Recently the Editor met up with Gregechidna6 in The Blue Moon Inn in Varrock. In case you don't know Greg, he's the 3rd player to reach 99 attack, strength, defense and hitpoints. Over a few Asgarnian Ales, they talked about what it was like to be one of the first high level players and how the game has changed over the years. Here’s how the conversation went:
The Editor: So, for starters, how long have you been playing RS?
Gregechidna6: Well, let's see...I signed up for RuneScape in very late January of 2001 as Greg Hedgeho, not realizing that the 'g' of 'Hedgehog' didn't write on. I started out as a 'warrior' so I could have a bronze short sword and wooden shield. I died, because I chose to be a player-killer, and lost it all.
I then made a new character, Greg Echidna. Again, I chose to be a player-killer, and was massacred again. Angry as ever, I wanted to make another character really fast. Not thinking, I made Gregechidna6, and just called it a day. Unfortunately, that would end up being my name. A number, ugh. Curse you, six!
The Editor: It didn't take you long to become a RuneScape legend did it?
Greg: To be exact, I was the third to 99 attack, strength, defense and hitpoints, but back then there was only a "fighting" hi-score which displayed your hitpoints which was generally the average of your fighting stats, since ranged and magic didn't raise hitpoints back then.
The Editor: Are you P2P or F2P?
Greg: I'm currently a member, I originally only joined so I could sell off some members items I had a lot of, like cooked shark, but I enjoyed the member benefits a lot and decided to hang on.
The Editor: And are you still an active player?
Greg: Somewhat. I played from February 2001 'til August 2002 and quit. I didn't come back until about four years later exactly, August 2006. I play for only a couple of hours a week (if that), because I'm in college now - and that's far more fun and important.
The Editor: You had quite a break from RS, what were the significant differences you noticed when you came back to the game? I'm not talking about game content or RS Classic vs. RS2 so much as player interactions, they way people play the game, merchanting, clans, that sort of thing. How much of that was around in the early days and how much sprang up in your absence?
Greg: Individual achievement really disappeared. Maybe that's not the right term. A sense of a tighter world which everybody was comfortable in. When I played in 2001 'til mid 2002, the community was much tighter. Of course there were millions less playing, but it was just a different atmosphere. There were dominant clans, and all the high levels of any skill were very well known. As were the socialites that didn't necessarily have special levels in any skills, but were just famous anyway. Towards the middle to end of my RuneScape career, I was in the top fifteen fighters and finished at the third, I was pretty darned famous if I may say so... now some people have the audacity to say I'm a "no-namer high level."
Upon returning, I wondered if the Wanderers still ruled everything, and apparently they didn't even exist. Back in the day, there were only a small group of clans and they all had a true blue name in the game. BoS, Sabres, Messiahs, Gladiatorz, Death Corps, Razors and so on. Some of them even took an 'evil' side or a 'good' side! The Wanderers had the impression of the 'elite of the game' to most. Nowadays, there are so many clans and groups and just so many players coming and going - nobody is special. Back in 2001 you knew everybody on the highscores in the top 100 of anything, really. There was a somewhat regular crowd.
The note of individual achievement has totally disappeared in the wilderness. It has nothing to do with how strong your character is, it just matters how many flunkies you came with. Also, the three rounds of combat was pretty classic - way to take away something really unique from the game.
An interesting note would be what's become of the 'rare' items after I left the game. In the days I played seriously, they had no value. I mean - I suppose they had some, like, more than cabbage or a flier - but you'd probably rather have a rune battle axe than any party hat or pumpkin. I truly cannot believe how the prices soared. I didn't even have ten million in cash upon arriving back to the game, and now my bank is worth well over the money cap of two billion. Eep!
The Editor: That must have been quite a shock. I think the rares market caught everyone, even Jagex, by surprise. Do you think it's out of control? Do you think Jagex should (or can) do anything about it? And most importantly, what are you going to do with all that new-found wealth?
Greg: I couldn't believe it, honestly. That's just something you would have NEVER expected playing back then. Jagex definitely had no idea what they'd be creating by starting off with dropping those pumpkins.
I do think it's a little out of control. A blue party hat is something like five hundred million? That much money wasn't even in the game when they were dropped. I don't even think a fifth of that was shared amongst all players.
I don't think Jagex should take any action on this, and if they wanted to, they definitely would have by now. So many players have spent so much time, effort and money to get these items that they'd go on a rampage if they just disappeared one day.
In my opinion, half wines are probably the rarest of all the 'rare' items. Nobody had any reason to keep them - if they had them to begin with, it meant they were drinking them and using them for training. People saved Christmas crackers just out of coolness of the holiday drop, and being a unique item. Any half wine that was kept was purely an accident.
Most people didn't play back when half wines existed. To give an example, back then it was beyond common and mostly worthless. Think along the lines of a knife, cooked meat, flier, cooking apple, whatever. It had absolutely no reason to ever be worth millions. Tons of wines were made every day and then used during training with no thought of it. I find this one to be the most interesting. It'd be like in today's world of RuneScape if anchovies became 100% cookable. They're no longer burnable. Who would have ever expected that? Nobody stocks up on burnt anchovies! See my point?
Here's a couple of pictures, if you're interested in seeing them. First, a pic of my RSC inventory after the best kill I've ever gotten in the Wilderness:
And now, for my current bank - of course, it's not the WHOLE bank, just the first six rows, but it still gives you a pretty good idea of what I've got socked away in there...
The Editor: Impressive! *looks at lack of good stuff in own bank and sighs.... One of these days...*
Greg: Why thank you, - I'm quite content with my bank. The other pages aren't worth noting and are just little things I've picked up since returning, mostly with Easter egg money.
The Editor: After being one of the top ranked players in the game and widely known as such, what was it like to come back to find that very few people knew who you were, or valued your experience of the game?
Greg: It was a little saddening to not feel like an important part of the game anymore - I knew I wasn't, it'd been years, but I didn't even really feel like I should be on. I knew nobody! I was the best fighter and I don't even know anybody on the top 500 for any of the stats I mastered back when training was brutal.
Almost none of my friends still play - they've all quit ages ago or long since been banned since they wanted to quit and not come back. I felt pretty alone, although I still had a few friends that kept me on their list that I re-acquainted with.
The Editor: Why Echidna (and before that Hedgehog)?
Greg: Well, there's Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna, why not Greg the Echidna? Hey, I think it's cute!
The Editor: You were talking about leveling combat being "brutal." I'm guessing that it was a lot different back before the risk-free mini games like Castle Wars, Pest Control, and the Tzaah Fight Caves. These days you can get from level 40 to level 126 combat just through Pest Control and never lose anything in combat. Also, wasn't there a time when the wildy as such didn't exist and other players could attack you more or less anywhere or anytime? So just how brutal was it?
Greg: Ah, the best times in RuneScape! Back before the summer of '01, when RuneScape was in its serious early development, at the beginning of the designing your character, you chose if you wanted to be a necromancer, adventurer, warrior and whatnot. It altered your stats a tiny bit, and also the items you started out with. Onto what you said though, you could also choose if you wanted to be a player-killer (PK) or non-player-killer, (NPK).
You were allowed to switch two times after creating your account, and that would be it. You could attack a player anywhere outside of Lumbridge. Lumbridge was considered the safe zone. You could also only attack somebody four levels higher or lower than you - or the same level, obviously. Combat levels weren't actually displayed (or known) back then, so you just knew you could attack somebody who was orange or yellowed green - not dark red or bright green.
Everybody knows today's 'wilderness-etiquette,' so I can share some common etiquette of player killing in its finest hour. The cabbage patch right outside of Lumbridge was the hot-spot, since people could retreat immediately to Lumbridge, and there was a nice stock of cabbage and meat to be cooked nearby. Archers would range from inside the fence - ooh, it was just too fun. Back then, there were no armour requirements, so the common doing of the richer players would be to drop adamantite and mithril armor (or rune, when it finally came out) to their "PKing n00b" that would be level 3 or something, and have them go around slaughtering with a rune long sword. Not many players could do this, either, so if you saw a level 10 with pure strength decked out in rune armour, you knew he'd be cookin'.
Also - today's biggest shames are logging out, teleporting and closing the window. The biggest of all shames back in the day would be somebody changing to NPK in the midst of a battle. This could either ruin their PKing fun forever, or mean they only have one more switch. I recall a time when the ever famous and powerful Robin Hood2 changed from PK to NPK in a fight with, I believe, Lightning. This was huge news! Fights could also be carried throughout the world with people following and cheering, it was too fun. Oh, oh - and without item banks, you couldn't stock up on food and armour, whatever you had on you was what you had on you. If you didn't have any food and were ambushed, goodbye!
Was training brutal? Oh yes, was it ever! There weren't seventeen thousand servers like there are today. It started out with one and eventually got to about fifteen or twenty around the time I stopped playing. Less room for training, and competition for training was fierce. The best training spots were in the wilderness, but you risked a lot as there was no running nonsense, and the classic three rounds of battle still reigned. The best training spot at the time before the wilderness was expanded was the lava maze training on black knights, which was more so referred to as my maze. (Laughs) - okay, no, really, but I pretty much ruled it.
You also didn't get nearly as much experience points - you didn't get points per hit, you got points for killing the enemy - and the best weapon for most of the time was a rune longsword, or a rune battleaxe if you were freaking RICH. Or a rune two hander if you were in BlueRose's group of friends. Then dragon came out and that kind of made things a bit easier. But yeah, people should realize how absurdly long it took to get 99/99/99/99 fighting stats back then - eesh!
The Editor: What skills were available when the game started? In my short time as a player I've seen the addition of slayer, farming and construction. And now hunting has just come out this month. What was the original skill set?
Greg: Ah, yeah, all these newfangled skills have no place for me. My slayer, farming, construction and runecrafting are all 1. I actually have 20 farming xp, so I've got a headstart on that one.
When RuneScape first begun, there were some significant differences to the skills from today's world. My personal favourite being "good magic" and "evil magic," which were two separate skills. The magic menu was split into two parts, containing spells for specific sections of the magic spectrum. The highest level spells didn't even really break level 20 if my memory serves me correctly.
Some of those spells don't exist today in any shape or form. "Fear" was a spell that was certainly feared! When cast on a monster, it retreated from combat - beautiful for annoying players and stealing their monsters. Oh yeah, "new runes" as we called them back in the day, didn't exist. That means chaos, law, nature, cosmic and death runes. Those came out later on in one foul swoop when magic was updated into just "magic," and like forty new spells were added. And they were called "new runes" for ages. I don't know when that stopped, it has been years, though, they're not so new anymore.
Anyway - I'm rambling - but what else is new?
The Editor: Asgarnian Ale will do that. Have another one.
Greg: The classic spell was a spell called something like fire strike or fire blast. Perhaps it was wind strike? Anyway, it cost something like five air runes and one fire rune, and it was a killer magic shot! This was the most powerful offensive magic spell of the maybe twelve magic spells at the time. The most common way to train this was to save up for a while to get an air staff and just hang out in the scorpion pit outside of Al Kharid on the fire rune spawn and shoot at scorpions. I know that this is basically all I did at the beginning of RuneScape! You eventually got to know the gang around the area that did that, and the miners, too.
There was also good prayer and evil prayer, but prayer had no use at all yet, although you could level it from bones, not too many people did since it had no purpose. Skills that never saw the light of day such as 'tayloring,' 'carpentry,' and 'herblaw' were prominent. No way to level them, and they eventually got removed. Obviously herblaw returned later on. Yes, it was herblaw, not herblore. There were no quest points, instead, a skill called 'influence' that worked the same way as quest points, and eventually changed names.
Fishing and crafting didn't exist but came later on, and were quite popular. Especially since uncut gems were in the game (but extremely rare!) and people paid a mint (500 - 1,000gp) for them being 'rare' items, although they did nothing. Kind of like party hats and Easter eggs, eh?
Most people just focused on either being a warrior of some sort or being a miner and smith. Almost everybody participated in cooking since it was vital for survival due to being attacked anywhere, unless you were a non-player-killer. How I miss seeing two guys in mithril and adamantite brawling in places like the Barbarian Village and me gasping because I knew one of those people was going to be filthy rich from that mithril plate and pair of adamantite legs!
The Editor: Do you still enjoy the game and are you going to continue to play? If so what are your goals?
Greg: Do I still enjoy the game? Hm, to be honest, very little. It's got some fun in it, but the original fun that existed in the game for me was the community of 2001 and 2002, the quirky graphics and player killing.
That community is almost extinct, and the graphics went from quirky to an attempt to be 'better' and more 'professional', but now no longer have a unique feel. The graphics remind me of so many other games people play, but not nearly as detailed. Also, today's player killing can't compare to when I played, Today it’s hard to be a Pker without an army of about four hundred people to back you up.
I don't think I'll continue to play seriously, I'm already starting to lose interest again, I haven't logged on in about a week. I would like to get 80 ranged to even out all of my stats again, though. Perhaps I can accomplish that and then lay Gregechidna6 to rest again until next time.
The Editor: That’s quite a tale, Greg, thanks very much for taking the time to talk to me about it. You’ve got me wishing I’d been playing back then. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to run – it’s time to write up a review of Hunting.
The Editor surveys the crowd of empty beer glasses on the table, sighs and tosses a large handful of gold pieces, into the small empty space left between them. Then teleports off to Yanille to stock up at the Hunting store.
Do you have any thoughts or comments about what you've just read? Want to discuss this article with your fellow Runescapers? We invite you to discuss the article in this forum topic.