RuneScape developer Jagex had taken the unusual stance of giving players a say in some major game design decisions -- namely, the restoration of the wilderness as an open-PvP area and the revival of free trade. Over 1.2 million names signed the petition in just 24 hours, proving without a doubt that players want the opportunity to vote on the decision. Jagex has now moved onto phase 2 of the referendum, opening a vote to any player with a RuneScape account. If you have an account and want to vote on this important issue, head over to the wilderness referendum page to have your say. Over half a million players have already voted, with about 90% voting yes for the restoration of the wilderness and free trade.
For those old enough to remember the old days of RuneScape before the wilderness and trade restrictions came in, there's a lot to look forward to if this motion passes. Back when RuneScape was young, the wilderness was an open PvP area full of dangerous challenges and worthwhile rewards. The further a player got into the wilderness, the higher the level difference could be between him and another player for PvP to still be possible. It was a place for gang warfare, battling the game's toughest creatures and ad-hoc survival challenges.
Several years ago, Jagex took some serious steps to curb the growing RMT and botting problems. Direct trading was heavily restricted, with a block on trades where one player puts up a significantly different value of items or gold than the other player. The auctioneer-style "Grand Exchange" became the only reliable way to trade, but even it has limits on item value. To avoid RMT salesmen bypassing the trade system to deliver gold, limits were placed on the stakes in item duels and PvP was completely removed from the wilderness. The PvP provided by the wilderness was replaced with Bounty Hunter servers and PvP minigames. If this vote passes, all of that will be reversed and players will be free to experience a part of RuneScape's history that has been lost for years.