Last week saw what was arguably the largest change to RuneScape since the release of RuneScape 2 in March 2004. What’s more, Jagex announced additional monumental changes and updates to the game coming at the end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 (presumably to convince opponents of the EoC not to quit). The game released in March 2004 will hardly be recognizable as the same game we will see in March 2013.
The graphics are drastically different and presumably will change even further with the RuneScape: Next Gen update. There will have been eight new skills: Slayer, Farming, Construction, Hunter, Summoning, Dungeoneering, and two presently unknown ones. Combat is now nothing like it was back then because of both the Evolution of Combat and all the various new types of equipment, weapons, spells, prayers, and potions released over the years. 140 new quests have been released and five have been removed.
That’s not all either. Trading is vastly different now. Finding a buyer or seller in either world 2’s Falador Park or the RuneScape official forums used to take hours or even days. Now, that process is automatically done for you through the Grand Exchange, often instantaneously. The interface looks completely different except for the 28 slot inventory. We have Friends Chat and Clan Chat to speak with multiple players from great distances and other worlds. I could go on and on.
This all begs the question, what happened to RuneScape 2? As anyone can tell, the game today is nothing like it was upon its release. So why then has Jagex not formally released “RuneScape 3” and done the same to RuneScape 2 as they did with RuneScape Classic? It would make sense to be consistent in this way. It may even be beneficial to Jagex economically to create new pre-EoC servers seeing as many despised the changes enough to quit.
Perhaps that RuneScape: Next Gen update is what Jagex intends to be RuneScape 3. Jagex said that improvements to graphics, audio, and the interfaces are “but a taste of what you can expect.” If Jagex is calling this the next generation of RuneScape and “Higher visual and audio fidelity, improved camera mechanics and a much more customizable interface system” is just a small taste, this must be something huge. I am actually quite excited to see what they have in store.
So let’s say that RuneScape: Next Gen really is RuneScape 3 after all and Jagex does decide to release RuneScape 2 servers. At what point in history would Jagex set the servers? The day before RuneScape: Next Gen? The day before EoC? The day before Dungeoneering’s release? The day before 2008’s massive graphical update? The day before the original removal of free trade? The day before the Grand Exchange’s release? The day before Construction’s release? The original release?
The decision of when RuneScape 2 is would be so arbitrary that only a small percentage of the players would be happy with any single point in time I mentioned. That uncertainty just goes to show that it is in the very nature of RuneScape to be a constantly changing game. If you are going to quit over a change to a very dynamic game, you were playing the wrong game to begin with. I may not like the EoC or certain other updates of the past, but, like every update I’ve hated before, I will grow used to it and move on.
Releasing servers of pre-EoC RuneScape 2 would not be a solution to anything. We have RuneScape Classic servers that are lucky to host double digits of players at any given time. The same will become of these proposed RuneScape 2 servers over time. Change is what keeps people playing for years and I know that I really wonder what’s next.