It's time to fix the completionist cape, or the comp cape as it's known to its friends.
You might be asking, what needs fixing? Well, that's what this dev blog is about.
The comp cape ought to be the premiere achievement in the game for completionists, with the trimmed cape going even further above and beyond. Every new update should bring new joys and make completionists happier and happier. Instead we see wailing and gnashing of teeth. Every new comp requirement is met with frustration by those players who see re-comping as a frustrating chore. We've responded to that by including fewer comp requirements, which the actual completionists are also frustrated by. This then becomes a tightrope for our developers, and we've seen comp reqs, or lack of them, completely sink the player opinion of an otherwise great update.
Why is this?
The problem comes down to the stats and utility on the comp cape. The original intention for the comp cape was that you'd be able to wear it all the time without missing your other capes. For this reason, it stacks the benefits of all other capes together. The problem with this approach is that all capes stacked together is vastly more effective than any other individual cape.
Many players, especially dedicated bossers, feel that the comp cape is so powerful that it's necessary for competitive performance. In particular, a lot of these players are not motivated by completionism. They have no interest in completing all content, instead preferring to play a specific kind of content they enjoy. This is a perfectly valid playstyle, but it is not the audience that the comp cape was originally aimed at. At the same time, some players who actually are completionists are frustrated that comp doesn't actually require completionism.
In short, the people who most benefit from the stats and utility on comp are not the same people who enjoy the content and challenge that comp provides. This is the first and biggest problem we need to fix.
Fixing this would allow us to fix the second biggest problem, which is the requirements themselves. For a few years now we've been consciously avoiding having comp actually be about completionism, instead trying to minimise the reqs to make comp easier to get and maintain. This has left comp with a very confused identity where its reqs seem quite arbitrary because no consistent rules are applied.
We need to create a stricter and more specific definition of what fits on comp and trimmed comp. This would then allow both developers and players to be more confident of what is and isn't a comp req rather than everything being an unexpected surprise.
The third significant problem we're aware of are specific problematic requirements which keep recurring, especially reaper and castle wars. Reaper has two closely related issues - it adds both hard PVM content and forced group content as requirements, which locks out players who can't or won't do either of those things.
This is exacerbated by the fourth problem, which is that once you're maxed (itself no small feat) the next thing to aim for is comp, and if you're not going to comp you don't really have anything else to aim for. This means that a player who is locked out of comp (either because they can't or won't do some of the reqs, or they don't have time to earn comp before the reqs get even further away) is effectively locked out of RuneScape's endgame.
To summarise the problems:
- Comp's best in slot stats and utility compel non-completionist players to get it and hate the process.
- Comp and trim comp requirements are inconsistent and unpredictable.
- Some controversial requirements lock players out of comp, and thus endgame play.
- Comp is such a huge leap after maxing that there is no practical endgame for many players.
So what are we going to do about it?
The most important point is that we're going to ask you, the players. We have some ideas on how to fix comp, but it's a hugely important and controversial part of the game. The point of fixing comp is to make the game better, not worse.
With this dev blog, we're putting a poll in game to ask you for your opinions. We're not pitching a final design and a yes/no guaranteed content poll at this stage. Instead, it's more of a survey, asking you your opinion on several issues, and we're going to do our best to take those opinions into account when we do write the design.
The reason it's not a guaranteed content poll is that we need to look at the data and think about what it means. We'll be distinguishing between players who've ever had comp, and players who've never had comp, and this could make it more complex than a simple majority. For example, say a majority vote to remove some requirements, but the overwhelming majority of compers vote against it. We'll need to carefully consider what to do in that situation rather than just automatically going with the slight majority.
It's going to be a complicated issue to solve, because we are aware of how strongly a lot of players feel about the hard work they've put in to their capes. We don't want to take away anyone's accomplishment, or devalue effort previously spent, or make anyone feel like they wasted their time. At the same time we need to find a solution which works for a (hopefully) overwhelming majority of players and improves the game for everyone.
By the time you read this, the poll will be live in game so please jump in and give us your opinion. The poll outcome will help us decide on an initial approach to problems 1, 2 and 3. This isn't your only chance to give your opinion or have input on the project - this is only the start of the community interaction, not the end.
You may feel frustrated when answering the poll that there isn't enough detail to know exactly what you're voting for. At this stage we're not polling anything specific. For example, you won't find a question asking whether reaper should be on comp or castle wars should be on trim comp. This is specific detail that will come later, and it may make sense to poll it at that stage once the overall design is firmer.
You might feel like you don't have enough information yet to answer the questions, but the idea is to gauge the generalities rather than the specifics. For example, question 3 asks about removing old requirements from comp if they don't fit the definition. Rather than trying to game the outcome in order to get specific requirements kept or removed, it'd be more useful to us if you could honestly answer the question of whether you think maintaining old requirements is more important than having a strict definition.
If you are really interested in the specifics, the best thing to do is join us in the comp cape rework Discord channels on the official RuneScape Discord server: https://www.discord.gg/rs
In addition to the poll, there are a few changes we intend to make that we haven't included on the poll because they're not really controversial. None of this is final at this stage, but we think they're good solutions to some of the issues.
The actual stats on comp are tricky, and there are a couple of questions in the poll about it, but the utility benefits (like spirit cape, ava's, etc) are arguably more powerful and relevant to the cape being seen as essential. We can fix this by changing the utility benefits that comp has to be passive in nature in the first place.
For example, we could add in a new dungeoneering shop reward which requires the spirit cape and permanently unlocks the effect of the cape as a passive bonus on the player, regardless of whether a player is wearing the spirit cape or not. Solving utility benefits in this way means that the controversial problem of how to get the best in slot cape only needs to deal with stats, and this simplifies problem 1 a lot.
We can address problem 4 (comp being inaccessible) by adding in other capes of accomplishment which are more specific and/or require less work to obtain. For example, we could add in several PVM capes and skilling capes which get harder and harder to obtain giving lots of different players something to aim for. The controversial part of this would be what stats the capes would have, which is why we're asking this in the poll.
Finally, assuming we can find a good solution to the problem of mandatory stats, we would definitely expect to have a much more specific definition of what should and shouldn't be on comp and trim comp in the future. This is something we need to do anyway - the complicated part is how we deal with the effects this would have on current and future compers.
So get involved, vote in the poll, come chat on Discord, and we can fix comp together!
Mod Jack and the Four Direction Team