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Lead Designer Mark Ogilvie

By Garrett Fuller on November 27, 2009 | Interviews | Comments

Lead Designer Mark Ogilvie

Runescape Lead Designer Mark Ogilvie tackles the bulk of this interview, while Jagex Co-Founder Paul Gower chimes in with one special answer. Runescape is, of course, the browser based free-to-play sensation that has continued to attract untold numbers of players over its long history.

RuneScape remains one of the top free to play MMOs out there. What keeps the game going so strongly?

Mark Ogilvie:

Having a classless system within the game means we can offer a player real choices rather than forcing actions on the player based on an arbitrary decision they made some time in the past. Saying "we have a rich variety of gameplay content" is an easy thing to say, but when you look at lots of other products out there, you have to create a multitude of characters to experience it all. That's something we don't do in RuneScape. That means that, so long as you have the skill levels, you can do anything you like.

In terms of technology, we have the same approach to accessibility and have entire departments dedicated to making the experience as high quality as possible, irrelevant of the specs of your computer.

Our release strategy means that players are receiving new content almost every week, ensuring that there is always something new to engage players.

My personal favourite strength of RuneScape is the quest content, which really is the greatest range of epic adventures and fantastic journeys I have seen in an MMO.


Talk about the changes to Herblore that were made in the game. How can players take advantage of the potions?

Paul Gower:

The potions will be useful in any situation where you want to give yourself that extra edge in combat. Boss monsters are often a popular place to use potions; they're challenging enough that every advantage counts. The Fight Caves, Corporeal Beast, God Wars, Bork and the Barrows are just a few of the popular examples. These days, we've got a wide variety of both solo and group monsters to take on to suit your appetite for danger.

We now also allow the potions in safe minigames - there's plenty of people who want to use them there. Want to make sure you're not knocked out of your clan war? Using the super prayer potion to keep your protection prayers topped up for longer is going to help. Playing a game of Castle Wars? You're often going to want to do a lot of damage very quickly to someone carrying the flag, so the extreme strength potion will help to maximize your hits.

So what can we expect with RuneScape in the near future? What plans do you have for the game over the holidays?

Mark Ogilvie:

Holiday events are always exciting for us to produce, because we get to have some real fun with the players. Not everyone likes wacky gameplay with cosmetic rewards, but we certainly enjoy making them, Xmas is no exception. We're also planning to release sequels to two of our older storylines and some guild-oriented content in November and December.


Looking forward to 2010, how do you see RuneScape growing?

Mark Ogilvie:

We're really trying to focus on higher levels and endgame content at the moment, so I see a great deal of next year's updates being suitable for those players with 70+ in skills, including content for the uber-levelled players (90+).

How has PvP grown in the game with all the minigames, do you see players fighting a lot?

Mark Ogilvie:

PvP took a bit of a hit a few years back when we decided to change the way players fought each other outside of our 'safe' minigames. I feel that, after two years of tweaking and polishing our 'PvP worlds', we're *almost* satisfied with the model we have now. We're still discussing internally the money-making aspect of PvP (and our players are very vocal on this subject) so I wouldn't say were finished, but we're pleased in general with how things have worked out. In terms of specific minigames, we try to introduce different styles of PvP content so that even players with no interest in combat or risk can still get involved with fast-paced team activities, such as Stealing Creation or Fist of Guthix. Ensuring each minigame has a different focus means that we can offer the variety that you find with the rest of the game.


There have been some great upgrades to RuneScape in the past, as browser technology increases; can we expect more graphics upgrades with the game?

Mark Ogilvie:

Yes! We're working on new technologies to improve things like magical effects in the game. I can't say too much about this one at the moment!

Is there a message you have for fans and players going into 2010?

Mark Ogilvie:

In the immortal words of Party Pete, "Make shapes, not war... and happy new year!"


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