RuneScape been around for over 20 years because it's an average experience that no one commits to in the long term. As an MMORPG, it's 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 year 21 of RuneScape's existence, is it still the premier free-to-play MMORPG? Is it worth the cost of a paid membership? In short... Is RuneScape worth playing in 2022 and beyond? Let's take a look...
Is RuneScape Still Popular?
Absolutely, RuneScape is still as popular as ever with well over 100,000 concurrent players typically online at peak times during the day. Over 295 million accounts have been created over the last 20 years and while many might be inactive today, a great portion of those are still going strong.
The appeal of RuneScape is quite unique as there is no one feature it offers that can be defined as the reason for its popularity. You can thrive and survive on trade skills like Mining & Smithing. Become a master gatherer by training your Woodcutting & Fishing or look to be one of Gielinor's greatest heroes and complete 100's of quests.
This freedom is a huge appeal and despite being such an established game, the story is fairly easy to pick up regardless of when you join. Plenty of the in-game Quests are mini-stories within the world and don't actually tie into any major overarching lore anyway.
Content is forever being added and refinements to the game never stop coming. Perhaps this can sometimes be a negative, especially after the monetization scandal a few years back. The addition of real-money transactions by buying treasure keys caused a huge stir, nothing that the game industry hasn't seen before in FIFA points though.
While still present, they are no longer as predatory as they once were which is the result of a studio that understands its fan base while also understanding what needs to be done to survive. A happy balance was the outcome.
Going Old School
For anyone looking to return to RuneScape who is a bit overwhelmed by the look and feel of 'RuneScape 3', you have two options to make things look and play a little more familiar. If you want all the graphical and content updates, you can switch to Legacy Mode which takes away the more modern MMORPG features and leaves you with a basic point-and-click system.
Alternatively, you can play Old School RuneScape which is the classic version of the game, protected and maintained with regular updates but will only ever look, feel and play like the original game. The downside to this is that you do need to be a paid member to get access to all the worlds on offer. Only a select few are available to free players.
Now for the elephant in the room, is RuneScape pay-to-win or pay-to-enjoy or pay-to-anything? No, absolutely not. Even with a completely free account, there is more content to enjoy here than there is on offer in some £/$60 AAA releases.
There are multiple membership opportunities available through general membership and the Premier Club, but neither is required to enjoy the game. Treasure Hunter keys are still a little bit pay-to-win in the sense that the more you spend, the more items and content you will receive. Saying that this is an intrusive and unavoidable part of the game, however, would be false.
In truth, RuneScape is a game that pleases on all fronts. For modern MMO fans, it offers that full experience that you're seeking and will give you all the relentless updates to keep you happy. Old School players still have the game they fell in love with and a promise that its integrity will be maintained.
You can get started for free and commit to a paid membership only if you enjoy what you play or exhaust all of the free-to-play content - which is no mean feat. We believe RuneScape will survive, thrive, and continue to impress throughout 2022 and beyond!