I began my journey eight and half years ago. 2004 was a happy time for me: a good time to be a kid. RuneScape was the cool new game that all the older kids on Miniclip were playing and I wanted nothing more than to be a part of it. It was an incredible experience exploring the world available in RuneScape Classic. You couldn’t help but create your own adventure. Even the Dwarven Mines had its own group of regulars that rarely left. Like all good things, Classic eventually came to an end for me, when it closed to F2P and I had to switch to RS2. This switch eventually inspired me to purchase membership.
But once again, I could explore a new world. It was incredible venturing into new territory that had existed just beyond that fence between Falador and Taverly for all those years. There was just so much to do and so many new things to try. Jagex truly captured my imagination with RuneScape. Life was great as an eleven year old boy without a care in the world. That is, until a traumatic experience affected my family.
In early 2006, my mother had dental surgery, but the surgeon made a major mistake by using dirty tools. As a result, my mother contracted a severe case of osteomyelitis, a bone eating disease, in her jaw. Because of the proximity to her brain, the bacteria was life threatening and she had to be on an IV 24/7. For the first time in my life, I was truly scared. It was horrifying idly standing by, being unable to help her, no matter how much I wanted to. RuneScape became my form of escapism from this problem that I didn’t know how to deal with.
I often look back to the time period of 2006-2007 as my favorite time in RuneScape. I went on valiant quests. I joined a clan and had a blast doing anything with that group of people. I even made good friends in RuneScape that I still speak with on a regular basis outside the game. It meant so much more to me back then because of factors outside of Jagex’s control. The game was special to me.
But when I take off my rose-tinted glasses, I see that the game, perhaps, wasn’t as great as I remember it. Bots ran rampant just as they do in 2012, trading took hours upon hours to complete and training was even more tedious than it is now because of the lack of Skill-X options. Thinking about it, I would probably hate to play that version of RuneScape now. However in spite of this, the game is still the same adventure as always.
My previous article, “12 Things (Still) Wrong with RuneScape in 2012”, listed many of the problems which I see with the game today. But for every mad ranter who claims that RuneScape is dying, there is a kid out there, just like I was, enjoying the game that I once loved. The magic is still present. The thrill of heading into the unknown and fascination with exploring a vast, open world still captures their imagination. That is what I wish to go back to.
My memories of the time are a home to me now. They prevent me from feeling vulnerable and make me warm despite the cold world around us. You may laugh at this, yet I’m sure these ‘shameful’ metaphors apply to many more of you than just me. Now, I wonder what has happened to the game, but it’s still the same game it has always been at heart.
Once you’ve explored the world, you return to the place you call home, only to find it different from your memories. But it is not your home that has changed. It is you who has changed.