January 25th's Update
- Skilling Week - 50% extra XP in all gathering skills.
- Miniquest #1 - Forshadowing (Part 1 of Once Upon A Time)
- Miniquest #2 - Archaeology mystery work-around.
Miniquest Series - Once Upon A Time
A permanent miniquest series, similar in style to Recipe for Disaster, which celebrates the past, present, and future of questing. What if the player wasn't the hero in their story but rather the villian?
- Release Dates: January - December
- Total Parts: Unknown
- Will run in parallel to the main narrative that's being planned for this year.
Quest vs Miniquest
The series will be of miniquests rather than quests as to not put a burden of weight on other developers who will be working on the other parts. After the series is completed we may consider making it a quest if there's enough feedback, perhaps similar to Recipe for Disaster.
- Name was shortened from Once Upon a Time in Gielinor as it took up too much space. (Reference to old movies).
- Part 2 has been designed closely with the content developer who is making it.
- It will be clear early in the year what the rough shape of the plans will be.
Part 1: Foreshadowing
- Start: Blue Moon Inn in Varrock
- Reqs: Membership
- Goal: Set up the entire series, narrative themes, and the characters.
- Characters: Closure (from the 2017 Halloween event), Relomia (antagonist)
We will talk more about it on Monday
- It's being made to lower the levels of an Archaeology mystery and make something more accessible for future content.
- Future content is something Mod Raven and Mod Jack are working on.
- The rewards will be held back until you have the current level for them.
- There might be some controversy over the method but the reason should be well received.
- Players can give us feedback for how we approach this scenario in the future.
20 Years of Lore - Q&A - Part 1
Guests: Mod Osborne, Mod Mark, Mod Stu
1.) What do you think your biggest real world inspiration for lore has been?
- Episodic story teller books (comic books/graphical novels.)
- Idea of how you continue characters and shift up a status quo for an exciting future.
- You Are It was a fever dream. Needle Skips is based on a game called Her Story.
- Varies per project. For Dimension of Disaster music I took inspiration from Danny Elfman, Beetlejuice Soundtrack.
- The inspiration for 1000s of players/developers. It is important to come from different places, it adds randomness/creativity.
- Runescape sits in between the difference of Princess Bride and Dark Crystal.
- The trick of being a creative person is to grab that inspiration when it comes.
- Misunderstandings can also cause inspiration.
- Mod Sayln asked for a Pirate Ship and was got a concept of a Pirate Sheep which ended up being added to the game.
2a) Have any quests been based off of the dreams had by developers?
2b) Are any of the npcs modeled after those the developers have swooned over irl?
- Gielinor in Harmony, the musical/live action Runescape stage production we did for the Friday night 2018 Runefest.
- Was a dream I had the night before deciding what to do and I was the only person who could make it a reality.
- It is dangerous to fall in love with a character as you may not always be in control of them.
- Often when I fall asleep there's a nugget in my head and I write it down/
- You Are It was one.
- A rubbish one was a king of the hill skilling competition where you climb up levels and the one who reaches the top wins.
- Mod Ramen really loves to create NPCs where he falls in loves (respectful way) with them..
- I draw upon personal experience.
- Death of Chivalry came from my father's death and a friend's life threating illness with the threat of dying.
- Swooning however, Zamorak was based on Tim Curry's Satan in the movie Legend.
- When designing Charos I wanted someone very attractive so I put effort into the masculinity.
- Lucifer from that TV series was used as a touchstone for what he looked/sounded like.
3.) Content based on negative experiences?
- There's this crazy survival horror game we were 3-4 months into early development on called Umbratus?
- It came from a dark place I was in at that point in time (not really depression), just an uncomfortable point in my life.
- Sat in a friends garden and saw a sundial, and was fascinated by a shadow.
Shadow are seen as a negative thing, this weight you carry around and can't get away with which got me thinking of how you can see a shadow as a form of change. Inspiration for re-birth rather than a negative.
The creativity around the universe was around this massive structure in the middle of the world called a Noman, and this shadow would pass around the world. Where it laid it would be the most dangerous area at the time, and when it passed on there was the concept of rebirth/changing as powerful things were left behind so players could harvest them in order to grow and take to the next level.
- In Salt in the Wound the part where this woman was originally capture and used as a host and you wrench her free.
- She's an old person and became aware life passed her, and you have a choice of talking her through it or revealing the info.
- Made me think how dark Runescape can really be.
- A Soul's Bane, it's the kind of thing you read about and think this is really deep.
- Makes me feel like this is the real deal and makes me take story really seriously.
4.) What kinds of stories do you most like telling in Runescape lore?
- I have a fondness of personal stories such as Owen's in Death of Chivalry and Ga'al arc in Brink of Extension where you see a character develop.
- Scenario driven quests as in 'Would it be fun to explore this kind of gameplay?'.
- The World Wakes - What does it feel like to be besiege by the world.
- You Are It - What does it feel like being in a cursed clue scroll.
- Fate of the Gods - Waiting for Godot kind of thing. "Will I meet Zaros" and then I do.
- I'm a storyteller, that's what I do. It's a big part of British culture.
- Being able to put your own twist on things, the scripts, or modify it but retain the guts of the story.
- What I like about Runescape was taking a story and being able to put a twist on it.
- I feel the same way when players come up with their own conspiracy theories with their own theories/twists.
Runescape in general:
- We are lucky we work for a game that has become successful for story telling.
- The stories that are really cool are the ones that demand to be told.
5.) When you came up with languages ingame what was your inspiration for goblin and dragonkin?
- For Dragonkin we came up with a syntax where it would work as a puzzle.
- Words would only make bare sense until you put in a verb and reverse engineer from the puzzle it came from.
- TzHaar - something I inherited, others before me defined the language.
- They have a base 12 numeric system because of the number of hands and number of fingers they have.
- Languages are created for a puzzle or flavor for the characters.
- TzHaar counting system was inspired Nordic numerator system.
- Penguins talking to each other in sign language was for a puzzle.
6.) Why Penguins?
- Penguins are amazing, awesome.
- When Lumbridge was remodeled it the artist came up with the idea of penguins using a sheep outfit.
- Mod Nancy saw it and decided to make a quest about it.
- Mod Nancy is in the first 5 minutes of the Phantom Thread with Daniel Day Lewis.
- She's in Hollywood doing makeup and costume now.
- She looked at other developers and they had their own series and loved it so much she wanted to do penguins.
- She was a big fan of movies, a wanted to make sure each penguin quest was a boiled down to a movie/genre.
7.) Have you ever 'gotten it badly wrong' when designing lore and game stories?
- Stu and Osborne are amazing in their desire to make sure the lore works and puts our early development to shame.
- Back then, the material didn't exist, our documentation was woeful.
- There's so much more information available now than 10-15 years ago, due to the wiki and other sources.
- It's easier to get the information you need but more difficult to write because there's so much you weren't aware of.
- Sometimes our errors inspire other storylines where we use the conflicts between religions/groups.
- Mod Chaose represents this archival of Runescape lore.
- There's no worse feeling than seeing a reddit thread of people point out contradiction.
- After Fate of the Gods, we realized we put a chronicle on the wrong mountain and suddenly we had this elder god who spanned two mountains.
It's a rarity, we document a lot, but a large portion is this is a huge game with a ton of sources/stories/characters, etc.
Postbag from the Hedge were fun and something done to enrich the game. Whether they were true is eh...
The Novels we like using them, if we can bring them in the game we will.
Rule of thumb is if it is in the game it is your holy bible.
8.) How did the concept of Signature Heroes come about?
- Mod John A took care of development for it. It came down largely from a marketing consideration.
- When you sell an MMO you are trying to create artwork where a player can project themselves and say that can be you.
- We wanted to create human, young, low level characters players could relate to more, each with different roles.
- We created them primarily because we wanted more artwork our players could relate to.
- Unfortunately in my opinion it didn't work well. Players didn't gravitate behind them in the way we wanted them to.
You could argue talented writers who are given the opportunity to expand their storylines through quest lines the players could interact with, then those characters can really mean something. There's a reason why they got more popular over the years and I think it is since players can go questing with them and build a relationship with them.
- We built them to be something you can relate to, but the problem with that is hit or miss, it is different with every person.
- The best signature heroes have a story line that makes players want to progress further on with and want more of that.
- Become more characters than a Pokémon rival/ally.
- The quests are really good and this year we may see them continue. 😉
9.) How was the decision made to go ahead with The World Wakes?
- We knew we wanted to do something big with our storytelling with RS3.
- I had this pitch and talked to Mod Mark who had a mixture of excitement, fear, and disbelief.
- Explaining it like, Obi-Wan Kenobi unlocked Mod Mark a bit.
- I was moving away from the day to day stuff at the time so there was a moment of though to let go of the story as I never would have come up with it.
- The moment in the quest, where Guthix demands the world forgets him, that's how I felt about this decision/content.
- Real life and and Runescape mimic me. Guthix saying forget me is how I felt with passing it to Dave (Osborne).
- People have their own desires of how to shape the story and core aims to figure out what we are trying to achieve.
- It creates healthy conversation which make the product better.
20 Years of Lore - Q&A - Part 2
Guests: Mod Rowley, Mod Jack, Mod Raven
1.) How much do older quest lines/stories/lore influence newer quests/stories/lore?
- Very much so. It's like we are in a 3rd phase of RS storytelling.
- 1st Phase - Each developer has their own story without connection.
- 2nd Phase - The 6th age of story telling.
- 3rd phase - Finishing stories and developing characters from the 20 year old IP.
- Primary consideration is existing content and moving it forward with careful consideration to bring start something new.
- We go through lengthy arguments whenever we introduce new content lore heavy stuff.
- We want to make sure it all fits and works. We utilize tools, the wiki, and devs who may still be around.
- One thing we are trying to do is tell one cohesive story that brings the whole game together.
2a.) Lore Bringing it to wider aspects of the game.
- One thing we try to do is make sure it has a cohesive story.
- Bringing as many of the updates planned into the year into a storyline so everyone feels the game is evolving.
- We didn't do much of it with previous separate storylines, such as Sliske's.
- Rather than condense everything into a quest we can now put backstory/advancement in other content.
- The miniquest series will run in parallel to the primary narrative we are planning to tell this year.
- It's able to pick up the lesser elements of what's going on and explain them in detail while also being its own thing.
2b.) Any plot points you decided to not bring back?
- When we are planning we are looking at what's the biggest questions need answering.
- Biggest one right now is the elder gods. It seems bad to focus on small scale problems.
- Our focus is to tell a good story. If we can find ways to elegantly weave them in we will otherwise we won't.
3.) Have you ever read a fan theory and thought "damn that would have been better?"
- We do look at fan theories, we are heavily involved in the community and talk about the theories in great length.
- We naturally absorb theories and not realize we had done it.
- Most concrete example were the Ripper demons:
- A few people speculated, wouldn't it be cool if the demon is a parasite infecting this thing like something like the bandages.
- I went yes, this is much better. Took the idea and wrote the lore journals based on the notion.
- Normally it's done in small nudges here or there or minor story threads.
- We won't do it wholesale as we have head lore that players don't know and we need to tie into everything.
- We can't confirm the influence players have had, but they do and internally we want to do more but we can't always do that.
- We workshop as much as we can but at some point we have to commit to something.
- I often take unanswered player questions, and try to answer in the game where possible.
- Someone said Elora in Death of Chivalry could be a Saradominist saint and that made sense
- When writing a Saradomin character it's easy to add dialogue or a tiny comment saying Saint Elora.
- We all take inspiration from everywhere.
- Stuff you read ages ago gets lodged in your head and eventually comes out and ends up being differently from what they said.
4.) How many notebooks are there around the office (now homes) that contain lore?
- So many. In terms of Runescape lore, there loads of them with ideas and general thoughts. They aren't canon.
- It could be a list of NPCs I want to see die or suffer, but it could also have other things if x were y and z happened.
- I do have books that have multiple ideas for quests, but the entire story of that is at Jagex studio.
- I was paranoid about showing notes on stream that I've written them in code, but when I read it back I forgot the code.
- We don't write huge essays unless it is for a purpose.
- I like hanging around discords and discussing coherent world building and writing that down.
- If it's anything that needs to be shared with the team it will be on our confluence space.
- Often my notes are made in the discussions where it makes sense but later when looking back at it you are lost.
- Likely by then if it mattered I've documented elsewhere or written some code.
- For Archaeology we had some Indiana Jones Grail diaries to write our notes.
- I was the only one who kept it up and it is only half full.
5.) Have you ever considered that 'sometimes' you kill NPCs too quickly?
- Yes, I want them to suffer first. More drawn out torment, mentally break them, spiritually break them, then actually break them.
- Osborne doesn't let me because torture is wrong.
- On a more serious note, we've changed a bit, we are more cautious with murdering our NPCs.
- Even the ones I've killed, aside from the big ones, have been relatively minor in the large scheme of things.
- If it's right for the story we will.
- I'm more subtle about my kills. I'd like to compare body counts.
- I have the reverse problem.
- I keep introducing historical character in lore books who a definitely dead but people keep bring them to life.
- The serious answer is, dead characters are characters you can't use.
- In early RS each storyline ended with the death of a villain and we killed allies as shock factor.
- This depleted our cast. It's okay if it happens every occasionally but the impact wears off if it happens regularly.
- Bosses have become more prominent since they can't really die, while quest characters have more finality (unless you're Zanik).
6.) Is it possible to bring any of the OSRS exclusive lore over to RS3 such as Zeah or another one of their narratives and port them into RS.
- Maybe, it's nothing we can commit to and it's not in the current plan.
- We do keep contact with OSRS in regards to lore and retain pillars/general foundations of lore.
- We wouldn't copy verbatim but we might keep the essence of what it is.
- We wouldn't do Dragon Slayer 2 verbatim but maybe a similar storyline/threat level/big combat thing.
- If we were to do Zeah it would have to fit in RS3.
- We essentially did it with Fossil island, while it was in OSRS it wasn't one we wanted, but we found a way.
- Zeah allows OSRS to tell their own stories in, so in a sense no reason for us to focus on it.
- By nature of their game they are following in our footsteps and they don't want that.
- If we do a Zeah then we are inviting comparisons in an unnecessary way.
7.) Is there a functioning timeline that is used for pre-first age stories, as well as first age stories?
- In the 3rd age it was a blank slate for us to use in Archaeology.
- We have just as much in the first age outside of key events, we may know their order, but it isn't canon until it is in-game.
- When I arrived there was a very vague notion of 10,000 years of history with little bits from quests.
- I spent most of the time writing lore in the second/third age and expand it out from an almost a mythical take.
- We've ended up with a much more fleshed out history than we had before.
- Reldo's ages is the most recent detailed that talks about the first age in some detail.
- There are huge gaps that let us fill in stuff.
- Most of Archaeology is about the beginning or end of the third age.
- There's still a huge gap in the middle of 800-1000 years, there are some theories but no canon.