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Logging in to RuneScape makes crops take longer to grow

In RuneScape, the act of logging in affects how long your crops take to grow. Specifically, it makes them take longer to grow.

Hypothesis: When you log in the timers on your patches are reset.

(The experiment supporting this article was done on Thu 11 May 2007 GMT; earlier or later experiments may yield different data if RuneScape’s code and/or constants were different from those running at the time of this experiment.)

Motivation

What got me thinking about this was the way herbs sometimes took a lot longer to grow than I’d anticipated. In a preliminary experiment, similar to the one documented below but with watermelons and ranarr weed, the watermelon took a full ten minutes to grow after logging in and the ranarr twenty minutes.

A bit of background: the patch timers

As you are probably aware if you’ve tried the Farming skill in RuneScape, crops grow in discrete stages. Each type of patch has a timer associated with it which, when it runs out, triggers a ‘grow event’.

I measured the time between grow events for the allotment/herb/flower set of patches:

Length of timers
Patch typeApprox length
(minutes)
Flower patch 5
Allotment 10
Herb patch 20

(The timers seem to run a few seconds longer than these times. E.g. I measured times of 5:05 and 5:09 for flower patches.)

For at least some (and in my opinion probably all) of the different types of patches the timers are synchronised. I observed (as many farmers probably will have) that herb patch grow events occur simultaneously with every second allotment grow event.

The experiment: observation of effect of logging in on timing of grow events

The plan:

The flower patch south of Falador was used.

Log of experiment
Time
(hh:mm:ss)
What happened
02:12:21 Limpwurt planted
02:12:37 Limpwurt grew
02:17:42 Limpwurt grew
02:22:00 Logged out
02:24:00 Logged in (pressing the Login button)
02:24:02 Welcome to RuneScape screen displays
02:29:11 Limpwurt grew. (It is now fully grown)

Logging out extended the period between the second and third grow events. The third grow event occurred about five minutes after logging back in. This is the evidence presented in support of this article’s hypothesis.

Length of time to fully grow crops

(How long crops take to fully grow wasn’t the principal data the experiment was designed gather. I’m including here some of the reliable data I got in order to be able to illustrate the effect of logging in on crops’ maturation times.)

Time required for full growth of crops
CropPatchNr of grow events reqd
for maturity
Maturation time
TypeTime between
grow events
MinMax*
Ranarr herb 20 4 60 80
Limpwurt flower 5 3 10 15

(All times in minutes.)

(*If the outcome of any of a crop’s grow events is disease or don’t grow this time then the maximum maturation time may be longer than the figures in this column.)

Consequences for farmers

If you want your crops to grow as quickly as possible:

Admittedly, I neither strive to make my crops grow as quickly as possible nor do either of these things. These suggestions might apply, say, to someone trying to get the maximum rate of farming experience.

The situation is interesting for crops which take a long time to grow, e.g. trees. I expect for normal or fruit trees the time between grow events is considerably longer, for otherwise fruit trees would have a large number of different stages of growth, which is not what I have observed. In fact I notice Maxromulan has said that fruit tree patch grow events occur every four hours. Now

4 hr = 240 min = 12 x 20 min

so perhaps fruit tree patch grow events are synchronised with every twelfth herb patch grow event. If logging in actually does reset a four hour timer, each login could lengthen the time to maturity of fruit trees by up to four hours, two hours on average if the time you spend logged on is completely random (whatever that means).

Further investigations

What about the other types of crop (trees, calquats, etc., etc.)? Their patch timers are quite a bit longer than 20 minutes. Does logging in completely reset the timer? I don’t know, but I may attempt to experiment to find out and if I do I’ll post the results here.

Acknowledgements and references

Thanks to Maxromulan for sharing some snippets of her farming knowledge in a thread on the RuneScape Rants forum. After I noticed that something interesting was happening with the farming timers, her thread confirmed it for me and encouraged me to investigate further. One of Maxromulan’s posts alerted me to the fact that there is a random chance that the outcome of a grow event is ‘don’t grow this time’. Thanks also to Luciferzero0 for his/her posts on that thread, in one of which he or she states the hypothesis of this article.

This document was originally written on 13 May 2007 GMT and was most recently updated on 22 May 2008.