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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Timbo and is dated 24 June 2015.
Dev Blog: Elite Skills

What are elite skills? Why not make more regular skills like Dungeoneering, Summoning or Divination? These are just some of the questions that I’ve heard over the past couple of weeks, ever since Mod Osborne first mentioned elite skills during a recent live stream.

I'm excited to be able to explain what elite skills are, why they are a great option for us in the future, and how they're going to blow your mind.

What are elite skills?

Elite skills are the endgame for skillers, opening up a huge variety of different ways to train skills, brand new gameplay that couldn't be done as a part of regular skills and unique experience never before seen in RuneScape.

These new skills are aimed at our veterans - the players that have been with us all of this time and are longing for a new experience that will revolutionise the top end of the game. That's one of the reasons that elite skills will require at least two level 80 skills to unlock.

Everything that you know and love about skills will be a part of elite skills. There'll be copious amounts of XP to be earned, and they'll sit in the Skills tab alongside your other skills, contributing to your total level. Daily challenges will appear for elite skills and, of course, there will be a shiny new skillcape - complete with emote - for you to enjoy.

Elite Skills will have links to combinations of regular skills, taking themes, inspiration and qualities from them and with this, we can create something brand new and awesome that couldn't be done normally. The opportunities are endless when you can take pieces of a skill, throw them in to the elite skills melting pot, and create something completely fresh and different from the skills that inspired it.

Some of the ideas we've had are Necromancy (Prayer, Magic and Summoning), Archaeology (Mining, Thieving, Hunter and Construction) and - of course - Sailing (Construction, Fletching, Crafting and Agility).

When you're training an elite skill, we want you to feel like you're blazing a trail – not just combining skills, but making breakthrough after breakthrough - right on the bleeding edge of what's known and what's possible in the RuneScape universe.

There are huge opportunities when it comes to creating new elite skills. We've got loads of ideas of our own, but we can't wait to hear your suggestions too.

Why elite skills?

We want to make elite skills for the community, for the millions of players who have grown up with RuneScape as a close companion for so many years. Elite skills give us the opportunity to strip away all of the low level content and aim it exactly at our veterans, while still giving the new players in the game something to aspire to.

Creating a brand new skill typically tie up a lot of development and design time creating the low level content, making sure it fits and there is something that players would want at those levels.

Typically, however, the vast majority of you blitz through this content and never come back to it because you've already got the higher level content and don't need it.

With elite skills, all of our efforts will be dedicated to making the high level content. Since you're already at the endgame, we can make levelling less about linear progression and more about unlocking new and exciting things - all of which benefit you in different ways, expanding the options you have for how to play.

Elite skills also give us something of a clean slate. We have almost 15 years of experience with RuneScape, the community and what people want. Having this fresh start with elite skills means that we can be innovative and different from regular skills, taking what we've learned to creating something that truly complements the way you play while also opening up new avenues for you to explore.

One of the first things we're looking at is how the XP in skills work. The current XP curve - how much experience it takes to go from level to level - is something that we can learn from and change for the better. Elite skills are all of the benefits of high level content without any of the filler and that is an approach we want to take with the XP.

Making the XP curve flatter means that you'll level more regularly, with less slow-down as you reach the top. This puts the focus back on what you unlock, and less on the big numeric goals. With all of the low-level content stripped away and tutorials unnecessary, development of skills is significantly sped up. Elite skills will be able to come out more frequently than regular skills because they are so much more focused and systems-driven than regular skills. No need to worry about sacrificing quality, content or the feeling that we will be rushing them out. This is the content that we intend you to spend your high-level game time with; the content that lower-levelled players will aspire to. Making it the very best quality we can is our top priority.

Does this mean that we're not getting new regular skills or 120 skills?

They're definitely still on the cards! 120 skills are something that we're still interested in doing in the future. If you guys still want 120 skills then we will continue having the discussion - with you and among ourselves - on whether they're the right thing for the game. Elite skills do not rule out the possibility of raising existing skills to 120.

Neither does this mean that new regular skills won't be released in the future. If an idea emerges that is perfect for a regular skill then that is something that we might do in the future. Elite skills are not a replacement for regular skills - they're designed to complement them. We aren't looking at converting existing skills to elite skills either. (Sorry Dungeoneering!)

Why Invention? Why now?

Invention is perfect for an elite skill. Thematically, it takes a lot of different things from existing skills and uses them to drive something new and awesome - guaranteed to shake up the higher levels of gameplay.

Invention is here to overhaul and greatly expand the current top tier equipment and ways of playing, personalising your experience and adding individual style to your weapons and armour. Currently, once you've been there for a while, level 90 can feel dull, as everyone has exactly the same items. Invention will provide the breadth and variety that you've been looking for.

The reason for bringing up elite skills as a concept is that Invention will be the very first one. We feel that it's important to be open and honest at this stage of design and talk through why we've gone for elite skills. We've talked about being able to make a fresh start, learn from our existing skills and provide what we believe the community wants for high level skilling. We need to nail down what elite skills are now, so we can remain focused and consistent when we make more.

Will I lose my completionist cape?

Yes you will. Elite skills are not an optional piece of content, and they certainly won't be something that you will want to miss out on. Obtaining 120 in elite skills will be a part of the regular completionist cape, and possibly part of the maxed cape requirements.

There is currently no decision on whether or not there will be a grace period for players to reclaim their completionist requirements. However, this has not been done for other skills in the past and it is unlikely that it will be the case for elite skills.

How will Treasure Hunter interact with elite skills?

As elite skills are the endgame for skillers, we wanted the first couple of months of the hiscores to have a little breathing room, and for elite skills to feel exclusive and hard to raise. For the first three months after the launch of an elite skill, we are currently not planning to have any experience lamps or stars to be used on elite skills.

Let us know what you think!

We're super excited by elite skills, what they can bring to RuneScape in the years to come, and the fresh pace and variety they represent for veteran players.

There will be a lot more information about Invention in the coming months. We will be showing the community the full design document for Invention in the same way that we did for the Elf City, looking for your suggestions and feedback, and publishing an Invention-specific dev blog. Be sure to be on the lookout for all of this - coming soon!

Mod Timbo
Game Designer and Balancer

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