Remember when you first started playing RuneScape, it may have been in a high school computer lab, a college dorm room, or after school with your friends. One thing is for sure, a lot has changed since then, both in the game and with our lives. RuneScape has grown up with us and has matured since the days of the beginning much the same way the community has. RuneScape 3 is like going from adolescence to adulthood. Evolution of combat, a new interface, and eventually HTML 5 are all changes that are bringing us to the age of the modern MMORPG. Many articles and forum posts have talked about this, but what I find fascinating is how it is aligning with a community that is maturing and getting older.
The evolution of combat is one of the most important updates to ever come to the world of RuneScape. It has been through growing pains and still remains one of the most controversial of all updates. I liken it to leaving home and going to college for the first time. Everything is new and it’s a bit frightening at first. Sometimes you even feel like packing it up and going home or in our case, RuneScape old-school. However, you know it has to be done and as you get used to it you can’t imagine ever thinking about quitting. The new interface system is like when you have finally made it into your field. Now it’s just a matter of finding out what works for you all the knowledge is already there. Finally, HTML 5 is visually stunning and, when it is implemented, will be like getting a pair of tickets to Las Vegas for your 21st birthday. Walking along the strip at night is a complete sensory overload but it is an experience worth having. That is how it feels to enter the HTML5 beta. All of these updates are tremendously important to the maturing of the game, but have you ever considered the smaller changes that make the game enjoyable even now when our busy lives have put serious restrictions on our time?
One aspect of the game that has changed is the method in which skills are trained. Most of these changes were not big updates but rather multiple smaller ones over time. These updates have had a dramatic effect on the game and help accommodate the reality that many in the RuneScape community have less time to devote to skilling. I started playing RuneScape in college and at that time I had no job, no wife and no kids, but all of that has changed. At one time, a six or seven hour grind session was not a problem, however, now it would be impossible. Dating back to the addition of Runespan and the Artisans Workshop, skills have become less demanding on our time. While critics claim it makes the game easier, that is not the case. It’s more like scaling the training time to more accurately reflect the communities changing needs. Instead of looking at that next level as an insurmountable challenge that may very well take you forever with the time you have at hand, these additions make it possible to retain a sense of achievement. Of course these aren’t the only recent changes to the game; Summoning has had a bit of a rework too, which will also result as a time saver .
The game has also become more concentrated. What I mean by that is, it is now possible to experience a lot in a shorter amount of time. For example, the World Events have added a concentrated amount of lore. It is easy to stay on top of the over arching storyline from just being involved in this new content. Newer quests have also steered this trend. Even older additions like the clan Citadels have had a concentrating effect. Along with the XP available at the Citadel, gamers can also have many social interactions with fellow clan members that once were harder to organize.
One thing I know for sure is that I have more money than I did when I was on a ramen noodle budget back in college. RuneScape has grown with the community in that respect as well. With the additions of bonds, Solomon’s Store and the Squeal of Fortune, things are available now that I could never have paid for before. All of these updates had their own reasons for coming into the game, and probably none of which included the fact that the RuneScape community is getting a little older and has more money, but that fact remains. I can now buy cosmetic items that I really like and couldn’t have afforded before, and while bonds were primarily a gold farming and bot stopping update, it also allows someone with less time but a little more money the ability to still get the goods that they desire.
As I play, I see more ten-year veteran capes, completion capes, and Max players than ever before. Of course, this is natural with a game that has been around as long as RuneScape. However, there are more experienced players in the game than ever before, and just walking around the world and seeing the conversations people are having, I venture to say there is a level of maturity that I’ve never seen. The recent focus on bossing plays right into these observations. Many players are really starting to fine tune their character and are looking for a fun challenge. The new bosses vorago and the new barrows Rise of the Six is exactly that.
It’s nice to know RuneScape is dynamic enough to keep up with an ever-changing community. I love this game and the changes made to it in recent years have made it better, stronger and more in line with the changes gone through in life. May we all be playing this game well into our retirement. Till then happy RuneScaping.