15 Years of Pure Nostalgia – RuneScape and The Year Ahead

 

“RuneScape was waiting for me… My character and username ready to set a blaze upon Jagex’s scripts and the start of an adventure that would change the way I interact in the world of Gielinor, and in real life.”

Growing up with offline single player video games was a portal to explore worlds of infinite possibilities and fall in love with classic iconic franchises on the Nintendo, Sony and Sega consoles. Nothing else quite like offline video games would resonate and capture the hearts of millions of players across the world until the internet became an iconic tool and daily use of people’s lives – this introduced a new wave of gameplay instantly becoming a sensation across the world. Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games were a new gateway to a world of infinite hours of gameplay and immersion, a new way to communicate with characters and a community without the need to travel to a convention or a local gaming event. Brothers Andrew and Paul both created RuneScape way back in the year 2001 and since then the iconic video game has become a worldwide phenomenon spawning the creation of RuneScape’s very own fan fest convention; RuneFest, which happens annually in London, United Kingdom. The very first offering started back in 2010 and since then has been growing and immersing people who play into a real-life fantasy of RuneScape.

Jagex invited me to experience my very first RuneFest this year and it was a nostalgic trip back to RuneScape‘s roots remembering where it all began, the year 2007, the potato PC laid across my desk waiting for the web page to load and display the front page of RuneScape’s website. My character was waiting for me, another username for the script to take on but as many would question the existence of life, one question haunts me still to this very day that made me anxious and nervous to start a brand new adventure – “Enter a Username…” – I mean with that kind of responsibility and power, what would you go for? I remember fondly as a kid punching in my name as a username and instantly getting a red alert message from the Jagex Gods that my username was already taken. I looked over to the right of the screen and they asked me if I would like a suggestion for a username “rayhaan70” and I panicked with joy. This would be the first username I would ever use and would be with me for the rest of my life.

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Now as a kid, many people would explain to you now that graphics wouldn’t have mattered to the majority of players now than it does for RuneScape‘s current client powering RuneScape. The NXT client is a graphical marvel for Jagex bringing RuneScape ever closer to a modern gen title. The graphics seamlessly bouncing at a higher rate bringing the title to a brand new “Golden-Age”. Subsequently, at a closed-doors event prior to RuneFest, we learned that the mobile version of RuneScape for both old-school and the current version became a reality to craft because of the simplified but complex engine provided by the NXT client.

If you want to learn more about Mobile RuneScape and Machinima SBOC’s impressions on it, check out our extensive hands-on article from David Warren here.

Before the Storm (Old-school RuneScape)

10 years have passed since I first logged onto RuneScape, undeniably becoming my most played game of all time. RS’s gameplay was ahead of the curve when I first started questing and skilling my levels working with other players across the landscape of Gielinor, but it wasn’t the gameplay that struck me and millions of players who were glued to RuneScape – it was the community aspect of the game that kept us hooked and playing for the number of years we invested in-game. The ability to make friends, help comrades with quests and play live seasonal events with millions of players was one of the key fragments that held RuneScape together.

Notably speaking, MMORPG played a huge part in bringing communities together with a sense of online gaming but no other game at the time quite like RuneScape could attract and hook players into a web browser game in the same way. Plugging hours and hours into each skill and quest trying to keep up with the momentum of my friends who would surpass me at the max combat level of 123, utilizing some of the most powerful weapons in the game; Godswords. Following guides set out by communities in person or via the internet and farming as much in-game currency as I could do to pledge my dominance on RuneScape. Majority of people would clarify that the golden age timeframe of RuneScape was between 2002 – 2009 with a few icons being named as player-gods such as Zezima. Since the birth of his fame by becoming the first player to achieve level 99 stats and claiming the number 1 leaderboard spot on RuneScape, Zezima is reluctant to come forward and claim his fame. No one would know who Zezima really was, not even Jagex knew who Zezima was behind the screen…

“No one in the world knew who Zezima was… But everyone spoke of him highly and looked up to him as a dominant force on RuneScape. His Clan Chats still burn brightly with activity to this day…”

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The majority of players who first log into RuneScape quickly learn that the title is no walk-in the park with vast locations to visit, skills to level up and quests to complete. The free-to-play aspect of RuneScape can set people back 1000+ hours of gameplay if they’re planning to go for level 99 skills but initially, players don’t set themselves higher targets like reaching the 200 million XP mark for each skill or going for 100m – 1bil, instead players are automatically driven to complete everything in F2P before wanting to jump on the members side of RuneScape. This remarkable jump to P2P/Members unlocks 3/4 of the world of Gielinor, hundreds of more quests and dozens of more skills to play around with. This allows the player to play on selected exclusive members worlds and increase their friend’s list to 400.

More minigames are available and more exclusive members items are available for players of their skill levels to use. Some of my fondest weapons in OSRS were the Granite Maul and the Dragon Dagger Poison++, both weapons of pure destruction with unique DPS methods on players and NPC’s across Gielinor. As a player of 07, my time with trading came directly from players helping me out with armor from bronze to iron and working my way to sell items to vendors across Al Kharid, Varrock, and Lumbridge. With the introduction of the Grand Exchange, this allowed me and millions of others to tap into an economic system where I’d be able to freely make a profit from leveling up and re-selling things at higher prices. This ultimately gave me the freedom to purchase a Granite Maul or a DDP++ without the need to scout a specific boss or vendor that sold those items. Before the Grand Exchange. players could only buy a Rune Platebody from a vendor in Edgeville after they had completed Dragon Slayer for around 40,000 coins.

Now players are freely able to trade on the Grand Exchange deciding on the outcome of a price of an item, over the course of the year. Currently, in October 2017, the price of a Rune Platebody on the G.E. is just under the 40,000 coin mark allowing anyone to buy the item at any price lower or higher than that mark. Due to the split from players carrying on from RuneScape 2 to 3 and OSRS servers resetting, the fluctuation and demand on the G.E. are very low. Prices for certain items such as Lobsters were around 350-370 in 2008 and currently is selling for around 170 coins in 2017 on OSRS.

After a few years of building up friendships, amazing moments and unforgettable seasonal events, my gradual playtime on RuneScape per week/per day started to decline and before I knew it, I had stopped playing as a whole. My gameplay perspective and graphical tone moved over to Destiny as a new console-MMORPG title and other multiplayer titles like Rocket League. It wasn’t until Jagex invited me to RuneFest where I rekindled my old spirits and my spark with the RuneScape franchise…

“When I first purhcased a Granite Maul or DDP++ my perspective on RuneScape weapons completely changed there and then. I would ready my weapon for mass destruction on NPC Characters like Man and Goblins…”

During the Storm (RuneFest 2017)

I had no idea what RuneFest actually was prior to my arrival at Battersea Evolution on 23rd September, I was actively playing a part in my engagements on RuneScape when the first RuneFest was announced back in 2010 and since then has become a curiosity sitting in the back of my head. Attending RuneFest felt like Christmas to me – on the outside not knowing exactly how I’d feel on the day but excited to the brink of meltdown. The RuneScape team briefed us that RuneFest this year was going to be the biggest they’ve ever done and that they’d be celebrating everything the Jagex team had accomplished over the last 15 years. Most importantly for the player though, this would be a celebration of the accomplishments they’ve had on the game over the last 15 years which has impacted the way they engage with the world.

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Back to the Roots – RuneFest 2017

Playing RuneScape means so much to people where they can build their characters and trade in any way they like with a character they’ve devoted thousands of hours into but what happens when you open the doors of reality to people and allow them to traverse into this real-life fantasy Jagex built for fans? You get one massive community of people that not only becomes tighter and stronger with every year this convention happens, subsequently becoming a haven for players to create new friendships and join new clans they have never met before. RuneFest this year celebrated its roots with a convention floor built exclusively to celebrate the landscape and locations that are available for every player. As you enter Gielinor, you’ll immediately be transported to Lumbridge and from there you can choose whether to travel to Taverly, Al-Kharid, Varrock, Lumbridge Swamp/Cemetary & Catherby. Each location is filled with activities you have to complete to achieve a skill-chip where players are tasked with balancing peanuts, shooting footballs against Harambe, finding bones in a dark cave, throwing sponges at Jagex mods and taking selfies with a cute little RuneFest dragon-duck sort of… Creature?

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This was also the first opportunity I had with the Deadman mode Old School RuneScape had. Deadman mode is a different experience from the original layout OSRS has in which players are only given one life and only one character can stay standing. The invitational finals had well over 500 player characters who were trying to PK each other to stay alive with a massive majority of clans being active. Every 10mins, a white light would close into Falador killing everyone who stayed inside. If you were a solo player, survival was highly unlikely as clans were closing in on everyone dipping numbers down to the hundreds – tenths and then to the 1 remaining survivor. Simply put it this way; Deadman Mode gave me goosebumps.

Hundreds of people were gathering in the safe zone just outside Falador with clans lining up to kill anyone who tried to come into the safe zone just before the last white light flashed away. A smart tactic used by clans to dim numbers down quicker than the usual PK methods. Once that final light flashed away leaving the junction between Taverly, Falador and Barbarian Village open to the remaining <300 player characters, everyone attacked. Now I know what the meaning behind – “…Then everything changed when the fire nation attacked.” It truly was one of the best moments I have ever witnessed in a RuneScape game, ever.

Al-Kharid was my personal favorite set at RuneFest 2017 capturing the essence of the sand-filled desert and buildings. Al-Kharid had food stalls that resembled the essence of the Kebab selling-NPC where players would train their cooking level, tents with shisha props and beanie bags. I hope Jagex’s offices have an authentic Al-Kharid somewhere; I’d bank my entire life savings. The authenticity was extremely high with detailed props and buildings from each place in RuneScape. I seriously cannot wait to hear about RuneFest 2018 and will be crying my way to the event just like I did this year.

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RuneFest 2017 – The Year Ahead

As every year, RuneFest is a chance for the Jagex/RuneScape team to converse with fans to showcase their plans for the upcoming year. This year was packed with surprises and new events coming to RuneScape and Old School RuneScape with an emphasis on more seasonal live events for players to engage with. During RuneFest 2017, players who weren’t able to attend the convention were able to attend a virtual RuneFest and complete in-game activities to earn skill-chips.

Dimension of the Damned will be happening between the 16th – 28th October with new a new competitive game mode where players will be playing a zombie horde mode similar to Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty Zombies. Back at Machinima SBOC’s basecamp, we’re really excited to get stuck into this new mode and getting our resident presenter Dan, who’s never played, the opportunity to get his ass kicked. You’ll be able to unlock in-game rewards, unique cosmetics and a lot more unusual zombie-related items! (a Zombie emote where we’d kick zombie ass would be amazing!)

In November, RuneScape will have its very own Novtumberfest where players will gather for an in-game social seasonal event with drinks, rides, costumes and as the RuneScape team like to call it: BAVARIAN SPIRIT! OSRS will be getting major updates throughout the year introducing a new quest that will serve as a sequel to Dragon Slayer. This major grandmaster quest will call veterans back from the old age to serve as vanguards to the world of Gielinor. Dragon Slayer II will introduce a new high-end solo boss with long-life, high-end rewards for players. A second Raid will also be introduced to OSRS titled “Theatre of Blood” featuring the likes of “vampyres”.

As a veteran player, I had no idea Raids were in RuneScape let alone in OSRS. Being an expert on Raids from Destiny, I assumed this was the same case with RuneScape… Until the team told me that up to 100 players can participate in a Raid… But quickly went on to say that this new raid for OSRS will be aimed at smaller teams of between three and five players. I can’t wait to experience my first Raid in RuneScape after jumping back into the rich world of Gielinor. Lastly, there’s going to be a new Deadman Invitational tournament and I’m stoked that there’s going to be a war coming.

“…Simply put it this way; Deadman Mode gave me goosebumps.”

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After the Storm (RuneScape 3)

RuneFest 2017 has ignited a spark that I had lost over the years to jump back into RuneScape, the game I loved playing as a kid and I can’t wait to re-do everything in OSRS before jumping straight back into my main account on RuneScape 3 and picking up where I left off. Change is certainly a big step for anyone and I’m looking forward to seeing my progress this time next year where we’ll be hovering over the doors of RuneFest 2018.

I look forward to meeting you out in the world of RuneScape, whether it’s on OSRS or RS3, friendships are the ultimate loot any player can have from playing RuneScape and I can’t wait to see how the mobile version of RuneScape unravels up to its launch. We’ll be partnering up with Jagex for Play Expo Manchester for the 14th-15th October 2017 showcasing Mobile RuneScape and Mobile Old-School RuneScape. The experience is as the same when you first started tutorial island, magical.

We can’t wait to jump into the seasonal events over the next year.

Buying GF, 10gp. Free Loot Pl0x. Doubling Money. Free Trim. Noob.

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Rayhaan Sabir

Written by: Rayhaan Sabir

Covering preview events and conventions with a dash of history on video games. A PvE god on Destiny 2 but realistically gets carried all the time. You can become my friend on Twitter @Lightsabir and we'll share a tweet, or two.

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