As most of you are probably aware by now, we have made various changes to the combat system for RuneScape 2. This isn't something we did without a lot of careful planning first. In fact far far more design-effort and thought has gone into the combat system then ever before.
We felt that the RuneScape 1 combat system didn't make the best use of all the skills and items which are available in the game. Basically there just wasn't enough variety in the weapons and in the playing styles that were effecitve. RuneScape 2 should change that. We've added a lot of new features to the combat system, such as new Armour for Rangers, new Weapons for Warriors, and new Spells for Mages. We've been testing it to death, and with the beta on the horizon (and indeed rushing towards us) it will be tested even more vigorously. We really appreciate any constructive feedback from our players on the new system, but please remember that we've made quite a few changes and so to be patient as we iron out any problems, which is why we're having a beta!
We decided that the best way to make combat balanced was to make it so each combat-type has it own strength and weaknesses. So a Ranger will have an advantage when fighting a Mage, a Mage will be more likely to win when fighting a Warrior, and a Warrior will be do best when fighting against a Ranger. Of course it is still totally possible for the combat results to go the other way, but it means no single character class should dominate, and should ensure a good balance of different playing styles in the wilderness.
As well as the 'pure' warriors which already exist in the game, we've also tried to make it so it's possible to play as a 'pure' ranger or a 'pure' magician, without having to use melee combat at all. We've made a few changes to make it possible for your character to still advance and become powerful even if you choose to specialise in this way. Of course you can also play as a mixed character, and that should work well too. We've tried to make it so all 4 options have pro's and con's and different styles of playing.
We have nothing against "pures", and indeed due to the changes we've made we imagine that there will be more pure-fighters, pure-rangers, pure-mages, but obviously a character which is trained in more forms of attack will be more flexible and so will stand a better chance of exploiting his/her foes weaknesses.
Ranged combat was a bit weak in RuneScape 1, so all you Rangers rejoice as we've taken a good look at ranged combat and made some changes that we think have improved it. Firstly the damage you'll be inflicting with your missiles has been balanced with melee damage, which mostly means you'll now be dealing a bit more damage. Secondly you can now keep using your ranged weapon, even when being attacked in close combat. This does mean you'll keep expending your ammunition in close combat, but also means that you don't need to rely on Melee combat if the enemy manages to get too close. So if you are a pure ranger, and can't swing a sword to save your life, you'll still have a chance. To help you with your dream, we will be adding a Ranging Guild to the members servers for the full release of RuneScape 2! Also when you use ranged combat, rather than just always getting 'ranged' xp, it is now possible to gain Ranged, Defence, and Hitpoints experience (which you gain depends on the combat style you choose). This way someone playing as a 'pure' ranger, can still gain all the levels they need to become powerful and defend themselves without having to fall back on melee combat.
We wanted to make Magic a much more independent skill, much like Ranged is and has been, and not something that was just used as an extra attack in melee combat. This change is reflected in the combat level change (see below) and, like Ranged, you can no-longer cast magic and fight at the same time. You will find that you've been given a few new spells to play with which we hope you'll find useful, these are Bind, Snare, and Entangle. The purpose of all 3 spells is to hold your opponent in place giving you time to get some distance between you to cast your other spells. Once successfully cast the victim is prevented from moving for 5,10, or 15 seconds (depending on the spell), however it will not stop them from attacking or using their own abilities. Once the hold effect has worn off, the victim will be immune to these holding spells for 5 seconds, giving them a chance to come after you and get their revenge. Magic has been changed so that it no-longer "fails", it now only misses like Ranged attacks. So no-longer will you find your Mage defenceless for 20 seconds because of a botched spell. Magic attacks will normally only give you Magic and Hitpoint experience, however if you use a Staff defensively you will also get a small amount of Defence experience. So all of you who only wanted to play as a pure-mage, your wish has been granted and you will be just as effective as any other character.
With all the changes to the other skills, it's only fair that we had a look at melee combat as well. We noticed that most players only used a small range of weapons, mostly 2-Handed Swords and Battleaxes, which is pretty poor considering the range of weapons available. We wanted all the weapons in RuneScape 2 to be useful so, as you may already know, we've introduced new resistances! You will now find that you have Stab, Slash, Crush, Ranged, and Magic Defence & Attack stats on all your armour and weapons. The defence stats work like a bonus to your defence against the different attack types. So for instance, if you are attacked by someone wielding a Warhammer, an obvious Crush type weapon, then your armours Crush defence will be used to resist the attack. You will also find that you have several attack styles you can use with each weapon, with some weapons this even allows you to change the damage type of your attack. For instance Long Swords are good Slash type weapons, however with the click of a button you can change your attack to a Stab type. This allows for much more tactical combat, as you'll want to use the Damage type which your opponent is weak against. Melee experience is as it always has been, you'll get Attack, Strength, Defence, and Hitpoint experience depending on your combat style. There is even more good news for you die-hard Warriors, the much famed Dragon Slayer Quest has been altered to give players the option of completing it without Magic. With the new Armour changes we felt it was a little odd only giving armour which would be mostly used by Warriors to those with Magic abilities. I'm not going to give any information away as to how to do it, and no the map pieces aren't tradeable, but I promise that there is a way.
Due to these combat system changes, we've changed also updated the Prayers. This is to remove the bias towards helping Melee fighters and blocking Rangers. 'Paralyze Monster' has become 'Protect from Melee'. 'Protect from ranged' is still available as before. And we've added a new prayer - 'Protect from Magic'. All 3 of these prayers will provide you with 100% protection from damage dealt by NPC's, and 50% protection from damage delt by players. However you will only ever be able to have 1 of these prayers active at once, and an Icon appear will over your characters head indicating which prayer you have active. So you will have to choose the one best suited for the situation.
Much like the combat skills, Armour is now in 3 distinctive types... Mage Armour, Ranger Armour, and Melee Armour. Each of these is good at defending against different attacks, so an armour which can block a mighty melee attack, might not be so great for blocking magic spells, or dragon breath. Any class can wear any armour if they choose, although it doesn't always make sense to do so. For example a Warrior may choose to wear robes or leather armour, but they'll be sacrificing their defensive value of their Plate Armour to do so.
Mage Armour currently only includes the original wizards robes and hats with all the Magical bonuses they hold, however who knows that the future holds for those of the magical arts. Ranger Armour is a whole new range (no pun intended) of armour for RuneScape-2. The new Ranger Armours are all types of leather, going from your basic Leather, through Hard Leather and Studded Leather, up to Dragonhide Leather! This armour won't provide as much defence as the Rune Plate Armour you are all used to, however it will increase your ranging ability by a good percentage making it well worthwhile for all you archers. Melee Armour is everything else, all the plate and chain mail you've always had, and just as defensive as it should be. While your metal armour will make you a walking tank in melee combat, it will severely affect your Ranged and Magic abilities. Plate armour is great for stopping enemy attacks, but it isn't particularly flexible so don't expect to be able to shoot the fly off a dogs back while wearing it.
You will probably also remember Multi-way Combat being mentioned in the past, and we've seen a lot of questions and speculation as to how it will work, well wonder no more. There are now specific areas in RuneScape 2 in which Multi-way Combat is active, the West side of the Wilderness is entirely Multi-way Combat and so quite a few other areas where we felt it would be fun to allow NPC's and Players to gang up on each other. In these areas things can get pretty mad, so if you want to have massive war you can do so! These are now the only areas where you can attack the same creature as someone else, so if you're not in a Multi-way Combat area that Goblin you've just jumped is all yours and not even a Mage or Ranger can attack it.
Players will also find that they are no longer stuck in combat for 3 rounds. Yes that's right, you can now run from combat at anytime you wish to. In fact, you can do pretty much anything you want while your opponent beats you over the head with an axe; eat food, drink potions, and even pick things up off the ground, but you will be giving your opponent free attacks against you while you're attention wanders. To counter this there is nothing to prevent your opponent from chasing you immediately as you leave combat, and you can be attacked while fleeing for your life. So while you can no longer "catch" your opponent, you can hit the coward in the back repeatedly as they run for safety. As it's now possible to move while being attacked we've had to change the definition of "being in combat" for purposes of logging out. If you've been attacked in the last 10 seconds you are considered to be in combat, so as long as you hit your opponent every 9 seconds or so they won't be able to log out while fleeing from you.
Naturally this does mean that the old player-killing tactics probably won't work as well. You'll need to work out a whole new set of tatics instead, so please do try to work out these new tactics before passing judgment. As always, we appreciate all constructive comments and suggestions, but we do ask that you at least give the new system a try first. We had a big play test of this new system in the office today, and found it a great deal of fun.
New combat level calculation:
When you first log into RuneScape 2 you may notice that your combat level has increased or fallen, don't panic! Even if it gone down it does NOT mean you are weaker. This is merely because we have changed the formula which is used to determine your combat level to be a more accurate and fair. In RuneScape 1 your Ranged level would be used to calculate combat level instead of Attack and Strength ONLY if it was the higher skill, well now Magic works in the same way. This is to reflect the fact that you can't cast spells AND wield a sword at the same time.
We aren't going to go giving out exact equations, but for those of you who like to know how things work here comes a brief explanation.
- If melee combat is your strongest ability, then your combat level is based on your Strength+Attack+Defence+Prayer+Hitpoints.
- If ranged combat is your strongest ability, then your combat level is instead based on your Ranged+Defence+Prayer+Hitpoints.
- If magical combat is your strongest ability, then your combat level is based on your Magic+Defence+Prayer+Hitpoints
Some of you may find that a little complicated, but there's no need to worry, just keep in mind that your reported combat level may well have changed, and not to worry about it too much. It doesn't mean you are weaker, it's just the result of a more accurate equation.
You will probably also notice that the experience points you're getting from combat has changed. The way experience was calculated in RuneScape 1 meant that the best way to level-up was to fight low level creatures like chickens, which didn't really make much sense. So we've changed how the experience values are calculated to try and make higher level creatures give a better levelling-rate compared to the lower level creatures.
Runes and Runecrafting
As we want to increase the usability of Magic and make it as useful as Ranged and Melee we are increasing the availability of Runes in the game. So you will now be finding more Runes from NPC's, Shops, and Thieving Chest. In addition we are going to be adding a new skill, Runecrafting, which will allow players to craft their own Runes! Not much information is available at the moment, but be assured that the skill is in the beta. Obviously these changes on their own would make Magic a lot easier to level, so we are reducing the amount of experience you get per spell to balance it. With more Runes available it should be just as easy to level up, you will just get to cast more spells for your money!
More intelligent monsters
I mentioned earlier that NPC's will gang up on players in the Multi-way Combat areas, well that's not the only trick they've got up their loot filled sleeves. You will find that NPC's now have access to the same equipment and abilities as you do, and then some. We don't want to give away all the surprises, but surffice to say that you can expect to be on the receiving end of arrows, spells, and other tricks, when attacking some NPC's. You should also note that what you see an NPC equipped with, is what it's going to be using in combat. So if you intend to train on the poor Guards of Varrock, you should take weapons which are good against the Chain Mail they're wearing. With some creatures, such as Dragon's, it won't be quite as obvious which weapons will be the most effective, but try it out and you'll soon find the weaknesses of your favorite monsters.
Along with all the other changes we've been making combat will now be a much more interesting and involved part of the game. With a much greater range of tactics and options open to you, and to your opponents, we hope it will bring more excitement into the game, whether you're leveling up on a local Goblin camp, or fighting for your life in the Wilderness.
We do realise that these changes may need some tweaking during the beta to get it right, and we have several ideas should we need them.
If you are a member than the best place to discuss this is on our official forums. This is where your comments and ideas are most likely to be noticed by our dev-team. Any constructive comments or suggestions are very much welcome, as is feedback on the new experience values. We really do appreciate all constructive feedback on the new system, infact we want your comments.
But please appreciate that change isn't a bad thing, if you don't like the new system then please suggest how we can improve it more to your liking. We want to make a balanced system, but we also want a system which you'll like. That's why we're having a beta test!
So enjoy the new combat system, it should be a lot of fun :-)