We have a New Year's feast for you today. We're expanding the Month Ahead to become an entire Year Ahead. That means the usual helping of January reveals, with a side order of treats from the rest of the year.
We're talking the Menaphos expansion, the Bank Rework, a quest we have never mentioned before, and much, much more.
Where to start? How about January, and its theme of...surprise! Everything we're launching in January has been kept under wraps. That begins with a surprise update that is coming out tomorrow - on January 9th!
Memorial to Guthix
If you're like me, you'll have a soft spot for Guthix, and you were mortified at the end of The World Wakes. Well, Memorial to Guthix will let you say goodbye in a rather rewarding way.
While doing Divination, you will occasionally receive an item in your currency pouch. These are memory strands, and you'll be combining them with fragments from Guthix's past that you will find around the wider world. This will result in something called echoes, which can be placed in your own temple for chunks of XP and some revelations that will change the way you think of Guthix completely.
More importantly, the more echoes you gather, the more passive Divination benefits you can choose from. These include longer wisp durations, increased XP from divine locations, some rather fetching butterfly wings and more!
Nex: Angel of Death
Another big update for January has been kept equally mysterious. At the end of January, we will be revealing Nex: Angel of Death.
Like Rise of the Six was to the Barrows Brothers, Angel of Death is to Nex. This is a completely new Nex encounter: a new area, new mechanics and – you guessed it – new rewards.
Yet, there is also something of the old about Nex: Angel of Death. Rather than follow the pattern of recent bosses, it harks back to an older time. There are no killstreaks or climbing enrages here: just turn up with any number of players and fight your way to the end for loot. Simple.
And what loot there is, including something that we have never given away in a boss encounter before. Lorehounds can feel satisfied that Angel of Death expands on Nex's story, including her relationship to Zaros. You're not going to get more out of us than that, I am afraid!
What we can talk about are some of the juicy titbits that January brings. Some of them are no surprise at all: the return of Hati, Sköl and Fenrir, for example, and the glut of Bonus XP that comes in their wake.
Vic the Trader also returns, giving you a rather handy outlet for that Bonus XP, and we have a couple of events that will be familiar: Deathbeard's Demise - an Undead Pirate event in the vein of Birth by Fire - and a New Year's Resolutions card to complete (live now, until the 11th!) similar to the Zodiac and Walk Like a Pirate events.
We will also be offering a fantastic-looking new legendary pet, and a new batch of player names for you to claim.
Finally, to end on a surprise, we would like to give you a late Christmas gift to commemorate the launch of Memorial to Guthix. For the next two weeks only, you will be able to enter this code on Diango's store to claim a Guthix Butterfly pet.
So, January is all well and good, but what's happening after then? This is a Year Ahead, after all!
While January was all about surprise. February is about passion. It's about giving our developers time to make the projects they have been bursting to make. It's about teams grabbing passionate player ideas from the forums and Reddit and getting them into the game. It's a whole month dedicated to stuff that doesn't traditionally get a chance to rise to the top of the release schedule.
We haven't mentioned this until now, and more will be revealed in more detail in February's Month Ahead. But, because I absolutely can't keep a secret, let me tell you what a little bird told me: it's great, Scott. The quest was put together as a personal project by Mod Helen and Mod Nexus, and we were so smitten - we just had to get it made.
New Augmentable Tools
This brings two more skills into Invention. They will come with a slew of non-combat perks that will change up training dramatically, including clue scrolls from non-combat training and immediately disassembled items from manufacturing skills.
This is a Mod Ryan passion project. You can see a trend forming: a development team that wants to regularly treat you with content, outside of the expansions and big projects that we have planned for 2017.
To celebrate this, we will be running a...
Game Jam & Double XP Weekend
This will run from the 17th to the 20th of February. In it, we will be producing updates like the ones I just mentioned, and – if they're good enough – we'll release a steady stream of them in the weeks to come.
Importantly, this is not just about us: we want you to get involved. We want your passion projects, your smaller ideas to be posted on the following forum and Reddit threads over the next six weeks. The very best ones will be cherry-picked for production over that Game Jam Weekend. You might even be able to see your ideas being made over that weekend, as we will be live streaming large chunks of it.
This is where the big news comes in. The Game Jam Weekend will coincide with 2017's first Double XP Weekend, beginning on the 17th of February. There will be some healthy gains to be made, all while watching us create new content for the game.
The Rest of the Year
But the real deal is coming in June, when the first expansion hits.
The Golden City of Menaphos
We want you to enjoy exploring the sunny city, discovering rewards, quests and other treats as you go, which means keeping a lot secret. But we have made sure that there is stuff worth shouting from the pyramid-tops.
Firstly, there are the Tombs of Amascut, which will bring much-needed strategy and skill to non-combat training. Jump into a tomb and show your skill at raiding them to receive windfalls of resources and XP.
There's a new addition to the desert questline with the corrupted god Crondis. There's a new slayer dungeon to master which comes with a range of new mobs and – finally – an increase to the Slayer level cap, taking you all the way to 120.
Expect more information and ways to get involved, including polls, as we approach June. But don't worry – there's still plenty to get excited about in the first half of the year.
More in the Coming Months
There's a Clue Scroll Overhaul – currently scheduled for March - reworking the old while bringing in the new, including a new clue scroll tier and new rewards.
Before Menaphos, expect the launch the Achievements System, which will bring you a method of tracking your progress and abilities in the game.
You'll get to delve into Shattered Worlds, which will challenge you to progress further and further into interdimensional rifts.
We will be introducing a new event in the same vein as The Beach called the Spring Fair, and Evil Dave quest will be as colourful and funny as its concept art.
We'll also be looking critically at stuff in game that drags you away from what you want to play. We'll be reworking dailies, which are so rewarding in the case of Sinkholes and Warbands that you feel forced to play them.
We'll be looking at challenges, changing them so you can play how you want. And we'll be ensuring that our holiday events are quest-like encounters that do not force you to play for hours on end. For all of these, we will be working with you and incorporating your feedback.
What about the second half of the year? It's easy to forget that 2017 will bring two more expansions. We'll be revealing the identity of the September expansion after Menaphos, and the December expansion will have a rather juicy reveal later on in the year.
The second half of the year will also bring you the Bank Rework, which is currently open for your feedback in the form of a design document and developer diary.
This long-awaited project will bring you meaty upgrades while retaining the sense of familiarity that you want. We're planning placeholders, unlimited tabs, full customisation, and both Diango and the Wise Old Man accessible in your bank.
The Mining and Smithing Rework is receiving its final Dev Diaries in January, which will precede a full design document before launch.
The Beach will be returning, and you can be sure there is more coming than we are willing to reveal right now.
So there we go! January is looking great, with a new Divination training method coming on Monday in the form of Memorial to Guthix. Don't forget to get your Guthix Butterfly pet from Diango, using with the code 0800488449.
2017 is shaping up quite fantastically, and I hope that you're looking at the year ahead with a large dollop of excitement.
Mod Mark, Mod Osborne, Mod Conor, Mod Ollie and the RuneScape Team