One definition of “game”, as defined by Oxford English Dictionary, is cited as “an activity that one engages in for amusement”. The major appeal of video games is undoubtedly for their entertainment factor; not many would buy a game they wouldn’t think of as enjoyable to play. Though the game may become increasingly difficult and perplexing to overcome, we tackle the challenges to eventually reach a goal, unlock a “reward chest” or gain other advantages to use further into the game.
So what changed?
I introduce a particular scenario, possibly unfamiliar to the majority of readers, yet touches on an underlying ulterior motive in some players. As a member of the Tip.it Events team, I am specifically given the job to provide opportunities for players to participate in alternate fun on Runescape; whether via conventional minigames, role-playing or monster hunting. So, as a job, we create events designed to be available to as many as possible, at the right times. This, of course, means designing as many free to play activities as possible.
This provides many obstacles to overcome for us, as you may imagine. Limited content is a main issue; having virtually no F2P bosses, a small number of minigames and unavailability of useful tools and play-things that we can see in the members expansion. This provides the team with need to stretch our craniums and creativity to fit around this and many other problems. However, the most challenging difficulty in this is when new “event-goers” see an event walk past their way, join, and question “So, what’s the reward?”
This scenario of a group of people coming to an event, designed for fun and enjoyment, appreciating and to some extent expecting a reward is perhaps representative of the Runescape community. It’s also saddening to see a need to organise enjoyment and fun in a game itself. Yes, there are those people who come week on week to events and don’t need reward, knowing they will be satisfied with the fun they’re going to have. However, the amounts of players who need something to wear, hold, or in denominational form from doing something is on the rise.
As you can imagine the largest attendances for events are those which provide opportunity for immediate, cash in hand, no questions asked reward. I.E, Boss monster masses. Though we try making them fun with daft goings on in between kills, it’s the cold lootshare that keep people coming back to them. With the trade update, the amount of people looking for fun at events has declined, knowing there will be no in-game reward. We can no longer provide worthy cash prizes for achievements at events, unless the event goer has been on the host’s friend list for long enough, and has tackled most of the quests in the game. Even then, you could spend your hour earning more than 240k somewhere else.
Sadly, almost all new-comers to events ask “What do you get at the end?”, to which we can only say hopefully a fun time, and possibly some TET points too. Evidently, if you look at the wider community; those who perhaps do not particularly participate in activities with others have this same mentality. I have been fishing, woodcutting, and to many other skill-training areas where I have heard the same thing; “this is killing me”. Many members of the community train away at skills to 99, and it’s surprising to hear the amounts that do not actually enjoy the task they’re doing. Of course, it is understandable to accept how mind-numbing the same click and point activity is over and over again until you’ve reached the maximum, so why do people do it? A 99 in a skill is useful for some, unlocking new things you can make, do or collect. However, some skills people don’t particularly see as any more useful, especially when you don’t have to go to 99 to unlock anything, but they keep going. They complain about the amount of logs they have left to chop, fish they have left to cook or essence they have left to convert. In some cases, do people not actually have a good reason to gain these achievements, other than for a cape? The expectant reaction, probably, is “why do it then?”. A lyric that comes to mind as sung by Tim McIlrath is “The drones they slave away, they’re working overtime, they serve a faceless queen, and never question why”. Indeed, why do some members of the community work for no particular enjoyment, and then complain about the effort?
I don’t direct this at those in the community who are quite happy to fish for 99, or enjoy the activity they’re doing. To those who don’t, there are many other opportunities to train other than the standard methods, which perhaps are slower, but a whole lot more enjoyable. It’s these achievements and mentality that make me wonder why people turn their personal performance in-game to perhaps un-enjoyable and painful to do. Many members of the community will question “what’s in it for me?” before they agree to do any activity, as seen in some quest mentalities. I have seen players who are yet to complete the simplest of quests, because they provide the simplest of rewards. The same is seen in game updates, there is always one person who won’t ever go play the new content because it “won’t help or reward them”. I cannot see the reason for paying to play the members expansion to not enjoy the content, training the skills because some feel they have to and won’t enjoy it and disregarding portions of content that are just for fun. It seems at times, the motivation to keep playing Runescape is to gain the rewards, and to possibly disregard the enjoyment.
One of the reasons for eventual departure of players from Gielinor is because they’ve “lost interest” and “aren’t having fun anymore”. I personally believe Runescape provides endless amounts of activities and games to play, with thousands of combinations available to manipulate and re-invent from simple content. As the Tip.it events team proves, you can make a new theme or something new to do every week in Runescape, though it’s main genre appears to be “Medieval”. If you look, there are fun ways to train skills, that aren’t particularly as fast as slaving away, but will be a lot more enjoyable in the long run. If you have to run a mile, sing along the way. If you have to lift a car, stick the radio on inside. If you have to do whatever, do whatever else to make it more enjoyable.
Runescape doesn’t have to become a drone-factory where nobody enjoys themselves training skills or doing things, Jagex try to make content available for everyone to enjoy. The way you play the game is personal, and you have a choice in what you do. You’re not required to do anything you don’t want to, and if you want an eventual item or reward, then you should enjoy the path to get it, since after all Runescape is a game. Perhaps some people need to at least try all content once before judging it, and see what else they can do in Runescape to have a good time, and not turn the game into (for themselves) a description which the Oxford English dictionary cannot fathom as anything related to the word “Game”. Jagex are to be (and have been) introducing new, stimulating ways to train skills and new rewards to go for. Hopefully, they will not be disregarded for conventional methods of training, as they’re meant to provide an alternative to enjoy, not to particularly improve training. I ask the community and Jagex to further continue their efforts in providing fun for all, and for the other side of the fence to seek out such fun and have a good time playing the game, like we should.