As an Executive Producer I’m responsible for RuneScape overall and the team of 160+ who make it. My background is in game design and I’ve worked in games development for 15 years, with the last 2 and a half at Jagex. I’m a hardcore gamer and especially love MMOs. I really look forward to your questions, and hope I can give useful answer about RuneScape itself, our team, how we make the game, and even games development in general.

Proof: https://twitter.com/RuneScape/status/357060581469089792

Picture: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BPSItQJCcAAzzuf.jpg

-- Now Finished! --

I had a fun few hours answering your questions. I hope it was interesting. Take care!

Comments: 596 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Dinstruction154 karma

  1. I asked this question to Mark, and I'll ask it to you. There's a stigma against playing Runescape. Many people remember it as "that silly game everyone played in middle school." I think the game has matured a great deal in the past few years, but the gaming community as a whole isn't very aware of the changes. What will be done about this?

  2. Much of the game revolves around grinding in one way or another. What is your take on grinding?

  3. Will we see another game in the Runescape universe, like a mobile game or an update to Armies of Gielinor? (This doesn't include a mobile version of RS, which we know is coming).

  4. As the game continues to improve, parts of the game that were once cutting edge will become noticeably outdated. How will Jagex avoid getting into a cycle of constantly improving a rapidly growing amount of content?

  5. Will the world events be "functionally identical" to each other? That is, will all world events wind up being two gods fighting over a piece of land, and players must collect divine tears for a chosen god?

  6. Why is Runescape a browser game?

RS_Pips60 karma

Good questions...

  1. Maybe that was an issue in previous years, but I feel it's different now. Especially with the press outreach we did for RS3, I see RuneScape is considered a legit mainstream MMORPG in most places.
  2. I'm not sure I totally agree with your premise. For some players, especially those striving for mega-efficiency or racing to 99, they choose repetition because of its speed. Believe it or not, not all players do that! With that said, we have tried do diversify the ways players can gain XP, especially through Distractions and Diversions, which have become a staple part of our content schedule in the last couple of years. We're also finding ways to make skill training more social (bonfires, nexus, etc), which also helps.
  3. Maybe ;)
  4. You're right to highlight this as a challenge. We've tried a few approaches: graphical reworks (e.g. GWD), full content reworks (Dorics quest, Prince Ali Rescue) and mini-reworks (demon slayer). I don't think we've found the perfect solution yet. Some of us are interested in removing old/dead content but that's surprisingly time consuming because how the game is all bound up together, plus it probably wouldn't be popular.
  5. No they will be very different in theme, scale and function.
  6. Because originally the guy who created it (Andrew) wanted a game that could be played in the various different computer labs at of Cambridge University, without having to install it everywhere and carry around save files. Turned out he was on to something special and very prescient!

Dynaw40 karma

What do you think of this suggestion? It's awesome imo! Got it off the forums Imgur

RS_Pips27 karma

Hah I like it! I'll forward that over to the NIS team.

duskpegasus23 karma

Hi, fairly quick question.

What are your plans, if any (or more simply, do you have any?) to revive the wilderness, both for skillers and PVPers?

The problem with attracting skillers currently is

  1. The lack of worthy resources
  2. The lack of defence, as pvpers tend to kill skillers just for 'the lolz' even if they're not a threat

So any plans to combat this? Posibly such as a bounty hunter faction that rewards players for tracking down skiller killers?

RS_Pips13 karma

We do want to build up PvP again, and have put quite a lot of time into it this year - on-going improvements to EoC system balance, Demon Flash Mobs, Wilderness Warbands... We'll continue to explore ways of doing this. However we don't really agree with some people who say that simply adding high value resources into the wildy will fix the issue, it needs more than that.

mtykot17 karma

Over the last few years, runescape has become more about "who has the most money/best armour" than "who has higher skills". Is there any way for players who spend all of their money on skills instead of hoarding up the best gear to be rewarded? Some examples: Gear that requires high total level, high quest points, etc (similar to how the completionist cape has a lot of requirements, what are your thoughts on a full armour set like this?)

RS_Pips13 karma

Part of the combat team's intention with EoC was to make fighting in PvE much more about skill and tactics than just gear. I think that's worked out pretty well.

Very interesting ideas for gear requirements - I'll forward your suggestion to the team who design that.

kuntuckybeans15 karma

If you want to do a real expansion I advise making the eastern lands. That would be real marketing. Runescape: The Eastern Lands

Meaning you actually make the place, full of quests, new skills, equipment and methods of training etc.

RS_Pips22 karma

We toy with this idea a lot! Eastern Lands vs. Elf City is a recurring debate at the office :)

Tvnp14 karma

I got a few questions: 1. Will the next World event feature more or all factions (by which I mean being able to join those factions)? Or will it be 1 VS 1 again? 2. I'm a Zarosian and I had to choose between Saradomin and Zamorak in the Battle of Lumbridge. Most Zarosians sided with Saradomin because Zamorak is a traitor. But I wanted to balance the fight by joining Zamorak and ensuring Saradomin won't get too powerful. Will Zaros(ians) react badly to this? 3. Will the loser of the World Event die?

RS_Pips15 karma

Wow, there is literally no way of answer any of those questions without massive spoilers for everyone! you'll just have to wait and see I'm afraid.

AndrewIsMyName14 karma

Hi Phil!

Just curious, what got you into working for Runescape? Did you always want to work on an online game?

RS_Pips12 karma

I’ve always loved playing MMOs and being part of online communities. As a designer, social and persistent game mechanics are really intellectually intriguing! I also believe that future of games is online and I wanted to get into that :)

TXTiki11 karma

As an aspiring Game Designer, and in my 3rd year of Game Development at a University, what can I do to buff up my resume and prepare for the real world, finding a job and such?

Thanks in advance for this bound-to-be awesome AMA!

RS_Pips15 karma

You need to be able to show employers your skills. You need to make something to prove your talents. And if you're getting in to design, you need to both show your process, documentation and ideally something playable. Good luck!

A_Game_of_Scones10 karma

Is there any plans for more content that all players can do? God Emissaries was very enjoyable to me, and as a lower level player, I see that all the updates are for really high level players IE: Ports, Vorago, Queen Black Dragon, World Wakes. I know that these are all just motivations for the lower level players to play more and level up higher, but it seems that all the work is being put in to those parts of the game, and there isn't as much content revolving around things everyone can do.

RS_Pips13 karma

To be honest I feel we're already doing this to a large extent. We're increasingly using techniques like upgradable or additional reward tiers which mean we can make content that has low entry requirements but rewards which a good for a variety of player types.

Furah10 karma

Hey Phil, with the release of RS3, can you tell us what kind of changes you're planning on making with the game that you couldn't do before. You've told us already that the gods will play a more prominent role with shaping the future of Gielinor, but what other changes are possible, and that you intend to do?

RS_Pips12 karma

One of our big themes for the year is increasing player influence and giving you more choice. So far, this has manifest in a few different ways, such as the dwarf/gnome/pirate quest vote, the fully customisable interface system... from small things like player choosing the Divination skill cape colour to massive things like deciding the direction of the overall story via the world events. We really believe this is good for the game and the community.

We want to carry this concept of player empowerment even further, both in terms of how players can shape the story and even shape the world (remember we've got a construction skill rework coming later this year.......).

BadgerLynx7 karma

For this matter where are the rest of the Gods?? at this point we are only seeing 2 of the, what, 6 or 7 we were recently introduced to. What was the point of the emissary's if we were still only going to be allowed to pick between Zamorak and Saradomin?

RS_Pips10 karma

We designed the Battle of Lumbridge to be a focused and intense battle, so a 1-on-1 battle suited this best. The other gods will definitely get their time in the spotlight!

Your Emissarys choices will be used in future content, don't worry...

abaiz9 karma

Hi Mod Pips, were there any projects or updates on RuneScape that you felt like they was rushed? If so, which ones?

Edit: Also, can you give us any insight to why there are two new partyhat's in the quickchat; Garish-pink/off-whitepartyhats? If not, can you at least assure us that these aren't new tradable rares that we can get from SoF or cosmetic overrides on Solomons?

Edit 2: Seems like these partyhats are just troll items and when you pick them up, they just turn to dust

RS_Pips14 karma

And for your other question, I have no idea where those quickchat entries have come from, they are certainly not from SOF or SGS.

RS_Pips14 karma

I'm guessing you are trying to lure me to talking about EoC? :) OK, I'll bite. EoC is an interesting situation because it went through a long beta last year and by the end of the summer the combat dev team had pretty much addressed all of the major pieces of feedback. But we learnt the hard way there is quite a difference between people playing on beta servers and playing properly, as a range of further improvements were needed. I think we're in a good place now, though.

kuntuckybeans8 karma

Please allow us to have the old tab stones back. With the new interface that is. its annoying to hover through buttons to get to something as simple as the inventory. This was not practicle.

RS_Pips15 karma

We're going to continue to improve the NIS and we want to find ways for it to feel more familiar for those who really liked the old system. I'm going to do a forum and/or news post on the main site soon about it.

Baridi7 karma

So, I used to play back in classic. Are you guys proud of the progress it's made since Jagex was just one guy making it in his basement?

RS_Pips16 karma

Yes, super-proud! Rather than "a game that is 12 years old" I see it as "a game 12 years in the making".

ImRubic7 karma

Is it possible for communication at Jagex to improve a bit more than it currently is? For example, Mod Emilee used to make a thread to gather small fixes such as a quick-fly mode for the magic carpet rides.

Is it possible to bring something like this back where we can see these small but very important fixes being looked at, responded to, then actually fixed, rather than a message saying, "We'll pass this on.." and never hearing back from it again.

Some future fixes could be things such as, removing the, "Your ability is not ready" message completely, and moving news feed such as "... has gained 99 Fishing." to the filter side of the game message.

Other features that should be looked at more recently would be direct communication on such things like split-private messaging. Simply making a post discussing that the team is working on it is something all players would love to see.

RS_Pips6 karma

Interesting you should say that, because we are looking at ways to improve the "live maintenance" aspect of our development. We are also planning to do more player-submitted-suggestions and fix weeks later in the year. The risk is that some player don't see these as "proper" release weeks. We'll see how it goes.

Soupster1897 karma

How many people are typically on a dev team for medium sized updates?

RS_Pips5 karma

Normally 1-2 content developers, 1 designer, 1 audio designer, and anywhere from 5-10 QA testers and 5-15 artists (concept artists, UI artist, animators, environment modellers, character modellers).

ScryingGnome6 karma

1.In 2012 we had eoc in 2013 we had rs 3 What will be the next big project be for 2014 will it be the move to mobile devises or something else ? 2. This year theres being a certin lack of quests will we see the reagularity of quests return ? 3. Will the upcoming construction rework let us make villages with friends or is this something for the future ? 4. Will the summoning rework allow NORMAL pets to have abiltys or will this remain a purely soloman thing also will it be in 2014? 5.With the move to html5 the map feel so small is there any plans to streach out the land a bit?

RS_Pips7 karma

  1. Yes we're making a tablet version of RuneScape, that one of our next big things.
  2. Yup, many more quests in the second half of the year.
  3. hmm, now that's a good idea ;)
  4. That's yet to be decided. Summoning rework is unlikely to be this year.
  5. We're considering it but it requires a massive update to move everything around and keep all of the content working, and I'm not sure it's worth the effort (we could be using that time to do cool new content!)

Sky_Armada6 karma

I'm planning on getting my max Cape on August 3rd, should I be worried about Divination coming before then?

Any plans to add a timer in game to help us track how much longer some potions will last such as overloads?

Any plans for a type of api for us to create our own RS plug ins?

Thanks for doing this AMA :)

RS_Pips7 karma

Divination will be mid/late August. No plans for API.

Zeuvx6 karma

[deleted]

RS_Pips3 karma

Yes, in fact this year we're restarting an internship program. Check back regularly with the Jagex careers webpage.

Giotar5 karma

Any release date for Divination yet? Or even better, any hints on what the second skill will be? ;)

RS_Pips7 karma

mid/late August.

Pikapika1025 karma

Mr. Mansell,

Thank you for doing this Ama, first of all. Second of all, Runescape 3 is great! I like the Lore side of the Battle of Lumbridge and I can't wait for the HTML to fully be released.. the problem with me (and many others) lies in the New Interface System. Quite frankly.. It's cluttered and can be very complicated to deal with. I understand that there are many players that do use the NIS to its fullest abilities and enjoy it very much, so I don't request (as such many others who are against it do request) that Jagex repeals the NIS. No, I understand that much hard work has gone into it and that it should stay. However, what I request, or ask.. is if some form of the old interface would be available. I realize that there are presets such as Retro and Old School. However these do not fully represent the old interface, and are still immensly confusing to me. I've found myself having more Interface with screen, and I don't like not having all of my tabs one click or F-key away.. So is it possible for Jagex to either a) support the NIS and the Old Interface or b) Offer a preset OF the Old Interface (or something very, very similar, such as a preset that offers the stone tabs, which would be customizable and moveable).. Jagex boasted how the New Interface system could be moved and changed to how we desire.. well, I desire it to be like the old one.. :(

And secondly.. on a more Questy-note.. Will we be seeing more Quests in 2013 than we have the first half of the year? Hoping for some competition and some fun to be able to keep wearing my Quest Cape.

Thirdly, I was going to ask, have you all ever thought about bringing back Random Events? It sounds silly, I know. But you could revamp them to have a bit better rewards (maybe some of them would give a spin ticket, xp lamps, ect).. but, it was honestly a really good way of stopping bots, and I have seen so many of them on lately. And total honesty, I kind of liked being warped away to the 'Odd One Out' or the Maze event.. Some sort of massive Random Events Revamp would be so awesome!

Thanks so much for doing this! -Pikapika102

RS_Pips8 karma

good questions!

As mentioned in an another reply, we want to find ways to make the NIS feel better for those who liked the previous system in the way you describe.

Yes, lots more quests in the second half of the year. Next one is 3 weeks away - the next big Sixth Age quest!

Random events - Hmm, I'm not convinced :)

ricky2big5 karma

What´s the process when you hire someone? Like what qualities/personality are you looking for on a person that wants to work on Runescape?

RS_Pips7 karma

Aside from role-specific skills, we look for people who share our values of being passionate about the game, working well with others and taking pride in their work.

There is a long-held "no assholes" policy for recruitment here :)

DovahDoRoh4 karma

[deleted]

RS_Pips4 karma

We're putting back in back transparency soon. This was actually already in the beta but the feedback consensus was for it to be removed...

AQuestCape3 karma

Hi Phil,

My question is: How long did it take to create RS3? Was it a secret project before its announcement for many months or did you guys start at relatively they same time it was announced? Additionally, I love RS3 and all of the customizability as well as the world events. Can we expect more community involvement with the mods in the future?

RS_Pips3 karma

Really glad you like it! We started work on it long before it was announced. The initial discussions started last summer, with planning and some preproduction development work taking place throughout the 2nd half of 2012. It's been in "full production" mode for most of 2013.

colaturka3 karma

Thank you for this AMA. Are there any plans for the following months to improve the EoC, because like you guys said, it's a work in progress. Not much work has been done to improve it since it's release unfortunately ( skills still don't play the role they should and boosts don't give a boost as they would pre eoc). I believe it should be one of your main priorities to focus on the improvement of the combat system ( like adding more abilities, weapon specific abilities). Good job on the new interface system by the way!

RS_Pips8 karma

The combat team are pretty happy with where it is now. Sure, there's always some balance tweaks, or expansions for the future, but we see the current EoC system as being where we want it.

The_Orange3 karma

With the introduction of RS3, we're getting a ton of ability to customize the game to how we want it. Do you think there will ever be a possibility in the future of allowing players to create add-ons to the game that in no way control the game, but interact with the game to create custom interfaces?

RS_Pips3 karma

I don't think so, sorry. That sort of thing needs the game client to be architected around that sort of functionality, which ours isn't.

In the longer term, we want to upgrade the NIS with features like UI skins and maybe even sharable layouts.

WelshElf3 karma

Hey, is there any news on a estimated full release date for HTML5?

RS_Pips5 karma

It very much depends on how quickly the browser manufacturers make progress on full HTML5 and WebGL 2.0 implementation.

I'd be surprised if that was in the next couple of months, but hope it's before the winter.

RedPillow_3 karma

[deleted]

RS_Pips5 karma

Lumbridge and it's surrounds will never be the same again!

Poison3333 karma

Mod Raven has mentioned that you guys may implement a way to receive the other set of armour from the Battle of Lumbridge after the event is over but he didn't mentioned unlocking the other emotes or the weapon overrides after. Will there be a way to unlock these after the battle or are we forced to switch back and forth every time a new tier of rewards is unlocked?

RS_Pips5 karma

I'll ask him. Note that it may not have been decided yet. The world events are a new style of content for us, so we're trying not to be too prescriptive too early.

hcir3 karma

Are there any plans to release an official soundtrack with the new RS3 tracks?

RS_Pips7 karma

Check out the RuneScape Soundcloud page, Mod Lord has put a bunch of the new music there, plus entries from our recent competition.

https://soundcloud.com/runescapesoundtrack

We talk on-and-off about a more 'official' soundtrack release but have no firm plans at the moment. I'd suggest using the play list feature in the game :)

Meet_Dave3 karma

1) Can you give us more details on the battle of lumbridge? Listening to Mod Crow's stream and he mentioned that something will happen, care to explain?

2) Will divination be more complicated rather than just collecting tears simply?

3) Will we see all of the gods featured in-game soon (this year)

4) The 6th age quests sound fantastic, any idea on when these will be released?

5) Any hints on the 2nd skill?

6) Do you know anything about the 2nd gold membership email? It should be released before august

7) Will we, the player, ever have a choice to rise to godhood using the power Guthix has gave us. If not, what is this power going to be used for?

Thanks

RS_Pips4 karma

  1. I don't want to spoil it, but there will be things like evolutions to the event over time.
  2. Yes, it's a full skill!
  3. Yes, although whether you'll see ALL of them THIS year I'm not sure, I don't know the full details of what the team have planned, and indeed some of that will depend on how the Battle for Lumbridge concludes.
  4. The next one is in 3~ weeks.
  5. No.
  6. Should be coming really soon.

Samuri_Kni2 karma

Hello Mr. Mansell.

I was wondering what JaGeX had in mind regarding the current (and future) state of 1 Defence pures. I currently play on one (in the eoc) and i'm really unhappy with the way they are being treaded content-wise. I know you want to eradicate pures from your player base as they are/used to be detrimental to your combat base and “abused the combat calculator” in some sort or fashion before the eoc but I think that the post-eoc combat changes already places them at a level they deserve to be. I essnetially am pinned to skilling instead of doing anything combat related as everything is geared towards the higher levels, and even then have to settle for slower training methods and worse xp rates due to my combat preferences. For instance, when woodcutting (completely unrelated to combat) I can not do arctic pines and have to do ivy/sawmill which are the next best xp rates. The last few sentences are largely irrelevant to the main question I am going for though, I'm just using them to support my argument.

Anyways, so here are my stats. I was wondering what JaGeX had in mind, if anything for the future state of pures. Will they ever have content combat-wise? I long for the possibility to do any/some PvM on my pure. Will bosses ever get the dungeoneering treatment where the opponents you face are relative to your combat level? I think that would be a really efficient fix as then even people with subpar combat stats could attempt PvM if they wanted to. This does not mean make bosses so easy that it is preferable to kill them at a low level (rather than a high level), it just means that bosses will be available to kill to all levels of the spectrum, not just near maxed mains with turmoil, ss, overloads, and 1b+ worth of gear.

Tl;dr: Will pures be seeing some love in any spectrum of rs, whether that be in minigames, bossing, or PvP.

Anyways, thank you for doing this AmAA and I wish to hear back from you (preferably stating good future changes to 1 Defence pures) in the future.

RS_Pips10 karma

While I’ve got a lot of respect for those who figure out all of the complicated things needed to avoid levelling certain skills, it’s not an intended part of the game nor one we want to officially support. We don’t want to encourage players to not interact with content.

Raspb2 karma

Hey Phil, how do you find time to make or design games as an EP and find time to play other games?

RS_Pips3 karma

I don't play as many games as I used to - or want to!

I feel it's important that if you make/design games for a living that you stay up to date with whats going on and what your peers are making. It's a professional obligation that keeps you sharp and inspired.

naorban1 karma

When did you start working on Runescape?

Does your character get any special perks being owned by a developer?

RS_Pips9 karma

I played RuneScape for a while back in 2008, around the launch of RS HD.

I resumed playing again when I joined Jagex a couple of years ago.

In terms of staff perks, we get membership for free and automatically get access to all of the cosmetic items in Solomons Store.

And no, we don't get spins! :)