RuneScape’s PvP tournament went badly wrong


RuneScape [official site] remains one of the most enduringly popular MMORPGs around, but the finals of its most recent PvP tournament ended with the winner and several others disqualified, accusations of staff favouritism, allegations of targeted DDoS attacks, and a $20,000 prize pot with nobody to go to.

In short, it all went a bit Wacky Races.

In a recent statement, developers Jagex outlined the issues faced in the final of their latest 2,000-player Deadman tournament. One group of fighters was accused of working as team despite repeated warnings from moderators, and found themselves disqualified en-masse – a decision debated by the community amid allegations of favouritism by the organising staff. Many other players were also bumped off by massive lag. While some have alleged the lag was due to DDoS attacks, Jagex carefully avoid repeating any specific allegations and say they’re impossible to prove.

You can see some of these deaths-by-lag below:

After player ‘5PLUS50K12’, representing the Reign of Terror clan, finally emerged triumphant in the brawl, Jagex’s “standard” investigations discovered they had created a bot farm. The winner was disqualified.

The event itself was based on Old-School RuneScape, a popular (official) legacy variant of the game, with rules detailed here. On September 18th, the Deadman PvP competition servers were opened, and players fought, farmed and ganked their hearts out. The top 2,000 (the maximum player capacity of a RuneScape server) most successful were invited to take part in the finals on September 23rd, a one-hour grand melee with permadeath enabled.

At the moment, the fate of the $20,000 grand prize remains in limbo, with Jagex weighing up the options on whether to distribute it amongst the runners-up, donate the whole pot to charity, or to carry it forward and raise the stakes on the next tournament. While I feel the sensible option is just to split the pot amongst players, the latter option has the most potential for fascinating chaos at the next event.


  1. CronoRay says:

    What a sh*t show by the sounds of it, and to boot the winner cheated by using a bot farm, typical Runescapers!

    • Don Reba says:

      I can confirm this. After playing Runescape way back in high school enthusiastically, I eventually made a bot that would play for me, then quit MMORPGs forever. I now only play games that affirm my humanity.

    • Someoldguy says:

      I’d have to say atypical Runescapers. I spent far too many years playing the game and the vast majority of players did not bot and weren’t interested in botting. Most bots were run by a relatively small cluster of commercial “players” only interested in gold farming and reselling.

      Of course if you dangle a prize the most competitive players eyes are going to light up with dollar signs and they’ll start considering how to gain themselves advantages that they think they can get away with. This particular one must be a bit of a fool because Jagex have been making genuine efforts in the last 5 years to detect, block, quarantine and remove accounts whose activity indicate botting, including historical use of bots and advantageous interactions with other bot players even if they are clean now.

  2. syllopsium says:

    Serious real money is offered as a prize, people try to game the system. Colour me so incredibly surprised..

    Don’t offer cash as a prize, people won’t cheat as much.

    • Zerpherion says:

      LOL this is a problem when eSports.

      You get egos like wild storms when they get offered $$$$.

    • Couchfighter says:

      Eh, I feel ‘Esports’ with cash prizes is on the whole a positive thing. The problem with this event wasn’t the cash prize, but how much of an exploitfest Runescape apparently is. High stakes Esports are generally an excellent form of entertainment. (EVO/CPT/The International/etc etc)