Runescape first launched to the world twenty years ago in 2001. Twenty years is a lifetime in terms of the progression of modern technology. Few things that were proudly launched in 2001 in the technology space are still around today. But Runescape is. How has an online game twenty years in the making managed to continue to entice new and old gamers alike in the face of mounting competition and technological innovation?
A tried and true formula
Runescape's parent company, Jagex, has gone through multiple owners and various iterations of the leadership team in the past two decades but they have maintained their commitment to a tried and true formula that continues to work. Runescape blends traditional RPG quests with a large open world with sandbox crafting and player-versus-player options into one massive game that offers something for everyone. Runescape's core gameplay has not changed much in the past twenty years. For some games, that would be a death sentence but for Runescape, it has been its saving grace.
Players are constantly enticed by Runescape's cycle of questing, leveling, grinding, crafting, and questing again. Even as the genre continues to evolve around it, Runescape has been a comforting constant in a world filled with unstoppable change.
Something for everyone
One of the things that have made this game so popular for so long is that it offers something for everyone. Gamers who enjoy questing will be thrilled to find hundreds of quests and mini-quests to complete across an expansive map. Players who enjoy gathering and crafting will be treated to dozens of different types of herbs, trees, fish, animals, ores, and weapons to find, learn and create. The daring gamers who enjoy player-versus-player action will find multiple avenues to pit their combat skills against other living players. Oh, and there are also a host of minigames as well.
Every type of gamer can find something to do on Runescape which is why it has had such broad appeal for so long. You can fish all day at the same spot or spend hours traveling through multiple biomes chasing tangled questlines. Players can participate in hardcore raids and tackle difficult bosses with friends or they can mindlessly kill zombies for loot all day. And these activities can seamlessly be picked up and dropped as the player sees fit. That is a sort of unbridled freedom that very few games offer.
Not slowing down
Despite turning twenty this year Runescape shows no signs of slowing down. Today, it has two iterations of its popular game, Runescape 3 and Old School Runescape. Both games have tens of thousands of active players online at any given time. Each branch of the game is being actively developed and continues to add new and fresh content monthly. And subscribers can swap between the modern iteration of Runescape and Old School Runescape seamlessly. There was even a new HD module developed by third-party fans to help give Old School Runescape a modern makeover that launched this year to great fanfare.
There are multiple big games launched every year but few games can hope to have a twenty-year run like Runescape has. Even developers do not think their games will last for such a long period of time. Runescape's industry defying success has people wondering, can the fabled game last another twenty years? Only time will tell.
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