Why people still play RuneScape

Putting “adventure” back into the MMO

GR: Can you tell us a little about what you do at Jagex?

Ogilvie: I’m the lead designer of RuneScape. Basically, that means I create the objectives for the Content team for the year, identifying what the game needs in very broad terms. Then I will work with individual developers on specific projects, identifying much more specific aims and target levels, player types, difficulty, etc. Once approved and developed, I play through the content and offer feedback, often working closely with the QA team to ensure the highest quality on launch. Having been at Jagex for seven years now means I also get involved in lots of other projects, like establishing guidelines and rules for our players, editorial roles for stories and letters, event organisation, conference speaking, and even very ’ground level‘ stuff such as helping to decide on punishments for bug abusers. I like to have my fingers in many pies, so to speak.

Above: “I’ve often been surprised at the lack of adventure in MMO games,” explains Ogilvie

GR: The last update was called “the biggest update in RuneScape’s history.” Can you tell us about what was changed and improved?

Ogilvie: One word: Dungeoneering. I’ve often been surprised at the lack of adventure in MMO games. By that I mean that the idea of XP and grind just doesn’t lend itself to the medieval high-fantasy world that most MMO gamers find themselves in. Although I do believe RuneScape’s quest content is the envy of the whole MMO industry (they’re far, far more involved than a glorified ‘shopping list’ quests, which tend to be the industry standard), they can each only be played through once and aren’t likely to occupy more than 15% of your gaming experience.

One of our favourite forum posts of all time was a really well written piece called “Here Be Dragons” – you know, the sort of thing written in the blank parts of ancient maps. “Cliffs of Insanity” or “Rodents of unusual size” - the kind of one liner that just screams adventure to you. The post talked about how MMO games lacked that same kind of adventure, since it asked its gamers to repeat the same actions and visit the same places over and over again. It made us consider the principals of XP and adventure and we argued that they could never be the same – adventure was the reward itself; you couldn’t make ‘adventure’ the principal aim of a skill since it would be grind, which is fundamentally not what adventure is. We weren’t prepared to accept that argument (we often argue with ourselves).

Another issue we were trying to solve at the time was the ’bankstall‘ that experienced players suffer from in all games. You know the feeling: the bit where you log in, go to your bank or storage chest and open the interface. You just have so much stuff that it’s tough to work out what you want to work on. Or you open your achievements tab and see so many uncompleted tasks that you just don’t know where to start - you stall like a car might. For an hour of playing, you spend twenty minutes of that just staring at a list. Sometimes you just want to say “Give me something cool to do for an hour”.

After many meetings and much soul searching the Dungeoneering skill was born, and I would like to think it tackles all of the problems I described above.

GR: So, what is Dungeoneering?

Ogilvie: Basically, it’s the ability to create a unique dungeon experience for yourself and up to four of your mates, culminating in an epic boss fight at the end. The dungeon is a mix of combat, skill-based challenges, puzzles and resources designed to challenge even the most experienced of MMO gamers. Each dungeon allows only minimal (if any) equipment to be carried from each floor to the next (60 floors down at its deepest point), which means the desire to gear up the party with the best equipment is a driving force behind every floor. Equipment comes from using your RuneScape skills to smith armour, hunt mastyx (subterranean cow-like creatures), grow herbs to make potions, summon helpers, etc., or picking it up from the drop tables of the monsters you face.

We build these dungeons room by room, keeping track of how powerful the adventuring group has become and matching the challenges of the subsequent rooms appropriately.

With a huge amount of tweaking options, you can ensure the dungeon experience is the right one for you, especially in terms of difficulty, challenge levels and size. The chance of that dungeon being similar to any other dungeon you have faced is greater than 1 billion to 1. I know it sounds like a crazy number, but it’s true.

After you’re done bashing boss monsters into oblivion, you’ll earn tokens to spend on rewards to use outside of the dungeon. We’re also working on new rewards to use within the dungeon.

GR: What would you say to a gamer who’s never played RuneScape?

Ogilvie: Where have you been for the last eight years? In a hole? On the moon? Try it now before it smites you and jumps up and down on your smoking remains. Well, maybe not that jumping bit, but you should definitely try it. Since we added Dungeoneering to the free version of the game as well as the members’ version, you won’t need to pay anything before you’re slaying your first crypt rat. No excuses!

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Jagex RuneScape


  • 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.

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  • 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.

Showing 1-20 of 29 comments

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