Inevitably, sometime during the year, those of us of the older generation receive one of those "this will make you feel old" emails. The email goes on to enumerate various things that we grew up with, that people born ten, twenty, or thirty years ago have never seen or experienced. I guess by now, I could be considered part of RuneScape's older generation as well. While I wasn't there at the very beginning, I did cut my teeth in Classic, in the days of sleeping bags, no helpful shops or tutors to provide free essential equipment, and no task system to show you the ropes or provide you with some quick cash to start you on your adventures. I spent several years in f2p before finally taking the members plunge too. Needless to say, many things have changed since those good old days. These are, in no particular order, my personal favorite top ten changes since my Classic days.
The Grand Exchange
For all the hype and the naysayers, I can honestly say that I wouldn't be where I am today without the Grand Exchange. I spent many years playing on an old, slow, graphically challenged computer, and trade worlds were a nightmare for me. Trying to locate and then talk to the person that was buying or selling what I needed was frustrating at best. I never did much merchanting, but it was my goal since my earliest days to be a master smith, and as I went up in levels, found myself buying more of the large amounts of coal I was using. I spent countless hours outside Fally East bank yelling out my buy orders over and over, picking up a little here and a little there. Suddenly, with the Exchange, my plaintive cries of "Buying Coal!!!" went out to everyone, in every world, at the same time, and I could go about my business while people filled my Exchange box with all the coal I needed. It also, especially after I became a member, allowed me to sell the finished products of other skills like woodcut and herblore to finance my smithing ambitions. Last but not least, it provided me with an idea of what things were worth. I had a good idea what the going rates were on my smithing supplies, but would have had no clue to what to charge for some of the odds and ends I was selling. Some levels that I currently have in a few skills could probably be directly attributed to the existence of the Grand Exchange.
Back in the days before they were relegated to the status of annoying random, Miles, Niles, and Giles were gainfully employed in the Draynor Village market square, exchanging players raw materials for certificates. In Classic, certificates were the only way to sell large numberss of materials without both players making multiple back to back trades inside a bank. To get the certificates, you would still need to drag your materials pack load by pack load to the market square, and then your customer would have to do the same to "uncert" his materials. When Classic was replaced by the new RuneScape, suddenly your personal banker could change anything you'd like into bank notes, which made buying and selling a breeze. Farmers got an even bigger boon when the farming patch leprechauns were given the ability to note produce and herbs right onsite.
This one was a big gift to skillers everywhere. Back in the day, pretty much every skill required one click for each finished piece. One click, one bar smelted, one click, one fish cooked. Actually, to be accurate, it was two clicks, one to choose the item, one to use it with the furnace, fire, etc. Now those same two clicks will do an entire pack full, saving huge amounts of time in the long run. If only we could get it for alching and enchanting now!!!
Player Owned Houses
Even after some of my best friends had already made the jump to members, I was still dragging my feet. I think it was the thought of my very own house, my own little piece of Geilinor, that finally tipped the scales. After gawking around at the new sights for a bit, one of the first things I did was visit the Estate Agent for my little shack in Rimmington. Several million gp later.... My house has netted me well over 100 bank spaces with the costume room and menagerie, a central teleport hub to any of ten destinations, a handy altar and summoning obelisk, and a top-of-the-line telescope for tracking down those pesky stars. Not to mention the pride in the accomplishment of what I turned that simple one room shack into with a little hard work and a lot of money.
Distractions and Diversions
I don't think there's ever been a more appropriately named activity in RuneScape! Some I do all the time, some I don't, but generally they are a just plain fun break from things I should be doing. Though it wasn't the goal of doing them, I have at least two skillcapes that I quite likely wouldn't have without D&Ds. I've made some great friends through a few, like falling stars and evil trees, and the weekly penguin hunt is always a blast. As much as I moaned and groaned about Shattered Heart taking my focus away from things I wanted to do, you could still find me toiling away for those rocks every week, until I finished that statue in my house. It got me to train some of those neglected skills we all have (by the way, I think one of those penguins is stalking me, keeps showing up everywhere, and I'd recognize those flippers anywhere!).
Private messages are great, but it used to be a challenge having a conversation with a group spread all over RuneScape. It was kind of like a phone without a conference call capability. Friends chat solved that neatly. It also had the added bonus of letting me chat with other potential friends without having to open up my private message to them, without getting to know them a bit first.
Yes, my bank is a mess. It's always been a mess. But now it's an organized mess! No more scrolling back and forth through my bank trying to figure out where I put something. Now I know what tabs I put things in, and generally the entire tab will fit in one window, making things relatively easy to find. It sometimes makes me wonder how I ever did without them.
It's great to be able to see the status near the mini map. The couple of clicks it saves you can sometimes mean everything in the heat of combat. Rather than having to click on stats, then back to inventory all while watching what's going on in a battle, everything is displayed where you can eat or pot quickly when needed. It is also good to be able to see when you are poisoned, especially when, like me, you get involved in something and have the unfortunate tendency to ignore the chat window. Quick prayers are also good, once again saving time in emergency situations.
Game Chat Filter
As stated above, I sometimes have an unfortunate tendency to neglect the chat window when I'm concentrating on something else. Conversations really used to get lost when every action I took generated a message in my chat window. You made a bar (twenty times in rapid succession), you got a log, you caught a fish. The game filter really cleans up the chat windows, and now sometimes, my friends don't think I'm ignoring them when they talk to me!
Resizable Game Window
Once I did finally spring for an up to date PC with decent speed, good graphics, and a wide screen monitor, I expanded my game window the first time I logged back on to RuneScape. It was great not to be stuck in that little window anymore. The wider field of vision can be a great benefit in many situations. Mostly though, it gives you a feeling of immersion in the game, that I never found in that little window I played in for all those years.
Well, that rounds out my top ten favorite changes. I know everyone has his or her own personal favorites that they feel passionately about, but these are the ones that have shaped my RuneScape experience. I'm sure for some of you it was a stroll down memory lane, while for others it was a "Turntable? What the heck is a turntable?" moment. Whatever your favorites might be, I hope you're having as much fun as I am, playing this game that I really enjoy. Keep on 'scaping folks, I can't wait to see what they come up with next!!