From a Passionate Project to a Worldwide Sensation: RuneScape Classic is Shutting Down
All good things must come to an end. As sad as it is, that RuneScape Classic is Shutting Down this year. Yes, the game that we’ve all come to know and love—that has kindled the passion for gaming inside of people during their early stages of childhood—is bidding us adieu.
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Jagex, the company behind the development of RuneScape stated that it can no longer offer long-term service reliability due to the growing risk of unrecoverable game-breaking bugs, stressing that these bugs can no longer be fixed due the unsupported nature of the game. With the game being addled by 3rdparty macro tools abuse and rampant botting becoming an increasing issue, it’s sad to say that shutting down the game is better than risking the game falling into an indefinite state of disrepair.
A quote befitting the end of the Classic RuneScape “you can’t fix what is broken” has become a reality. With advancements in technology to further support both the current RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, this has rendered their tools incompatible with Classic. While RuneScape itself has evolved into something far more contemporary in appearance, the Classic version has remained largely untouched, amassing unfixable bug reports over time since its development tools no longer work with the classic servers.
How it All Began
20 years ago, a decision was made by two brothers that brought color to the childhood of young gamers from all over the world. DeviousMUD, the precursor to RuneScape Classic, and the forefather of RuneTek (the game engine used for RuneScape) were created and developed by Andrew Gower around 1998 at his home in Cambridge. At the start, there were only two shops and ten objects that existed with one unfinished quest. He created the platform solely based on Java-dependent computing and 2D graphics which was ahead of its time back then. Later, several months after the development of DeviousMUD, an open beta was announced for those who wished to play the Java-based game straight from their computer. After much success, RuneScape Classic was finally open to everyone after the Gower brothers, along with Constant Tedder, decided to maintain and let their existent business grow. Soon after, they formed Jagex, the company that we know today.
The Community Behind Classic RuneScape
Even Jagex is aware of the dedicated community that exists around RuneScape Classic. The heartbreaking announcement tore the hearts of many people who still have a profound love for RuneScape Classic. Everyone in the community is grieving the loss; it’s a game that they’d played for years after all. For a devout group of Twitch streamers, this announcement is a devastating turn of events. While the RuneScape Classic Twitch community isn’t competing for attention with Fortnite and League of Legends players or other well-known personalities, the 100 streamers who focus solely on the classic fantasy MMORPG have developed followings with audiences who return time and time again to their streams to explore an aging map. These streamers never considered this as a full-time job or a scheme to get rich quick, but rather thought of it as a passion project.
Truth be told, people figured out at some point that RuneScape Classic would shut down one day due to incessant issues such as bugs and server maintenance, but they never in their wildest dreams did they expect Jagex to close it.
So Long, Farewell
Jagex has surprised the people time and time again by implementing changes within the game to keep it fresh, giving new things to players in spite of it being a 17-year-old game. Since it stopped supporting Classic RuneScape in 2015, however, bots took over and glitches galore became the norm throughout the game, rendering almost unplayable. Although the iconic MMORPG did not age like fine wine during the end of its lifespan, it still impacted people’s lives simply by being the first MMORPG they ever got to play during childhood. Bagging over three Guinness World Records for having the most original pieces of music in a video game (including expansions), which now stands at 1,198, having the most users of an MMO video racking up more than 250 million users as of July 25, 2017, and having 1,014 updates making it the most prolifically updated MMORPG video game, RuneScape had cemented itself in the pantheon of gaming titles and will be fondly remembered for decades to come.
This is seriously just not a good month for RuneScape, but also Jagex fans as well. With the FunOrb closing, then Chronicle, and then Ace of Spades folding soon, perhaps this is a sign that the sun is setting on an era of the games from our childhood. All these titles had notably good runs, and although they aren’t nearly as exciting as they were back then, they are still considered to be innovations that made gaming more than just a fun activity for downtime. The future of the gaming industry is looking bright as people close this chapter of their lives and look forward in the hopes of feeling a special spark once again —similar to when they first turned on their computer and played Classic RuneScape for the first time. And seeing how far the gaming industry has come and what it still has to offer, people should undoubtedly expect that to happen soon.