The idea of Runescape as a game is to entertain us. It was created as an enjoyable pastime, a way to relax, an alternative to the real world; name it whatever you will, however it's purpose is undeniably that of entertainment. Yet, there are different approaches in this perspective.
I will begin with those who do not find the actual activities that can be performed within the game to be enough. They may consider them too dull, too repetitive, not captivating enough in any case. What is their solution? - They resort to various other activities, such as talking with friends on different clients (others than those offered by Jagex), listening to music, browsing video streaming websites such as Youtube, browsing Fansite forums and their chats, or watching television programmes or animated shows (I should know, I do the latter), to name but a few activities which I found to be the most common.
I would like to put in a few anonymous quotes:
"Usually [while playing Runescape] I just browse forums, watch TV & movies, talk to friends to maintain my sanity."
"I put on music while doing slayer. Music really helps me play Runescape."
"I like Runescape, but it's hard for me to stay logged in for more than 10 minutes because I get bored."
You might say those quotes are severely lacking and do not constitute solid evidence. I have inserted a poll that I have given to a sample of 22 people. They were asked 2 questions:
1.While playing Runescape, do you do other activities that are not offered by Jagex? (this means you should not include browsing Runescape forums, funorb games, knowledge base, however you may say browsing forums non-hosted by Jagex, such as fansites). 72.7% answered YES
2.Would you find it boring to just focus on Runescape, without doing other activities outside of the game? 54.5% answered YES
It is not a great margin, however in both cases it does represent a majority.
More so, I even found a few instances where the person engaged in another flash game while playing Runescape at the same time. All of this leads me to the following conclusion - that, as a provider of entertainment methods, Jagex are not doing a very good job, hence 'forcing' a hefty amount of their product's users to resort to other methods to keep themselves content.
This leads me to my next question, which I address to those who engage in the above activities: Why do you keep playing Runescape if you do not find it satisfying? Why not simply log out of Runescape and do only those activities that you enjoy and do not force you to 'log out after 5 minutes'?
A common answer I have found to this is 'It helps pass time'. I will assume that this implies that it helps pass the time in general, because if it were to be given the meaning that it helps pass time on the game itself, then it does not make sense to use third party methods to help you get through something that was designed to be a method of entertainment.
In fairness, let us take another category: those who find the game in itself to be enough. Of these I have found those who are 'hardcore skillers', to use a term that is often used now, and those who log in every now and then for a few activities such as PVP or occasional skilling, and whom I have found have a tendency to also get bored fairly quickly, but the important difference is that they don't resort to forcing themselves to stay on the game, by undergoing various activities and distractions outside of the features provided by the game. To this category, the creators of the game have done a fairly good job of satisfying their needs.
The problem, however, stems from the fact that this group tends to be the minority. In order for a game to be considered successful, it is generally considered to satisfy the needs of the many, to be entertaining to the majority. The fact that the majority of the players multi-task in order to be able to stay on the game, it means they don’t enjoy it enough. So if the majority does not find what they are looking for in the game, why do they play it, then?
Perhaps the fact that the game gives a feeling of achievement which is quite easily obtainable is a reason why some still keep a Runescape tab open while watching the favourite TV show. We strive for what we consider to be an easily obtainable achievement that will give us a sense of pride. Nothing wrong with that, one might say, since pride is something we all want. Yet, wouldn’t there be other ways to obtain it that would give us an even greater boost than even obtaining a 99 such as Runecrafting ever could?
Not in the least. If it’s easy to be done, requires no effort but gives something back to you (no matter how small it is) we will always choose the easy one over something that possibly has a better reward but requires effort on our part. Comfort and vegetating is what we strive for.