Have You Played… Runescape?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Runescape [official site] is a bizarre thing because it’s one of the few MMORPGs that seems to be improving with age. Where most slowly fade and die out, Runescape is only growing prettier and more intricate. Oh yeah, then there’s that bit about it surpassing 250 million registered accounts since launching — god help us if those players ever decide to form their own nation. But Runescape’s continued growth feels like a counterpoint to the way many MMOs seem to always be slowly circling the drain.

Part of the reason why that is, and what I enjoy most about it, is because Runescape expands what you can do as much as where you can do it. For most MMOs, an update or expansion means bumping up the level cap and opening up some new zones, but you’re typically doing the same things again and again. Over the years, Runescape has added 27 different skills that cover everything from firemaking to invention to dungeoneering, and they’re all fleshed out in their own ways. On top of that, there’s an absurd amount of things to do to the point where, graphics updates aside, little seems recognizable from the ‘Classic’ version I grew up with.

What really makes me enjoy Runescape is that, despite all that growth, Jagex has done something unheard of by allowing people to choose how they want to play. While the shiny new Runescape NXT version is appealing, it doesn’t beat the nostalgia I have from playing on Classic or Oldschool Runescape, both of which act as great snapshots of where it used to be. With all the fuss surrounding Blizzard shutting down vanilla World of Warcraft servers, there’s something lovely about a company being just as enthusiastic about where their game is headed as where it came from.


  1. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Iron bars for sale!

  2. Neurotic says:

    I tried to get back into it a couple of years ago — there was some kind of big graphical update then iirc — and apparently my account was in all kinds of red-zone bad-boy hax-hacks uh-uh-no-you-don’t grief. Locked down, cordoned-off and sent to death row. I emailed them about it but I didn’t get a reply. Thanks for reminding me to go and check again! :D

    • brucethemoose says:

      I left Runescape a rich man. When I checked in years later, my character was naked and penniless .

      The previous login was from a Chinese IP address.

  3. malkav11 says:

    I used to see people playing it all the time on the computers at the library where I worked. But no. I don’t know, maybe it’s fun. But MMOs of that era usually weren’t, and there’s only so much you can diverge from that initial design without alienating players who do like it, with no guarantee that the people who might like the changes will bother to notice. (C.F. the Star Wars Galaxies Combat Update.)

    Everquest, for example, has certainly gotten friendlier over the years but it’s still recognizably the same game that I hated back in 2002.

    • Someoldguy says:

      RS did the big leap and alienated many of it’s older players with a move to make combat much more involved (more timing-critical active combat moves akin to the sort of thing you find in more mainstream MMOs) while making most of the non-combat skills more easy to AFK grind. The uproar led them to open Oldschool Runescape and that proved a hit, so now they have essentially 2 games (well ok, even classic is still running for a handful of real diehards.)

      I loved the freeform nature of RS, with so many skills you could train without needing to bash mobs to progress them. Unfortunately I hate the modern gameplay focussed on grinding bosses for rare drops to get any decent loot or income and the pay-for-advantage items in the cash shop. I’ve stepped away from it a few times over the years, but I think I’m gone for good now.

      • Someoldguy says:

        P.S. someone posting the RPS links on Facebook recently keeps slipping up and posting bad links.

  4. ZippyLemon says:

    I think copious Runescape in my adolescence is probably the reason for my compulsion to constantly click around, highlighting and unhighlighting text when I’m reading on the interwebz. I couldn’t keep the mouse still when I was playing either, always changing tabs, checking my XP gain every ten seconds. It surely formed a nasty coexistence with my inherent lack of patience, and may be why I don’t tend to see things through to the end (including Runescape, in which my skills never got past the 70s despite many hundreds (thousands?) of hours of play over several accounts).

    Yeah, thanks Runescape.

    Still get the compulsion to play sometimes, but fortunately adult life has progressed to the point where MMOs are such a waste of time as to be unthinkable.

    • Robertej92 says:

      I played plenty of RS growing up and I too constantly highlight/unhighlight text whilst I’m reading, plus play an unhealthy amount of incremental/idle/clicker games, don’t know if it’s correlation or causation though (i.e. if RS instilled those habits in me from a young age or I do all of this because I’m predisposed to it.)

      My mouse really suffers.

  5. JB says:

    I used to play it a lot, I was a player mod for a looong time. I enjoyed it but slowly…fell out of love with it? I guess. I’ve gone back recently, it’s still pretty cool in its own little way. And while it looks better every time I visit, it was no oil painting to start with. I hope it continues for some time to come though.

  6. moosyfate says:

    Used to be a mod and the whole nine yards, then the combat 2.0 system came and killed all my friends interest. “More intricate” You mean more clustered and easy to break?

    The game is mostly a bunch lvl 100+ now that can’t give up cause they invested so much of their lives into it.

    But that’s okay cause now you can LITERALLY buy XP.

    Hollow shell of something that was already a grindy life-sucker.

    Glad I had the clarity to stop when I did.

  7. MrFinnishDude says:

    Ah, Runescape havent played since primary school. I remember once overhearing this phrase at recess “If you bang my girl in Habbo, I’ll kill you in the wilderness.”

  8. kwyjibo says:

    No, because Runescape was pretty much the most boring thing you could do in a browser.

    I have however just downloaded Chronicle, the Runescape CCG, which (shock!) isn’t just a Hearthstone clone.

    link to pcgamesn.com

    But I haven’t played that yet either.

  9. poliovaccine says:

    I have one of those “friends” who never wanted to leave our hometown and who these days is voting for Trump.. what can I say, we are less critical as children.. and that friend, and his longstanding love of Runescape, coupled with his insistence on telling me long, pointless anecdotes about “kicking some dude’s ass in Runescape” which include descriptions of game mechanics I don’t understand and couldn’t give less of a shit about, has probably singlehandedly ensured I will never so much as get curious about it. He later went on to be that person who installs air conditioning for a living and who will not miss an opportunity to tell you about his latest adventures in doing so, with all the enthusiasn that alcohol brings… I will never play Runescape. I know that’s not at all fair to the game, but it’s just like an ex-girlfriend now, too many bad associations… (except, it’s a weird kind of ex-girlfriend I never even loved, just went straight to bitterness and alienation)

    • Danley says:

      It sounds like you’re not friends with this person, and should probably clarify that to them rather than it turning into elaborate prejudices towards Runescape players and air conditioner installers.

  10. April March says:

    I never played it, but have many fond memories of referring to it as Run! Escape!

    Actually, I think I have an account on it and tried to play one day I was trying out a lot of MMO’s for some reason, but if I did proceed beyond character creation I have no memory of so.

  11. Cyrus says:

    Yes I did, started around 2002 I think when it got popular in my school.

    Kind of interesting to explore the world (free) and progressing, slowly.
    As stated in the article you had various skills to occupy you with, which provided you with an amount of variation.
    Though in the end it still is the same grinding.

    When I emerged to be an adult I returned to seek out the member (premium) side of it all. As I recall I died two times and lost a lot of my items, due to entering some instant death area, clueless as I were.
    That was the nail in the coffin and gave up on it, in 2008?

    Not a particularly good game really but you didn’t have to have a NASA PC in order to run it. Only somewhat good Internet. Fond memories yet anyway.
    Plus your character stays forever, or at least, used to.

  12. Neutrino says:

    “With all the fuss surrounding Blizzard shutting down vanilla World of Warcraft servers, there’s something lovely about a company being just as enthusiastic about where their game is headed as where it came from.”

    Surely ‘is headed’ and ‘came from’ need to be switched for this sentence to make sense?

  13. Theon says:

    Runescape [official site] is a bizarre thing because it’s one of the few MMORPGs that seems to be improving with age.

    All my years online I’ve never ever seen anyone else claim this.
    Post-2007 Runescape is near enough universally bashed for being a complete destruction of what made the game great in the first place (an open, player-driven economy, trading, scamming, drop-parties, and a PvP Wilderness).

  14. Annabel says:

    I decided to try RuneScape. And seems that I really like it.
    But guys, where do you get gold??
    I’ve found this website bit.ly/2exOppS, is it okay for that?)
    Thank you!