Features// Runescape - A Ten Year Check-Up

Posted 8 Sep 2011 18:17 by
As with any MMO, it's the players that make it, and Jagex prides itself on how it interacts with them. Suggestions from the community are taken seriously and often give rise to huge changes in the game. When the dev team saw how people were interacting with each other in Runescape, managing to form networks and clans despite there being no in-game facilities to officially do so, they set to work on giving players what they wanted.

“We spent quite a lot of time on the forums talking to clan leaders,” Chihiro says. “We wanted to provide the things that they needed the most, but overall our vision ended up being wider than that. The existing clans almost pigeonholed themselves into selective areas. The tools we've given them should allow them to do much more.”

What Jagex has provided is Citadels, huge floating fortresses in the sky that clans can use however they please. Want to improve your skills in safety? No problem. Need to have a quick word in private with a few people? Head into one of the meeting rooms. Problem in the clan that needs rectifying? Call a clan meeting and take to the podium in the chamber, orating away like nobody's business. You can even have a party in the disco room, complete with light-up floor and balloons tumbling from the ceiling. The Citadels give players a place to be social in safety.

They've also brought in a very interesting element in the form of Battlefields. Each Citadel has four of these sandbox playgrounds at their disposal to do with as they please. A simple-to-navigate interface allows players to design... well, whatever they like really. Capture the Flag courses and Deathmatch arenas are easily thrown together, as are puzzle rooms and (in my case) a hastily cobbled together maze packed out with monsters. “We don't always have to provide players with direct scripted content to keep them entertained,” Chihiro says, “because you can give them a few interesting things to act as a focus and they'll come up with their own things.” It's this freedom to experiment (and allowing the clans to show off their creations to other groups) that he believes keeps players invested in the game – and hopefully will for years to come.

“We're here to give the players what they want,” chips in Ashley. “It's a pretty blank slate. If they want to just chat, fine. If they want to work together to build a big Citadel, the clan system now allows for that. If they want to bash each other about, that's fine too. We're not telling people how to play or set off achievements. We're just saying that pretty much whatever you want to do, you can do in Runescape.”
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