Runescape’s newest update, Archaeology, adds a whole new skill to the almost two-decade-old MMO, but there’s some necessary context for what it brings to the table - at least historically speaking. At only 10 years old, I was as industrious as they came, and actually set up my own in-game business. I had people - probably much older than I was - chopping wood for me, which I then sold for profit or used to increase my Firemaking skill, like a proper little capitalist. All I had to give them in return were axes worth a measly fraction of my wealth.
Runescape was a simpler game in those times, where ordinary skills could be paired with one another to create basic but effective economic structures, most of which were founded upon the exploitation of fresh-out-of-Lummy naivete. But that was 14 years ago. Runescape is a different beast now, and the addition of Archaeology is unprecedented in more ways than one. “Skilling is not traditionally a vehicle for storytelling,” lead designer Dave Osborne tells me in an interview conducted over Zoom. “This completely upends that expectation.”