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OSRS devs will make choices players won’t like, but for “good reason”

Old School Runescape is, at its core, a community game, but sometimes the OSRS devs need to make "tough" choices that some "won't like."

OSRS devs will make choices players won't like, but for "good reason": A skeletal figure in a purple hooded cloak with red eyes stares into the camera, fiery smog surrounding him

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about Old School Runescape, it’s that it’s very much a community-driven project. For me, it feels akin to Final Fantasy 14 or World of Warcraft Classic: the players are at the core of the experience. But, when I ask senior narrative designer Ed Pilkington how the team balances enacting feedback with safeguarding the game’s health, he says that, sometimes, “tough” choices need to be made.

For instance, Old School Runescape‘s latest addition, Defender of Varrock, is slightly different from what we see in the original MMO. The Mahjarrat Saga will also end completely differently, with Ritual of the Mahjarrat being left on the cutting room floor in favor of a “new, unique finale” that better suits OSRS.

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While the response to the new and improved Defender of Varrock seems to be relatively positive, I ask Pilkington how the team balances implementing player feedback and standing its ground.

“Striking that balance on community feedback is always a tough one,” he tells me. “Much of Old School’s success comes from our community interaction and we should never be going against community desires without good reason. That said, it is sometimes necessary to do so.

“The main thing for us to focus on is making sure that, even if something we’re doing isn’t necessarily what the players want, it should still benefit them,” he continues. “For example, while people may not like it when we rebalance equipment, doing so can open new gaps for future equipment, giving people new unique items to play with that otherwise may not have existed.”

OSRS devs will make choices players won't like, but for "good reason": A blocky character wearing a horned helmet and wielding an axe in his left hand as zombies shamble towards him in the background, colored green

If there’s one thing that never ceases to amaze me, it’s Jagex’s communication with its playerbase. In many ways, it’s quite special – we’ve seen how well players have reacted to Arrowhead’s transparency with Helldivers 2, and Jagex paved the way for that. So sure, some decisions aren’t easy, but having communicative devs makes any disappointment go down a little easier.

If you’ve already completed Defender of Varrock and are waiting for the next chapter of the iconic saga, we have a list of free MMORPGs that’s perfect for you. Alternatively, if the ‘massive’ part of MMO puts you off, we have a rundown of all the best fantasy games instead.

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