Runescape has been through so many changes, many of which are obvious game engine updates, quests, NPCs and multitudes of other things, not the least of which was the trade limit update in December of last year. Those have all been touched upon in the Times and have interesting discussion value.
The change that I have been thinking about recently isn't really one of those tangible things that can be found in the knowledge base or inside our own tip.it information site. It is simply the influx of players who are obviously under the age of thirteen. I've been playing Runescape since July, 2001 and today's gaming environment is vastly different from the one I dropped myself into back then.
At this point in your reading, you might be having a reaction to the words I've already written. Something like, "Oh no.. not a rant about kids..." Or maybe you're hoping for a good rant about kids. If you're of the second group, I'll disappoint you. There is enough bashing of younger players to fill up a good sized book floating all over the various Runescape fansites and even the official Jagex Runescape Forums. That isn't what this is about.
First... a little "age" history from my memory of the first years of Runescape:
Seven years ago, a younger player was considered to be someone who was 13 to 14 years old. I remember clearly seeing text bashing when someone acted out in a way that was deemed immature. Text like "Omg ignore him, he's some dumb 13 year old," was common. While we were not supposed to share personal information even back then, the rules were much more relaxed, probably due to the fact that the userbase was not yet so huge, and there were a lot of kids making certain that anyone who would listen didn't think that they personally were ONLY 14, because they were 15 thanks and much more mature.
I met two children in the first two years of playing the game whom I knew for absolute certain were very young. One was six and the other was nine. I knew of their ages because I knew their mother who also played the game and kept a close eye on them. In fact the six year old did not type at all, but happily bashed away at monsters.The nine year old was one of the most bright, polite, friendly kids I ever met on Runescape.
I did, however, know many kids who were 11 and 12 years old. Like I said, the personal details rule was very lax in the first years and if I was chatting in private messages with them, age invariably came up. They were always polite, seemed very focused on their gameplay, and were generally pleasant to be around. Most of the problems I encountered were from slightly older kids, and even these were enjoyable to be around when they weren't running in packs and spurring each other on in verbal warfare. Pretty much like any human being...Get them in packs and trouble brews...not the minigame fun kind either.
And to the present:
Here we are in 2008. The Runescape userbase is enormous, gone is the cozy 2 to 4 world "everyone knows each other" atmosphere. We have so many worlds, that it is difficult to find our "home" world in the list at times, never mind have that feeling of knowing at least OF everyone, if not knowing them personally. Jagex has grown from a child into a healthy adult itself, a thriving business, and I believe that children under the age of 13 are an important new target audience for the company.
There is a noticable increase in very bad typing skills, spelling, patience levels, as well as more confusion over the rules. I am very friendly in the game and have a pretty high tolerance for kids. When I need to be away from the constant questions, I simply go to an area that isn't high traffic. Is the butchered spelling annoying? Sure it is. Is it an indication that the player is a complete idiot? No.. it isn't and it really bothers me to see players bullying others, taunting that they're stupid 8 year olds and should go play some other baby game. That...is the immature behavior. That...has far more of a negative impact on MY gameplay than "pls hlp me with qest?" from a child in Lumbridge who has just discovered the game.
We're going to have kids... We're going to have really young kids, I think. I believe part of quickchat's purpose is to allow parents to have a safe game world option for their little ones. One in which there is no danger of spilling personal details and no danger of being exposed to poorly worded bullying taunts.We'll likely have rewording in our rules as well to allow for it in a more definitive way.
Runescape is one of the most age-diverse games that I've ever seen. It's like a true community, filled with people from all walks of life, all ages. A family. And everyone knows that little brothers and sisters are a real pain in the neck, but we still take care of them. They might drive us insane asking where we're going and can they come too (like the Zanaris Choir in the Lost City! hehe) but they are part of the family. The kids moving into Runescape are part of our community.
Instead of bullying them when they are confused, we can try to help. Or at the very least be polite about our response. It works wonders for me..
And, since we're not allowed to share our ages or any other personal information in the game, we should have no reason to just assume that a bad speller, or an impatient player is a child. Calling them names and inciting more trouble is not really a solution to anything. If they are kids, the players who don't consider themselves kids should be setting a decent example. After all, isn't that the mature thing to do?
I know.. its a game, why should you have to do anything at all, right? It's simple...put yourself in their shoes. YOu were there once, even if you were not 10 or 12 or younger. You were a new player, you were an inexperienced player. You wanted your gameplay to be fun then too. And what made it fun besides the actual chicken and cow murdering was other players being friendly, not treating you like a loser. If you were treated badly, remember how that felt? Is that really how you want to make other people in the community feel?
Another thing to keep in mind at this point, is that all new accounts using birthdays which indicate the user is under thirteen years old are locked into quick chat until they have reached 13. We all know that lots of kids are going to fudge their ages, but that certainly keeps the very young ones from spamming text that makes no sense at all. This is the message given:
"Your account [account name] has now been created with the password you have chosen. We recommend you make a note of it on a bit of paper and keep it somewhere really safe, in case you forget it. Please note that your account has been locked into Quick Chat until you are of suitable age - please see our Terms & Conditions for more information."
At this time, I don't have confirmation that existing underage accounts have been muted, but there is suspicion of that as well.
I got saved from certain death in the wilderness by an 11 year old kid in 2001. He patiently walked me through while I flipped out, terrified. There is not any kind of "age" that people are suddenly mature or nice. We learn it from each other.
I like the attempts that Jagex is making to really make Runescape a complete family game. Very unique... Not too many games are TRULY aimed at that.
August 01, 2008
I sat at my desk for hours this week, trying to come up with something groundbreaking, maybe controversial that will cause players to comment in droves because of the relevancy of the article. It has been almost 8 months since Jagex removed free trade, and the wilderness as we knew it, and no, this isnt a rant about that. But in those 8 months Jagex has heeded our cries, and done things to add amazing gameplay and content to skills. In spite of those fateful December changes, many older players have come back and been wowed. We got summoning, a skill that is amazing in what it can offer in terms of bonus's and an extra dimension of gameplay that we have never considered or deemed possible. I shouldnt have to write paragraphs praising the terrorbird, bunyip, war tortoise or the pack yak, Unicorn, or even the Obsidian golem.
Ever since that day Jagex has made small adjustments, such as allowing Simon Templeton to buy in notes, added new implings and hunting creatures, fixed the willow trees graphics, even added the chaos tunnels to give us more monsters and put a few spawns of some monsters that previously existed in only one spot in the game, such as dustdevils or gargoyles. We could use the chaos tunnel monsters to train on, or slay. We even got a new slayer dungeon with a new master, with bountiful rewards that change how we train slayer. We got new treasure trail items, some rather nifty. My personal favorites are the animal masks. Law Talismen were made available to all, and free experience lamps were doled out quite heartily. We got our demanded blood rune altar, and an often requested solution to the messages we get when leveling up.
It's amazing to think tabbed banking, a feature requested since classic,has finally arrived, changing how we store our items. Better graphics? we were given graphics that set possible industry standards for Java. Once again, Jagex changes how we look at Runescape. We got our demanded grand exchange database. Now anyone can look at a months worth of price data and the market data is made available to anyone who would want to look at it. Item lending for our friends was released, where we can safely loan out items to our friends and strangers, with no fear of being scammed.
Jagex quenched our thirst for quests, Our first wilderness quest, a few quests in the desert, one in Elf Land, another dealing with those dreadful seaslugs, preventing global warming, learning more about those volcano guys under Karamaja, playing with pirates and vampires.
Like Minigames? Fist Of Guthix is a fun combat based minigame that has rewards that appeal to both F2P, giving them new gear en masse for the first time in years, and p2p (xp gloves are a tasty treat). Vinesweeper is a fun break from farming, that can be rewarding, and you can go kill Bork daily for some charms, and a chunk of XP. We even have additions coming to firemaking and runecrafting in the form of minigames and possible great rewards. I, myself, cannot wait.
I must ask, what do *You* Want from jagex? They seem to be listening and willing to fix anything to make us happy, while keeping the game safe and enjoyable for all, I denounced the December changes loud and strong, but all of this amazing content has pleased me. so what do you want? I myself want three things, a pet bunny and a way to give about 3 close friends some stuff to help with goals every few days. Let me give my close friends 100k of raw materials every few days, or a silly treasure trail hat. and lastly, Those camels in the desert have been in a love triangle for too long, lets finish that quest line out so tell me, what do you want from Jagex?
And if anyone at jagex is reading this, I request an interview for an upcoming tip.it times. Please send my forum account "Das" a pm and I would love to ask you some questions about daily life at jagex, and your thoughts on Runescape itself. covering classic, the games direction and your thoughts on the community.
Did You Know...
...that a hidden update recently made sure that Super Restore Potions now also re-supply your Summoning points (thank you msiGC)? The same goes for Sanfew's Serum, which makes it pretty much the ultimate potion out there, curing poison and disease, restoring all stats to full, and adding 35% of your prayer! It does not heal Hitpoints though, as you cannot make these into a Barbarian Mix. (Thanks to the Tal Shiar Alliance!)
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