Yesterday, we reviewed Old School Runescape, a sandbox MMO based on Runescape as it was in 2007. And despite its advanced age, we found it to be pretty good stuff: "It's not always fun, it's often hard work, and most people don't know why the hell you would even bother. But it's damn satisfying to step back and see how your efforts have paid off." Today, in a coincidental bit of timing, Jagex announced that Runescape Classic, the even older, original Runescape, is finally being closed.
Runescape debuted in 2001, and was updated with a new engine to Runescape 2 in 2004, and then again as Runescape 3—with another engine overhaul—in 2013. (There was also Runescape HD in 2008.) The original Runescape servers were left online, and on the surface they've been running along just fine ever since. But apparently it's been a different story behind the scenes for some time now.
"With advancements in technology helping to further support both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, our tools are no longer compatible with Classic. This is particularly a problem with our community safety and macro detection tools," the shutdown announcement says. "The game is now easily abused with the use of 3rd party macro tools, and botting has become an increasing issue."
Compounding the problem is the growing list of bugs, which are gradually breaking the game—and which can't be fixed, because it's so old and entirely without support. Instead of letting it just grind away until it breaks down without warning, Jagex decided to numbers its days so everyone still playing has an opportunity to say their goodbyes. Fortunately, there's plenty of time to do so—the Runescape Classic servers will go permanently offline at 8 am BST/3 am ET on August 6.