Unless you immediately jumped on this article the very minute it was posted, you are reading this from a time that once seemed so far away. RuneScape 3 has arrived, and brought with it the 6th age of Gielinor.
Much improved graphics, a new interface, a new game client, better audio, and pretty soon a new skill as well. All this is accompanied by a new way of story-telling, one that will allow you to shape the world you inhabit, rather than just participate in it, as well as a completed-but-not-finished combat system.
It was a long road to get here, and it's had its bumps and potholes.
You may remember them now as the good old days; a time where the biggest complaints came from a slightly unstable economy, inflation, and bots. New updates rarely had a disruptive impact on the game, and combat was pretty straight forward even when new weapons were introduced. It was a matter of Evolution, not Revolution.
This started to change when desperate measures were needed to stave off "certain doom" for the game itself, and free trade and the wilderness as a PvP zone were subsequently removed. In return we got several new minigames, Clan Wars, the Grand Exchange, and a bunch of other features designed to soften the blow. But this was 2007, the year that riots and protests in the game itself started to make a more and more frequent appearance, and it hasn't stopped since…
Pick any one instance; the changing of one item (Climbing Boots), the Refer-a-Friend deal, The Evolution of Combat, or a number of different Rule changes. There have been plenty of decisions made by Jagex that caused many people to take to the virtual streets of Gielinor, spam the forums, or simply cancel their membership.
And yet, subscriptions being cancelled could have set in motion one of the most controversial decisions so far. The highest number of subscribers at any one point in time was upward of 1.2 million, but since that day it has all but halved.
Whether dwindling income from subscriptions caused the ability to purchase extra spins on the Squeal of Fortune to be introduced, or the introduction of said buyable spins caused subscriber numbers to fall, we don’t know—it is a vicious cycle at best. The so far harmless Solomon's general Store just added insult to injury by making it clear to everyone that RWT is here to stay.
It appears to have provided Jagex with the resources to make the 3rd generation of RuneScape, and all the things that come with it that promise to make RuneScape a viable game for years to come.
You have to remember, progress has never been a bargain, and you have to pay for it. You want bots gone? Here is a random event. Want to stop gold farming? Then we have to limit the amount they can transfer from account to account. Do you want a better more beautiful game? Then we're going to need to hire people to make this happen and increase the demands on your computer.
Take skills for example, specifically the ones that were introduced during the era of RuneScape 2. Each and every single one of them has been completely unlike any of the skills that were in the game at that point. I take my hat off especially to Construction, Summoning, and Dungeoneering, most notably for the way they were designed to work.
But coming up with new ideas that don't completely change the medieval-except-for-the-Dwarves time period this is all supposed to happen in is quite the challenge. So while I did think that, considering Dungeoneering is the latest skill, it was time for a new skill, I did not expect Jagex to announce not one but two of them, all set to happen this year still.
That other integral part of RuneScape has also seen much improvement over the years. Ranging from simple assignments to get Item A to slay Monster X, to an intricately woven web of stories, plotlines, and lore, Quests have gone from ways to merely unlock an item or an area, to filling in the background of the game, to full participation in the epic events of the world that unfold.
I have never seen the community more hungry for lore and more than when Jagex shocked the community with the epic of While Guthix Sleeps. Not even the long and as of yet unfinished Plague/Elf series could compete, and every quest since then has been judged using WGS as the standard.
The rework of older quests has seen a bit of negative feedback, as does the failure to live up to the once-a-week frequency. But if these world changing events are what we get to play with in return, you'll not hear a peep out of me.
And finally there is Combat. Now that the triangle has been equalised at the highest level again, I see very little complaints about it. Yes, it took a great deal of time and effort, and a lot of feedback from our end to get everything working as close as it was supposed to, but this new system is far more robust than the old one. It allows for items to be introduced without the need for much tweaking of its stats, it is much easier to compare weapons, even from other classes, and rarely allows one class to be vastly superior over the others. Unless the first level 95 weapon is introduced, but we know from experience that the weapons for the other classes will follow suit shortly, so no need to get worked up about that.
So, if RuneScape 3 works as advertised, and can soon be brought to your iPad and Xbox and Smartphone and what not, we can expect a whole new generation of people to start playing this game. This will open up opportunities all over the place, and should allow RuneScape to keep going strong for a little while longer.