Although I am grouchy and complain on numerous occasions, I enjoy the company of friends. I used to enjoy something on RuneScape that is now a novel concept: Group Questing. I have fond memories of doing quests on RuneScape Classic with various friends. I have fond memories of doing quests on RS2 with my close friend; it makes it more fun to share the quest with someone you care about. It is hard to describe what makes the quest better, but quests with a friend seem to be more enjoyable. RuneScape is a Massive Multi-player Online game, right? Wrong. Recently this game has become more and more massive, yet very single-player oriented.
This article easily goes into a rant about how the Grand Exchange is soulless, how it destroyed player-to-player interaction. Fools still stand around and use it as a hub for interaction. I've heard people say that with Jagex putting the brakes on Bounty Hunter on the 27th, the game is becoming more single-player; while I don't agree with them in that line of thinking, I feel the general concept of the game becoming more single player is a startling trend.
Let's look at quests. More and more have became very designed for a single player. I understand being whisked away to watch a cut-scene. I don't understand the need to separate people for dungeons or boss fights. What good is a boss fight if I can't get a friend to bless my grave? I've not died on a quest with a "separate" boss fight where I cant see other players, but I've heard you cannot go back to loot your own items within your gravestones time-frame. Guess my gravestone has a lot of small conditions that I am not aware of. Most quest dungeons are dull and not dangerous. I am at maxed combat, and they present little trouble. Climbing through Meyerditch with a friend at least was interesting because we chatted during the challenge, not because the city was fun to navigate.
Quests like Hero's and Shield of Arrav I applaud. They force you to interact with players and do things together. RuneScape is in dire need of social activities for small groups. Sure mini-games exist, but I'm talking about things for small groups. A random dungeon for a party of five? How about a quest with a boss two players have to tackle as a team? It seems like maybe Jagex doesn't want us to be friends, because the multi-player content for small groups really doesn't exist. True social activities in the game for small groups are dwindling daily. You don't need a clan for a mini-game mostly with these themed worlds. And if you go, they are packed, massive groups that sometimes make games no longer fun. We all seemed herded to an area like sheep. Clan chats are in the game, which is great for small groups of friends to get away. But Jagex doesn't really endorse clans, Clan Websites to my knowledge are still against the rules.
Every so often people mention a console version of RuneScape. If the game was overhauled graphical wise, It wouldn't be so far fetched to picture mini-games as online content similar to a round of a shooter online like gears of war with random people. The majority of new quests force you into a single-player standpoint. Think of quests as your campaign and your mini-games as your online content. I mean in all honesty, no mini-game has ever came close to being as fun as the card game in Final Fantasy 8. I didn't have to go online for that. It's very plausible RuneScape could be ported to be single-player.
Maybe that's the point since you alone are assigned the quest by a Non-Playable Character. The NPC might not want your friend to go with you, but if someone sent me on a quest in ancient times, you can best believe I would take a band of merry men with me, not because I need the help, but because human interaction is one thing that can never be programmed or replicated, and face it, our friends is what a large majority of us keep playing for. Honestly if you take my friends away, I would quit RuneScape in a flash.
Perhaps Jagex is afraid of us befriending people. I mean we can't ask our friends for e-mails or messenger handles; personal details are prohibited for safety reasons, but in the time I have played I have met some friends that have become very close to me and I consider them close real friends. I don't know how many people feel the way I do, but interaction with my close friends is why I play the same game so long. I enjoy my interaction with friends online and consider them an integral part of my daily life. But more and more rules seem to forbid me and scare me from making new friends out of paranoia of losing my account. This game is very harsh when it comes to making a friendship outside of the game. I was a console gamer before RuneScape. Still play them, but when I buy a new hot console game I rarely complete them. I end up playing RuneScape to hang out with the people, letting my new hot game just sit in a case. RuneScape is a social club, one that has reduced many ways I can get good quality time with my friends hundreds of miles away. I play RuneScape for the people, not the new content. New content is fun, and even enjoyable, but it gets old quickly. Playing with friends is much more fun. The friends list hasn't been expanded in years. I have been out of space, for a very long time. It's like Jagex expects us to have only at most 100 or 200 friends. I have over 700 RuneScape friends on MSN. We could always use more friends on the game.
So in lots of ways, these fancy new quests are slowly killing my marriage to the game. In Quest do I part with thee RuneScape, at your doing, not mine, all while I try to find a new activity to do with my friends, and just my friends, in a game that seems to grow further apart with every massive mini-game and flooded "official" worlds that have so many sheep, the game sometimes become much less fun and feels soulless.