We've all seen them, those dreaded words that send shivers down the spine of even the most hardened PKers: "phr33 5t0ph pl0x" or the all too familiar: "I got haxx0red…". There seem to be certain things that trigger these attacks on one's serenity: being a player mod is a huge one, wearing any of the high-level capes, having a 3-digit combat level, or wearing expensive or rare items will also trigger a beggar's radar. They are, of course, working under a false assumption. That guy over there in full dragon? Probably spent his last GP on it. That high combat level girl? Been too busy fighting to get rich. The dude in the Quest Cape of Achievement? There's very little money in quests. That's not to say that there aren't some very rich players in Runescape, there are, but a lot of the higher level players aren't nearly as rich as some of the beggars think they are.
Begging has got to be the most annoying aspect of inter-player relations in Runescape. There's no earthly reason for it. There are a thousand and one ways of making money. Almost all skills have a marketable component in both the F2P and P2P environments – runecrafting might be the only exception since Jagex nerfed F2P rune essence in an attempt to defeat macroers.
Now, we all like free stuff, that's pretty much a given. But getting everything for nothing very much devalues what you get. Supposing you are an "average" to reasonable player – you've got a combat level in the 90s, and around 1500 – 1600 total levels. You show up somewhere in the high scores table in every skill you're eligible for (depending on whether you're F2P or P2P). One day you log on to Runescape, fire up your character intending to go off and do your favourite in-game activity, and you notice something different. All of a sudden, for no reason at all, you've got over a billion GP in your bank, a full set of party hats, a santa hat or two, all the rarest of the rare items, and all your skills are maxed out at 99 (and you have all the skill capes). Congratulations, you're one of the top 10 players in Runescape! Wouldn't that be cool? Well, yes it would be. For about as long as it took me to write it up or for you to read it. Now it would be nice to have so many whips you didn't need to worry about losing them in the wildy, or to have full sets of all the Barrows armour, but if you hadn't gone down to the Barrows and fought the brothers, or spent hours killing lesser beings to earn the money to buy the whips would it be as much fun to have? Would it mean as much?
I put it to you that if you suddenly got everything you wanted in RuneScape (or in real life, for that matter) you wouldn't be any happier. You wouldn't enjoy what you had nearly as much as when you had less stuff, but it was stuff you'd worked for.
I'm not against gifts. I've been the very happy recipient of some generous gifts from friends. I've given friends in-game some good gifts from time to time, but there's a difference between giving a friend an amulet of glory for their birthday, or a set of black dragonhide armour to celebrate them reaching the level they can wear it at, and randomly giving stuff to beggars. One's friends almost always appreciate gifts, beggars generally just ask for more.
I'd like to see an end to begging in RuneScape, but I don't think it'll happen. Too many people these days expect to get something for nothing. Too many people don't see why one person should have something that they don't. The reasoning that "person X has the same combat level as me and (s)he has a whip, therefore I should have one too", is faulty. Though if you're the kind of spoiled brat (no matter what your actual age) who is always given everything (s)he wants, I can see why you feel that way.
I know a lot of people think that online gaming bears no relation to Real Life™, and that when you're online you can do as you wish because there are no consequences (or very few that matter) if you do behave badly. However I don't think that's entirely true. Yes, we're playing a game where it's OK to steal from people or kill them, but that doesn't mean that our interactions with other players, as distinct from NPCs who are the legitimate targets of our thievery and murderous intent, should be on such a barbaric level. However, the attitudes of being greedy and thoughtless towards others that can develop in a game can translate to the Real World and if they do, they rarely make you a better person for it.
Neither the world, nor RuneScape, nor your humble Editor, owe you a living. It's up to you to make your own way with whatever tools and talents you have. Some of us have more tools and talents than others, and while that might seem unfair, life is basically unfair – it says so in the handbook. What? You didn't get a handbook with your life? Dude – you were robbed! But take it from me…begging, making excuses for why you haven't done something (or why you have) won't work in real life. So don't get used to them working in a game.
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