RuneScape is a game. I know that’s hardly the revelation of the century, but sometimes we forget that it is. Amidst the tables of data, number crunching and fierce debates over relatively unimportant issues, it’s easy to mistake RuneScape as something other than a game.
If it isn’t a game, then what is it? A job? A chore? Well, to most people, it will feel that way at some point. That’s how it feels to me at the moment. I wouldn’t call it a job; I’d rather describe it as simply unimportant. Over the past few months, RuneScape has taken a big dip in importance, at least in my life. I thought I could blame exams and real life pursuits, but it’s summer now and I have almost nothing to do with my time. So I open up my browser, log on to RuneScape and… log right off again.
It’s not hard to imagine why. You haven’t been very active over a few months, so when you do start trying to be active again, your bank looks foreign, you don’t remember what your goals previously were (or if you do, you don’t know why you had them) and you simply don’t know where to start. Where do you continue from? I only managed to play for more than a few minutes before I came up with a goal and stuck to it for a few days.
The problem is, while I’ve not been paying attention, things have slowly and gradually been changing. The last few months haven’t had many updates that have personally appealed to me, so I’ve not stuck around to give them much attention. That of course, doesn’t mean that they haven’t had an impact on the game which I return to. Slowly, with every day that passes, the culture and face of RuneScape changes.
One place that is completely unforgiving when it comes to lack of attention is Daemonheim. I don’t know if you’ve tried to Dungeoneer after not doing it for a while, but it feels like you’re back on Floor 1 again with no idea what’s going on. It takes time to adjust and get back into the rhythm of a dungeon again.
When your usual exploits seem too much of a hassle and the new content is boring, there’s little left to do but log off again. I’m not sure whether I’m only describing my own experiences here, or I’m describing how a lot of other people out there feel, but it worries me either way that a game I have invested so much time, effort and love in is just unappealing.
It’s an even worse thought when you look at the state of RuneScape and wonder if it’ll still be around in a few years. To be quite frank, I’m not sure. If this boredom, disinterest and disregard of the game are a widespread feeling across the community, then I would really be surprised if the game continues. Of course, there’ll be new players coming along, but how can RuneScape compete to the graphical marvels of the triple-A console & PC games, or even some of the less grindy MMO’s out there?
You would think that in the economic climate we currently have, cheap and accessible games like RuneScape would thrive. I’m not sure I’ve seen any real spark of life in the last few months. I worry that the game is stagnating, both to me and to the wider community. It’s a shame, though. RuneScape is a fun game at heart. There’s so much content and so much diversity. You can do as you wish and it’s easy to get swallowed up in what is quite an impressive world when you pay attention to some of the detail that Jagex puts in. However, it takes time to become immersed and I think that Jagex are missing the bigger picture right now.
Jagex need something fresh. I don’t mean just a new quest or a new spin on their Public Relations. They need to really engage with players, know what they want and make it understood that we know they know. I’d hedge a guess that many players would be willing to sacrifice a few inconsequential quests or minigames that nobody will play after the first week if it means that Jagex can pay attention to the matters that concern us the most. For me right now, that issue is that RuneScape no longer alleviates my boredom; it causes it.