*Please note that this article was written before the 2007 legacy servers went live.
Short term gain, long term pain!
In my last article I asked Jagex not to split the community, today I will speculate on the future of 2007Scape. I realize that I will, for the most part, be generalizing, and that my analysis will not cover the whole spectrum but I also want to add that I do not begrudge others their trip down memory lane. If these servers become free, I will certainly walk around them myself for a few hours. My opposition to it is because this will split the community and moreover, likely disappoint.
I think Jagex, along with the players, will have a short term gain because of the addition of these servers, but also a long term pain. My prediction is that these servers will end up having a lot of players at first, but they will not stay. As such it will be a short term gain of income, especially with all the people who became members just to vote. However, these servers will probably soon die; I will list the reasons below.
1. Comparison to Classic.
As I write this Classic has less than 200 total players, and after the last time Jagex botnuked it, there were only a few dozen. I know Classic is old, and it took a long time to get where we are now, but sooner rather than later 2007Scape will also be old. Nostalgia basically gets old soon, just try watching 10 episodes of your favorite TV show from years ago and you will see it does.
2. 2007Scape will be very DIFFERENT than those wanting it back remember.
I know some of you will now declare me insane, since Jagex will use an old save of the game, but let me explain. First off, everyone looks at the past, or the parts of it they enjoyed, with rose tinted goggles, we can’t help doing it. We remember the good, and twist or forget the bad. On the Tip.it forums I made the bad joke: “Jagex should add a new skill called 'reminiscing' to 2007Scape,” to which Alg had the brilliant response: “At level 99, you can remember things that actually happened.” Besides this there will be a lot of real differences. 2007Scape will not have a mature pyramid of players, like the original had, nor a mature economy. It will likely lack updates and rares. I predict the ratio of PKers to skillers will also differ a lot from the original, with many more PKers and less skillers. It seems, based on the people I've talked to, that PKers of the 'easy and fast gratification' type have a hard time with EOC. This will affect the economy a lot, with a screwed up supply and demand.
3. There will be a lot of bots in 2007Scape.
The anti-bot-technology we have in the normal game is not great, but it was a lot worse in 2007. The screwed up economy will provide a great opportunity for 'Chinese' bots to make items that people need and sell these for real money. Then there are all the accounts that start over; do we seriously think a lot of these won't use bots to return to high levels in a fast and easy way?
4. Most of the players that return to play 2007Scape will leave again soon.
I believe most players who quit, temporarily or permanently do not do so because of updates. We have always had changes, and while the EOC was a big one, it was not the first big one, nor will it be the last. If you are enjoying RuneScape fully you will adapt to all these changes, like many of us have over the years. Players that quit do so because they were already bored by RS, got work, a girlfriend, found another game or just outgrew the game. In short: they changed, not the game. It is very human to blame Jagex’s game changes instead of admitting, even to oneself, the real reasons for moving on. Unless the underlying reason changed again these people will leave again once the novelty of 2007Scape wears off.
So far the reasons have been why 2007Scape will disappoint in the long run. Let me add that I understand there will be players returning, that fall in love again with RS and then move on to the live game, but that happens already regardless of legacy servers. I do not kick players who 'quit' from my clan and see some of them returning on a regular basis, even after the EOC update.
Now to the long term pain—I admit I used this term because it sounds good, but there certainly are downsides to this update and the poll attached to it. Let me list those as well:
1. Splitting the community.
Some say the community has already been split, I think this is true in a way, and has been since RuneScape started. There are very many different types of players, with different attitudes and styles. However, these players all play the same game, are part of the same world, visit the same places, enjoy the same updates and often are part of the same clans. Together all these different groups with different opinions make RuneScape what it is today, and I for one do not want to see a part of them go elsewhere, even for a limited time. The poll has already caused a lot of arguing, on the forums, in public, and in clans. I have not seen such anger and fanaticism since Jagex took away the wilderness and free trade. It inflates the differences and lessens the bonds. While this will likely blow over in a few months, at the moment it still upsets communities.
A side note to this is that I hope Jagex will make it possible for people playing in 2007Scape to use the clan chats of their clans in the normal game. Back in 2007 there were clan chats, but they are the current friends chats. If Jagex does not add this functionality they will further split up existing communities on RuneScape and I don't see anyone wanting that.
2. It will take Jagex considerable time to implement these servers, fix bugs and provide support.
There are so many problems with the full game that need to be fixed, problems with EOC, clan capes/vexes, Thoksaga... and so on. Jagex can only use its employees once and 2007Scape takes the focus away from fixing and developing RuneScape itself. I know Jagex will deny this, but I put as much stock in that denial as I did in their assurance that the number of bots would not increase after their last poll.
3. Giving players that have had a hard time adjusting the hope that they won’t have to.
If 2007Scape dies, many people will have an even bigger barrier for returning to the real game on top of their disappointment. It takes effort and a willingness to invest in learning to use any new update but it can be done, as proven by the top PKers, boss hunters etc. in my clan. These people are still the top after EOC; instead of complaining, they learned. A good example is me telling one of them that the Pest Queen in Dominion Tower was a lot harder - he doubted me and came over, only to get owned. Instead of giving up he spent the next few hours trying different things and now he kills her quickly and efficiently again. The feeling many people have that combat is broken comes from their own problems with change. Something you mastered long ago is easy to you, and until you master EOC, it will be hard. Not because it is, but because it changed. Basically, 2007Scape robs a part of the community of the motivation they need to learn to enjoy 'EOCScape'.
I'd like to recommend Jagex do everything they can to make interacting between RuneScape and 2007Scape easy, including hopping quickly between them and full clan chat use in 2007. Maybe knowing 2007Scape is likely to not be what most people expect will help some to anticipate and avoid being disappointed. All this to maximize the gain and minimize the pain.
In the end RuneScape will survive regardless, like it has all the other changes and problems before!