On this day in history, January 4th, 2001, RuneScape was born. Yes, yes, starting off 2021 feeling old now, aren't we? The developers at Jagex have a big old bash planned to mark the game's 20th birthday with an entire year of celebration, questing, and nostalgia. If you were trotting around Gielinor in your browser of choice all the way back at the beginning of the millenium, you may barely recognise the world this celebration takes place in.
"Two decades on, RuneScape has become one of the world’s longest-running online games, having been played non-stop for 7,306 consecutive days," Jagex say of the big anniversary. That's a lot of days. As if to prove it, RuneScape's celebration begins today with a month-long Grand Party hosted in Lumbridge Crater—a location that was added to the game in 2013, though it is near the town of Lumbridge you might remember starting out in. Feels a bit like hearing my youngest siblings recount fond highschool memories of teachers who didn't arrive until after I'd graduated.
The Celebration Of Quests is the first week of the January party, Jagex say, attended by such familiar faces as the Wise Old Man and Sandwich Lady who are almost as old as the game itself. Them you might remember from your early adventuring days. The former will be handing out anniversary outfits and capes, because no good in-game celebration lacks its own themed costume to collect. That's it up there, dashing and all. For my money, a fully black, gold, and silver outfit definitely is an homage to MMO fashion of the early aughties.
More of the celebration kicks off later this month on January 25th with a quest called Foreshadowing. It's the first bit of the four-part anniversary questline Once Upon A Time that will run throughout this year. Old School RuneScape isn't left out of the fun either. Old School players will begin their revelry this Wednesday, January 6th. They'll also have an anniversary cloak and a Gnome Child dedication for their chapels to unlock by romping through some original RuneScape locations alongside the Green Gnome Child to battle demons and dragons and the lot.
So what's RuneScape's secret to surviving into the elder years of an MMO's lifespan? Well, it's been reinventing itself for years, for starters. All the way back in 2009, Kieron (RPS in pieces) talked with Jagex about RuneScape's (then) history and future. Since then, it's continued making updates, including the new engine back in 2016 and a Steam launch in October of last year.
If RuneScape manages to totter to a 30th birthday, imagine the anniversary celebration. I suppose that ten years from now they'll be trotting out fond memories of characters and events from the storied year 2023, won't they? Here's to many more, RuneScape.
If you do happen to be jumping in for those festivities, you can peep the rest of the birthday details and today's patch notes over in Jagex's post.