Tag Archives: RuneScape

RuneScape Embraces Nostalgia

RuneScape, a popular (200 million accounts created is their claim to fame metric) browser-based fantasy MMORPG, has decided to farm the nostalgia sector by opening up servers aimed at those who want to relive RuneScape’s past.

Officially called “Old School RuneScape,” the setting will be August 2007 version of RuneScape.

RuneScape

Jagex, the game’s developer, has taken an interesting approach to bringing these servers to the community.  They have a poll up to gauge how much interest there is in the servers, with more interest by the player base yielding more focus by the studio itself.

The poll approaches 250K

The poll approaches 250K

Omali has some condensed details over at MMO Fallout about what happens at given result levels. (There is an update to go along with the final results.)  There is also an official FAQ up about the servers.

Interesting to me is that by default… with the likely poll results… is that people interested in playing the classic version of this free-to-play game will have to pay for a subscription.  That seems right to me.  I don’t think people looking to relive a “classic” experience do so because it might be cheaper.

Certainly I did not run off an play on the Emerald Dream server in order to dodge the WoW subscription price, and I doubt Keen or SynCaine were so influenced with the Ultima Online Forever.

And that is how SOE has handled things with the Fippy Darkpaw server in the post free to play EverQuest world, making it available only to subscribers.

So RuneScape joins the rather short list of MMOs offering official “old school” versions of their game.  I only know of two others.  There is SOE with its EverQuest progression servers and Mythic with its past classic Dark Age of Camelot server (and its never to see the light of day Origin server).

And while there will always be arguments about what point in time is the “best” and whether such a server should be stuck in time or move forward, I think this sort of exercise is a good way to reach out and revive interest in your game with a big chunk of your current and former player base.

Of course, this sort of things probably works with some games better than others.  World of Warcraft is an obvious target.  Few expansions and slow improvement over time gives it a series of identifiable eras.  EVE Online, on the other hand… their whole single server approach pretty much precludes such a nostalgia path… plus who wants to go back to the days before “jump to zero?”

What MMOs would you like to see embrace nostalgia?  Or does that even have any appeal for you?

Wednesday Morning Trends

Ubisoft Finds a New Rationalization for Free to Play

From The Register, Ubisoft says more than 90% of PC gamers pirate their game, so they might as well go down the free to play path.

Money quote from CEO Yves Guillemot:

“It’s around a 93 to 95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage as free-to-play”

I still find it hard to believe that 90% of gamers pirate their games, and people who spout such numbers rarely go into detail on how they arrived at them, so color me skeptical.

Riders of Rohan Delay

Casual Stroll to Mordor reports that the launch of the Lord of the Rings Online expansion Riders of Rohan will be moved back from September 5th to October 15th.  I expect conspiracy theorists everywhere to proclaim that this delay was to get out from under the weight of the Guild Wars 2 launch the way they declared the Mist of Panderia launch date to be a defensive move against the game.

Chalk another one up to the might of Guild Wars 2?

Your Virtual Currency Has Expired!

Massively Multiplayer Fallout brings up a topic from the RuneScape forums.  Apparently somebody discovered a statement in Jagex’s terms of service that indicates that RuneCoins, the RuneScape virtual currency, can expire.

Jagex responded, indicating that the terms were correct, but that they had never, to this point, had to expire any RuneCoins.  The actual shelf life of RuneCoins was left unstated.

Of course, this makes me wonder when companies like SOE, which seemed to be picking up bad habits from its free to play neighbors, or UbiSoft, which just seems to hate its customers pirates people in general, will jump on this potentially lucrative idea.

And then there is how local law applies.  In my own jurisdiction, companies cannot expire things like gift cards.  Where does virtual currency fit in that equation?

Bonus Trend: Windows 8

After watching this, I foresee another Windows Vista level PR fiasco looming.

If Microsoft needs to learn something from Apple, it is how to produce software that doesn’t make people angry.

Apple drops OS updates more often that Microsoft, charges for them, and people tend to be interested to indifferent.  Microsoft drops a huge OS update every few years and manages to make people run around screaming like their hair is on fire more often than not.

And don’t get me started on how much I loathe every corporate mandated Microsoft Office upgrade.  In my mind, MS Word was perfected with version 5.1a about 20 years ago.  Everything since has been… uh… Windows dressing?

[Credit to Derek Smart for finding that video, but his Twitter account is locked down so I can’t even link to the tweet.]

The Drop in WoW Subscribers Means Changes All Over…

Rather than the usual round of WoW phishing attempts, I have seen a batch of these lately…

Greetings!

It has come to our attention that you are trying to sell your personal RuneScape account(s).
As you may not be aware of, this conflicts with the EULA and Terms of Agreement.
If this proves to be true, your account can and will be disabled…

All with the same message, the same badly disguised bogus URL, and all delivered to the same email address that gets all my WoW phishing attempts.  (Which, of course, is NOT the email address I use for WoW or Battle.net.)

No doubt handiwork of the same trolls.

Of course, I’ve never played RuneScape, so this is even less worrying that WoW phishing.  Oh no, an account I never had in the first place is in danger of being banned!

RuneQuest, Yes, RuneScape, No

Meanwhile, in the same batch of email, I received a note from Perfect World Entertainment, makers of… nothing I can recall ever playing.  I guess they are publishing Torchlight now, which I have played.  But I did not buy it from them.  Still, at some point I created an account there, I just cannot remember why.  It certainly wasn’t for Rusty Hearts and a discount gamepad.

That email said:

You are receiving this email because your account may have been accessed without your authorization. We have changed your account’s password and are requiring you to change your password before you can log back into our games. Please go here to reset your password:

And there was a URL below on which you were invited to click.  Only this one looked legitimate.  I still didn’t click on it, going rather directly to the Perfect World site and resetting my password via the interface they provide there.

I wonder if Perfect World has some sort of incident or if this was just another, slightly more clever phishing attempt.

How about for you?  Any rise in non-WoW related phishing attempts at your end?

Were you getting that many WoW related ones in the first place?  At one point I was getting one or two a day.

The Fortitude of Older Games

Last Friday Massively had a post up about the Nielsen ratings for PC video games for January through October of 2008.  The post itself pointed to a Kotaku article that listed out the top ten games for that period with statistical rankings.

They were (sans details):

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Call of Duty 4
  3. Halo: Combat Evolved
  4. The Sims
  5. The Sims 2
  6. RuneScape
  7. Diablo II
  8. Team Fortress 2
  9. Counter-Strike
  10. Counter-Strike Source

The point of the articles seemed to be to remind us that we play a lot of World of Warcraft.  Massively did note that there was a massive title on the list besides WoW, namely RuneScape, but otherwise the list seemed to reinforce what we all suspected.  As one commentor put it:

How every you not need to read this crap to known that World of Warcraft was the most played game of 2008! base on the sale numbers alone!

You tell ‘em!

But for me, the amazing/amusing part of the list was Diablo II.

Eight years after release, and seven years after the last expansion,  it makes it to the list.

Yes, Diablo II got a nostalgia boost this year when Blizzard finally got around to announcing Diablo III, but that alone does not account for the popularity of the title.  After all, if you go look at the X-Fire statistics every month, you will see Diablo II listed under “Top 10 Other.”

But then, a good chunk of this list is older games.  The Sims, Counter-Strike, and Halo are all PC titles over five years old.  Even The Sims 2 is four years old, making it as old as… well… World of Warcraft or the current version of RuneScape.

When it comes down to it, only Call of Duty 4 and Team Fortress 2 are really “new” games, and even they are based off older titles.

What does it mean?

Do new games just suck?  Is Nielsen fundamentally flawed?  Is PC gaming not dead, but just not done with the stuff it already has?