It's starting to sound like the run up to one of those pay-per-view wrestling matches: Players vs. Jagex in a no-holds-barred grudge match!
The truth is both players and Jagex are not opposing sides but two halves of a symbiotic relationship. Take away either one and there's no game left. Without the players, RuneScape is just a bunch of pixels idling away on a server or two. Without Jagex, the players get to sit around and twiddle their thumbs instead of clicking mouse buttons and getting those pixels working.
No one is helped when the players and the game company are at each other's throats. It doesn't help the game, and it doesn't encourage new players. All it does is make people angry, discouraged and possibly annoyed enough to go somewhere else. After all it's not like RuneScape is the only game in town. There are other games, some have better graphics, some have bigger worlds, some are easier to play, some are harder. Some cost more, some are free.
If you're reading this, you probably feel a degree of loyalty to RuneScape. You've probably invested a lot of your time and yourself in building up your character, training skills, doing quests, and playing the mini games. You probably have a sense of ownership of your character (or characters), even though they're just a bunch of pixels. They're yours, you made them what they are. You probably have friends in the game too. People that you hang out with and do stuff with. People you chat with, even when you're on different worlds doing different things. Even people you hurl mutual insults at – not because you dislike them, but because it's the way you interact. It's not just a bunch of pixels to you, it's real.
Over at Jagex Towers there are a bunch of people who make this game what it is. They've invested a lot of their time and their selves in creating this game, building a world that works, a credible mythology, rules, characters, a geography, creatures, an economy, and a history. They have a sense of ownership too. And with good reason, it's theirs, they made it and in doing so made it possible for you to make your characters.
It's not a game anyone wins. Sure, there are a few famous names at the top of the high scores table, but they didn't win anything and have to keep working pretty hard to stay there.
There's no right or wrong way to play RuneScape. Other than breaking the rules, that is. However, if you're playing by the rules, there's nothing that says you have to do this quest now, or develop that skill on Tuesdays. No one's going to complain if you prefer not to fish on Fridays. If you don't do any quests, or develop any particular skill, the RuneScape Police are not going to arrest you for not playing the game the right way. That's part of the beauty of the game, you can play it the way it works for you.
We, the players, need to stop seeing Jagex as the enemy. They're not. They built the game, they continue to improve it, and they have set out rules for playing the game. The rules aren't particularly complex, there aren't an awful lot of them, and they're there either to protect the players, or to keep the game playing field reasonably level.
The rules relating to giving out personal information are there to protect players from stalkers, identity thieves, or other unsavoury denizens of the internet. Most of the adults who play RS don't really need that protection, though some do. Jagex needs these rules to protect itself from lawsuits and bad publicity in the unlikely event of a player meeting up in real life with a stalker he/she met through the game. At least one of the teen journaling sites is in danger of either facing lawsuits or being shut down because of that sort of activity.
The rules against autoing, macroing etc. are there to keep the playing field level. They also stop players from "breaking" the game. I know that levelling up some skills can be boring, but that's part of the way the game is designed. It makes getting a level 99 in something like fishing or firemaking as much a test of endurance as it does skill. But if you set a bot to do the boring stuff for you, what have you achieved? OK, you've made some money quickly, but you haven't done it yourself. It's the difference between working for a living and having a printing press churning out $100 bills or £50 notes in your basement.
The rules restricting bad language are again, there to protect the younger players (though it often seems that they are the ones who most abuse those rules). Unfortunately, the rules are based on the English language, and don't necessarily work well with other languages.
We all (except the cheats) benefit when the game is played fairly. We should all do our part by playing well with others and not trying to find new ways of scamming, avoiding the censor, and so on.
Perhaps we should have a Tip.It Courtesy Week (or weekend for those with short attention spans). It might be a bit of a challenge to spend a week being polite, helpful and generally chivalrous to our fellow players. But it might also turn out to be a much nicer way to play the game.
Do you have any thoughts or comments about what you've just read? Want to discuss this article with your fellow Runescapers? We invite you to discuss the article in this forum topic.