Polls in OSRS have always been reserved for members and have served as a security measure designed to keep the game as the community wants it. However, Jagex is preparing to change this for better or worse. With the new changes coming to the poll system, Jagex wants to ensure that they can adjust the small things without polling them. This is the case when it comes to items that could bring potentially underserved OSRS gold for the difficulty of obtaining them or items that would lose or gain more OSRS gold value unless there's an intervention meant to keep the balance.
The polling system changes go far beyond stabilizing the market or OSRS accounts for sale. Jagex wants more freedom when it comes to many aspects of the game, such as bringing new content, new rewards, new early game content, and all of these might indirectly affect in-game aspects such as the quality of life, skilling methods, and ways of earning OSRS gold. Jagex and the J-mods want a different process when polling.
This process is meant to simplify the polling and, simultaneously, reduce the amount of development work that goes into potentially abandoned ideas that still need to pass the polls. To a great extent, how the polling system worked until now was that the J-mods would partially develop and design any idea before presenting it in a blog post and only then polling it. The new system will help them save time in bringing ideas to life before knowing whether the players would be interested.
Instead of putting in a lot of valuable resources towards developing ideas that the player base might have differing views on, Jagex will first pitch the idea and invest the time and resources necessary to develop it after it passes an initial poll. Once everything is better sketched, they will implement a follow-up poll that's more like the nowadays poll system to let the community impact the game. Jagex will therefore invest more of its resources toward the wanted content.
A Matter of Profit
Regardless of the poll changes that directly affect the gameplay, Jagex has reinforced that they will not poll any membership price changes. This comes after the late price change earlier this year which was contented by paying players even though Jagex has given a “grandfather” rate to those subscribed at the previous rate. After that, Jagex launched the Fresh Start Worlds in September. As initially designed meant a cash-grab opportunity for Jagex since the players wanting to play and enjoy the fascinating brand-new economy had no other choice but to pay for membership. Because of the strong community voice against this, Jagex has reconsidered and launched the game mode as free to play and members, even though it was initially supposed to be a members-only game mode. On top of this, they allowed the players to generate membership codes from bonds in the main game to gift themselves or their friends membership.
Jagex is trying to put its feet even further when it comes to its freedom to develop game content. While they are reassuring the player base that when it comes to critical stuff, such as concepts for new content, new mechanics, new quests, and major changes to the existing content, they also state that certain updates will not be polled.
Such updates include visual enhancements, bug fixes, UI design, minor quality-of-life improvements, integrity, and balance changes. Lastly, Jagex won't poll how the poll system will change. Jagex is also dedicated to creating a poll charter representing a set of rules governing the poll system. However, this charter is subject to change at Jagex’s discretion.
Another somewhat alarming change to the poll system is lowering the super majority to just 70 percent. While before, for a poll question to pass, a supermajority of at least 75 percent was needed, now only 70 percent need to answer yes. This decision needs to be revised, especially on adding restricted polls to the equation, which only players who have previously displayed interest in a specific niche content will be able to respond to.
This gives Jagex even more freedom of disregarding the opinion of a 30 percent minority just to implement changes and potentially further motivate an increased development cost and hence a more costly membership. This could have enormous implications for the in-game OSRS GP value of bonds, so if Jagex is using the new poll system to increase their profits, they might face quite some opposition from the player base.