For too long, ‘Scapers have hunted each other in the Wilderness simply for loot, for fun or for glory. It’s high time to hunt your fellow players for that most noble of reasons – sport.
Bounty Hunter is back!
If you caught 2022’s Winter Summit this won’t come as a shock to you. If you missed said Summit then… surprise?
Quick reminder: Bounty Hunter is a fast-paced PvP minigame that pits you against other players with similar combat levels, and comparable wealth at stake. Step into the combat zone where you’ll be assigned your bounty, then hunt down your fellow player! Successfully eliminating your mark acts like any other PvP kill – you’ll get any items they weren’t protecting, plus additional rewards for dispatching them within the minigame.
Today we want to bring you up to speed on our plans to bring back this beloved minigame and ask for your input.
If you’ve got a moment, we’d love for you to read through the blog and then check out the survey at the end. This first round of community consultation means we can come back with a refined design that we’re confident you’ll love – before setting to work on bringing it to life.
Let’s start by outlining what we call our ‘Design Pillars’. Here’s what we want to do:
Recapture/revitalise ‘Edge-style’ PvP.
‘Edge-style’ PvP is the sort of PvP you’ll have seen in previous iterations of Bounty Hunter, or the one that springs to mind when you think back to the ‘good old days’ of people whacking each other without a care.
In short, this is ‘Honour’ PvP. Plain, simple and fast-paced – as opposed to ‘No Honour’ (or NH, for short) PvP, where all bets are off and you’re welcome to use overheads, teleblock, binding spells and any other tools at your disposal to make sure you’re securing your kills.
Quick matchmaking, allowing players to be assigned targets with similar combat levels.
Exactly what it says on the tin! Bounty Hunter is all about finding reliable fights with people who have similar combat capabilities and where you stand to gain just as much as you risk losing.
Unique and attractive rewards.
To spice things up and make you feel like your time is well spent. This one is on you! We’ll have a good deal of back and forth with you in order to nail these down.
For many PvP-minded players, Bounty Hunter was the activity that helped them find their feet and get stuck in to PvP. It focuses more heavily on a ‘simpler’ type of fighting than what you might see in minigames like Last Man Standing (where NH, tri-bridding and outlasting your opponent take centre stage).
We want to recapture that feeling of approachability that brought so many people to earlier iterations of Bounty Hunter. We hope more of you can experience (and enjoy!) those tentative first steps into PvP, just like J1mmy in this fantastic video from an earlier iteration of Bounty Hunter in 2019.
What better to kick things off with than a spot of terraforming? We mentioned it briefly at the Winter Summit, but let’s take a closer look at the Bounty Hunter Crater.
We’ll start with the ‘why’. In 2007’s Bounty Hunter, players could choose from three craters to fight in, split by combat level. That meant a low-level crater for Combat levels 3 to 55, a medium level crater for Combat levels 50 to 100, and a high level crater for everyone over 95 Combat level.
After our initial mention of craters during the Summit, some players pointed out that it’s clearly optimal to always sit at the upper end of one of these brackets since you’ll never be matched with an opponent who’s a higher Combat level than you. This encourages players to optimise their build for a specific crater and kills off a good chunk of build diversity – not good!
Now, one of the advantages a dedicated area for Bounty Hunter (such as a crater) allows us to do is have a little more control over what goes on in there, without risking it impacting the Wilderness at large.
With that in mind, we’d like to propose something a little different that we feel ties into our goal of recapturing ‘Edge-style’ PvP, by placing a handful of rules on combat in the crater to make sure you’re fighting honourably.
While none of these are set in stone, we want to hear your thoughts on the following restrictions within the Bounty Hunter Crater:
- No binding spell effects (e.g. Entangle or Ice Barrage)
- No Protection Prayers
- No Teleblock usage
- Or no teleporting, instead requiring players to make their way to the safe area to leave combat (more on this in just a moment).
The aim of this is to effectively make sure people are fighting honourably, keeping things quick and simple while minimising the chances you get caught off-guard by a Teleblock, Entangle, or Granite Maul Special attack out of nowhere while looting your first ever kill.
It might be the case that the layout itself is enough to incentivise Edge-style PvP and you’d rather us just stick to the absolute basics – let us know!
We’re also happy to explore a separate, No Honour crater if it looks like there’s a high demand for one.
Now, let’s talk about our thoughts on the layout of the crater, and the safe area we mentioned earlier. Here’s an illustration to help you picture it:
We’re proposing a safe zone in the centre of the crater, which also operates as a lobby area of sorts. From here, you’ll be able to use any of the entrances to the crater and find yourself plopped down at a random spawn near the crater’s outer ring.
This means that you’ll have to track down (or hunt, we should say) your bounty before you get to start whacking each other. Plus, you’ll always have the option to make your way back to safety if you’re out of supplies or Special Attack energy, using the same ‘Entrance’ you clicked to get into the crater – even while Teleblocked, similar to the Wilderness ditch.
It also means we’re able to cut down on a lot of the ‘faff’ that goes into re-gearing. Where ordinarily you might Teleport to your Player-Owned House, drink from your Ornate Pool, teleport to a Bank of your choice, open up your loot key, re-gear and then run back to wherever you’re fighting, we plan to streamline a lot of that process so the focus stays on fighting.
In a lobby area like this we’d like to include a Bank, a chest for your loot keys, and an NPC to introduce you to Bounty Hunter and allow you to access any reward shop we include. We also envisage a stat recovery pool similar to the one in Ferox Enclave, so you can top up quickly between fights.
Additionally, while not exactly a core feature, some people just like some entertaining background antics while they’re bankstanding. Just like casting High Alchemy atop the outer walls of Castle Wars, why not make those potions you’ve been procrastinating over for weeks and relax as the carnage unfolds around you?
There are a couple of options here that could make sense.
Option One: Everybody inside the Bounty Hunter Crater is skulled. Above all else, this option is easy. Everybody knows exactly what they’re getting in for – anything you’re not able to protect via Protect Item will be lost. On the other hand, having to buy return sets or stock up in advance, as well as the potential of being overwhelmed and forgetting your Protect Item prayer, might be off-putting for newer PvPers.
Option Two: We use the typical skulling mechanics throughout the crater – if you initiate combat, you get a skull (which cannot be lost during combat). For players choosing to remain unskulled, they have to deposit GP into a Bounty Coffer to be able to enter the crater. The amount of GP required could scale with your combat level (or with combat level brackets) and be set up to only take effect after you’ve already got a few kills under your belt.
This is a topic we’d be especially grateful to hear from you all on so that we’re confident we make a choice that feels right for the content. If your feedback and our survey results suggest a clear favourite, we’ll be able to come back and start talking about specifics (such as unskulled coffer costs). Be sure to let us know your thoughts!
Now you’re ready to hunt, you need a target.
By default, your target will be within 5 Combat levels of your own. The entirety of the crater acts the same, allowing for unrestricted combat within 5 Combat Levels if somebody decides to go rogue.
On the other hand, if you’re happy to cast a wider net then we could have the option to increase your matchmaking range to +10, and further to +15 (similar to PvP Worlds at the moment). This means you’d be able to match with a wider variety of players, but only if both of you have opted into the wider range.
For those of you playing newspost bingo, get your cards ready – it’s mentioning-the-engine time! Since the last iteration of Bounty Hunter, Old School’s game engine has come a long way. Ahead of its return, we’d like to effectively allow the matchmaking system to ‘remember’ your last X targets. By doing this, we could then exclude these previous targets when trying to find another one, meaning you’d get to fight a wider variety of opponents (and that any would-be boosters have a much harder time rematching willing participants).
Upon entering the crater, there’ll be a short delay before you’re assigned a target. This gives you a little bit of time to prepare but could also act as an immunity period to prevent you from being rushed as soon as you spawn in for combat. You won’t be able to receive a target while in the lobby area, meaning you’ll need to make sure you’re ready for anything before stepping in.
As before, you’ll be given the option to skip your target if you don’t fancy the fight. Maybe their build is one you’re not familiar with, their risk isn’t quite up to scratch, or perhaps they have a controversial opinion regarding pineapples and pizza. Whatever the reason, just click the Skip button in the UI, or log out. If you spend more than two minutes outside of the crater’s combat area, you will also skip your target. However, re-entering the combat area before those two minutes are up will add a little bit of extra time – this is so that you’re able to regear and try again if you’re up against somebody you’re enjoying fighting.
If you skip too many targets within a short time, you’ll receive a penalty. We don’t have exact numbers for these thresholds yet so it’s something we’d love to hear from you on, but as an example:
- Player skips 3 targets within a 30-minute window.
- Player is then unable to receive a new target for 30 minutes, forcing them to go rogue or wait it out.
- On their next win, they’ll receive reduced Bounty Hunter rewards (e.g. no Emblem upgrade, reduced Bounty Hunter points).
We want to strike a balance between giving people a good bit of freedom if they’re looking for a certain kind of fight, but not giving them the freedom to actively get a certain player as a target. If you have any suggestions for tweaks that would help combat any potential boosting, without stepping on the toes of regular players, let us know!
A rogue is a player who attacks another player inside the crater who is not their target. Of course, this sort of reprobate behaviour has consequences…
If you choose to go rogue, you’ll still be able to get the regular PvP loot from whoever you killed, but you won’t be eligible for any of the additional Bounty Hunter rewards. You’ll also be given a fancy new skull, to let other players know to keep their wits about them if you’re in the area.
As for those ‘consequences’ we mentioned, we’d like to know what you think they should look like. They could be as simple as preventing rogues from exiting to the lobby area for a short time, or something a little more creative – your most devilish ideas welcome!
The ‘value’ of Emblems depends on the rewards available, but before we get to those, we’d like to figure out a core system that works best for you. We’ve got two ideas of how these mysterious objects could work that we’ll outline below, but if you can think of a better way, we’re all ears!
The ‘single Emblem’ approach effectively rewards you with bonus points for killing Emblem holders and lets you build up your streak to hopefully cash in your own Tier 10 for some bonus points too. You’ll have one Emblem at any given moment that can’t be traded, alchemised, noted or stacked. Killing your target levels your Emblem up, and killing a target with a high-tier Emblem will reward you with bonus Bounty Hunter points!
The ‘multi Emblem’ approach (outlined in a player suggestion from October, 2022) effectively gives you plenty of opportunities to go for streaks, and to have multiple Emblems on the go in case you’re not feeling super confident and don’t want to risk your Tier 9. Emblems of the same tier can stack for easy Inventory management. Killing your target levels up your highest tier Emblem, and killing a target with a high-tier Emblem will reward you with a bunch of Tier 1 Emblems!
The aim with both systems is for Tier 10 Emblems to be worth significantly more points than Tier 1 Emblems, so that you’re encouraged to level your Emblem as high as possible rather than obtaining a pre-levelled Emblem from your target (as in previous iterations of Bounty Hunter).
We’d love to hear which of these you think you’d enjoy the most – and hear any pitches for something even better!
So – obviously each successful target kill should award you a Bounty Hunter point, to be exchanged for Bounty Hunter-associated goods and services. Simple as.
However, we could give you extra points for killstreaks, meaning you’re still getting a little something extra even if you wind up dying with your Emblem before trading it in.
- Killstreak 1-2: 1 Point per kill
- Killstreak 3-4: 2 Points per kill
- Killstreak 5+: 3 Points per kill
We’re undecided on whether additional killstreak incentives are necessary alongside the Emblem system. We’re putting it in front of you to help us figure it out.
Additionally, we’d like to offer some extra bonuses for certain kill milestones. This might sound a lot like we’re turning your fellow players into Slayer tasks – but come now, we’d never consider something so utterly barbaric.
Of course, Bounty Hunter points are only as useful as the rewards they can be exchanged for! We’ll be getting to those in just a second, but first let’s address the golden elephant in the room…
Elements of the above design go some way to combat this, by preventing frequent rematches, harsher skip penalties, a potential ‘unskulled’ cost, and even the use of the crater itself. There’s nowhere to hide inside the crater, meaning no more camping all the way over by Varrock Lumber Yard. Once you’re in, you fight, run, or die.
With that in mind, we’d like to share with you another proposal from the same community design we linked earlier that we think has some merit: an Earning Potential (EP) system.
Earning Potential System
The aims of this player-suggested EP system are to effectively decouple GP from Bounty Hunter points, provide an additional monetary incentive for players engaging in good faith, allow us to ‘cap’ the amount of gold it’s possible to generate per hour, and to give players some help paying back a handful of deaths if they’re opting into extra risk. We think it’s a really interesting system, though pretty complex and in need of tweaking, so we’d love to hear your views.
Here’s how it works in (relatively) simple terms:
- All players inside Bounty Hunter start at 0% EP.
- To be eligible to gain EP, players must risk a certain amount of GP.
- This risk would be deposited in a coffer. It’s easy enough for us to make a coffer work for something like this, but it’s much more difficult to use your equipped or held gear. EP systems in the past ran into issues with players using low-trade volume items with inflated Grand Exchange values to artificially increase their ‘risk’. Adding in a whitelist of included items or a blacklist of excluded items is difficult to do and results in potentially endless maintaining to try and avoid loopholes being used to ‘game’ the system
- If a player is eligible to gain EP, they’ll gain 2.5% EP every 2 minutes.
- Entering a safe area before the 2 minutes are up will reset your EP gain timer, but remember your EP value.
- Dying to your target increases your EP by 10%.
- It’s possible for us to time-gate this (for example, once every 15 minutes) if needed.
- Killing your target means your EP depletes back to 0%.
- Depending on how much EP you had, you’ll receive some kind of reward crate, and the average value increases with higher EP.
- The original suggestion had this value made up primarily of artifacts that could be traded to an NPC (for players who’ve completed the Wilderness Medium Diary) as well as a healthy helping of Blighted supplies to keep you topped up.
We’re not looking to bring back what you might remember as the old EP system, though – so no random item drops that would otherwise require killing high-level NPCs and so forth.
Ultimately, we think it’s a system with a lot of promise if we’re able to get it right – and of course, if you like the idea.
The player’s initial proposal suggested using EP as the sole source of monetary gain from Bounty Hunter and having a separate set of untradeable rewards to really shake up the experience.
No matter what, we’d like to offer some additional rewards that go beyond pure profit to keep you invested, but we don’t want to completely close the door on offering additional monetary incentives. Above all else we want players to feel rewarded for their time getting stuck in to this fast-paced style of PvP.
We’re not looking to lock in anything immediately, so you can look forward to a separate blog dedicated to rewards in the near future. For now, we want to inspire your creativity and hear your suggestions! If you caught last week’s Desert Treasure II – The Fallen Empire blog, we included a few bits of guiding wisdom for making a pitch. To sum those up simply: think of something cool, don’t get bogged down by super-specific details like stats/charges etc. (unless you’d like to), make it clear what your proposal does, what purpose it serves or niche it fills, how it looks, and why it’s simply the best – better than all the rest!
To get those creative juices flowing, we’ll share some ideas we’ve had as well as some suggestions we’ve seen pop up from players since we first mentioned Bounty Hunter at the Winter Summit.
Ancient Warrior equipment
These were first introduced to RuneScape in 2008, alongside the first ever PvP worlds. The long-lost armour and weapons of four fearsome fighters: Vesta, Statius, Morrigan and Zuriel! They’ve made their way to Old School via Last Man Standing and Dead Man Mode, but we’d consider offering them up to as Bounty Hunter exclusive rewards as well. This means they’d only be usable within the crater, leaving the rest of the game unaffected by the spikes in power they provide.
These armours and weapons are extremely strong, Tier 78 equipment that pack a serious punch. In Deadman, these are non-degradable, tradeable offerings. Vesta’s Blighted Longsword is untradeable and requires 50,000,000 coins to activate. In the original PvP worlds, these were tradeable when fully charged, but would disintegrate into dust after all their charges were used up.
What’s the best approach? We reckon that to offer these as rewards for use inside Bounty Hunter, some kind of degradation/charge system makes sense – trading off immense power for impermanence. Let us know.
Similarly, the original versions of these armours had corrupt alternatives. These corrupt Tier 20 weapons and Tier 40 armours had stats far beyond what you’d expect for other equipment with the same requirements but would disintegrate after being worn for only 15 minutes (even while out of combat). As a result, many players opted to build accounts specifically around their power.
We’d love to know how you feel about a similar offering from Bounty Hunter. Variety is the spice of life after all.
There’s a lot to nail down if we’re to offer these in a subsequent blog, so if you have any suggestions or ideas about how you might like to see Ancient Warrior equipment work (or whether you’d even like to see it at all!) then get sharing on socials.
Bounty Hunter-specific Weapon Attachments/Imbues
Understandably the very nature of Edge-style PvP invokes a certain nostalgic feeling for many of us. As the years have passed, with new weapons added and DPS calculations performed, silly shenanigans have been replaced by science and spreadsheets, relegating some iconic weaponry to the history books.
What if you could imbue, or otherwise upgrade weapons like the Dragon Mace, Dragon Longsword, Dark Bow, and more, to help these weapons of yesteryear keep up with their more widely used counterparts? We likely wouldn’t be looking to displace staples like the Dragon Dagger, but instead offer you a little more choice when gearing up and picking your weapon of choice down in the crater.
Having some imbues exclusive to Bounty Hunter means we all get to have a whole lot of fun without worrying about adversely impacting the wider game. Perhaps if some of these imbues prove particularly popular then we’d be able to poll adding them to the wider game, but that would be a question for the future.
We’re sure you’ll have your own ideas about weapons you’d like to see made relevant and competitive again. We’re eager to hear them!
Fight players, kill players, get points, trade them for experience. Perhaps you’ve got a 50 Attack Pure and you’re weighing up whether or not to level to 60 or 75 Attack – fortunately you’ve secured enough Bounty Hunter points to stock that XP up and can take the plunge at a moment’s notice!
It’s that simple: we’d like to consider offering experience rewards in exchange for Bounty Hunter points, similar to the experience rewards you might find in Pest Control or Soul Wars.
What about something not-so-simple? Everybody loves to watch numbers go up, but what about when the numbers go down? Some of you will know where we’re headed, but before you get too excited let’s provide some context and temper expectations…
Years ago, we polled Minus XP Lamps. They failed the poll with a Yes vote of around 71%, but we may have been a little over-optimistic in our ability to implement them. We considered offering them as a PvP Arena reward but still weren’t in a position to actually make it happen at that moment, regardless of any additional issues around how to balance them appropriately.
We’re pushing to try and make the necessary changes where we could offer this kind of a reward feature, though we can’t confirm yet that it would be possible. We also need to discuss with you how such a feature would work in-game, what kind of restrictions it should have, how much XP a Minus XP Lamp should remove, etc.
So just to reiterate: no promises as yet – but let us know what you think.
Ornament Kits and Recolours
Hunting your fellow players for loot is fun and all, but don’t you want to hunt them down in style?
We’ve seen a handful of great ideas already for kits that would get even the fiercest fashionista fired up, including ‘bloody’ variants of iconic PvP armour and weapons like the Berserker Helmet or the Granite Maul. Some of you have also shared older suggestions that you think might fit, including these fantastic God Capes as potential recolours.
We’re open to any and all style suggestions so if you have anything in mind, get sharing!
…And Everything Else
There’s so much more we could talk about: selectable NPCs escorting your opponent to the grave, Berserker Shields, war paint like Vannaka’s – the possibilities are nearly endless! However, this isn’t the rewards blog just yet. Everything we’ve shared so far is aimed at generating discussion so that we can put together a solid offering in the near future. In the meantime, keep the ideas flowing!
We’ll be paying close attention to any suggestions you have, and who knows, maybe your brilliant idea will make its way into our next blog…?
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