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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Runescape: Bringing back the Old School

Class is back in session!
I've seen a lot of the conversations about old school Runescape.  In some ways, I agree.  There was a lot of fun in those old days, and the game wasn't so complex.

But I never... seriously, never... thought I'd see the day Runescape offered it to a player poll!  I assumed the wishful thinking was either just that, or maybe a handful of malcontents pushing their views to the forefront.  Guess I was wrong.  If it's big enough to get Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard involved, then the nostalgia must involve a pretty huge group of players.

In brief, all the fast and furious updates have inspired a wave of people who miss the old days.  Mod Mark apparently got on board last week, and it sparked a serious "What if" session within Jagex.
After much hunting, searching, and checking old files and backups, a fully functional snapshot of the entire game from August 2007 was discovered.  At least, functional enough that with some TLC, it could be restored to fully working order.

Depending on the level of player interest for the project, Mark has 4 levels of potential support planned.  The poll will be open for voting on Friday February 15th, for a duration of 2 weeks.  The proposed support will be based on a Members-Only vote as follows:

Level 1: 50,000 + votes
There will be an additional membership fee of $15 to access 2007 servers.  The servers will not be updated, and will only receive critical maintenance.

Level 2:  250,000 + votes
At this level, we'll have dedicated 2007 servers, a small dev team, and the membership fee would be around $5.00

Level 3: 500,000 + votes
The 2007 servers will have a dedicated dev team, and there will be no extra fees to members.  The servers will have regular maintenance, and occasional new content.

Level 4:  750,000 + votes
The 2007 servers will have a larger dedicated development team with no extra membership charges.  Plus they'll throw in the free part of the map available to everybody.  They'll get continuous maintenance, and members will have polls to choose preferred content updates.

That's the main essence of the plan. If Mark Gerhard is willing to do this, there must be enough interest to justify spending the resources on it.  Even if he's hedging his bet with multiple levels of support for the project, and even if that first (and smallest) level of support would have a pretty high price tag.

Some clarification would be nice.  When Mark says $15 additional membership fee, does he mean once?  Once a year?  Once a month?  If once a month, that would make it double the cost of the normal membership.

Also, is that an opt-in additional membership, or across the board?  I mean, if he's saying the monthly fee for EVERYBODY would be $15, well, that's a lot more than I'd want to pay.  Especially since I don't plan on going back in time.  Monique and I each have a paid membership.  I'm hoping the only people who'd have to pay the additional fees would be those who want to play on the old-school servers.

Jagex is specifying the servers as 'separate entities', so I think it's safe to assume our player character won't be able to cross back and forth.  I have neither the time nor the interest in training two characters simultaneously.  Which is why I won't be playing on the 2007 servers.  Besides, I really like Player Owned Ports... just recently made 'Commodore', and would hate to  give that up!!

Since the poll will have a vote-by-quantity result, the only way to vote against would be to NOT vote.  According to Mark, if you vote, you're voting FOR by default.  He also said it was fine to vote to help out friends, even if you don't want the 2007 game for yourself.

I'd like some more information before the poll.  While I'm all for helping out a friend, it's another story if helping that friend winds up pulling more money out of my own pocket.  There's going to be a Q&A session (Around the Campfire with Mark Ogilvie) next week in order to discuss the details of going Old School.

I don't usually watch the live feeds, but when they transcribe the Q&A onto the forums, I'll read through it.  (That way it's at my pace, and doesn't take as long to see what's up.)

I'm glad to note Mark Gerhard promised this project will have very minimal impact on the modern game during the initial phase, and none whatsoever after that.  That's good, because they have a ton of new content planned for this year, and I'm excited to see what's around the corner.

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