Did you miss the Archaeology livestream on March 17th? You can catch up with all the news right here, or alternatively head to the bottom of the post to watch the entire thing!
Another week, another step in our Road to Archaeology stream series. Last week we looked at the various mechanics that make up this brand new skill. This time, around our developers pulled back the curtain a little more, showing off the various dig sites that will be present in the game when Archaeology launches.
The team is still aiming for a March 30th release, though this may of course change depending on the impact of coronavirus. We’re keeping an eye on the situation and assessing it daily.
The Archaeology skill takes you to five locations across the land of Gielinor. After completing the tutorial at the headquarters of the Archaeology Guild, you'll move to the first dig site, Kharid-et.
Each of the various sites is associated with a different god. Kharid-et is a Zarosian location, while the Infernal Source is Zamorakian. The Everlight area is focused on Saradomin, Stormguard is Armadylean and finally the Warforge! is, unsurprisingly, relevant to the god of war, Bandos.
- Each site has its own manager with a cast of new characters (and some more familiar faces) such as the, well, deceased Dorgeshuun, Zanik. These are good people to check in with to find out a bit about the site.
- You can survey excavation sites to see what you can receive from working on them by right clicking.
- There is some randomness to receiving the items required to complete mysteries. However, the developers have put bad luck mitigation in place, so there is nothing to worry about.
- There are materials carts around the various dig sites, accompanied by archaeologists, where you can only deposit materials. This to avoid you having to walk banks and deposit boxes the whole time.
"We won't dump you somewhere new, where you don't know what's going on. You get teleported here and the flyover, specifically for Kharid-et, shows you the important things that are going on, where you can go excavate, where you can go restore,"
~ Mod Timbo
"What we found during longevity testing was that people got to Kharid-et and they weren't really sure what was going on, they did the tutorial, they knew the core loop but they didn't necessarily know what to do next. This little flyover cutscene shows people what's going on."
~ Mod Timbo
After finishing the skill's tutorial, you'll receive the Archaeology Journal. This is similar to that found in the Arc and Menaphos areas but features information relevant to the skill. You can see your current level and qualifications, as well as what relics are currently active, what research you have in the works and how many achievements you have. The journal isn't just a dusty old book, either. It allows you to teleport to the Varrock dig site.
- As well as finding materials, artefacts and soil, you can also find lore mysteries when excavating. These are tracked in the Journals.
- In addition to the mysteries listed in the journal, there's a number of things that you can stumble across and explore in the various dig sites.
- As you restore items, you can see fluff text and historical analysis in the Journal, as well as where you can hand them in to collectors and how many items you have restored.
"We've been careful, so the RNG [for mysteries] isn't obnoxious. The other thing to note is that every mystery, upon completion, is another way of gaining some Archaeology XP. There's some chunky XP for completing these."
~ Mod Rowley
Along with the new Archaeology skill are two new capes, one for reaching level 99 and a second for hitting level 120.
The 120 cape features a dark smoke particle effect that radiates from the bottom of the item, giving it a mysterious vibe.
- There are perks for wearing the level 99 and level 120 capes.
- Similar to other skills there will be a retro version of the Archaeology Skill Cape.
There’s a six-month amnesty for those with the Master Quest Cape due to some of the requirements of Archaeology’s mysteries. Some of these can’t be completed until level 119.
Archaeology also brings some changes to the Agility skill. Now, when you approach agility obstacles, you will see a little icon of a man reaching for something to indicate that there’s a shortcut. These have been added across the Archaeology content, with the plan being to have these implemented across the game.
- Part of the reason for this improvement was to make it clearer there was a shortcut for mobile players.
- Archaeology shortcuts do have an Agility level requirement… but this is actually just level one, meaning that everyone can use them.
- The team has also iterated on the Anachronia Agility course and come up with a system whereby the environment team can map out an Agility spot onto the world.
"Obviously we didn't want something that stood out too much. We may well review it and get your feedback once you start interacting with them, seeing them and seeing if they were obvious enough to you, or if you never even noticed them. But they're a cool addition."
~ Mod Iago
Mod Warden also gave a bit of an update about the future roadmap of content that is coming to RuneScape, saying that his aim was to focus on delivering content that you are asking for. This includes larger tentpole releases like the new Archaeology skill, as well as quality of life updates, new quests, skilling and PVM activities.
He also said that he wants the team to only announce new content when it’s locked in. This is to make sure it doesn’t slip from its release date, and that the content meets your expectations. Under his leadership, RuneScape isn’t likely to have a full-year content roadmap, but Mod Warden says he is talking to the team about thinking longer-term with narrative.
In addition to content updates, Mod Warden says that he wants to improve the tech side of things. This includes supporting higher resolution displays, as well as making sure the text and UI is more readable.
- In the long term, expect a quarterly roadmap rather than a full-year one.
- Tech demos of UI scaling already in the works with the team trying to work out how best to implement it.
“I probably wouldn't expect to see a month-by-month roadmap with dates and timelines from me this year. That's not the way I work. As we start approaching certainty, like we did with Archaeology, we can announce a date, and start the campaign and strategy. We've got trailers and videos we'd like to do and have a lot of fun with, and as we start bringing those out, I'll be sure to get that message and plan in front of players.”
~ Mod Warden
“I personally have a hard time reading the game – the text and font and typeface is very small. I'd like us to be able to address that. We're also in this era of 4K screens. So we’re looking at things like being able to upscale our resolution. We have a lot to do on the mobile front, that's a really big deal for us this year and I believe I have teams to do that alongside everything else we want to bring value to your membership.”
~ Mod Warden
The RuneScape Team