As my first year in college gains momentum and moves into full swing, I have been pushed farther away from RuneScape than I expected. However, being an engineer and living in a nearly exclusive engineering dorm, the atmosphere of video games is all around; walking ten feet in to the next room yields a plethora of gaming systems and a computer with 10GB of RAM. In turn, gamers and therefore games are not hard to come by if I were ever interested. However, no matter how hard I look, I have found no one that has played RuneScape within the last couple years. It seems as if the general consensus is that it is a baby game, a game they played when they were twelve and quit shortly afterwards. I have been wondering and questioning why they thought this and came up with one common explanation: it is only a grind and that makes it not fun in the least. Although I see their point, I disagree.
Another observation I have made is that Real Time Strategy (RTS) games, no matter how old or how bad the graphics are, are considered "respectable" games. Also the term "skill" is thrown around when it comes to RTS games. These have been the two main reasons that RTS games are still played by many people. The most popular games played seem to be either League of Legends, one I’ve never heard of, or StarCraft II. I've witnessed countless amount of games of these be played in my first month at college and have played a few games of LOL myself. Not to mention I have gotten pretty good at soloing a lane by myself and trolling people with NuNu. However, I still prefer a game of Castle Wars or a quick round of Dungeoneering over any amount of LOL versus any team, no matter how experienced they are. As a matter of fact, I find playing a game of Stealing Creation more challenging than a game of LOL versus a full team of level 30s. So the question remains in my mind, why is an RTS that, in my opinion, is less challenging and thought consuming than some aspects of RuneScape, more popular than RuneScape among college students? The only explanation is the amount of grinding one must perform to achieve the maximum level in any skill. This implies that the grinding cannot be fun, however. But who is to say that cutting a tree down while talking to all the others participating isn't enjoyable? Even cutting a tree down with your clan mates while talking in, potentially, four different chat scenarios cannot be plain boring. Furthermore, grinding allows for a lot of other activities while you try to achieve a higher and, usually, more enjoyable level. Personally, I know a handful of people who currently have RuneScape running in another tab while they attempt to tackle their mounds of online homework or even reading a book of the Iliad. There are plenty of productive things people can do while they are playing RuneScape, so the possibly for a skill to become something short of boring is available for people who use that as a reason for not playing.
A question in my minds still remains unanswered, why is RuneScape considered to require less skill than a simple RTS? Who is to say killing Nex with a team or attempting to solve clue scrolls by yourself isn't as challenging as attacking Riven in LOL with a spell and chasing after her with your team? Apparently, there are many college students who would say that. I've done both and they are equally as challenging in some cases, but in others, paying attention to potentially dying and losing all your items becomes more of a challenge and even a hassle than simply hiding in a bush and recalling to my base to heal. Continuing on the subject of death with items lost, many people tend to think that it is a bad idea for a game to have. They simply do not wish to even take the risk of losing their items to what they classify as "just a game." Items lost on death has been a concept I always thought of as a good idea. However, JaGex seems to agree with nearly terminating the idea of items lost on death with the introduction of gravestones, which, don't get me wrong, is a life saver for many people. With as many challenging options that RuneScape offers, I do not see one reason, besides not having the required skills, that it is not within the same realm as some RTS games.
Maybe I am just an old fart who still enjoys playing RuneScape and the grind doesn't particularly bother me, but I cannot be the only one who prefers it over RTS's. It is not even that RuneScape is more of a time commitment either. I know of people in my dorm that play LOL nearly 10 hours a day even with classes. On the other hand, the massive amount of bots today compared to the amount pre-2007 seem to confirm that the grind is just too much for today's crowd of young gamers, who still want to play RuneScape and just reap the rewards. Moreover, the amount of players, new and old alike, that up and quit these days has been on the rise. Understandably, a game after 10 years is due to decline, but with constant updates, some arguably terrible, can it not stay interesting? Are RTS's really that dominant over MMORPG's these days or am I wrong to think that RuneScape can be even more fun than many RTS games? Overall, I have concluded that many people tend to dislike the time required to have what they would consider fun in RuneScape so they quit for something that they can level and master quickly. On the other hand, I do not think instant gratification games can hold a massive player base for long.