I've never played Runescape. No, that's not strictly true. I did play it a handful of times, for a few hours in total. The first time was November 2011 which is spectacularly late to the party for a game that started in 2001. I really have no explanation for why it took me ten years to get around giving it a try. I'd known about it for years and back in the pre-WoW era there weren't so many English language MMORPGs going around that you could afford to ignore one. I bought and played all the other big names of that generation - UO, EQ, AO, AC, DAOC, the whole alphabet soup. I even jumped on lesser-knowns like Rubies of Eventide and Endless Ages and played the heck out of them for a while.
I've been racking my brains over why I wouldn't have given Runescape a run and I can't come up with a good answer. For some reason it literally never occurred to me. I had nothing against it, indeed I knew very little about it. Still don't, which is particularly surprising since Runescape isn't just any old MMO, it's a Guinness Record holder: the world's largest free MMORPG with over 200 million accounts created. And more than that, it's British.
|I don't have any pictures of Runescape.|
Well, as Spinks points out, she's only one person. So am I, one who complains constantly that I don't have time to play all the MMOs I'm interested in let alone write about them all. It really makes no sense for any of us to start writing about ones we don't play. But someone must. All those players, there must be blogs. So I went to look for them.
Runescape blogs seem to operate entirely differently from the MMO blogs I'm used to reading. No-one seems to use Blogger or Wordpress. Most of the google results took me to Sal's Realm of Runescape which appears to host blogs through a forum. As far as I can tell, this precludes adding them to a blog reader although maybe someone reading this knows how that can be made to happen. The other excellent, extremely informative blog I found was on something called Wizzley, another blog-hosting service I've never heard of. It's no wonder I never ran across any of these. It's like a mirror world.
|All these are from Wingnut's Steam Fair|
In the extensive, heated discussions on cash shops and microtransactions that I've read and taken part in over the years Runescape has rarely if ever come up. I couldn't have told you if it had a cash shop or not. Apparently it didn't but now it does and this is a very big deal indeed to the Runescape community.
Until this year Jagex, creators and publishers of Runescape, funded the game through a combination of premium accounts (subs) and advertising. In February this year they introduced something appealingly called the Squeal of Fortune, a form of roulette where players can win items including some that give xp. A mere two months after that a microtransaction currency was added, allowing players to buy turns on the Squeal for real money. This month they added a full Cash Shop.
|EQ2, Freeport server, Medium Homes. Go visit it. It's free!|
That leaves disgruntled Runescape players in the place disgruntled SOE players know so well. Get used to it or get out. One response of Everquest players to a never-ending sequence of changes they didn't like was Project 1999. Runescape has RS2006 for which almost 125,000 people have signed up.
All this happening in my own country, in my main hobby, right now and yet I didn't know about any of it. You don't find if you don't look. I still can't tell you why I never played Runescape but it doesn't look like this is a good time to start.