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I personally haven't played Runescape. But recently, I have started doing research into a lot of influential games, especially Massively multiplayer online's. And overall I do agree that some mechanics and ideas in Runescape are interesting and have value. Most of these are lost on the bigger Massively multiplayer online's who have to focus so hard on maintaining a large player base, and can't afford to discount anyone. This is why these games are more like treadmills and Skinner boxes, rather than an actual believable world, and with all of this focus on making money comes with a refusal to take risks and leads to the wow cloning. Overall, this is a lot better explained by Extra Credits episode on Quest Design! So if you want to know about how older MMO's(Massively multiplayer online) really shined with more creative quests? Check that out! But basically my opinion is that while specific ideas in Runescape are note worthy it! Of course, it has elements that are boring as hell and bad to the core and were only acceptable because of it's time. So overall, if your think about to play the game today, unless you are a nostalgic fan or a person interesting in MMO's history. You better try something else.
Finally! some RS player point about people only wanting to do practical things! I think it comes with the idea that there aren't that many people playing Old School Runescape(OSRS), and this kind of experience attracts specific people, which are mostly nostalgic people and people looking to see the history of MMO's! I would say less than 10% of the current Old School Runescape players are socializers , which would be fine playing just about any game, such as newer versions of Runescape. just like how RPers in wow couldn't care less. If there's a content drought and have just about no reason to not play the latest version of the game. Such as I play on a low pop server in wow (keep in mind, they use phasing, so I'm not even sure if the fact that it's a low pop server even matters) but there is always people sitting around in town, just running around on their mounts, standing there dancing. And this is true even if I go back to older cities from older expansions. (excluding a few which are dead with just about no reason at all to go there) I think it comes down to the fact that with it's age, it's just too exclusionary and loses the casual socializers, which fuel a games community. (Another good extra credits episode on Bartle's Taxonomy) So basically Old School Runescape is a prime example of what comes of a game, that loses it's casuals. It becomes a place for a specific few hardcore players and journalists.