The Daily Grind: Is RuneScape part of your MMO gaming history?

The Daily Grind: Is RuneScape part of your MMO gaming history?

Several times on the podcast we’ve marveled at how there is this bizarre disconnect between the apparent huge popularity of RuneScape and how little engagement it seems to drive. In trying to understand this phenomenon, we’ve mused about how many younger gamers may have cut their teeth on this game back when it was a free title that would run on any browser.

Today, I want to take a straw poll of Massively OP readers to see which among you have RuneScape as part of your gaming background. Did you (or do you) play this MMORPG, and if so, when was it and how old were you? Was this your introduction to the online RPG genre or something you discovered later in life?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Caleb Kirby

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I played it for a while as an experiment or distraction, just to see what all the fuss was about, years and years ago. Played for a month or so, then stopped. Years later, I tried to go back but evidently someone had compromised my account and no amount of emailing and so on could get it back. So I shrugged my shoulders and went on. Then, I made a new account to try the ‘new’ 3D version a few years ago, which hopefully is still okay. This reminds me, I should go and check…


I have never played Runescape.


Nope. Never played it.

Franklin Adams

Never played it. I’m older than the target demo for it, my first MMO was Ultima Online around launch when I was 15. I know a lot of folks who did play it but it never really appealed to me, sort of like EVE. When Runescape was super popular I was still playing UO and had gotten into EQ and SWG, then WoW came out so it was something I missed but I was never really interested in it anyway.


Played it in early 2000s, starting from RS Classic. Had thousands of hours spent in-game. Game had no microtransactions back then, only the monthly sub. Quit at around 2011.

Steven Williams

Absolutely! RuneScape brought me into MMORPGs. I joined around the game’s initial peak around (2005 RuneScape 2).

Then I continued to play it when it was really bad for a while (late 2007 removal of wilderness and free trade, my friends list was empty after that for a long while)…

Then I continued to play it when it was really great for a while (RuneScape HD, Summoner, Dungeoneering)…

Then I stopped the game a while after RuneScape 3 came out. The game slowly shifted focus to microtransactions until it took over. The game used to update with content very frequently – one year during RS2’s era brought craptons of quests, new areas to explore, etc.

I tried the game again in 2016 and while I was initially into it, I found too many issues to continue playing. RuneScape 3 claws at your wallet harder than a casino in vegas. Constant new deals, new cosmetics and pay-to-win skill lamps and XP modifiers. Because of the constant stream of exp, lower and mid-level content is dead. They say that when you’re maxed out in RS3, the game actually begins.

The breaking point was when, at the time, Jagex promised all of these huge mini-expansions. They offered 3 (if I remember correctly), but they only released one (Menaphos) before scrapping the rest in a big statement.

This was done partially because Jagex previously promised even more things (bank update, mobile, mining and smithing update, farming update, camelot rework, group ironman, and much more). In 2016, all of those big gameplay changes were delayed for YEARS. As of today, only a few of those promises were actually delivered. A bunch of them were cancelled, and the rest are still not out yet.

This was also around the time I realized OldSchool RuneScape was freaking HUGE! A much smaller team that releases 100x more content in a year than RS3 releases in five. Zeah (a whole new continent!), Fossil Island, Monkey Madness 2, Leagues, an actual mobile release, a bank update, a better Darkmeyer than RS3, a better and less broken Elf City and quest than RS3, the Wilderness Hub city, an alternate way of training construction, fishing bosses, consistent new quests, the list goes on and on and on! It’s ridiculous.

Oh, and everything is community-voted in OSRS. RS3 will announce and release stuff without player input, then nerf it if it gets in the way of their precious MTX monies (*sough* player owned farms *cough*)

Now I don’t play OSRS as much as I used to play RS2 as a kid, but I’m never playing RS3 ever again.

RuneScape taught me a lot about MMORPGs. The good, the bad, the ugly. I still have a lot of nostalgic memories about the game. It was a formative part of my MMO history.


bank update, mobile, mining and smithing update, farming update

All of that was released. The bank update right after I left. The rest during my last play time, and that was 3-4 YEARS ago. The rest of it, I don’t know about.

Personally I was not impressed with the new smithing, but the mining was a slight improvement. Farming was, blech. Just gave you a hub which gets rid of the whole reason to run around the world and do various farming nodes, so people will just sit in one place raising animals instead, and as far as I’m concerned that’s not ‘farming’, that’s called ‘Animal Husbandry’ in most other games…

But you do kinda sound like you’re fanboiing out over OSRS…so enjoy. That friend I mentioned in my post went ironman, so we couldn’t ever play together anymore either. It’s all ruining the socialization aspect of things…

Also, you really didn’t have to spend money other than on your ‘membership’, because you could play all your skills and whatnot with that, as long as you maintain it. It’s when you want to start getting doodads from things like ‘battlepass’ or the other membership thing that gives you the portal in main auction area and other stuff that is where you start paying money…also, they handed out the exp stars and whatnot like candy during events, and from their treasure box ‘games’ thing they let you do when I was playing…which didn’t cost money to play unless you were trying to ‘win’ something by gaining more keys to open more…and they gave you regular daily keys as a member…it’s just another example of ‘paying to win’, but you’re really not ‘winning’ anything in this game…so there’s literally no reason to pay for any of it…it’s just people’s thought that they are ‘getting ahead’ somehow…and the company plays it up because it’s more MTX money in their pockets…


The game that’s today no longer playable but was called Runescape Classic was my first foray into MMOs back in like 2002/2003. I played it until roughly 2005-2006 when it was ‘Runescape 2’, largely ditched it after getting into Warcraft 3’s custom maps. Had a few school friends who really got into it and they all ended up passing me because they were way more dedicated to the grind than I was.


Yes. I played it over 12 years ago…met a person fishing who I still talk to online to this day. No, it wasn’t my first game, but it was one of the first I was able to PAY FOR, so I stuck around and got to experience a lot. I found their version of ‘housing’ (Construction skill) which at the time was a rink-i-dink little portal at the ass end of the map that teleported you to a instanced off space where you could build your own house.

I worked my behind off to make my own place. It cost a lot of in-game gold too, but I am always a smither in any game that lets me and that had made me rich by selling my smelted metals off to others who wanted them for their cannons, but I also had to fund it with various excursions, and unlocking things required exploring new areas too…ended up having to do work for a tribe on a remote island to gain access to a certain type of tree that was required to build certain types of wood for it. (Now not the only way to acquire it, back then it was.) Then ended up gaining my own ‘kingdom’ that brings in supplies if you fund it by putting money in the coffers. (Another island idea where you have to quest to achieve things.) I did a lot of things to get Construction functional all while enjoying the game itself.

Also, got into playing the little agility mini-games and ended up back then having a guy I could compete with who was going for his 99 cape. I never caught up to him (And still don’t have my own 99 cape), but it was good fun to try and chat while competing and chuckle at our failures (The animations were funny…usually a faceplant with a smacking noise, or a excited jiggle as you rolled/slid back down something you couldn’t manage to get up.)

This last time I rolled through (Went back and played for a year), it now gives you a few more fun mini-games…the ability to be a dockmaster/send out your own fleets (I got them pretty far out there!), and divination skill was, well, it starts out boring, but it’s actually pretty fun once you invest in it. Basically standing there gathering ‘essence’ from nodes that pop up. (Which allows people to stand around chatting.) Invention skill seemed cool at first, but once I got to a point in it, I realized it wasn’t that fun and was just intended to be an ultra grind. I also finished my runecrafting uber set while I was there after learning about their new update to runecrafting leveling, and the stuff you could do in there…spent hours in there getting almost all the upgrades/rewards from there.

But overall, yes, I enjoyed my time there and experimented with many many skills there.

Still hate herblore…that skill can DIE IN A FIRE because it involves consumables and I hate that in any game because it’s purely there to waste your space…even got the brazier I can burn herbs in town from the ghost mini-game(rare drop)…only raised it because it was a requirement for quests or I’d need some item that could only be made from it for another quest..still one of my lowest skills.

They’ve crammed so much you can do into that game, it’s certainly memorable…and you can come back and enjoy yourself too every once in awhile.

Honestly, the only reason I’m NOT still playing was because I found they started to put in things that you can just ‘AFK play’. And when I found an instanced island where only you could be, and it had a mushroom patch you could literally spend an hour on (I timed it.), with nobody to speak with, nothing to do but occasionally make sure the anti-afk ‘you were poked by thorns’ thing didn’t trigger, on an obvious ‘this should be AFK’d thing…is when I decided to walk away again. They were beginning to turn many things into ‘You can AFK play this game…but we don’t want you really AFKing it’…which used to be one of their arguments…that they didn’t want any AFKers, they wanted you actually playing so you were there and could chat with others…not the game playing itself idea…I got frustrated and didn’t want to fund that stuff anymore, and dipped.

(The game I knew before was worth paying for, as it re-enforced socializing, but funding AFK play, not so much.) Maybe they will refocus someday and I’ll go back again, but I doubt it…

Toy Clown

I remember when it came out, but my head was deeply engrossed in other MMOs at the time, which was my “heyday”. I’ve looked into it on a few occasions, but there hasn’t been any appeal to try it out.