Five things you didn’t know about ‘RuneScape’

If you’re a seasoned computer gamer, you’re probably well aware of “RuneScape,” a fantasy-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that initially debuted in 2001.

Developed and published by UK’s Jagex Games Studio, “RuneScape” has just hit a new milestone: the 200 millionth account has been created (though “active” users stand at about 10 million).

To help commemorate the world’s largest free MMORPG – as recognized by Guinness World Records – USA TODAY caught up with Mark Ogilvie, lead designer on the game, to reveal 5 things you likely didn’t know about the game.

Bedroom roots

Jagex Games Studio currently employs more than 500 staff to develop new content for the millions of players who play “RuneScape.” However, back in 2001, it was a very different story. The original team consisted of just two brothers, Andrew and Paul Gower, who created the game as a hobby and a creative outlet while in college.

After graduating, the brothers set about developing “RuneScape” further from their parent’s house. With only a limited amount of time and money to invest, they were quick to rope in their friends to act as game testers and graphics artists. They even drafted in their family to help record sound effects for the game, spending hours dropping things into their mother’s sink to mimic the sound of fishing and capturing bacon frying on the stove to use for players cooking in the game.

Record breaking

“RuneScape” currently has players in more than 150 countries. In 2008, Guinness World Records crowned the game with the title of “World’s Most Popular Free MMORPG,” but this isn’t the only world record that “RuneScape” has won. The game also holds the Guinness World Record for the most updated game, as well. With content releases nearly every week, the game is constantly changing and evolving, meaning that there is always a new adventure every time players login to the game.

What’s more, the number of minutes “RuneScape” players has invested in the game has also been calculated: more than 443 billion, to date.

RuneScape players love to lol

Long before the release of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, hundreds of thousands of “RuneScape” players would login every day just to chat and hang out with their friends.

A recent analysis of the chat in “RuneScape” showed that the most popular word spoken within the game was LOL (which means “laugh out loud”), with a staggering 6,048,000 “lols” per week, perhaps suggesting “RuneScape” players on the whole are an exceptionally happy bunch.

Speaking of chatting, instead of starring offensive words out, the chat filter originally turned any offensive language into the word “cabbage” automatically. This was because the Gower brothers hated cabbages so much that they felt that they were just as bad as the word they were hiding. Although this has now been changed, you can’t miss the subtle cabbage references hidden around the game.

RuneScape has penguins with a plan

RuneScape maker’s Carnage Racing looks to accelerate social gaming

We’ve already seen that kart racers can shine on Facebook in Kart Rider by Nexon, but what about ones that have glossy muscle cars? And what about ones that have lots of rail guns and fiery explosions? That’s what RuneScape creator Jagex looks to prove is not only possible, but will be popular with Carnage Racing, its first-ever social game on Facebook.

“Triple A gaming isn’t often associated with Facebook gaming and we are determined to change that,”Jagex US studio director Jay Panek said in a release, “We wanted to take all our experience from the Midnight Club series and apply the same quality and gameplay benchmarks in a Facebook environment. The result is Carnage Racing, a massively addictive racing game where the main aim is not only the beat your friends to the finish line, but also the see how many of them you can blow up along the way!”

Much of the Jagex US studio based in California is comprised of veterans of the Midnight Club series on consoles, so Panek’s enthusiasm is understandable. Carnage Racing, or Jagex’s answer to the kart racing games on Facebook, offers real-time racing with friends or AI opponents along with a time challenge mode that allows players to asynchronously throw down the gauntlet with one another.

Other features that players can expect, aside from those gorgeous graphics, are 13 unique race tracks set on a tropical island, five cars that players can beef up with 50 different upgrades and five different weapons with 47 upgrades available. Full 3D, console style social games are a rare breed on Facebook (with successful ones being even rarer), but the same could have been said for the web when Jagex hit the scene with RuneScape, no?

Guild Wars 2: Lost Shores Player Rewards are Coming

It has announced by ArenaNet that players who joined connectivity issues during last month’s Guild Wars 2 Lost Shores event will receive a participation reward via in-game mail. Devs alsourge players to be patient as the script could take several hours to run.

As we mentioned last week, for those players who were not able to get the rewards for the final Lost Shores event because they were suffering connection issues, we will provide rewards for their participation in the event. Thanks for your patience while we worked to resolve this.We will hand out the rewards via In-game mail today – Quick FYI… it might take several hours to run the script, so do not panic if you do not immediately receive it. ~RB2

In addition, a fan make a Guild Wars 2 “Looking for Group” app which has been released. According to a thread on Reddit, “Arxae” has created a way for players to find groups across servers and to avoid the tiresome spamming of “LFG”.

Great way to find a group even across different home servers.
No need to stand in Lions Arch spamming chat for a group.
Quick way to advertise you are looking for a group.
Quick way to pick up that last needed member.

Guild Wars 2 is competing with other games in MMOsite Reader’s Choice event. Vote for it now!

League of Legends: Changing Bad Player Behavior

League of Legends developer Riot Games has established a new anti-griefer task force it calls the Player Behaviour and Justice Team. It’s job is to stop being being “jerks” online.

In an interview with Gamasutra, League of Legends lead producer Travis George explained that the task force was set up to monitor foul play and griefing as a means of better understanding it, and to devise more effective ways of putting a stop to unscrupulous actions.

He said, “Nobody wants to play a game with somebody who’s mean. There’s a line, and that line generally is people being mean for the sake of being mean – telling you what to do, telling you how bad you are. And I think we can actually fix a lot of that.”

“We actually have built a team around this. We call it, lovingly, the Player Behaviour and Justice Team. There are a lot of really talented folks on that team, including two PhDs. One’s a cognitive neuroscientist and one’s a behavioural psychologist.”

“We’ve actually developed specific trends, and our own set of metrics that we look at for measuring what percentage of times we think that players will encounter a negative experience in a game, and how severe that negative experience is,” says George. “And then we have to build things or be responsive or message the community in a particular way to address those things.”

“This is going to be a major focus for us”.

Ariane Quest Double Bill

We’re proud to present two fully voice-acted quests featuring the adventuring enchantress Ariane: one for free players and members, replacing the old Rune Mysteries quest, and an all-new quest for members. If you like your quests full of magic and discovery, and your heroines as erudite as they are headstrong, read on.

Rune Mysteries (free to play)

Ariane’s had premonitions ever since she was a child, but lately her visions have shown her just one thing: the Wizards’ Tower – her former home and place of study – in flames. Sure enough, there are already magical creatures manifesting and attacking the wizards, and Ariane’s convinced that Archmage Sedridor’s plan to purge the tower will trigger the disaster she foresees. Ariane’s banned from entering the Wizards’ Tower, so she needs your help to open the archmage’s eyes to the truth.

You’ll delve deep into the ruins of the very first Wizards’ Tower, which was once home to four distinct orders: the serene Blue Wizards; the wise Green Wizards; the free-thinking Red Wizards and the analytical Grey Wizards. You’ll need to solve the puzzle of how to enter, and decide what sort of mage you are to unlock the old tower’s secrets and save the new one from its fiery fate.

Rewards include a magical staff that’s handy for low-level mages, as well as a unique wizard’s hat and title, both of which reflect the magical order you aligned yourself with in the old tower (you’ll have the opportunity to change this, if you wish).

How to start Rune Mysteries:

Speak to Ariane in the lobby of the Wizards’ Tower.

Requirements:
Rune Memories (members only)

At the end of Rune Mysteries, Ariane found herself in a bit of a bind, and now she needs your help once more. You’ll fully explore the arcane ruins beneath the Wizards’ Tower and experience – through the memories of its former inhabitants – the clashes of magical ideals that led to the old tower’s downfall. Dig deep enough and put together the pieces of this ancient puzzle, and you’ll have all you need to free Ariane and avert the disaster once and for all.

Rewards for this members-only quest include a full set of magical robes to accompany the last quest’s hat, as well as access to Archmage Sedridor’s personal rune essence chest, which will grant you rune essence every time you level up in Runecrafting. This is applied retroactively if you’ve already levelled the skill, and by 99 you’ll have received a mighty 24,750 essence in total! Those of you with very high Magic, Prayer and Runecrafting will find further, hidden rewards – ask around the tower once the quest’s complete.

How to start Rune Memories:

Speak to Ariane in the ruins beneath the Wizards’ Tower.

Requirements:

You must be a RuneScape member.

Rune Mysteries

14 free inventory spaces.

Wizards’ Tower and Runecrafting Guild Rework

While you’re enjoying the Ariane Quest Double Bill, be sure to take a tour of our magnificently reworked Wizards’ Tower and RuneCrafting Guild. Four storeys high and resplendent in its firmament-piercing finery, with animated, floating bookcases and the bustle of arcane academia, the new tower is some of our Graphics team’s most stunning work to date. The Audio team have worked their wizardry too, with a medley of new musical tracks and amazing voice acting for the tower’s most talkative inhabitants.

Enjoy!

Mod John A

Behind the Scenes Video

If you haven’t already, take a look at our two-part Behind the Scenes video special on the new Ariane quests and the rework of the Wizards’ Tower:

In Other News

Want to know more about the circumstances behind Ariane’s expulsion from the Wizards’ Tower? Take a look at our latest Lores & Histories story: The Burning Tower – Ariane’s Tale.
Tutorial Island has been removed from the world map, overtaken by the amazing new Wizards’ Tower.
Solomon’s General Store is now stocking Hero Packs styled after some of RuneScape’s most iconic heroes. Dress to impress with the Ozan Pack or garb yourself in sorcerous style with the Ariane Pack: each comes with male and female versions, and comprises a full outfit, weapon override, emote and teleport animation.
There’s magic in the air, and Yelps is delving into the arcane mysteries with 3x Magic, Herblore and Summoning XP earned from lamps won on the Squeal of Fortune this weekend. More details to come soon!

The Brink of Extinction – Grandmaster Quest

The crisis in TzHaar City is about to reach breaking point. Ga’al – TzHaar born without the inherited memories of their forebears – were once merely an anomaly, but now they’re the only TzHaar being born from the eggs at the birthing pools. If this continues, the TzHaar race – as we know it – will cease to exist and TzHaar society will collapse. The TzHaar-Mej have a radical solution, but they’ll need you to return to the Elder Kiln – home of the shadowy TokHaar – to enact it.

Fight your way through some of the most complex combat challenges we’ve ever unleashed, making full use of the new system released with the Evolution of Combat, and dig deep into TzHaar lore to solve puzzles on the way. You’ll also find yourself in the middle of a clash of ideals between the TzHaar and the TokHaar, and the solutions on the table involve pain, death or both. It’s up to you – and a rogue Ga’al bearing a particularly painful grudge – to retain the fragile peace between these two ancient races.

This Grandmaster quest contains some of RuneScape’s toughest combat, and the rewards are appropriately prestigious. Along with 100,000 Mining XP, 275,000 XP in the core combat skill of your choice and a TzHaar title, you’ll earn the ability to smith and wear obsidian armour, and will gain access to an all-new solo combat area: the Fight Cauldron.

Obsidian Armour

This mighty new gear looks truly spectacular, and works much like Void Knight armour: the body armour can be paired with melee, range and magic-specific helms, each giving a 10% accuracy bonus in its style. It requires no less than 80 Defence to wear, and the completion of The Brink of Extinction, and its stats are suitably spectacular: equivalent to Torva armour, with additional damage reduction per piece against against creatures within the TzHaar City and its surrounding PvE minigames (the same creatures affected by the TokKul-Zo). However, you’ll take triple damage if you use it against other players, or in any other location. It also degrades, and new pieces must be made once the armour is destroyed. That said, for a run through the Fight Cave or the Fight Kiln, there’s no better gear out there.

The armour and its raw materials are untradeable, and smithing it is no small feat: you’ll need 90 Smithing to complete a full set, and the obsidian shards needed to make it can only be found in one place…

The Fight Cauldron

In the Fight Cauldron you’ll face the full might of the TokHaar, dodging lava and doing battle with everything they can throw at you: from the humble TokHaar-Hur, all the way up to indomitable TokHaar-Ket-Zek.

All enemies you defeat within the Fight Cauldron will drop obsidian shards. If you have the Smithing level necessary, these can be smelted into obsidian bars and smithed into obsidian armour.

The onslaught will continue until you choose to leave or are killed. You won’t lose any of your gear upon death, although you will expend runes if you’re using magic, and anything left on the ground – such as arrows or bolts – will be left behind.

Last, but not least, you’ll have the option to donate TokKul at a coffer near the Fight Cauldron entrance, which will give any obsidian armour a defensive buff during your next session in the Fight Cauldron.

The TokHaar live for battle, so steel yourself and step into the Fight Cauldron for all the combat you can handle, as well as all the obsidian shards you can carry!

Enjoy!

Mod Stu

Where to start The Brink of Extinction:

Speak to TzHaar-Mej-Ak or TzHaar-Mej-Jeh in the TzHaar City’s main plaza.

Requirements:

Level 80 Defence
Level 80 Smithing
Level 72 Mining
The Elder Kiln

Behind the Scenes Video

If you haven’t already, you can take a tour of the new TzHaar content in our latest Behind the Scenes video:In Other News

Attack, Strength, Magic, Ranged and Prismatic skill pendants will appear more frequently on the Squeal of Fortune this weekend. There’ll also be a limited-edition TzHaar Whip available on the Squeal of Fortune until the end of the year, which can be converted into seven different versions with level requirements from 1-60, with stats increasing each tier. It looks truly awesome and – for the first time – allows use of a whip while levelling up to 70 Attack. More details to come soon!
It is now possible to convert a Prismatic Pendant into a skill for which you have owned an equivalent necklace, as long as you have destroyed the one that you already own. Recharging with gems and reclaiming cosmetic pendants from Diango remain unchanged.
An amazing range of TokHaar-themed armour overrides is now for sale in Solomon’s General Store.
Slayer masters now give out useful information about your current Slayer target’s weakness, via the ‘Have you got any tips for me?’ conversation option.

 

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