Nostalgia vs Reality (Runescape)

Who here remembers Runescape? Raise your hand, come on, don’t be shy. Back in secondary school it sort of fell into an embarrassing guilty pleasure for whatever reason, but it’s just a video game and we’re all friends here. Come on, you know that Lumbridge soundtrack, sing it with me. Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-DOO-doo-doo.

Well, anyway, I still play it sometimes. I was crazy about it in January and bought a year’s membership that, ah, hasn’t been used for its value. But whatever, I still hop on from time to time, and if you’re not in the know, the game is still being updated and is likely far different to how you remember it.

And before we go any further, I’d like to say that I like Runescape. I do. It’s fun. I enjoy it.

But is it a good game? Hell no!

There’s nothing wrong with the development or anything. It’s an MMO that they’ve created well, and put plenty of time into. It still gets regular updates after 14 years and if that’s not impressive I don’t know what is. The quests are superbly unique, the lore nowadays is surprisingly rich and the combat’s been revisited beyond the click and wait that it once was. (That being said, I prefer to use Legacy Combat.) The game is large, it has substance, it’s been designed well.

It’s the base that the game is built on that’s the problem. You have a number of skills to train and many of them include clicking and watching your character chop a tree or harvest memories or create a bow, and then clicking again. The xp curve required to reach higher levels is insane, with 92 out of a possible 99 levels being the technical halfway mark in terms of xp required. The game is quite literally a grindfest.

The other problem I have with the game is more a gripe of personal preference than anything. Should you die, you drop all but your 3 most valuable items, and whilst you have the opportunity to run back to your corpse, this makes me edge to the “stupid boring” side of the risk vs reward spectrum.

I’m not trying to insult the developers of the game here, for they’ve done a fantastic job. You can tell how much love and care has gone into the development of the game, despite what the somewhat toxic community might shout at you. This isn’t really meant to be a negative review, per se, for I enjoy the game and do recommend people to try it and see if it suits them. It’s just more of a Cookie Clicker than an RPG.

I maintain a faint aspiration of owning a skillcape someday, though with my highest level being 78 woodcutting I think it’s fair to say I’m a ways off. Due to the age of the game and it’s efficiency-crazy fanbase, you’ll often see world messages of players reaching level 99 in a skill, 99 in all skills, or even further milestones. Many people continue gaining xp for a skill past level 99 and use third party programs to estimate what level they would be, with 120 being the new 99 in most cases. There’s world messages for that, too. Makes me feel terribly inadequete.

Well, regardless, I’ll probably keep on playing this game casually until all of my skills are at a level where I’d have to grind for weeks to advance one level. Then I’ll probably give up and forget about the game for another five years until I make a new account. Such is the Runescape life.

faintly hums the Lumbridge Song

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