Most of you will have dismissed it, and others may have missed it altogether, but something quite remarkable happened recently. Something rather simple to overlook if you're simply not interested. But Jagex and the community of players have demonstrated a certain level of unprecedented maturation.
See, what happened was this: the Raffle giveaway was announced, including the prizes to be won, and before long people made a calculated guess of the impact on the economy. Complaints were successively launched and dismissed or "explained away", but rather quickly the total amount of stuff that could be won was halved.
This tells me a few interesting things:
1. Jagex is open to reason, as long as we, as a community, persist. Backed with numbers and statistics, the community thought that the total amount of stuff to flow into the economy over a month was too much. Jagex at first did what any self-respecting company would do, and put PR on the matter. Insert a paragraph on the FAQ addressing the issue by saying long term economical damage is minimal, and hope a sizable chunk of complaints will subside.
But not everyone. See the short-term damage would've been massive. Combine that with the announced Bonus XP weekend, and prices would soar. The community did not want that to happen, so they redid the math, and rewards were halved.
2. The community prefers stability. I'm taking an educated guess here, but it seems the amount of people that have established themselves with their wealth and top-level gear have begun to outweigh the people that haven't done so yet. The people that still need an opportunity to jump on to make their millions fast enough (aka new players) are turning into a minority.
The people at the top like things the way they are. They don't want a splurge of level 95 gear to enter the game, not without it devaluing the hours of time and millions of GP they have invested (more on this in both my previous and next article). It would be wrong to refer to this as elitism, though, as Jagex would do well to listen to these people who are both the ones with years of experience in this game as well as the ones that are willing to still spend money on it.
3. The greed has subsided. It's a direct result of the previous point, albeit not an obvious one. If this Raffle happened three years ago, people would've made slightly different calculations. The result of this other calculation would've told them how much buying a month's worth of membership for a throwaway account would've increased their chances at that 200m GP. Subsequently, the resistance to cut the rewards in half would've been large and loud.
Bonds, without having actually introduced any wealth into the game, has redistributed it in a sufficient amount that those who wanted fast GP could get it. Mind you, I'm still of the opinion that Bonds have yet to reach their full potential.
So does this mean we're about to hit some form of Plateau? Does it really mean that level 95 gear is years away, and nobody really wants it?
Well that depends. Like I mentioned briefly in my previous article, gear levels such as 81 through 84 and 86 through 89 can also exist. I'm also sure to get back to this issue again in my next article, but it's getting crowded at the top to say the least.
Of course, people eventually want level 95 and level 99 gear, but they don't want it to devalue their current achievement. Remember the uproar when only the melee version of level 90 gear was introduced? It's not going to happen for a while, though, not if the stretch of time between level 80 and 90 gear is anything to go on.
If anything, I think Jagex has focused on the high-end content, culminating in the arrival of the Crystal City of Priffdinas, quite enough. At least for a while they have, and I hope that with the arrival of the new CEO the focus shifts toward the things that could attract a lot of new and younger players, filling out the bottom half of the demographics once again.
I won't pretend to know what's best for the game, but most of you will agree that upping the level cap from 99 is something that shouldn't happen. By that token, there is a point where you can basically "complete" the game, long before you're even eligible for a Completionist Cape. Following that, knowing that a lot of people are 92% (wink, wink) of the way there, we may soon see an exodus of players for who there is no new challenge.
Stop gap measures like this Soul Reaper Death-as-a-Slayer-master thing are nothing but a band-aid on a broken system. Worse, people who have played RuneScape long enough to actually be able to do these challenges can see right through that, and at some point aren't going to go out of their way anymore to keep chasing the ever moving goalpost.
All I can conclude is that there is, after all this time, still room a lot of left to grow. It's not at the top, though.