Lets talk about Meg, the budding adventurer in need of our help hanging out at our ports. To me, the little teenage vixen is rather thought-provoking. If you have never met her, go do so right now, if you are able!
Meg reminds me of when I started my own adventure. I never had someone to ask this much advice from, but a lot of the questions are familiar.
- How do you kill a ghost?
- In what way do you open that door to see what is lurking behind it?
- The 'friend' who wants to help... relieve you of your wealth.
I had another reminder when my 9 year old nephew started playing. There is real adventure in the unknown—something that I, as an experienced player, do not have a lot of anymore.
Some of the answers we can give Meg are very convoluted, but not more so then the ideas my nephew has on getting beyond the members gates. He figured out that doors stay open a while after he opens them, and wanted me to open a gate, so he could follow me through to activate a loadstone in the members world, so he had permanent access.
I also think Meg is a very good parody of players who try to charm their way trough the game, get others to give them what they need, or help them figure things out. Many times these seem to be female characters. I do not know if Jagex intends Meg to parody the flirtatious teenager, but if they did, they hit the nail square on the head! The way she stands, talks and moves, all seems flirtatious to me. It reminds me of some girls less than half my age trying to get me to serve them alcohol by flirting with me (I tend a bar now and then,) only to go away disappointed saying I am worse then their dad... in all likelihood some of you will now say this says more about the state of my mind then about the game, who knows? To quote Meg: 'So. Okay. So, don't judge me on this.'
If she was a real player I would have kicked Meg in the rear by now and say: go find a guide, go read, go do your own darn work!
Meg seems to work her abundant pixulated charm, and that reminds me of something else: the introduction of sex(y) in to Runescape. Our characters now sport more realistic, curvaceous, and muscular physiques. The outfits have revealing options to match this, no more need to fake a bare chest by recolouring a top. I know many players who enjoy being able to play the 'feme fatale' or 'Herculean' hero they likely are not in real life. Part of me is disturbed by this, surprisingly to myself, not by the sex. Sex sells and as such it permeates everything nowadays, and RS is still rather tame in comparison to many other forms of entertainment.
The distortion of body image, A.K.A Barbie doll syndrome, does bother me. It's not like gamers are known for looking like Cammeron Diaz and Tom Cruise, they don't even look like themselves. This may of course also say more about me, and my age, and brings us to the question, "how much influence entertainment, like games, has on us?" One cannot answer.
Meg is also a good example of Jagex's enduring sense of humor. If she was a real noob (player) she would irritate the hell out of me, and probably, most of us.
Not only are the questions and answers recognizable, they are also very well phrased for comedic effect.
Lastly, Meg is symbolic of the shift RS is making, partly, away from grinding to minigames and other short and sweet activities to get fast rewards. It only takes us a few minutes to get a chunk of xp and cash. Meg fits this article, but Player Owned Ports as a whole are even more like that. They mimic Facebook-type games in many ways. We only need to invest a little time, after which we can wait for a rather long time for the results, and for our 'allowance' to refill. This kind of gameplay makes it possible to invest very little in a game and still get rewards. It also lends itself perfectly for micro transactions, where real money takes the place of time to get ahead in a game. It's surprising, but encouraging that Jagex is not selling extra voyages and bonuses (yet). There is a designated market for this kind of game and Jagex is catering to it more and more.
The title of this article is, 'Abundant Pixelated Charms' and I am talking about Meg, who has plenty, but she is really just one small example. It is not only Meg, or our characters, the whole game nowadays is exploding with spectacular looking items, armor, weapons, and npc's. I have no quarrel with that, as long as it is not compensation for a diminished level of gameplay or community that made RS great in the past, even though our characters looked awkward and blocky. The parody of an RS noob, Meg, gives me hope, because it shows Jagex still knows its players!