After Jagex released his most recent boss, Kerapac, the Bound, as the first front of the Elder God Wars Dungeon, players have talked about the nature of RuneScape Death’s costs in the game. The discussions became a hot topic when a “free death week” was launched alongside Kerapac, when players enjoyed the new content without worrying about the repercussions.
Death costs in RuneScape
In RuneScape, if a player dies, they are sent to the Office of Death, where Death will keep items that you would normally lose. By returning the money to Death, you can get your items back.
If a player wears a Death Ring when they die, they will avoid Death and respawn at the last spawn center they visited. All of its elements will remain intact, but the Ring of Death will lose a significant amount of charges.
Wearing a Ring of Death tends to be cheaper, as recharging it with Onyx Gems is much cheaper than paying Death to get your high-level gear back.
At first glance, it seems that players who want a less punishing death mechanic simply have the right and want an easier, risk-free game. But when looking at a Reddit post made on behalf of PvME (Gamers vs Monsters Encyclopedia, a gaming community that focuses on PvM data), the problem becomes clear.
Disproportionate risk versus reward
The death costs are proportional to the Great Trade value of the item, which is one of the biggest sources of the problem.
This means that death costs can fluctuate frequently when updates are released or when players discover cheats or a new use for existing gear.
Additionally, higher tier items are exponentially more expensive than the damage boost they provide. And this also means that the costs of death are largely arbitrary, with two different gears of the same level having drastically different death costs.
This means that incredibly expensive items that give around a 2% increase in DPM (damage per minute) will result in exponentially higher risk. This discourages people from upgrading their equipment, which is against the nature of MMOs like RuneScape.
“Switchscape” (a term used to describe item changes in high-level bosses for optimal kill times) is also affected by this. This is because Switchscape requires multiple high-level equipment that the player trades in during the course of the boss fight.
This, in turn, further increases RuneScape Death’s costs, due to the increased amount of gear that must be recovered from death.
Similar to how team upgrade discourages, the disproportionate risk versus reward for making high-level bosses discourages players from trying new content. JMods (Jagex moderators) have stated that they are constantly re-evaluating death costs because they discourage players from participating in the content they create.
Essentially, as developers, they want players to test the new content they release, and the death costs actively drive players away.
Effect on students
At first, it may seem that death costs hit the best PvMers. However, they affect students more, as dying is inevitable when learning bosses, and players can quickly lose their entire bank before making a profit.
With the number of party bosses in the game, PvMers are less likely to accept apprentices because in many cases, if one person messes up, all death could be lost, resulting in huge costs for the entire team. This creates an even higher barrier to entry for people who want to get into PvM.
Lack of ring diversity
As mentioned above, Ring of Death can drastically reduce the costs of dying. But this means that Ring of Death is essentially a must-have in most scenarios, as the added utility and damage increases from other useful rings are outweighed by the risk of higher death costs in RuneScape.
RuneScape Cost of Death Solutions
Many solutions have been proposed, such as limiting death costs, a way to activate the Ring of Death without using it, or changing the way death costs are calculated in RuneScape.
OSRS (Old School RuneScape) introduced a new death system recently, where death costs are capped at a price that depends on the boss encounter. His system avoids double burial, has a system for sacrificing items and storing value in the death chest, and still continues to punish for dying. Something like this could be implemented very easily in RS3, since we already have an improved item recovery service in Death’s Office.
u / PvM_Encyclopedia
Jagex is apparently discussing fixes to the problem internally, but for now, they’ve allowed teleporting off (most) of the bosses in today’s update. Multiple bosses could not be teleported, and many of them are party bosses.
This meant that if one player dies and the kill is lost, everyone else had no choice but to die and equip the Ring of Death that they hopefully brought along.
Being able to teleport out of bosses (except for Telos due to the kill streak mechanic) is a small step towards fixing the problem. We can hope that a suitable solution can be implemented soon.
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