When I talk about an undead community, I don’t mean a friendly community of zombies. I mean the Runescape community. It is a commonly held opinion that the Runescape community is dead, and died with the end of Runescape Classic. ‘People aren’t as friendly these days, everybody used to know everybody and it was like one big community where people shared and had a laugh.’ You know the comments like these, and quite a few people, although not everyone, would tend to agree – whether they were around during Runescape Classic or not. The community doesn’t seem as ‘wholesome’ as it used to.
But I say otherwise. I recently reached 99 Woodcutting and had a party for it, friends from Tip.It came and it was great. But it wasn’t just people that I knew who came. Several people who I had never even met before (and probably wouldn’t meet again) spent a little bit of their time to take part in the celebrations and say congratulations. One person even took the time to find me again when I went to get the Cape of Achievement. These people were willing to celebrate an achievement of someone they don’t know... but I thought the community was dead? Isn’t it?
This wasn’t the only instance of this either. Woodcutting can turn into quite a social skill; especially cutting Ivy, where you have nothing better to do than just chat with your fellow Woodcutters. More often than not, you can end up having quite a nice discussion with people, if you give it a try. I’m not just talking about P2P members either. The people who came to the Woodcutting party were F2P, something I found to be quite amusing since it seems to be common opinion that F2P doesn’t even have a community – barring ‘giv muny plzzzzz’.
I’ve always argued that F2P isn’t as bad as people make it out to be, and I’ll argue for it again. People in F2P are just as willing, maybe even more than P2P, to celebrate and enjoy themselves with the players around them. One of the big problems that I have with the Runescape community is that a majority of players have an obsession with efficiency, particularly P2P communities. They become more concerned with their experience rates and how many shiny gp’s they’re making than if they’re having fun. This creates the problem in the P2P community where people are seen to have to have high levels. People will ignore others just because they don’t have a 99 or, even worse, they’ll ignore them because they ‘only have 99 cooking and fletching’. This is why I find the P2P community detestable sometimes. That, and the prejudice many P2P members have against F2P.
But, putting aside all that, I still think that the community isn’t as dead as we might think. It’s just changed. Communities change all the time in real life, and I think the Runescape community is no different. Think back to ten years ago and compare how people interacted and communicated, to how they do now. Society has become more globalised and we have moved to social networking to create our communities. Just like how people don’t stand around Edgeville to chat, in normal life we don’t send letters to communicate with people on a regular basis. The technology of Runescape has changed since Runescape Classic, and therefore the community must change with it. If the community doesn’t change, it dies. And how could it stay the same anyway? There are millions upon millions of Runescape players, with more joining every day. It’s impossible for things to stay the same as they had in Runescape Classic and just because things have changed – doesn’t mean they’re any worse.
I still believe in the community. Of course, at times, it can feel like the community is just an endless stream of ‘Give wildy back’ and ‘We pay we say’. Yet, I don’t believe this is what the community really is. I think the community is better than we give it credit for, and that it is quite far from dead.