Old School RuneScape

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Old School RuneScape
Old School Runescape Logo.png
Composer(s)Ian Taylor
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS
  • Windows, OS X
  • 22 February 2013
  • Android, iOS
  • 30 October 2018

Old School RuneScape (OSRS) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Jagex. The game was first released in February 2013 in response to the declining playerbase and negative update reception of the original and then-current version of RuneScape.[1][2] OSRS was originally an exact copy of RuneScape as it was in August 2007, but has since received engine improvements, new content, and quality of life patches. Proposed gameplay updates to the game are voted on by players, and are only implemented if 75% of paying players accept them.[3] Despite having a smaller staff and a slower relative update schedule, OSRS had more than twice the active players that RuneScape had by 2017. A mobile version of the game for Android and iOS was released in October 2018.


A player engages in combat with a goblin in the fixed graphical mode

The input mechanics are mainly point-and-click. The player controls a single character and can interact with NPCs, objects, and entities in the game world by left-clicking, or selecting an option from the object's right-click menu, since many objects can offer more than one interaction option.

Due to the game's simple interface and gameplay mechanics, OSRS has a relatively low bar of entry as opposed to RuneScape or other more complex MMOs. Coupled with the fact that there is a large free-to-play section of the game, it is a popular first game for players that are new to online games.

Ironman Mode[edit]

OSRS offers an "Ironman" gamemode wherein players are completely barred from economic interaction with other players, and they must be completely self-sufficient; for example, they cannot use the "Grand Exchange", trade with other players, be assisted in battle (unless it is specified as a group activity), or take items that other players have dropped, sold to stores, or unclaimed loot from monsters killed by them. First introduced in October 2014, this is often considered one of the most difficult ways to play the game, as many late-game items only come from high level bosses and have a small chance of being obtained. Although these accounts can still use all of the game's chat features, the gamemode is often touted as a "single-player" experience due to the necessity of solo exploration of the game world for progression.

In addition to the standard Ironman mode, players may opt into one of two further challenge modes. Hardcore Ironman mode applies all of the same restrictions as the standard Ironman account, but with an additional caveat that Hardcore status is revoked if the character reaches zero hitpoints and respawns. Upon death, the account is "demoted" to a standard Ironman. Typically, the goal of a Hardcore Ironman is to progress as far as possible in the game without losing Hardcore status, often resulting in high-risk situations.

Ultimate Ironman mode places all of the standard Ironman conditions upon the player plus several additional conditions, with the most notable being the inability to use any bank. The restrictions placed upon an Ultimate Ironman, however, do not include the Hardcore restriction; an Ultimate Ironman can die and respawn with their Ultimate status intact.

Deadman Mode[edit]

Deadman Mode is a separate incarnation of OSRS released on 29 October 2015, which features open-world player versus player combat and accelerated experience rates. If one player kills another, the victor receives a key to a chest letting them loot items from their victim's account. Players who engage other players in combat will be marked with a skull icon – "skulled" players come under attack from NPCs if they try to enter safe cities, and the number of keys they are holding will be visible to other players making them an obvious target. Players who die in Deadman Mode will lose a significant portion of their experience points in all but five skills of the player's choice.[4]

Additionally, Jagex hosts separate, recurring "Deadman Tournaments" where players can qualify for a final elimination round, incentivized by monetary prizes. The Autumn Finals of September 2018 boasted a US$20,000 grand prize.[5]


Concurrent players of Old School RuneScape (blue) compared to RuneScape 3 (orange) from 2013 to 2018[6]

Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard officially announced a poll for the creation of OSRS in a news article in February 2013.[7] The article explained that an August 2007 backup of RuneScape was located in the company's backup archives. The company admitted that the game had changed a lot and that the backup could be used to create a separate version of the game if the players desired. In the article, Jagex explained the goals of the poll, and what each number bracket would unlock for the player community. In two weeks, it received enough votes for the game to be released.[8]

OSRS was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux on 22 February 2013. Upon release, the game was only playable for accounts that had a membership subscription. The option for non-members to play in the limited free-to-play areas was granted in February 2015.[9]

Although OSRS has a small team of developers relative to that of the live version of RuneScape, it receives regular patches and new content of that of a flagship product. Almost all updates and changes are polled, and can be voted on by players in-game.

In 2017, Jagex announced development of a mobile client for Android and iOS devices, which was released on 30 October 2018.[10][11][12] In under two weeks, it became the most downloaded mobile game in eight different countries, surpassing a million downloads.[13] After the mobile release, the number of online players has increased, reaching over 100,000 in November 2018.


The game was nominated for the "Heritage" and "Best Role-Playing Game" awards at The Independent Game Developers' Association Awards 2018.[14][15]


  1. ^ Corriea, Alexa Ray (19 February 2013). "RuneScape bringing 'Old School' 2007 servers back online". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  2. ^ Peel, Jeremy (22 February 2013). "Old School Runescape sees the browser MMO dialled back to 2007". PCGamesN. Network N. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Welcome to Old School Runescape Polls".
  4. ^ "Deadman Mode".
  5. ^ "Deadman Autumn Finals Full Info".
  6. ^ "Runescape Population Avg by Month". www.misplaceditems.com.
  7. ^ "2007 - Old School RuneScape... You Vote!".
  8. ^ "Old School RuneScape: Poll Results In!".
  9. ^ Brown, Fraser (20 February 2015). "Old School Runescape starts its third year with free-to-play content". PCGamesN. Network N. Archived from the original on 6 September 2018. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  10. ^ "RuneScape on Mobile – Coming Soon".
  11. ^ "Old School Mobile: Release Date Announcement".
  12. ^ "Global Launch of Old School Mobile!".
  13. ^ Ghost. "Old School Runescape tops charts with a million iOS downloads". AltChar.com. Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  14. ^ Stephenson, Suzi (19 September 2018). "TIGA Announces Games Industry Awards 2018 Finalists". The Independent Game Developers' Association. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  15. ^ "2018 Winners". The Independent Game Developers' Association. 1 November 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.

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