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Sailing skill key art

Sailing was proposed to players as a new skill on 27 March 2023 in a blog alongside two other potential skills, Taming and Shamanism. It would allow players to explore and travel across the oceans on their own ship.

Of the three proposed skills, the Sailing pitch received a plurality of votes in the Skill Pitches Poll (36.4% favour), with Shamanism coming in as a close second (33.4% favour). On 25 August 2023, Sailing passed the poll to add it with 71.9% voting in favour of it and thus it will be added to the game at a future date.

Concepts[edit | edit source]

Navigation[edit | edit source]

Ships[edit | edit source]

Players will be able to own a variety of ships, starting with a lower quality vessel and progressing towards better ships and upgrades. A higher Sailing level would grant the ability to command higher quality vessels, along with unlocking the ability to sail across more dangerous and exciting areas. To traverse between land and sea, players will make use of ports all around the world of Gielinor. Ports will also provide a number of utilities such as ship construction, repairs, customisation, crew hiring, and more. There will be alternative points of entry (e.g. mooring points) for locations where having a port would not make sense thematically, such as unsettled lands. While these will allow traversal between island and ship, they will lack all other utilities provided by ports.

Players will be on the actual decks of ships and able to move around via the traditional point-and-click control scheme (a tech demo prototype showcasing this can be found below). Controlling the ship will involve interacting with the Ship's wheel to enter Navigation Mode, in which the camera becomes centered on to the ship. To move the ship, the player can simply click on a sea tile and have the ship sail towards it, eventually coming to a stop once it's reached its destination. Perpetual momentum, in which ships continue to sail in a given direction until obstructed, is also being looked into, possibly as a perk unlock. To exit Navigation Mode, the player can click on the Ship's wheel once again and the camera will re-centre on to the player. It is currently unknown exactly how the control schemes will differ between different ship types.

The ships would be customisable, allowing players to show off their achievements at sea, and will feature facilities (similar to hotspots) that can be outfitted with various upgrades or utilities to interact with. Some given examples of facilities are fishing apparatuses, cargo holds of different sizes, naval weapons (ballistae, cannons, etc.), ship kitchens, or even a crow's nest featuring a detachable camera for better surveyance. Ships will also feature a number of variables that affect how they fare out in sea, such as size, speed, turning speed, and quantity of facilities and floors allowed on the ship. There are three main ship types currently proposed:

Ship Type Description Size # of Facilities # of Floors Base Speed Base Turn Speed Speed in Shallow Sea Speed in Open Sea Speed in Deep Sea
Small Simple vessels intended for solo experiences, but not strictly solo restricted. 2x3-4x3 2-3 1 1.5 tiles per tick 90° in 2 ticks Normal N/A N/A
Large Complex vessels usually for solo experiences, but not strictly solo restricted. 4x6-6x10 4-6 2 1.0 tile per tick 90° in 4 ticks Slow Normal Slow
Colossal Colossal vessels intended for group experiences, but not strictly group restricted.[1] 8x12-10x16 8-10 3 0.5 tiles per tick 90° in 6 ticks N/A Slow Normal
  1. ^ For solo players, there may be the option to hire NPC crewmates to assist with seafaring aboard Colossal ships.

When colliding with other players' ships, they will simply pass through one another similar to how players pass through one another on land. Overlapping ships may be visually represented by shadows along the sea as they pass, with the possible exception of when engaged in PvP.

The sea[edit | edit source]

The current scale of the world tends to make the relative scale of ship and sea to seem a bit "wonky", however the developers will be taking this into consideration when designing the ship and sea regions to minimize that sense. New tech is also being looked into for providing a more immersive sailing experience, such as unrendering certain irrelevant areas while sailing to make the sea seem more expansive.

The sea is currently planned to have three different tiers of sea types: shallow, open, and deep. These types of sea will determine which ships can traverse them and how well they will do so. Certain lands are currently inaccessible until the player achieves a certain milestone, such as completing a quest. These lands will feature immersive restrictions for players who attempt to sail out to them prior to achieving their requirements (e.g. Elvarg will attack ships if the player sails to Crandor and hasn't completed Dragon Slayer I). Since an amateur sailor in a rowboat won't be able to take on everything the sea will throw at them, there will be Sailing-specific progression restrictions as well. Some examples include requiring stronger sails for storms, stronger hulls for reefs, stronger cannons for sea monsters, or enchanted navigational devices for traversing fogged regions.

When sailing into the edge of the map, the team would prefer a more immersive restriction rather than hard stops, and have proposed the edges to feature an endless sea with scenery, but also with hazards that push ships back or even deal damage to those who stay too long in the endless sea borders.

Weather is an integral part of navigation, and as such will present some obstacles within Sailing. It is planned to have the more difficult types of weather to be further out at sea, which is geared more towards end-game Sailing content. Some examples of sailing speed-impacting weather include dynamic winds (emergent which will require adaptation) and static currents (always present in the same location and can be preemptively planned around).

The skill's launch will also feature a complete graphical overhaul of Gielinor's oceans, such as coral reefs, currents, and visual differences for the variety of sea types.

Gameplay loop[edit | edit source]

Whether you’re an explorer setting foot on unexplored territory, a fisherman hoping for a monster catch, a pirate looking to sink every ship in sight, or even a courier looking to move goods from A to B, Sailing has something to offer everyone. So, acquire a vessel, set forth, and travel Gielinor like you’ve never travelled before!

— Official tagline from the initial proposal.

The core gameplay loop of the skill would involve:

  1. Navigating to a port.
  2. Obtaining a ship.
  3. Engaging in fun activities at sea.

Activities[edit | edit source]

Sailing will offer a variety of seafaring activities, which could yield a large amount of experience for the skill. Potential ideas for activities include:

  • Deep sea fishing
  • Hunting elusive sea creatures
  • Navigational challenges, which involve safely navigating the ship across an obstacle or threat
  • Courier missions where cargo must be delivered between certain points
  • Uncovering new islands to explore

Passive gameplay would also be included, which would give less experience than active gameplay. Potential ideas for passive activities include:

  • Recording one's adventures in the Captain's Log
  • Dealing with random encounters, like bad weather and pirates
  • The very act of sailing itself

Rewards[edit | edit source]

This section is a stub. Please help expand it.

Integration and lore[edit | edit source]

The Sailing skill will be first accessed by speaking to Rob, Ned's son, in Port Sarim and starting the Maiden Voyage quest.

Development[edit | edit source]

Jagex will be designing the skill across a number of refinement stages:

  1. Navigation & The Sea (Completed 16 May)
  2. Core Systems & Gameplay Loop (Completed 15 June)
  3. Rewards (Completed 4 July)
  4. Lore & Integration (Completed 26 July)
  5. Final Summary & Poll Blog (Completed 19 August)

Discord server[edit | edit source]

Jagex hosts the New Skill Player Council Discord server, in which new skill related updates, modcasts, and community involvement take place.

Modcasts[edit | edit source]

There will occassionally be modcasts hosted by Jagex in the Discord server, which is a live stream discussing various topics regarding Sailing along with a Q&A towards the end. They are recorded and uploaded to the official Old School Runescape YouTube channel:

Tech demos[edit | edit source]

A tech demo was released on 15 May 2023 showcasing a technical prototype of having a player walk on a ship's deck and being capable of sailing their ship:

Blog and poll history[edit | edit source]

Release Date Type Update
19 August 2023 Poll Summer Summit 2023 - Giga Poll
19 August 2023 Blog Sailing Lock-In Poll
26 July 2023 Blog Adding A New Skill: Sailing Integration & Lore
4 July 2023 Blog Adding A New Skill: Sailing Reward Space
15 June 2023 Blog Adding A New Skill: Sailing Core Gameplay
16 May 2023 Blog Adding A New Skill: Sailing Navigation Mechanics
5 May 2023 Blog Adding A New Skill: Sailing Refinement Survey & Stages Summary
24 April 2023 Blog Adding A New Skill: Sailing Refinement Kick-off
11 April 2023 Blog New Skill Pitches Poll Results
4 April 2023 Poll Skill Pitches Poll
30 March 2023 Blog New Skill Pitches - FAQ and Discord Stages Summary
27 March 2023 Blog Adding A New Skill: Introducing Sailing, Taming and Shamanism
23 January 2023 Poll New Skill: Community Consultation and Poll 78
23 January 2023 Blog Adding A New Skill: Community Consultation
10 December 2022 Poll New Skill
10 December 2022 Blog Adding A New Skill: Our Approach & Your Vote

Slides[edit | edit source]

Slides are presented and discussed during modcasts, and are separated by design stages. They are presented below in the order in which they were presented in.

Navigation[edit | edit source]

Concept art[edit | edit source]