RuneScape has got to be a game that nearly everyone at some point has played! This is another free MMO like MapleStory, but has an optional monthly subscription available to unlock much more content. This enables you to try the game out for free before spending your money.
I started playing the game back in 2005, giving in to see what all the fuss was about. It features the familiar activities of completing quests and killing monsters which the genre is known for. However in addition to this, you can take time out of combat to work on the many other skills which are available such as Mining and Fishing.
I think what makes these non-combat skills great is how they tie in with each other. Smithing for example is useful for crafting armour and weapons, Cooking for those raw beef you’ve amassed and fish you’ve caught, Firemaking for logs you’ve cut down.
This is just free to play, once upgraded to “Member” you can improve on these skills with new resources available, as well as also opening up many new skills such as Construction to build your own home, and Farming to grow your own crops.
It has been great to see the game evolve with new skills added since first playing, in addition to the many new quests and locations to explore. The game has also seen a massive graphics overhaul, changing the look of the game for the better in order to keep competitive with rival MMOs.
Some of the updates have caused upset to existing players who were against the changes and prefer it how it was. I’ve been fine with most of the changes, particularly the graphics improvement, a faster paced tutorial (I’ll always miss that island though!) and free teleports to the main cities you’ve visited to speed up travel. The character creation has also seen improvements by becoming more customizable, with player models now more detailed.
One update I’ve not been as keen towards is the new combat changes. I’m not sure why exactly – it sure does make it more interactive than the previously turn-based like fights – maybe it’s the addition to the interface, however this isn’t a good enough reason to put me off playing this highly addictive game. A recent update has introduced “Legacy Mode” which keeps you in the up to date world but switches combat back to its previous state, to appease those who opposed the changes.
This is a game which appears to have a clear working relationship between the developers and the players. It is always difficult to implement changes without upsetting players but Jagex have become renowned for listening to feedback and trying to make controversial changes as smooth as possible with the players input, with in-game polls often available to hear feedback to recent updates.
Some changes may have put off old players from returning to the game (something I’ve been doing on almost a yearly basis!), but a recent poll result has brought “old school” RuneScape a reality, bringing players back to the games state in 2007. I think this is a great move by Jagex as I find the game to be highly nostalgic, and while there is no doubt for me that the game has evolved with time to match newer games, this is a nice option to have available for those who want it.
The Grand Exchange update also created a much more practical and easier way of selling your items, but I do miss those crowded banks with text effects popping up everywhere, trying to find someone who sells those rare yellow beads and get my armour trimmed!
A criticism RuneScape has received is its grindy nature, with the main objective of the player to try to reach the max level cap of 99 in each skill. While I haven’t achieved this in my years playing, I do know this is something that would take a lot of time to accomplish, and is arguably a question of how much time you have instead of your gaming skill.
This isn’t to say it isn’t an enjoyable experience and you don’t feel like you’re grinding too much while you’re playing – at least at the beginning. The unlocking of items and abilities does feel rewarding for your efforts, and is highly satisfying to embark on newly available quests.
I’ve found in my time playing that there are some skills like Mining and Combat that do seem competitive and leave you trying to find quiet game worlds as you are fighting for resources which isn’t great. Other skills like Fishing and Woodcutting do allow you to interact and talk with other players and are therefore much more enjoyable for me.
Overall RuneScape is an MMO that you have to really experience for yourself before judging it and those who play it. I have many good memories of the game back when I started playing as a young gamer, however I still find it engaging when I go back to it now, despite the many newer games now available that arguably offer more.
Compared with other subscription MMO games, RuneScape does have a very good valued membership and it really is a must once you’ve completed the free quests to see the game at its fullest. It clearly isn’t perfect and some people have good reasons to dislike it which is fair enough, however it needs be given a chance before you can really be critical of it.
The vast amount of content available when you become a Member is impressive and the regular updates that the game receives will most likely see me coming back for years to come.