It feels like the end of an era when a game as venerable as this shuts down, even if it is just a particularly dusty old legacy incarnation exclusive to long-time subscribers to the game. Browser-based MMORPG RuneScape has been chugging along since 2001, offering exploration, questing and eternal grind to practically anyone with an internet connection.
While RuneScape itself has evolved into something far more contemporary in appearance, the Classic version – a living archive of the original 2001 release – has remained largely untouched, just slowly gathering largely-unfixable bug reports. Jagex reckon the time has come to put the old warhorse out to pasture, and will shut down the servers on August 6th.
Jagex’s main cited reason for this planned shutdown is that their community management tools (especially those they use to detect bots and macros) have evolved with the present iteration of the game, and left Classic behind. Bots are now a problem growing out of control, and they don’t have the manpower to ensure community safety and standards on the legacy server either.
Keep in mind that RuneScape Classic is separate from the highly popular RuneScape Old School, an older but still well-supported version of the game, similar in visual style to Classic but a little more contemporary under the hood. Those left behind by this still have two versions of RuneScape to upgrade to, and that Classic was a subscriber-only version of the game for players who had been there since the early days, with server populations in the low hundreds.
The death of RuneScape Classic doesn’t seem to be the harbinger of any further bad news, either. Neither the current Runescape 3 (as it is sometimes referred) or Old School seem at any immediate risk, especially if the Old School site’s claim of having over 51,000 concurrent players is accurate. Not to say that newer incarnations are free of problems either – see last year’s disastrous RuneScape Old School PvP tournament – but they’re still looking healthy enough.