Once more, green leaves are abound, and the sun bakes the earth dry (at least, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere!). Regardless of what happens in our hectic lives, the seasonal cycle presses onward and the days lengthen. Personally, summer is the beginning and end of all, and indeed, it was about one year ago (May 22, 2012 to be exact) when I joined the Editorial Panel. Back then, I felt the same energy that I feel now: the energy of new horizons.
What is it about summer that makes me feel this way? Well, in schoolhouses across the world, students finish cramming for their final exams. They pack up their textbooks and watch the clock as the hours tick away. Goodbyes are tearfully exchanged as some students graduate, while other students eagerly await the blessed freedom of summer's promise. Finally, the last bell rings, and students flock from the school buildings, rejoicing and planning how to utilize their reprieve. Among those giddy students, I see my own childhood self, ready to laze around and partake in one of my favorite hobbies: RuneScape.
During summer, RuneScape is truly bustling with activity, teeming with players. I imagine that subscriptions shoot up during the months of June and July, and this has historically been accompanied by the release of exciting new content. Jagex puts its best foot forward, so to speak, in order to please and allure the influx of summer subscribers. An example would be the Summer quest line introduced a few years ago which culminated in the most fearsome boss yet seen: the Corporeal Beast.
I clearly remember the excitement of last year brought about by the upcoming Evolution of Combat. I had my reservations, but the concept was thrilling and new. Images of the awesome action bar, updated graphics, and Dual Wielding certainly made many players drool. However, that summer was also tarnished by constant marketing attempts: the introduction of the Squeal of Fortune, Solomon's General Store, and Sizzling Summer promotions.
This year, the sheer outrage against Jagex's "RWT schemes" has dulled to weak protest, perhaps even grudging acceptance. On paper, this summer seems to hold exciting new adventures in the world of Gielinor: RuneScape 3, 6th Age Quests, two new skills, and more. Even free players receive some scraps in the form of dragonstone armor. What could go wrong?
Well, for starters, Halloween is part of Jagex's summer list, and I'm pretty sure Halloween is well into autumn. The time frame for these updates could span all the way until November or more, and this fear is compounded by Jagex's June Behind the Scenes. Mod Mark admits that only two updates are certainly going to be delivered this month, the rest are up in the air. What if the major updates happen in September/October and our summer turns out to be dull anyway?
As RuneScape 3 approaches, I wonder if RuneScape 3 will require too much manpower. Part of the reason why last year's summer seemed so dull was because updates were sparse and insubstantial. It was obvious that their priority was the Evolution of Combat, not regular combat updates. Hopefully, Jagex will not make the same mistake this year by attempting overly ambitious projects.
Finally, the usual enjoyment of summer may be diminished because the game is quite unstable at the moment. Months after the Evolution of Combat was released, the entire combat system is still going through further revisions. The community has also been divided by the release of 2007 worlds. RuneScape 3, although it sounds cool, may ultimately force us to "relearn" the game. These are risky moves from Jagex.
Then again, even if Jagex majorly screws up, I'll still be playing this game. After all, it's summer and I have plenty time on my hands.