Not long ago I saw a video that His Lordship made on RuneFest, asking what famous players and J-mods thought of RuneScape. Although the answers were in understandably in some cases carefully worded, a few things did stand out to me.
The impact of some of the answers could hardly be called insignificant. Removing skilling drops from monsters will have a huge impact, even if we're not talking about things like removing the cowhide drops from cows. The same goes for removing entire skills as another J-Mod suggested.
Funny as those observations might be, it's not what I want to talk about. See, the most common answer given by far was on the question of what these people wanted from the players. Apparently there is the perception out there that a lot of players out there just log in for their dailies. Moreover, the ones that actually do something in the game are just doing it for as much XP and GP as possible with minimal time spent.
The desire for all the rest of the players to get more into the community is strong. Be it streaming your adventures, talking to others on the forums, or doing more teamwork in the game itself, it all boils down to the same thing; As a playerbase, we've become detached.
This development isn't unique. In fact it has progressed in tandem with another related phenomenon. I hate to use the phrase "kids these days" but I've not yet observed it in those that I find worthy of the titles of adulthood.
What I'm talking about is actually sitting down, or going out and experience something. Today we're more interested in what others think of what we're doing than we are interested in what we we're actually doing at that moment.
I don't care that you can look at a thousand and one photo's or videos of the Great Pyramids, I wanna go there and see for myself. Nor am I running the risk of letting a superb meal get cold just because I'm too busy tweeting a picture of it. Be honest, if you are doing something worth sharing with others, do you really care so much what they think of you that you'd give up that very experience? These days a lot of people do.
It's the same with RuneScape. For what I suspect is the same reason we started taking numerous selfies, we started caring more about what others thought of our achievements rather than priding ourselves on those achievements, let alone enjoying the work being done to get there. No sooner do we get a rare drop, then a screenshot has to be put up on Reddit.
It's why you see images like this more and more:
I understand that being the hundredandthreethousandandfivehundredthirtysecond person to get 99 Strength doesn't feel like much. But it's you who did it, on your own, without the help of others... probably. Point is, it's your achievement we're celebrating, and not that of those other hundred thousand peoples you will be compared to. Holding out to get a whole bunch of 99s all at once doesn't make it any more special, and certainly doesn't enhance the fun 25-fold.
In a day and age when the Completionist Cape is a moving goalpost for a dedicated few and an impossibility for almost everyone else I think it's time to get back to where we once were.
The sad thing is that since then a lot of well-meant updates did quite a bit of damage. FriendsChat (or ClanChat as it was first called) meant it no longer required you to go and visit forums or IRC or an in-game meeting for mass messaging. Before that, if you weren't there, you would miss all of it, so it demanded a certain amount of organizational skill on behalf of the participants.
YouTube, fansites, forums, Wiki, you name it. The game no longer demands you to make friends to find out how to get over a particular obstacle in a quest, or to find out what the cheapest way of levelling a skill is. Speaking of skilling, the chore factor has been massively reduced as has the fighting over training spots though DnD's and instances, allowing for much less boredom that forces one to strike up a conversation.
Dungeoneering attempted to fix that with higher XP rates from groups, but it soon became a rather elitist clique. ClanChats today really only exist for communication purposes, and the Citadel is becoming more of a chore as better ways of training are devised.
I can only guess what the new Grouping system will do, but the trend of better technology leading to worse communication can easily be continued with it.
So is RuneScape losing the first "M" in MMORPG? Has it already lost it and should we accept this new reality? Or are there ways that player interaction and connectivity can be enhanced?
I have my doubts. As long as people ask me "Wer u at!" on the phone, rather than "How are you?" this is the new reality, and we better get used to it.