In a fantasy realm of magic and adventure, battle gods, slay dragons, and defeat mythical creatures as you advance through story-driven quests, master skills and make new friends. **Parent Advisory: Some sequences may not be appropriate for all audiences**


Reviewer: Sam B.     Game: Runescape

It’s somewhat fashionable amongst MMO gamers to make fun of Runescape. Whether because of its less-than-stellar graphics, the lack of free content, or its point-and-click gameplay, many find it lacking compared to other MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. And while some of the criticism is warranted, I feel it gets far more hate than it deserves.

Runescape puts you in a fantasy world not too different from what comes to most people’s minds; a D&D-esque world with dwarves, goblins, and wizards. But it also throws in its own unique elements like an army of penguins poising to take over the world, a race of pacifistic goblins, and a complete lack of horses (which the game pokes fun at every time it comes up). It can be serious and even dark in some points like “One Piercing Note,” or light-hearted and comedic in other parts like “Let Them Eat Pie.” It even makes fun of itself at certain points, such as a conversation with a priest that ends up breaking the fourth wall. The world of Gielenor also has a rich and interesting lore which players can learn about through quests, though unfortunately the richest content can only be accessed through a paid membership (get used to hearing this criticism; it’s definitely Runescape’s weakest point).

For specific gameplay, the player is granted a lot more freedom to do what they wish. While most other MMOs focus mostly on combat, Runescape – though still devoting a good deal of content to combat – focuses just as much on skilling and activities that don’t involve fighting. If you want to focus more on raising your smithing level rather than killing monsters, you can do that. If you want to just play one of the numerous minigames like “Stealing Creation” or “Pest Control,” you can do that. The only exceptions are regarding quests, nearly all of which require certain skill levels in order to start. And even if you want to focus solely on skilling, some quests need to be completed in order to unlock content. For example, pickaxes can’t be smithed unless you complete “Perils of Ice Mountain,” which is a members-only quest. Most of the skills are also members-only such as construction (used to build player houses) or the very useful summoning skill, further limiting content for free-to-play.

The quests are where Runescape shines brightest. Rather than just the standard fetch quests or “kill X number of enemies,” they include more varied content such as a murder mystery (“One Piercing Note”), survival horror (“Broken Home”), and a series of mini quests (“Recipe for Disaster”). And even the quests that don’t go to that extent are interesting in of themselves, both in story and execution. Rather than all of them being tied together, they tell their own stories, with only some linking together for longer storylines. It feels a lot like your character is traveling the world and having adventures rather than staying in one place focusing on one objective. With that said, however, there are still a few duds. Some quests like “Rat Catchers” or “Salt in the Wound” are either tedious or just not very interesting. And even if you don’t want to complete all the quests, some of them are required either to unlock content or to complete another quest. And with some questlines, later quests are members-only, so if you get invested in the story of, say, “Stolen Hearts,” you’ll need to purchase a membership to go through its sequel “Diamond in the Rough” and get proper closure. With the recent updates, there’s one other issue with the quests. As Gielenor enters the Sixth Age, novice quests are released following that storyline. But they don’t require quests that chronologically took place before them, which means that new players will either be confused by what’s going on or will miss out on the story.

I should emphasize that, in spite of all my problems with Runescape, I still enjoyed it. Gielenor is a fascinating place, the quests are interesting and fun, and I feel like I’m on an adventure while playing. Even if ninety percent of its content requires payment, the free ten percent still offers hours of enjoyment. And if you like it enough and want more, you can always subscribe and become a member. This is a game that still shines bright in spite of its numerous flaws and imperfections.

You can sign up for Runescape on its website.


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Game Developer: Jagex
Game Publisher: Jagex

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