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How the initial plan for the rework addressed the profitability point brought up in the Runescape dev diary

For those who don't know:

Most of the time you'd make bars of the new materials. These would be tradeable, and could be consumed en masse via a 'Work Orders' to get Smithing xp but no product. In doing this, a large sink is created for bars. The resulting demand from which makes bar making a profitable but slow xp rate method (similar to making unfinished potions).

Furthermore whilst training Smithing and/or Mining (encouraging DIY), you'd occasionally receive untradeable tertiary ingredients necessary for actually making items of the new metals (essentially fulfilling the function of rare drops, which helps keep their value up). In addition, these pieces of gear could also be melted down into folded bars, but more on them later. Any gear produced through this method would have had stats 8 lvls lower than its tier (helping minimize the effect on PvM drops).

Personally, as this is the most basic form of these armors, I would not be against it if they had been fairly short-lived, degrade to dust items suited mostly for welfare gear (automatically sinking them, and creating a niche for their use).

As part of the mastery system, should you have make enough of a certain type of gear (full helm, platebody, etc...), you'd then be able to use folded bars to make an enhanced version of that armor piece dubbed 'Masterwork' with stats 5 lvls lower than its tier. In doing this, a sink was created for the basic gear outside of its position as welfare gear (helping keep its value up), and the creators of this gear type was limited both by player and by type of armor piece to those who invested ample time and resources to the skill (similarly to people moving from a less difficult monster to a more challenging one).

Given the investment in making this type of gear, I’d probably make it degrade to dust with a slightly below average degrade time, but have it be repairable with folded bars. This would add yet another sink for the basic gear, and would make it so that one cannot annul the sinks up to this point by using Invention (augmented degrade to dust gear doesn’t last forever).

At this point, the original plan had one more step: should you make even more of a certain type of armor piece (more time and resource investment), you’d eventually be able to further enhance a piece of Masterwork gear. This would be accomplished by taking the aforementioned piece of Masterwork gear, the equivalent piece of dragon gear, and the equivalent piece of Orikalkum gear (the new t60 ore/metal) to the Dragonkin forge (WGS post-quest reward). Once there, you’d combine the aforementioned items into a stronger piece of gear, known as ‘Honed Masterwork’ (stats are 2 levels lower than tier).

Runescape dev diary

The high investment required to even be able to make a single type of Hone Masterwork gear is meant to keep its own value up. The usage of Dragon, Orikalkum, and Masterwork gear in making it creates a sink for those items beyond high alchemy or Invention so as to help keep their values up as well. Considering just how much is put into making these items, I’d make them degrade back to the piece of dragon gear used in their creation and have it be able to be repaired with folded bars (makes PvM gear slightly more desirable for use with Invention (you’d only be getting the piece of dragon gear back after all)).

All that being said, why would somebody choose to use such hard to obtain gear when it’s still 2 lvls worth of stats worse than the equivalent PvM gear? The answer is, of course, they probably wouldn’t. The simplest solution I can think of for solving this is to make it so that each Honed Masterwork piece can be combined with certain pieces of PvM gear (ex: Aetherium can be combined with t90+ melee (strictly melee, no sunspear shenanigans) gear, Invictum t80-t89, Necronium t70-t79) to create an untradeable product even stronger than either of it’s parts (I’m thinking stats 2-5 lvls higher than the PvM gear used). This would degrade back to the PvM gear used, ensuring continued demand for the Honed Masterwork pieces.

But wait, I hear you typing, didn’t you say that very few people would be able to make Honed Masterwork gear? To that I say, I’m glad you were paying attention. My solution to that is to make it so that combining Honed Masterwork and PvM gear requires very little/no Mastery on the player’s part (simply a Smithing level dependent on the type of metal the Honed Masterwork piece is (ex: lvl 79 to use Necronium Honed Masterwork)).

By doing this, you create an Overload-like situation for PvMers (reach level, gain benefit), while simultaneously giving skillers willing to make the investment a method for potentially substantial profitability (supplying the Honed Masterwork gear) and maintaining the item sinks throughout the system so that skillers who have yet to reach that level of investment can also turn a profit.

At this point, I feel I should address some of the other concerns that might pop up.

Q: Why should Mastery be gear piece dependent, wouldn’t it be silly to make it take as much investment to make both Necronium and Aetherium Masterwork/Honed Masterwork?

A: That would be silly, yes. That is why I’d imagine Mastery, while dependent on the type of piece, would have different points for unlocking each metal’s variants. A crude example would be as follows (please note, M will be used in place of Masterwork, and HM in place of Honed Masterwork):

M Necronium<M Invictum<HM Necronium<< M Aetherium< HM Invictum<<<HM Aetherium

Q: If Mastery were dependent on the type of piece made, wouldn’t everyone just make a ton of low tier stuff?

A: Probably not. Consider how RS is structured in terms of xp rates: higher level equivalents (ex: rune bar vs adamant bar) give a better rates). Knowing that, it’s not absurd to apply the same principle to Mastery: making Aetherium boots gives more progress than making Invictum boots.

Q: But what about the Lava Flow Mine, Living Rock Caverns, Blast Furnace, or AW?

A: Lava Flow Mine: What about it? It’s just Mining xp with no product. Nothing really needs to change about it, just make so that it doesn’t provide any of the tertiaries needed for making gear.

Living Rock Caverns: As far as we know, runescape gold and silver aren’t changing, so the concentrated rs gold deposits are fine (also addresses concerns over the Godsword gauntlets). All that really needs to change are the coal deposits, and all you really need to do for that is swap them out for Imcandum/Dragonsblood (the new, higher level ‘coal’). This can either be done totally (no longer gives coal, only the new stuff), or partially (the deposits give a set amount of xp per mine, but have a chance of giving any one of the 3 ‘coals’ with the better variants becoming more common with higher mining levels and pickaxes).

Blast Furnace: This one’s actually a pretty simple fix, imo. With bar recipes moving away from multiple ‘coal’ per bar, the Blast Furnace can still make your ‘coal’ go further. For Steel through Orikalkum, why not have the furnace essentially double the ‘coal’ put in rather than simply halving the coal needed? In other words, while it may normally take 4 rune ore and 2 imcandum to make 2 rune bars after the rework, using the Blast Furnace would reduce that to 4 rune ore and 1 imcandum.

AW: This one’s a bit odd to me. With Work Orders meant to become the new go to method for Smithing training, training the skill is essentially becoming AW (the main difference being that bars go in rather than ores). That being said, simply leaving AW alone puts it into a Livid Farm-like position (less xp, resulting in slower points and a long grind).

The main issue with incorporating it is the amount of time that would be spent on models for each of the workshop’s products for the new metals (also, while ceremonial swords for the new metals would be cool to have, I’m pretty sure that would somewhat undermine quite a few bosses). To this end, I point to the lore.

Canonically, steel is probably the best ratio of efficacy to cost for most non-adventuring types on Gielinor, with Rune being incredibly expensive. Knowing this, it makes sense that next to nobody would be able to afford a ceremonial sword or burial armor of these higher level metals, nor would they wish to waste these rare materials.

As such, I propose an addition to the workshop: experimental cannon part construction. Using recolored models of repaired cannon pieces from the canon repair activity in the Workshop and a variation of the interface from the burial armor activity, have the player follow a dwarf’s instructions to make cannon parts out of the new metals (any buffs to burial armor xp apply here too). Hopefully, this much reuse of existing assets should make this more manageable.

Q: They want to take away our crystal pickaxes.

A: That’s not a question, but I get the gist. Yes, that was part of the initial idea. At this point, however, it’s kind of unfeasible as the crystal pick is now augmentable and being used by many to train Invention (and there’s no a very good way to reimburse players for stored item xp). 

So where does that leave the crystal pickaxe then? As it is non-degrading, the most straightforward solution would be for pickaxes to degrade, leaving the crystal pickaxe the highest tier pickaxe you can have on your tool belt and the best non-degrading pickaxe in the game. Not exactly the best condolences, but it is there.

Alternatively, instead of having the Aetherium Pickaxe require a Dragon Pickaxe to make, like the original plan had, have it require a Crystal Pickaxe to make instead. Voila! Problem solved.

Q: What about the changes to PvM drops?

A: Yes, those need to be looked at and adjusted. That being said, it is important to note that it was stated at one point (if somebody can remind me where, please do) that even with the reworked alch values rune would still alch into more coins than adamant does now. Furthermore, as it remains a t50 armor, it will still disassemble into the same parts and components at the same ratio, which should also help keep its value up.

It’s important to keep in mind three aspects of reworking drop tables that they discussed. First, Smithing products up to and including Orikalkum could and would still be used in drop tables. Second, they’d be specifically reworking the drop tables of monsters that depend on their metal/ore drops for profit. Altogether, these factors mean that most slayer monsters and bosses will have their drop tables reworked and any monsters that don’t rely so much on these drops should only take a minor hit at worst.

Q: Wouldn’t high lvl armor from Smithing undermine (pun very much intended) bosses?

A: Potentially, yes. More likely, no. Assuming Jagex reasonably balances the new armors it shouldn’t be that much of an issue. The untradeable tertiaries limit just how often even a piece of basic gear can enter the game. So assuming the basic gear either doesn’t last that long or those tertiaries are fairly rare, it is not all that difficult to make PvM gear the more appealing option of the two. 

Carrying on to Masterwork and Honed Masterwork, the supply of these is, first and foremost, limited by the supply of basic gear and, by extension, the tertiaries. Beyond that, you have the investment needed to even achieve a high enough Mastery that a player would even be able to make any one piece of this gear and the time it would take to make the folded bars. To say the very least, the supply is going to be limited. And should they give them the degrade mechanics I mentioned earlier, PvM gear becomes generally more attractive for use in Invention.

Going even further on this front is the idea of combining Honed Masterwork and PvM items. In doing so, demand for PvM gear is maintained, and demand for Honed Masterwork is increased. It’s a system that benefits both parties, and I truly hope they implement something along these lines.

Q: What about coal/rune? They’re kind of staples of the economy.

A: Yeah, that they are, which makes this a fairly difficult bit to answer. I suppose a decent way to handle coal would be to make the various fuel sources exchangeable in bar recipes. Treat it like how Invention treats divine energies when making divine charges. For example, you could use a single imcandum to make a rune bar, or you could use 4 pieces of coal instead, or you could use 8 coal instead of a single dragonsblood if you wanted to make an orikalkum bar.

As for rune, there’s not exactly a good way to about it. Replacing it as a mob drop is fairly simple (replace with coin drop or an item purely used for alching), but existing rune itself is a tougher problem to tackle. Considering we will know such a change is coming beforehand, I’m personally of the opinion that people should be able to clear out their stockpiles before the update hits. I suppose another option would be to take another Overload-like method.

Why not allow players to convert rune gear to supplemental armor kits with a high enough Smithing level? These would be untradeable consumables that would apply a temporary damage reduction buff. That way, we get new demand for rune gear in order to help keep its value up.

Q: What about clue scroll rewards?

A: As with Smithing and Mining product dependent drop tables, this was one of the bits specifically stated to be getting reworked with the M&S Rework.

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