Summoning up a healthy economy

By Mangleman

Many people have noticed with the release of summoning that this skill may be the most expensive skill in history. Jagex has been focusing on a healthy economy for a long time now, and I believe expensive skills like Summoning and Construction have helped make the bitter pill of various corrections in the economy much easier to swallow. For money to stay valuable, there must be some way for it to leave the economy, since there is a way for it to enter the economy through high alch and shop sales.

The Runescape economy is a very complex one, and one that can run rampant if left unchecked. New items go for 20 million gp only to go down within days, discontinued items go for hundreds of millions. The cause of this kind of activity is fairly easy to understand, but the solution is very hard to formulate, execute, and hard to accept. As we have learned "corrections" can cause extreme reactions in even the most level headed of players. We all know what happens when Jagex is forced to take something away. We saw the riots, we saw the players quitting.

When we explore other means of leveling off the economy and keeping the game accessible for new players as well as making it more enjoyable for experienced ones. Construction and Summoning are two of the newest skills and they have both been called "money sinks" and "GP Drain". It is true these new skills are designed in part to pull money out of the economy, and I believe that this is exactly what people want, despite what they say or even what they think.

One concept that is supremely popular in Runescape is showing off. Skill capes show off your dedication to a skill, fire capes show your ability to drink lots of prayer potions, Trimmed armor shows your ability to pay extra for rune armor, and so on. Jagex took this to the next level. People can show off their wealth and their dedication to a skill while simultaneously actually removing money from the economy. Very similar to construction except you can bring it with you everywhere. Sure there are advantages that the familiars bring, sure they can help you hold things and Jagex has assured us they will help you make money even faster, so far I don't really think we can see those kind of returns for a long time, and for the way most people train I don't really think Jagex is being realistic about the advantages of summoning. Don't get me wrong I am not saying that I completely disagree with making summoning something of a combination between runecrafting, construction, and slayer.

Jagex lately has shown interest in skills that just cannot be bought. Slayer must be hard earned through hundreds of hours of combat in the furthest reaches of Runescape. Hunter is basically free to train, but you still have to catch every little animal yourself. Construction can be bought, but so expensively that not many people can afford it. I even think runecrafting was an attempt at a super long skill, but Jagex didn't expect willing slaves to run essence for other players, so they introduced the abyss to hopefully lower the instances of low level players playing the worst possible version of runescape ("walkscape").

It only makes sense to design skills to take a long time, after all subscriptions are monthly. So when designing new skills Jagex seems to have economic, time, and effort in mind. When they were designing the cost and effort requirements of Summoning, I think they finally designed a skill that meets all of their new goals for making a skill hard. It cannot be bought, but it is wildly expensive. Wow, those are two things that seem to cancel each other out. The un-tradable charm serves as a constant drain on the economy. Very few monsters drop enough valuable items to cover the cost you have picked up by using their charm drops. So in effect, monsters don't drop anything of value anymore except extremely rare drops (assuming you are one of the million people who plans on turning all charms into pouches). So jagex has succeeded in my opinion of putting in an unavoidably long, very expensive, un-buyable skill in the game. It seems like they tried this before but were actually extremely successful this time.

Last update: 20-Jan-2008
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