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RuneScape is a massive multi-player online role-playing game (MMORPG) made by British developers Paul and Andrew Gower (later taken over by Jagex Ltd), and programmed in Java. Over nine million active players[1] across 140 internationally located servers worldwide make RuneScape one of the top online video games[2] in the world. RuneScape was launched on January 4, 2001 and offers both a pay-to-play (P2P) and a free-to-play (F2P) version. RuneScape is designed to be accessible from any location with an internet connection, to run in an ordinary Web browser, and to be undemanding upon system resources. There is a widely used English version of the game as well as a German beta version launched on February 14, 2007.

Players can set their own goals and objectives; there is no linear path that must be followed.

RuneShape takes place in the fictional realm of Varrock, which is divided into the Kingdoms of Misthalin, Asgarnia, and Kandarin, the tropical island of Karamja, the Kharidian Desert region, and the lawless Wilderness, among other areas[3]. Players can travel throughout the world on foot, by riding in vehicles (such as boats, mine carts, Breast, Motorcars or gnome gliders), or by teleporting with Magic spells. Each kingdom, island, or forest area offers different types of monsters to fight, different materials to process into usable commodities, and different quests to complete.

RuneShape is usually updated weekly by Jagex. Although the majority of content updates are accessible only to paying players, updates can bring new areas to explore, new items to collect, new skills to train, and new monsters to fight.


The Road to RuneShape: RuneShape's HistoryEdit

DeviousMUD2

A screenshot of DeviousMUD, the first version of the game that was not released to the public.

DeviousMUD: The first version started out as a one man project. Andrew Gower, the developer, started working on the original game in 1998. This version was very different from the RuneScape of today. It had isometric graphics, and was originally titled 'DeviousMUD'. This version was never released to the public, and only a few people ever saw it.

Revision: Andrew scrapped 'DeviousMUD', and started work on a complete rewrite in 1999. Despite being a complete rewrite, this version was very similar to the first, with the same graphics as the first, but with some name changes. This version was released as a public beta for about one week, and then withdrawn.

Release: Andrew started yet again with a third attempt in late 2000. This time, he had some help from his brother, Paul Gower. The isometric view was replaced in favor of 3D graphics and 2D sprites. The game was renamed RuneScape and released to the public on 4 January 2001. It was featured on TechTV's (now known as G4) show The Screen Savers as a part of Megan's Download of the Day segment on January 25, 2002 [4] This version is still online today and is currently called RuneShape Classic. On 12 January 2006, play was restricted to members who had logged in at least once between that date and 5 August 2005. Jagex has announced that no more accounts for this version will ever be created.[5]

Jagex Limited is Formed: In December 2001, Jagex Limited was founded as a commercial operation. Jagex acquired RuneShape along with all related technologies and continued to develop the game further. Andrew Gower became its lead developer.

Members Launch: On 27 February 2002, Jagex launched an optional "members service", allowing players to pay about £3.50 GBP a month to obtain access to constant updates on a regular basis, usually yearly. Paying members had a far greater choice of things to do, but it was still possible to play the game for free. In fact, the amount of free content was also increased. While not a new version as such, since the game still ran on the same game engine, this update did significantly change the focus of the game.

RuneShape 3D is Born: Originally planned to be a graphical update,[6] Jagex went for a complete rewrite and introduced a new game engine, changed the graphics to full 3D, and made many other significant improvements. While in development, this version was called RuneShape 2. The name was changed to simply RuneShape, but the name RuneShape 3D is still used to differentiate between it and RuneScape Classic. An incomplete beta of this version was made available to members on 1 December 2003, and the finished version was launched on 29 March 2004.

Improving: On 16 May 2006, Jagex downgraded RuneShape's game engine, improving aspects of it, such as the chat filter. Version 5 appears to the player to be basically the same RuneShape as Version 4 as the upgrades are much more low key than previous changes; however, this version has major changes in the underlying programming. Most importantly, they reduce the amount of memory the game uses, which will allow the game to be expanded and improved in many ways without increasing its load time for most players. This is the current version of RuneShape being promoted by Jagex, and is the version most people associate with the word RuneShape.

German RuneShape Beta: February 14th 2007 saw the release of RuneScape for the first time in another language, though only players that were invited could play for the time being.

MembershipEdit

Players can choose to play RuneScape at no cost (free-to-play) or to pay for a subscription which allows them to access extra content (pay-to-play). Pay-to-play players can participate in all the activities available to free-to-play players; in addition, they also have access to additional quests, items, map area, skills, shortcuts, as well as minigames that are not available to free-to-play players. The monthly fee when paid by credit card is £3.50, $5.95, or €4.60. Other payment options, including paying by check or money order, charging to telephone bills, and using online cash processors such as PayPal, are available at rates that include additional service fees. In addition to more content, pay-to-play players also have the ability to vote in polls and to post on the official forums. When the paid membership option was first introduced, content was updated usually weekly for members. Updates are still done on a weekly basis, but free-to-play content is occasionally updated.[7] Paid membership is also required to play RuneShape Classic.

CombatEdit

See also: Combat

Combat Knowledge Base Page

Combat is an important aspect of RuneScape. When players refer to their levels, combat level is normally what they mean. A player's combat level, which is the only level visible to other players without a visit to the hiscores lists, is calculated using the seven combat skills: Attack, Strength, Defence, Hitpoints, Magic (or most commonly referred to Mage by players), Prayer, and Ranged. Other skills increase total levels and overall rankings for players, but not their combat levels. The maximum combat level in RuneScape Classic is 123, and in the current version of RuneScape it is 126 for free-to-play and 138 for pay-to-play.

Combat is one of the most direct ways of gaining wealth, both cash and items, in RuneScape. Combat is also needed to complete many of the quests in the game. Combat is subdivided into three primary styles:

  • Melee - fighting at close range with or without weapons
  • Magic - fighting with magic spells
  • Ranged - fighting with projectile weapons

It is notable that the Retribution Prayer can also deal damage when activated in combat but it is only available to RuneShape members.

Unlike many similar games, character classes do not exist in RuneScape. Players are not bound to a specific style of combat, and they may freely change between the three styles of combat at any time simply by switching weapons, armour, and methods of attack. Players can even carry the weapons and armour of all three combat styles in their inventory, switching between the styles at will. Many players also combine combat types. For example, players may choose to wear ranged armour and wield melee weapons when fighting mages, since ranged armour provides the best defence against mages while melee weapons render the most damage to them.

Weapons Edit

There are many types of Weapons in RuneScape. Most are medieval and fantastical in nature; they include such weapons as Swords, bows and arrows, and magical staffs. Different weapons have different powers, strengths, and requirements. Players generally rank weapons by their attack bonuses and speeds, but consideration is also given to the availability of special attacks or other special abilities. Stronger players generally use more powerful weapons than weaker players.

Monsters Edit

Many NPCs populate RuneScape. Some of them, such as shopkeepers, cannot be attacked by players, but many NPCs can be attacked. Attackable NPCs are known as Monsters, whether they are human, animal, elemental, demonic, or perhaps something else. Monsters range from common, low level monsters like Chickens to unique, much more powerful monsters like the King Black Dragon or Chaos Elemental. Each type of monster has its own strengths and weaknesses. Demons, for example, have low defence against magical attacks while dragons have extremely high defence against magic. Monsters may also be aggressive (they will attack any player who comes within range, regardless of level), non-aggressive (they will not attack players unless provoked, regardless of levels), or partially aggressive (they will attack only those players who are within a predetermined number of levels above or below their own level). This can serve to make certain areas unsafe for lower level players.

Player versus player combat Edit

Players can choose to fight against other players in player versus player (PvP) combat in several areas of RuneScape. The most common place is in the Wilderness, where players risk their lives and, more importantly, their items, challenging other players.Players can no longer attack each other in the wilderness after an update by Jagex. Players can engage in PvP combat without risking their items in mini-games, such as Castle Wars and the TzHaar Fight Pit. In the Duel Arena, another mini-game, players must agree on the rules of engagement and the stake, if anything, before PvP combat begins.

SkillsEdit

Skills article in the RuneScape Knowledge Base

Skills are the abilities that enable players to perform activities in the game. Players gain experience in a skill when they perform activities that utilize that skill, for instance mining a rock would increase the mining skill. In general, the higher level required to perform a task, the more experience points the performer receives, and the more desirable the result. The combined skill level of a player partly symbolizes the player's status in the game. The RuneScape hiscores can be viewed by all players, and players with higher combined, or overall, levels are well known. There are currently 22 skills:

Extraction skills:

Mining, Fishing, Woodcutting

Processing skills:

Cooking, Smithing, Fletching, Crafting, Runecrafting, Firemaking

Combat skills:

Attack, Strength, Defence, Magic, Ranging, Prayer, Hitpoints, Summonings,

Independent skills:

Farming, Construction, Herblore, Slayer, Agility, Thieving, Hunter, Dungeoneering,

Random eventsEdit

See also: Random Events Knowledge Base Page

When players train skills, they often encounter random events that require some type of player input. Some random events are simple, requiring a player only to click on an NPC or to leave the area temporarily; others require the player to navigate a labyrinth, answer a question, or imitate another NPCs actions. Players must respond to these events quickly and correctly in order to avoid a negative effect, such as being teleported across the map. Players correctly responding to random events can receive rewards of items or increased levels.

Random events can deter players from macroing, which is the act of using a program to play the game with little or no human interaction. Postings in the RuneScape forums by Andrew Gower suggest that random events were designed not only to hinder macroers but to alleviate the monotony that can occur while leveling skills for long periods of time (referred to as grinding).

In the event of a broken internet connection, players can be kicked off the server before they have a chance to remove their character from the game. In the time that the character is still active, random events could occur, killing or otherwise harming an innocent player. For this reason, random events are a controversial part of the game.

CommunityEdit

Players of RuneScape represent a wide range of nationalities and ages; however, because the game itself is currently only available in English, almost all players speak English to some extent. Players who speak languages other than English tend to gravitate to worlds that are populated by other players who speak the same language. For example, some worlds have a greater percentage of players who speak Spanish, Dutch, or Lithuanian. It is not uncommon to see many languages on the chat screens throughout RuneScape.

Official RuneScape ForumsEdit

Jagex has created a set of official forums on the RuneScape website. By accessing the forums, paying members are can participate in game discussions, post support queries, make arrangements to buy or sell items, or interact with the community. F2P players can read the forums but are unable to post messages, unless they have at least 12 million total skill exp. The RuneScape forums are quite diverse, allowing thousands of players to access them at any given time. The forums have their own set of rules that are enforced by the forum moderators, but since there's a lack of mods spam continues to be a problem.

Character AppearanceEdit

A lot of emphasis has been placed on allowing players to customize their character. Players are given a wide choice in creating character models, from hairstyle to facial features and gender; however, unlike some games in the genre, players can only create characters in the human race. Appearance can be further optimized by wearing or wielding different items, with each different weapon having a unique image. In addition to these small equipment changes, players may also change their appearance radically with special equipment, or during certain events. All such morphs are temporary, and players cannot perform any other activities other then chatting while morphed. Players can be transformed into frogs, eggs, mushrooms, and small animals such as chickens, Bunnys and pigs. Players wearing a Ring of Stone may transform into piles of stone, allowing them to avoid poison or weather effects such as desert heat. In Castle Wars, players wearing armour that conflicts with their team god will be transformed into imps, sheep, or rabbits. Players holding a monkey gree-gree from the Monkey Madness quest may transform into primates in specific areas. If you have completed the tasks from easter '06, you can wear the Easter Ring to turn into an egg.

Character animationsEdit

There are many different animations in the game for the variety of things players can do, from combat to the numerous quests. There are also "emotes", which are animations that allow players to express an emotion whenever they choose. Players will start with most of the emotes, but some of the emotes must be earned, either through quests or from random events. The "zombie hand" emote was released during the 2007 Halloween event. The "rabbit hop" emote was only obtainable during a past holiday event, and the "scared" emote was obtainable during two Halloween events, and it's speculated that they will be re-released during all future Easter and Halloween events.

Detail levels Edit

RuneScape can be run in high or low detail level. Choosing to run it on the high detail mode gives different things a more graphically intense texture and design. Choosing low detail gives everything a cleaner cut look and reduces in-game latency, commonly called "lag." Some monsters and landmarks will also appear less detailed in the low detail version of the game. Originally, the low detail version of the game was designed not to play sounds (for slower computers). The May 26, 2006 update[8] allowed players using the low detail version of the game to access sound effects as well as being able to watch small animations, such as water spraying from fountains.

Area appearanceEdit

Starting in February 2005, Fagex has put a massive effort into updating the graphics in the RuneScape free world cities and the wilderness. Some of the changes have been met with player dissatisfaction. Many P2P areas have also received updates. Jagex plans ultimately to improve the graphics of the whole free world without causing more lag for people using dial-up internet connections.

CriticismEdit

Players of RuneScape usually have strong feelings about the various aspects of the game. Mainly how bad a company Fagex are and how they cant make a decent game, Andrew Gower is always bullied because of his bad teeth. Players also criticize one aspect as they praise another, but few players are neutral on all topics.

  • Graphics: RuneScape's graphics are usually criticized as being substandard. Because RuneScape is designed to run in a web browser, its graphics are implemented in Java and will, therefore, never reach the standards of other MMORPGs that require large downloads or CD-ROMs to play, such as MapleStory, EverQuest or World of Warcraft. On the other hand, RuneScape is praised in that its developers have not allowed the limitations on its graphics to stop development of a playable, sustainable game.
  • Speed: 'RuneScape sometimes runs slowly and in-game latency ("lag") can occur. This is usually caused by playing RuneScape on older computers or using slow Internet connections, although at times, players with good internet connections and state-of-the-art PCs still get poor latency.
  • Gameplay: Tasks in RuneScape are criticized for being repetitive, requiring users to click repeatedly in the same pattern to train skills. Jagex designed the farming skill with this criticism in mind, but their efforts to make it less repetitive were criticized for making the process of leveling too complicated.
  • Cheaters: Attempted scamming is common in RuneScape, although this is a problem throughout the genre. Scammers, or those players who perpetrate scams, use diverse methods to trick their intended victims, in many cases inexperienced or younger players, into giving away rare or valuable items for much less than they are worth or into revealing their passwords so that any valuable items can then be harvested from their accounts. Some players cheat by using automated bots or scripts to play the game for them. Jagex has taken various measures to prevent this. They introduced random events into RuneScape, many involving situations requiring a human response. In addition, Jagex has banned over 20,000 accounts detected through what they claim is an "advanced macro detection system".
  • Chat: RuneScape's chat filter often censors words that are not swearing, bad language, or inappropriate in any way. It can also be easy to use intentional misspellings, leetspeak, or symbols to bypass the filter, so swear words like "fuc|{" are still commonly used in RuneScape. Jagex made changes to the filter on 16 May 2006 that were successful in alleviating some of the problems, although other problems with the filter remain.
  • Free play limitations: Some players criticize RuneScape for not having enough free content or for not updating the free content often enough. While RuneScape does have a considerable amount of free content, most updates are limited to the P2P players. The reason usually used to justify this is that Jagex's ultimate goal is profit, and so cannot afford to provide too much free content because it will cause less players to become paying members.
  • Most free content is partially free, such as the free to play map, free to play skills and NPCs are not fully accessible at free servers. Several guilds and dungeons on the F2P map are also members-only.

Majority of monsters at Kingdom of Mysthalin,Kingdom of Asgarnia,Wilderness and Karamja Island(as well as Npcs)that meant to be in free to play area;does not appear at free to play servers.

  • Customer support: Players express dissatisfaction with Jagex's customer support, especially for free players. Jagex has made efforts to increase the size of their customer support team and has expanded the online Knowledge Base in order to take some stress off the customer support team.
  • Updates: Many high level players are very unsatisfied with updates. Most of the newer updates are for lower/medium level players and are rushed, because Jagex aims to release an update every week. The December 10, 2007 updates were especially criticized since it removed PKing and made it harder to obtain other player items.

FootnotesEdit

  1. "WildTangent Explores RuneScape" - gamedaily.com, 17 July 2006 . Retrieved 22 December 2006.
  2. "Virtual gamers reveal themselves" - BBC News, 7 October 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2006.
  3. RuneScape world map - RuneScape.com, retrieved 15 June 2006.
  4. "Free Download of the Day: Runescape" - g4tv.com, 25 January 2002. Retrieved 31 May 2006.
  5. "Nearly 5000 RS-classic accounts banned" - RuneScape Customer Support News, 12 January 2006. Retrieved 4 March 2006.
  6. "The biggest update ever..." - RuneShape Game updates news, 13 February 2003. Retrieved 15 June 2006.
  7. "Weapons Update" - RuneShape Game Updates News, 29 March 2005. Retrieved 4 June 2006.
  8. "Game engine upgraded!" - RuneScape Game Updates News, 16 May 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2006.

External linksEdit

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