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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Maz and is dated 19 November 2009.
Elite Tasks

Back in 2006, Mod Mark and I sat down and started to develop what we then called ‘area tasks’. This idea was concepted and developed into the very first Achievement Diary: Karamja. This was a completely new idea within the game - not a quest, yet not a minigame or skill. It was quite an adventure finding and pushing the boundaries of what was possible at the time, and yet staying within our core ideas for what was to become Achievement Diaries: "To highlight existing content that perhaps players hadn’t used in a long time or simply didn’t know about, and to show players around an area by using existing content in the area."

Elite

Ardougne cloak 3 devblog

Ardougne cloak 3

So, seven diaries later and what has changed? Well, we give far greater rewards for the newer diaries than we gave to Karamja; we’ve added a special beginner diary to Lumbridge to introduce new players to the concept; and, of course, we recently released the Ardougne diary with a hidden elite section.

We were a little wary about how this elite section would go down considering how few players could actually complete it. Overall, the feedback appears to have been positive, with many players using it as a goal, rather than seeing it as a disappointment that they’ll never reach.

So, I’m now starting to design the elite sections for all of the diaries (hard for Lumbridge). What does this involve? It’s generally split into two parts: coming up with tasks and coming up with rewards.

By far the easier part is coming up with the tasks, which is in no small part due to you, the players. I cannot begin to count the number of good tasks that have been suggested for previous diaries on the forums. Being a player of RuneScape as well as a developer, I’ll also use my own game knowledge of the area to come up with some tasks, as well as walking around the area to get a feel for it.

In the case of elite tasks, I will also be talking to the curators of the other diaries that I didn’t develop or do not curate - that’s Mod Roderick (Lumbridge and Varrock), Mod Trick (Falador) and Mod Hew (Fremennik) - to see what they’d want. Oh, and listening to the squirrels’ instructions for world domination... Wait, what?

Task master

What do we look for in elite tasks? Well, pretty much the same as any normal task, but they should be higher in level than the hard tasks for the area.

This means:

  • Bearing in mind the core aims of the project.
  • Trying to stick to the skill ‘theme’ of the area, if at all possible. This is the loosest requirement; after all, a diary that only featured Thieving tasks would be fairly boring and predictable!
  • Avoiding anything that relies on a random possibility, as this has caused problems in the past (remember the gout tuber in Karamja’s Achievement Diary?). This means avoiding things like monster drop tables, clue scrolls and other such random features.
  • Avoiding bottlenecks - e.g. things players can only do one at a time, such as successfully Thieving from one particular stall or killing the KBD, which prevents other players from doing the task for a short time.
  • Never using any part of a quest as a task. This last one is quite tricky, as things like getting some boots of lightness would make for a nice little task, but as it is part of a quest, we don’t add it as a task because the mechanic has already been used.

Rewards

Having found some good tasks it’s then on to the hard part: the rewards! At least here we have a small start, as all of the diaries have XP lamps as part of the reward, but what else to give that is both balanced (so as to not be overpowered) and in keeping with the previous rewards? At the moment, that, along with the tasks, is a question I am pondering and coming up with ideas for. Overall, I’m very proud that I am able to reward players through these diaries for their everyday playing of the game. Not just the XP and the item rewards, but the reward of discovering (or re-discovering) parts of the game that you find fun and useful.

If you feel you’d like to contribute ideas for elite tasks, elite rewards or tasks/rewards for any of the areas that don’t yet have an Achievement Diary, please post them on this forum thread. If you have questions relating specifically to this blog, please visit this forum thread.

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