Runescape’s population has been steadily growing throughout the past couple of years. There have been several added servers, and at the most crowded times of the day, every server has well over a thousand players in them. My home world (38) has increased from about 900 people to around 1,200 people average a day. A growing population isn’t something unexpected, especially from an MMO like Runescape, but it does have its ups and downs.
A few weeks ago, a topic in the Sandbox caught my attention. It linked to a rather old topic made by Pika69 nearly three years ago that mentioned how it was surprising to see more than 60,000 people playing Runescape. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see well over 160,000 people playing. According to these stats, Runescape is increasing by about 91 new members every day.
So why exactly do so many people get attracted to the game each day? It’s not as though Runescape is very attractive graphics-wise, so why do so many people play it? There are several reasons I’ve come across to why Runescape is appealing.
Runescape is a very, very simple game compared to others like World of Warcraft or Guild Wars. Every action is maintained by clicking. There’s only very few hotkeys (which I know most people don’t use anyway), unlike other games which have tons of hotkeys or keyboard controls.
A Unique Gamestyle
Many MMO’s focus on raising combat and your total level, rather than Runescape which focuses on many different skills besides combat. Training the other skills will get you farther in the game as you can do more quests, get into more guilds, and make your money pile quite a bit higher.
It’s Completely Browser Based
There’s no long wait for downloads, nothing at all. Younger players will find this, and the fact that you don’t need to pay for Runescape, much to their advantage. Their parents will most likely allow them to play a game where they don’t need to worry about possible viruses from a download or their money getting drained, which is why so many of the newer players to Runescape are fairly young.
There are also many effects that a growing population will have on Runescape besides adding more servers to the game. One part that I see will have a big change are the high scores. Around the end of June last year, the minimum overall was around 670. I remember how happy I was when my overall finally got in the high scores, but now I’m well behind since the minimum is around 850. If the high scores minimums continue to grow at this rate, we should be seeing close to a 1,000 overall minimum by next year, as well as around a 60-70 minimum for combat skills and a 40-55 minimum for noncombat skills.
The big population will also have an effect on the economy, seeing as since there’s more players, the demand for items will grow. I’ve seen prices on things such as big bones, limpwurt roots, strength potions, iron ores, steel bars, and law runes grow a lot.
A few smaller things that the growing population will affect are fansites and player mods. Fansites should see an increase of members on their sites (although I’m sure most have already). There should also be an increase in numbers of player mods and perhaps Jagex Staff as well. There will be many more players to look over, as well as a greater demand for more, better updates. I’d imagine the feedback/customer support for Runescape would get a bit crammed as well.
Overall in the eyes of Jagex, a growing population means a growing income, which is exactly what they want. However, it’s up to them to decide whether their bigger priority is to get more players or to get their older players to keep playing.