Last week's pair of glitches marked yet another time in RuneScape's history where a gap in the game engine opened the floodgates to potentially trillions of unearned GP, leaving confidence in the game's single currency at an all time low. Wearable rares have ballooned in price an average of 32% over the past 30 days, and volatility in that market has peaked to what seems like record highs. While my in-game paper worth has risen as well, I can't help feeling cheated by the long term effects this shock to the economy will have.
In most circumstances, I would have had JaGEx's back on this. RuneScape is a massive game, and as a developer it is virtually impossible to test every theoretical combination of interactions a player will have with content. Combine imperfect content and the hundred thousand players playing the game around the clock, and exploits are bound to happen.
In this case, I blame JaGEx. I don't blame them for the bug. I don't blame them for the players abusing the bug. I don't blame them for not having beta testing. I blame JaGEx for not catching it quickly. I blame JaGEx for being unable to contain and quarantine this mess. I blame JaGEx for not learning from their past mistakes.
Arguably the most well known dupe was the party hat dupe in RuneScape Classic. The effects of that dupe are still in the game today; the Purple Party Hat went from the rarest to the most common Party Hat. Another well known dupe was the Barbarian Assault Blood Rune Smuggle. Players were able to exploit forced teleports to bank free runes. While the cache of blood runes has since been used up, historically it was the reason for blood runes being half as expensive as death runes. The last glitch in recent memory resulting in mass hysteria was the Bolt Duplication Glitch. Players would enchant-all dragonstone bolts, and the game would multiply the number they enchanted by 12.
Each and every duplication shares a common thread — Player's net wealth increased without any logical explanation, and often very rapidly. While I can't speculate on JaGEx's computational ability, we know from previous rollbacks that JaGEx does a very good job archiving RuneScape. What I'm looking for is a simple tracker on a player's net wealth; if their wealth increases or decreases at some illogical rate from a log-in to a log-out, JaGEx needs to flag their account and perhaps further scrutinize their activities.
As a bonus, this tool would give JaGEx a way to flag potential real world traders. What we've realized after the last dupe is that the abusers spun a tangled mess of transactions between their accounts and others. If JaGEx could have seen their wealth fluctuating a billion at a time, the haemorrhage could have been staunched sooner.
Obviously certain players have extraordinary amounts of luck in game. Getting one piece of armour from Nex would trigger any net wealth tracker, other than the fact that the event is already recorded externally (event diary). Giving gifts to friends might also be problematic, other than the fact that friends would be known for a long period of time. The biggest potential hiccup with this scheme is the PKers and stakers. Obviously their net wealth fluctuates rapidly, but in this case a person breaking the rules (RWT or glitching) would find their matches all one-sided (win or lose), a statistical impossibility.
What I hope is that now JaGEx will be able to finally learn from their glitch; instead of merely patching the game, taking an opportunity to prevent future runaway bug abuses and get a firm grip on what their players are doing. If JaGEx had any inkling that something in the game wasn't adding up on June 20th, the economy now wouldn't be so far gone.