Though I'm certainly not the oldest member of this vast community, it seems that I am slowly becoming part of the veteran members. Having started my character sometime in 2007, I have witnessed many changes to RuneScape and many changes to my playstyle. As time passes, the game changes and modernizes itself, whereas I become more mature.
Recently, however, I have noticed a distinct aspect of my playstyle that is markedly different from my earlier years.
In 2007, RuneScape was a lot simpler. Well, you must be thinking that the statement I have made could not be more obvious. Of course RuneScape was simpler, five years of updates tends to add more content and depth to the game. Also, my changed view of the game has made it seem more complicated. Opening my eyes to the world of efficiency and metagaming leads to RuneScape being a very complicated affair. Still, there is something fundamentally different about this game that has undeniably made it more complex.
Let's look back to 2007, a typical day in the life of my noob character. I don my Dragon longsword and set off, wondering what exploit I felt like pursuing. Perhaps I would fish a few hundred lobsters and cook them, or perhaps I would complete a few Slayer tasks with the eventual goal of 85 Slayer.
Now, let's skip forward to 2012, a typical day in the life of my character (who is still a noob). I log in and spin the Squeal of Fortune (well, it is free stuff...). I go on a farm run and reap some profit. Time to check up on my kingdom. Oh, and I haven't done the Circus, Penguins, Tears of Guthix, or the Troll Invasion this week yet. After those have been taken care of, I go around collecting rewards from my Achievement diaries (such as selling Battlestaves, free Pure Essence, etc.) Once that is taken care of, I put on my armor and slay Bork and the Phoenix. Well, it's time to do another farm run.
Two hours have passed since I logged in, and I am finally done with my to-do list. What shall I do now? Hmm, I should collect rocks for my statue. Two hours later, I have acquired 6 more rocks and go on another farm run. I have now completed my statue for this week. What to do now? I suppose I'll go on a Slayer task.
One Slayer task later, I'm teleporting away to do another farming run. It's not that I particularly enjoy farming runs, but they provide great cash. I happen to be in need of great cash, for I'm saving up for 95 Prayer and 96 Herblore. How could I miss out on all that ripe cash? Same with the Circus, the Penguins, etc. How could I miss out on that delicious xp, those daily money making opportunities?
Here lies the problem: the only activity that I actually wanted to do was the Slayer task. It took 6 hours of playing before I even had the opportunity to do that Slayer task. Yes, it was my choice to do all of those other activities. This is what my RuneScape experience has come to, and I am aware that it is completely my fault for feeling a need to do those daily activities.
In real life, I have to make a choice between what I should do (homework, studying) and what I want to do (hanging out with friends, gaming). The addition of distractions and diversions to this game has moved the choice into RuneScape as well. I should do the distractions and diversions (easy xp, easy money), but I want to do something else. I thought I played RuneScape to get away from the choices of real life...
These daily activities are amusing diversions, and their rewards are usually worth it. Do I think they are worthy pieces of content? Well, I'm not complaining about Jagex adding them. I find them quite helpful and interesting little tidbits of content that will not see the dust. It is true, though, that they soon turn into daily chores (as I have appropriately named my to-do list).
My overall evaluation is that the many little tasks that have been added to the game are neither good nor bad. They are simply... distracting. They are what the player makes of them. However, if you feel that they are becoming chores, I would advise you to stop doing them. RuneScape is a game and is meant to be enjoyable. For those of you in my position, just stop and dedicate an entire day to doing whatever you want - no farming runs, diversions, minigames, etc. to interrupt you. If you enjoy this day, perhaps it would be a good idea to extend it into a week, a month, or even forever.
Now, excuse me, I have to finish this article soon. I have a farming run to do, after all...