How the mighty RuneScape shall fall

RuneScapeLogo I’m a pretty casual gamer, I find games I like, I play them, I get bored with them. Not unlike most other game enthusiasts, but there’s one game I’m still a fan of, RuneScape. Over the years the team over at Jagex have set records, and pushed the limits of what their technology can do. But recent activities and decisions I feel have been terrible, their technology is still very fascinating to me, but the way they manage their users and their community is what I fear will be their downfall. For a long while, the botting (cheating) community ruled the game, automated users would walk about, gathering wealth for individuals with no interest in the game it self, further fueling the gold farming industry. Unfortunately, this went on for too long, user base dropped drastically, and when they finally started mass-banning bots (end of 2011 in what is known as Bot Buster, performed the night before their yearly event called RuneFest) the amount of users fell from excess of 200,000 users online at any given time, to roughly 30,000. [caption id="attachment_347" align="alignleft" width="203"]Equipment primarely used by bots Equipment primarely used by bots[/caption] Don’t get me wrong, they did some VERY extreme things when they finally did something, they rained fiery hell down upon those who ran these communities through legal actions all over the world. Gold farming site? Cease and Desist. Botting sites? Lawsuits. (The most famous one was two brothers, who lost in court and were forbidden from using Jagex products ever again, and had to repay damages and whatnot for an unknown monetary value). In this same time period, they decided to hire an individual who ran the (at the time) most successful cheating client around. Putting him on the payroll was apparently a move to get access to his resources (at least this is my speculation) to help prevent bots. Had this been a huge hit, then it would’ve been brilliant. But alas, more waiting ensured, more waiting and the bots kept re-awakening, but more on this shortly. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, Jagex announced they will give Jmod (The term used to describe accounts with full administrator access in-game, this includes the ability to spawn items, ban players from the entire game etc) to a select few community users who ran different YouTube channels, as opposed to making them pmods, or player mods, (The term used for volunteer moderators in game, who can temporary mute a player and have prioritized reports when reporting rule violations). Could a company shoot it self more in the foot? I feel strongly against giving a status, which has for the past 10+ years been reserved explicitly to employees at their office, to what I would define as randoms in the street. It didn’t take more than a few minutes before one of these individuals were outed on the internet, screenshots of their racist behavior in game was exposed, and the individual blew up all over the internet, further making him self a target for mockery from his peers. This was a mild incident compared to what could happen, imagine one of these accounts in the wrong hands, all it would take is one person with the wrong access to go around and obliterate the entire game. Their reputation down the drain in mere minutes. Now, back to the cheating communities. The person who was hired turned his community “legal” by saying they would release a client to help players instead of giving them an unfair advantage. I feel, in regard to the points i’m about to make, that I may be seen as somewhat biased as I am part of the team that works on SwiftKit, another RuneScape program. Despite the obvious angling here, I feel my concerns are legitimate, and aren’t influenced by my current relations. An important thing to note in this regard, is the rules jagex have had for many years regarding 3rd party clients; They don’t forbid them, but at the same time can’t endorse them. They’ve set forth rules and guidelines for 3rd party clients to follow to be within their legal rights, and it’s worked (although been a bit iffy at times) quite well. A few days ago, a jagex employee went public not only approving a client, but explaining why it’s awesome to use (in loose terms from my end). And I feel this is so wrong, considering the people who’ve been working up-stream for years, and then an employee with what i can only view as an agenda comes along and endorses a newly sprung up piece of software. What bothers me the most about this software though, is how it gets it’s data. While traditional 3rd party clients need users to input data, or live off fan sites providing them with data. This client feeds off the game client it self, it can perform tasks which I would view as very dubious (a damage predictor showing how much damage you will do to an individual in the game before you do the damage, for example, does sound like an unfair advantage to those who have this ability). There are other concerns, such as quick access to numbers you otherwise wouldn’t have in regard to health levels etc as well, and these are worries I’ve heard from multiple locations. The public post by an employee has of course helped to legitimate the use of this client to others, it would be silly to think otherwise. “Grab your self a client with added features in-game that the unknowing can’t get because this one’s perfectly fine with the game makers” is what I would make of it, and I suspect most others will as well. [caption id="attachment_349" align="alignnone" width="994"]Doesn't this look epic? Doesn’t this look epic? Of course it does now go try it out![/caption] In conclusion; I truly enjoy the game still, the quests and story lines are involving and interesting. They recently started doing voice overs for quests which are absolutely brilliant, and the newly released musical scores in-game have added a whole new level of enjoyment for me (I often find my self sitting on the login screen just enjoying the music before I do anything at all). I hope they can turn this around and continue the work they have been doing so well up until recently, I’ll keep supporting them for now and keep enjoying my own time in the game, but I hope they can turn this negative movement around and not only save their current user base, but bring in new ones, how ever unlikely it may seem at this point in time.]]>


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