There are a lot of things in this world you can point to and go, “Man, what an age we live in…” and one of those things that get me feeling this way are the premise of wikis. An online knowledge base that we all can play a hand in creating. Nothing signals we’re in the information age better. The best part of wikis is that they are pretty all-inclusive, and if they’re not, well heck, we just edit or create a page and boom, now it is a little closer. One of my favorite wikis is the very one about Runescape – the Runescape Wiki hosted on Wikia. Since April 2005, they have yet to steer me in the wrong direction and I have learned countless tips and hints from them in that time. It is fantastically run and does a fantastic job at exactly what it’s designed to do. In fact, it’s among the best wikis out there, not only in gaming, but across the board. According to Wikia’s own website, the Runescape Wiki is #3 using their own way of measuring how active and communal a wiki is – and this makes sense. In a game that changes weekly, there’s bound to be a lot of edits, new pages, and content changes and thus a lot of interaction. Sounds great, right? So with this strong support behind their game, tell me why Jagex decided to create their own official wiki for their game SIX YEARS after the Wikia wiki was established? The official wiki was doomed to forever be overshadowed – and it was. Now, after trying for four years, Jagex has decided to give up the fight and throw their support behind the true kings of information over at Wikia’s Runescape Wiki.
According to the unofficial wiki’s entry about the official wiki (That’s right, they aren’t bitter. They’re so good that they even cover their direct competition.), Mod Balance stated that the official wiki was designed so that they could control the information on it. It was made up of two types of pages; those that could be edited only by mods and those that subscribers and mods could. Despite this going against what a wiki is supposed to be (you know, where anyone could edit and add information), players and mods did manage to add important information. Mods were even able to add exact information, such as drop tables and odds, which the unofficial one couldn’t benefit from. But it was still a redundant system. Any information from the official wiki that happened to get posted first was quickly applied to the unofficial one. Another major strike against the official wiki is that it was hard to find. In writing this I can’t even find it on the RS website. And of course, when I Googled “Runescape Wiki” the unofficial one came up.
So, it would be easy to say that this is no big loss. The official clunky and hard to navigate official wiki is dismantled and we go back to pretending it didn’t exist. There is some speculation that the mod in charge of the wiki, Mod Michelle, is leaving the company and that had something to do with its closure, but who’s to know for sure. If we gained one thing by its shuttering, it’s recognition by Jagex to the unofficial wiki’s admins that have, for nearly a decade now, done a great job and now point players to them for answers to things. It only proves that you can’t police information that is posted in a public platform that can be edited by anyone.
It only seems right that the wiki gets vindication as it nears ten years old to the day. The confusing decision to release another wiki about Runescape after having an unofficially one lead the charge on publicly editable information was doomed before it even started. As predicted, the official wiki struggled to find a unique purpose and add something to the mix that the wikia version didn’t already offer. Even insider information and Jagex mod only pages couldn’t help it gain the following needed to keep pace. In the end it seemed like wasted effort because the more easily searchable unofficial wikia never faltered. Ultimately the king of Runescape information was put in its proper place and given the respect from Jagex themselves that the fine folks over at The Runescape Wiki on Wikia deserve. So happy birthday RS Wiki and thanks for a decade of keeping noobs like me informed on what is needed to make a prayer renewal potion and what that random anagram means from that clue scroll.