit of bending the rules.
Remember, Sliske is a showman. He will want this event to be big and noticeable. He is also a fan of games, so nothing will necessarily be what it seems.
The core aim for this quest is to react to as many of your previous choices as possible, and to allow you to make fundamental choices in the quest that will have far-reaching effects.
We will then allow you to play the sections you missed as if they were deleted scenes.
This will be a quest that rocks RuneScape, so make your choices wisely.
To keep track of the god kills over the year, there'll be a God Scoreboard, and we will be giving a home to various gods by bringing them to the surface world.
NXT | New Game Client
For those of you who missed out on the great talk earlier on today, I'll quickly cover the new RuneScape game client. It's a great new way of playing RuneScape, offering you a more reliable experience with shorter loading times, and graphics far better than ever before.
This one will be accessible by everyone using the current Java client and our extensive testing will mean it's at least as fast as - but probably far quicker than - your current experience. You'll get bigger draw distances, better lighting, shadows, and water, culminating in a far deeper, more immersive RuneScape experience.
Solo Boss Encounter
In 2016, we want to introduce the new big bad, and we're not messing around.
This will test the very best combat players in the same way as our other solo bosses have.
What you see next is just an example of what that solo boss encounter might be. Our concept artist went to town.
Nonetheless, this gives you an idea of the new environments, and new mechanics that you might have to get involved in.
We want to let our combat team come up with something new that really pushes players to new limits.
Fate of the Gods 2
One quest topped all the story-related survey results and forms the third in Sliske's countdown - that's Fate of the Gods 2.
Capable of building worlds, the elder gods are supremely powerful beings. However, Mah wasn't involved in building the universe we are in now, so she's planning her own.
Furious after the events of Fate of the Gods, she is letting her anger out in the most dramatic way. She plans to scrap our universe and start again - and her first target is Freneskae.
Freneskae is the Mahjarrat homeworld, and they will all react to her ripping apart their home: returning for a final goodbye, attempting to confront Mah, or to regain something they left behind.
But the Mahjarrat aren't the only Freneskae natives on Gielinor. When Zaros finally returned, there was one scene that never got played out in Fate of the Gods. It deserved something special, and this quest is the perfect setting for the ultimate showdown – Zaros vs Zamorak.
That's right – Fate of the Gods 2 sees Zaros and Zamorak finally square up, resolving unfinished business from the Second Age. The traitor who cost Zaros his throne and plunged the world into a cataclysmic war must surely be punished…right? Is Zaros really above petty revenge? How will this end?
Right now, nobody knows for sure. Let us know what you think! It's an exciting time!
We've talked about a lot of apocalyptic, god-level content so far, but we intend these to be the only real 6th Age content for the year. The other quests in the year will add to existing storylines, or tell standalone stories - character-driven, with more personal storytelling and – most importantly - more humour.
We also want to up the number of quests in the year by creating more of something we are calling bottle quests, and by letting you know if a quest will be bottled.
In the past, expectation attached to quests has hampered us. Each had to be the next big thing, and the time and production cost attached meant that we couldn't deliver quests as often or to the degree of polish that we wanted.
With bottle quests, we will try to tell stories without creating too many new assets. This will allow our developers to focus on their storytelling, and deliver quests that partner some of the larger updates we are talking about today.
Chronicle is an epic card battle game where you create quest-like experiences for your hero, playing cards to earn loot, buy equipment and battle iconic monsters from the world of Gielinor.
You'll find all your favourites in this unique RPG experience, battling other players for ultimate glory. It's very different from anything else out there so there will be plenty to play for, and we're giving you the chance to try out the beta of the game first. Do make sure you sign up using your RuneScape details on the Chronicle website.
Chronicle is due for release in 2016, will be available on PC and on the tablet, and is perfectly playable while training those laid-back skills in RS!
In 2016, we will be bringing you the next batch of Raids.
Much like Yakamaru, these will be mighty elemental spirits on the world of Mazcab.
We've taken feedback on from the first Raids, though, and we're approaching the content in a different way.
We're thinking of ways to reduce the barriers to entry – allowing more players access to the content – without making it any less challenging. We've also been discussing how solo players, skillers and smaller teams might be able to get involved.
And as we talk about those things, we're going to keep The Watch, who created the first Raids, doing what they do best: intricate, involved combat mechanics that push you and your teams to the absolute limit.
There'll be fantastic combat rewards, too, that will give you a real target for the next big update we have to tell you about...
Invention is coming in January 2016. It's an elite skill, requiring level 80 in Divination, Smithing and Crafting just to start it off, and it can be levelled up all the way to 120, just like Dungeoneering.
Due to these requirements we can ensure that everything is designed to be suited to and valued by high-level players.
It's a skill of two halves: one all about inventing and making new items to help you train your skills, the other all about enhancing and augmenting your existing weapons and tools, adding perks that do all sorts of wacky, mad yet useful things in a crazy mashup of magic and medieval science.
You'll train Invention both by using invented items and by discovering new ones, allowing you to experiment and use the things you make to progress rather than simply filling your bank with stuff.
There's crazy stuff like the duplicator, which has a 50/50 chance of duplicating any tradeable item you own, or destroying it. Or the Calling perk, that summons a signature hero like the Raptor to fight beside you. It all looks awesome, too:
Invention | Crystal and Clockwork
Content throughout 2016 will add more devices to invent and perks to unlock, evolving throughout the year.
In particular, we will have a substantial new addition to the Invention skill coming later in the year.
Invention starts with three tech trees, but we are going to offer you another two. Invention: Crystal and Clockwork will add gnome and elf tech trees later on in the year, giving you substantial new mechanics.
In 2016 we are taking a different approach to Player Power. We asked you in the polls what you wanted to see out of RuneLabs and it was quite different to the current approach.
As we said at the beginning, we want to make sure that the updates this year have real meaning and feel substantial to you, and much of the RuneLabs content didn't do that. Yes, there were exceptions, but they were the bigger, chunkier things like Prifddinas and The Light Within.
So we will be giving you the opportunity to submit your ideas for a whole new land mass, continent or city – a new area of the game generated by your ideas and polled and voted on by you.
We're expecting some of the big names, but we also want to see some new ones, some brand new ideas that I know are bubbling along inside those crazy minds of yours.
We also want you to determine how this new landmass grows in terms of the content it can offer. Later Runelabs submissions will ask for a quest, or a D&D, or a minigame - to go into that area.
We want you to have an area that you can call your own, and together we will give it a place in RuneScape.
We want to tell stories while they are still fresh in people's minds, and this means the final quest in the Vampyre storyline.
Please note that this includes spoilers for Lord of Vampyrium. Skip to the next section if you'd rather not see them!
In this final quest, Vanescula will bring the vampyres to the Salve. She has a plan for crossing, which will force King Roald's to take military action, and the remnants of the Myreque will have to decide what role - if any - they want to play.
This will be an entirely 5th Age quest - no gods allowed - but it will be no less epic for it.
The team behind Lord of Vampyrium - the Guardians - are handling this one. They want to make the confrontation with Vanescula suitably poignant, and they plan to take you into Castle Drakan - properly this time.
Expect many twists, turns and much-loved characters – plus plenty of revelations and surprises.
15 Years | Emote, Classic and Documentary
Next year is a huge milestone for us as we hit our 15 year anniversary, and we have some amazing things planned.
We're currently filming a documentary all about RuneScape: a really honest bit of film all about the game's humble beginnings, epic highs, unfortunate lows, and the fun we've had along the way.
When I say we, I really mean all of us, with famous and infamous players, ex-members of staff and influential individuals who've helped shape the world. There will be some special celebrations in game, too, with parties and unique items, and we're even planning to open up Classic again for a last hurrah! But surely there's something really awesome we can do, right?
That's right. We're very proud and honoured to welcome back Andrew and Paul Gower as Guest Designers and Executive Producers on a special 15th Anniversary quest.
This will feature them both as in-game characters and in real life development, with tons of 4th wall-breaking craziness, NPCs trying to escape the loop of being spawned and killed, quest NPCs trying to get back in the game, and more.
Thanks for reading. Start looking forward to a great remainder of 2015, and – in 2016 – a year like never before.
Mod Mark, Mod Osborne and the RuneScape Team