Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why I quit runescape. (And why you should too...)

RuneScape is a Java-based MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) operated by Jagex Ltd. It has approximately ten million active free accounts and is a browser-based game with some degree of 3D rendering. RuneScape was created by Andrew Gower, the creator of DeviousMUD, the forerunner to RuneScape, in 1998. Rewritten and renamed, the first version of RuneScape was released to the public on 4 January 2001 in beta form. It has a free-to-play option, and a simple interface that is accessible on most web browsers.
- Wikipedia
I'm not going to lie to you. Runescape, as any other MMORPG, is addicting. So addicting that I lost my entire 7th grade to it. It was free, massive, and there was just so much to do! Mondays were the best, a new quest was usually added, or maybe a new feature. I would try to make gold by raising my mining level, and selling the ores, or even trying to make my own armor.

That's what it used to be anyway.

For anyone who has been playing since ~2001-2002 knows and remembers and even longs for what Runescape used to stand for. Back then, the graphics were cheesy, but the gameplay...oh the gameplay was amazing. Player-killing, monster killing, quests, economics, all set during the medieval period. It was beautiful, and no one even cared too much about the graphics.

2003 brought even much more joy, instead of the 2-d, poorly-animated graphics that we got used to, we got an even bigger update. Bringing in the realm of 3d graphics that would rival those of popular mmo's at the time. We were all ecstatic, seeing runescape in a new light, now finally able to clearly see those blobs we once knew as rats. Several more features were added and taken out during the process, but I missed none of them.

A few years go by.

It is now circa 2006. New developments arise. The legendary "Player Owned Houses" (or POH's as it used to be referred as) are being created. It had been released shortly after the farming skill (which I detested, I can't sit still for that long).

Now comes the line of Jagex's mistakes.

POH's were a costly thing to maintain. You had to buy the supplies for the wood. Buy the nails (or make them yourself, which took quiet a bit of time). You could order servants for your house, but you had to pay them a pretty sum of money. You had to buy things that cost millions to even make your house respectable. To me, it was a disaster, it left the middle and low class of the community in shambles, while the merchants and the upperclass got to enjoy the fruits of the update.

But I stuck with runescape, shelling out $5 a month to stay a member, thinking this would be the last of the crappy updates. I was wrong, again.

But, for a while, I stopped playing runescape. I got an xbox 360, and comparing Halo 3 and Runescape, Halo 3 won. I made friends on xbox, got better at first person shooters in general.

But still billing my card every month.... runescape.

For the holiday seasons, runescape usually gets into the mood by releasing a special "Holiday item" only obtainable for 2 weeks during that season. It's a non-tradeable item that is often valued because of it's rarity, and because it is a sign of your devotion. One day I logged into runescape, and checked out some of the new features.

Once feature stuck out at me. One feature that made me lose all hope.

Of the many things, communism (or socialism, I can't be bothered with the details right now) practice is freezing of prices. Meaning, that a free market, which allows the people to create their own price for their goods, is the opposite of what communism (or socialism) believes in.

The new feature, rightfully dubbed, "The Grand Exchange" allowed players to post an item (kind of like ebay) wait for someone to buy it, then they would recieve their money for it. Sounds like a good idea, does it not? Not until I heard of the fixed prices. That's right, fixed, frozen, unable to change, not only that, but even trading with another player could not be above or below the new price range. You had to trade an equal amount both ways. What happens when a sudden new price is offered to a previously "expensive" item? Pretty much disaster. No more merchanting, no more gifts, no more swindling, no more haggling. Virtually all form of free market disintegrated. You were basically stuck in the same class you were in before the update.

Maybe this isn't the worst. Maybe....

No, there's no hope left. Shortly after the announcement of the "Grand Exchange" another wave of worse news followed. Players would not be able to PK (killing other players for enjoyment, or for their items [you are only allowed to keep 3 items when you die in the wilderness]) instead of PK'ing, there will be a new system in place allowing you to kill others, but for no money.

All of this, the greatness, the glory, all of it turned into crap after less than a month of updates.

Jagex gave a reason for this, they said something along the lines of "Because scamming and real world trading, we have decided to freeze everything you own, and allow no more fun. That's right, I hope all of you cry your selves to sleep, because fun is a thing of the past."

Through all of this, I have remained a member, until today. When I read that the price for a new member joining will be $7, and will stay that way until they are a member for 6 months. As well as how commercialized the company is getting.

I quit runescape because it lost it's standards. I'm 17 years old, and even though it may have been deemed "childish" to play a game like that, I still played it. However, I do know when I am being jerked around, and I do know when something has lost it's mojo.

I encourage that anybody who reads this, should immediatly stop playing runescape. Go outside, go get a wii, xbox, ps3 -- whatever just stop playing runescape. My hope is that, if enough players quit, they will see that graphics and security is not what makes a game. It's the gameplay.

And if you have a child, or know somebody who thinks about playing, give them a slap on the face, and introduce them to [name of better mmo here]. Please, do it. SAVE THEM.

[edit-- added another image to better clarify the new graphics system.]