As of this weekend, my RuneScape subscription has expired. I am no longer a member; I am no longer ‘active’. I cancelled it for quite a few reasons, some of which I want to discuss with you here.
One reason, which many people will share with me, is that it’s the end of summer and University is starting. I don’t have the time to actively play, so there’s very little point in me paying for something I don’t use – but that’s boring. That’s not something you can discuss, it’s just a personal matter, and it’s not the only reason I ended my subscription. The game I knew has changed, the reasons I subscribed in the first place just aren’t there anymore, and the people I loved to share RuneScape with aren’t the same either.
There’s probably nothing I can say here that will be particularly shocking; my trouble with the game is the same burden that most players have: I can’t tolerate the unreasonable number of bots; I can’t maintain that Jagex know what they’re doing and that they’re acting in the best interest of the game, not their wallets; I can’t remain in a community that isn’t gratifying anymore.
With a lot of the recent updates that Jagex have made, many people have said that it’s the final straw. They said it when Jagex made Vanity Items available, and they said it when Jagex announced Refer a Friend. I like to think that some people really did quit, though a lot probably stayed around.
Saying publicly you’re going to leave because you resent Jagex is something a lot of people will just ignore and think, 'heh, they’ll be back'. Maybe Jagex even think that too. They know the sort of pull that RuneScape has on its long-term players. People don’t really ever quit an MMO; it sucks them back in eventually. Some people do manage to stop playing forever, but it’s never easy. MMOs, particularly those tinted with nostalgia from your childhood/teenage years when you first played (like RuneScape), can drag you back without warning. One mention by a friend, or one fleeting thought, and you’re logging in again just to see how things have changed since you’ve left. For example a friend of mine mentioned that he’d started playing Neopets again. I played Neopets around 6 years ago with him, I hadn’t played it in such a long time, but I found myself logging back in and for a few days – I played again. It didn’t last, I went back to my normal things, but it’s too easy to get hooked once you go back. I also started playing the MMO Puzzle Pirates as a teen, and it’s never really left me. I still go and play fairly regularly – I just can’t keep away.
Perhaps I’m just weak and don’t have the willpower and self-discipline to stop what is pretty much an addiction. Addiction to RuneScape, to MMO’s, to the internet… I know I’m not the only one who has these. We are drawn into the virtual world and desire to make the pixels on our screen look exactly the way we want them. Maybe it will be a struggle to leave and stay gone; maybe the real world will be distracting enough that I won’t need RuneScape as a diversion – I only hope. There’s a great sadness in leaving behind something you’ve invested a lot of time (and money) into. I’ve never really ‘left’ a game before. I’ve just drifted away from it when I got bored, leaving things open to be returned to. You don’t burn your bridges with something you’ve spent days and days of your time on and that’s what can make things difficult because you could always return.
I have to admit that I may come back to the game. This is particularly true since I don’t intend on leaving the Tip.It Forums, so there’ll always be that exposure to the community and therefore the game. If I do return, then that’s fine – it’s what I want to do. But right now all I can see is a game that I don’t like anymore, I don’t want to keep playing, and I don’t want to keep condoning Jagex’s actions by giving them my money. RuneScape has given me some truly great times over the years – it’s just not working for me any longer.