Why people still play RuneScape

From an outsider’s perspective, RuneScape is nothing more than a poor man’s MMO. But try telling that to the game’s loyal fans who are just as in love with RuneScape today as they were when it first released. Despite the growing popularity of more modern MMOs, RuneScape still has a strong following with millions of active players around the world.

Last month, RuneScape received the biggest update in the game’s history, the Dungeons of Daemonheim expansion. We checked in with Adam Tuckwell, the Head of Communications for Jagex and Mark Ogilvie, the Lead Designer for RuneScape to for a bit of history on the granddaddy of the modern MMO and some insight as to why it’s still so popular today.

Above: The granddaddy of MMOs is still hanging tough. Find out why

How RuneScape got started

GR: Tell us a little bit about the history of RuneScape

Tuckwell: RuneScape has its origins in an early graphical MUD that was written by Jagex’s founder, Andrew Gower, with his brother Paul. Both Andrew and Paul are still heavily involved with RuneScape in the technical and content sides respectively. The first public version of RuneScape was released in 2001 as a free game and the members’ option was added soon after. In 2003, we launched the beta version of the game that that is available now and renamed the early version, RuneScape Classic. The current version received a graphical overhaul in 2008 and we added a HD option for players. Our latest addition is The Dungeons of Daemonheim expansion, but Mark will tell you more about that!

Above: MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) were like text-based MMOs. Remember logging into these sorts of games on bulletin board systems with your old modem?

GR: Are there any regions where RuneScape is more popular? Is there anything interesting you can tell us about the demographics of its players?

Tuckwell: RuneScape has millions of players globally but the majority of our players are based in the United States. RuneScape is the second largest MMO in the US and is also highly popular in other parts of the English-speaking world. RuneScape is also available in French, German and Brazilian-Portuguese.

We have an extremely diverse demographic of players, the majority of our players are aged 13 – 18 with only 8% of our players aged under 13. More than a third of our players are aged 19 and over.

Above: “RuneScape is the second largest MMO in the US…” says Tuckwell

GR: The free-to-play MMO market has exploded over the last few years. In addition, turn-based RPGs on Facebook seem more popular than ever. How/why does RuneScape continue to thrive? What draws players to RuneScape’s world, and what keeps them there?

Tuckwell: Accessibility and high quality game play is key and at Jagex we always keep that in mind when considering options for RuneScape and our other games, this ensures that we always remain competitive and is one of the reasons that players are drawn to our games. There’s already so much to do in RuneScape, but we update the game very frequently which keeps players’ interests and gives them plenty of options for how they want to play.


Jagex RuneScape

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  • quadibloc - September 16, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    I just recently started playing Runescape as an F2P player. While that limits content compared to a paid account, the game doesn't try to force you to pay money or be beat up by other players - so I'm much happier with it than with League of Angels, which I made the mistake of trying quite a while ago. But I do agree that it is not perfect, and I have already considered giving up on it a couple of times - but so far, it's still interesting enough to play, and I think it'll get more interesting as I improve my abilities.
  • westar - December 4, 2012 11:18 p.m.

    Runescape game is one of the best game that i have played,and i like it very much ,and i know a very good website to sell runescape golds:RSmillion,its very cheaper,1mil just need $0.4.and i can received the golds in 5 minutes ,so i post here want to share this good news with allthe runescape player who like to play runescape like me ,i hope that it will help you enjoy runescape game well....
  • westar - October 25, 2012 7:01 p.m.

    Runescape game is one of the best game that i have played,and i like it very much ,and i know a very good website to sell runescape golds,its very cheaper,1mil just need $0.49.and i can received the golds in 5 minutes ,so i post here want to share this good news with allthe runescape player who like to play runescape like me ,i hope that it will help you play runescape game well....
  • metalrichdog - March 27, 2011 2:55 a.m.

    rs=good world of warcraft sucks i played it and stopped the next day. my computer ran perfectly so it wasnt laggs it was that the games wasn't fun. rs is a much more addiciting and is quite fun so if it was up to me i would choose to play rs and never world of warcraft
  • Anonymously - July 17, 2010 1:30 a.m.

    "The granddaddy of MMOs is still hanging tough." You're joking right? Runescape was never the granddaddy. It is/was an offshoot of the granddaddy and daddy. Ultima Online is the granddaddy, Everquest is the daddy. Runescape is a retarded cousin at best, that somehow is still able to keep alive longer and more effectively then its other more popular and influential relations.
  • theschwartzb - July 7, 2010 8:37 p.m.

    I didn't get through the tutorial to this game before I got bored and quit this (in my opinion) terrible game.
  • MrDuracraft - June 1, 2010 7:17 p.m.

    RuneScape, it gets it's hate, it has it's love, and there's even an in-between. I've been playing for about 5 years (quit for about 6 months) and I still enjoy it. The quests are getting better and better (I myself have a quest cape), and the graphics are becoming extremely better and the animations smoother (i.e. the recent skillcape emote update). Dungeoneering added a lot to the game, but I don't really train it much. To all those haters that may bash RuneScape in the comments, don't bother because we don't give a shit :D
  • crumbdunky - May 31, 2010 9:27 a.m.

    RS was the first MMO I tried to get into(a long time ago now) but just like WoW since(among others of varying hues of fantasy)I just couldn't get my head round it. I can't say it was boring or dull but there's just something about it that turned me off and, in fairness, it wasn't the same thing that put me off WoW(which was just the number of awful people playing said game. Truly I've never come across a more wanker filled community anywhere, ever! I've been told I must have been unlucky but after trying three times I just think there must be more tosspots that play WoW than any other game of any other type), mind, but RS just didn't hold my attention enough to make me commit to the kind of time needed to really enjoy something like this. Also, it's a bit of a crappy admission to make but it's true-I find the clunky animations and graphics a real issue with pretty much every MMO in existence! I guess when you already have actual people in the game it's harder to continue suspending belief compared to a sp game(RPG/JRPG)where the game controls everyone that you don't control yourself. I just think I find it all less immersive-same thing with any MP/co-op I play as well. Must just be me, mind!
  • CaptainSpatula - May 30, 2010 6:31 p.m.

    I loved RS when I was 12-13 years old. I played every day, had a membership. I'd do all the quests with my best friend and we'd always help each other out on stuff. Then I dropped it around 14. Then I played for 7 hours straight one day last year with my same friend. Got our characters up to level 60 and then never played again. @Falconbuster: I hated the economy too. But it was always kind of a "lol this is soooo bad it's funny" kind of hate. I actually thought of writing an essay or research paper on how and why the economy failed so bad. I found it fascinating how bad Jagex backed themselves in to a corner.
  • devilhawk546 - May 30, 2010 10:50 a.m.

    Back in the days before I had a PS3 or a even a PS2 I used to play this non-stop.
  • Willis916 - May 30, 2010 2:15 a.m.

    hey i know how to hack any runescape account if you tell me its user and very first password :) also if anyone wants a free lvl 70ish runescape acc pm me cuz i got one collecting dust lol :P
  • crazytar - May 29, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    this was a game that i hated to love to play. kinda weird
  • Annihilator - May 29, 2010 7:26 p.m.

    I used to play a year or 3 ago, but pretty much forgot and stopped because of computer hardware fail and the update that ruined the "Wilderness," I recently went to the site and wanted to play again but I couldn't remember my username, only my password. Then I let the email I used go inactive and lost all my emails so their is no history of any old emails, basically a fail on my part, I'm not gonna bother making a new account either though because I'm too lazy. But all-in-all, if I remember what it was I'm prolly gonna check it out again.
  • TheHolyHandGrenade - May 29, 2010 10:45 a.m.

    I really hatted runescape, The magic part was the worst, Collect 5 runes and you can fire a magic ball, then collect more runes, then more runes, then more runes. If they changed that then maybe i would of played it.
  • Clovin64 - May 29, 2010 10:08 a.m.

    I dont know why I dont play MMO's. I bloody love single player offline RPG's and can spend hundreds of hours of my life doing quests and grinding to level up. I like RPGs, I like pretending to have friends. Seems like a no-brainer, doesnt it? I think I'm just terrified that I'll be sucked into it completley until I forget to eat and waste away tonothing and die. And dieing will significantly reduce my chances of passing my exams. So I've heard.
  • Tronto13 - May 29, 2010 9:53 a.m.

    i played it and was totally addicted from like 12-16 mainly due to the wide variety of quests and activities. I had a lot of fun with it but eventually, as with all things, my attentions moved on.
  • oryandymackie - May 29, 2010 8:47 a.m.

    I, an avid AdventureQuest player, created an account on Runescape at the behest of my friends. I suppose it was curiosity - but I found it to be a clumsy, crowded party of drunken mages and not-very-good swordsmen. I'd rather have the fairly-rigid but smooth and beautiful AdventureQuest any day: 'Because I'm Too Poor For WoW'.
  • Cwf2008 - May 29, 2010 6:12 a.m.

    Wait Dungeneoring is free? Really? Nice...thats why i quit playing because they never added anything for F2P players so i finally just said eff this game
  • Craza - May 29, 2010 5:42 a.m.

    I do have the urge to go back and play Runescape every now and then. It's where my love of MMO's first started, so it always had a special place in my heart.
  • Hobojedi - May 29, 2010 4:22 a.m.

    I play Runescape because it is good a way for me to connect with my friends. Go ahead and hate me for that.