If you haven't heard about the update planned for July 26, I envy you. The latter half of July's BTS was reserved for declarations of the update's size, and if you don't read the BTS, you surely would have had some questions when pieces of rock and castle fell from the sky. This may even be one of the first updates to get its own countdown timer on the main page. So what is it?
Clan Citadels. The latest step in Jagex's plan to put the second 'M' back in 'MMORPG'. And if the devblog is to be believed, it's a fairly impressive one. The update will bring giant floating castles that your clan can build and maintain, so long as your clan is active.
Not to say that earlier updates didn't at least encourage team play. Before strategies are refined and new equipment is released, bosses are a team effort, and games like Castle Wars are much easier to win as a team than as a set of individuals. Later, clan chats allowed players to talk across worlds and without leaving their training grounds. Before this, players gathered in hot spots to talk to friends, such as Tip.It's own world 99 Edgeville bank. Now, you can find Tip.Iters in Tip.It's clan chat. And before 2007, trading was done in such hotspots. Banks buzzed with activity as players attempted to get the most out of their items; in World 2, Falador was an entire city for trading. Like clan chats, the Grand Exchange (and more importantly, the much-loathed trade limits that came with it) removed the need for a designated trade city.
These updates changed the way players interact, for better or worse. Many community-focused updates add to gameplay, but also take away elements of it. You no longer need to be in the same area as another player to trade, and can speak to your circle of friends across worlds without outside chat programs. The result is that players do not need to come in direct contact with other players to succeed. The consequence is many players complaining that the multiplayer aspect of the game is slowly being removed, turning Runescape into, as players have sometimes put it, "A single-player game with chat."
Jagex responds with a series of attempts to reverse this, which includes hosting events, including the very hyped Triumvirate, many other small, one-off events such as quest help sessions, PvP tournaments, and the like, and adding clan support features, including this month's Citadel update. The unfortunate thing is that many players simply do not care about Jagex's events, and that websites such as Runehead have long served the same purpose as Jagex's clan system without the limits that come from being bound to ingame content (notably allowing a player to appear in more than one clan memberlist).
Not to say there weren't surprises in this move towards community content. Dungeoneering was an unexpected addition to the skill list, requiring teamwork to gain the most out of the skill and leading to a never ending argument about whether it was a skill or minigame; even as a minigame, it is unique. Most other games require either the loosest form of cooperation or are entirely competitive. Dungeoneering requires close cooperation; a group of five that cannot do this will finish a floor in double or triple the time of one that can.
In the end, it's the players who decide whether or not they want to cooperate, and game content that's specifically designed for teams isn't necessary. Penguins, like other D&Ds, were apparently intended to be the kind of thing that players simply happened across while running around the world. The community had other ideas, and World 60 became the place where players would not only track them for each other, but trap and even herd them for others. Similarly, clans are a major feature of many MMOs, and Runescape is no exception. Clan events are done without the promise of rewards that Dungeoneering brings, but require no less planning and cooperation; joining a clan is a great way for a player to meet like-minded players.
In the end, the citadel update is for clans. It's a way for players to build a castle to suit their needs and show everyone just what they're about. It doesn't get much more community-centered than that. Jagex actively taking a part in the community may be a relatively new thing (except with very old-school players) with mixed results at best, but the best thing that they can do for the community is enhance the way it runs.