Your article 'Growing Pains' of March 16th looked at Jagex Ltd as a company. We know a bit about the distant history of Jagex, the creation of the game by the three Gower brothers, the founding of the company with Constant, the launching of the members' game. But as you pointed out, they've come an incredibly long way since then, and we don't see so much about what's going on behind their website these days, or who's making it happen.
As RuneScapers, we get to play with what Jagex creates, and speculate about what Jagex will do next, and occasionally let off steam when Jagex does something we don't like, or fails to do something we think is important. If you trawl through forums, you'll inevitably find comments about "Congratulations to Jagex", "Jagex did good", "Jagex is dumb", "Jagex is lazy", "Jagex should do this..." and many more. But who, exactly, is this Jagex entity that we're all talking about?
The recent developer diaries tell us a bit about what's going on behind it all. Any game update, good or bad, was designed and written by a programmer, with guidance from his/her colleagues. The graphics were concepted and designed by various individuals in the graphics team. It was mostly tested by one or two folks from their Quality Assurance staff, and someone prepared the website update. All these things are done by individual people, not by some mysterious faceless Jagex-entity. Even when the update doesn't go smoothly, or if it isn't very popular, it's worth remembering that behind it all there were well-meaning people who did their best. (Remember also that their priorities may not quite match ours; sometimes a wonderful source of wealth or XP will be so wildly unbalanced that it must be nerfed, even though that's not a popular move!)
Beyond the game itself, there's the matter of Customer Support. We players will often complain about how "Jagex" didn't answer our query properly, or how "Jagex" doesn't care about scamming/bots/swearing/etc. Yet all those things are being done by individual people too. When you get down to it, there's a fair chance that the individual members of staff do care very much about the scamming, or bots, or whatever problem we raised, and they're doing their personal best to improve things, taking out scammers/bots/abusers one at a time (because many problems come from individuals too). The individual member of staff who didn't answer our query properly may have tried very hard to give us a good reply; perhaps they misunderstood the question, perhaps they're misinformed themselves. Perhaps they're doing their best to cope with changing circumstances, such as the apparent U-turns over 3rd-party programs. Quite likely they're under pressure to move on to the next query quickly too. Somewhere up the chain of command there may be a high-ranking group that's making the decisions and policies, but as the end-users, we are faced with individual members of staff, and they're probably well-meaning people, overall. Even the distant management is composed of individuals who are doing their best for the company and for us, the players.
Many players have commented that RuneScape was nicer in "the old days" when there were far less of us playing, and the whole thing felt more personal. Ironically, by referring to all those well-meaning individuals as "Jagex", and by treating Jagex as a single faceless entity, we're making them less personal than they otherwise should be. We might find them a lot more helpful if we remembered that every line of code, every polygon of graphics, every article in their online manual, every answered query, every banned bot, etc... they're all the work of individual people. People like us, who are doing their best for RuneScape. People who might have different priorities and ideas to ours, but who are working hard for our enjoyment. People who care about the things we care about, even if they can't always show it.
So next time you read a comment about Jagex, why not take a moment to (mentally) identify the real target of that comment, and have a think about why that person might have done what they did. With the possible exception of game bugs, there'll be a reason, even if it's not one we'd all appreciate.
Don't let the noobs get you down...
~-~ Armadyllo ~-~
I would like to grasp this opportunity to express my feelings towards your “Runescape: A game for the young?” article. It holds, albeit deep down, some sort of truth. There is no denying that this game has grown over the last 6 and a half years and that this growth was partially caused by an increased population of younger players. You then continue with a long winded complaint about how everything in this once mature (?) world was adapted, to suit the hordes of players arriving from the Tutorial Island. Or at least, that’s what I understood…
According to you, things started to go heavily wrong in the ‘early days of RS2’ and after the ‘Miniclip Advertisements’. Where you say Jagex attracted a younger public, and although it filled their pockets, they paid the price by commercializing the game and softening up their updates.
First of all, do you think there is any shame in the fact that a developer would like to make some money out of his creation? I think not. Runescape was created to hold a community, the bigger the better, and Jagex did a marvelous job in maintaining and expanding it. We walk alongside young and old, men and women, from every continent on our globe. You seem to blame Jagex for ruining it’s own game, I think to them their game is a tremendous success, more then they could have ever hoped for, and there's room for more.
Secondly there is this mention that Runescape was all fine, and only destined for mental adults, but all that changed with the introduction of RS2. I don’t know about you, but I was around before RS2. Not very active, but active enough to remember some of the old quests. As a matter of fact, I remember completing Demon Slayer, and feeling quite satisfied afterwards mind you. As well as I remember this quest, I fail to remember bloody animations as well as scary dieing motions, which you both quote as if they were lost in an ever changing world.
And then the one to sum it all! ‘RuneScape has gone from a decent game with a great community game that took some strategy to play. ….. What’s the fun in constant clicking to achieve levels? It doesn’t take brains and it doesn’t take technique. It’s just click after click after click.’ (these are direct quotes). Are you kidding me. I mean, seriously? When has RuneScape ever required strategy to play? I daresay it’s more challenging now, with dozens of different weapons, spells, skills and possibilities that all require different approaches. Still yes, it all comes down to clicking. Most of the skills are nothing more but click after click, after click, just as you say. But has it ever been different? Was this mind-numbing activity somehow more amusing and more satisfying for you 3 years ago? Perhaps the reason for that is within yourself, and not within the community. Clicking is a part of the game, whether you like it or not. But the magic of the game is in the rewards. Occasional surprises come your way, the great deal of sensation once you’re able to kill a new enemy or harvest a new crop, that’s what this game is all about!
After reading I thought I’d check out who you were, somehow I thought you might be a Free 2 Play player. But the idea already struck me as laughable, since who would have the nerve to judge a full game with it’s full community, if he or she hasn’t even seen half of it yet? And yet it looks like I was proven right. Your hiscores data suggests that you are a F2P player, as none of your member skills have been elevated above 30. Let's assume for a moment that you were in fact F2P. There is nothing, and I repeat nothing, wrong with that. But you could have mentioned it. Since you didn’t, we can only assume that you are talking about the entire game. But that also explains why you feel this way. Clearly you aren’t satisfied with the things F2P has to offer and perhaps the F2P community has a part in that, I do not know. But once you join up for those 5$ / month, you will notice some in-depth storylines, many references to real life myths and legends, sophisticated skills and original quests. Now what if you were P2P, but never took the time to raise any of your member skills, and consequently hardly doing any member quests. That comes down to the same thing as F2P, it makes no difference to either have the possibility but not pursuing it, or not having the possibilities at all.
This game is perfectly suitable for both adults as youngsters, but no matter how you look at it, you for one clearly haven’t played the entire game. I sincerely hope that everyone realizes that things look quite different around the fences of the F2P world, unfortunately I cannot speak for the F2P community, as I am no part of it.
Did You Know...
... that you can pay farmers watching your crops with noted items?
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