The Downfall of Community Service

posted by on 2nd November 2010, at 2:43pm

Many years ago, one would travel to Lumbridge and come upon a heart-warming sight. One would see a wealthy player giving money and armour to new players. Not only was the player giving things with monetary value, but they were also an inspiration to those who could not afford to get these things themselves. However, in these later times, Non-Player Characters (NPC’s) have replaced these generous players. These NPC’s provide tips, hints, as well as free items for these new players. Yet, these artificial helpers lack the personal attention and interaction that the generous players of old provided. Being an active Runescape player, and a recipient of this old generosity, I decided to investigate what happened to this community service, and if it’s still around today.

When Runescape was young, seeing a generous player was a fairly common sight. They would be helping out the new players in Lumbridge, gaining nothing from the experience but the good feelings that came from helping people. They would provide items to these new players who could not make the journey to Varrock, and didn’t have any good ways of making money. Many of these players who received help felt so inspired by the generous players, that they wanted to do the same thing when they became wealthy. Due to updates, the generous population has trouble finding ways to help out new players. The player-based kinds of service has been replaced by Jagex-made computer players. Such NPC’s like the tutors and the Lumbridge sage have replaced players by providing information, and some free items to new players seeking knowledge. There are both good and bad points about this automated system.

For one, these NPC’s are always available for player use. So, during non-peak playing times, one can always find help. On the other hand, there are only a limited number of things you can learn from them. When dealing with a player through, especially an experienced one, there are literally thousands of questions that can be answered.

One such person who answered my questions and helped me out when I was new, was my best friend Nigel. I asked him about if he did any community service in the past, to which he said: “Yeah, actually. Before the deal with the trade restrictions. People would hand out money, like 5k, you could always locate bronze, or a quest item. It was really easy.”

The trade restrictions. The division between old community service, and new community service. With the trade limits, now it is very hard to help out new players. The limit is 3000 gold pieces, which is not enough to do any real helping. In addition, you cannot help more than a few people before your trade limit is up. This puts a large hindrance on both helping new players, as well as being helped.

With this in mind, one has to be creative to provide community service. So, how can you help out players with all of these restrictions and complications? The best way by far is advice. Providing advice to new players is huge. Lets be honest, when people don’t sign up, they don’t read how to train skills, how to make money, etc. Tutorial island gives you pretty much useless advice on how to train skills. So, the first time players reach Lumbridge, they have no idea what’s going on or what to do. Most new players turn to friends who already play the game, but some have no one to turn to. That’s where this new brand of community service finds a niche.

But sadly there are problems with this as well. The problem is that most people don’t have a lot of patience. They get annoyed with all the questions, because the questions are so basic in their opinion. That is why most players don’t go out of their way to help new players anymore. Not that it was super-common before, but it is less common now.

Another factor is of course the Grand Exchange. The Grand Exchange is great, however, it deters helping out the new community. Back in the day, smithers would hand out sets of armour they made, because they couldn’t just put it on the Grand Exchange. It was just a burden. Low-level armours, like iron and steel were especially common. However, since the creation of the Grand Exchange, they can be sold around the clock, even if the player isn’t logged in. So, as time goes on, the community care for the newer players dwindles. The trend seems to indicate that in the future Jagex will have to step up on new player care, because older players won’t do it.

Jagex might implement more tutors, or a portal that leads straight to Varrock. Then players would not have to journey all the way there, they can just go there at will. This may not actually be a bad thing, then new players could mingle with the rest of the community and use the Grand Exchange. This would benefit the new players trying to make money and acquire items, because some don’t venture out of Lumbridge for a very long time.

But player help will probably taper off. I asked Mli 699 about if he does any community service now that he’s high-level, to which he responded, “In the past I might have helped the odd person, but not normally.” I went on to ask if he ever goes to a free world with the purpose of helping out new players, to which he replied simply, “Nope.”. Even though not a bad person at all, this is a great example of how the player community is failing the new players.

It is very apparent that community service is failing on behalf of the players. Jagex has tried to combat this by implementing NPC’s such as tutors and the Lumbridge sage to try to help these new players. One can only hope that players will turn around and try to help the new players, and bring back one of the greatest memories that old Runescape had to offer. Maybe in the future the veterans of that time will talk about a nice player who helped them out when they first started.

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One Comment

  • LazerusShade Says:
    11th December 2010, at 7:48pm

    I rememeber when i first started my buddy and I were fighting the Unicorn near Draynor village. Being very low level we had to tag team the animal to kill it. A waundering higher lvl player (combat 60 LOL) saw us struggling with killing the Unicorn and stepped in to help. He spent the next hour answering questions and walking us around lumby,al-karid,varock showing us the ropes, and in the mean time made us both a set of full steel armor. This was oh about 3 to 4 months after the start of runescape. Was an amazing time to start this game, and it is sad to look at the community now and know that new players just do not get this kind of warm welcome to the community.