When Old Gets New, It’s No Longer Old

posted by on 9th December 2013, at 2:29pm | Discuss Article

When Old School RS was released (re-released?) earlier in this year, I was conflicted about how things would be handled. The debate continues to go on as we get the numbers of players and subscriptions for both the old school and modern game about what kind of impact the two games have on each other. I really don’t want to focus on that. I want to go a little deeper, specifically about the size of the team and support the game would receive. While I really don’t want to write articles about Old School, I feel this has an impact on the modern game, but not for the reasons a lot of people make. Just stick with me for a minute and we’ll get there.

When the vote was released, there were different levels of support that the game would receive based on how many votes they received. Based on these tiers, Old School was to receive a small team for development. I’m not sure what everyone else expected, but getting brand new content certainly wasn’t something that crossed my mind. When Mod Mark devoted a section of discussion about Old School’s updates during Runefest, I was left scratching my head. I was under the impression that people liked things how it was and didn’t want to have anything change – to be frozen in time at a great point of Runescape history so they can live in their nostalgic world and live through being a noob with nothing to leveling and scraping their way back to good standing and beyond. That’s the target for 07scape – that’s the niche market. That’s what these people wanted… right?

Apparently I was wrong. In a series of polls, we saw the player base vote for a resupply of rares, god wars dungeon released (again, re-released is probably the better term), and various other more minor updates. Okay. I mean, I guess rares make sense, that’s cool. But… God Wars? That was a major turning point in RS history – part of which, at least I believe, led to a decline in valuing skills and a hostile takeover of boss hunting taking as the main purpose of the game. As I wrote in my article last month that possibly led to the economic catastrophe that the modern game still struggles with due to the massive influx of free top tier gear worth millions – which is a heck of a lot in Old School. I understand this added a lot of fun and GWD is nostalgic with the gear of the time, but let’s be real – if we continue down this path of releasing newer and newer content, won’t we just keep getting to a point where we have TWO constantly updating games that are really just 5 years apart? As the player base ages, those who wanted to play like how 2008 was, and 2009, and 2010 was will just continue. It’s silly, but you know what? Okay, I’m still alright with this. You can’t exist in a frozen span of the game’s life and expect to retain players indefinitely.

But the scale is being tipped. It’s going too far. Back to Mod Mark at Runefest – they are getting brand new exclusive content to the old school game. Buh, uh, what?!

Hold up. Hooold on. Old School RS is getting new updates. OLD School is getting NEW updates. Old. New. OLD. NEW. This, heh, this really miffs me – so much, that it’s making me write differently than my typical writing style! …Let me start over.

Rooftop agility was just released and storylines presumably in the form of quests of famous NPCs are coming soon to 07scape. When I first heard this, I loved the concept, but it wasn’t until I listened to the youtube post again that I realized this was going to ONLY be in Old School. Why? WHY! Sorry – almost lost it again…

This makes no sense. These are great ideas. Among my favourite quests are the story of the Wise Old Man and the Drunken Dwarf’s cameo in the Red Axe series (minus the finale. I’m still upset over that!). I would love to see these in the modern game. The agility roof running featured in the Ozan quests was great and is just begging to be made into an agility course. But Old School, who doesn’t even have the Ozan quests, gets 9 new agility courses and the modern game gets… Coin share changes and a functioning map that should have happened years ago. Cool.

I understand the voting for Old School. That’s great. That allows the players to mould the game and take the best of the updates that they want and reject the ones they don’t. It’s actually kind of interesting to see how different the game could have turned out. But to give a game that is supposed to cater to the nostalgic feelings of players some brand new content, it corrodes that. It breaks that feeling down. It takes that away as new areas or updates would to added. It’s counter intuitive to what the goal of Old School is.

When you look at Old School, a lot of benefits were passed along that the original vote didn’t guarantee. A supposed 5 dollars extra a month was meant to maintain the servers and cover the small staff looking after it. This has been waived indefinitely. And where under 500,000 votes old promised “basic” maintenance, they are being given brand new content. If Jagex wants to make these games independent and two different dimensions, that’s fine, but the Old School players should have to pay for it, it doesn’t have to be 5 bucks. Whatever the cost is that’s fair, whether it’s another dollar or two is reasonable. Or just give access to one game or the other. But I’d say Jagex has been more than generous to Old Schoolers, and I don’t know if Old School players even want this stuff. Correct me if I’m wrong!

When you add new things to an old version of something it’s not old anymore. It’s something new. You can have old graphics and have a new game. You can use an old engine to make a new game. Being based on something old doesn’t make it old. Jagex is making a new game with Old School RS. If this is what players want, that’s fine, but they should have to pay for it. But I know that there’s people out there that just want to play the nostalgic, vanilla version. Jagex is ultimately going to do what makes them the most money (as they should), but if you ruin the nostalgia of the old version and only do patch level updates to your modern version, nobody will be happy.