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a guest Jun 20th, 2019 70 Never
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  1. Runescape: The epitome of bad game design
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  3. Perhaps Runescape isn't really the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about absolutely horrendous game design especially when other examples out there such as Ride to Hell: Retribution or Rogue Warrior hit the mark more nicely. I do want, however, to provide some insight on the unusually poor game design of this MMORPG, why it's in overall a very bad gaming experience and why I would advise you to avoid it.
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  5. GRAPHICS:
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  7. The graphics are highly substandard and rather bland and uninteresting at places both artistically and technically. This is mostly due to the fact that Runescape is a browser-based game which means it can't support higher-end graphics (even more cartoon-like ones such as those of Overwatch). One might excuse this drawback for said reasons but even then it doesn't really matter. If you're put off from mediocre graphics and you expect something more pleasing to the eye in the games you play, Runescape is not for you.
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  9. CONTROLS:
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  11. Runescape is a click fest. Everywhere you go and everything you want to do is done with the mouse from a third-person, top-down perspective. Unfortunately, because of this and the fact that the game was built and runs on Java, the overall controls of the game are rather clunky, slow and at times unresponsive and inaccurate; this is especially so during combat. The networking issues (such as latency/lag) that may arise during the game makes controlling your character even more of a science. In overall, the over-reliance on clicking with the mouse and the fact that the game runs on a coding language not normally meant for games (Java is slow unless you're developing for Android) means the controls are mostly not robust.
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  13. GAMEPLAY:
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  15. Runescape suffers more or less the same weaknesses in its gameplay like any other typical MMO but it takes those weaknesses to a higher level of badness.
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  17. Grinding: Nearly every aspect of the game, from quests and gold farming to minigames and boss raids revolves around grinding, repeatedly doing dull tasks to level up your skills until you meet the requirements. For example, if you want to go for a boss raid you can only safely do so when you're at the very high combat levels and to get there you'll need to accumulate millions of xp in combat skills. The same applies for quests which may have high level requirements for several different skills which also requires the accumulation of millions of xp. The game itself does little to hide this and neither does it do much to lower it and shift the focus on more varied, more exciting activities whilst leveling up the skills.
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  19. Skills: There are combat related skills (Attack, Defense...) and non-combat skills which aid you in other ways all totaling to 27. This is where most of the grinding takes place and many of these skills are ridiculously repetitive, boring and even unnecessary. There is literally even a skill called Woodcutting which, hence its name, expects you to look at your character for hours aimlessly swinging his axe on trees and when your inventory is full you must manually empty it one by one so you can get back at it again, rinse and repeat. Typically every skill requires you to either collect or produce a resource in vast quantities (such as thousands of armors for Smithing) and because a lot of the raw materials and finished goods don't stack up you quickly run out of the stuff needed and must run back to the bank where more of it is stored to refill and go back to the production point to continue grinding, or in the case of combat skills to kill thousands of mobs at a time over and over to raise a single level. To make it worse none of the utilities needed to produce resources for xp are conveniently placed close to each other to make the task easier and less click intensive and as mentioned before there also isn't an option to quickly empty your inventory if it fills up during the production process (such as a 'Drop all of x item').
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  21. Economy: The economy system in Runescape is very similar to that of a real life commodity exchange where prices of specific items are determined by supply and demand and you can trade items with other players either directly (player with player) or through a utility called the Grand Exchange where you place an item you want to sell or an order for something you want to buy and set its price until the transaction is complete. Though there's nothing particularly unreasonable about this type of economic system a lot of raw materials used to level up skills can cost millions to buy in bulk and combat gear at the highest levels can go up to hundreds of millions more in price. The sheer amounts of gold needed in leveling up skills and acquiring high-level equipment further adds to the grinding element in the game and plays a role in encouraging players to do bad, unsporting game practices for quick profit which I'll highlight further down below.
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  23. Combat: The combat system and its mechanics is very simplistic and unvaried; you basically watch your character perform auto-attacks on mobs where hits and damage dealt are more or less based on chance and in the case of PVP it's basically who's the one to be lucky to kill the other. Combat is largely non-interactive and more of a click fest. An update called 'Evolution of Combat' slightly changed the combat system to include abilities based on what weapon and style is used but they fail to make much of a difference since their overall effect in damage output and defenses is highly insubstantial. Though somewhat more interactive there's still no real strategy or skill involved whatsoever.
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  25. A core aspect of the combat system is the Combat Triangle. The three combat styles (Melee, Ranged, Magic) are involved in it in a manner of Rock-Paper-Scissors (Melee beats Ranged, Ranged beats Magic and Magic beats melee). This system has it that you can deal extra damage and more frequently if your opponent's combat style is the one yours counters. Makes sense right? Not really; it only further degrades any sense of strategy and skill needed to win in a PVP encounter because if you choose combat style x and your opponent chooses style y which happens to be a hard counter to yours thanks to the Combat Triangle mechanic it only means that you're destined to lose the fight, unable to do much if anything at all about it because you're in an artificial disadvantage. Again, no skill or strategy involved.
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  27. PVP (Player vs Player): PVP in Runescape can either take place in the form of an agreed duel between players anywhere in the game world or in minigames (such as the Duel Arena) where duels can either be safe or involve the risk of losing your items on death (such as when placing bets). Because of the lackluster combat mechanics and the combat triangle, PVP rarely becomes very exciting; without much real strategy, if any at all, involved in the gameplay mechanics most PVP encounters feel more like a matter of luck as pointed out earlier.
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  29. The Wilderness: This is a large area in the game world where, once inside, players can attack each other and fights can include more than one player at a time. Basically it's something of a dangerous area where PVP is possible anywhere without many restrictions. The idea behind it isn't actually bad but there's one problem which ruins everything; the Wilderness is designed so that you can lose your items on death and, once dropped, other players can pick them up immediately. This is something that the community actually asked from the developers, apparently because they wanted to have a feel of 'risk' to spice things up since most of the rest of the game is just an endless chore of grinding for gold and xp and they resort to the 'thrill' of who gets to steal the other's stuff to have 'fun'. Adding the element of losing your items on death for the winner to pick up makes what would otherwise be a fun game mechanic into a nasty encounter where each player now focuses entirely to win instead of having a genuinely fun experience and losing can be very punishing, toxic and rage inducing.
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  31. Looking at it more broadly the very element of being able to steal a real player's belongings is actually immoral. Strictly speaking it's immoral by nature, whether in real life or in a virtual game world, but given the context of the game concerned it can be forgivable. In Clash of Clans for example you attack other players' villages to get a percentage of their stored resources; however the percentage you take is fairly minimal and painless to the other since the lost resources can be recovered quickly and either way Clash of Clans, unlike Runescape, isn't a game where you're expected to sit hours on the screen to grind for resources/levels but a game which you play 'in-between' other activities you may do in your free time. In Runescape there's no limit on how much you can lose; gear lost can range from expendable to very valuable. Though you're expected to be careful not to bring highly valuable items in the Wilderness, even with lower value gear you're basically gambling your luck and you can still lose millions worth of value for which you'll have to grind for gold again to recover. In other words the banditry element in the Wilderness in Runescape is very hurtful to the losing side and it's overall immoral and anti-fun given the context; only trolls will find this appealing since they don't care if they inconvenience the other player and force him to grind to recover lost wealth whilst players with a conscience will have no interest in doing this to others. If you think otherwise then you're most probably a troll yourself, someone with a distorted sense of morality, an idiot or all three simultaneously (they do correlate with each other). PVP to be truly fun, it can have an element of punishment for losing as long as it's not too painful and doesn't involve the loss of items you previously had whether or not for someone else to take; there's a reason why most other online games do not include such a feature.
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  33. SOUNDTRACK:
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  35. The soundtrack is mostly lackluster and feels like more like filler for background atmosphere. Not all of it is ear grating but it can get repetitive to the point that it can make you want to turn off music from the audio to give your ears a rest. Knowing that relatively small video games have some incredibly memorable soundtrack (e.g. Undertale), there's no doubt the developers of Runescape could have done a much better job with the music audio.
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  37. MICROTRANSACTIONS:
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  39. Runescape comes with a subscription fee to temporarily include all of its features for the full experience and it also has microtransactions for cosmetic items and accessories. You can acquire everything for in-game currency but it involves even more grinding for gold (a single token which you can use to acquire free Membership for two weeks costs more than 10 Million gold). If you don't like microtransactions then you'll hate this game, especially since it tests your patience through the endless grind to squeeze money out of you.
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  41. COMMUNITY:
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  43. A game's community isn't something that the game design itself can influence entirely and it isn't something for which we can add or subtract marks in a game review but it does play a significant role in how it may behave. The community of Runescape is similar to most other MMORPGs, there are both good players who respect you and bad and obnoxious players which you'd rather mute but the overall game design however has some nasty side effects which makes the Runescape community more unpleasant than usual.
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  45. Scams: Scams are as old as the game itself. The game's huge focus on grinding for gold to get gear and resources and the amount of time it consumes to do so through dull, repetitive tasks means that some players resort to more devious ways to gain gold faster. Scams can be pretty blatant and hard to fall for and others can be cleverer; in any case most of these schemes revolve around gaining your trust which will then be exploited to steal from you and they most commonly use either the trade function or the Wilderness which itself is a powerful tool for scams because it's the only area in the game world where you can kill a player and loot his inventory. There have been cases where a player will befriend another for a few days acting like normal to gain his trust then later will ask him to go together for player-killing in the wilderness with their best gear but once deeper inside the other two friends of the scammer will be waiting where they will ambush the victim and the scammer will turn on him to quickly kill him and steal his valuable equipment, afterwards he will unfriend him and move on to the next. This should give you an idea of what's the worst you can expect from people of the Runescape community where, unlike most other online games out there where the worst they can do is post toxic comments, they can hurt your gaming experience more directly and more severely. Though if you're very careful these trolls are unlikely to cause you trouble, your safest bet to completely avoid the dark side of the community is simply to turn off all chat; if they can't talk to you they can't scam you. The fact that these type of unsporting activities are possible due to several features of the game being readily available to be abused this way is another sign of bad game design.
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  47. Beggars: The game's focus on gold grinding can encourage players to start scamming others but there are of course those may not want to risk being banned (scams are against the rules) and instead resort to other safer but equally pathetic methods. Beggars are players who are trying to be as obnoxious as possible to get something out of you by begging but they rarely make any headway; all it takes is to mute them and ignore them.
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  49. FINAL VERDICT:
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  51. To sum it all up, Runescape is a hideously slapped together online game plagued with nonsensical design choices which offers nothing that hasn't been done better by other games in the market. I would strongly recommend you take a pass on this MMORPG which is more or less, at best, just an inferior choice.
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  53. Pros: Some variety of minigames to play Treasure trails can be fun Quests and their stories usually have light-hearted humor
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  55. Cons: Extremely repetitive; the game is an endless grind Lackluster soundtrack Bland, dull graphics Clunky controls Uninspired combat mechanics Some boring, unnecessary skills
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  57. Score: 2/10
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  59. Ruinscape
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