Fix the Defence and life points
It’s really difficult to create a balanced experience for players if they use items intended for players far higher in level than they are. While we can control this quite nicely with wielding requirements, it’s much more difficult with things like food. After all, there’s nothing stopping a low-level player eating rocktails and drinking brews all day (aside from the cost, of course) but, if they do, it makes it nigh-impossible for us to create balanced, challenging content for them. You can hardly balance a fight assuming that all players are using high end consumables…unless they are high level.
So, we made the difficult choice to link life point healing directly to the Constitution level of the player. So, if you’re eating food intended for a player of a considerably higher level, we will be limiting the amount of healing it can do. For example, players around level 50 in Constitution should really be eating lobsters. If they choose to eat sharks, they still can, but it won’t heal any more than the lobster will.
The Defence skill has always been playing catch-up with the other combat stats. It’s been too easy to ignore it and undervalue it. From the perspective of a designer, that’s bad, especially when people are deliberately avoiding content that could increase their Defence level.
So, a big part of the challenge was about making the Defence skill more attractive for players to level up. We’ve solved this by adding a range of Defence-only abilities that give you more tactical choices, and tie many of those abilities to actually using a shield, or shield-like equivalent for mages and rangers.
We have also given players a significant life point boost if they wear armour appropriate for their level. Wearing appropriate armour can contribute as much as 90% of your total life points; more so if you choose to wield a shield as well. This means that a player with the right armour for their level (assuming that a player’s Defence level is roughly the same as their offensive stat) will have ten to fifteen times the life points of someone wearing no armour at all. The lower the level of the armour, the fewer points it can give you.
Allow players’ combat levels to truly represent their ability.
In the last blog, I spoke about the new Combat level calculator. With the strengthening of the Defence skill and more emphasis given to the abilities and equipment a player is using, rather than to skills like Prayer and Summoning, we hope this will give people a quicker and more accurate guide to the relative power of your opponent. While Prayer and Summoning will still be important, their contribution to the overall potential of your character will be reduced. This will, of course, generate more players with the highest possible Combat level.
A final note.
Well, it’s only a few days now until the beta worlds are launched, and we really are looking forward to seeing how you feel about the changes we’re making. As with all things in the beta, these choices and decisions are subject to change, and we need your help to make sure they are changed in the best possible way, and for the right reasons. Nothing is set in stone and everything can be altered, but what we need is quality feedback. If you don’t like something, tell us why, and – even better – give us suggestions towards a better solution. We don’t expect all our decisions to be perfect! It’s as important to tell us what you do like, too.
To give us feedback once the beta starts, you’ll be able to post your thoughts on the Combat Discussion forum, and to report bugs in-game as you normally would.
Don’t forget, beta accounts are only going to exist for the beta. Once it closes, they will be deleted.
Nothing you earn, lose or level on the beta servers will remain afterwards, and nothing you do in the beta will affect the live game. This will not change!
During the beta you’ll be able to pick up all the new gear and items, for free, from traders added to Lumbridge. These obviously won’t exist after the beta, and we will be working hard to add the new additions to the right areas of the game for the full launch.
You’ll also be able to reset your profile on the beta worlds to match your current live account at any point during the beta, in case you achieve something in the live game – such as completing a quest – that you would like reflected on your beta character.
Thanks for reading, and see you in the beta!