"RuneScape as been enjoyed by over 120 million people since its launch in 2001." This hyperbolic phrase leads off the recent press release heralding the arrival of RuneScape High Detail. Of course, this doesn't mean that 120 million people are actually playing the game. Based on recent interviews with Jagex, RuneScape boasts 9 million active players -- 6 million who will log in during any given two week period. Over 1 million of these active users pay $5 a month to access content beyond the claimed 100 hours of free content. But even if it's not 120 million, legions of players have voted with their browsers, and there's no denying RuneScape is simply huge.
RuneScape HD is an unadulterated gift to the faithful.
RuneScape HD isn't suddenly a contender for the World of Warcraft throne -- and with a business model based on low-value add-on subscriptions to a free game, Jagex isn't aiming at WoW customers. They are however in striking distance of aging, low-power MMOs like Ultima Online. While the HD engine doesn't compete with Ultima's 2007 update (Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn), it moves a step closer for players still on older clients due to system requirements. RuneScape is in a market niche all its own. It skews young and low-fi. But never underestimate the power of "free," and the revenue potential of the upsell to "cheap." The RuneScape facelift is a solid step forward for the RuneScape faithful, requiring no expense, or even effort. It's a rare free lunch in gaming.
Runescape HD got an A- as its average rating by editors and user's of 1UP
With the new graphical update it is clear that runescape is attracting some new attention, but will reviews like this continue?
Runescape HD review by 1UP