Last week, we made the decision to cancel the Weapon Diversity update. While we're still going to bring diversity to weapons in the future (see the 'What's the Plan?' section), the project that was Beta tested over the past month has been cancelled.
We haven't taken the decision lightly, particularly as Weapon Diversity had been due - for some time - to be a summer release that would give you something new to play after The Land Out of Time, and bringing diversity to weapons would be a real boon to the game.
So, what happened?
Following the Weapon Diversity Beta, we came together as a team to discuss the feedback and issues. If you've been playing the Beta, these should hopefully feel familiar:
- The overriding impression was that the effects weren't chunky or transformative enough. Players were expecting utility benefits, similar to the two-square attacks of halberds.
- Most of the effects were modifiers on DPS. This meant that there wasn't actually much differentiation between weapons, and most players would simply choose the weapon with the optimal DPS modifier.
- We were further from sign-off on the project than we anticipated. We needed to re-design several problematic weapons, find a decent method of communicating the effects of the weapons to a player, and complete significant testing (anyone playing the Beta will have noticed that there were glaring issues). The team estimated that we had completed roughly 50% of the project, when we estimated that we were at 80% before the Beta.
Were there other options?
We felt like we had reached a pivot point on the project and had, effectively, one of three calls to make:
- We could plough ahead regardless, doing our damnedest to redesign the poorer weapons and test the remainder of the project so there were no more issues. Sure, the project wouldn't have nailed its goals of bringing strategy back to weapon choice, and it likely wouldn't have much negative effect. Indeed, it might have a small positive effect. This path would have meant a launch in October and drawing resources from another project.
- We could restart the project with new aims. We would make sure every weapon had strong utility benefits, and would design openly with you. Utility benefits would be more difficult to design and develop, so this would mean a launch in February. This would effectively be a new update, so would replace one of the other updates we have on our roadmap.
- We could cancel the project. This would mean that the other projects in development would remain as they are, and would gain additional QA resource to tighten them up.
In the end, we were unanimous as a team. The QA resource could be used on projects that we are currently working on (and planning to announce at Runefest), tightening them up and increasing our confidence in them. That came with a caveat: we still believed in the aims of Weapon Diversity, so we agreed that we would get our design team to design completely new utility benefits for weapons, which could be introduced over time rather than in one big clutch. For example, a quest might have a reward of a javelin; we would then take the opportunity to release a javelin effect to be rolled out for all javelins at the same time.
We are aware that some of you will be disappointed, particularly those who have been championing the update and providing us loads of useful feedback throughout the summer. We appreciate this must be frustrating, and we will ensure that the saved time is spent on the updates coming this year.
While there wasn't an overwhelmingly positive response to the Beta, some of you might have liked individual effects: if that is the case, I would encourage you to reply to the official thread on our Forums, official Discord channel or Reddit and let us know. We still have plans to introduce effects with future content, and some of the more-appreciated effects could be retained.
There will be some of you who believe we should have started afresh with the project. For us, the size of that version of Weapon Diversity would be significant, and when we put it next to some of the updates on the Annual Survey that are of a similar size, we couldn't justify it. We didn't feel it was the best thing we could do for the game with that resource. We understand if you do not share that belief.
Regardless of all of this, the aims of Weapon Diversity have not gone away: we still want to bring strategy back into weapon choice, and we believe that will make the gaining of weapon rewards so much more joyful. But we have opted for addressing this over time, coupled with some new approaches to weapon balancing that have been mentioned in the Episodic Content Designer Diary. We feel that's the wisest path for the game right now. We don't want to be adding things that we don't believe in, that are benign or can be ignored, or that damages the game.
The RuneScape Team