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Old School RuneScape

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Old School RuneScape
Developer(s)Jagex
Publisher(s)Jagex
Platform(s)
Release
  • Windows, OS X
  • 22 February 2013
  • Android, iOS
  • 30 October 2018
Genre(s)MMORPG
Mode(s)Multiplayer

Old School RuneScape is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by Jagex. The game was released on 22 February 2013. When Old School RuneScape launched, it began as an August 2007 version of the game RuneScape, which was highly popular prior to the launch of RuneScape 3. The game has since received engine improvements, new content, and quality of life updates largely decided by the community via in-game polls. Despite originally having a smaller development team and a slower update schedule relative to RuneScape, Old School RuneScape is now the more popular version of the game, with an all-time record of 205,521 concurrent players in November 2023. A mobile version for Android and iOS was released in October 2018.[1]

Gameplay[edit]

In-game screenshot, showing a player in combat with a goblin

Old School RuneScape is an MMORPG with adventure elements. It features a persistent world in which players can interact with each other and the environment. The basic mechanics are largely the same as RuneScape on 10 August 2007. The player controls a single (human) character and can interact with NPCs, objects, and entities in the game world by left-clicking or right-clicking and selecting an option from the object's right-click context menu. Users can gain experience points (XP) and level up individual skills, making their playable character more powerful in various ways.[2]

There is a large selection of skills, grouped mainly between three different categories: combat, gathering, and artisan. Combat skills, which are Attack, Strength, Defence, Ranged, Magic, Prayer, and Hitpoints, allow the player to defeat enemy monsters or other players in certain circumstances. The gathering skills, which include Mining, Fishing, and Woodcutting, allow the player to gather in game resources to use or sell. The artisan skills include skills such as Cooking, Crafting, Fletching and Smithing. The input mechanics are primarily point-and-click. The game runs on a tick-based system where the game state refreshes every 600 milliseconds.[3]

Post-release features[edit]

Features that were not released until after 2007 that exist in RuneScape have since been released to Old School RuneScape. These include areas such as the God Wars Dungeon[4] and the Soul Wars minigame.[5] One of the more helpful features is a button that allows players to search or look up information about items and entities on the game's wiki.[6]

Content exclusive to Old School RuneScape has also been added, such as the areas of Fossil Island[7] and Great Kourend,[8] minigames such as The Inferno and the Volcanic Mine,[9] quests such as Dragon Slayer II[10] and Song of the Elves,[11] bosses such as the Nightmare of Ashihama,[12] and skilling activities such as Rooftop Agility and Forestry. Players can obtain pets from killing certain bosses or skilling that follow them around the game world.[13] Skilled players can complete difficult raids such as the Chambers of Xeric,[14] the Theatre of Blood,[15] and the Tombs of Amascut. Players can also join clans to socialize with other players.[16]

Old School RuneScape also offers an "Ironman" game mode, where players are restricted to being entirely self-sufficient. Ironman mode players are completely barred from trading with other players, picking up items dropped by other players, picking up items dropped by monsters killed by other players, buying items sold to stores by other players, and picking up items dropped by players they've killed in certain PvP situations.[17][18] First introduced in October 2014,[19] Ironman Mode is often considered one of the most difficult ways to play the game, as many late-game items are only obtainable as a rare drop from high level bosses. Although these accounts can still use all the game's chat features, the game mode is often touted as a "single-player" experience due to the necessity of solo gathering and exploration for progression. In addition to the normal Ironman mode, two other variants exist: "Ultimate Ironman Mode" that cannot use the in-game banks and a "Hardcore Ironman Mode" that converts into a normal Ironman account after experiencing an "unsafe" death for the first time.[17]

The other mode Old School Runescape offers is Deadman Mode. Released on 29 October 2015,[20] Deadman Mode is a separate incarnation of Old School RuneScape 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 valuable items from their victim's bank. Players who engage other players in combat will be marked with a skull icon. "Skulled" players will be attacked by lethal and invulnerable NPCs if they try to enter safe cities, as well as having the number of bank keys they are holding visible to other players, making them a valuable target.[17] 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.[21][22]

Setting[edit]

Old School RuneScape largely takes place in the fictional realm of Gielinor, a planet filled with multiple environments and climates. It is divided into kingdoms and is inhabited by humans, vampyres, elves, monkeys, dwarves, fairies, gnomes, goblins, trolls, ogres, giants, and more.[2]

Gielinor's basic history is told in five Ages. In the First Age, Guthix, the god of balance, discovered Gielinor and shaped it as he pleased.[23] In the Second Age, Guthix went into slumber, and many other gods established power on Gielinor.[24] The transition from the Second Age to the Third age was marked by Zamorak, the highest-ranking general of the Zarosian empire, betraying Zaros and apotheosising into the god of chaos.[25]

The Third Age spanned the cataclysmic God Wars,[26] in which the now-deified Zamorak began a world-spanning war involving many other gods of Gielinor.[27] The God Wars lasted for 4,000 years, and finally ended when the region of Forinthry was obliterated by Zamorak, transforming it into the extremely dangerous wasteland known as the Wilderness.[28] This explosion awakened Guthix. Enraged by the destruction, he led his army to Forinthry, ended the war, and established the Edicts of Guthix, which banished all other gods from Gielinor.

Guthix retreated into the depths of Gielinor and wept, then returning to a deep slumber. The end of the God Wars marked the end of the Third Age and the beginning of the Fourth Age. In the Fourth Age, the surviving races began to rebuild. After 2,000 years, human mages rediscovered Runecrafting, the ability to create runestones to use magic, marking the beginning of the Fifth Age.[29] The Fifth Age is the current age of Old School Runescape, in which humans are the dominant race.[30]

Development and release[edit]

In response to the declining player base and negative update reception of the original and then-current version of RuneScape,[31][32] Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard officially announced a poll for the creation of Old School RuneScape in a news article in February 2013.[33] The article explained that a backup of RuneScape dated August 2007 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 by putting it to a poll.[34] In the article, Jagex explained the goals of the poll, and what each threshold of votes would unlock for the community. In two weeks, it received enough votes for the game to be released.[35] The ending total vote count was 449,351, which fell short of the 500,000 reward tier. Jagex did however incorporate three of the five incentives of the highest tier by approving vote-based polls on all new content, upgraded bot protection, and no additional fees to play Old School.[36][37]

Old School RuneScape was released for Windows, macOS 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.[38]

Post-release[edit]

A comparison of the official client (top) and 117Scape's HD plugin (bottom)

Although Old School RuneScape has a small team of developers relative to that of the modern version of RuneScape, it receives regular patches and new content of that of a flagship product. With the exception of game balance and integrity and seasonal events, all updates and changes are polled, and are voted on in-game. The proposed updates are only implemented if 70 percent or more of paying players vote "Yes".[39] Until April 2019, poll results used to be visible before players cast their votes. Currently, poll results are hidden until the poll concludes.[40] In some instances, suggestions made by fans and players have been put to polls and, if passed, were subsequently added to the game.[41]

A mobile port of the game was previewed at the Game Developers Conference in March 2018.[42] It was released for Android and iOS devices was released on 30 October 2018.[43] In under two weeks, it became the most downloaded mobile game in eight different countries, surpassing a million downloads.[44]

In October 2020, following the release of RuneScape on Steam, it was announced that Old School RuneScape would arrive on the platform in 2021.[45] Old School RuneScape released on Steam on 24 February 2021.[46]

117Scape's HD Plugin, a third-party mod improving the visuals of the game while retaining its distinct style, was released on 14 September 2021.[47][48][49]

Available platforms[edit]

Old School RuneScape can be played on multiple platforms. Players can run OSRS through the official Jagex Launcher, Steam, or on mobile devices. OSRS is cross-platform, meaning you can login to the same account and play the full game across any platform.

Jagex used to allow players to use any client to access OSRS, however as of 7 November 2023, Jagex restricted the available clients to the Jagex Launcher, Steam, or mobile device.[50] The Jagex Launcher allows players to choose between the official Old School RuneScape client or RuneLite.

Official client[edit]

Players can use the official client to play OSRS from either Steam or the Jagex Launcher. The official client is directly managed and supported by Jagex. The official client became available on Steam on 24 February 2021.[51]

RuneLite[edit]

RuneLite is a third-party client approved by Jagex that players can choose to use directly from the Jagex Launcher. RuneLite provides several quality of life features not available as part of the official client.

Mobile[edit]

Old School RuneScape released a closed beta for a mobile app on 13 April 2018,[52] then fully launched on 30 October 2018.[53]

Seasonal modes[edit]

Deadman tournaments[edit]

Additionally, Jagex hosts separate, recurring "Deadman Tournaments" where players can qualify for a final elimination round, incentivized by monetary prizes.[54] The esports company ESL organized the fourth Deadman competition.[55] The Autumn Finals of September 2018 boasted a US$20,000 grand prize.[56] For most major events, tournament coverage is done by a selection of dedicated esports organizations and personnel who provide on-site commentary, analysis, and player interviews surrounding the event in progress, similar to traditional sporting events. The primary medium for professional coverage is through the live streaming platform Twitch.tv.

Deadman: Reborn occurred in 2021.[57] The next Deadman Mode tournament, Deadman: Apocalypse, started on 25 August 2023.[58]

Leagues[edit]

At RuneFest 2019, Jagex announced a special new high-speed game mode with similarities to Deadman Mode called "Old School RuneScape Leagues". Leagues contrast with the original servers in that they, much like Deadman Mode, will exist as a separate game instance and only exist temporarily. Each league is intended to run for two months. Players in this game mode compete with others to progress faster and farther before the two months are over. Players that join select game servers will start anew, have vastly increased experience rates, and have the ability to unlock special permanent perks that enhance both rewards and experience.[59]

The first iteration of Leagues was "Twisted", which ran from 14 November 2019 until 16 January 2020.[60] In this League, players were restricted to the regions of the Kebos Lowlands and Great Kourend.[61] The second iteration, "Trailblazer", began on 28 October 2020 and lasted until 6 January 2021.[62] In this League, players began in the starting region of Misthalin, could unlock the region of Karamja for free, and had to carefully choose which three out of seven remaining locked regions to unlock. The third iteration of Leagues was "Shattered Relics", which ran from 19 January 2022 to 16 March 2022. In this League, players had access to the entirety of the world, but did not have full access to their skills and various bosses. In order to unlock them, they had to use a special currency earned by completing tasks within the League. Relics, unlockable boons that granted powerful effects that were present in previous Leagues, were made into less-powerful fragments for this League. However, multiple fragments could be equipped and some granted additional bonus effects if equipped as a set.[63]

Holiday events[edit]

At various times during the year, Old School RuneScape launches temporary holiday events, where players can complete seasonal quests to earn special rewards as well as items that are exceptionally rare in modern RuneScape. Currently, there are four annual holiday events: Easter,[64] Halloween,[65] Christmas[66] and the "birthday event".[67]

Esports[edit]

Wilderness Wars[edit]

An esports tournament "Wilderness Wars" was held at the 61st Insomnia Gaming Festival on 26 August 2017.[68]

Reception[edit]

Professional reviews have been generally positive.[69] Most critics have praised the game for introducing new features while still maintaining the traditional gameplay of RuneScape. PC Gamer gave Old School RuneScape a score of 77 out of 100.[70]

PC World called it a "nostalgic experience".[71] Rock, Paper, Shotgun said "there’s something lovely about a company being just as enthusiastic about where their game is headed as where it came from".[72] The Cambridge News wrote "since its resurrection, the game has continued to embrace, celebrate, and expand on its origins to provide a truly nostalgic PvP experience for its growing legions of players."[73] Heavy.com stated "there’s a sense of nostalgia to OSRS that keeps people playing and it features the loved “player killing” aspect of the game that was removed for a period of time."[74] GamesIndustry.biz wrote "it is easy to dismiss its popularity as something that simply taps into that nostalgia for old-school games, but the fact it is now four years old and still growing every year suggests that there is more to it than that."[75]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The game was nominated for the "Heritage" and "Best Role-Playing Game" awards at The Independent Game Developers' Association Awards 2018 and 2019,[76][77][78] and won the award for "EE Mobile Game of the Year" at the 15th British Academy Games Awards.[79][80] In addition, it won the award for "Best Mobile Game" at the Develop:Star Awards, whereas its other nomination was for "Best Innovation".[81][82] It was also nominated for "Game of the Year" and "Best Live Ops" at the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards.[83]

Subscriptions[edit]

Old School RuneScape, like RuneScape, has a free-to-play (F2P) mode of the game with limited in-game content, making its money through membership subscriptions from pay-to-play (P2P) players who have access to the full game.[3] Membership can be bought from Jagex either directly or in the form of Bonds. Bonds can be redeemed by players for membership, or sold to other players for in game currency.[84]

Old School Runescape has a larger player-base than RuneScape 3. It hit a million users in October 2013.[4]

Concurrent players of Old School RuneScape (blue) compared to RuneScape 3 (yellow) from 2013 to 2022. The spike in late 2018 coincides with the release of the mobile version.[85]

Community[edit]

The playerbase strongly opposes the introduction of microtransactions.[86][87]

In June 2017, the addition of an LGBT pride-themed holiday event, in which players were tasked with finding the pieces to create a rainbow scarf, caused controversy among players for being seen as political and out of place in a medieval fantasy game.[88] Jagex's response was, "There’s no political statement here. Our only aim is to acknowledge and honour an event that promotes empathy, acceptance and love."[89] LGBT pride-themed events were reintroduced on an annual basis in 2022, with each rewarding additional rainbow and pride flag-coloured attire.[90][91][92]

The Rules of RuneScape prohibit players from engaging in the real-world sale or purchase of items, gold, or services.[93] Despite the repercussions for gold farming, including the banning of suspected accounts, players continue to amass Old School RuneScape gold with the intention of selling it for real-life currency on third-party websites. Due to the ongoing economic crisis in the country, gold farming has also become the primary source of real-world income for many Venezuelan players.[94][95] In 2019, for every 1 million in-game gold coins, a worker would earn about US$0.50.[96] The community had mixed reactions to this information; some are sympathetic to their situation, others emphasize the negative impact of gold farming on the game economy and community.[97] Venezuelan and Spanish-speaking players have been subjected to increased prejudice within the community due to their perceived role in gold farming.[98][99]

Fan-made YouTube Let's Play series of the game's Ironman mode with additional self-imposed handicaps or challenges are very popular amongst the community.[100]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading

External links[edit]