The team was very happy with Twisted League’s success and naturally we were excited to start working on a second League.
Player feedback told us that you wanted more Relics, an extended late game, and for tasks to feel fairer and more rewarding. These goals have shaped our key points of improvement for our next League. More Leagues are coming, and we remain very open to your feedback , so please keep on sending us your brilliant concepts and thoughts of what could make your experience better.
Thinking about what was next for Leagues, a lot of important questions needed answering, such as:
- What exactly is a League? And what is it not?
- What can it offer that is not normally offered in the main game?
- What's the best part about Leagues, and how do we give you more of that?
Leagues: Core design
The core part of Leagues is the combination of tasks, Relics and a unique rule-set.
In Twisted League the rule-set was inspired by the player-made Region-locked Ironman game mode. In our version this meant locking every player in Kourend and Kebos and then disabling teleports and other means of getting away. These rules created a bunch of new challenges for the player, forcing a move away from the established meta and encouraging creative thinking - it rewards adaptability. Players are forced to learn new ways of leveling their skills, to work with limited resources, and to re-think how their ideal end-game setup for gear and weapons would look like, plus how to acquire those items.
As the game-mode is temporary, the Relics are there to help you progress faster, as well as giving you new and different mechanics to play around with. Relics also bring a strategic choice, as you can choose between many combinations to personalize your experience.
Lastly, tasks gave players a purpose. As a system, tasks give us a way to guide new players through a League by presenting small challenges to complete, while also challenging experienced players with tough objectives that otherwise lack a sense of reward in the main game. Each task completed in Leagues gives a set of points based on the difficulty. These points act both as a way to measure performance and also as a currency for unlocking Relics. Some tasks in Twisted League were easy (such as reaching level 10 in woodcutting) while some tasks were so difficult that only a few players managed to complete them. Many tasks are closely tied to the theme of the League, such as the Chambers of Xeric tasks we saw in Twisted League, and players can expect the same in future Leagues.
One of the great things about Leagues is that it gives us the chance to try new concepts and ideas that would not normally fit into the main game. In Twisted League, for example, we gave you the option to unlock a Relic that would boost your attack speed with any weapon. While this is something we could obviously not implement to the main game, it was incredibly fun to play around with. The added bonus is it gives the developers a chance to see how new ideas pan out when put into players' hands. This does not necessarily mean you will see such things implemented to the main game, of course!
What is the next League?
We've encouraged the team to think outside of the box to ensure the next League feels fresh and exciting, and is a completely new experience.
Our first step was to spend two full design days brainstorming new concepts. This was followed by further meetings to polish our designs and squeeze the best out of our ideas. This was harder than expected - there were contrasting opinions on what was and was not crucial, and how to make our crazy ideas fit into the League-formula. Ideally the rule-set, tasks and Relics should work in harmony with each other, but this is difficult when some concepts naturally tend to give space for amazing Relic design, but no room for interesting tasks, or vice versa. Should a concept be dependent on the Relics, or should tasks and Relics adapt to a good concept? There's no right and wrong answer, and these discussions remain ongoing!
Here's a look at some of the ideas we've toyed with throughout the process:
1. Kingdoms and factions
Many of our ideas revolved around letting players join competing regions or factions in Gielinor.
One idea was for the West and East sides of Gielinor to face off. Players could either pick or be assigned to a side at the start of the League, and at specific times a portal would open in the center of the world allowing players to enter the other side. PvP would be enabled between the two regions, so you could attack any player entering your side of the world. This would mean players could acquire items, complete quests or kill monsters on the other side of the would but at the price of having to themselves survive. Another idea was to split the world into smaller regions that would collect resources for a huge PvP battle at the conclusion of the event. While we loved both ideas, we worry that it will be tough to ensure that a player's individual progress would remain interesting within the wider context. After all, personal goals are a big part of Old School RuneScape. However, we still believe in the core of the idea and hope to make it work in the future.
2. PvP oriented Leagues
The idea of a PvP-based League remains very appealing.
One possibility is a League containing elements from a previous RuneScape game mode called DarkScape, which split the world into different regions using separate Banks. This means players only have access to items collected in that region unless transferred across borders in your inventory, which becomes difficult when PvP is enabled everywhere. Another concept, 'Escalation League', gives boosted XP rates in dangerous zones that increase the longer you stay. Of course, if a player dies in such a zone, all experience gained during the session is lost, but you can secure your gained experience and reset the XP-boost multiplier by entering a safe zone.
Our design sessions ran into some problems designing non-abusable tasks. There was also the issue of ensuring things remained interesting for those less keen on PvP. DMM did a good job with this, as any player could still enjoy the increased experience rates and the thrill of surviving in a world with PvP enabled anywhere. This idea also throws up problems with Ironman, as a League with free trade and PvP presents new problems such as boosting for points, transferring items between accounts and more. However, we'd still love a future League along these lines - game modes like DMM could be even more interesting when you throw Relics into the mix!
3. Seasonal League
A Seasonal League's goal is to split Gielinor into four weather seasons that would rotate over the course of one or a few days, meaning each area would have different weather at different times of the day. These conditions could have various effects such as making the player's run energy drain slower in winter, or making farming crops grow faster in spring and yield more in summer. Plus, monsters could stay idle in winter and all become aggressive when it's warm. The general idea is to force players to pick the most optimal region/season at any point according to the goals of their account.
4. Scrambled League
In Scrambled League, all of your skills are mixed around. Through either pre-made pattern allowing you to compete on HiScores, or potentially through a casual random mode, each one of your skills' XP rates would be bound to another skill. Suddenly, when cutting a maple tree you're getting Fishing experience! When pickpocketing a guard you're gaining Runecraft XP! This scrambled way of experience rates forces you to rethink the meta we are all used to, and to plan your journey carefully. If you want to catch end-game fishes, you are going to have to cut trees... but your Woodcutting level is not getting higher as you are cutting the trees, because you now train Woodcutting through combat. Confusing at first glance, but enjoyable once you get to grips with it. This core of the concept works, but we would like some more depth to it before proceeding.
5. Gridlocked League
This League would split Gielinor into small map squares. To give you an idea, one square equates to Lumbridge castle and the area in front of it. Each player starts out being restricted to one of these map squares and as you progress by gaining League Points or completing tasks, you can unlock any adjacent map square. This way, the player can unfold the world to their liking and progress in any direction they want. We were considering this concept as a second League, but there are technical blockers we need to tackle first, such as being able to remember and store any possible number of map squares a player can be allowed to enter, and displaying those boundaries clearly.
Hello ________ League!
However... we have now actually decided on a final concept for our second League! We have finished most of the design and work is beginning. This time, we have added an extra layer of strategic choice - it should make for many very interesting player journeys. We are excited to hear your ideas and theories of what it could be, and we cannot wait to once again play and explore the new League together with you!