How RuneScape 3's Mark Ogilvie Will Make the World's Most Popular Browser MMO Even Better

| 19 Jul 2013 18:01
Runescape 3

While RuneScape has a lot of registered users, it'd be safe to say the 10 year old game has a lot of aspects which annoy players. A game needs to be built with longevity in mind, and the designers of RuneScape didn't always have that long of a view. "One of the frustrating things about any player joining an MMO that has been going for a while is their inability to compete with other players who are more experienced," Ogilvie admitted. The high score tables - lists of players who have earned the most experience in a given skill - are nigh on untouchable for new players when they are competing against 10 years of play time.

"It is very difficult to compete with the higher echelons on our high score tables," Ogilvie said. "We have some players who have already achieved 200 million XP in some of our skills and you can get more than that so it is impossible to get higher than them on the high score tables. So that is a frustrating feature. I think that a lot of players want to compete on high score tables - they want be the best of the best - and it is a real downside that we don't give players the option.

"At least we didn't until RS3," he said. "We are delighted to be adding seasonal high score tables. These are tables which only exist over a certain period of time. They will scratch every couple of months or so and players can win really cool prizes and really unique effects in the game if they top those HSD tables. So we hope to give power gamers the ability to compete on the high score tables."

As a director, Ogilvie has a lot of plates to spin, but he still likes to get hands-on whenever he can. "I work with the designers every day. There are a lot of things that I want to add to the game in a certain way. The fact that we are producing weekly updates means that you can always come into work and say, 'I have a really cool idea and let's find a way to put some development effort behind it,'" he told me.

Ogilvie was finally able to get something very important into RuneScape 3, and it involves everyone's favorite salty pork product. "Something that I have personally wanted to see in the game and I have had a fairly big hand in some design elements of, is a quest we have coming up in about a month's time which is called Bacon Quest," he said before going on about why everyone loves the food. "Who doesn't love bacon? Even veggies will tell you it is the smell of bacon that almost breaks them, so we wanted to put a decent piece of content in the game orientated around bacon.

"We developed this quest all about the mysterious bacon invented within RuneScape," he continued. "I have been working with a few of my most talented members of the team to make this a reality and I am really proud of the result and you can definitely see my hand in it along the way."

Starting on Monday, July 22nd, you'll be able to participate in helping Eli Bacon some up with a sustainable way to create the delicious meat product from his prized pigs. Head to the official RuneScape 3 website to play. You don't have to love theatre, or have a beefy PC, or even have a Bieber haircut to enjoy it. All you need to do is love bacon. You do love bacon, don't you?

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Fargrist:
Snip

As much as I agree with the player feedback bit, the rest of your post is ridiculous.
Why on earth should the government have to take over parenting these days? If parents are giving their kids money to spend on Squeal of Fortune, let them. Its their own choice and they can live with it.
If you are complaining that they are spending their own money on it, grow up. Their money is theirs to use as they see fit within the bounds of the law.
Parents do need to take an active part in seeing what their kids are playing and spending their money on though. Rather than complaining about a single online game why don't you try to persuade the senator about getting parent classes about things like this? That would be far more fair and effective.

200 million accounts were created, 580k accounts are on high scores at the moment, which means Runescape has as many paying accounts as WoW just lost.

Mark Ogilvie isn't one for talking to players. That lack leads to animosity, such as his current nickname MarkDonalds, a reference to his weight. And I'm sure the Bacon Quest got fair mileage with that nickname. Players who use this nickname are muted or banned. But you can get mutes or bans for other infractions.

For example our accounts were banned because we objected to Runescape's underage gambling. Ask your nephew how much he gambles on Squeal of Fortune.

Currently Runescape has around 45k players online at all times, a good number. But a year ago it was 145k online at all times.

There is a real cost to ignoring players feedback, and Runescape is paying it. A recent example is making the combat system more complicated just before they change the game system to go to phones and tablets, which won't allow players all the button clicking they now need to do.

For ourselves, after our ban we persuaded an Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon, to include Runescape in games that he wants legislative amendments for. One can easily find his website and confirm this.

We did this because Runescape would not talk about real money gambling they sponsored.

As a piece of theater Runescape is turning into a comi-tragedy.

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