When Mod MMG (Mark Gerhard, CEO) took the helm at Jagex in February of 2009, he was quoted in his introductory news post saying:
“We'd also like to clear up a few issues surrounding the free game. RuneScape is different from all other MMOs in that the free game has an epic amount of content (we'd estimate over 2,000 hours worth to get all your skills up to 99 and complete all the quests) and isn't merely a demo for the members’ version. If anything, we see the members’ version as an expansion pack for those that really love the game and we feel both games are substantive in their own right. I want to apologise for habitually over-promoting the benefits of membership to our free players. I strongly believe if you love the free game you will equally love the members’ content and that is sufficient promotion to me.”
Never in my nine years of playing the game have I ever read such a blatant lie as this from any Jagex employee. In today’s game, under Mod MMG, F2P is quite literally a demo: by anyone’s definition of the word.
First and foremost, F2P very rarely receives any lasting updates of substance—I’m obviously not going to count cosmetic items, trivial promotions, and transient holiday events. Meanwhile, P2P receives multiple updates per month. It’s quite clear where Jagex’s focus lies: where the money is. Is there anything wrong with a business doing what it must to benefit monetarily? Absolutely not. Unfortunately, the side effect is a lousy product at the expense of the players. Jagex doesn’t care about F2P at all.
Second, Jagex now allows F2P players to train all P2P skills to level 5. I do believe there is a term for this in the video game world, but I can’t quite seem to remember what that word is. There’s a chance that the word I’m thinking of may just be DEMO. F2P is merely a demonstration of what the full game is supposed to be like. That is, by definition, a demo. I don’t see how I can make this any clearer. It’s just so obvious that we the players were lied to and Jagex, Mod MMG especially, won’t admit it. It is truly pathetic.
Third, and possibly most enraging, Jagex allows P2P items to be won on the squeal of fortune by F2P players, with the catch being that they can only be claimed by P2P players. This essentially means that if a F2P player were to win a tremendously rare P2P prize (I can’t even keep track of all the rubbish they introduce on this thing anymore), they would have to buy membership just to claim it. That’s just plain teasing.
Finally, Mod MMG has the courage to apologize for the over-promoting of the P2P game. He then goes on to show his sincerity in that apology by over promoting the full game at lengths never before seen within RuneScape. He then has the nerve to say the quality of the free game is enough of a promotion to warrant a F2P player’s membership purchase. With all of the gimmicks in today’s game that claim is hard to believe by anyone’s standards. I would be shocked to see any new players genuinely want to purchase membership without encouragement from a friend.
I used to think that RuneScape really was, as Mod MMG put “…different from all other MMOs…,” but it’s evident that I was wrong. RuneScape is just another generic MMO with nothing special to offer. It’s decayed into the same cash grab as every other MMO was created to be.