Jagex's third major Runescape revision has launched, having built a new home out of HTML5. Runescape 3 not only freshens up the engine, but also kicks off the "Battle of Lumbridge" event, which hopes to give players more agency over the free to play MMO's world. To celebrate this, here's a launch trailer featuring a thematically diverse cast of characters, running about, killing all of the things.
Jagex have announced the release date of Runescape 3. As with 2004's Runescape 2, it's more of a major iteration to the underlying tech powering the base game, rather than a standalone sequel. This third levelling up of the free-to-play MMORPG is due to occur on July 22nd, bringing new "player-generated content" to the game, alongside an HTML5 engine upgrade.
Runescape 3 preview: how one of the world's longest-running MMOs plans to hand control to its players
RuneScape is more than 12 years old. It’s one of the world’s longest-running and enduringly popular MMOs, and yet it’s not a game that gets talked about very much. There are reasons for that: a long silence on the part of its developers, Jagex, one of the largest independent studios in Britain – they’ve traditionally preferred to work with their community directly. Then there’s the prevalent feeling that browser games are less legitimate than a program you need to install, a notion that the last decade in games has shown to be totally outdated. Finally there’s the relatively insular and self-sustaining nature of the game’s community: a central core of passionate people for whom RuneScape is their game, to the exclusion of other MMOs.
“On one level, it’s been great,” says Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard, who has been with the company since 2009. “When your friend told you [about RuneScape] it was like ‘wow, I’ve just discovered something’. Perhaps that was a better moment than if you’d approached it cynically because it had been advertised to you – I don’t know. But I think we missed out a bit, as an organisation, to get players to understand what we’re passionate about and the kind of experiences we want to give them.”
The barbrous Hoary McCrabFist joins a couple of glowing mages on our May cover as we delve into the curious world of veteran MMO, Runescape. Over its twelve year history, Runescape has vaulted the 2D/3D divide, amassed zillions of players and fostered a diverse and passionate community, and all from an internet browser. In this month's MMO special, we visit developers Jagex to gain an insight into the game's past and discuss their plans for the future.
Some MMO devs would give their left arm (to a crab) for Runescape's longevity. The Elder Scrolls Online faces a tricky challenge reconciling the Scrolls fans' RPG expectations with the MMO format, but Zenimax Online Studios also have their own ideas for pushing the genre forward as we discover in our six page preview feature.
Not into MMOs? Fear not. We've got a six-page first look at Thief 3, reinvigorated Supreme Commander, revisited Rise of Nations and much more. The mag also includes entry into the World of Warplanes closed beta and 14 days of free Runescape membership. The issue is available now via the App Store, Google Play or Zinio. If you prefer your words on trees, you can subscribe to get each issue delivered to your door.
RuneScape has mainly kept to itself over the years as the MMO market saw World of Warcraft's wave trigger a rise in high-budget releases. It's the sort of game of easy accessibility and addictive crafting and combat mechanics you'd find loaded up in a school computer lab and earning Guinness World Records, but in the words of Jagex Content Designer Mark Ogilvie, it's soon going "to the next"—dramatic pause—"LEVEL." Meet RuneScape 3, which will dig into your browser window this summer for free.
In response to high community demand, Runescape developer Jagex launched a petition system to determine whether or not it would relaunch of a version of the game servers as they existed in 2007. Many vocal Runescape players feel that this era, before the implementation of a new, hotbar-based combat system and some other controversial features, presented a superior experience. As of now, the petition has passed the 50,000-player milestone and guaranteed that the servers will go live. Further milestones will reduce the subscription price for the classic game and possibly lead to the creation of a new team to create new content independent of "mainstream" Runescape.
Runescape devs, Jagex, made it clear that they're determined to stomp out all botting with a massive account nuke last year that banned 1.5 million bot accounts in one day. The battle continues with a new initiative that will name and shame cheaters in an open court setting.
"From today, any player caught botting will be given two warnings to allow them to change their ways, after which they will be permanently banned from the game - with no appeals," say Jagex. "At each warning stage the botter's avatar will change to signify to the rest of the community that they have been caught botting. After receiving their second and final warning should they break the rules again, the bot avatar will be transferred to a new area called Botany Bay to await the judgment of the community."
We're passionate about PC Gaming but this just takes the cake: A RuneScape enthusiast is facing up to 15 years in prison after an alleged attempt to force a fellow gamer to hand over 4.7 billion of the MMO's coins.
Runescape, the oldest and simplest free to play MMO, is finally moving with the times. This weekend will see an open beta weekend for The Evolution of Combat, making enormous changes to the way the game is played. For the last week the new upgrade has been in closed beta with 50,000 testers trying their best to break it but now it's available to all.
This article first appeared in PC Gamer UK issue 233. Written by Matt Lees.
What are you doing, Matt?” asked my friend. It was March 2002 and he had spotted me through the window of our college computer room. Why wasn’t I in the pub with the rest of our friends? I explained that I was playing a free fantasy MMO called Runescape. Technically, that was true. It was certainly true enough to suffice as an answer for now.
“Oh. Right.” He was clearly unimpressed by the low-resolution 3D blobs trundling around the screen. “Is it to do with killing dragons and goblins?” “Yes,” I lied. “It’s just a bit of fun.” I wasn’t happy that my new friends at college thought I was spending all my free time killing waves of magical monsters, but it was better than the truth. The truth was that, driven by impatience and greed, I had found myself running a coal mining business fuelled by child labour.
At this year's Runefest event, Jagex revealed a number of alarming statistics regarding the number of bot accounts and gold farmers the devs have recently booted out of Runescape. The figures, picked out by Massively, suggest that between 100,000 and 200,000 bot accounts are created in Runescape every day.
Jagex released the figures to celebrate "bot nuking day," in which they launched new anti-bot measures that they estimate to have removed 98% of the bot accounts in Runescape. At the height of the nuking process, 9,000 bot accounts were being banned every minute. By the end of the day, 1,500,000 bots were gone.
Whoa. When did PC gaming become so damn... award-winning?
PC has cleaned up at the Golden Joystick awards with a wealth of exclusives. And the non PC exclusive games that took an award? We get to play most of those too, only more anti aliased, and in a better resolution.
The best bit? Gamers voted for these. Real-life gamers with strong opinons. A record-breaking 2.06 million of them in fact. Well done PC gaming community - you rose to the challenge and pwned.
Click through for the full results. Don't agree with some of the winners? It's time for a furious debate. See you in the comments.
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.
The flurry of online games dropping their subscription fees over the last year or so might make the free-to-play model seem like a fresh new trend in PC gaming, but it's nothing that Jagex haven't done before, way back in 2001, with their browser-based MMO, Runescape. With relatively low-fi graphics and low marketing profile it's easy to forget how quietly huge it is. With 130 million unique users since its launch, Runescape is one of the most popular MMOs in the world and The Citadel update is the most ambitious update in the game's ten year history.
The new additions plan to build on the update that added clan support earlier this year. Citadels are huge floating castles, created to give clans their own place to hang out, make use of private facilities, take votes in the senate hall and hatch plots in private tents. I travelled to Jagex HQ in Cambridge to see what else had been added, and found that the best was yet to come. Within these floating islands, clans can create their own battle arenas, with custom rules and layouts, and then invite other Clans into their custom deathtraps to do battle, have a race or kick back and play a little chess.
Haven't you always wanted your own floating castle? The next update for Jagex' free to play MMO RuneScape will give clans their own floating fortresses, complete with meeting rooms, senates, party rooms and customiseable clan battlegrounds.