Like many of you I spent far too many hours of my teen/pre-teen life playing Runescape. For the unaware, Runescape is a free MMORPG (which no-doubt lent to its teen fan base playing over games perceived as more expensive such as WoW), where you roam the lands of Gielinor seeking out quests and most of the time, ways to level up and gain mad stacks of gold coin. The game was a lot like real life, and not just because it took a lot of your time only for you to log out and never return. Sure, in order to succeed grinding was inevitable, but the game had a live economy, a plethora of skills to master and a hell of a lot to explore and conquer. Ultimately the reason I quit was due to the time aspect, at higher levels the grind becomes even longer, even more time consuming, and when I was in my mid-teens this was too much to ask.
A lot like an ex-girlfriend, I still sometimes think back to the good times me and Runescape had together and wonder what the old flame has going on now-a-days. So I logged onto
Facebook Youtube a few weeks a go to see what people with far more free time than I are up to in modern day (Old School) Runescape. Prior to this I was aware of the return of 2007 Runescape, I confess, but what I saw on these channels was more than I expected. The game seemed to be thriving, I expected 2007 Runescape to go the way of the dodo (see: Runescape Classic). At this point I made the decision, once more, feet first into hell, I will enter the lands of Gielinor and risk the success of my adult life for nostalgia reasons.
So… here we are… and we need an account name… Dr Zaius… taken… Too Fast Too Glorious… Too long… Spooky Ghost…. Spo0ky Gh0st… Close enough!
Now to log in and create my character, I hope the new Mass Effect has this many character options.
With good old Spo0ky Gh0st created (and no, he is not the ghost of Kurt Cobain, just spooky coincidence) it was time to explore Tutorial Island. The first stop is the survival expert. I am tasked with first chopping down a tree and creating fire, the survival expert hands me a bronze axe and a tinderbox and I head towards the nearest tree. Standing next to the tree I attempt to “use” the axe on the tree, the wrong option evidently as a text box appears telling me “nothing interesting happens”. I assume this exchange involved my character rubbing the axe against the tree bemused for a few seconds. Finally I remember, I must just click the tree. Bam! Wood for days, and now I select the tinderbox, select the logs, and ladies and gentlemen we have fire!
Next task, get some shrimp that are in a pond. I’m no fisherman like in those Pokemans games but I’m pretty sure you won’t find shrimp in a pond.
After being proven wrong by the Survival lady I have a shrimp, which I burn on a fire, because my character is apparently a fresher coming of his first weekend at Uni and is realising his Mum is no longer about to cook all his meals. So back to the puddle and back to the fire, success, shrimp is on the menu. On to my next task.
As it turns out, my next task involves more cooking. Who knew warm food was so important to not dying. I will be making bread, the eating kind not the cash prize money kind.
Master Chef doesn’t appreciate the fine art of cooking shrimp on an open fire, something which I have now mastered, so his putting down of my newly acquired skills made for a rocky start to our relationship. I made his bread, it was easier than catching shrimp so I don’t think his sas was required quite frankly. Master Chef also introduced me to the music of Runescape, but from memory I had already muted the games sound – it will remain muted thank you very much.
Walking to my next task I notice that Runescape has a black sky, is it night? Well, it’s pretty bright outside… is there no atmosphere? Are we in space with no atmosphere?
Before I can come to terms with the reality of Gielinor I arrive at the next instructor, having been introduced to sprinting and emotes. I briefly meet the quest guide, who does his job and introduces me to quests. Thanks quest guide guy.
Having a quick look through the quests I notice some classics, some old memories. Desert Treasure, a quest that took me quite a while to work up to, I remember completing it and wasting way too much money casting Ice Burst at Castle Wars; Horror from the Deep; Monkey Madness for that sweet, sweet scimitar; and of course Sheep Shearer, the quest where you have to reverse Alan Shearer’s terrible curse.
Moving on swiftly, we pass on to the next instructor – underground. We are about to learn all about mining and smithing.
I prospect some rocks, find they contain copper and tin, get a pickaxe, obtain the copper and tin, smelt to create bronze, and then hammer the bronze on an anvil to create a bronze dagger, an adequate if somewhat basic stabber.
Feeling confident about the way things are going I move forward into the combat tutorial. The level 146 combat tutor is cocky, declaring he is the greatest swordsman alive, and teaches me the basic motor skills involved in holding a dagger. After this impressive feat he awards me with a sword and board and lets me loose on some rats he keeps about for murder purposes.
After killing my first defenceless rat for what I can only assume is the enjoyment of my tutor I move on to my next lesson, more advanced murdering, bow and arrow murdering. From behind the safe steel bars of the rat cage, I fire a flurry of arrows, killing another rat, I now have blood lust… I might kill another, just for fun you know? Yeah, lets do in another one.
The game stopped me from killing another rat, so I took a walk out of the dungeon, I needed fresh air, I need to reign in the murdering. Onto the bank, maybe they will give me a job and I can lead a nice, normal, killing free life.
After realising it’s not an interview, I make a deposit of one burnt shrimp, smile at the bank clerk and get the hell out of there before they can realise burnt shrimp is not real currency. I am also introduced to a poll booth, a feature I cannot remember being in the game when I used to play, I may be mistaken however. This is a feature that allows new features to be voted on, allowing the community to have a direct in game say. A great feature by the looks of it. I then move on, speaking to the financial advisor, who does his job, and offers advice. I offer my own – all burnt shrimp on red 27.
Got a stop in with the big man upstairs next. This being Runescape there are lots of gods, I always chose Guthix because I like the colour green and edging my bets with the middle man seemed sensible.
I had a little chat with Brother Brace who introduced me to prayer, and burying bones to earn more prayer points, I assume its a system that has been worked out with the gods. Not sure what kind of message they are trying to spread though, in order to earn more prayer points, which is like divine favour, I have to do more murder – don’t mind if I do!
Brace Bro also told me about the games friend list system, and the ignore list, as well as telling me to be nice to people and to not be a nob.
Now we are onto the final chapter of tutorial island, having left the holy house the last task is to receive instruction in magic and oh god more murder.
Before we get to the chicken blasting I recognise a new feature: Juan, Adam and Paul. These are the Ironman tutors, a game mode that requires you play on your own, stopping you from trading, obtaining help or gaining items off other players. There is also hardcore Ironman where you only have one life, dying means you are downgraded to ironman status. On top of this is ultimate Ironman, a mode where you cannot bank and will lose all items upon death. Pretty hardcore.
And we are done. I spoke to Magic McGee and he gave me some runes, I cast an Air Strike on a chicken, it survived, I have mixed feelings on this. Magic McGee said I can go to the mainland, so I guess we will.
I arrive in Lumbridge, it has not changed one bit. Same Goblins, same cows, same castle. But something is not the same, Me, looking at the size of the world, at the size of the quest list no longer gives me the same sense of adventure. It still feels familiar however, homely.
What else will the game offer me? Will I come around and regain my love for Runescape? Find that spark that escaped long a go? Find out on the next episode of red:wave: Runescape Revisited!!!!!