Jagex throw open the doors to Runescape Classic for the final time today. Classic takes players all the way back to 2004, a few years after launch, just before it received a huge revamp and upgraded to Runescape 2. Players can log on now for to enjoy the nostalgia of those ancient graphics, reflect on how far Runescape has come in the last ten years, and most importantly, get a free hood and cape!
Co-founder of Jagex, Paul Gower has answered a few of our questions about Runescape Classic, and Jagex have sent over a few screenshots that show the enormous difference between Runescape of old, and today's much prettier incarnation.
PC Gamer: RuneScape Classic has come and gone over the years, opening up to the general public every now and then for a few weeks. Why did you decide to bring it back?
Paul Gower: Classic has been around since the beginning and we decided to allow newer users a chance every so often to get a look at the original game and to see just how far we've come. The current RuneScape has built on the foundations and learning from Classic and we whilst we want users to experience the latest and greatest we have to offer, it's nice to have a bit of nostalgia and experience the humble origins of RuneScape.
Of course we would prefer players to be playing the current version of RuneScape as all our support technologies have advanced a long way since we started in 2001. This means that Classic is to run as a curiosity for people to have a fun look.
PC Gamer: Do you think players will be sad to see Classic disappear?
Paul Gower: Although this is the last time we are opening Classic to the general RuneScape population, it will still be around for those who gain access. In a way we've already moved on with the launch of, as it was known then, RuneScape 2 many years ago, but it definitely feels like it's time to move forward to the next 10 years.
PC Gamer: Will players get any special prizes or loot for logging into Classic for the last time?
Paul Gower: Players who create an account who haven't already will be able to unlock the "Classic" cape in RuneScape which pays tribute to the original game. When players wear the cape in game they will also gain access to an exclusive emote which, like the Classic cape, has a retro look and feel to it.
PC Gamer: Going back, what strikes you as the biggest differences Classic and Runescape as it is now?
Paul Gower: More players for a start! For example, it was never our intention for level 99 in a skill to be achievable yet here we are 10 years on and thousands of players have more XP than we'd ever imagined.
The biggest thing that strikes me when I've logged into Classic recently is how far the games has come on graphically. For example; there used to be areas which were nothing more than big flat green rectangles, the general standard of the game has improved vastly since then.
You also realise how many functionality improvements we've added everywhere too. There's is no run mode, no resizable screen, limited camera angles. Then you delve a little deeper and realise there used to be far less content as well.
Runescape Classic is a version of Runescape Frozen in 2004 and it just shows how much has been added to the game in the intervening seven and a half years.
PC Gamer: Of all the hundreds of updates you've made to the game since 2001, which have been the most important to you and to the players?
Paul Gower: Well the upgrade from Runescape Classic to the current game is the biggest update by some way. Which is why it's the only update where we ever made a cutoff which left an old version behind. A lot of the other big updates for me would be the new skills. Skills like construction and summoning added huge amounts of extra features to the game.
The most recent update introduced clan citadels and custom player arenas. Read our Runescape Citadel hands on impressions to get a sense of the potential of this ambitious new update. You can sign up to Runescape Classic now on the Runescape Classic page , it will run until September 29. Alternatively, you can sign up to play the very latest version for free in your browser at Runescape.com . Check out the screenshots below to see how ten years of development have moved Runescape on.