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 Post subject: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 1st, 2013, 8:15 pm 
Minor King
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So.. I've been hesitating making this post for a little while. Mostly because I've been on a total Runescape blackout since bonds were announced, processing just how much of a dead, done, and dusted thing Runescape is at this point. For anyone who doesn't understand, and by the looks of it there are a few of you, let me explain.

Last month, in the weeks leading up to bonds being released, I trawled through the official Runescape forums to get a general consensus of where the game and it's culture stood after the release of EoC, RS3, and other recent updates. Much of this comprised of debate over subscription numbers and how many people had quit members over EoC, and how many of those accounts were bots that can no longer function due to changes in the game. This particular debate, and I'm talking hundreds of players here over just as many pages of posts, always boiled down to a single resolution; Bots haven't been a problem since EoC and RS3 were released. This year has perhaps been the lightest on bots that Runescape has been since RS2 was released. Even the most hardcore Jagex fanboys and the players who were convinced the game was already dead agreed on that single point while they were at each other's throats concerning just about every other topic.

Subscription numbers have been dropping. At the end of last month it was at 504k, now it's at 493k. You can tell that by keeping an eye on the end page of the hiscores. In the game's prime it managed to reach 1 million concurrent subscribers as a comparison. I can't even imagine how low subscription numbers will get once gold memberships run out in February and all the people who quit due to bonds fail to renew their subs, as well as any bots who are put out of business due to bonds. Add to this that the MMO industry is shrinking as it is, with even games like WoW losing subscriptions every quarter and numerous others failing at the subscription model. This is mostly due to people burning out on MMOs after a decade and also getting older and having less time to play. There are also many more options these days for PC gaming with services such as Steam that offer cheap games which can eat up just as much time as any MMO.

The one time in the game's history that bots are in a manageable state, Jagex pulls this crap. The idea that bots could ever be truly removed from any MMO is an utterly ridiculous concept and they are a straw-man argument to get you to accept the RWT that bonds offer and not quit over their implementation. Bots are an essential aspect of any MMO because they keep the games running. They're all subscribers too and as long as they are kept in a manageable state they can be beneficial for the game's economy as well as update schedule and general health. I know lots of players don't like to advocate them, especially Runescape players, but it's a hard truth in the end.

So basically right now we have a decade of player achievement made irrelevant because anyone can just buy their way to success legally. Those who have a lot of disposable income in real life now have a huge advantage in the game compared to those who don't. To put it into perspective, bonds cost $5 US, and currently sell for 9m. They have been dropping consistently and my guess is they'll drop to under 5m and hover between 4-5m consistently. Assuming they're worth 5m in the end, $100 US will get you 100m gp in-game once your 20 bonds sell. Don't think they won't, either, since they can be used for subscriptions. It's never been easier to be subscribed to Runescape while at the same time it has never been more pointless.

We thought SoF and SoS were bad. We didn't even know what bad was. Blatant micro-transactions like this make everyone's achievements meaningless and kill the game for many players. What's the point in working on a character over a long period of time if anyone who has access to a credit card can just buy their way past everything you could ever hope to accomplish on your own? I know I don't really have to explain this concept to most people on this site, but I just thought I'd spell it out in case anyone isn't aware of what has happened to the game.

Similarly, I know I don't have to explain what Runescape truly was and how much it meant to a lot of people. I know many of you pine for the fjord that was last decade and look back with many fond memories. That's what you should be thinking of when you recall your time with Runescape, not what it has become. There's way too much in the old days to describe in a single post whereas the current and ultimate state of Runescape can be summed up in two words; Cash-grab.

If you're looking for another MMO to play after this I recommend WoW. Because it's such a behemoth it is practically the only MMO that hasn't fallen to micro-transactions in a big way. They do have some, certainly, but even the one that theoretically gives you an advantage in-game (a pet you can sell on the auction house) is tame because money is largely both numerous and pointless in the game, and most people already have the pet. The others are just untradeable pets and mounts that are as good as any other. The most recent expansion wasn't fantastic in many people's eyes, including my own, but the rest is completely serviceable. Personally I see WoW as the last refuge for many MMO gamers these days and it's quite easy to be forgiving of Blizzard's foibles after what the new Jagex has pulled in recent years.

Finally, I just want to say it's been great playing with you guys over the last 8 years. I've never been a huge part of the community because I enjoy watching things from the sidelines and just being a part of things in my own quiet way. I have a huge amount of respect for everyone I've ever interacted with on this site, each for a different reason, make no mistake about that. I was just a silly teenager obsessed with gaming when I joined and now here I am as a 22-year-old writing a dissertation on the overall cultural state of Runescape and the MMO industry as a whole. My growing up definitely wouldn't have been the same without many of you around, and neither would have Runescape.

You can find me and a lot of other villagers on the Steam group as well, I'm on there all the time.

It's been fun guys. Freeasacar out.

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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 1st, 2013, 8:40 pm 
Priest of Saradomin
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Freeasacar wrote:

Subscription numbers have been dropping. At the end of last month it was at 504k, now it's at 493k.

Pretty significant but still a high number of subs. More than i expected.


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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2013, 12:38 am 
Pillow monster
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Bots are still in the game and they still sell gold cheaper than the price of Bonds. It's true that bots mostly disappeared when 2007scape was released, but that's because there was a new game they could feed off and their coffers of gold in EoC were plenty full.

Personally I'm gonna stay in RuneScape until ESO is released, which should happen before my subscription runs out. There's no way to know whether it will succeed or not, but either way I will not be coming back to RuneScape after that.

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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2013, 7:44 am 
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yeh i have rarely been on runescape for the last 2 months, i got so many games to finish off thanks to steam sales and humble deals.

I still need to finish of GTA 5 and try the online part, i will be playing ESO to i played about 30 mins of it at Eurogamer expo and enjoyed it.

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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2013, 4:37 pm 
the 'teflon' coated
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Every single Fuzzy Bunny update is "This is the stone that broke the camels back" and yet the camels back is still not broken.

You compare subscription numbers from the end of summer in the northern hemisphere (It's not unreasonable to assume some children don't get P2P during school time) and when Jagex explicitly works at getting rid of gold farming and botting... And call it a failure for Jagex.

Also your claim that it's now going to be used to buy success is pretty ridiculous - What's to stop someone buying gold now?

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Anyway, your decision. Have fun with WoW!

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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 2nd, 2013, 5:23 pm 
Minor King
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Magicana Drofulcus wrote:
Every single Fuzzy Bunny update is "This is the stone that broke the camels back" and yet the camels back is still not broken.

You compare subscription numbers from the end of summer in the northern hemisphere (It's not unreasonable to assume some children don't get P2P during school time) and when Jagex explicitly works at getting rid of gold farming and botting... And call it a failure for Jagex.

Also your claim that it's now going to be used to buy success is pretty ridiculous - What's to stop someone buying gold now?


Nothing at all, just up until now it was against the rules. It wasn't a mechanic implemented in the game that specifically allowed it, it was a cheat and exploit. Big difference in my eyes but considering how far it's gotten I can see how it wouldn't be such a big deal for some players.

While once again tackling the bot problem is a good thing for players I feel there is definitely a lot more concerns that Jagex could be taking on right now instead. Bug-fixes concerning EoC would be the biggest thing I can think of, previously I would have mentioned their lack of meaningful updates but October's BTS looks promising on that regard.

You're right that subscription numbers fluctuate. Honestly my numbers are based on a very limited sample, and considering the big changes that have come to the game recently it would be much more accurate to measure subscription numbers from the 500k number now until the end of February when gold memberships run out and anyone else not happy with bonds have left too. They may not even decrease at all since bonds allow memberships to be so easily up-kept. That doesn't mean bonds haven't killed the idea of Runescape for me and I assume plenty of other players.

Also, I'd like to give you a special mention Cam. Your tireless devotion to Runescape and your incredibly efficient training methods are an inspiration to every villager and are things every average Runescape player only ever dreams of achieving. Having such a high level/hardcore player constantly around has definitely always been a boon to the village.

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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 3rd, 2013, 3:57 am 
Big, dirty shithawks.
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Landerpurex, in the 'what hurt runescape' thread wrote:
Simon hit the nail right on the head. This game isn't a game anymore, it's become a business model. And the new head honchos are going to wring as much profit as they can from it, then ditch the game. Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if *tomorrow* they pulled the plug on RS, said "Fuzzy Bunny you" to us all and scampered off with their bags of cash.


Except that I've logged in about once a week in the past few months. I had said previously that I'd likely retain membership until the end but this development has made me think twice. The new skill isn't any fun, and it's completely worthless.

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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 19th, 2013, 2:36 pm 
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There is still a new skill to compliment divination. It just might be as boring and useless as divination is.


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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2013, 7:44 am 
Do caep dance
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This doesn't bother me in the slightest (not that I'm playing any more), a lot of games are doing this now. Meh. GW2 does it, although that's a slightly different situation since it's the main source of their income due to no subscription fees.

It gives peoples with lives and an income an alternative method of achieving things in the game they previously couldn't, and it's more money for Jagex of course.

As an aside, some people think spending real $$$ on in-game $$$ is sad but it's hard to take that opinion seriously when you're playing mmorpgs 16 hours a day (not directed at anyone here).

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 Post subject: Re: How Bonds Killed Runescape
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2013, 11:23 am 
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Thats actually a good point that I never thought of.
I forgot there are people that pour 16hrs a day into RS. These bonds would save them some time and they could achieve their goals faster.

Then go outside ;)

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