|ESRB Rating||13+, provided that the player has been kept in an isolated, sanitary room for entirety of life.|
|Number of Players||More than World of Warcraft. Ha!|
|Addiction Rate||Irrelevant. The JRS hunt you down and kill you if you try to quit.|
|System Requirements||Money, 25KB RAM, 3.25Mhz Processor, Commodore 63+, poor knowledge of human rights, Money.|
|Inputs||Money, Keyboard, Mouse, Speaker, Social Status, Health, Sanity, Money.|
RuneScape is an experiment to test people's toleration of boredom. It is produced by Jagex, a top-secret research organisation masquerading as a mediocre gaming company. The game features many repetitive tasks, yet researchers are puzzled by the fact that players find it so addictive. RuneScape is available to all players aged over thirteen, but this rarely works out in practice. It should be noted the game is ran using controversial management policies, as is evident from its logo.
History and Development
RuneScape was first developed in 2001 by a gaming company with no imagination, who made the initial mistake of developing it in book form (kinda similar to a choose-your-own-adventure book). However to keep up with competing games, it had to offer as many options as possible. This meant that every single tile, every single action, every single little detailed possibilty was accounted for.
And that meant that the book was frigging HUGE!!!!.
Seriously, here's an excerpt from the book:
Page 1 Welcome to RuneScape. Which class do you wish to play as? To play as a miner, go to page 2. To play as an adventurer, go to page 34289. To play as a warrior, go to page 142794. To play as a ranger, go to page 623423. To play as a wizard, go to page 1659084. To play as a dragon enchanter, go to page 982728 ---- Page 2 You are a miner. What do you wish to do? To go north one tile, go to page 78. To go south one tile, go to page 90234. To go east one tile, go to page 425463. To go west one tile, go to page 6. To equip your pickaxe, go to page 31,758,431,759,431. To beg to a random person, go to page 2360. ---- Page 3 Elvarg has hit you for 24 damage. You have 1 hit point left. What do you wish to do? To curse yourself for not bringing any items, go to page 5 while cursing. To die, go to page 1. To PM Zezima to come and save you, go to page 77756 To see the surprise ending, go to page 1337. ---- Page 1337 Elvarg was a hax0rer. You lost all your items. What do you wish to do? To whine in the forums, go to page 10 To see if he stole your Axe of Flaming Death, go to page 3,254,121,726 To see if he stole your Pickaxe, go to page 1226 To stop playing, and to get a life, go to page 0
The first edition was printed with 89,500,000,000,000 pages. After destroying nearly every tree on the planet, they realized that it contained no player-killing zones, making it absolutely pointless. Furthermore most of the beta testers died of boredom. This attracted the attention of Jagex (and the cops), who bought out the game for a large sum of money, and developed the online version. After much sweat and tears, RuneScape was born (not literally of course). The website was created, the first accounts were made (the first being 'Fred'), and the first n00b was pwnt. More importantly it featured an unexciting combat system, several tedious skills, and graphics that were mostly drawn in MS Paint. Success for Jagex! The boredom research side of the project was handed over to Cambridge drop-out Andrew Gower, whilst the developing team, formed from the dregs of society, continued to add more boring features to keep players bored for even longer.(Oh joy...)
In 2003 boredom research reached its end, and the results were profound. Players were showing unusual resistance to all the boring quests and skills. They didn't seem bored at all. In fact they even seemed to be enjoying it! This allowed Jagex to keep going with the game, in a way that they could have their cake and eat it. They continued to receive research grants from the government, but were also raking in huge sums of money from paying players. This paved the way for new research, as Jagex began to develop a new game. Work increased at a rapid pace. Firstly, and most importantly, the game's graphics were revamped into glorious 2D, hailing the arrival of RuneScape 2. Behind the hype surrounding the release were more sinister purposes. Gower wished to see if the demographics and economics of an MMORPG were similar enough to Real Life to use as a testing programme for Communism. The old version is now called RuneScape Classic. It is still played, mostly by 43-year-old virgins. Jagex now claims that the old game does not exist.
Social Status of RuneScape Players
RuneScape's fan base consists of completely normal people who are unfairly stereotyped and shunned by society. Most people who play Runescape keep it a secret for fear of social rejection. This kind of bigotry and marginalization is unfair to people who play RuneScape, and it is time people in society take an active role to fight for the rights of RuneScape players and stop the prejudice and hatred.
There are 3 types of combat in the game. There is Melee, Magic and Ranged. During combat, a player has to attack something like a player or an NPC (non-playable character). The player then waits for it to hit back before attacking again. In Melee combat, the player repeatedly hits something with a weapon or weaponless, hoping to injure it. In ranged and magic combat, players who want to attack others unfairly may stand behind a fence and attack the helpless guy with arrows. Fortunately, Jagex noticed this and created runes and arrows for magic and ranged attacks. These items were horribly overpriced. Combat is somewhat useless as the thing you kill always respawns anyway. The only thing you gain is expierience to level up your combat skill to pointlessly kill more things. There is a rare chance when something you kill drops an item other than bones. A Man or a Woman for instance, drops 3 gold pieces.
Skills are a huge waste of time. Ironically they involve no skill whatsoever, just lots and lots of patience. For instance, the mining skill requires you to click on a rock, and wait while your character mines it. Boring, huh? Then you take the rocks back to a bank. (I ask you what kind of bank would let you do this?!) Then you click some more times. The woodcutting skill requires you to click on trees, the fishing skill requires you to click on fish, and the prayer skill requires you to go to church on Sundays. (Either that, or walking door to door asking whether people have heard of our great lord Brassica Prime.) Once you reach level 99 in a skill, you can wear 'skillcape' as a status symbol of how much time you have wasted. And once you reach level 99 in every skill, having devoted your life to RuneScape, Jagex will invent a new one. (It's called Invention).
~ A Fagex worker on NonMembership
RuneScape is free for anyone to play. Membership is strictly optional, and in no way compromises the experience of non-paying players. LIES! DAMNED LIES!! Membership benefits include being able to do more than one-twentieth of the available quests, and going anywhere on the world map (non-member areas suck. Really, they do.). Members also get to go to the non-member worlds, and laugh at the noobs there. Most important is the ability to learn new skills,(more tedious waiting) keeping them addicted for longer. Jagex also has a cruel system of punishment for those players who stop paying. Once a player cancels their subscription, they are left with weapons and skills that they can't even use. Furthermore all their other items turn to dust. For fully addicted players, that $5 per month is like a life support. Players who lose their membership are likely to commit suicide in real life. Fan site RuneHQ hosts a forum where ex players can write their suicide notes.
You type something and the words appear above your head. What could be simpler? Noobs looking for extra attention can put extra effects on their text. For instance red:phr33 st00f pl0x would come out as phr33 st00f pl0x. This works best in an area surrounded by people using these effects. It can feel a bit like a bad acid trip. In fact there are some players who enhance their RuneScape experience with psychadelic drugs.
Another feature of the chat is censorship. Jagex has a totalitarian regime, which blocks out words such as 'bloody', 'shutup', 'stupid' and 'WoW'. They also forbid players from discussing the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, but that is another story. Though Jagex claims that limiting the things people say has no impact on the actual user experience. A typical conversation appears as such.
ed_22 says: "Hi" uber1 says: "He**o" ed_22 says: "Coo* axe, can * buy?" uber1 says: "Sure" ed_22 says: "How ****?" uber1 says: "W*a*?" ed_22 says: "cost?" uber1 says: "Oh, 1**" ed_22 says: "how ****?" uber1 says: "W*** a** *** saying*" ed_22 says: "*** **** **** it *****" uber1 says: "* **** ***" ed_22 says: "************************" knee_o says: "********** cow is *******"
3_oh_3 says: "same **** *** **** c****e** **gs" ed_22 has been banned for using profanities
Punishments include banning, permanent muting, and being forced to attand a 30 minute lecture of censorship (followed by banning). Recently Jagex has implemented a novel policy whereby players who break this rule have their usernames changed to such profanities as "GenitalWart" or "GoatseMan". The intention of this is to teach them how offensive language hurts.
Anyway, players find countless ways to cheat the censor, such as l33tspeak, drawing penises with ASCII art, and spelling out swear words with dropped items. There has also been a recent update which lets you turn off the censor and get turned on.
In 2007 the game was deemed too interesting, and underwent important changes. Firstly the system of PVP combat was overhauled because it was considered 'too dangerous'. This meant that the wilderness was changed into a 'happy zone', where players could only fight each other as long as they obeyed the health and safety regulations. Another major concern was trading. Since it could be done anywhere, it had a risk that some players might be ripped off. To make things 'fair', Jagex relocated all trading to a 'Grand Exchange', a system enabling them to dictate prices at will. Their gaining of absolute control over the economy was the beginning of a communist revolution. This sparked widespread disruption and numerous riots. Jagex claimed that the unpopularity of these decisions was to combat Real World Trading; in fact real world trading would not be a problem if it weren't for Andrew Gower's and Jagex's desire to STAMP OUT CAPITALISM. Shortly after the aforementioned updates, RuneScape's graphics were entirely remade in order to distract players from their anger. This move was very successful, due to the stupidity of the average RuneScape player. In early 2008, Gower decided the time was right to fully implement Communism. He banned discussion of canned meat, religion, and politics. He also implemented a censor to prevent discussion of Taboo topics.
As already mentioned, Jagex are now using RuneScape to observe the effects of imposing a totalitarian communist regime upon a society. They are therefore obliged to treat players with callous indifference and detachment, often exhibiting gross miscarriages of justice, such as muting players for "flooding the chatbox" when they begin to type. Indeed, this has reached such an extent that upon the arrival of a Jagex Moderator in any given server, the world is empty after an estimated time of twelve seconds.
Player Moderators are players whom Jagex entrusts to wield certain powers for the good of the community. Said powers include faster responses to customer support queries, access to otherwise restricted forums and message boards, the ability to permanently or temporarily mute players, a feature that enables them to view players' homes through a spy-camera fitted in a mandatorily installed poster of Andrew Gower, diplomatic immunity, and a License To Kill.
Jagex recruit Player Moderators by monitoring the number of abuse reports received from players. Upon account creation all players are entered in a "Snitch League", in which the number of times they report instances of rule-breaking is tallied; each day, the top ten players on the list are selected for Modship. As the content and accuracy of the reports is disregarded as unimportant, it is not unheard of for players to become moderators within hours of completing the tutorial, simply by spam-clicking the 'report abuse' button in the corner of the screen; but the irony of this is somewhat lessened by the fact that majority of players quit within seconds anyway, meaning a relatively small number of reports need to be filed to reach the top of the league.
The Economy of RuneScape revolves around three basic principles: I Want It Now, I Want It Quick, and I Don't Care If I Lose Money. This base apathy has lead to the Grand Exchange, RuneScape's answer to Wall Street, selling items at only the lowest price margin and buying them at the highest. Naturally, therefore, items produced by players end up at a lower price than raw materials, meaning that almost any productive economic activity is not only dead, but buried six-hundred metres under a desecrated gravestone.
Effects of Real-World Trading
No matter what Jagex say on the matter, the frequency of gold-farming--a system wherein underpaid East-Asian youths work in sweatshops to obtain online gold, then sell it for real money to hardcore geeks--has made RuneScape gold an accepted real world currency. One can take the password of a RuneScape account with money in the bank to any Bureau d'exchange and have it transfered into one's local currency. Jagex, spineless as they are away from their comfort zone, have yet to raise an objection.
The irony of this situation is further highlighted when it is noted that as most gamers are obsessive enough to sacrifice basic amenities in order to continue gaming in the current economic climate, RuneScape's economy has gone from strength to strength at the Wall Street stock market. Indeed, in the economic year ending in October 2008, RuneScape's GNP was estimated to approximately 300% higher than that of Ethiopia. One RuneScape gp is currently valued at approximately 0.15 US cents, putting the value of the in-game bank of Zezima, RuneScape's most successful player, at approximately US $2,600,600.00: over seventy times what a typical Sudanese farmer earns in a lifetime.
RuneScape has over 150 servers located around the world, each supporting 2,000 players. On occasion as many of 15 servers have known to be operational simultaneously, giving a peak maximum capacity of around 30,000. The large level of server blackouts experienced by Jagex has been attributed to the behaviour of its staff: live electrical wires are routinely used as torture devices for disobedient employees, and the poor quality of the cooling mechanism in the computer used to power the server enables it to be used as a cooking device for many foodstuffs--a situation which the Jagex team happily exploit.
Though the government of the United Kingdom are not officially aware of the existence of RuneScape, it has been criticized by the UN for its notoriously extreme political stance, and several reports regarding disappearances amongst RuneScape players who quit to play other MMORPGs have been filed.
Another point worthy of mention is the fact that Jagex employ a 'Secret Police', known as the Jagex Riot Squad, whose job it is to track down players who have neglected to pay their membership fees on time, and then to forcibly extract money from their (now-deceased) person. Despite this ruthless behaviour RuneScape's management receives little to no media attention, as most journalists are afraid that reporting stories about RuneScape will result in their being shunned as geeks.
PruneScape is believed by many to be a parody of the ever-popular RuneScape. PruneScape is billed as 'what RuneScape was meant to be', and actually has nothing to do with prunes. Instead the game features strong elements of pornography and BDSM. Female players' clothing, when put on, is automatically cut, revealing the chest, upper breasts, stomach, and much of the legs. This even occurs with armour, despite the obvious dangers of stripping during combat.
Another adult element is the inclusion of sex whips. On a members' servers as many as one in five players can be seen carrying a whip, often in addition to scanty clothing. The 'Wilderness' also features a rather disturbing minigame known as Cage Wars, which is simply too lewd to elaborate upon here. Players may also partake in an unlimited number of sex changes, using an unqualified surgeon who calls him/herself the 'Makeout Mage'. Not only is this extremely dangerous, but it also has a severe negative impact on the social environment: Sexually Transmitted Infections, promiscuity, and trans-gender sexuality are rife in the PruneScape community.
PruneScape is not affiliated with RuneScape in any way, although CNN would have you believe that it was created by Paul Gower, Andrew Gower's evil twin, who vows to take revenge on his brother by giving players what they really want.
- World of Warcraft
- How to rehabilitate after playing RuneScape (if you happen to play RuneScape)
- How to cheat on RuneScape (On second thoughts, we recommend you don't try this. Jagex are watching you.)
- For a really psychadelic experience, play the Barbarian Assault minigame, on acid, while listening to any Pink Floyd song played backwards.