Looking For Party Like It’s 2007: Retro Runescape Reborn

By Alec Meer on March 5th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

it doesn't look like *that*

A shame SOE didn’t do this for Star Wars: Galaxies, or it might still be with us now. Following enthusiastic voting from some 440,000 paying RuneScape players, Jagex have resurrected the apparently beloved 2007 version of their long-running, secretly enormous MMORPG, to run alongside the flashier current version. It’s being pitched not as a roll back but a favour to the faithful, who will also play a part in deciding what gets updated in the old client.

“Although this is only a fraction of the overall RuneScape membership, it’s incredible to see how such large numbers of our community are prepared to mobilize for issues they are passionate about,” said Phil Mansell (no relation to Clint, I believe), RuneScape’s Executive Producer. “It was clear very early on that there was a dedicated movement in our community for this project. We can therefore commit to the promise that the future of these servers are secured and their updates will be left entirely in the hands of our community to decide. We’ll be holding regular content polls which will allow them to help shape and direct which content or fixes they want implemented into the game.”

While I don’t know how well this has been done or how long it’ll last form it’s certainly a lovely idea. I can’t imagine a Blizzard or NCsoft doing this, though then again half a million players isn’t something anyone should ignore. I believe there’ve been a number of fan-run servers dedicated to the older version of RuneScape, so this is also a canny way of bringing more of the community back in-house.

Old School Rune Scape is also free to all current RuneScape members, though they’re talking about instating an extra $5 for this version of the game after six months. More details on how the account stuff’s gonna work here.

It’s live and available to play now, and its even its retro-themed website has a touch of the GeoCities about it.

Here’s some random dude’s video of of how 2007 Runescape looked, in a video from 2011 about a news story from 2013. It’s your kids, Marty. Something gotta be done about your kids!

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29 Comments »

  1. Itanic says:

    I wish blizzard would do something like this! Vanilla WoW and i would be back in a shot!
    I can’t play wow since they dumbed down the talent trees in pandaria! :-(

    • Impale says:

      I feel this way about Burning Crusade. That was, IMO, WoW at its peak and I’d resub in a heartbeat.

      • Flint says:

        I feel this way about the Wrath era, which is my favourite era of WoW. And I think that’s one reason why Blizz will never do it (besides the problems with splitting the playerbase etc) – WoW has added and changed so much with each expansion that everyone has their own ideas about what should and should not be included in a throwback version of the game.

        I’d kill for a throwback version though. Still have yearnings to go back, but it’s just not the same game anymore. Blizzard has been pretty adamantly against any throwback servers though.

    • Noburu says:

      I play vanilla WoW still occassionally on a private server. The server has been around for 4 years or so and it pretty much 100% Blizz-like aside from 12x leveling rates which you can turn off if you choose. The reason for the rate change is pretty much all of the players are WoW vets and would rater get to end game asap. Server has 2k plus players during primetime.

      They opened a second server last year that is 1x Exp rates only which is hugely popular. They also have a TBC server but its a bit less populated.

      Not going to mention the name, you can find is pretty easy with google, as its the #1 vanilla private server(s).

    • Moraven says:

      Better than gimping yourself if you did not pick the 2-3 cookie cutter builds 98% of the people picked anyway. I like the flexible of the new talents and do not feel gimped regardless of what I choose.

    • Emeraude says:

      All those comments make more acute my dislike of something growing in modern PC gaming, the advent of the continually updated model, with no available plateau. It’s obviously true of MMOs, because you can’t run private servers, but it’s also increasingly true of others games.

      Clients make the downloading and installing of the latest version almost mandatory. Moreover there’s been cultural transformation: jumping from private server to private server depending on their specificities, according to one’s preferences used to be a normal way to play.
      Not so much now with the big centralized servers. Even when you have the possibility to create private ones.

      The culture has changed.

    • malkav11 says:

      I wish new people could experience previous eras of MMOs as they were originally implemented, but I for one have no desire whatsoever to go back to any previous age of WoW. I’d potentially lose:
      The ability to run dungeons on any sort of reliable basis (no Dungeon Finder)
      The ability to raid on any sort of reliable basis (No Looking for Raid, and it’s bad enough trying to build a ten-man raid team that doesn’t suck. Imagine having to pull 20 and then 40 people that don’t suck together for the oldest school raids. Blergh.)
      My class of choice (death knight, implemented in Wrath)
      Flying mounts (not implemented at all until Burning Crusade and not implemented in the 1-60 world until Cataclysm)
      Achievements (sure, they’re silly, but a lot of them are fun incentives to try various bits of gameplay or try really tricky, exciting versions of fights)
      Interesting quest design (no phasing, no vehicles (both implemented in Wrath), no cutscenes, no miniboss fights (Cataclysm, mostly), and a heck of a lot of bear ass collecting)
      Archaeology (not super important, but another thing to fiddle with, implemented in Cataclysm)
      Pet battles (possibly inappropriate for WoW’s context but surprisingly robust and fun, Pandaria)
      Guild achievements, perks and levels (so many nice things here – Cataclysm)
      8 years of graphical upgrades.
      My account (2004 era WoW had basically no account security and I was one of the many who got their accounts hacked. Unfortunately, I was not one of the ones that got it back.)

      And frankly, a whole lot of other improvements to UI, game systems, and general playability. Almost the only things I do miss from oldschool WoW are class-specific quests and older versions of the talent system, and I can understand why they changed those.

  2. elevown says:

    Not that i play this game, but its a good idea i think, for a popular mmo to have legacy servers, that have a version from before certain major changes that some players maybe didnt like.

  3. Innovacious says:

    Do they still let members play runescape classic as well? As in, the OLD runescape where it was a 3D world but the characters were sprites.

    • Valvarexart says:

      IIRC they opened that up for “new registrations” (you could play the game during a two-week period and if you played then you could play whenever you wanted to after that) a while ago, but there is no way to get in any longer.

  4. Valvarexart says:

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m very happy that they did this. But keep in mind that before doing this they shut down a bunch of “oldschool-style” private server hosted by fans, and that the “vote” only had one option. They are rather well-known for pulling publicity-shenanigans in this manner.

    • cool4345 says:

      Not only that, but they also made the poll only available to be voted on by MEMBERS, people who were still paying for members-only content..

      Bearing in mind that the majority of people who actually wanted this would have stopped playing runescape all-together years ago, never mind still be paying membership..

      They pretty much deliberately made sure that they’d get as few votes as possible on the poll so that they’d get more money out of it (they said they’d make it open for free to play users as well but only if the poll reached 750,000 votes.. it didn’t)

      They also say that the amount that voted on the poll was only a fraction of their userbase as well, which i find difficult to believe, unless they include every account made on the game in the entire time the game’s been going, including banned accounts.
      The actual number of people who still actively played the game before this was probably a small amount, the game servers used to get 200,000+ people on at once almost every day back in 2006 and after the game started going downhill they got about 100,000 online.

      Also might be wrong on this, but i’m pretty sure that they said at one point that they didn’t have ANY backups of around this time period, so i don’t know where this one magically appeared from… oh wait.

    • Iamerror says:

      ‘ But keep in mind that before doing this they shut down a bunch of “oldschool-style” private server hosted by fans’

      As is well within their rights.

  5. TsunamiWombat says:

    “A shame SOE didn’t do this for Star Wars: Galaxies, or it might still be with us now”

    Nope. It was shut down to make room for TOR remember?

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      It’s with us anyway. You can play SWG (a build before the patch that made it suck) at http://www.swgemu.com
      Though it doesn’t seem to work at the moment…

  6. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Does that mean I will get even more Runescape spam, insinuating that I am selling a character in a game I never played?

  7. deadly.by.design says:

    This is exactly how it looked when my then-11-year-old nephew used to play it.

  8. Moraven says:

    SOE did this with Everquest.

    New server with the base content to start while slowly unlocking the first 2-3 expansions overtime (or as people progressed, I forget how it was scheduled).

    • Tukuturi says:

      The unlocks were triggered by guilds beating the raid content in the current expansion. Because it was Everquest, this became a race. I played on the first such server, and if memory serves, they had cleared all the content in vanilla in less than a week. Guild drama ensued. I remembered why EQ wasn’t fun and left.

  9. Premium User Badge

    tonka_92 says:

    man, this brings me back memories of 2005…

    I think I’d well stopped by the time 2007 rolled around

    Never became a paying member, but I had “fun” for a while as a free member
    Once I ran out of quests though it was just grindy mcGrindface and I left forever

    seeing this has made me remember the damned world map and I can still name the places in the video, I am sad at this

  10. Liudeius says:

    I don’t get why they chose 2007. Removing the Wilderness and free trade was only the next step in a long line of decisions losing players. The CEO of the time had been putting the child-friendliness of the community over the game (Like the Stronghold of Security).
    With the new CEO (Mark Gerhart), Runescape started getting better updates again, even restoration of the Wilderness and free trade, making Runescape 2011 better than 2007 in every way (barring how screwed the economy became in the period of huge inflation from the PVP-only world bug abuse, and the absurd wealth gap between those who had played when party hats/santa hats were dropped and the rest of the community).

    Then 2012 came, Andrew sold the company, and it became an enforced-microtransaction cesspool, wherein it is better xp/hr to get a minimum wage job then buy skills than it is to grind them.
    At least they are pretending that’s not the case anymore, for months after I quit, the only information on the front page was “Buy millions of GP and level 99 skills with the Squeal of Fortune.”

    If they said 2011 was coming back, I would have gotten a membership just to vote, but thanks to Jagex I will never play another MMO again (after nine years of playing Runescape were invalidated by its downward spiral into its own filth).
    Corporate greed is ruining everything, it’s too bad science probably won’t take us to a post-capitalist economy in my lifetime.

  11. chaggo says:

    man, too bad it’s just for paying members, i played the hell out of this game back in the day, even paid a membership for about a year, until they made the first “big update” and changed the graphical style, i never really “got” it so i stoped playing the game

    nowadays subs are super pricey, almost 8 bucks a month !! (used to be like 4 back in the day), now that they have the classic one back, they should put a special mini sub price for those who just want to play the clasic one, paying 8 bucks to play a 2007 game just wouldn’t feel right, at least for me, and im not interested at all in the new one even tho my old character still exists lol

    • cool4345 says:

      Make a new account, you’ll get membership for 2 weeks for free AFAIK.

    • Liudeius says:

      “Classic” (as in before the graphical update) has existed for years… In fact it has existed since RS2 came out . (RS2 = the transfer from 3D terrain and 2D sprites to full 3D.)
      This is just RS2 pre-wilderness removal.

      • chaggo says:

        im aware classic was available for a little while after RS2 came out, but then they closed it and only the ones who decided to stay there were allowed in those servers

        last time i checked (probably like 6 months ago) i tried to get into classic and it was still closed and only available for people that decided not to upgrade, or was there a way to get in those ? O_o

        • Liudeius says:

          I decided to switch and I was still able to get into those servers.
          Actually, I made an entirely new character when RS2 came out (because I had the same disconnect with the new game and figured starting from scratch might help), and I was still able to access RS Classic for years.
          They did eventually (after about a year or two) close it off to only members, but recently (2011/12) they had a few open weeks (spaced out over a couple months) where anyone (even free players) could get into the servers and as long as you logged in once, you could stay on.

          But I don’t know where Classic has gone since then, I’m sure the money-hungry corporate overlords would put an end to something like that (considering last I knew, there were only two RSC servers left at about 50 people each during high times).

          • Liudeius says:

            Yeah, it seems the money-grubbers decided to effectively scrap classic, according to the wiki:
            “Classic was once again reopened on 14 September 2011. It was revealed a few weeks prior that this would be the last ever chance to access the classic game.”
            However soon after it was announce that a new “player-owned server” version of classic would be released, but this was scrapped due to Gerhart being ordered to give the new board of directors lap-dances.
            (If you couldn’t tell, I don’t like the new owners of Jagex.)

          • chaggo says:

            yeah, last time i checked a few months ago i remember the classic servers had around 50-60 people playing in those worlds, i thought it was insane to have them as closed servers when they were barely being used, apparently i wasn’t the only one regreting not staying in classic, i mean, look at those whoopin 440k votes for classic to be opened again

            and yeah, i remember classic was still around for a while after RS2 came out, but it was pretty much abandoned, everyone was trying RS2 so there was little to no point staying behind for me back then, god knows i tried to like RS2, i really really wanted to like it but to me, the charm was gone, those days killing goblins and cows in lumbridge, cooking meat and fish to survive and get to a decent level to do some quests were long gone and it was pretty awkward to continue with my level 5x guy like that, it just didn’t feel right to me

            heck, even the members world was pretty damn sweet, i remember getting lost in the gnome stronghold and enjoying the heck out of the members skills altho some of them were pretty damn gimmicky and useless thb lol