This post is in regards to Necros "Baby's first MMORPG". I found the article poorly written, poorly backed up, and overall was a terrible read. I will explain why:
As a game, Runescape has a very poor reputation with gamers in general and MMORPG players in particular. In pretty much any MMO, "goback2RS" is a commonly heard insult for players who play that particular game poorly. The insult is generally based on the idea that Runescape is a relatively simple MMORPG, and that its player base is relatively young.
I have played several MMOs, and have never heard this insult yet. Even in World of Warcraft, not once. The author fails to have his premises support his conclusion, and the argument collapses on itself.
As I have noted many times before in my other articles, the development of Runescape is relatively unique. In the past decade the development of an MMORPG has become a multi-million dollar investment, and Runescape stands out as one of the few games that started out as the simple hobby of a pair of brothers. Even though Runescape has grown massively over the years, its relatively simple roots are still visible all over the game. Compared to the big money MMORPGs, Runescape seems to be incredibly simple. No races, no character classes, no large scale dungeons that require 20 or more players teaming up to clear them.
I don't see how a race/character aspect of a game makes it anymore complex at all, nor do dungeons make a game complex. If anything, it can be argued that skillers, pures, and mains are classes as each has its own purpose. Again, there is no clear connection between complexity and the traits the author has given. The author also fails to mention anything complex about RuneScape. PKing is very complex in itself. It requires the player to be in control and calm, make good judgements, and factor in many things around them in order to make a decision in a very short time period. PKing is not something anyone can do, unlike other games where you keep your items, RuneScape runs the risk of losing items, which is a strain on anyone. As for dungeons, we have dungeoneering which is very complex at higher levels.
All in all, Runescape is indeed a lot simpler than most MMORPGs, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The game is definitely more accessible, and several updates over the past few years have made the starting game incredibly welcoming to newcomers. This simplicity is definitely part of the reason why Runescape is so popular with a younger audience.
I am sure every MMORPG is popular with younger audiences, if not all games. You seem to imply RuneScapes player base is built upon a younger audience inclusively, this however is not the case. A very large portion of the game is made up of players in their later teens to mid 20s. I will give the author one thing however, the F2P community is defiantly a lot younger than the P2P. According to several (4 in total) web ranking sites, the average age seems to be between 18-24.
Of course, that's only part of the equation. The fact that Runescape can be played from your browser on pretty much any computer built in the past decade means that the game can easily be played from school or work. Furthermore, the game is incredibly cheap, requiring no initial financial investment and very low (and optional) monthly fees. Additionally, payment options like prepaid cards and telephone payments mean that players don't even need a credit card (or an adult relative with one).
Again, there is no link between what the author mentions and simplicity. The vast majority of MMORPGs have a F2P portion for their game, can be ran on laptops, and A LOT have the same payment options as RuneScape.
But this is why players of other MMOs should actually be grateful for the existence of Runescape. While I don't have any exact figures, I think it is fair to say that a significant amount of all MMO players got their first contact with the genre through Runescape. Even if it isn't as grand or as flashy as other games are, Runescape is still a very good introduction to the genre. It can introduce players to all sorts of concepts that are unique to the MMORPG genre, such as the economy, the social interactions, team-based PvP on a large scale.
The author is far too bold here in making this statement. If you do not have numbers, you should not claim anything. You are essentially assuming this is the case with no clear evidence what so ever. This is comparable to someone saying something like this: "I do not have an exact number, I think it is fair to say that most people had their first contact with the MMO genre in World of Warcraft". As you can see, without numbers and something to back yourself up with, your statement is dubious at best.
Furthermore, you are always talking about the uniqueness of RuneScape, but go on to say RuneScape serves as an introductory basis for other games in the very same things it is unique in. Essentially, you are saying RuneScape is different but it is the same.