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17 February 2009

Wilderness and Real-World Trading Q&A.

Following on from Mark Gerhard’s responses to some of your questions, Andrew has written his answers to questions about the Wilderness and real-world trading.

Q) 10 Mill 4 – Why did you remove the wilderness?
A) I didn’t want to change the Wilderness, but unfortunately there really was no choice. It was a case of either doing that or suffering even worse consequences down the line. There’s a very detailed explanation of the events and reasoning that led to the changes here.

Q) Andr987 - Would you classify removing the wilderness as a mistake?
A) This is a question I have asked myself over and over again over the last year.

But even after a whole year of thinking about it, and asking: ‘Should I have done it differently?’ we still haven’t come up with a better remedy.

It really was the only solution. I genuinely believe that if we hadn’t acted when we did that RuneScape wouldn’t exist anymore. The Macro's, Real world trading and credit card fraud problem was growing rapidly. If we hadn’t taken action, then it would have gone beyond any possible remedy. Given a further year without action, RuneScape today would be in far worse state than at the height of the RWT problem. There would be bots everywhere you looked, and that’s assuming we hadn’t gone bankrupt from credit card fines and our hard working players leaving because the game lost integrity and they couldn’t access resources. If I could go back in time a year, I would make the same decision again. (Although I certainly would have implemented PvP worlds BEFORE making the other changes, I do think that we launched the PvP worlds far too late.)

Q) Vader7666 - Any chance you guys can admit to ruining the game by removing the wilderness and adding the trade limit?
A) See answer above. I don’t believe we ruined the game, I believe we saved the game and ensured a future for RuneScape.

Q) Fishaddock - are you going to bring back the wild?
A) The wild still exists. If you head north from Edgeville you will find it is still there :), I assume what you really mean to ask is “are you going to bring back PvP?”. In which case I would say: “We already have!” Over the last year we have released a huge amount of PvP content in response to this request. Updates like: Bounty Hunter, Duel Tournaments, Fist of Guthix, Stealing Creation, PvP worlds and Soul Wars. There is more PvP than ever. Even then we don’t consider it ‘done’. Lots of the games can (and will) be further improved.

Of course having said that, we DO need to make content for our non-PvP players as well! Over the last year a huge percentage of our development effort has gone into PvP content, and it’s not fair to neglect our non-PvP players. We are going to keep working on PvP, but the future focus will be on improving and tweaking the PvP games we have already made. We really appreciate the feedback you have been giving us on how to improve these games and make them feel like a good upgrade. We’ve noticed some pretty good suggestions already coming through in the recent ‘questions’ threads, and are seriously considering these now. Personally, I’m particularly keen to make the Duel tournaments work better as they have been a bit disappointing.

Q) Heavenlyevil - Do you intend to remain 'strong' and prevent RWTers from ruining the game despite people constantly requesting the Wilderness to be 'returned'?
A) Absolutely.

Q) Kiper1 - What else will be done to combat Real World Trading (such as using junk to transfer gold between accounts, or people using bounty hunter to transfer money)?
A) I don’t consider junk trading a problem. I am actually quite happy that it is making those ‘junk’ items perceived as more valuable. It doesn’t allow real-world trading, but does let people do the trades they want. I see it as a good thing! Bounty Hunter is going to be further tweaked.

Q) Xxx R4ng3d - Bring Wildy back, it hasn't stopped RWT at all has it!?
A) Whilst there is still some RWT going on (and probably always will be), RWT is now MASSIVELY reduced. In terms of stopping RWT, what we did was a huge undeniable success - botting, RWT, and credit card fraud are all at some of the lowest levels I have ever seen. Indeed, it was even more successful at reducing the problem than I had hoped for. There is still some, of course, and we have ongoing work to do to keep closing loopholes. We still ban people for botting and RWT, and are going to be upping the action we take against the few remaining culprits shortly.

Q) Stonepiloit3 - Doesn't RWT even help profits of RuneScape? This is a theoretical assumption, but I'd guess about 75% of all good items worth RWTrading would be members, making money for Jagex in members subscriptions. And really, less then half of the people in RuneScape can afford/want to buy items like that.
A) Unfortunately not. The fact that many of the gold sellers used stolen credit cards means it had the exact opposite effect. Sadly, they didn’t just stop at breaking the game rules, they also broke real-world laws.

Q) Eb737 - what propositions for change have you got for the trading system?
A) There is nothing huge planned at the moment. We will of course be keeping an eye out for ideas on how to make it even better, (but never such that it allows RWT.)

Q) Samrulz432 - You have bought a type of pking back called pvp, but many people would like pvp to just be in the wild. you could also have worlds where it is worldwide pking, and a couple with just wild pking?
A) I like this idea :) I’ll discuss this with the content team in more detail.

Q) Examine Nut - Is there a way to swap money from one account to another and not break rules?
A) No.

Q) S0ul 0n Fire - Why is the 10%+5 included in the wildy,on pvp servers?
A) We wanted to keep the mechanic where the wilderness is a more dangerous place, and where the deeper into the wildy you go the more dangerous it gets. So whilst it is 10%+5 on most the map, as you go into the wildy it gets more dangerous still.

Q) Pure Ftw Kai - Can you bring back the old Staking rules?
A) We can’t bring back the *exact* old Duelling|staking rules without reintroducing all the problems we originally set out to remedy. However we can hopefully still improve duelling a bit. I’m particularly keen on improving the Duel Tournaments, which are supposed to give the ‘high excitement, high reward’ that staking gave, but I admit they aren’t working quite right at the moment and need revisiting.

Q) Crycket - will we ever be able to give our friends “presents” again?
A) Well, you can already give your Friends List|friends small presents, but not huge ones. The assist system was also intended to be a way people can help their friends. I’m also looking for more ways that people can help (and surprise) each other as long it as can’t be abused. One idea I’m currently mulling over is a way that we can let our players who organise in-game events give prizes to the winners. I’ve got a few ideas on how we might do that, but it needs more thought yet.

Q) B4w13 - Will you be improving PvP, full drops and more wilderness features!
A) Yes we will be improving PvP.

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