No, this is not an article about 1337 speech or the fact that 95% of gamers have atrocious spelling(not to mention grammar and usage!).
This article is about the subject of the term ‘Runescape is Dying‘.
I was glad to see some of my colleagues write articles discussing the health of Runescape this month. This is good because it shows you, the readers, different points of view. If we, the writers, only always wrote the same then we would be a biased site. A biased site is a worthless site.
If you haven’t read their articles yet I would highly suggest you do so.
Read them? Good. Although I might not fully agree with some parts of them, they make some good points.
Regarding the term ‘Dying’
What is dying? There are two common meanings; the first is that something is almost out of life, the second is referring to changing the color of something.
Here’s the Dictionary.com meaning for Dying.
1. ceasing to live; approaching death; expiring: a dying man.
2. of, pertaining to, or associated with death: his dying hour.
3. given, uttered, or manifested just before death: her dying words.
4. drawing to a close; ending: the dying year.
5. the act or process of ceasing to live, ending, or drawing to a close.
Hmm, general consensus is it means drawing to a close or ceasing to live. As my colleague’s said, Runescape is not shutting down anytime in the foreseeable future. Even though they have laid off some employees recently and Jagex has fallen through on a few game releases, doesn’t mean Runescape is going to close. They have quite a few income earners which, albeit extremely annoying to many players, seem to be an effective way of getting more money.
So Runescape is not ‘Dying’ by a Financial sense.
But what about in a Content sense?
Well, all the content that you and I grew up on is still there, it’s just a heck of a lot easier to do now. In fact there is more content now than ever before and it’s easier to do than ever before.
So it’s not ‘Dying’ for lack of Content.
Still, a game can have tons of content but without regular updates, only certain games can still survive. Runescape has been touch-and-go on Updates the past year or so. They’ve released a few big things but some of the smaller things in between weren’t as good as hoped or touted.
This is a fairly steep change compared to the Runescape we knew 5+ years ago. Then, you could expect 1-2 quests a month and usually a small batch of bug fixes every other week or so. Nothing was terribly touted for months before release, but you knew something would come regularly and that was enough.
So is it ‘Dying’ in the sense of not having Regular Game Updates? Hard to say.
But let’s go back to this word ‘Dying’ for a moment. I’m not quite sure it’s the appropriate word. You see, as we talked about above, ‘Dying’ refers to coming to an end. A fixed point that will ultimately be reached and within a foreseeable period. Something can’t truly be dying until something has been noticed that has guaranteed its demise.
So far none of the updates Jagex has released in Runescape have guaranteed its demise. Some of them are debatably on the edge, but each of the updates bring something that counter-balances the bad, if at least for an undefinable time.
So what word would be more fitting?
Let’s try Deteriorating
Here’s the Dictionary.com meaning.
1. to make or become worse or inferior in character, quality, value, etc.
2. to disintegrate or wear away.
Hmm, become worse or inferior in character, quality, or value. I can see your faces right now, you’re thinking, “Runescape does NOT have inferior quality!”
Well, you know what, that’s true for the most part. They have some fairly nice graphics when compared to some games. But then on the flip-side their graphics are not terribly great compared to others. The problem with graphics is someone will always have ‘better’ graphics. Why? Because there is no universal scale for them to be judged on. You know the term, “To each his own”? That applies to graphics. What I think looks good and what you think looks good are different. As a 3D Modeller and Game Researcher I look at things differently. Likewise, though, other people in my fields will see things differently than me even though we may both be looking at the same things.
So, back to the word Deteriorate.
Is Runescape’s quality worsening? That depends. Only those who have played more than 4 years can really make a valid call on that. But again, it’s an opinion based call.
But there’s more to the word’s first meaning. Worse in Character? Hmm. Again that requires having played the game for quite awhile to know how the Developers were like years ago compared to now. I would say that as a whole Runescape’s Character has lessened(GASP!!!!), if at least a little.
It is apparent Runescape is more money and publicity focused now than it was 8 years ago. Is it bad? Well, quite frankly, yes. A game is only as good as its developer’s focus. If the Developers focus on story, the game will have an epic story, if they focus on playability, the game will be amazing to play, if they focus on money, that’s what the game will be about.
Let’s look at the third and last part of the first meaning, ‘Inferior Value’. This is a tough one because Runescape’s yearly subscription is ~$6.25 a month. That’s pretty good for any game these days. The primary difference is that most other games, while costing more per month, usually give more as well. They often provide bonus experience or free special currency. LOTRO is $8.25 a month when a year is purchased but you receive $5 worth of special currency each month, effectively lowering the price to $3.25 per month. Runescape gives no special advantage except for unlocking the rest of the game. Obviously that should be the primary reason people become members but with today’s ‘More for less’ society people don’t purchase things unless they get ‘free’ extras.
How about the second meaning? ‘To disintegrate or wear away.’ Runescape is going on over 12 years. That’s quite a time for a game. Quite a bit of wear. Perhaps Runescape’s time has come and gone.
Yea, I knew none of you would believe that one. But still, it is plausible. The slow, grinding model of Runescape is not the same as modern game’s instant success systems. Leveling 26 skills to 99 is not as appealing to people nowadays when they can instead level 20 characters to 90 in half the time on a different game.
I’m not sure that Deteriorate fits either, though. It could be argued to be the same as Dying. What about…
Here’s the Dictionary.com meaning for Adulterate.
1. to debase or make impure by adding inferior materials or elements; use cheaper, inferior, or less desirable goods in the production of (any professedly genuine article): to adulterate food.
Well, hmm….That’s an interesting word choice, isn’t it?
This, I believe, is probably the word most True Runescapians are meaning when they use the word ‘Dying’. They are referring to a Runescape that has been debased, it has lost its original value. It has been made impure from what it was originally designed to be by adding inferior elements and game mechanics. Cheaper things that are undesired were added.
I’m not citing any particular updates in reference to this, it has been a gradual process ever since around 2008. The game has slowly drifted away from its original design. Unnecessary things were added when other things should have been. ‘Fluff’ has been added to make people play longer and work harder for less reward and less satisfaction.
The only thing that has any value in Runescape now is how well(how quickly) you can kill a ‘Boss’ or complete a ‘Raid’. That’s not Runescape. Runescape is not about killing Bosses or completing Dungeon Raids.
Runescape was about having fun raising your favorite skill. Note, I said raising, not grinding. You had a handful of skills you really loved to do and found a handful or two of cool people to do them with. It might take you a year, probably two or three, to reach level 99 but that was fine. In fact, you didn’t want to reach 99 because that would mean you were done with one of your favorite skills. Most skills hardly gave any benefit beyond 90, but that was fine. You got the additional 8m experience to 99 because you loved doing the skill, not because you wanted 99.
I have level 99 Fishing. I got level 99 fishing in 2006. I also have 20.5m Fishing experience. The majority of that was from fishing Sharks. I never fly fished and monkfish did not exist then. I fished because I liked it.
I know of a few people who only had a few 99s(actually some had none even) but they would play Castle Wars ALL day because they loved it. Did they get anything from it? Nope, not a thing. Well, sure they got a few Castle War’s tokens when they won, but they didn’t care about those because they already had hundreds and didn’t care about the colored armour. They played Castle Wars because it was fun.
Note to the Reader: This is referring to Castle Wars in 2006, Castle Wars has since drastically changed.
Now what do we do? Once we hit 99 in one skill we figure out what skill we have to max next. Where’s the fun in that? Buying 99 Herblore, Construction, Prayer? They only cost, what, 200m? Wow, that’s fun, putting a million bones on an altar. 99 Prayer was !@#$ing hard back in the day and was uber respected because it took forever. You had to kill a lot of Dragons, and then bury the bones. Didn’t cost a dime, in fact it was pretty good money selling all the dragonhides.
Nowadays the worth of skills are based on how much it costs to buy the resources to reach 99. You know what that means? The skill itself is worthless. In fact, it’s worse than that! It is actually costly. It’s a bother. You have to waste your time and money to get this worthless thing to level 99 and then never use it again. What’s the point? There isn’t one.
Runescape has changed, and not all for the better. Inferior things have been added. It has been cheapened. The majority of it has no value.
Perhaps this is why there has been a 35% loss in activity in a year and a half, and that’s even counting the activity of current OSRS!
Here’s a quote from one of my Articles from January 2012.
“Before the bot nuking there were always 100k accounts on, usually 160k. Now, at 4pm EST there are 83,496 players on.”
Note to the Reader: ‘Bot Nuke Day‘ was on October 25th, 2011.
In comparison, right now at 6pm EST there are 54,563 players on.
15,982(29%) of those players are playing Old School Runescape.
That means only 38,581 people are playing Current Runescape.
That is a 54% decrease in 20 months!
That is HUGE. Not only is it not an increase, it is a significant loss.
And remember, this is well after the bot nuke so these are supposedly real players. If they aren’t all real, just think how much worse it would be if there are bots in this mix.
Obviously these numbers are not hardcore authorized statistics, merely an author citing himself. Of course if you don’t believe the number written in that article you can ask Shane if I edited the article, to which he’ll tell you it hasn’t been touched in over a year. I didn’t even know I would reference that article a year later.
It’s possible that the day I wrote that there was a ton of people online, however there was no significant update for over a month before that date. It’s also possible that there is an abnormally low amount of people on as I write this, but again there is no reason for that to be the case.
Is Runescape Dead? No.
Is Runescape Dying? Not by literal meaning, currently.
Is Runescape Deteriorating? Perhaps.
Has Runescape been Adulterated? Your call.
The fact remains, however, that Runescape has changed drastically over the past few years. While some of it has been for the better, no one can honestly say it all has. Anyone who does is either naive or does not know Runescape’s history.
The numbers remain the same, a 54% decrease in player activity over a year and a half.