From the feel of the pick hitting then rock to the sounds of the heat melting the ores at the forge, the mining and smithing rework just feels good. The feeling may only be one of the magic ingredients that make up this rework but it is the spark that puts the soul in this update. It’s what truly makes it alive. Now I know so far I’ve said a lot of nothing so allow me to explain.
The Mining and Smithing rework (lead by Mod Jack) began in concept many years ago. It saw a fairly shaky beginning when it was originally announced back in 2015 at RuneFest. The ever-fervent player-base was understandably polarized. Thinking back in my mind all the way back to 2015 seems like another lifetime at this point. The very real fears of the market crashing were the main point of contention. How could it even be possible? You can’t remove all smithable items from the game and expect prices to just hold. It was an insane request.
The most important part of the rework was Jagex’s unwavering dedication to communication with the player base. Initially, the idea was pitched at RuneFest. Once the idea picked up noticeable intrigue by the players one can assume is when Jagex began reaching out to the players beyond RuneFest. Threads were stickied in the official forums. Reddit threads ran rampant on the regular every time there was mention or a major dev blog that touched on the subject. Of course, not to be to be left out, was the most important resource of all: the ever-changing Mining and Smithing Reworking documents themselves.
The Mining and Smithing Rework documents, which have been pruned down to pertinent info only now, had some interesting ideas in them originally. Pulling from one of our original authors Luminos (if credit is incorrect please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
“During the Q&A session they ran, they discussed an interesting idea, where they would introduce
new content, called Mining Shafts, which would introduce risk vs. reward for mining skillers. These
mines would introduce a sense of exploration and the deeper you go, the more dangerous it would
be, with the rarest ores found entirely in the mining shafts. The mines would also be limited
instances, with several players mining the same shaft, but it would not be universally identical and
deaths can occur in these shafts and WOULD NOT BE SAFE!”
The Mine Shaft idea was one of the original ideas that stood out to me and a lot of other players. The idea of searching through a crumbling mine shaft for valuable ores that maybe only exist down there sounds thrilling. Perhaps there are dangerous creatures there waiting to rob your ore box of its goodies? One wrong swing and “Oh Dear, You are dead.” who knows! The possibilities are endless! Okay, endless is maybe a hyperbole but wouldn’t you like to know what’s down that hole?
Ideas like these were not promised but pitched at RuneFest. Mineshafts are a good example of what a future distraction and diversion could look like. We now have a skill that brings in its own unique item (being ores removed from monsters) so mine shafts could easily fill multiple roles. We could see them as ways to see higher yields of ore for full-on intense play with real “danger” of loss of progress ala shifting tombs only the rewards are balanced out to be worth your time (sorry shifting tombs). We could also see this as a place to earn those high-end ingredients needed to make masterwork armor (essence). The risk of death vs the time needed to actually obtain one would need to be balanced with other rewards to make this activity bearable. I can immediately foresee contention over “mah pvm drops” but balance can be struck if the reward space sounds worthwhile.
If you were to return to the Google doc for mining and smithing now you would not find any experimental ideas like that anymore. The skill has taken over 15 years of content that ties mining and smithing together and manages to tie it together into the new mechanics with only a few loose ends. There was a clue scroll blockage in Yanille week one covered by the new furnace layout. Clue scroll hunters are never at ease when any sort of overhaul comes out. «TALKING MORE BUGS»
Now that the rework is live in the game prices have to settle which won’t be easy as we are on the tailwind of a bonus XP weekend as of authoring this article. Given a few months down the road mining should remain a fairly profitable activity for tier 70+ possibly even 60+ (relative to level). Smithing is the harder skill to nail down. There are more moving parts. The variables shift and are much more player depending on if you are buying supplies vs collecting your own.
It’s very clear that when the poll went out last year on whether or not to put forth the effort to just release the higher tier metals or go forth with the full rework that Jack and his team put forth their full efforts in the quality of this project. It nails every aspect of what a skilling update should be. It possibly does more than that. It lays the foundation for what future skill updates can be and maybe, just maybe shows the greater community that we don’t always need new and shiny skills. Sometimes you just need to scrape the rust off the plate and sweep the dirt from the ore to find the purest true Runescape we all know and love at its core. Could this be a shift in how we see new content? Ore will this just melt into the sands of time.