RuneScape lasted no more than 20 years as it is an average experience to which no one is committed to in the long run. As an MMORPG, it is part of a genre that seems to be constantly on the verge of extinction despite the popularity of a select few games.
So, as we enter RuneScape's 21st year of existence, is it still the best free MMORPG? Is membership profitable? In short ... Is RuneScape worth playing in 2022 and beyond? Let's see ...
Is RuneScape still popular?
By far, RuneScape is still as popular as ever, with over 100,000 simultaneous players who are usually online at peak times of the day. Over 295 million accounts have been created in the last 20 years, and while many of them may be inactive today, a significant proportion of them are still active.
RuneScape's appeal is quite unique in that it doesn't have a single feature that can be categorized as the reason for its popularity. You can grow and survive with trading skills like Mining & Smithing. Become a collector's master by training your lumberjack and angler, or pretend to be one of Gielinor's greatest heroes and complete hundreds of missions.
This freedom is a huge asset, and despite being such a well-established game, the story is fairly easy to take on no matter when you join. Many of the in-game quests are mini-stories in the world and are not really tied to great, overarching knowledge.
Content is added forever and improvements still come into play. Perhaps this can be negative at times, especially after the monetization scandal a few years ago. The addition of real money transactions through the purchase of Treasury Keys caused a huge stir, but nothing that the gaming industry has not seen before in FIFA Points.
While they're still around, they're not as predatory as they used to be, which is the result of the studio's understanding of their fans as well as an understanding of what needs to be done to survive. The result was a happy balance.
Going Old School
For anyone looking to go back to RuneScape and who is a bit overwhelmed by the look and feel of RuneScape 3, you have two options to make things look and feel a little more familiar. If you want all the graphics and content updates, you can go for Legacy Mode, which removes the more modern MMORPG features and provides a simple point-and-click system.
Alternatively, you can play Old School RuneScape, the classic version of the game, protected and maintained with regular updates but will always look, work and play just like the original game. The downside to this is that you have to be a paid member to access all the worlds on offer. Only a select few are available to free players.
Now, for the elephant in the room, is RuneScape "pay for win", "pay for play" or "pay for whatever"? No, absolutely not. Even with a completely free account, there is more content to enjoy than is offered on some ￡ 60 / USD AAA versions.
Many membership options are available through General and Premier Club memberships, but none are required to play the game. Treasure Hunter Keys are still something of a pay-to-win in the sense that the more you spend, the more items and content you get. However, to say that this is an intrusive and inevitable part of the game would be wrong.
In fact, RuneScape is a game that enjoys on all fronts. For modern MMO fans, it offers the full experience you are looking for and you get all the constant updates to keep you happy. Old School players still have the game they fell in love with and promise that its integrity will be preserved.
You can start for free and only commit to a paid membership if you like what you play or when you exhaust all free content - which is no small feat. We believe RuneScape will survive, grow and continue to impress in 2022 and beyond!