After 17 years, the browser RPG RuneScape Classic, developed by Jagex in 2001, will shut down. It's a western fantasy streamlined for simple desktop play, whether your computer could handle the latest and greatest PC games of the time or chugged while loading. It was simple, accessible, and loved by many. And now, its time in the spotlight is finally drawing to a close, as Jagex penned a final farewell blog to the game on its website ahead of its sunsetting this month.
Why shut down a successful game when it's still going strong? Aside from the fact that Jagex has since moved on to RuneScape 2, there's the fact that people are abusing the game with new technology and utilizing bots to get ahead. People can't leave well enough alone. They cheat, they ruin things, and they don't care about what it does to others. As such, Jagex will be winding down the game all the way until August 6, when the game will simply be shut down entirely.
“It has been amazing to see such dedication amongst those of you who have kept playing RuneScape Classic over the last few years, some of you have even managed to reach max total! However, it’s not all fun and games,” stated Jagex's blog post when it was originally posted. “With advancements in technology helping to further support both RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, our tools are no longer compatible with Classic. This is particularly a problem with our community safety and macro detection tools. The game is now easily abused with the use of third party macro tools, and botting has become an increasing issue.”
RuneScape featured over 250 million accounts over its lifetime as well as spin-off titles, books, and other properties that made it one of the most popular and beloved online games of all time. The point-and-click title, set in the fantasy world of Gielinor, finds players interacting with other players as well as NPCs throughout the adventure, with no real overarching story. You simply need to explore, survive, complete quests, and enjoy the world around you. Perhaps that's why so many people gravitated toward it over the years.
Growing up, RuneScape Classic was always a mainstay throughout my circle of friends, especially since you could usually access it via the school's computers and play it after completing assignments (or when goofing off, of course). It was lightweight, with plenty of possibilities, and it existed in a time where anything could happen online.
It was the Wild West, or at least a tamer version of it, and people were more daring back then. Thus, folks were quick to roleplay and find new lives for themselves online in the world of RuneScape Classic. It quickly became much more than just a game for the many players who roamed its realms.
Aside from the rudimentary RPG elements of the game, it acted as a vehicle for so many online and offline relationships over the course of its life cycle, with friendships sparked in and remaining outside of the game, even marriages formed as a result of meeting in-game, much like World of Warcraft and other popular MMORPGs, or Second Life. Developer Jagex is no stranger to these relationships and positive meetings its players had during RuneScape Classic's heyday, and in fact, counts those happenings as part of why the game was so successful and iconic for the time.
The game has maintained a shockingly large fanbase despite a rollercoaster ride of changes over the past few years, even with Jagex having to go so far as banning new players from joining RuneScape Classic due to cheating issues. It's seen its share of ups and downs, but that never stopped it from being a memorable and enjoyable game that anyone could sit down and play.
If you're interested in trying it out, you'll have to settle for watching someone else play, or looking up some videos to see what you've missed over the years. Unfortunately, you can't make a new account, especially now. But you can look back and appreciate the RPG mainstay, and bid it a fond farewell when RuneScape Classic's servers go offline for the final time at 1 p.m. on August 6. Goodbye, RuneScape Classic.