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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by the Ninja Team and is dated 10 September 2014.
Ninja Dev Blog: Divination DnD

We've already started working away on our next ninja project - a new Divination Distraction and Diversion! You may remember earlier in the year we ran a Player Power poll to decide which skill to make a DnD for, and Divination came out on top!

The ninja team had a few things to get out of the way first - Soul Reaper was already on the cards, and we'd already done some work on expert skillcapes so we wanted to get both of those out of the door before focusing on the DnD, but now it can have our full attention!

There'll obviously be much more information in the coming weeks, but we wanted to start by sharing our aims for the DnD, to give you an idea on what to expect and a chance to give feedback!

The main aim is to add variation to the Divination training grind! With this in mind, it'll likely be something you can access from the Divination colony you are training at.
It should offer a good Divination XP reward.
More of a minor point, but there should be some incentive to work as a team with multiple players, however this should not be essential.
The DnD will be accessible across all levels, and we are aiming to work in advantages or additional interactivity as you become higher level in Divination.
It will only require Divination, no other skills.
We intend for this to be something to participate in relatively often, e.g. once per hour.
The DnD is planned to be a similar project size to Evil Trees, so relatively small.

As always, things are subject to change, especially taking on board all your feedback. We'd love to hear what you have to say, or speculation about what the design could be!

As an additional reminder, we will of course continue our general ninja improvements and fixes alongside the project :).

- Update 16/09/14

Firstly, thank you all for your feedback on our initial post. It has been really helpful! Here are some of the major changes we have made based on it:

We have put some thought into how the DnD rewards can also cater for those who already have 99 Divination. Our current ideas are to give a boost to crafting Divination items or a boost to divine locations, as well as some kind of physical object, but we would welcome all of your ideas!

We have adjusted the frequency of the DnD to spawn every 3 hours instead of every hour. We refrained from making it random as we felt that could be frustrating if you miss it, whereas if it's regular you can plan when you want to do it.

To start revealing a bit more information, we've decided to give you an outline of the theme we've chosen for the content. The DnD will take place in areas known as 'Guthix caches'. These are areas which were hidden by Guthix, and are now being revealed as his power drains. When a cache spawns, the energy rifts at the Divination training areas will react, and players will be able to enter the DnD by jumping into the rift! The cache will not be instanced, and there will be one open at a time per world - so we're hoping they'll be fairly busy! The interaction inside the cache will be suitably themed around Guthix and Divination, but we'll leave you guessing for now :)!

Finally, there were a few questions in the feedback we wanted to answer:

"Will there be different levels of DnD or will the XP be scaled?"

We are planning to scale your XP reward to your level to ensure the D&D is suitably rewarding for everyone.

"Will the DnD use items?"

We are not planning to force players to carry DnD specific items as we appreciate inventory space is important when training Divination.

"pick another skill pls."

Well, that's why we did a poll, and Divination won :).

[about fixes] "They all get lower priority because the Ninja Team is busy with Non-Ninja work."

This isn't true at all! We are still putting the same amount of effort into ninja improvements as ever. You may have noticed they have been fewer in number recently as we have been working on suggestions that require a larger amount of dev time but are still popular and have a big impact. You saw some of these in yesterday's patch notes (e.g. adding hoods to capes and toggling the login/out message were both larger than usual in terms of development time and effort) and there'll be more to come! Quality > quantity ;).

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to hearing your reward ideas!

- Update 24/09/14

Hi all!

Thanks again for all the feedback :)! You've come up with some really great ideas! Here are some of our favourites, along with the names of the players who suggested them:

Improved healing portent effect (RemoveAlice)
Reduced cooldown for sign/portent of life (RemoveAlice)
Super sign of the porter (RemoveAlice)
Increased chance to get higher tier items from divine locations (PrimalMoose)
Chance to get multiple resources in one divine location 'siphon' (Amo Vos)
Sign/Portent of Sanctity - restores Prayer points if you hit 0 (Maat)
Sign/portent that allows you to teleport without runes (Maat)

If you're particularly keen on any of these, let us know by commenting ;)!

Whatever we choose will be paired with an XP-based reward. Currently we are planning a chunk of XP as a direct reward from participating in the DnD, as well as a boost to Divination training for a short amount of time afterwards.

Moving on from rewards, you probably want to know more about what the DnD will actually involve! As mentioned previously, the DnD will be set in a Guthixian cache. A cache will open once every 3 hours, players can enter by jumping into the rift at any Divination spot, and all players from the same world will go to the same cache.

Inside the cache, contained memories will line the edges of the room. The aim is to ferry these from the outside edges of the cache to the massive rift in the centre (don't worry, you won't need any inventory space!). When a memory is added to the rift, every single player in the cache will receive points. Try and get as many points as possible within the 10 minutes the cache stays open – seems simple, right?

Not quite! As we know, Guthix did not leave things undefended. Ancient automatons roam the cache, programmed to hunt anyone who dares to touch the memories they guard. If you stray too close to an automaton while carrying a memory, the automaton will attack you and you'll drop your precious cargo! This is non-combat, so no damage will be done, but you'll have to go back and get another memory to take to the rift.

To help, you will be able to transform into a visage of one of Guthix's guardians: Cres. As Cres, you will be able to subdue the automatons, allowing other players to transport the memories safely. Or, if you're on your own, you can quickly change back and move the memories yourself!

So that's the gameplay you can expect within the cache. We're hoping the atmosphere is fast-paced, especially with lots of people working together – so it should provide a nice break from the usual Divination training grind. In the next dev blog, we'll reveal a few more of our ideas focused around making the gameplay exciting and varied!

To finish off, we wanted to answer some questions that have come up since the last dev blog, and address a few general points:

"Can you tell us if these events will be synchronised across all worlds?"

Yes, they will be synchronised to avoid players world-hopping for extra XP.

"Will there be a global announcement as to where the cache is currently?"

The cache can be accessed from any Divination crater, so we don't need to let players know where it is. However, we are planning to add a broadcast for the cache being spawned.

"Will you be including changes to some existing less desirable DnD activities with this update?"

We are not planning on changing any other DnDs with this update.

Additional notes

Our intention is to hide familiars and pets within the DnD, however the familiar's timer should not count down during this time. Banners, cannons etc will not be allowed inside the DnD. A lot of you suggested a pet as a reward. While we like this idea we'd like to hold off on pets for this update. We have some plans lined up that involve introducing some new pets, so we don't want to spam you with them!

Thanks for reading! As always, keep the ideas and feedback coming!

- Update 10/10/14

Hi all!

One last dev blog for the Divination DnD! It's been a quick project, but hopefully we've kept you reasonably well informed!

The DnD is now complete and about to go through final testing. We've been keeping an eye on this thread as well as conducting group playthroughs within the Runescape team and we've made a few changes based on everyone's feedback.

The most obvious change is to do with how points are distributed. Originally we were worried about the potential leeching issue, but we thought our planned mechanics would keep it under control. However, from your feedback it was made it clear to us that you guys will always find a way (shakefist!). From our playthroughs the points distribution was also an issue with a large amount of players as the points would go up really quickly. So, we decided to make the points personal - you deposit a memory, you and only you get the points. This means you can't leech, full stop.

Similarly, we found that playing as Cres (or for you lore-fiends, playing as a memory of Cres) was actually pretty boring as you didn't feel like you were actively gaining points. So, we decided to give players points for subduing automatons - making it more rewarding. It's much easier to subdue automatons than ferry memories, so we also put a cooldown on Cres. You can only play as him for one minute, after which you have to wait one minute to play as him again. We're hoping this will encourage players to do both roles at different times, and in our playthroughs since then it has felt a lot more fun.

Sadly, we had to go back on our aim not to force players to hold any items. We hit a technical block and unfortunately couldn't find any alternatives, so we are now requiring players to have their hands free (i.e. not hold any weapons/shields/etc) when they carry memories.

We've also added some boosts when you convert a certain number of memories, or subdue a certain number of automatons. These should make the gameplay more fun, as well as helping your points total ;).

I think that pretty much covers the major developments, however I'm sure you want more information! We mentioned rewards last time, so here's what we decided on based on your suggestions and balancing discussions:

As mentioned previously, on completing the DnD you'll receive a chunk of Divination XP. This will be based on how many points you gained in the DnD.

After the DnD, you'll also receive the following boosts for a certain amount of time (based on how many points you got, up to a maximum of 20 minutes):

When you use a sign of the porter, you'll have a 10% chance not to use a charge when teleporting an item

When you use a divine location, you'll have a 10% chance to get double loot, without that extra loot using up your gathering limit

When you use a crater, you'll have a 10% chance to convert all the memories in your inventory in one go!

And now the graphics are in, it'd just be wrong not to include some shiny screenshots! Modelling courtesy of Mod AoB, and animations courtesy of Mod StuO! Click on the images to see bigger versions :).

Ninja Dev Blog Divination 1

Ninja Dev Blog Divination 2

Ninja Dev Blog Divination 3

We're almost done! One last thing - in the feedback a few people have mentioned the area potentially being very busy. This is something we are aware of. As with most updates, the DnD will no doubt be very busy on launch day. However, the gameplay is designed so the number of players should not matter, and hopefully when it settles down it should be about right. Nonetheless, this is something we are aware of and if it does become a problem we will look into solutions such as instancing it so a certain number of players are allowed to join before new instances are made for the rest.

That's all for now! As always, when the DnD goes out we'll be watching player feedback for post-release tweaks. Other than that, keep an eye out for the next project dev blog, and keep those ninja requests coming!

-

The information above is subject to change during development.

Mods Ana, Asherz, Ryan, Stu O and Aob

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