The uniqueness of multiplayer online role playing games, such as RuneScape, is that there is no one way to play the game. You can be a hero, or a villain. You can keep to yourself, or join a clan. You can specialize in a single skill, or work a little bit on all of them. You can be a player killer, or a highly skilled merchant. The possibilities are large and vast, and can indeed make for quite a bit of fun and entertainment.
This very fact is one that should be praised and respected for its ability to make the game that much more interesting. However, it is often slagged and bashed by quite a few players. Players who, seemingly, think everyone should fit into some sort of "generic" mold of how the game should be played.
From playing the game and reading the forums, one of the first things you will notice as a player is the fact that if you decide to play the game in an manner inconsistent with what the majority deems "normal", you will find yourself on the receiving end of flames and insults. Say you take the path of a merchant, a path that can take quite a bit of money, time, persistence, intelligence, and knowledge of the economy to turn an profit. This was once a highly respected ability amongst the masses, but nowadays it seems to be considered a disrespectful thing to do, and has since been lumped into the "scamming" category by a large number of players.
How can that be? Has the average player’s view of merchanting been clouded by lies? Do they really believe it is nothing more than scamming, or being lazy? Merchanting is not only handling "long term" investments, such as purchasing a blue party hat and waiting 6 months down the road to sell it. Nor is it lying and misrepresenting an item’s worth.
One popular form of merchanting is dealing in items that can be refined or are disposable. This is the ability to buy small amounts of items, in small quantities, and selling them in bulk amounts for a higher price. For example, you make many small trades of iron ore at 100gp each, and then you resell them as part of a large amount for 120gp each. Such trades are mutually beneficial, as the merchant is compensated for his time, and the purchaser, who is willing to pay a little more for the benefit of getting all his supplies quickly and painlessly, is rewarded by not having to gather the items himelf through intensive labor or by spending his whole day in an bank purchasing said items bit by bit.
There are also opportunists, like those who stumble upon a player who does not know the average rate an item is presently selling for. Or those who take advantage of new releases, such as construction, and sell supplies and equipment for many times more than they will be worth once things settle down. Would either of these be considered scamming? Not really, as long as you do not intentionally deceive your fellow players. An example of not scamming would be to say "I am willing to pay you 10k for that yew seed", as the buyer does not claim that the yew seed cannot be sold for more, but rather he simply states what he is willing to pay for it. However, if the player had said "That seed is worth only 10k", when he knows it can be sold for more, is indeed deceptive and an attempt to scam an fellow player. Are either of these methods moral or right? It depends on who you ask. Remember, an item is only worth what a potential buyer is willing to pay, no matter what that amount is. There are no rules against getting a bargain, or charging above average price, as long as you do not mislead a player. When in doubt, buyers and sellers alike should do their research before making a transaction.
Other examples of play which will cause you to find yourself on the receiving end of flames and insults is role playing, RuneScape relationships, or just doing something entertaining even if a little silly. Let’s start with the third. An example of this could be getting together with a couple of friends who had kept their sleds, and heading out to Trollheim to pass the time by racing or just messing around for fun. However, if you so much as dare mention this anywhere in public, it is inevitable that someone is going to be immature enough to approach you and say something along the lines of "That’s not productive, it just sounds stupid to me". Productive? I wasn’t aware that I’m supposed to be doing something "productive", since I am playing a game. The point of playing a game is, in my opinion, to enjoy yourself and relax while having fun, so long as it does not disrupt the fun and enjoyment of others who are playing. I’m reminded of something many of us heard growing up…and that’s "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".
Role playing goes along the same lines, where some players enjoy getting into the roles that they are playing. Some go as far as creating background story about their character, and the character takes a life of its own, so to speak. This sort of activity rarely happens RuneScape, however, simply because people are afraid to be judged and then, of course, flamed. Some players enjoy role playing, others do not. Since it does not affect you if you don’t enjoy it, then please be kind enough to show some courtesy and respect for those who do, and let them be.
Finally, about relationships. There are quite a few variations on how, and why, this is done and they differ as wildly as the players who play RuneScape. Some happen to be close friends, either in real life or online, who tend to spend most of their time in the game together anyway, and see playing such roles ingame as the next logical step. Others start out as friends, and actually end up developing feelings for their fellow player, which in some cases has led to a real-life marriage. Then there are those, who are already married or in a relationship offline, and then carry their relationship over into the game. All three of these scenarios used to be quite common and accepted in the earliest days of RuneScape. But this seems to have changed over time. Again though, I still see no reason to show disrespect for the way others choose to play their game, regardless of your personal opinions on the subject. Whether you think it’s an good idea or an bad idea shouldn’t really matter, should it? Does it stop you from enjoying your own game in any way? I think not.
There are those who will try to become your friend as an attempt to gain rewards in game, be it cash and equipment, or just to toy with the other party. These types of players are usually quite easy to spot – they are normally either complete strangers, or people who you have just recently met, and shortly afterwards, they approach you with some kind of request. They prey upon their victims, milking them for what they can before they move on to their next victim. These types of people should be ignored, and are not even worth the time of day it takes to respond to them.
In closing, I’d like to use something my mother used to tell me (and I’m sure your did too!!!) "Do unto others as you would have them do to you". In other words, treat others how you would like to be treated yourself. Be it in the game, or in life, its a good policy to live by, and ultimately the world would be much better off for it.
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