Does Jagex like to walk on crutches? It seems that they love shooting themselves in the foot. This poll to bring back the 2007 servers was nothing less than a referendum on the EoC, and to a large extent the SoF.
Micro Transactions and the Evolution of Combat. Both are relatively recent major developments of the game, both of which have been promised to never appear in Old RuneScape, and both of which had a sizeable portion of the players objecting to it at one point. In an election, sometimes you vote not for one party, but against another. Is the same happening here?
The impopularity of these two major developments is all the more apparent when you consider what people are willing to accept in return. If you'd like a complete rundown of what to expect in the long run from those 2007 servers, I suggest you read Hamtaro's accompanying article. But whatever was so awesome about a six year old version of RuneScape, I'm quite certain that Jagex has the capability of bringing those features into the actual game.
What I'm not so sure about is Jagex' willingness to remove unwanted features. That doesn't make these 2007 servers any less of a slap in the face of those who spent months developing the new Combat System.
Then again, there has been a proper attempt at making 2006-based private servers recently, and Jagex' legal department managed to shut that down, but not before this idea managed to gather a cult-like following. I can only deduce that some bean counters decided to capitalize on this idea, and look at where we are today.
But none of this would have been possible if there wasn't enough support from the players themselves.
So why do so many people want to play an older version of RuneScape? I understand the novelty of playing really old games, I still have my Sega 8-bit, for example, but this isn't a different game. On the whole, RuneScape is RuneScape. You point, you click, you unlock, and you make progress, and you repeat. Almost all of the stuff, while it may look different, is still the same.
Perhaps it's the level playing field. Everyone starts all the way back on zero, so everyone left the start-line at the same time. But a competition for the #1 spot motivates only those for who it remains in reach, and trends suggest that this isn't something that can be sustained for long.
Maybe it has something to do with the sense that you've "finished" RuneScape. Achievement Capes are abundant these days, and even if you haven't maxed, going from level 98 to 99 doesn't feel as gratifying as going from level 1 to 74 does. Similarly, when nobody has their total amount of GP displayed in green numbers just yet, your meagre 10k will go a lot further. But to give up all progress you made already for this?
No. A simpler explanation could very well be that it is simplicity itself that they want. Back in '07 I knew pretty much everything there was to know about RuneScape, including much of its lore. The EoC changed almost everything, and people's experiences, knowledge and understanding from the last years was rendered useless in one fell swoop. So would people really favour living in the past as long as it meant that their worldview made sense? Sounds conservative to say the least, backwards if I'm truly honest.
But it could very well be that this is one of those "if you could do it all over again" deals with a sprinkle of "if I knew then what I know now". But whatever wrong decision you made with your RuneScape character, nothing was ever of such consequence that it would reset you to absolute zero.
So I come to the conclusion that there is no logical reason behind wanting to play this older version, which leaves only the emotional explanation.
People always tend to remember the past fondly. Happy memories are closer to the surface than bad ones, and RuneScape players are no exception.
This is more visible than anywhere else when you look at the clanworld. Ever since the Wilderness was removed (only 4 months after this RuneScape back-up) it has been dying slowly and painfully. Even after it's reinstatement two years ago, nobody had ever really needed to go into the Wilderness, save for the odd Penguin. If anyone had reasons for wanting to go back in time it is them, yet sadly, this issue will fracture the clanworld even further.
As I said before, Jagex has the capabilities of making RuneScape a game we want to play. With well thought out solutions posted all over the various boards, you'd think they would be able to fix the current problems as well. But instead they offer you this band-aid, a half-way thing, and we accept it anyways. It's the equivalent of the person you are madly in love with telling you that you're seen more as a friend. It's a consolation prize, a silver medal, not what you truly want.
I'm quite confident that 07scape will be available to you whenever you are a subscriber, regardless of the outcome of the poll. But those numbers are still important. Judging by the current trend, it's safe to ballpark that during the two week voting period, about half of the paying subscribers will have expressed their desire to see 07scape become a permanent reality.
But that is the least that Jagex can do. When so many people feel so disenfranchised, they have to make some amends, even if it means fracturing the community even further.
Not only will it split the game, the community, and clans, but friends as well. You're still able to communicate from Old RS to Actual RS and back, but as each of you prefers a different version, you'll have increasingly less to talk about when it comes to the game itself, and favours are sought elsewhere as you'll probably never play together again.
It is my hope that Jagex uses these 2007 servers as a temporary distraction, while they deal with the issues that plague the actual game. But in all likelihood the game I'm left playing is rapidly becoming a Beta for 07scape.