It is written by Mod Kelpie and is dated 5 June 2014.
Previously I wrote a Team Blog for The Dukes as an experiment. The goal was to give you a bit more information on upcoming projects and to get your early feedback on them. This feedback would then be used to help us mould these projects into higher quality releases. I feel like the experiment was a success. You all seemed to enjoy the blog and we made a few changes based on your feedback. Since then I have moved teams somewhat and today shall be blogging about the rather originally named, 'Team 1'.
The Team – All for one, one for all...
For anybody who knows a little bit about software development, we work within Scrum teams. Team 1 is a scrum team, as is The Dukes. Along with a third team, Team 2, who are working on the Elf City, we all share the same goals of continuing the fun by producing quality updates. There are of course other teams within RuneScape, but with slightly different goals, such as the Ninjas.
Current Projects –Spiders, Grouping, Runes & Elder Gods
The team develops several projects at once and knows roughly the projects they will be working on for at least the next six months ahead. One of the challenges is determining how much resources we assign to each project. It's hard to do, as we obviously like to make every update the best it can be. But we can't do that and try to release content every single week. There has to be a compromise. With the combat boss we have gone full out graphics wise. But as a result of this, we are unable to do as much graphical work as we potentially might like on other projects. Therefore to provide a bit more development time on our upcoming quest, we have had to switch it around with another project, which we have decided we won't dedicate as much time towards. It's okay, as we haven't decided what this other project is yet, but we know it can't be big graphical wise. We still expect all these projects to be great, we wouldn't release them if we didn't, I just wanted to give you a bit of an insight into one of the challenges we face as a team.
Back in March you voted for us to work on a combat boss. A lot of people had been calling for a solo experience and this is what we have been developing, along with the option of fighting it with a partner. You may have seen from other announcements or teasers that the boss is an arachnid and possible rewards include level 90 two-handed weapons.
Right now we are well into development. As I have said above, we decided to go full out with the graphics here. Believe me the animated models looks absolutely fantastic and are bound to scare more than a few. We chose to do this as we expect those of you who enjoy combat to be playing through this over and over again. Here is a work in progress screenshot of what you are going to be coming up against.
We are finally, finally, working upon a grouping system. This is a very technical project, so we are working closely with the engine team who are doing a lot of work for it as well. At this current time we have completed all prototype work to ensure functionality and are now moving onto laying out the interface properly and creating an end to end user flow. Usability is key, so once this is done we will be able to start holding playtests.
The system works by allowing players to create groups aimed at specific types of multiplayer content such as minigames, skills and bosses. You can select restrictions, such as minimum combat levels to join the group or what role you want to play in Barbarian Assault. While waiting for group members you can continue doing whatever you were doing, and once you have enough people you can head to a bank and select "ready". Once all groups members are ready they are teleported onto the same world and to a lobby area.
We would love to be able to put players directly into the minigames, however that is very costly time wise. We feel it's better to release the matchmaking portion of the system as early as possible, to bring some life back to the minigames many of you have told us you still want to play, but find it difficult to get a team together.
You will also have a new chat window for group chat, which will allow you to speak with your entire group, or just your team within your group. For example, if you're playing Castle Wars you can use team chat to organise attacks, and group chat to taunt when you grab the flag!
Make Runes Valuable
This recently won a poll in which we asked you to vote for which non-combat project you would like us to work on next. We are currently in the design stage for this. We have settled on the core aims for the projects and have a good idea of what we want to do. We now need to fully flesh these ideas out before we begin development. It's important that we have a clearly defined design document so that everybody knows what they are working towards and can refer back to it regularly.
As a part of this we are looking to significantly reduce the rate at which runes and rune essence enters the game via non runecrafting methods. Therefore we are looking to remove rune essence from challenge bags and reduce the drop rate of runes from slayer monsters. Something else we are thinking of doing, which also ties into our combat projects, is to make runes and ammo be consumed by EOC abilities. Part of the reason runes have lost their value is because very little are consumed during combat now. Potentially we might poll this, so let us know your thoughts.
Elder God Quest
Very early this year we decided that the content of this quest would be decided by you. Over several polls you have chosen a 6th Age Quest, followed by the Elder Gods storyline. Now in a poll due to end Friday, it appears that it shall be about researching these Elder Gods in a scene-setting quest. It will also contain some Grandmaster post-quest content for those of you who have completed Fate of the Gods. Initial design for this has begun, with the team currently fleshing out the plot. I won't say anymore though, as I wouldn't want to spoil it.
Until Next Time...
Please let me know your thoughts on the above projects and how this blog could be improved. We may answer some of your questions in this thread, whilst others may be answer in the next blog. We will likely post again in several weeks once each of the projects have developed a bit further and we have more to share.
Mod Kelpie and Team 1