I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been around since the start of RuneScape 2. It was released on March 29, 2004 after months of beta testing. In these 9 years for me and the game we play, I’ve noticed some patterns that more or less held true until recently.
A universal law of RuneScape is that no matter what update is released, players will complain. It can be something as minor as part of a sentence in the patch notes or even something as significant as the Grand Exchange. It’s unreasonable to believe that Jagex can possibly make all of its customers happy all the time. Despite these complaints, it is quite rare to see Jagex reverse an update. This, however, didn’t stop them from reversing five and a half years of updates on their Old School servers. While it is mainly a protest against the EoC, players are still willing to give up hundreds of updates just to circumvent it and Jagex has allowed this.
The original storyline of RuneScape was always a little crude. Instead of developing a game around a story, the story had to be developed to fit in with what was already there. This resulted in a laughably complicated and absurd plot that Jagex has been stuck with for years. They recently went back on a part of it with the death of a certain high-profile figure in The World Wakes. With this change, there are so many different (and actually exciting) possible plots that can occur. I can’t recall a time that Jagex completely altered one of the key lores of the game before now.
Jagex has always been quite strict about separating players who don’t pay from P2P content. In a bizarre turn of events that has really left me surprised, Jagex actually opened Taverly/Burthrope and all members skills (up to lvl 5) to F2P. When Mod MMG became CEO, he strongly reinforced the idea that F2P is not a demo, but, in fact, its own game. He even took steps to show he meant it by going so far as to remove most references to the full game from F2P. However, this same CEO has now more or less declared F2P to be nothing more than a demo.
The sudden changes suggest a financial struggle on Jagex’s part. They’re being forced to stray from the precedents set in place years and years ago just to stay alive or turn a quick profit for their “widely-respected” owners. It’s still too early for me to judge how these changes will affect the health of the game. Obviously, I would hope that these changes are for the better, but I can’t be sure. This is as new to me as it is to players who only began in more recent times.
The Old School servers may have brought nostalgia to mind for me, but there were hardly signs of the game’s decay back then. Seemingly packed servers, frequent updates to the game, and a thriving independent free game suggest the game was in much better health back then than today. It is not a debate on whether EoC or Old School is a better game to play, but rather an acknowledgment that the game was in a better condition six years ago than it is today. It saddens me to see a game I’ve played since its release grow so much only to collapse under its own weight and the baggage of its owners.
So happy (early) 9th birthday, RuneScape 2, but will you live to see 10? The world waits to see Jagex’s next move. I hope it’s a good one because I would like to see my own 10 year cape one day.