Until recently, RuneScape has always had very poor graphics compared to other games of its kind, such as World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and many other MMORPGs. With the graphical update, it now has competitive graphics, and some textures are believed to be better than those in World of Warcraft. But what if RuneScape didn’t have any graphics?
This would make RuneScape a MUD, which was basically the first format of role playing games. They are still made by companies like Iron Realms and individual coders, but they have fallen short in recent years to graphically oriented games like RuneScape. There is also usually a very high standard of role playing, which in RuneScape is practically nonexistant (unless you count ingame player “marriages” and such).
The typical advantages of MUD games are worlds that can be molded to fit the player (since it’s all based on imagination, there are no limitations to what you can think), more mature audiences (this fits in partly with the strict rules of role play, no “l0lwat shud i kill for 99 str”), and naturally, no computer requirements to run the game. How would this affect RuneScape?
First off, RuneScape couldn’t be judged off graphics like it has been so much before. MUD games are accepted to be graphic-free. Nobody tells Iron Realms that Achaea should become graphical.
Next, an environment more dependent on role playing would change the minds of many younger players on whether they choose to sign up or not. Do they want to create a lengthy fictional background for a dwarf with a violent past, or do they want to just play World of Warcraft and roleplay only if they feel like it?
Finally, the world could be so much more vivid and realistic with the simple use of text. Jagex wanted to make an easily usable game; text does not require a graphics card. Players complain sometimes about lack of weather in RuneScape. With use of descriptive language, players with imagination could feel like they are in the middle of a furious thunderstorm, something not currently provided in RuneScape now because of the hassle/impossibility of coding weather.
Would RuneScape be better, worse, or simply different without graphics? The world may never know.