Transcript of RuneScape Dev Diaries - Mining & Smithing #3: Profit

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[00:00] Hello. Mod Jack and I are back once again with the Developer Diaries on Mining and Smithing.
[00:04] And this time we are talking about profitability.
[00:15] Before we get stuck in, it is probably worth covering some of the misconceptions,
[00:19] probably our fault really, that came from the last video.
[00:22] There were some assumptions that, for example,
[00:24] that when it comes to training from level 90 onwards,
[00:27] so the top tiers, you could only do that via PvM drops.
[00:29] Yes, we sort of explained that poorly, I think.
[00:32] I didn't mean to say that you won't be able to train Smithing above 90 without combat drops.
[00:36] It is to make the very best gear in the game you need combat drops.
[00:39] So you will be still making armour. There will still be armour.
[00:42] There'll still be armour.
[00:43] And so you'l be able to make armour for yourself using the Smithing skill.
[00:46] You won't have to go and do bossing to get high quality, high level armour.
[00:49] But to make the very best armour you need to combine it with PvM drops.
[00:53] And the other one I saw coming up quite often
[00:55] was that it still felt like we are prioritising more game primacy to PvM
[00:59] by having these drops. So the best items being attached to that.
[01:02] Yeah, then the impression was, I think, because of the way we explained it
[01:04] that Smithing wasn't as important as PvM.
[01:06] And that is not how we see it.
[01:08] So the whole point of what we are proposing is
[01:09] that Smithing and PvM are both critically important to making that best-in-game gear.
[01:14] And one does not get the absolute authority over those.
[01:17] So the idea was to take something from PvM and to give it to Smithing.
[01:20] So at the moment when a good item drops,
[01:23] you just get it. Well, it's semi true at that level, it's complicated,
[01:26] but essentially the PvM'ers just get their drops
[01:29] and the smithers have to do something different,
[01:31] so you wanna take a bit of that and share it with the smiths.
[01:33] That's the idea.
[01:34] And we also, before we get stuck into profit,
[01:37] because this is probable the most involved topic,
[01:40] so we wanna spend a little bit more time getting into the depths of it.
[01:42] Just wanted to cover the two questions we asked.
[01:45] The first one was: Do you have any ideas for overload style?
[01:49] So this is like: as you get unlocks for Herblore, a one-off consumable
[01:52] at the top end of Smithing.
[01:54] We generally got a kind of similar response.
[01:56] Yeah, the overwhelming response was something like a wet stone I can use to sharpen my sword with.
[02:00] With different levels of realism for what would happen with a blunt weapon.
[02:03] And most of the suggestions we got were sort of thematic ideas.
[02:05] We didn't necessarily get a lot of ideas that were talking about mechanics.
[02:08] -No.
-Which we can deal with ourselves.
[02:10] We can start looking through that.
[02:11] But wet stones seem to be popular.
[02:13] The other question we asked was:
[02:15] What did you think about unlocking things with PvM, so in cooperation with PvM
[02:19] so you get kind of things that add to the Smithing process -
[02:21] or bolted on at the end of the Smithing process.
[02:24] And generally we got generally positive answers.
[02:27] It was positive except for the misconceptions...
[02:28] There were some misconceptions which we just talked about.
[02:30] But there is worth covering weapons people do worry about.
[02:34] There were a lot of questions about...
[02:35] Because we said armour, armour, armour over again.
[02:38] We mean armour and weapons when we talk a about a tier of gear.
[02:41] That's the armour and weapons in that tier.
[02:42] We are likely to keep saying armour instead of both.
[02:44] It's just shorthand for this kind of video. It's gonna happen.
[02:47] Hopefully we will try to keep those misconceptions down.
[02:50] But the other one was a very valid one
[02:52] which is: What's gonna happen with ranged and magic?
[02:54] Yeah, so Smithing really only makes melee gear and melee weapons.
[02:57] So our intention would still be to have parity between the combat styles.
[03:00] We are not gonna be reworking Crafting, Fletching, Runecrafting
[03:04] as part of the Mining and Smithing rework.
[03:06] But we will try to make sure that the combat styles have parity still.
[03:08] We're not gonna have melee being better than the other combat styles.
[03:10] So it'd be some form of doing something similar.
[03:14] Because we are not reworking those skills it would have to be simpler
[03:17] or more straightforward, but not as interesting.
[03:20] So obviously people are here to hear about profit.
[03:22] There are a lot of questions that bound up in that.
[03:25] Things like how we are gonna have that parity,
[03:28] is there going to be parity with combat. A number of questions that boils down.
[03:33] But why can't Smithing as it stands just be kind of turned up to be profitable?
[03:37] The problem with Smithing is that no one wants what it makes.
[03:39] Smithing produces a huge number of objects which aren't really useful.
[03:43] I mean Invention does help with that.
[03:45] Invention has added use to those items.
[03:46] But still they are not really worth making.
[03:48] And the supply of those is so high because everyone who is leveling Smithing is producing those items.
[03:52] So the huge supply, no real demand means low prices,
[03:54] means pretty much everything is alch value.
[03:57] And the only thing that keeps anything profitable
[03:58] is that the alch values are a bit high.
[04:00] It may seem simple to the economists out there
[04:02] but you know this sense of supply and demand
[04:04] is what fuels our economy.
[04:06] And you need ot understand it to get the grips
[04:07] with what we talk about here.
[04:09] So really what we need to do with Smithing
[04:10] is to make it kinda useful.
[04:12] Make it desirable.
[04:13] Yes. Smithing needs to produce items that are valuable to people.
[04:17] And the supply of them needs to be
[04:19] low because even if they are useful,
[04:21] if the supply is very very high...
[04:23] And also there needs to be a market for it.
[04:25] There needs to be somebody who actually wants that gear
[04:27] and is prepared to pay for it.
[04:28] Because if all of those things aren't true we just won't be profitable.
[04:31] The interesting problem with supply is
[04:33] it is a particular trivial rework where we try to make Smithing more desirable and more interesting.
[04:37] The more people that have 99 Smithing there are,
[04:40] the higher the supply of gear is.
[04:42] The supply isn't just how many of the object there are
[04:44] it's also how many people can make that object.
[04:46] Because if the price goes up people are going
[04:48] "Oh, that's good" and then make lots of the items and the price is gonna go down again.
[04:50] So the more 99 smiths there are, actually the lower the profits of Smithing will be.
[04:54] Which is a shame given that we try to encourage people to level Smithing.
[04:57] So, in order to restrict the supply, there always has to be a cost.
[05:01] If you are making money,
[05:02] you are giving something up to make that money.
[05:04] And you can see that in so much content we have.
[05:06] I mean that can be... Time is a common one.
[05:10] If you pump in a lot of effort and time then you get some money out of it.
[05:14] There are other ways how we've done it.
[05:16] -RNG.
-RNG, yeah.
[05:17] That's complicated because it means it doesn't raise the average amount of money
[05:20] but it raises the lucky people getting a lot of money and the unlucky people don't.
[05:23] And that is inhering the infuriations from lots of people.
[05:25] You've just seen it from skilling pets.
[05:27] A lot of people have proposed:
[05:29] "You can make Smithing more profitable
[05:31] by having there be a rare chance to get a really valuable thing."
[05:35] But that wouldn't actually make Smithing more profitable.
[05:37] It would make just certain lucky people getting a lot of money
[05:39] but most people on average would make no more money or even less.
[05:43] Yeah. It also feels, I don't know. It just doesn't fit for me.
[05:45] The idea of every so often I happen to make a perfect sword.
[05:50] That doesn't mean that randomness has no role at all.
[05:53] But it doesn't actually make the thing more profitable.
[05:55] It's just a tool we can use in the design.
[05:57] The other two options really for us are skill.
[05:59] Yes, something that demands more skill inherently has a lower supply as less people can make it.
[06:04] I think that is something we can almost slightly move over to Menaphos and the tombs that we've been talking about.
[06:08] Potentially adding a skilling element
[06:09] that doesn't really fit with Mining and Smithing either.
[06:11] And the other one is lower XP gains.
[06:13] Yes, anything that gives XP people want to do.
[06:17] So if I am making this 95 best gear with Smithing,
[06:20] is it gonna give really good XP?
[06:22] This is what people would expect.
[06:23] The answer is no, it's not going to give really good XP because if it did,
[06:26] people would do it for the XP.
[06:28] Which means they would producing these items and then that would lower the price.
[06:32] It has to give bad XP in order to make money.
[06:34] So you will always be chosing I think,
[06:36] do I want good XP or do I want good money?
[06:38] You can't have both because the better the XP is, the lower the money is.
[06:41] So our approach...
[06:42] I mean we haven't got a designed approach,
[06:44] it is more a kind of space we want to do
[06:46] which is the idea of mastery and that is our approach for it.
[06:49] Which is largely a kind of increased time.
[06:53] The cost is time.
[06:55] Yes, absolutely. I mean time and possible resources as well depending on how it ends up designed.
[06:59] So the idea of mastery is that...
[07:02] so this is something that starts with 99 Smithing.
[07:04] So all these people who leveled to 99 to get their overload benefit, their wetstone.
[07:08] If they are all producing this valuable Smithing gear, it's not worth anything.
[07:11] So what we wanna do is to distinguish the people who really care about Smithing
[07:14] from the people that just level to 99 to get their wet stone and move on to other things.
[07:19] So the idea of mastery is a way to invest more time,
[07:21] more resources and more effort into the Smithing skill
[07:25] so that you become more efficient in producing gear.
[07:27] It costs you less, it uses less materials, you make more.
[07:30] And that means what you do will always be more profitable than other people
[07:34] because the supply is lower. So the demand doesn't change at the moment
[07:37] but it reduces the supply.
[07:38] Only the people who really care about Smithing can do that, not just anybody.
[07:41] I mean the design could change. I mean it could be that towards
[07:43] the 90s or 99s then you open up a tech tree that you can explore.
[07:46] What it is it's just breadth. A breadth of unlocks at that top tier
[07:50] rather than going up to say 120 of Smithing or anything like that.
[07:52] 120 Smithing wouldn't fix that problem because
[07:54] as soon as you got 120 Smithing as a target,
[07:56] people would see that target and they want to reach it.
[07:58] The idea behind mastery is, it's a thing only skillers care about.
[08:01] It's a choice. You can pursue if you want to.
[08:04] And that is one of the questions, I guess, is that we want to know your thoughts
[08:08] on whether mastery is the right avenue that we would focus on cost
[08:12] to maintain the profitability of Smithing.
[08:15] The cost is time and maybe resources.
[08:18] That's what mastery offers.
[08:19] It wouldn't be comp cape or anything like that
[08:21] because it couldn't be, because it would spoil it if it was.
[08:23] The idea is partly to try and resolve what some people are saying
[08:26] "Bossing is profitable because not many people boss."
[08:28] And they can't or are just not interested in doing it
[08:30] and that restriction of the number of people who can do it keeps the prices up.
[08:34] It's an idea to replicate some of that feel in skilling
[08:36] which is otherwise very accessible.
[08:38] Here we go.
[08:39] Now it's time to the most common question that came out from the livestreams
[08:43] which was "What are we doing about the parity between Mining and Smithing
[08:48] particulary non-combat skilling vs boss drops and combat drops - slayer drops".
[08:52] And we did the survey as well and it would seem
[08:55] the players would definitly telling us
[08:56] that we should bring it more in line with combat drops.
[09:01] It is important for us to distinguish between bossing and slayer.
[09:03] Both we and some players sort of lumped it together and said PvM.
[09:08] But actually they are quite different.
[09:09] Slayer ought to be on parity with other skills and that's kind of a long road.
[09:13] Our philosophy is very much to bring the other skills up not push slayer down.
[09:17] We are not going "Oh, slayer is too profitable, let's nerf slayer",
[09:20] which I think was implied last time which caused a lot of the outrage.
[09:25] But it's not that we think slayer should be more profitable
[09:27] because in terms of the effort and the time and the things that you invest
[09:31] it's not significantly more advanced.
[09:33] But bossing, I think we expect is still gonna stay profitable.
[09:37] We do expect that. It is exclusive. It is difficult.
[09:40] And it also provides that loop so players creating their gear,
[09:43] taking some of those whatever we determine that added element is
[09:46] from top tier PvM and attaching it to their gear and then seliing it.
[09:49] Bosses are the market for the Smithing gear.
[09:51] Smithing is inherently a skill about selling things.
[09:54] In a sense bossers have to have money so they can buy things from the smiths.
[09:58] And the trick for us isn't to make bossers have less money,
[10:01] it's to make them share it around a bit
[10:02] by giving them things they wanna buy from other players that can sell it to them.
[10:06] That way we have an economy where the skills work
[10:09] in concert with combat and they are not competing with each other.
[10:12] We are also aware that we are making some generalisations in terms of
[10:16] some kind of boss encounters are generating huge amount of wealth
[10:21] and we may address those in the future on a case by case basis.
[10:25] So we are not saying that all bosses are perfectly designed
[10:28] in terms of what they generate.
[10:30] This is really about how high level Smithing can generate wealth.
[10:34] Yes.
[10:35] But what we haven't talked about is whether or not it should be profitable to level up to that point.
[10:40] As I go through the tiers and through the levels
[10:43] should it still be generating me even a small amount of wealth.
[10:46] Yeah, it's difficult. At the moment Mining is always profitable
[10:49] unless you drop the ore, it always produces ore.
[10:52] But Smithing inherently uses up ore which means it costs money to level.
[10:56] That's usually to pair the Mining and manufacturing skill.
[10:58] And some people say "Oh, that's fine because just level them together".
[11:01] But what we see is, that players level the one that's either free or generates money
[11:05] and avoid leveling the one that costs money.
[11:08] It makes that content not much fun in the game.
[11:10] I mean we were talking about high level Smithing because we could create demand for high level gear
[11:14] that people actually would want.
[11:15] That's never gonna work on low level. No one's ever gonna want your adamant plate body or whatever.
[11:19] You always gonna produce more things than needed.
[11:21] Yes, there's never a demand for that.
[11:22] We can tweak the skills so that you do not produce a lot of plate bodies.
[11:25] But even so, people will not wanna buy them from you.
[11:27] We have to use other systems to make the skill profitable to level.
[11:31] A player made an argument to me that I found quite convincing
[11:33] that it simply would be more fun content that way.
[11:35] It would be fun and rewarding to level.
[11:39] Whereas if you gonna go "Oh, this is gonna cost 60 billion gold to level",
[11:42] you get "You know what, I put that off and level all the free skills first and do this later."
[11:47] We want the skills to be content that people want to level, that they enjoy leveling.
[11:51] That it feels good to level and it feels good to make money while you are leveling.
[11:53] And it feels bad to lose money while you are leveling.
[11:55] So effectively we got two models on offer here.
[11:57] Neither on we got a particular preference for. Is that true to say?
[12:01] I am mildly in favour of making money while leveling
[12:03] because of that argument about fun. But the counter argument is about the economy
[12:06] and that's also very important.
[12:07] So on one hand we have that it is profitable to level through those low level bands.
[12:11] You pay for that because more people are training,
[12:15] because they find it more attractive, because it generates wealth.
[12:18] More people are gonna get to the top tiers,
[12:20] which means that the value of the items that you create is gonna be less at those top tiers.
[12:24] Both because there is a higher supply and also we can't justify
[12:28] there being a really valuable, super powerful overload if you haven't had to invest in it.
[12:32] If you had to invest vast quantities of money in getting this level
[12:35] then it'd make sense for the benefit to be very strong.
[12:37] But if you have made money leveling this skill
[12:39] it makes less sense for it to be so strong.
[12:41] So, lucrative way of training through all the low level bands
[12:45] but you have less worthwhile rewards at the end of a tool
[12:48] and more people getting towards the top of the tiers.
[12:51] Or you have, it is a little bit expensive, costly,
[12:56] but the reward that you get at the end is so much better.
[12:58] And also you have that exclusivity.
[13:01] There will be demand for what you are producing.
[13:03] So, in summary, what we are asking from you,
[13:06] well, first of all we want to know whether or not you like masteries,
[13:09] the idea of having some breadth at the top tiers of Smithing.
[13:11] But also, which of those two models, those two parts do you really like?
[13:14] Do you like the lucrative way of training that doesn't give you as much of a pay-off?
[13:18] Or do you like the long road that gives you a reward
[13:21] and probably a lot of GP at the end of it all?
[13:23] Next time round we will be talking about the core mechanics of Smithing
[13:28] and maybe a little bit of Mining as well.
[13:29] How you level them, how the mechanics gonna work, tools and that sort of thing.
[13:34] So look out for that in the future.
[13:35] Thank you very much for listening to us.
[13:37] -Cheers.