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Runescape Dying? [Discussion/Observation]


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#1
Pat_61
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I want to preface this with "this is going to sound like a P2P/F2P rant, but its not. I am merely using the two as part of my reasoning. Jagex is a company. Companies like money. I know this."

After taking a year and a half - at a minimum - off, I returned to check out Runescape 3 and Evolution of Combat. I realize that while I was gone Jagex did a lot to remove the bots from the game, and as a Woodcutting Skiller, I noticed this and I am not talking about this. But it seems like, in general, the population of the game is dwindling down. Maybe its just in F2P, but it seems to be sliding. And if this is true, would that be Jagex's reasoning for shoving P2P down the F2P throats again? When I started back c. 2005 (somewhere near the start of RS2 but I don't really have a time frame for the game), Jagex used to do the same kinda thing, every little thing you did told you to subscribe. Then they removed all of this c. 2007 which made Runescape two games really, F2P and P2P, with P2P as basically an expansion pack of F2P. Now it seems we have reverted back to the F2P demo of Runescape concept that was annoying in the past. It seems to me that Jagex does notice this decline in the player base and is trying to get more customers on the P2P side. Just from on observational stand point:
  • They fought of the bots for real world trading, when later they instil a method that is still, in its basic form, real world trading.
  • They have essentially made F2P a demo by allowing 5 levels and then constantly saying "Level Cap."
  • They have this Battle of Lumbridge event that is obviously aimed at P2P. I mean the same event. Same rewards, but you do the 1300/3000 thing AS WELL AS changing the Duke junk to all P2P? Why not do the battle is all the same, the Duke part of the event is the P2P bonus? Now if the items were able to be gotten forever, that would be fine. This is essentially a holiday event, and I feel it should be treated as such.
  • Squeal of Fortune (I don't think I have much more to say on that)
It seems like Jagex is fishing for money, which I find uncharacteristic of them. Part of the reason I enjoyed Runescape was because I felt as though Jagex cared for the product and not the money (the real reason you should ever do anything by the way). But in all honesty the lack of people (that I have seen) makes the game unappealing. Skilling is a whole lot less boring if there are a bunch of people there to chat.

This may hve some discontinuity since its late, but oh well. I was just curious on the thoughts of the people that have been playing without a large gap. So do you think the population is going down? Why do you think its going down? How can you tell? Is it going to die or will it be revived soon? Also, please remember to keep it in perspective of Runescape as a whole. Lots of the communities are probably still thriving.

(Waiting for the first person to say I'm crazy hahaha)

-Pat

EDIT: Tacking this on at the end for you to read again before you post - "this is going to sound like a P2P/F2P rant, but its not. I am merely using the two as part of my reasoning. Jagex is a company. Companies like money. I know this."
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#2
Hedgehog
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The F2P population is shrinking because it isn't overrun by bots anymore, membership is cheap, and the population is old enough to purchase membership without begging their parents.

Jagex isn't doing anything out of desperation, but they recognized that the game only had a few years left if they continued without microtransactions and membership advertisements.

#3
Sy_Accursed
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It is not dying in the slightest, this whole merry-go round is old news and comes up all the time.

Jagex published some of their best profits to date in their last financial report and the fact they nearly doubled their team size, could afford to rent a dam castle and attract most big gaming news media to a press thing AND actually bought an office in USA to look into mobile gaming suggests anything but a company dying.

Content having P2P only content is NOT a sign of the game dying it is a sign of F2P is a demo and is meant to wet your appetite whist the awesome stuff you really want is P2P to make you pay for the game. This is basic marketing and has been true since day 1. F2P has always been a demo, argue what you like it is a fragment of the main game designed to specifically tempt you in to paying - regardless of how big or limitless it is that is a demo by all measures.
And not only that they reinvested all those profits and several million more in to growing the company; that is not something money grabbers do they keep the profits.

Microtransactions aren't desperation or dying either, it is the way the games industry is moving. Nearly every game from mobile phones to consoles have what amount to microtransactions these days, be in The Sims expansion packs, Bioshock DLC or Candy Crush paying for special power ups it is the industry norm and it works. Jagex would be morons to not follow suit.

Has their systems for earning income and their balancing of how to entice F2Pers over evolved? Certainly, but it is by no means desperation or a sign of them dying it is a sign of a company that is capable of reassessing the situation in light of how the industry is evolving.

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#4
Pat_61
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I think you missed the point. Growing profits doesn't mean an increase in players. If you can't hold your F2P long enough to make them want to be P2P, then you slowly shift to the WOW idea where people just have to buy the game and see if they like it. The concept of F2P as a "Demo" has never worked. Notice I said CONCEPT. You can say its a demo or not, but mentally the player needs to feel a need to pay. Marketing is a great too, but lots of people resent being pushed into a box to pay. If they sat back and let them walk to the store on their own and buy it, there would be more. A better marketing plan would be a free month/two weeks of members for players, but not when they start - they won't enjoy it - but whenever they want to cash out. But back to the original subject.

The size of Runscape - the number of players excluding bots - seems to be dropping, and that is the orignal post.
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#5
Sy_Accursed
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But the number of players is not dropping particularly, at least not by any provable measure - the number of bots has dropped and that is provable, but not the players.

The concept of F2P as a demo has always worked because, as a free portion of a pay to play game it IS a demo whether you like it or not AND it has successfully got thousands upon thousands of people to buy the game.

Regardless it all boils down to the same point: People have been claiming Runescape is dying with very mish-mashes of circumstantial evidence around player count, alexia data and how they treat F2P pretty much since the day it launched in 2001. It wasn't credible then and it is not credible now; when Jagex starts posting consistent loses and the team starts to shrink and we lose servers there is an argument, but whilst Jagex are making massive profits, increasing the team size, expanding the business and adding more servers (the new music ones msot recently) and new expenses (voice acting and orchestral music) there is no merit to the argument they are dying as these are simply not things a dying buisness does.

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#6
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It is not dying in the slightest, this whole merry-go round is old news and comes up all the time.

Jagex published some of their best profits to date in their last financial report and the fact they nearly doubled their team size, could afford to rent a dam castle and attract most big gaming news media to a press thing AND actually bought an office in USA to look into mobile gaming suggests anything but a company dying.

Content having P2P only content is NOT a sign of the game dying it is a sign of F2P is a demo and is meant to wet your appetite whist the awesome stuff you really want is P2P to make you pay for the game. This is basic marketing and has been true since day 1. F2P has always been a demo, argue what you like it is a fragment of the main game designed to specifically tempt you in to paying - regardless of how big or limitless it is that is a demo by all measures.
And not only that they reinvested all those profits and several million more in to growing the company; that is not something money grabbers do they keep the profits.

Microtransactions aren't desperation or dying either, it is the way the games industry is moving. Nearly every game from mobile phones to consoles have what amount to microtransactions these days, be in The Sims expansion packs, Bioshock DLC or Candy Crush paying for special power ups it is the industry norm and it works. Jagex would be morons to not follow suit.

Has their systems for earning income and their balancing of how to entice F2Pers over evolved? Certainly, but it is by no means desperation or a sign of them dying it is a sign of a company that is capable of reassessing the situation in light of how the industry is evolving.


Based on what you've said and my own observations, Jagex isn't dying but one of their products, Runescape certainly is. While their profits have soared greatly, this is due to weekly SoF and Solomon promotions (I'm a sucker for promotions, have spent a few hundred € over the past year) - not the number of membership players there are. Worlds that were popular two or three years ago are struggling to survive, they cut down a portion of the worlds recently as a result.

I do miss what it was a few years ago, seeing so many familiar faces on a daily basis (Remember w99?), but now standing in popular worlds like 24 you're met with a small handful of people.. Nothing like even just a year ago.

It sucks. I don't want it to, but it does.

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#7
Pat_61
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But the number of players is not dropping particularly, at least not by any provable measure - the number of bots has dropped and that is provable, but not the players.

The concept of F2P as a demo has always worked because, as a free portion of a pay to play game it IS a demo whether you like it or not AND it has successfully got thousands upon thousands of people to buy the game.

Regardless it all boils down to the same point: People have been claiming Runescape is dying with very mish-mashes of circumstantial evidence around player count, alexia data and how they treat F2P pretty much since the day it launched in 2001. It wasn't credible then and it is not credible now; when Jagex starts posting consistent loses and the team starts to shrink and we lose servers there is an argument, but whilst Jagex are making massive profits, increasing the team size, expanding the business and adding more servers (the new music ones msot recently) and new expenses (voice acting and orchestral music) there is no merit to the argument they are dying as these are simply not things a dying buisness does.


Off-Topic:
dem·o

/ˈdemō/
Noun
A demonstration of the capabilities of something
ex·pan·sion

/ikˈspanSHən/
Noun
The action of becoming larger or more extensive.

That is why P2P is an expansion in my opinion. Typically in software/games "demos" have full functionality with one or two things major turned off, like a save feature for programs or something like that. Expansions are limited features and you buy the next level to get more features and increase what you can do with the product. As a musican, I got a Demo of Finale Music Notation software, but got a "lite" version called Finale Print Music instead because it was $150 cheaper (there is also a free version that is limited that they don't call a demo because you really don't know what the main product is off that). The definition fits better, but as I've said, thats not the point of this thread.


On Topic: They are making money because of SoF and Solomon. They aren't really making it because of the players all moving to P2P or the increase of F2P players watching the ad. New Skills is more use of the store. New Armor is the same. New music I will take as part of your reasoning, that being said, I think its because people would have questioned why the music hadn't been updated since, I assume, the start of RS2. It would have been odd for them not to revamp it. Another reason to assume the decline in players - minigames. If there really wasn't a decline in players, they wouldn't be dead (unless everyone has switched over to the mantra of "Its just an RPG with lots of random named NPCs, so I'm alone." rather than "its an MMORPG with lots of people from all over the world that I can skill with, have some fun with.")
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IT'S A TRAP SHINY JUST WANTS TO STALK YOU.

Hell yeah I do. Whats your msn?

That's how it all starts.

Next he's going to ask you what flavor of candy you enjoy and whats your favorite color van.


#8
Sy_Accursed
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Minigames are not dead due to a decline in players. Minigames are dead because the community has shifted towards the metagame where anything and everything that is not efficient or the best is shunned. Not to mention the vast majority of them being vastly outdated to modern equipment and the EoC rendering them tedious to play at best. The ones that still offer a purpose or use are plenty busy - PC and Swars run for people hunting 'easy' xp, cwars runs for the completion cape hunters. Familiarisation, falling stars, evil trees, sinkholes, warbands etc all draw good numbers for their boons.

Very good you can use a dictionary, however in gaming terms a demo is a sample of the whole game to tempt you to the whole, it is not a dictionary definition no but it is colloquial accepted usage. F2P fits that exactly.

Music has been updated since RS2, so that point is invalid and it still does not address the fact either way they are investing money in new servers and new costs (bandwidth, hiring, travel etc) to do this orchestral music this is not something a dying business does.
Jagex is mainly owned by Insight Venture Partners a venture capitalist company. These companies do not invest more money than made in profits or expand a dying business, they strip them for parts and move on.
And what does it matter where or how they make money? The simple matter is they are making it and as long as that is true the game will not die.

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#9
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  • They fought of the bots for real world trading, when later they instil a method that is still, in its basic form, real world trading.
What's the problem with this?
  • They have essentially made F2P a demo by allowing 5 levels and then constantly saying "Level Cap."
F2p was always a demo in my eyes, Jagex claiming it wasn't doesn't change anything.
  • They have this Battle of Lumbridge event that is obviously aimed at P2P. I mean the same event. Same rewards, but you do the 1300/3000 thing AS WELL AS changing the Duke junk to all P2P? Why not do the battle is all the same, the Duke part of the event is the P2P bonus? Now if the items were able to be gotten forever, that would be fine. This is essentially a holiday event, and I feel it should be treated as such.
Just because it feels like a holiday event does not mean it is one. They want people to subscribe, simple as that. They are giving players a reason to.
  • Squeal of Fortune (I don't think I have much more to say on that)
Again, what's the problem with this? It's microtransactions, a common thing in games today.


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#10
Pat_61
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Very good you can use a dictionary, however in gaming terms a demo is a sample of the whole game to tempt you to the whole, it is not a dictionary definition no but it is colloquial accepted usage. F2P fits that exactly.


I don't know if you saw my edit, but I added this to the OT part. Also, no reason to have a demeaning tone. Its just citing information.

That is why P2P is an expansion in my opinion. Typically in software/games "demos" have full functionality with one or two things major turned off, like a save feature for programs or something like that. Expansions are limited features and you buy the next level to get more features and increase what you can do with the product. As a musican, I got a Demo of Finale Music Notation software, but got a "lite" version called Finale Print Music instead because it was $150 cheaper (there is also a free version that is limited that they don't call a demo because you really don't know what the main product is off that). The definition fits better, but as I've said, thats not the point of this thread.


Music has been updated since RS2, so that point is invalid and it still does not address the fact either way they are investing money in new servers and new costs (bandwidth, hiring, travel etc) to do this orchestral music this is not something a dying business does.
Jagex is mainly owned by Insight Venture Partners a venture capitalist company. These companies do not invest more money than made in profits or expand a dying business, they strip them for parts and move on.
And what does it matter where or how they make money? The simple matter is they are making it and as long as that is true the game will not die.


This discussion was never on Jagex as a company, but Runescape as a game. They need to be seperated. New servers for website and storage and what not, but the game has... less servers to play on... can you explain that one? The orchestral music probably was not as expensive as you think simply because it was a scaled down orchestra and it was in the UK vs the US. On the venture capitalist point - as we said, Jagex is making money so of course they will invest, but the player base seems to be declining.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  • They fought of the bots for real world trading, when later they instil a method that is still, in its basic form, real world trading.
What's the problem with this?
  • They have essentially made F2P a demo by allowing 5 levels and then constantly saying "Level Cap."
F2p was always a demo in my eyes, Jagex claiming it wasn't doesn't change anything.
  • They have this Battle of Lumbridge event that is obviously aimed at P2P. I mean the same event. Same rewards, but you do the 1300/3000 thing AS WELL AS changing the Duke junk to all P2P? Why not do the battle is all the same, the Duke part of the event is the P2P bonus? Now if the items were able to be gotten forever, that would be fine. This is essentially a holiday event, and I feel it should be treated as such.
Just because it feels like a holiday event does not mean it is one. They want people to subscribe, simple as that. They are giving players a reason to.
  • Squeal of Fortune (I don't think I have much more to say on that)
Again, what's the problem with this? It's microtransactions, a common thing in games today.


1. Its contradictory - hypocritical.
2. I don't know what you are saying here. Thats irrelevent. The point of that point was by doing things the demote what the idea of F2P is, you alienate the group of players that eventually become P2P.
3. Items that you can get one time ever. Thats pretty much the runescape definition of a holiday event. There is no reason to make it harder for one group to get it than the other. It would be different if there were different rewards for P2P, but the event itself (collecting grinding to boredom the tears) is dumb.
4. It ruins the bases of the game that they tried to stop. Unfair advantage. Just because its common doesn't mean you have to do it. The idea of microtransactions in a game is to make money for the company and the keep the players playing. If you spend money on something, you are less likely to put it down. It's marketing to keep people playing, which could be because a declining population. (That would be speculation of course)


Again, we are missing the point of the post...
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IT'S A TRAP SHINY JUST WANTS TO STALK YOU.

Hell yeah I do. Whats your msn?

That's how it all starts.

Next he's going to ask you what flavor of candy you enjoy and whats your favorite color van.


#11
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Minigames are not dead due to a decline in players. Minigames are dead because the community has shifted towards the metagame where anything and everything that is not efficient or the best is shunned.


I personally think that blaming the declining activity in minigames on the efficiency mindset is too convenient a scapegoat. While the current community is definitely more efficiency minded than it was in the past, this sort of behavior is nothing new. In fact, it has always been a part of the game, just in a less pop-culture sort of way.

It's important to remember that they're minigames, not really intended to appeal to everyone. There's always going to be your reward chasers increasing the game's activity so long you use that to draw in extra players - and many minigames do use this system. Nothing really wrong with that, except that as the game changes it risks becoming completely irrelevant with each game update.

If you look at almost every dead minigame, there is a section of the community that will always be there that enjoys the game simply for the sake of the game. This is true for GOP, Stealing Creation, Castle Wars, etc. These people will always be there, regardless if the rewards are no longer relevant in today's game. Sadly, those people will always be a smaller group than the reward-seekers. Again, that hasn't changed over time at all - what has is the number of overall players.

It's simply easier to spot these problems when you look at minigames. Less people overall throughout the course of say, 3 years, can really make things difficult even for the hobbyist players since a few of these games were clearly made with a larger audience in mind to run smoothly. (Castlewars being a prime example.) It might not be all that wise to hold minigames up as the sole pillar of proof that the game's population has declined over the years, but when held against the rest of the evidence we have on the matter it's easier to infer what's going on.

Now that I've said all that though I would like to also point out that MMORPGs overall are declining as well, which does not help the problems RuneScape suffers from today.

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#12
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I miss 2k worlds and W2 fally park, the activity in wilderness and duel arena & all the pvp games. So far duel arena is just infested with scammers.

Other then that it's okay. I returned six months ago and i've never seen a full world at any day of the time.
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#13
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1. Its contradictory - hypocritical.
2. I don't know what you are saying here. Thats irrelevent. The point of that point was by doing things the demote what the idea of F2P is, you alienate the group of players that eventually become P2P.
3. Items that you can get one time ever. Thats pretty much the runescape definition of a holiday event. There is no reason to make it harder for one group to get it than the other. It would be different if there were different rewards for P2P, but the event itself (collecting grinding to boredom the tears) is dumb.
4. It ruins the bases of the game that they tried to stop. Unfair advantage. Just because its common doesn't mean you have to do it. The idea of microtransactions in a game is to make money for the company and the keep the players playing. If you spend money on something, you are less likely to put it down. It's marketing to keep people playing, which could be because a declining population. (That would be speculation of course)

Again, we are missing the point of the post...


1. Hypocritical would be berating other companies for using microtransactions, then implementing it themselves.
2. What I'm saying is that f2p has always been a demo.
3. Being similar does not necessitate being bound by the same rules.
4. You claim to know that Jagex likes to make money, yet every time they do (in perfectly reasonable ways practiced by many gaming companies), you claim they are hypocritical or unfair.

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#14
ilovecuttingyews
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When they introduced micropayments into the game, Jagex said that it was due to a long term trend of declining income. From 2008-2012 Jagex watched as their profits slide as veterans quit (it's natural to become bored of a game after near a decade of playing it) and new players came in at a much slower rate than they once did. It's my firm belief that this is why RS3 was developed. Jagex is doing all they can to gain NEW players. Veterans can only keep this game afloat for so long. And honestly, if you were new to the MMO scene, would you pick a game that is over 10 years old, or would you pick a much newer one that is designed around the wants and desires of the current trends.

#15
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On the orchestral music being 'cheaper' because it was in the uk:

1) Being in the UK does not make things cheaper than their US counterparts
2) They didn't do it on the cheap in house they went to Slovakia for it
3) They hired James Hannigan a famous award winning composer for games who has worked on things like Harry Potter and LOTR and has Baftas nominations
4) They used the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra - last I checked national symphony orchestras aren't "cheap", not least because they are considered a world class orchestra.

Also I take the point to view Jagex and Runescape separately HOWEVER Runescape is Jagex's only current successful money making project; until Jagex has another successful branch the company profits is a viable measure of Runescape itself because Runescape is the one bringing about all that revenue.

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#16
Voldmort0
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Voldmort0

    Dark Wizard Robe

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I think from a player's point of view, one who played in the 2004-2007s era, when the game was still in a very "pure" and even naive form (and overall more fun, in its simple way, in my opinion) it seems like the game has become an exageration of itself, overcomplicated and that much less people are playing.
But from Jagex's point of view, the fact is the game has never been so successful. I found this to be very surprising but the fact is that this past year was the best year for Jagex in terms of income, of which a significant part is due to runescape. Clearly, this change in approach to the game has been able to increase profit through well thought out revenue tactics (SoF, membership content, loyalty program).
Even though I enjoyed the game much more a few years back - thus having been basically retired since 2008, only to play sporadically - I'm quite pleased to see that they are treating this game as a FIRM or an actual BUSINESS, as they should! And most importantly, it is working for them and, as a bonus, they've found the time to clear the game of bot parasites to a huge extent (thus also contributing to the perception that there are less people playing)
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#17
Kaida23
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Kaida23

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The number of actual people playing has been declining since the return of free trade and the explosion of bots and autotypers that followed. As any of you who toughed out 2011 know, this caused a lot of areas to be almost unplayable and a lot of people to quit in frustration.This was made very clear when the bot nuke occurred later that year and the number of "people" playing was cut by more than half. RS3 seems to be bringing a lot of people back though, and recent updates have been very impressive (Pat, you should check out some of the recently reworked quests). I don't mind the microtransactions so much, seeing the kinds of updates that they have helped fund. I think, while the player base might be diminished, the game itself will still be around for some time to come.

When they start treating it like FunOrb, then it's time to worry. ;)

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#18
Drazhor
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Drazhor

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The only argument I can have towards the game dying, is that it doesn't have the same "umph" with the updates as they used to. This may or may not be to do with how the company has changed since I started playing.
I think it's more that when I was younger, I was mystified and engrossed by the game and the community. Though now that I'm a bit older I expect a much, much larger realm of fantasy.
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#19
Omali
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Omali

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If anything will kill Jagex off, it's self-imposed bankruptcy from their growing line of failed projects. MechScape, Stellar Dawn, Funorb, 8Realms, Transformers as an MMO, and hopefully not Transformers as a MOBA.
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#20
kamil1210
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kamil1210

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RuneScape is dying since 2001

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