Ever since I began playing RuneScape back in the summer of 2003, I always thought to myself as that naive 13 year old teenager that I would play this game until the end of time itself. Back then, I was totally enamoured by the whole concept of an MMORPG. Having had little experience with the genre prior to RuneScape, I felt intimidated by such an expansive world of fantasy. One of the most vivid memories of my early experiences of RuneScape is probably one I share with many other people: venturing into Melzar’s Maze to retrieve a piece of the map for the fabled island of Crandor. Subsequently dying to the Lesser Demon multiple times felt like 2003’s equivalent of the God Wars Dungeon to me.
Anyway, I digress, this article isn’t going down the frequently visited route of nostalgia and neither does it deal with the concept of new experiences of unexplored lands diminishing over time. No, this article deals with the habits of players, more specifically my own. As I have grown older (and hopefully more mature) I have played RuneScape on a less regular basis. Make no mistake; I still regularly engage with the game on a weekly basis, putting in 8-10 hours a week, but I have discovered that over time I have felt the need to play the game for mammoth amounts of time increasingly diminish. Understandably, as people get older, they have less and less time to spend on luxuries such as video games, but this isn’t necessarily because they are bored of the game, they just can’t spare the time to play or it just isn’t a high priority anymore.
Yet, it isn’t for these reasons that I and many of my friends have gradually begun to spend less time on Gielinor. Even with the many commitments expected of me as an adult, I still find myself with valuable free time that can’t be better spent elsewhere. I still log into RuneScape with this free time, but it only takes me around an hour of play to feel satisfied whereas that hour would have easily become 5 in the years gone past. It’s a difficult question to answer, but why exactly do I not feel compelled to sink an endless amount of time into a game that I so dearly loved as a child and still do as an adult?
I still have goals within the game like anyone else. Finishing the elite tasks of Morytania and Karamja are two achievements I’m still actively working towards and, whenever I do log in, I still strive to attain an efficient standpoint when training skills. The controversial introduction of the Squeal of Fortune and Solomon’s Store haven’t reduced the appeal of the game to me at all. I have issues with Jagex’s own business ethics and morals, but that’s for a different time.
After asking myself what I had done differently with RuneScape as opposed to other video games, it struck me as to what the answer to this weird change in playing style is. RuneScape is the first and only game I have ever played for 9 years. Just like anything new, it’s hard to put it down once you start because it’s fresh, it's exciting, and, if it’s truly special to you, it becomes endearing and something that lodges fond memories of itself in your head. However, the more you experience something, the more it becomes more familiar and less mysterious.
RuneScape has become an old holiday destination to me, a memory that I acquired many years ago, but one that I can still re-visit whenever I want to. However, it’s a memory that is still changing, one that I want to see the end of and one that I can share with people that have just experienced it and others who have even older memories of it than I do. So how about you, have your playing habits changed over the years? If so, why don’t you ask yourself why?