Old School Runescape, the proudly outdated version of Runescape that still looks and plays like the game I immersed myself in countless hours when I really should have been studying, is getting raided. His second foray, happens to be: The Theater of Blood. A good raid needs good rewards, so when the Theater of Blood was announced late last year, players were eager to see what overcoming the multi-man challenge would bring them. Jagex responded with the Justicar armor, a new set of armor better in space (above). There was a little problem: the players absolutely hated it.
In fact, they hated it so much that for months the old-school community piled on the armor on the 2007scape subreddit and sent it to hell and back. They commented on it so strongly that Jagex is now totally changing the armor design. And not only that, the artist behind the Justicar armor, “Mod West”, is using designs submitted and voted on by players. Almost all Old School Runescape updates go through player polls, but this is the first time armor has been forged in a fire of memes.
The irony is that while gamers hated the ‘final’ armor revealed earlier this year, they loved the prototypes displayed when the raid was announced. Originally, the Justicar armor was bulkier and part of a trio of new armor sets, West tells me, but as the Theater of Blood went from vague idea to actual content, the armor changed with it. Players said there was enough DPS gear but not enough tank gear, so it was down to a single armor set. And if they were only going to wear one outfit, Jagex figured they might as well make a new one based on the armor worn by the great evil of the raid.
“We thought changing it a little bit made sense,” says West, “but the players weren’t quite on board with the original proposition we shared on the stream. And then, well, Reddit went nuts.”
The memes came strong and fast. Some players said it was too similar to existing armor, including armor from Runescape 3, the newest major version of Runescape. Many demanded a return to prototype designs. Others thought the new armor didn’t look tough enough and generously offered some alternatives, with some calling for a more drastic redesign.
It got so bad that some players began to seriously believe in a meme that the updated armor was from a different artist, and that the artist who made the prototypes had left Jagex. But then something amazing happened. Even as the memes slowly but surely blotted out the sun, serious suggestions began to shine through. It started with crude Photoshop work, but proper illustrations and fan art soon began to emerge. Players came to the idea of a bulkier Blessed Armor set inspired by the Runescape god Saradomin, so they went back to West’s prototype designs and made some changes.
And then a hero emerged: legend_arts, a talented and well-known Runescape fan. Driven by memes and inspired by elements of West’s designs and suggestions from other players, legend_arts
“When I first introduced it to the community on Twitch, I was expecting a little response,” says West. “Because when you’re showing the best elements in space, either you don’t get a response, which is what you’re really looking for because that means they’re happy, or you get a very strong response that, like us, everything I’ve seen on Reddit, that’s what happened. Of course, what I wasn’t expecting was for another artist to show up. But when Legend_Arts posted his concept where he made it brilliant and brilliant, he got like 10,000 upvotes on Reddit, so I went on the livestream to let him know. see build it. “
“It was almost like a collaborative approach,” says community manager “Mod Ayiza”. “It’s a much more favorable position to be in than all the complaining and yelling. We were lucky. Sure, there were some memes here and there, and they were pretty good. But what the memes brought, that was so good about it. For example “There were genuine people who really wanted to put together good designs. And as much as there were memes, the good suggestions that people liked weren’t overshadowed.”
Legend_Arts released his hybrid armor on April 9. On the same day, West selected some player-created concepts to work on. Two days later, he broadcast the process of turning the most popular into game models.