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.