Runescape has had quite a rocky ride over the past few years.
First there was the Evolution of Combat in November of 2012. Jagex had high hopes that this MMO style combat system would draw in more players as they had started to feel the hurt of thousands of banned member bot accounts. The reception by players was…less than desirable. While EOC did undoubtedly bring some new faces, it also shunned many old faces. The system was very clunky and hard to understand. Execution of abilities or ‘Powers’ was choppy and unimpressive. Those who didn’t learn the new system either forsook combat entirely or left the game. Many who did learn the system still forsook combat except when needed because it was no longer fun and instead felt like a chore. Conversely, there was also quite a few who embraced the new system, though even they admitted it had its faults.
Runescape 3 was released in the middle of 2013. There was much hype and hope that this would be one of Runescape’s greatest updates to date. With it came the dawn of the ‘Sixth Age’ and a new turn in Jagex’s story-writing – forcing events to take place and a heavy focus on the gods. Runescape never really had an ‘Epic’ quest(Here I am referring to a main storyline, as most games have) but Jagex in this update decided to make the Sixth Age god quests be the Epic Quest for Runescape.
The biggest upset of Runescape 3 was the famed HTML5 client. This was slated to bring unprecedented graphics, sound, and other integration. Unfortunately all the players felt was some decent graphics, delayed sound, and a very laggy client. Only those with very high end computers were able to run the HTML5 client decent enough to play for extended periods of time. Eventually Jagex admitted they had attempted to pioneer into a field that was not yet fully supported by browsers. This pioneering was a good sign, however their intentions were misplaced. With a game of Runescape’s caliber, you cannot afford to place your reputation on a still sketchy platform. In a few years or possibly beginning later this year I would love to see them work on this system again, depending on how far the HTML5 platform has come from last time. If they do take this up again, they need to spend as much time as they need on it, and then add 10%.
I was originally going to mention Old School Runescape as the second time, but Runescape 3 actually fits better. Old School Runescape, or better known as OSRS, was released in 2013. Interestingly, it was actually released in February, five months before Runescape 3. This was undoubtedly in an attempt to satiate the many players enraged by EOC. While it did do that to a fair extent, it also opened up a large can of worms with extra rage on the side on the part of EOC purists. OSRS has received many more updates than was originally stated. In fact they now have their own development team and get arguably the same or more updates than the main game. This is not wholly unexpected though, as OSRS accounts for a consistent 25-35% of all active players – at any given time(32.44% at the time of this writing), so it is no surprise that Jagex has decided to invest significant resources to it. One thing to note that I am sure Jagex keeps in mind is that every OSRS player is a paying member, whereas not every RS3 player is paying. So OSRS’s profitability-per-player is much higher than RS3’s.
And now we get to number three, Legacy Mode.
Legacy mode is all the talk these days because it is Jagex’s next poster-child.
“Just what is so important about Legacy, what is its purpose even?”
Jagex’s war on bots cost them many, many thousands of pounds in loss of revenue each month. They are hurting financially because of this. Their mistakes with EOC and RS3 have driven away loyal members which has hurt even more. Legacy Mode was birthed, like OSRS, in an attempt to retain and drawback old and previous players that left due to EOC, RS3, and other recent ill-received updates.
It is important for Jagex because it will, if successful, bring and retain players, leading to higher monthly revenue. For it to be most effective it needs to reach all the players who have already left Runescape and needs to be exciting and promising enough to retain those thinking about leaving.
It is important for us, as players, because if successful it will bring back and retain players shunned by recent updates. This translates too a larger player base and more financial resources for Jagex, meaning a longer lifespan for the game and hopefully better and more consistent content.
I’m not going to reiterate what Legacy Mode actually is because most of us know and my colleagues have already done so. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I highly suggest you go read some of my colleagues’ articles(or even if you are familiar with it but haven’t read their articles, do so).
The point I want to stress here is that Jagex needs a win. I will not say their recent attempts have been feeble, because they haven’t, however I do believe they have been less fruitful than desired.
I would also like to note that the current poll about Legacy Mode is asking if it should be added to the game, period. It is not asking if it should be added now as opposed to later, it is asking if it should be added at all. If the “No” side wins then the past five months of development time on it will be a complete waste.
This is a risky choice by Jagex because of the huge amount of loss it could mean, but it is good to see them asking the players if something is wanted before actually adding it. They were able to ask this poll with confidence because back in January 81% said they wanted a Legacy style mode. I’m sure Jagex is happy to see the poll remains nearly the same as then.
Personally I think Jagex should have fixed EOC, before it was released in 2012 rather than try to fix it now with OSRS and Legacy Mode. I did not want to see a Legacy Mode added, but at this point it is to all our benefit for it to be added.
Now with that in mind, let me state something regarding the recent updates. EOC and RS3 had massive issues when released due to being pushed out by Jagex and not receiving proper testing. I believe Jagex is trying to avoid this with Legacy Mode, but we the players can help them with that.
By finding issues while playing the beta like we normally play RS (go fight in your normal armour, not free Torva).
By letting them know ways to fix issues we see, and
By encouraging them to take as long as necessary to finish development before release.
If it takes them two months longer to release Legacy but it has 50% less issues, that is worth it. It is much easier for them to fix things during the beta than to fix them once it goes live.
Play mindfully, speak mindfully, vote mindfully.