Since its restoration on February 22 2013, Runescape Old-school is back to how it was in early August 2007 when it kept hundreds of thousands of players busy. With 449,351 players voting for its return, old school Runescape will be subscription only for the first 6 months (5 USD per month) and currently sports a small but dedicated maintainance team. So what’s the fuss? What’s so great about it? Why bother?
We will give those who were not around back in August 2007 and those who have forgotten the glory of the past 3 reasons to play old school Runescape. Of course, there are as many reasons to play old school Runescape as there are players already doing it, but here we focus on the underlying reasons brought about by the game itself:
1. A fresh start
On the standard Runescape servers there are so many players with maxed out skills that making it to the hiscores just is not doable if you have a life outside of Runescape. On the old school servers anyone can make it to the hiscores within reasonable time, and even if it just lasts for a few days, at least you had your moment in the sun.
Furthermore, the old school servers do not have a warped economy with mass produced rares held by those who do not deserve such riches. On the old school servers everyone is given a fresh start and anyone can become someone who matters without too much of an effort.
2. Barter based economy
In August 2007 there was no Grand Exchange in Runescape. To buy from or sell to other players on old school servers you must find your buyer/seller and agree upon a price. The standard market place is Varrock in world 1 and 2. However, players tend to trade whenever and wherever an opportunity arises.
This may sound cumbersome to those used to the Grand Exchange but it adds so much depth to the game. In fact, it becomes a whole different game. It becomes a skill to know the price of items, where to trade for them, and how to read your fellow player’s mind. How much does he want the item in question? How much does he have to spend? How much of that can I get him to spend?
The value of items is subjective and changes not only from player to player but also depending on time and place. To become a master merchant you must master both prices, players, time, and space. The grand exchange rendered this entire skill set mastered by tens of thousands of players useless. But now it’s in demand again. And that’s the way it should be.
3. No Evolution of Combat
Judging by the polls held by Jagex, most players were ok with Evolution of Combat and the most prevalent view was an equal appreciation of the old and new combat system. And now thanks to the return of old school Runescape you can play either system whenever you like.
Evolution of combat was brought about to balance the combat triangle which was slightly dominated by melee, make combat less about items and more about player skill, and ultimately encourage a larger variety in equipment. That’s all commendable but let’s not forget that by making items less distinquished you also take away some common goals that players have shared for years. It is a good thing when players desire the same item. It sparks inspiration, admiration, cooperation, trade, envy, friction, and pking. All the colours of the world. It is the principal force of an MMO.
It should also be pointed out that there is always going to be a superior way of playing, regardless of the game and its mechanics. How else could anyone ever win? There is no such thing as a balanced game in so far as game mechanics. The true balance of a game is that between the known and the unknown. Throw too much of the unknown at the player and he is instantly turned off. Give him too much of what he already has experience with and it’s boring. In the end everything gets old, even old school Runescape, and there will come a day when not even gold can bring back the lost luster of a bygone age. Hopefully, Jagex will have some updates up their sleeve by then.