RuneScape is getting old. Jagex’s prized baby is finally into double figures and has passed the 10 year mark. It won’t be long now until RuneScape reaches its teenage years and in the world of MMO’s, that is ancient indeed.
The MMORPG market is a notoriously hard market to be profited from. However, the potential profit from such a market is lucrative to say the least. Titles such as World of Warcraft, EVE Online and the Phantasy Star series have become the genre’s giants, yet RuneScape has been around as long, if not longer than many well known games, slowly gathering a loyal, vocal and devoted fan base over the many years since its launch. However, the browser-based MMO is no longer that quiet child that many people simply ignored in the past that was just left to its own devices; RuneScape is one of the big boys now. Of course, there will always be detractors of such statements, and whether you believe RuneScape is deserving of being called a genre leader is becoming increasingly less debatable.
RuneScape is no longer an amateur’s hobby, created in a bedroom by two brothers. Of course, I’m talking about the Gower brothers—specifically Andrew, the brain that created Gielinor. Andrew’s divisive departure from the company that he co-founded was certainly a decision that many found disappointing, and even a form of betrayal. But was it necessary? Andrew himself stated numerous times over the years that he never expected RuneScape to grow to such the large proportion that it did. Arguably this is why he ultimately decided to leave, RuneScape was always a hobby for the then fledgling developer and it’s not surprising that he wanted to return to small scale business by founding his newest company: Fen Research.
If anything has been clear in recent years, RuneScape was never created with the expectation of it still existing 10 years down the road and it's only in recent memory that Jagex have become a fully fledged business that employs hundreds of employees and has a number of investors.
For a game that had such humble beginnings, RuneScape and Jagex have nothing except my admiration in being able to turn around a small, independently developed hobby into a global and successful company. With the release of the Evolution of Combat last year and the recent announcement of RuneScape 3 being released this summer, I can only see good things for the future of a game that I have grown up with.
The reasons discussed above are why certain individuals have become disillusioned with the game, they just don’t know it. Obviously, players will quit the game for numerous reasons; perhaps they no longer find the game entertaining or they have simply moved onto other hobbies or activities, but one thing is certain, players that have been a part of RuneScape before it even became a true MMO are the ones that know its full history and the more you remember the more nostalgic you will become about past memories. Don’t fool yourself into thinking Jagex are intent on destroying a game and a business that they are heavily invested in; they are here for us. No company is perfect, Jagex certainly isn’t, but they are doing a damn good job and I look forward to the future of RuneScape.