But what about the community? Isn't RuneScape a "kid's game?" Isn't it filled with 14-year-old boys named some version of "Pwnzer?" What about the graphics? Aren't they pathetically unrealistic? How does that affect immersion in the game? All I can say is read on! I was not only glad to see my gut feeling about the game being reinforced, but excited to see a game that is doing things that no others come close to doing. Jagex. The game has been around for many years and was started by two brothers. I imagine that they never dreamed the game would grow to the size it had; it's currently the "largest free mmorpg in the world," according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Pretty amazing, especially when you consider not only the age of the game but the fact that it plays within a browser.
"It was exciting to have such freedom. In these days of class based bloated 'AAA' MMOs, it's so nice to feel that I have a say in the course my character takes."
Essentially, as you use different items or skills, you gain experience and levels in those particular skills. If you chop down trees, you gain skill in chopping wood. As your skill rises, so does the diversity of the woods available for for you to chop. (There's a lot of wood-chopping in RuneScape.) If I use a weapon, I gain in combat, attack or defense skill. Each weapon even requires a different stance that helps you accrue experience in different styles of combat. For example, if I use a block style, I gain experience in the defense skill. It's a simple sandbox premise. It just works, and it works very well.
The task system can be seen as a series of quests but really is a list of tasks that players can tick off, eventually hoping to complete the set. For example, I am currently trying to complete the Lumbridge series of tasks. The handy task list lets me know what the task is and what reward I get out of it, and it will even provide me with a hint. Most of the tasks are basic, like "cook a loaf of bread," but some do become more involved. The great thing is that I feel absolutely no pressure to go run away to greater adventure. Instead, I want to stick around the area to level up different skills and to discover the local secrets through the tasks and quests.
While crafting, in my limited experience, seems relatively straightforward, the sheer volume of craftable items makes the occupation of crafter a complex one. You can go for blacksmith or concentrate on one particular weapon. I'm guessing that you can go for all of them with enough time. I found myself crafting my own weapons, armor and housing items within the first evening. It was exciting to have such freedom. In these days of class-based bloated "AAA" MMOs, it's so nice to feel that I have a say in the course my character takes.
"In fact, I don't remember many details of the game -- not quite yet. In case you didn't know, this is a very good sign."
Needless to say, I was floored. RuneScape has done more, is doing more, and will continue to do more than many games in the market. While I wish I could have a review that was filled with every detail I came across, there were just too many. You'll have to log in and see for yourself. I didn't even touch on the housing, the random player-specific events that whisk you away to instanced adventure, the summoning, the clans, the PvP castle events, and much more. All I can say is that we should never judge a game by how it looks or because of what we heard about the community. Do not avoid this game. When you do play, take your time with the game. If you turn it into a "skill grind," it will definitely become that. But if you allow yourself to get lost in the game, you'll realize just why the game is so popular.
Feel free to file this under "gushing."
Next week I will be looking at a new browser-based game from alaplaya called Forsakia, the Lost Clans. I hardly know anything about the game and have only barely played it. My name is BeauHindman in game, so look me up. Until next Sunday, enjoy your holiday -- now GO LOG IN!
Each week, Rise and Shiny asks you to download and try a different free-to-play, indie or unusual game, chosen by me, Beau Hindman. We meet each Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EST; the column runs the following Sunday. I welcome any suggestions for games -- drop me a note in the comments or email, or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Raptr!