A Hollow Shell? Edit This Entity
Those of you who have been around for a while might reminisce of the past every now and then. Because honestly, RuneScape has been around for a really long time and we’ve had dozens of generations of players. Reinforced even more by Jagex bombastic propaganda of the 200 millionth RuneScape accounts since launch, even though many of those 200 million are probably bots and hopefully banned. But even if we exclude the many ‘’fake’’ accounts, this still leaves us with a big history of real players. When looking back, it is easy to notice that some things have definitely changed.
You see, the community has changed. For years, Jagex rarely has had any player-involvement, and that is the reason why fansites became so big in the first place. But now that Jagex has started to focus on the community and even tried to make their very own official forums an endurable and enjoyable place, new players are more likely to be attracted by that. Just because it is so close within reach – you would stumble upon the RSOF easier than a fansite forum. RuneScape itself has also lost popularity over the years. Ironically, one of the least popular years was 2011; the year of the return of free trade. I measured this by not only looking at the various website statistics, but also by looking at the amount of replies to the content news post on our forums. A big and hefty update such as the Queen Black Dragon received 161 replies, whereas a simple quest such as Missing my Mummy received a lot more replies back in 2009. Well this is quite logical, as the popularity of fansites is related to the popularity of the franchise. Still, it is a bit sad to see it happen as a ‘’veteran’’.
I am not sure if we should be happy with so much ‘’community-involvement’’ on Jagex’s side. Surely it is a nice thing to have, but Jagex is really emphasizing it these days. Just take a look at the latest 5 news pages on the official RuneScape website. How many of them are news posts for new content? Not much. I admit, the development blogs of the combat rework are nice. But even if we do, there is a dubious ratio of posts that announce new content against posts that don't.
Meanwhile, the community itself in-game has both improved and worsened. The role-playing community has strongly grown over the years, both in-game and on the official RuneScape forums. These players are a solid core of the community, as it is likely that they will stay for a while. But I am not sure if we should be happy if that is the only friendly core of the community. Take a look at the Grand Exchange, and you will probably see scammers and people insulting each other over the most awkward conflicts and matters. The only resort for the friendly player is the friends/clan chat, but those are not safe from spammers and other annoying brats. This is a problem ever since RuneScape Classic, but in 2012 there should be a way to counter this. Not to mention the growing amount of bots that occupy the local training areas (Varrock Castleyard is a hotspot). One can certainly say that the game might be bursting with activity from Jagex, but the game has a growing lack of players at the same time. It's as if you come across a tree that appears to be strong and fierce, but on the inside it's completely hollow.
But perhaps the combat beta can bring about a change. Hopefully this update will bring back old players, who perhaps have gone to games such as League of Legends or World of Warcraft, and new players who are impressed by the new system. Here’s to hoping that it will make the game grow again.