Quitting RuneScape

TL;DR version: I don't want to play a game where people can just buy their way to success such as with the Squeal of Fortune.


When I first played RuneScape back in 2006, Jagex had a very clear stance against real-world trading (RWT) and they gave a very good reason. Here's what they said. "We don't want players to be able to buy their way to success in RuneScape. If we let players start doing this, it devalues RuneScape for others. We feel your status in real-life shouldn't affect your ability to be successful in RuneScape."

This is why I supported Jagex in their highly controversial decision to remove free trade in 2007 (even though I still think complete removal of free trade was excessive). People were buying their way to success by using real money to buy RuneScape gold and items. Not only did this RWT wreak havoc upon RuneScape's economy because of all the bots and sweatshop workers harvesting resources far faster than legitimate players, but more importantly the ability to buy one's way to success devalued the achievements of those who didn't just buy it from the gold shops. RWT was killing the game and Jagex understandably took drastic measures to stop it.

Disappointed at Jagex having to remove free trade to remove RWT (but not disappointed with Jagex itself), 2008 could only be better, and it was. First they released the long-awaited Summoning skill, and a couple months later they release a new game site, FunOrb. A bunch of regular updates to both RuneScape and FunOrb followed throughout 2008 and 2009, and I remained a happy subscriber to both. The only fault was that they were too fun and distracted me too much from school.

The Beginning of the End

Fast forward to 2010, however, and Jagex takes the first step in their multi-year u-turn on buying success. They started with announcing War of Legends on FunOrb's site, but not RuneScape's (they previously announced the FunOrb's launch from RuneScape's site). It was only a beta at the time, but already it had "pay to win" in the form of "microtransactions" (though I don't know how paying over $100 on a single virtual item can be considered "micro" anything). It then became clear why they didn't mention War of Legends on RuneScape's site. See also: Tip.It's article Hypocrites of Legend.

I almost quit RuneScape and FunOrb over War of Legends, but I couldn't abandon the years I'd put into my account over issues in a different game, even though it indicated that Jagex was losing its core values. Also, since Jagex merely published and didn't actually make War of Legends, I convinced myself that it didn't (quite) count. It turns out that tacit endorsement via publication of such a game was just a prelude to the same sort of first-party RWT (RWT with Jagex instead of on the black market) creeping into RuneScape.

RuneScape Infected

Then, later that year, they introduced first-party RWT to RuneScape, in the form of the Flagstaff of festivities, a cosmetic in-game item that could only be acquired by purchasing a ticket to RuneFest. Though that was technically RWT, it was only a cosmetic item (and thus didn't give direct advantages, other than attracting attention), so I did not quit. More cosmetic items were released in 2011, mostly bundled with specific membership payment methods, particularly overpriced game cards. Once again, these were purely cosmetic items, so I mostly ignored it (though I did write a couple comments about how it's still RWT on the talk page of RuneScape Wikia's RWT article).

First-party RWT Goes Beyond the Cosmetic

It was relatively small (10% extra experience for up to 5 weeks a year), but the "Refer a Friend" (aka Refer an Alt or Refer a Bot) program was the first time one's purchases with real money could directly affect their training. There wasn't much I could do about it that countless others weren't already doing, and it wasn't a game-breaking level of unfair advantage, so I still didn't quit. However, I already felt my accomplishments cheapen.

Pay to Spin to Win = Pay to Win = Game-breaking RWT

The ability to buy spins for the Squeal of Fortune was released on April 2nd. I hoped it was just a mistimed April Fools' joke, but it wasn't. I hoped that Jagex would listen to overwhelming feedback and remove buying spins, but each month things kept getting worse. Since that update, I count 11 (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11) more updates involving the Squeal of Fortune, a clear indication of Jagex's new priorities.

This really hit home when I read number 4 in this JMod post responding to suggested fixes for the Squeal of Fortune. The JMod interpreted the suggestion of replacing some Squeal of Fortune items with "past cosmetic items" as meaning tradeable rares such as party hats. It's too much. The Jagex that I knew wouldn't even consider that. The fact that JMods are now casually discussing such ideas as adding party hats to the Squeal of Fortune (where Jagex encourages us to buy spins with real money) means they're already clearly and unambiguously on the road of RWT and they have no intention of turning back. It's too late now. RuneScape is dead to me.