Protecting Game Integrity: Revision
Posted on 16 March, 2018
Back in November we released the first iteration of this post and announced our intentions to make changes to content in such a way as to help improve the gameplay experience of legitimate players. You can view the newspost here: Protecting Game Integrity. The post was met with a positive reception, lots of feedback, and a request for us to do more. Some of the content changes we initially suggested have been altered following your feedback, we're going to talk Death mechanics, and Player Support have offered some insight into a relatively recent change in process which has seen some impressive results.
Note that any changes here will be implemented without a poll. However, we are intent on hearing what you have to say about any pitched changes, and we welcome alternative suggestions. Your feedback will continue to be considered for all of the below changes, with no clear release date defined. We will implement any changes only when we're entirely happy with the resolution, and whenever development resource becomes available.
The Death mechanics in Old School RuneScape has been a subject much discussed ever since the mechanics were changed from how they were on its release. On Old School RuneScape's release, the Death mechanics in place were as such: when a player died, in a non-PvP environment, all items carried at the time of death dropped to the floor except for the three most valuable items. Players had 2 minutes (real-time, not logged-in time) to retrieve lost items from the location they died, except if the death occurred in an instanced area (in which case the items were lost). Targeted DDoSing of our game worlds meant that in 2015 we increased this 2 minute timer to 60 minutes. We worked hard to tackle the issues, but it still remains a consideration of ours.
Following the first draft of this post there were calls to either revert to the mechanics of Old School's release, or to introduce new mechanics which would make for more challenging gameplay. There was a vocal call for the introduction of mechanics which would act as a gold sink or/an item sink. In response to this we began tracking additional data to help advise any decision we make, and we have created a survey to gather your input.
Please answer as honestly as possible, utilising the spaces provided for free text to share thoughts and feedback wherever available. You should note that any changes to Death mechanics will not affect the manner in which PvP deaths work.
Complete the survey here: Death mechanics survey.
Since the last integrity news post, the Player Support Team have been focussing on people who persistently break the rules, especially for things like bullying/harassment, offensive language, disruption and scamming.
Very often these players receive temporary offences but never reach the stage of a permanent penalty. This means they can continue to break the rules over and over without any real repercussion. We know this is frustrating for you, and that players in this repeat cycle are responsible for most of the reports we receive. By focussing on those repeat ‘toxic players’ we can greatly improve the community / social environment and dramatically reduce the sheer volume of persistent rule breaking that you may see.
A key strand of this initiative is to allow everyone a chance to change their behaviour, so when we are made aware of repeat rule breaking we apply a very short mute and send a message highlighting our concerns. At that point the player can choose to change their ways, and we will consider the matter closed. They get to carry on playing and they also stop rule breaking, Win-Win!
If players ignore that first warning and we become aware of continued rule breaking, we apply a permanent offence. We’ve been taking this approach for a few months now and I’d like to share with you the impact it has had. 3,759 players have received the short mute and initial warning and 1,159 of those continued to be toxic and now have a permanent offence. The 3,759 players who have come to our attention through this initiative generated 158,149 abuse reports between them – an average of 42 reports for each offender!
The ‘worst’ single account generated 509 abuse reports, and their rule breaking related to ‘giving 10% of what you show in trade’ item scamming. We banned 54 accounts linked to this one persistently scammy player, including the main with 63 million GP, largely obtained from wealth traded to it from the low level scamming accounts used by the same person.
That gives you the context of how a relatively small group of players can be responsible for a lot of repeat rule breaking and toxic behaviour. Over the coming months, we will continue to work with the dev team on tackling toxicity and we’ll keep you updated on our progress. For now, I wanted to pass on a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who challenges unacceptable behaviour by reporting rule breaking to us. Without your reports, we wouldn’t have the leads we need to identify the core people who choose to scam and spread hate. We know most of you do not condone that type of behaviour, and we look forward to working with you in the future to further tackle community toxicity.
Note that all figures cited above were accurate as of February 19th and do not include additional numbers since then.
Everyday we ban thousands of bots in Old School, however, we understand that some do slip through our net. We remain dedicated to ensuring that the anti-cheating team keeps growing, and the methods we use to detect bots keep advancing. Any changes will in no way replace the incredible work done by Mod Weath and the rest of the ICU team. In February alone there were 293,310 OSRS bots banned. The changes to content are solely intended to see if we can improve your playing experience.
Alongside changes to content to tackle botting, we'd also like to propose some changes to help prevent common scams from occurring.
As it stands hunting Chinchompas is readily done by all accounts. Our proposal is unchanged from November, as we're happy with the reception it received. We'd like to add completion of Eagles Peak as a requirement to use Box Traps. If this requirement is added then we'd make changes to the quest to ensure skillers would be able to complete it. Currently the player must kill a level 14 Kebbit to obtain a feather. The change we'd like to make would result in making the Kebbit flee to drop the feather. Again, this change will ensure that completion of the quest will not negatively impact specific account builds.
Anti-Dragon & Dragonfire Shields
This proposal is also unchanged. There were concerns from F2P pures that it would make the builds less viable, but with 42 Quest points possible to obtain in F2P, we're content that it's possible to acquire the 32 Quest points needed without jeopardising the build. We'd like to add starting the Dragon Slayer quest as a requirement to equip both the Anti-dragon shield and the Dragonfire shield. The intention of this would be to make botting dragons more difficult. Note that since only partial completion of Dragon Slayer is required, it shouldn't negatively affect skillers or pures.
Lundail's Arena-side Rune Shop (Mage Arena Rune Shop) and the Magic Guild Store
Both Lundail's shop and the Magic Guild Store are used by bots to buy cheap runes. In November we considered adding completion of The Mage Arena miniquest as a requirement to be able to buy from this shop. This was met with a notable amount of concern from the Ironman community who make use of the shop in the early-game. Additionally we proposed adding The Hand In The Sand as a requirement to purchase from the Magic Guild Store. The reception was that there wasn't enough of a link between using the store and the Quest completion. We're still open to receiving your suggestions on how to implement content changes which don't adversely impact the game.
Zaff's stocked Battlestaffs (not to be confused with the Diary reward) are frequently botted. In November we asked for feedback on a number of player suggestions. The most popular by far was to require completion of the What Lies Below quest. If this was implemented then What Lies Below would be required to purchase Battlestaffs, but other Staffs in the store would still be accessible.
Stealing the Wine of Zamorak
The Monks of Zamorak currently only attack the player if the attempt to pick up the wine. In November we suggested having the Monks attack when it is telegrabbed alongside the monks having their stats increased to make them more dangerous. This would only affect the Wine spawn in the Asgarnian temple and not the one in the Wilderness. This led to some concerns that it'd ruin what is an effective F2P moneymaking method. With this in mind we'd like to add a second floor to the temple. The above changes would apply to the ground floor, but the second floor would be similar to how the ground floor is currently. The second floor would require a full set of Zamorak robes to be equipped, alongside a Total level of 500.
Mage Training Arena: Enchanting Chamber
The Mage Training Arena can be a source of frustration to those having to compete with bots. Originally we pitched adding a Magic level requirement to pick up Dragonstones. Following feedback we'd like to scrap adding this requirement because we felt that it didn't address your complaints. Instead we'd like to make the room a public instance with a maximum capacity, meaning you wouldn't meet more than 5 other players inside (note that the number isn't set in stone and can be adjusted to suit your needs).
Currently it's possible to arrange and pickpocket NPCs in such a way that lends itself to frequent instances of auto-clicking. We'd like to replace the Coins looted from the pickpocketing with another item, the Coin purse. This can be opened to give coins equal to amounts currently pickpocketed. The Coin purse is not stackable, meaning that upon filling a player's inventory they will not be able to continue pickpocketing. To aid players who are paying attention and playing 'normally' we'd like to add an "Open all" option to the purses. This change would mean that players wouldn't be able to auto-click NPCs, but XP rates would be affected by a negligible amount at most. This change will not apply to those NPCs susceptible to blackjacking.
There are many variations of scams which involve tricking players into dropping items in exchange for the promise of wealth or recognition, and then utilising game mechanics to prevent the victim from reclaiming their items. Despite lots of educational messaging over the years which instructed players not to drop any items they don't want to lose, these scams are still somewhat prevalent. To combat these scams we'd like to emulate a measure implemented in RuneScape 3 which prevents items/wealth over a certain value from being dropped. In RuneScape 3 it's 1b gp. We'd obviously opt for a lower value, but we welcome your suggestions as to what value that is.
Changes to the Duel Arena
The Duel Arena is an iconic part of Old School RuneScape, yet it has its problems. The Duel Arena is currently fuelling Real World Traders that stake based on odds to acquire huge sums of in-game gold, which they then sell online. We do not want to remove the Duel Arena from the game as it's particularly iconic to the feel of Old School RuneScape. We received a lot of feedback on the changes initially pitched. Following your feedback we'd like to propose the following:
As mentioned above, we are open to the community's ideas on tackling this issue and we welcome your feedback on the official forums, Reddit, and Twitter. You can discuss this post on our forums
Mods Archie, Ash, Ayiza, Curse, Ed, Ghost, Jed, John C, Kieren, Lottie, Mat K, Maz, Roq, Ry, Stone, Sween, Weath, West & Wolf
The Old School Team