In the timespan since I began RuneScape to the present, I have taken three long-term breaks; all which were about equal in length. The first was due to a burnout over a summer in middle school, the second was at the beginning of 2010 due to various school responsibilities, and the third was just this recent semester due to beginning of my first semester of college. Like its predecessors, I assumed my third break would result in me returning to a completely different game. However, after logging on once my finals ended, I returned to a RuneScape that was nearly exactly where I left it.
After a moment of standing around in surprise, I quickly clicked the quest and task lists and, to my surprise, there were no new tasks and only three new quests over a span of nearly five months. Having not done so, I went to look through the game updates and after a few minutes of navigating a frankly annoying, new site, I realized I had not actually missed any major game content. With the exception of a handful of appearance changes and the bot nuke, the semester, update wise, had been uneventful. Compared to my two previous breaks, this was extraordinarily shocking. I had relatively little content to catch up on and make myself familiar with and I did not feel as if I had more to explore than I did when I started my break.
To put my feelings in perspective, my first break, although I do not remember the exact time, was during a time of massive interface and content additions to RuneScape. Upon my return, I felt like I was playing a completely different game with weeks' worth of new content to explore. I felt a similar sentiment when I returned after not playing for the beginning of 2010. There had been monumental quests such as Nomad's Requiem, lengthy content like shattered hearts, rune improvements, and slayer changes like Styrkewyrms and the introduction of challenges. There was much more than that even, and I felt like the majority of the content was significant and not just visual adjustments.
Needless to say, I was disappointed. Although there is plenty of content I have not completely mastered, I was looking forward to new content where I could be a newb again. With a month off and, as a result, plenty of free time to reacquaint myself with RuneScape, I was looking forward to spending a majority of my play time catching up to the game. However it appears like I will be spending a lot of time either performing existing content or finding other ways to spend time where I cannot be out of the house.
After such a realization, I began to wonder where RuneScape is truly headed. Over the past year, it seems that it was one thing or another that was dragging the only video game I played down. Whether it was merchanting clans or the bot epidemic, there was always something impeding the progression of RuneScape. There had always been scamming, bots, and general rule-breakers in RuneScape before, but the game seemed to progress with them as a necessary evil. However, these days, Jagex seems to have shifted their focus to changing the game environment, rather than the content within. This led me to question whether Jagex was more interested in the progression of their game for years to come by attempting to build a suitable environment for player growth or whether they were making an attempt to milk as much revenue out of the game as possible before a shift of focus on to another game that is in development. I was left with this big question on my mind and whether I should continue supporting, through membership, a company that would milk the life out their foundation. With the introduction and magnitude of, borderline, micro-transactions coupled with my return to a shockingly low amount of game content, I am, reluctantly, beginning to think the latter is true of Jagex.