Over the years, Runescape has transformed from a game full of hope and promise to one that has caused despair. With the earlier player count shooting up hundreds of thousands and then dropping terribly to a less than fifty thousand, you know there's something wrong going on somewhere sometime. Despite constant denial by the makers of the game, Jagex Ltd., there have been mistakes which they failed to rectify, and here we shall look at them closely.
Real World Trade
One of the most obvious things on the list, Real World Trade (or RWT, as they commonly call it), has changed the game entirely. It began when the players were distinguished into two groups: those who paid (P2P) and those who didn't (F2P). Okay, that's fine since game developers need money. Restricting access to certain features of the game is seen quite often, and is considered a fair deal to some extent.
Jagex Ltd. however, made the mistake of including micro-transactions in the game. Many games have this feature but it was taken to such an extent in RuneScape that to reach the maximum levels all you need to be is rich.
Squeal of Fortune/Treasure Hunter
Right from XP to rare items, everything's right here!
Yes, it is. But just because it is a game of chance, it doesn't mean it is weak. You could buy spin ticket/keys, and you get so many turns, that probability ultimately turns fortune into your favour. Some analysts even formulated the amount of tries you would need approximately to reach a certain status in game.
Solomon's General Store
The ultimate store for clothes, accessories, emotes, stat boosters and pets that would run to the bank for you! Well, what else do you need?
So you can't afford to be a member, you can't afford to buy stuff? Let someone else do it for you!
Bonds are items that can be traded through the Grand Exchange. The receiver gets a 14 day membership. To sum it up, Jagex gets some extra money for a membership (see price of bonds and standard membership rates) and some GP goes from one player's pockets to another's.
Well of Goodwill
What's funny is, they targeted the soft-hearted players in this. Do some charity, buy and donate the bonds to the Well of Goodwill. Jagex roughly gave $4.70 for every Bond(worth $5.00) you donated to charity. So where did those 30 cents go, any guesses?
And how about you just donate the $5 to some charity yourself?
Evolution of Combat: the point where the game broke down. A combat including several styles and tactics is interesting no doubt, but you can't do it for hours together. Yes, it makes it difficult to train combat. Not only that, this form of combat literally killed Player-vs-Player (PvP) combat. No clan wars, no duels. The community that was left behind was that of PvM. As compared to PvP, PvM is that mode of play which involves less interaction amongst the players. Lack of much interaction slowly crumbles the community on the inside, and then kills it.
Yes, Jagex did try to revert it by introducing Legacy Mode. But it was too late by then, and the option of keeping the two modes parallel is a matter of conflict even now.
Decline of Clans
The degradation of clan wars meant a downfall of combat clans, and in addition, the community clans which engaged in clan wars as well. Then there is the Clan Citadel. It has only two advantages: one, a place where you could meet and pass time, and two, the Clan Avatar. But then, you have to work towards maintaining the citadel. And yes, Clan Citadels are P2P. What does that mean? Just for this minor advantage, you have to slog off and, at the same time, pay for the sweat.
Clans are an important part of the game, of any game probably. And when you begin neglecting them as such, you turn down the favour of the majority.
Graphics and Interface
Betterment is not always the key. Think of RuneScape. It is a game that should bring you the feel of medieval times. Yeah, look at this picture.
Calm, peaceful, nostalgic-like, easy to understand.
Now look at this.
Wham! You just got thrown into a fantasy world where you have no idea what you are doing.
Still think it's easy? Well, some of those tabs consist of more and more tabs. Oh, and you need to open all these from just these icons.
You can use keyboard shortcuts though, that is, if your memory is good enough to remember all of them.
We are not saying the new graphics are bad, they are in fact, excellent. However, they just don't suit the theme! Sometimes, an unpolished helmet is more effective than a shiny new one. Perhaps because RuneScape is a game where you need to camp around for a long time. Modern graphics seem attractive at first sight, but are sore eye candies when you have been staring at them for hours.
An Unstable Storyline
At its roots, the storyline seemed simple. You are an adventurer who chanced upon the town of Lumbridge and discovered the world of Gielinor. Your goal is to train your skills, help the people living there; from paupers to princes, and eventually become a hero. And here's why it didn't stop there.
In the start, there were but a few quests. Ignore the simple ones like "Cook's Assistant", which were made to introduce a new player to certain features of the game, the other quests actually initiated a story. And one would have expected that at a point of time, these stories would converge into one big story. Nope, it didn't happen. Now we have hundreds of quests and you don't know how exactly to correlate between them.
Big promises they were. Promises that seemed to vanish in thin air. Do you recall a so-called upcoming update called "Eastern Lands"? It's still not released. Though they introduced some teasers to it such as the Eastern outfit, Katana, Wushanko Isles (through Player owned Ports). It was high time then that they released it, now no one is interested. There are other things, like waiting over a year for the next quest of a series to be released. Or rather for something to happen. Of course, everything takes time, but we are impatient. Somewhere, deep in there, there's a feeling that the developers lose focus in these things. The game's going slow, and there are many instances when the question, "What to do?" pops up in your mind. The question that should come instead is, "What to do first?"
And then there are the Gods. Including supreme beings in a game is a matter of controversy, yet their worship and close interaction with humans is a feature of those times. So they include imaginary beings. First, we knew of only three Gods, and the funny part is, most of you pictured them now as these:
and not these:
Now there are Gods for everyone: elves, monkeys, goblins, cabbages.. wait, cabbages?? Seriously...
Crossing the Time Barrier
Many Gods. Now one of them dies. Not the ones you heard about now, one of the three you put your heart into at the beginning. There was a whole new quest revolving around the death of Guthix, and a couple of World Events that followed (most probably an attempt to mimic the real life World Wars). Then they introduced Divination, a skill that involved collecting memories left behind after Guthix's death.
The problem here is that, suppose you are a new player/a F2P player or you haven't done the quest "The World Wakes", but you participated in the World Events or started training Divination. What you did was took part in events after Guthix's death, BEFORE his death in the quest. The solution is actually simple. To avoid violating the rules of the time barrier, you include it in the story. Remember the quests "Meeting History" and "Making History"? Some thing on those lines.
Power to the (Stupid) Players
It is the biggest mistake a game developer does. Collecting feedback is essential, but implementing every thing the players say is wrong. Let's deal with it, every player looks at his own profit rather than the game's or community's as a whole. This is a type of short term thinking as well. In the long run, it brings ruin to the game. But this is a matter of the old and it is not what Jagex did when they launched 'Power to the Players'. In that feature, they gave the players options to choose from. All those updates were thought up by Jagex, and players only got to vote for things, not suggest them.
All in all, RuneScape is sliding down the drain on a long term basis. It has crushed the hopes of many, and the studio executives keep on proving themselves to be money-minded businessmen, and don't care about the welfare of the players. A game that once showed promise, is a game sinking in despair. Perhaps the only ones playing the game now are rich people, newbies, people with hopes of game recovery, and with due respect, Wikipedia writers.
We explore some of the reasons why RuneScape saw a decline over the past few years.
Arshiet Dhamnaskar // Comments