It just got real! Jagex, the company behind the long-running classic MMORPG Runescape, released it’s first mobile version.
In 2013, Jagex developers discovered a complete backup of the game that was made in the year 2007. Shortly after they released a player poll. Over 500K players voted to bring back the old school version of the game, as a separate game to the modern version.
Shortly thereafter the old school servers went live, and players could enjoy the world of Runescape how it was before the modernized 3D client was released and many other core changes to the game were implemented.
This is the kind of update, that many Ultima Online veterans hoped for, in vain.
A few years later, when development of a mobile version for Runescape began, Jagex simultaneously started developing a mobile only version for the old school Runescape version.
Naturally, the old school version, was easier to implement due to a much lower technical overhead. While the Runescape main game is still under development, the old school version is available for mobile Android & iOS devices beginning October 30th, 2018.
The modern Runescape 3 mobile version, is due for release in December 2018. This can still change and isn’t, yet, set in stone.
Get Started With OSRS – Old School Runescape
Welcome to the “old school” world of Gielinor, a mystical place that exists since 2001.
What is OSRS All About?
Old School Runescape is a retro MMORPG, one of the first of it’s kind. Back then the rules in MMOs were quite different than what you know from newer MMO’s like for example WoW or Guild Wars.
One of the biggest differences probably is, what happens when your character is defeated in battle.
Newer titles, simple allow you to resurrect at the nearest shrine / healer, or even teleport you there so that you as player have as little downtime as possible.
Not so old school MMO’s like Ultima Online or, OSRS. When your character dies in old school Runescape, everything (well, most of the things) you had in your backpack, will drop. Once that happens it’s free for all, anybody can take your stuff while it’s laying on the ground.
You had that amazing Weapon that was unique in one way or another? Well, too bad for you, because I just took it and it belongs to me now! 🙂
Life is a lot tougher on the players of those old school games. But that is also precisely what retro old school gamers love. They have no interest in the mechanics new games are using, they don’t want to be sheltered or live a risk-free life where there are no consequences for actions taken.
This is what OSRS is all about. That, and it comes with retro graphics and 8-bit audio.
Ruleset of a game & graphics are of course an entirely different story. There is some movement amongst the veteran player base to modernize graphics & sound. This might or might not happen.
Pretty much everything in Runescape happens through player votes. If 75% of participating players vote for something, Jagex will implement it.
As a new player in OSRS, you’ll be taken to “Tutorial Island”. This is the place where your character first opens it’s eyes and goes through a series of small quests to show you the ropes.
Your character first needs to talk to the Runescape Guide, who stands in front of the door. Before you can leave you have to talk to him.
You’ll then go through a small quest-series, which involves talking to six different instructors, who’ll show you the ropes of the main skills in Runescape, which are namely:
- Melee Combat
- Ranged Combat
- Magic Spell Casting
There is also the Financial Advisor, who teaches you how to use the Banking system in OSRS.
There are many more skills than the ones you learn about during the tutorials though, and some of the available skills are only for paying members.
Old School Runescape Paid Membership
To fully immerse in the world of OSRS, you’ll want a paid membership.
Now, I know that this is a turn-off for many players who say that this is pay to win and so forth. But a game like this cannot be created and maintained completely free, and as soon as you have a paid membership you’ll have all advantages and there are no other items sold that give players a real advantage over you.
The in-game store sells items like XP scrolls, that let people level up faster and so forth. Nothing is sold though, that would give one player a huge advantage over another that can only be bought with real money.
I like to look at the free to play portion of OSRS, as a trial and nothing more.
You like the game and want to play it continuously? Then you should support Jagex, and get a membership.
Memberships are pretty affordable also:
As the title was just released there are bound to be some bugs.
For me, often the keyboard popped up when an NPC started talking to me, and I couldn’t close it.
Tip: If that happens to you, before closing the game entirely in frustration, simply tap the map icon. The world map will open, and the keyboard will disappear.
Not an ideal solution, but this also won’t be a long-term problem.
Other than this annoying little snafu, there was some lag in places with lots of players, but again it’s a new game so I don’t think it will be a problem for much longer.
The controls are a little awkward at first, as you don’t have the usual joystick on either side, to make your character move to a certain location you have to tap on the location you want to go to.
And swiping your fingers over the screen, on any side of the screen will adjust the camera and angle.
Tip: For a quick camera adjustment, simply tap the “Compass” icon and the camera will auto adjust due north. You’ll find the icon at the top right-hand side, directly next to the map preview.
There are no traditional “Levels” in OSRS. You don’t gather XY amount of experience and then your character levels up.
You’ll get more powerful and gain skill points, by actually using them.
For example to become better at fishing or mining, you will have to go and fish or mine. The higher your skill becomes, the harder it is to gain another skill point.
You’ll master a skill once you reach 99 skill points.
In total you can gain and then distribute 2,277 skill points as a paid member, and 1,493 skill points as a free member.
Personally, I like this system of character advancement, much more.
It gives you so much more freedom in making your character really your own, and special.
Every character is somehow different, and never just a “Level 70 Paladin”.
Attacking other players only works under two conditions:
- You have to be outside of Tutorial island, all new players are completely protected there.
- You have to be outside of a city
NPC’s can be attacked anywhere. So I spend a good couple of hours already cow-wrestling, which let me gain a good amount of skill points.
Fighting does require some skill, and strategy. While the fights are not ultra-fast and full of spectacular special effects, you need to think about what spell to cast, or counter cast for example.
“Worlds” are just another terms for game-server in Runescape.
There are many worlds, some worlds have special rulesets to make it harder or easier on players.
Some worlds are only for role-playing, while there are other where it’s PvP action wherever you go.
As a free member, you don’t have access to all of the worlds. Paid members can choose from literally dozens of game worlds.
Switching worlds from inside the game is also possible, your character, bank and other possessions are always with you. So you could for example talk to your friends, or even clan and switch servers together. Permanently, or only temporarily to play under a different ruleset.
Players, can own their own houses in OSRS and even decorate them and let friends enter their homes or give them special access permissions.
This is a perk, reserved for paid members only though. But this alone is worth it to pay some money in my book.
Player Housing or POH the way it is in Runescape is instanced, not like it has been in Ultima Online where you could just drop a house wherever there was space available.
You can buy a house from a Real Estate Agent, and can access the housing area in any of the big Cities through a special portal.
Alternatively, once you distributed 40 skill points in Magic, you can cast a teleportation spell that brings you straight to your house.
As a paid member, you can then also make use of the Construction skill, that allows you to build your own furniture for your house.
Old School Runescape In General
This game draws a lot of similarities to Minecraft, which was designed in a similar fashion, to be completely open and accessible to players.
It’s not just a game or MMO where you log in, go on the Nth raid, killing the same monsters, hitting the same combos in a never-changing order. Only to have the chance to receive “Item X” which is the same for all players of your race or class.
Runescape in it’s entirety, not just the “Old School” part, is an ever-changing living & breathing world. You can be whoever you want to be, you’re not bound by “race”, “class” or any of those classifications.
It doesn’t matter how long you play either, you can log in for a short time only, in the evening or morning and still feel a sense of accomplishment.
You literally live a second life, in another world. And this is what makes this game appealing to so many people. There are no straight lines that you have to follow, or a quest line that is always the same for every new character.
If you’re appealed by any of the things I’ve told you about OSRS so far, just known that for everything I have told you, there are at least 100 other things I haven’t talked about because otherwise this review would be the length of a novel like War & Peace.
The possibilities are sheer endless when you play a game like this.
No matter if you are bored by conventional MMO titles, and are looking for something new. Or simply want to get into a game that will keep you busy for a long time, then OSRS will make you a very happy camper.