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OSRS Equipment Rebalancing Blog

Aaron (RuneAd Owner) | 01.23.21

Equipment Rebalancing


Old School will be eight years old soon (can you believe it?) and its astonishing how much Combat has developed over the years! Regular updates have introduced all sorts of new items to the scuffle, but to avoid the dreaded powercreep we've generally leaned towards offering niche items as rewards rather than introducing more powerful weaponry.


That being said, its becoming more difficult to balance new rewards around existing content without trivialising old challenges. A lot of existing item requirements dont reflect their strength - a fact that the community has been discussing for some years now.


We hear you, and we've been working on a proposal that we think will benefit the game's long-term health. With Combat Achievements around the corner, it feels like the perfect moment to bring this project forward.


We recently ran a survey tackling this issue - and you said yes - so we're ready to work with you on the exact changes we'll be making. We appreciate these alterations will impact many players, and certain account builds will be more negatively affected than others, but the long-term health of the game must be our focus. We want to give you the opportunity to have your say, so please take the time to read through all of the changes and provide feedback using the links at the bottom of this blog.


Our Survey Says...


We recently asked players how they felt about powercreep and its impact on Old Schools long term health. We intentionally avoided outlining our specific plans to gather a general overview of your feelings, and we definitely got that... over 10,000 responses! Blimey!

  • Over half of those surveyed stated powercreep is something they think about and felt that powercreep existed within Old School.
  • Most players felt that powercreep isnt a major problem in Old School right now.
  • However, over half of those surveyed were worried about the long-term health of Old School because of powercreep.
  • Almost all those surveyed would like to see undesirable equipment improved to encourage variety.
  • Almost half of those surveyed would not like to see powerful equipment weakened.


Our survey also included a very basic proposal.


We think that recent updates have been hard to balance because of the presence of many powerful items in the game, mostly at tier 75. We think that for the long-term health of the game we should implement the following changes:

  • Tweak the stats and effects of some powerful equipment so that they don't dominate the meta.
  • Tweak the stats and effects of some undesirable equipment to encourage more gameplay variety.
  • Re-assess the item tiers to better reflect the power of the item.
  • Our approach to adjusting existing powerful equipment will be driven by assessing its power, value, and rarity. We can summarise our stance as: we think that items which are more widely available to players are more problematic if they dominate the meta.
  • These changes would be considered integrity changes and therefore would not be polled.

  • Over half of those surveyed supported our proposal and believed it necessary.
  • Over half of those surveyed felt the proposal should be polled.


Regarding powercreep, owing to the sheer number of responses received, we cant respond to or share every opinion given, but many really interesting points were raised:

  • Items like the Toxic Blowpipe, Twisted Bow and Scythe of Vitur garnered the most powercreep-related concerns.
  • Players want more weapon and gear variety, noting that only Scimitars are viable for training and that most of the meta gear is too expensive for the average player.
  • Lots of players asked whether weapons in the level 75 category should be moved up to 80-85. The sentiment was that too many powered weapons are easy to use for 'low level players' and that it doesn't make sense to get access to everything at 75.


You can see the full survey results in this image.


Shed No Tiers


Some of the most powerful weapons in Old School have requirements much lower than their perceived or actual strength. This has left little room for new weapons to be introduced without causing powercreep, and now many players feel confused about how strong some items actually are.


We dont have many options when it comes to equipment 'tiers' in Old School, so wed like to simply adjust the requirements of certain items to better match their stats, helping to expose gaps for us to add snazzy new items in the future.


Ghrazi Rapier


GhraziRapier.png 

Current requirements: 75 Attack 

Proposed requirements: 80 Attack


Blade of Saeldor


BladeOfSaeldor.png 

Current requirements: 75 Attack 

Proposed requirements: 80 Attack


Inquisitors Mace


InquistitorsMace.png 

Current requirements: 75 Attack 

Proposed requirements: 80 Attack


Trident of the Swamp


TridentOfTheSwamp.png 

Current requirements: 75 Magic 

Proposed requirements: 78 Magic


Sanguinesti Staff


SanguinestiStaff.png 

Current requirements: 75 Magic 

Proposed requirements: 82 Magic


Kodai Wand


KodaiWand.png 

Current requirements: 75 Magic 

Proposed requirements: 80 Magic


Nightmare Staff (base)


NightmareStaff.png 

Current requirements: 65 Magic 

Proposed requirements: 72 Magic


Nightmare Staff (with any orb attached)


HarmonisedNightmareStaff.png 

Current requirements: 75 Magic 

Proposed requirements: 82 Magic


Dragon Hunter Crossbow


DragonHunterCrossbow.png 

Current requirements: 65 Ranged 

Proposed requirements: 70 Ranged


Dragon Hunter Lance


DragonHunterLance.png 

Current requirements: 70 Attack 

Proposed requirements: 78 Attack


Scythe of Vitur


ScytheOfVitur.png 

Current requirements: 75 Attack 

Proposed requirements: 85 Attack


Nerfing the Nerf-able


Requirements aside, there are some items that are simply too powerful. Problems vary per item, so well cover each one individually.


Neitiznot Faceguard


Simply put, the Neitiznot Faceguard is a little too powerful considering the level at which it is rewarded. Wed like to adjust its stats ever so slightly:


Current Strength bonus: +6 

Proposed Strength bonus: +5


Left image showing current stats, right image showing proposed stats 

NeitiznotFaceguardC.png NeitiznotFaceguardP.png


In addition to the faceguard adjustments, wed also make changes to Basilisk Knights. They currently require a relatively low Slayer level of 60 to fight, yet their stats suggest otherwise! We propose the following tweaks:

  • The special attack would be removed from the base Basilisk Knights, but would remain on the Basilisk Sentinel (superior version).
  • The defensive stats of the Basilisk Knights would be reduced.
  • The special attack of the Basilisk Sentinel would be updated so it couldn't be broken with auto-retaliate.


Twisted Bow


Generally were happy with where the Twisted Bow sits. Against monsters with a high Magic level its power is unmatched. But this also means it isnt the best option for every monster you encounter, making it easier for us to balance new challenges around it (we can ensure a creature is weak to Ranged in general, but not particularly vulnerable to the Twisted Bow).


So, these are relatively minor changes - we'll update the requirements to better reflect the items strength and remove the Prayer bonus, which doesn't really fit considering it's not a godly item.


Current requirements: 75 Ranged 

Proposed requirements: 85 Ranged


Current Prayer bonus: +4 

Proposed Prayer bonus: +0


Left image showing current stats, right image showing proposed stats 

TwistedBowC.png TwistedBowP.png


Dragonhide Armour


Dragonhide armour has been notoriously powerful for an incredibly low cost for a long time. It offers high Defence bonuses, especially against Magic Attacks, with negligible negative stats to offset this. The armour generally goes against the Combat triangle and doesnt follow the same stat distribution as similar Ranged armours.


Wed like to address this by lowering the overall Defence bonuses of Dragonhide, with a focus on Melee Defence.


These changes would apply to all tiers of Dragonhide armour, but well use Black Dragonhide specifically for this example.


Current Stats 

BlackDhideBodyC.png BlackDhideChapsC.png BlackDhideVambracesC.png


Proposed Stats 

BlackDhideBodyP.png BlackDhideChapsP.png BlackDhideVambracesP.png


As the issue with Dragonhide is most prevalent in PvP, focusing the changes on its Melee Defence capabilities will encourage players to try different armour pieces to make up for the loss in stats - all while having a much lower impact on players focusing on PvM encounters. This naturally balances the Combat triangle, as typically higher Melee Defence items are susceptible to Magic Attacks.


Dinh's Bulwark


Dinh's Bulwark has incredibly high Defence bonuses with zero negative bonuses to offset them, completely going against the Combat triangle. Whilst it has some uses in PvM, these are very limited - the main issue with the shield is within PvP.


Wed therefore like to make the following changes:

  • Adding -25 Magic Defence
  • Reduce Melee Defence bonuses by 25%


Left image showing current stats, right image showing proposed stats 

DinhsBulwarkC.png DinhsBulwarkP1.png


This would cause Dinhs Bulwark to be a very high Ranged Defence item, a high Melee Defence item and a detrimental Magic Defence item, correctly enforcing the Combat triangle.


Toxic Blowpipe


Requiring 75 Ranged to wield, the Toxic Blowpipe is the go-to option for many (or maybe even most) PvM situations. In terms of raw damage output, it's leaps and bounds better than previous tiers of weaponry (Karils Crossbow/Crystal Bow) and outperforms some of the best-in-slot setups for other Attack styles - even when using low tier darts such as Mithril or Adamant.


When the Toxic Blowpipe was originally polled, we intended an Attack speed of 3 game cycles. Due to an oversight with its introduction, when using the Rapid Attack style it was released with an Attack speed of 2 game cycles. Many players have called for it to be slowed, but if you played in the recent Trailblazer League you'll know how altering the Attack speed of a weapon completely changes how gameplay feels. We'd like to avoid this.


The Blowpipe is an important part of Old School, so rather than remove it altogether wed like to propose some changes that will allow it to remain viable in many situations, whilst still providing room for other Ranged items to take the spotlight:


Left image showing current stats, right image showing proposed stats 

ToxicBlowpipeC.png ToxicBlowpipeP.png



The high Attack speed of the Blowpipe definitely contributes to its strength, but the real benefit lies with its accuracy - which is then increased further based on the darts you use. As such, wed also rebalance the stats of those darts as follows:


DartOld AccuracyOld StrengthNew AccuracyNew StrengthBronze Dart 3121Iron Dart 4332Steel Dart 5443Black Dart 7654Mithril Dart 8766Adamant Dart 111078Rune Dart 15141114Dragon dart 18201520


These changes would make the Toxic Blowpipe the best Ranged weapon for lower Defence targets in most circumstances, whilst providing us the opportunity to release high Defence monsters in future where higher Accuracy weapons such as Crossbows and the Crystal Bow will surpass it.


This will change which items are considered best-in-slot for certain encounters. Based on internal testing, wed like to provide some examples of how these changes would impact specific face-offs:


Bandos

  • Melee will generally surpass the Toxic Blowpipe, unless Defence reducing specs are involved.


Zulrah

  • The Toxic Blowpipe will still be the better option for Zulrahs 'Blue Phase' if you dont own a Twisted Bow.


Vorkath

  • The Toxic Blowpipe will no longer be the best weapon for players who have not yet obtained any Dragon Hunter weaponry.
  • The use of a Dragon or Armadyl Crossbow will surpass the Toxic Blowpipe when Defence-reducing special attacks miss.
  • Using the Toxic Blowpipe with higher accuracy Ranged armour will have higher dps than with the full Void Knight armour set, as Ranged accuracy now matters more with the blowpipe. However, the Dragon and Armadyl crossbows will still be popular for the damage reducing effects of an Anti-dragon Shield.


Fight Caves

  • Melee will have higher DPS than the Toxic Blowpipe against higher Defence monsters within the cave, but Ranged has the benefit of higher uptime. We anticipate Melee will be utilised more by those looking to optimise their completion speeds if those players do not have a Twisted Bow


Buffing the Bad


Dragonbone Necklace & Bonecrusher Necklace


Considering their requirements, the Dragonbone Necklace and Bonecrusher Necklace are very weak items. While they have some uses in super niche situations, on multiple occasions youve asked us to buff them.


Wed look to make the following changes:

  • Reduce Prayer requirement from 80 to 70.
  • Remove the delay before the special effect activates.
  • Increase their base stats similar to those offered by an Amulet of Glory, with fewer Defence and Strength bonuses.


Current Stats 

DragonboneNecklaceC.png BonecrusherNecklaceC.png


Proposed Stats 

DragonboneNecklaceP.png BonecrusherNecklaceP.png


Crystal Armour & Crystal Bow


Even after the Toxic Blowpipe changes, Crystal Armour and the Crystal Bow are still stuck with fairly underwhelming performance in relation to their high requirements and maintenance cost. Currently, Crystal Armours have a special set effect where each piece will give a 3% damage boost and 6% accuracy bonus to the Crystal Bow. If all pieces are worn, the player receives a 15% damage boost and 30% accuracy bonus.


Wed like to make the following changes:

  • Increase the damage bonus with a Crystal Bow when wearing a full set of Crystal Armour from 15% to 20%


This change, in addition to the Toxic Blowpipe changes, will solidify the Crystal Armour and Bow set as a viable option for higher Defence creatures, especially where Ranged damage is relevant.


Additional Changes


There is a huge variety of armour and weaponry available to us, yet every armour-clad champion wandering Gielinor in search of adventure looks practically the same! This section focuses on improving the diversity of kit available, giving more purpose to lower-level equipment in particular.


Warhammmers


Warhammers are slower and weaker than Longswords, and are completely outclassed by Battleaxes even though they share the same Attack speed.


Wed like to propose the following for Bronze to Rune Warhammers:

  • Change the requirements to equip them from Attack levels to Strength instead.
  • Increase the Strength bonus they offer so it is only slightly lower than their Battleaxe counterparts.


Left image showing current stats, right image showing proposed stats 

RuneWarhammerC.png RuneWarhammerP.png


We would also make the Dragon Warhammer require 60 Strength to equip rather than Attack, for consistency. The stats will remain untouched.


This change would mean using a Warhammer would provide more accuracy than a Battleaxe, potentially making it a good option if the increased Strength bonus from a Battleaxe wouldn't give you a max hit, or if Crush Attack bonus is favoured.


Maces, Spears and Hastae


These weapons have similar bonuses to their Scimitar counterparts, but their lower Attack speed makes them significantly worse to use.


Wed like to propose the following for Bronze to Rune Maces, Spears and Hastae:

  • Change the Attack speed from 5 game cycles to 4 game cycles, matching that of the Scimitars.


In addition to this, wed also change the Attack speed of the Dragon Mace to 4 game cycles instead of 5.


Metal Armour


'Lighter' armour like Chainbodies, Med Helms and Square Shields are completely outclassed by their counterparts - Platebodies, Full Helms and Kiteshields. They are meant to be a more viable choice for those wanting additional Defence without reducing your Ranged accuracy.


These 'heavier' armour pieces provide too small a bonus Ranged Attack negative to justify using anything else, and go against the Combat triangle.


Wed like to propose the following:

  • Increase the negative Ranged Attack bonus by 50% for all Platebodies, Full Helms, Kiteshields, Platelegs and Plateskirts.
  • Remove the negative Ranged Attack bonus for all Med Helms and Square Shields.


Current Stats of Rune Full Helm, Platebody, Platelegs and Kiteshield 

RuneFullHelmC.png RunePlatebodyC.png RunePlatelegsC.png RuneKiteshieldC.png


Proposed Stats of Rune Full Helm, Platebody, Platelegs and Kiteshield 

RuneFullHelmP.png RunePlatebodyP.png RunePlatelegsP.png RuneKiteshieldP1.png


Current Stats of Rune Med Helm and Sq Shield 

RuneMedHelmC.png RuneSqShieldC.png


Proposed Stats of Rune Med Helm and Sq Shield 

RuneMedHelmP.png RuneSqShieldP1.png