A Review of RuneScape

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An In-Depth Review of RuneScape

A Ten Ton Hammer Browser-Based Game Review

By Cody “Micajah” Bye

July 9, 2007 - In the world of MMOG reporting, there is a constant focus on games developed for the “premium” marketplace; games that feature a stand-alone client, a fully realized graphics engine, and have marketing employees promoting in-store retail versions of their games. Titles like World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and Age of Conan dominate the vision of much of the industry, making it seem as if they are the biggest fish in a small sea.

Publisher: Self-Published
Developer: Jagex Ltd.
Genre: Fantasy
Homepage: Official Site
ESRB Rating: N/A
Release Date: February 27th, 2002

Reality, however, is a far cry from what gamers are often exposed to. While World of Warcraft reigns supreme in the Western MMOG markets, it has a contender for that top spot, a game that boasts several hundred thousand players on its servers at any given moment. No, it’s not a full-scale premium MMOG. In fact, it’s a game that can be played with any Internet browser that supports Java on even a very low-end computer. The game in question is RuneScape, which was originally produced by Jagex Ltd., a small, UK-based development team with a minimal work force. Now, according to Screen Digest’s 2006 MMO Market Report, RuneScape is the closest competitor to World of Warcraft, and the Jagex Ltd. team has grown to around 300 employees.

With these sort of numbers, it would be a shame to continue ignoring RuneScape like many of the MMOG websites have, therefore Ten Ton Hammer put their managing editor, Cody “Micajah” Bye, on the task of getting to know the world of RuneScape and determining why the game has developed such a huge following.

Is that a LEGO Mini?

Initially, accessing RuneScape is an incredibly easy experience. Since the game is browser-based, there are no hour long installation times. Instead, a player merely needs to create an account and fire up the RuneScape client, which is clearly labeled at the game’s official website. After doing this, the game will download a few files (which shouldn’t take very long, even on a slow connection) and then you’re ready to begin your adventures in RuneScape!

Character Creation
Character Creation
Making a character is as easy as selecting your hair, clothes, and features.

When you first enter the world of RuneScape, it’s best to remember that the entire game has been developed to run through an Internet browser. That said, the graphics in RuneScape are incredibly basic, with character that are a cross between a LEGO mini figure and the style of Asheron’s Call in the late 90s. While that sounds a bit harsh, it isn’t entirely intended to be. While the presentation may be slightly drab, it’s not jarring to the eyes and that’s all that matters in game that’s meant to be played on a variety of computers. To be honest, the graphics don’t take away from the gameplay in RuneScape at all, and visually are not harsh on the eyes.

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