Cited by Guinness World Records as the most popular free MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game), RuneScape has nearly 160 million registered users and servers all over the world. Here, I’ll detail the inner-workings of RuneScape and give you my verdict.
First, a Little History
RuneScape was released in 2001 by brothers Andrew and Paul Gower, founders of Jagex, Ltd., RunsScape’s developer. Written in Java, RuneScape has gone through many facelifts in its eleven year life, the first of which created the basis for the modern RuneScape back in 2004. The largest update after that happened in 2008 and made way for an extremely crisp “high detail mode.”
Ever since the release of the high detail mode, Jagex has been constantly updating, improving, and tweaking the gameplay and the game engine of RuneScape.
It should be noted that while there is an extensive free-to-play world, the members-only world is far expanded and offers greater amounts of tasks, items, and things to do. I’ll touch on the free vs. members debate a little later.
RuneScape does not follow any particular storyline and allows each individual player to create their own life, so to speak. With 25 skills to develop ranging from combat-based to vocational, players can become merchants, selling ores or fish or things they craft with their fishing, mining, or crafting skills, or they could become warriors with their magic, archery, and melee skills.
Developing skills (called “skilling” if one develops non-combat skills exclusively) is not the only route a player can take to success. RuneScape has a series of quests players may embark on for rewards of varying value, depending on the difficulty. Quests are numerous and range greatly in difficulty. Many of them have an extremely detailed plot, requiring trips all around the RuneScape world, called Gielinor, however many are simple, easy, and cheerful.
To go hand-in-hand with skilling is trading and being a merchant, which is an integral part to RuneScape. Players can trade with other players for cash or other goods or they can go to the Grand Exchange, which is basically a stock market for all the goods in RuneScape where players offer things up for sale and can go about their business as they sell.
Free vs. Members: Is it worth it?
RuneScape’s gameplay is wonderful without the expanded, pay-to-play members world. However, once one becomes a member it is hard to adapt permanently back to the free-play world. Offering exciting new quests and a map that is about quadrupled in size, the members-only side of RuneScape is a great bargain at around $6.00 per month.
With the members’ version, players can utilize all of their twenty-five skills, whereas in the free version they could only explore about three-quarters of them. The expanded world is a great addition as well because it opens up hundreds of new quests and towns and cities available only to members.
More money-making opportunities exist as well. For example, a play can sell up to six items at a time in the Grand Exchange while a member where as a free-player can only sell two at once. Cities that become available to members are also just plain cooler than the regular cities of the free-play world.
Even though there is a cost, the benefits are extremely worth it in my opinion as a RuneScape player for…about eight years now (had to count for a while!). However, if paying just isn’t in you, then you will still have a tremendously good time with the free-play edition. Be warned: once you become a member, you will never quite be satisfied with the free game again.
RuneScape is one of my all-time favorite games. A great, extensive browser-based game is hard to find and RuneScape is the best that I have found. RuneScape immerses the player in a rich world of gods, magic, wars, and free choice. Players do not have to pick a class at the beginning of the game and can develop whatever skills they wish.
Personally, I find that RuneSscape is a great way to subliminally teach younger children some important lessons about the world – namely in the field of economics. I know that it probably just sounds like someone thinly defending video games. I’m not saying it’s better than playing outside or that I endorse playing for days on end -even though I have, admittedly, done just that. The RuneScape website features a database with every single product in the game with charts that track price increases and declines. It is a basic lesson in supply in demand, whenever a new quest comes out and awards a certain item, a better such-and-such comes out, it is easy to see how that game change affects prices and quantities.
Along with having some interesting lessons within it, RuneSscape is just plain fun. There is always something new to do and always a new place to explore. Add to that the amazing community of players (the website has a great forum) and stellar chatting system, RuneScape is a great place to team up with people of similar interests.
The bottom line is that RuneScape is a phenomenal game and is worth checking out if you’re into Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, or any other type of fantasy media. RuneScape gives you the opportunity to live it all through combat, quests, and camaraderie.RuneScape Game Review,