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 (opens in new tab) , 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.
Wait, did Jagex just skip a number? Nope, RuneScape 2 showed up way back in 2004, and it assumed the moniker of RuneScape to serve its role as an overhaul of the original. RuneScape 3 might similarly shed its numerical appendage once released, since its incoming changes keep the core game the way it is now and instead focuses on client and engine improvements.
Jagex says existing avatars and accounts will carry over and continue seamlessly in RuneScape 3's new adventures. It'll also keep maintaining a Java-based client for old-school enthusiasts and those with lower-end hardware. The new hotness, however, is the arrival of a sleek HTML5- and WebGL-based client that boasts a visual boost across the board—sharper graphics, increased viewing distances, deepened colors, and other perks. The Wipeout-like HexGL (opens in new tab) is a worthy demonstration of what that combo of browser-based gaming looks like.
Along with blinging up its client, Jagex will progress the quest and story content of RuneScape's world of Gielinor that will most likely take advantage of its new graphical muscle. The studio is also adding in a new audio suite, an orchestrated score, and a fully customizable interface and set of camera controls.
Here's a couple Jagex members talking about what I just wrote in a behind-the-scenes trailer. In an unfortunate revelation to me, "Mod Pips" isn't a real name. Oh well. RuneScapers, what do you think of the incoming evolution?