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Developer(s) Jagex Ltd.
Publisher(s) Jagex Ltd.
Release date(s) RuneScape Classic:
4 January 2001
29 March 2004
Genre(s) Fantasy MMORPG
Platform(s) Java Platform: Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Media Web interface
System requirements Low detail: 64 MB RAM, 300 MHz CPU
High detail: 128 MB RAM, 500 MHz CPU
Input Keyboard, Mouse
RuneScape is a Java-based MMORPG operated by Jagex Ltd. With over nine million active free accounts and more than one million paid member accounts, RuneScape is rated among the most popular online games in the world. More than five million unique players access their accounts to play RuneScape at least once per month. RuneScape offers both free and subscription content and is designed to be accessible from any location with an Internet connection and to run in an ordinary web browser without straining system resources.
Andrew Gower created DeviousMUD, the forerunner to RuneScape, in 1998, running a week-long public beta test. Rewritten and renamed, the first version of RuneScape was released to the public on 4 January 2001. Since its release, the game has been praised for its free-playing abilities and its availability on a web browser.
RuneScape takes place in the fantasy-themed realm of Gielinor, which is divided into several different kingdoms, regions, and areas. Players can travel throughout the gaming world on foot, by using magical teleportation spells or devices, or mechanical means of transportation. Each region offers different types of monsters, materials, and quests to challenge players.
Players are shown on the screen as customisable avatars. They set their own goals and objectives, deciding which of the available activities to pursue. There is no linear path that must be followed. Players can engage in combat with other players or with monsters, complete quests, or increase their experience in any of the available skills. Players interact with each other through trading, chatting, or playing combative or cooperative mini-games.
1 History and development
1.3 Other languages
3.7 Random events
4.1 Rules and cheating
7 External links
History and development
Three Screenshots from DeviousMUD, the forerunner to RuneScape, which was never released to the public.DeviousMUD, the forerunner to RuneScape, was created in 1998 by Andrew Gower. The game, which was never publicly released, used isometric graphics. In 1999, Gower completely rewrote the game, albeit with no improvements to the graphics or several other aspects of the game. This version was released as a public beta version for approximately one week before it was withdrawn.
As a Cambridge University undergraduate, Gower worked on a complete rewrite of the game with the assistance of his brother, Paul Gower. The isometric view was replaced by a mixture of both three-dimensional and two-dimensional sprites. The game, renamed RuneScape, was released to the public as a beta version on 4 January 2001 and was originally operated from their parents' house in Nottingham. In December 2001, the Gower brothers and Constant Tedder formed Jagex to take over the business aspects of running RuneScape.
On 27 February 2002, a membership service was made available, allowing players who choose to pay a monthly fee to access a variety of additional features including new areas, quests, and items. This service significantly changed the focus of the game.
A screenshot of RuneScape Classic.As RuneScape became more popular, Jagex began planning major changes. Although only a graphical update was initially planned, the developers opted instead to rewrite the game engine completely, introducing a version that consisted entirely of three-dimensional graphics, with other significant improvements. While in development, this version was known as RuneScape 2. A beta version of the new engine was made available to paying members on 1 December 2003, and the finished version was launched on 29 March 2004. Upon release, RuneScape 2 was renamed RuneScape, and the older version of the game was kept online as RuneScape Classic. RuneScape Classic was restricted to paying members who had recently logged in to the Classic servers on 12 January 2006, due to persistent cheating.
On 16 May 2006, Jagex upgraded RuneScape's game engine, primarily as a back-end upgrade rather than a visible graphical boost. In particular, the amount of memory required to run RuneScape was significantly reduced, allowing the game to be expanded and improved without increasing the loading time for most players. The engine was upgraded once again on 26 June 2007 to allow Jagex to add more complex content to RuneScape in the future.
On 5 July 2007, an article was released in which Andrew Gower told an interviewer he saw a release of RuneScape onto the seventh generation of gaming consoles (the Wii, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3) as "tempting", hinting that Jagex may consider releasing a version of RuneScape onto these consoles in the future.
RuneScape servers are located in seven countries; USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia, Finland and Sweden.There are about 140 RuneScape servers located throughout the world, which are numbered and referred to as worlds by players and by Jagex. The servers use Unix, Debian GNU/Linux, and Cisco IOS software, and they are located in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Sweden and Finland. Historically, servers have been located in areas where they will provide the best connection for players in a cost-effective manner. Servers are moved as the need arises.
Each of the RuneScape servers allows 2,000 players to connect simultaneously, allowing a maximum capacity of approximately 280,000 players online at any given time. The servers are divided into free servers, accessible to all players, and member servers, accessible only by those players who choose to pay a monthly fee for additional content. Unlike many other MMORPGs, RuneScape characters are not bound to a particular server, but rather can switch freely among the servers each time they access the game.
In addition to the RuneScape servers, there are two members-only servers for RuneScape Classic, both located in the United Kingdom. Each of these is limited to 1,250 players, allowing a total number of 2,500 simultaneous RuneScape Classic players. Only players who played RuneScape Classic in the six months prior to 12 January 2006 can currently log onto the Classic servers.
To support RuneScape's free content, advertisements are displayed above the playing screen on the free-player servers. On 13 July 2006, Jagex signed an exclusive marketing and distribution contract with WildTangent Games, which granted WildTangent the right to handle advertising in and around RuneScape in the United States. The deal also allowed WildTangent to distribute RuneScape through the WildTangent Games Network, a distribution channel, reaching over 20 million consumer PCs. WildTangent has stressed that this agreement will not change the way RuneScape is presented and that they plan to make the presence of the advertisements, vital to RuneScape, as non-invasive as possible. Jagex moderators have stated that there will be no in-game advertisements. Since computer users may use advertisement blockers which may discourage advertisers, Jagex introduced a rule that prohibits players from blocking the advertisements in the free game.
On 14 February 2007, Jagex released a German closed beta translation of RuneScape. As of 7 March 2007, it is in a public beta stage while errors in the translation of the game and website are still being corrected. Currently, there are two German language servers online, one for each the free and members versions of RuneScape.
The skills interface shown while playing RuneScape, with member skills outlined in blue.Membership in RuneScape is an optional service that provides extensive additional content and extra features versus the free version of the game. Most quests and several skills, as well as three-fourths of the world map, are reserved for members. Members can play mini-games with unique rewards, use new items, and have access to improvements for nearly all skills. Paying users also receive additional storage space for their items, priority customer service, and the ability to post on the official forums. Regular game updates are usually reserved for members, save for a few updates each year that affect the free version of the game.
Monthly membership fees are currently set at £3.20, $5.00 US, $7.20 CDN, €4.60, $8.20 AUD or $8.90 SGD, if paid for with a credit or debit card. Other payment methods are available, such as PayPal, cheque or money order, or through players' telephone providers, generally at a higher price.
Members are granted access to members-only servers, which have no advertisements displayed during play. Although members can still play on free servers, members-only content and items cannot be used on free servers. However, these players cannot access any free servers while in a members-only area.
Membership benefits on the German website and game will carry over to the English version and vice-versa.
New players begin in a secluded area populated only by other beginners, Tutorial Island. They are led on a set path where they learn most of the non members skills needed to succeed in Gielinor, the land of RuneScape. After completing the tutorial, players can access information from tutors located in the towns they explore. These non-player characters, or NPCs, can replace some basic equipment items if necessary.
RuneScape has music, sound effects, and ambient noises throughout Gielinor to enhance gameplay. The music is designed to enhance mood and help to define the underlying cultures of the various locations around Gielinor. Sound effects, such as the "sploosh" heard when a lobster trap is submerged in water, are heard as players train their skills. Ambient noises, such as the cry of seagulls flying over the ocean, occur in logical places. As different locations are visited by the player, new music for that area is unlocked, and can be played back later. Players can adjust the volumes of the music, sound effects, and ambient noises independently of each other.
RuneScape can be run with high or low-detail graphics; high-detail mode enhances texture and design, whereas low-detail provides a cleaner look and can reduce lag on older or less powerful computers. In February 2005, Jagex began the process of updating the graphical images in the RuneScape cities and the wilderness, planning ultimately to improve the graphics of the entire free area of RuneScape without causing more lag for people using dial-up Internet connections. 
RuneScape places emphasis on granting players the ability to customise their characters by supplying a wide choice in character models. Unlike many games in the genre, player characters are always human; however, players can choose their appearance from hairstyles, body types, facial features, clothing options, and sex. On-screen appearance is further optimised by wearing or wielding items, with each different item having a unique image. Standard weapons of the same class, such as swords, use the same set of animations in combat; however, some special weapons have their own, distinctive animations that differ completely from those of other weapons in their category.
Players' appearances can be changed using special equipment or during particular game events. Transformations into frogs, mushrooms, eggs, and other objects and animals can occur, depending on the circumstances. These "morphs" are temporary, and sometimes allow players to avoid negative gameplay effects or access otherwise unreachable areas; however, they restrict certain activities that human characters are normally allowed to perform.
Every activity performed by a player, such as planting a seed in a farming plot or walking down a street, has its own distinctive animation. Players can also express emotions through the use of emotes, which are specialized animations that can be performed at will. New players start out with most available emotes; some, however, must be earned by completing quests, random events, or holiday events.
Main article: RuneScape skills
A player collects iron ore using the mining skill.Skills in RuneScape are the abilities that enable players to perform activities in the game. Players gain experience in a skill when they perform activities that utilise that skill, such as mining ore from a rock to increase the mining skill. In general, the higher the level required to perform a task, the more experience points the player receives, and the more desirable the result. The total skill level of a player partly symbolises the player's status in the game. The RuneScape hiscore tables can be viewed by all players, and players with higher overall levels are well known within the RuneScape community. Upon reaching the highest available level in a skill, members may obtain a special cape, referred to as a "Cape of Achievement", which can be used to perform an emote related to that skill.
Many types of tasks can be performed in the game using skills. Some skills, such as defence and hitpoints, provide combat bonuses, while others, such as woodcutting and fishing, enable the player to collect resources that can be sold for a profit or personal use. Raw materials are converted into goods to be used in combat with skills such as fletching and cooking. There are also skills that allow players to kill certain NPCs, build their own houses, or move around the map with greater ease, to name a few.
A player and an NPC engage in combat.Main article: RuneScape combat
Combat is an important aspect of the gameplay in RuneScape, as it is one of the most direct ways of gaining wealth and is needed to start and complete many quests. Combat level, determined by applying a formula to the seven combat skills, is usually referred to simply as "level". Combat level is the only information about the player that is visible to other players while in game. The minimum combat level is 3, which is the starting combat, while the maximum a player can be is 126. Other skill levels increase total levels and overall rankings which can be seen by other players on the official "high scores".
Unlike most games in the MMORPG genre, RuneScape does not require players to choose a character class. Players are not bound to a specific category of combat, and they may freely change between the three styles of combat at any time simply by switching weapons, armours, or the form and focus of attack. Players can carry the weapons and armours of the three combat categories in their inventories, switching between or even combining the styles at will.
Combat is subdivided into melee, magic, and ranged categories. Melee attacks are close range with or without weapons, magic attacks focus on using runestones to cast spells, and ranged attacks use projectile weapons. Most of the game's weapons are medieval or fantastical in nature and feature different strengths and weaknesses.
Players die when they receive enough damage from combat, poison, or obstacles to cause their hitpoints to fall to zero. Players who die reappear at one of three respawn points (the town of Lumbridge by default, though members may change it to the city of Falador or to the Castle of Camelot upon completion of a quest to unlock each respawn.) with all their skills, including hitpoints, restored to normal levels; however, they lose all but three of their most valuable items that they were carrying at the time of death. A special prayer increases this to four items, but recent player killing, denoted by a skull above the player's head, decreases this to no items and just one with the prayer.
Quests are tasks that players may complete in order to receive rewards, often access to new items, areas and new spellbooks for the magic skill. These often require minimum levels in certain skills or a minimum combat level to complete them, and a few require the help of another player. In addition, quests are grouped into four categories based on requirements and difficulty. Novice quests effectively act as extended tutorials for new players. Intermediate quests are designed to act as new obstacles on a relatively basic level, while experienced and master quests aim to challenge the more experienced players. Many master quests open up new areas of Gielinor for players to explore.  Once a player completes all quests in the game, another achievement cape, commonly referred to as the "quest cape", can be purchased from an NPC. Wearing this cape allows the player to perform a special emote. Many quests require players to kill particularly powerful monsters.
Upon completing quests, players receive rewards that vary depending on the difficulty of the quest. Rewards often include coins, items, access to a new area, or an increase in skill experience. Quest points are also awarded for completing quests, the amount of which varies from quest to quest. Some quests require the player to have a specified number of quest points or to have previously completed certain quests before beginning the quest. Many quests are part of overlapping storylines that become more difficult as the player progresses through them. The longest of these has been in RuneScape since 2002 and currently contains several separate quests.
Castle Wars, one of the most popular mini-games, is based on capture the flag gameplay.Many NPCs populate the realm of Gielinor. Although some NPCs, such as shopkeepers, have game functions that require them to be unavailable for combat, most NPCs can be attacked. Attackable NPCs are generally referred to as monsters, regardless of their race. Monsters range from common, low level creatures like chickens and bears to unique, much more powerful monsters like the King Black Dragon, Chaos Elemental or Kalphite Queen. Each type of monster has its own strengths and weaknesses. Demons, for example, have low defence against magical attacks while most dragons have extremely high defence against magic. Monsters may either be aggressive or non-aggressive. The aggressive monsters attack all players who are under twice the combat of the monster. However, in the wilderness, aggressive monsters attack all players regardless of level. Non-aggressive monsters do not attack players until the player attacks first. This can make certain areas throughout Gielinor dangerous or inconvenient to players depending upon their combat levels.
RuneScape also features independent mini-games for its players. Mini-games take place in certain areas and normally involve a specific skill. Mini-games usually require players to cooperate or to compete with each other. Popular mini-games include Castle Wars, which is similar to the real-life game Capture the Flag, and Pest Control, a highly combat-focused mini-game. Currently, all mini-games, with the exception of the Stronghold of Security, are available only to paying members.
Players can fight against other players in player versus player (PvP) combat in certain areas of Gielinor. The most common place is in the Wilderness, where players risk their lives and their items fighting other players. Players can engage in PvP combat without risking their items in mini-games such as the Duel Arena, Castle Wars, and the TzHaar Fight Pits, and in combat arenas or dungeons in player owned houses. Players engaging in PvP combat in the Duel Arena can agree on rules for the duel such as allowing only melee attacks or preventing players from using potions or food during the fight.
While preparing a meal, a player is interrupted by a random event that requires the player's response. Ignorance of random events results in negative consequences for the player. There are over 40 possible random events.Random events are short interludes that occur during the game, requiring some form of player input. They were introduced to deter players from using automated programs, known as macros, autoers, or bots, to play the game with no human interaction. The use of such macros is explicitly forbidden and can result in the permanent ban of accounts found to be using them. 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 levelling skills for long periods of time (referred to as grinding).
Some random events are simple, requiring a player only to click on an NPC or to leave the area temporarily; others require more sophisticated actions from players, who must respond to these events quickly and correctly to avoid a negative effect, such as being teleported across the map or taking damage. Players are usually rewarded for responding correctly to random events.
RuneScape players represent a wide range of nationalities and ages. Most players speak English to some extent. Players who speak languages other than English tend to gravitate to servers populated by other players who speak the same language; some worlds have larger numbers of players who speak Spanish, Dutch, French, German, or other languages. It is not uncommon, however, to see many languages on the chat screen throughout RuneScape. A German translation of RuneScape has recently been released as an open beta.
A set of official forums created entirely by Jagex programmers is available to players on the RuneScape website. On the forums, players are able to participate in game discussions, play player-made forum games, make arrangements to buy or sell items, and interact with the community. Free players can read the forums, but posting on them is reserved for paying members. The RuneScape forums are quite diverse, allowing thousands of players to access them at any given time. Each forum has its own specific list of rules enforced by forum moderators.
Players can submit questions via an e-mail address listed on the website to any non-player character in the game. Selected letters are answered in an update called Postbag from the Hedge, typically at the end of each month. This feature began on 26 September 2005 and has since become one of the most accessed pages of the site. Beginning 24 September 2002, players could submit questions to the RuneScape gods; however, this feature was discontinued on 9 December 2004. Players can also submit original RuneScape related artwork, some of which is displayed in a gallery on the RuneScape website. Media featured have included sculpture, comics, drawings, and paintings.
Many RuneScape fansites have been established by players, none of which are supported or recognized by Jagex. In order to provide players with an alternative, official site to get the information they want or need, Jagex introduced the Knowledge Base, which offers information on gameplay, the main RuneScape rules, and account security. However, at least one major fansite has criticised Jagex for not recognising fansites' contributions to the development of its game.
RuneScape has a player economy based largely around items produced using skills. Raw materials are collected using the extracting skills, such as fishing, and are processed into more advanced materials with processing skills, such as cooking. The products produced by processing skills, such as armour or food, are often sold and used by players in combat. Some players engage in arbitrage, commonly referred to as merchanting, in order to turn a profit in game by buying and selling items. Historically, inflation has caused some instability in the game economy. Inflation is caused by a variety of factors, including the large number of resources put into the game by macroing.
Rules and cheating
RuneScape moderator crowns.Jagex has put in place a number of rules for player conduct, such as rules against offensive language, scamming, and bug abuse. To enforce the rules, RuneScape uses three types of moderators: Jagex moderators, who are actual Jagex employees; player moderators, who are trusted ordinary players who enforce the rules in the game; and forum moderators, who are trusted players who police the game forums. On the forums, Jagex moderators are identified by gold crowns and backgrounds on their posts while forum moderators have green crowns and backgrounds; in game, Jagex moderators have gold crowns next to their names in chat while player moderators have silver crowns. In addition, any player has the ability to report rule-breaking using a "report abuse" feature; misuse of this feature can result in action being taken against the reporter. The effectiveness of Jagex's hunt on abusers has been debated by Twitchguru.
There are also rules prohibiting the use of third-party software to play the game, known as macroing, and the sale of game items for real money, known as real-world or real-money trading. In the early days of the game, most cheaters were individual players using special programs that exploited weaknesses in the game's client-server communications by sending false data to the server. In response, Jagex made direct interaction with the client very difficult. Players then began using macro programs to automate mouse clicks for repetitive tasks. Random events, requiring human reaction and decision making, are one method Jagex employs to attempt to disrupt such programs. According to Jagex, many cheaters are now based in game sweatshops in East Asia, making gold to sell to players for real-world money, an issue in many other MMORPGs. In response, Jagex issued a statement condemning real-world trading, which had already been against the rules. In the statement, they also claimed that they were seizing billions of gold and banning thousands of accounts every week for cheating. Nevertheless, real-world trading and macroing activities still continue.
A study by Brunel University claims that playing RuneScape, in some ways, can be beneficial to players. It can instruct players about working hard to achieve goals and that the nature of most games, including RuneScape, can teach teenagers vital skills as they enter the labour market. As of December 2003, RuneScape was one of the fastest growing out of all of the MMORPGs, having a userbase fifty percent larger than that of EverQuest. The game is praised for its free play abilities. JustRPG summarised the game with "In short, the game of Runescape is a fun, addictive game, and while the graphics may not be perfect, for a game written in Java, they aren't bad. The skills are varied, the community is alright, and it'll eat up your time if you aren't careful," giving it a score of 83%. The Yahoo Buzz Log states that "while it may not be as easy on the eyes as some other popular online RPG games, like World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, or EverQuest, RuneScape is still a lot better way to kill time than pushing around cells in a spreadsheet." PC Gamer UK in December 2003; states that while the "traditional RPG values of questing, slaying monsters and developing your character in a familiar medieval setting" won't "have the big boys trembling in their +2 Boots of Subscriber Gathering," this is offset by the game's accessibility through a web browser, "compounded by a version of the game that allows free adventuring before players upgrade to a members account," describing the game as "an unsurprising success."
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RuneScape - The official RuneScape website
RuneScape German - The official German translation of the RuneScape website
Jagex site - The official Jagex site
Wikia has a wiki about this topic: RuneScape Wiki
Wikia has a wiki about this topic: Dark RuneScape Wiki
Top 3 Major fansites
These articles are part of the RuneScape series:
Combat • Gielinor • Gods • Skills • Andrew Gower • Jagex
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Categories: Semi-protected | Browser-based games | Java platform games | Massively multiplayer online role-playing games | Miniclip games | Multiplayer browser-based games | Online games | RuneScape
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