I’ve been called lots of things including, “resistant to change” and “Anti-Jagex.” and have even been known to say phrases with four letter profanities that the administration refuses to publish when speaking of Jagex multiple times. I’ve played RuneScape since July 2001 and I’ve seen many changes both good and bad.
The December 2007 changes rank amongst what are, in my opinion, the most controversial changes in the game's history. I was adamantly against these changes and was one of the many saying, “We pay, we pk.” My protests were called childish, and to my dismay, Jagex was actually able to convey a convincing argument. The removal of “Free trade” and the “wilderness” was done to preserve the future of Runescape.
"There has been a significant increase in the amount of real-world trading this year. If we don't find a solution to RWT now, it will ruin RuneScape."
"If we don't break that vicious cycle now, it would just keep getting worse and worse. It could reach a point where macro software becomes undetectable."
"Above all, we're a games company. We don't want to spend all our time and energy fighting gold-sellers and bots, we want to get on with making the game,"
"These occurrences were becoming so frequent that they seriously threatened RuneScape."
As much as I liked free trade and the wilderness - in fact the wilderness may have been my favorite thing - I was smart enough to eventually buy into the logic that if it was allowed to persist, the game I love would die due to cheating, RWT and credit card fees from stolen cards on bots. I enjoyed other aspects of the game, so I gritted my teeth and stood idle, watching Jagex slowly but surely add improvements to the bloody restrictive rules in place. They established trade limits based on quests and longstanding friends, a useful assist system and borrowing system that was risk free, and somewhat decent PvP minigames. As sad as it sounds, almost a year's worth of content was designed to improve the hastily implemented trade limits and removal of the wilderness. Sure the GE isn’t perfect - you have junk trading in an economical effort for a once free economy to try to become free again. But even me, the most pessimistic and bitter player I knew, saw improvements and hope.
Today I was stunned to see a poll to decide the game's future in these areas that were removed 3 years prior for the game's “protection.” I’ve seen Jagex do many things that I would consider to be dumb, and while sometimes I was wrong about them being dumb updates, I say with confidence that today's update truly was.
The polling page defies all logic. To vote for a useless, silly Halloween holiday trinket, you had to log in, authenticate your account and unless I’m mistaken, be a member and pay for a right to vote to have a say in a contest that no one really cared about (Scimitar redesign? Really, who cares?). Yet for a poll that affects the game in such a massive way you can just type in your name and click “vote?” Really? No authentication, no checks and balances? Although I’ve seen numerous mods on the RSOF repeat over and over like a broken record “it’s real, but I can’t answer your questions or counter your points.” It’s a rather pathetic vote. Many people are abusing the feature and the original poll, which had 80,000 votes in mere minutes, was poorly constructed to say at the bottom of the vote button “if you don’t agree, don’t vote.”
The poll was poorly executed. It’s almost like Jagex wants this vote to be biased or abused so it can pass or fail. If they can make an authenticated vote to redesign a semi-useless weapon then they can do it for the future of the game.
Yet to me, that’s not the worst aspect of it. A blurb in today's announcement haunts me.
"We’ve been shutting down bot-makers all around the world and prosecuting people for stealing accounts, and we’ve evolved our systems to quickly detect cheating; however, we will have to accept that we will never completely eradicate cheating so long as there is an incentive and method to do so. Bringing back free trade and the original Wilderness will certainly make this a bigger issue than it is today, though I can pledge that we will never stop trying to combat it."
Three years ago Jagex stated, as seen above, that they "don't want to spend all [their] time and energy fighting gold-sellers and bots, [they] want to get on with making the game." In 3 years what changed? Is the game running out of content? Is it in it's “end game” to where new content doesn’t matter? Has Jagex admitted they have given up on trying to remove cheating? It seems like a defeatist point of view... Already we know that Jagex is not taking a softer approach to botters and instead of banning, they are wiping stats for “cheating,” as seen below. This is a screencap taken from a public forum posted by “Bladewing” in this thread.
Basically what do we have to look forward to if RWT and botting return? The highscores will be impure and tainted, even more so then they already are.
Clearly, you can see that Runescape is becoming less and less of a “buzz” trend on Google. It has been on a steady decline for years.
The more I look at this, the more I fear Jagex is becoming tired of Runescape or it’s becoming “unprofitable.” As such, the paranoid player in me sees 2011, the 10th year of RuneScape, as “the beginning of the end.” Give away some money to players, give them them some controversial updates and I pray they at least finish up ALL quest lines from camel romance to WGS’s if that’s the case.
This goes against everything Jagex has done poll-wise, and contradicts the statements we were fed years ago. What has changed to now allow us this privilege that was taken from us? What has changed to allow back features once labeled as "the demise of Runescape?" Since when does Jagex “listen” to the players and the “whiners?”
This has so many red flags which are uncharacteristic of the company, that it makes me want to scream “It's a trap, it's a conspiracy, Jagex is up to no good!” or it makes me wonder what has happened to make a company suddenly change its mission, culture and to reinstate removed content that basically pisses away a years worth of updates?
I want these features, but deep down, the method in which they are being reinstated scares me to make me question the game's future.
Do you think this will impact the game's future? For better or worse? Is this the sign of the end?