Bringing it on Back
The overriding sentiment I got from talking to Mark Ogilvie was his deep passion for his community and the lengths he is willing to go to make sure players feel involved. "Well when we decided to bring the content back it lead to the natural question 'is that what the player base want?" Mark says, so following from his line of questioning, Jagex put a poll to players gauging a response on whether they wanted the Wilderness back. "The response was massive, a million votes in 24 hours" picks up Adam Tuckwell, so taking heed of the players desires, Mark and his team decided to bring back the 'old new' Wilderness as it is now known.
Jagex held a total of two polls, one a casual affair gauging the reaction of those who play/have played RuneScape and actual referendum restricted to those with active accounts that was used in-game. The results were an astounding 91% in favour of the reprisal of Free Trade and the Wilderness, a number that Adam Tuckwell assures me is well over a million votes.
Given that we are talking about something that was taken out of the game three years ago, it was interesting to hear about what changes the wilderness had gone through, Mark was happy to reveal "So with the 'new old' Wilderness we have rounded up all the Revenants, put them in a cave and given them the ability to drop all the cool stuff from 'Bounty Hunter'. Now the cool thing about that cave I've mentioned is the multi-way combat. So a clan will go down there and occupy the dungeon, then another will come along and a massive fight will break out" There is a real spark and excitement as Mark details player-made struggles and content such as this.
Mark goes on "As for other additions, we have changed how lots of other content works in the Wilderness: we made things slightly more rewarding - I'm also working on a update pretty soon for PvP-specific summoning creatures, that will come out this year. We are also looking at cosmetic items for bragging-rites amongst PvP players - we are thinking about a death hat for instance that shows how many people you have killed or maybe a 'Familiar' that follows you around that could shout about people you have killed recently" The designer is also keen to point out that, while there must be certain new additions, in service to the players and promise he has made, the Wilderness is still staying true to its origins with a focus on largely restoring it rather than revamping.
It was at this point that I began to ask Mark about his reactions to the riots experienced in-game after the changes made to the Wilderness. A huge grin spreads across his face as he details the events of a riot about the changing of the colour of white and the absurdity of the riots in-game "the riots are awesome really, I love the riots and we are fine with it. Essentially when it happens, the developers aren't going to take much notice, but when someone writes a coherent and well-written forum topic about what is wrong I will read it". So it looks like grabbing your torch and pitchfork won't wash with Jagex - the keyboard is mightier than the online-avatar perhaps?
So with most of my questioning exhausted and feeling like I knew a great deal more about RuneScape and its Wilderness, I let Mr.Ogilvie get back to designing one of the world's finest F2P MMORPGs. After this I was taken by Adam Tuckwell for a short tour of the studio, and honestly dear readers? Games designers are the luckiest god-damn sons-of-bee-stings I have ever seen.
So if you are a new player or an old player of RuneScape, now is certainly time to equip that spare equipment, set your nerves to 'steely' and head into the Wilderness. To borrow words from another title "Heads are gonna' roll" except in Java. Well what the hell are you waiting for? Get out there and earn that death hat!