A New Global RuneScape

...but the same game?
By Chokelius

Ond here we go again. It's been way too long really, four years to be exact, yet here I am again in front of a laptop, tapping away at plastic. Looking out the window at the rows of office buildings in search of inspiration, I'm reminded of all the things that have happened since my last public display of verbal diarrhoea on this publication. And great things they were, because some of us have gone on to become professional journalists, achieve autonomy and God knows what else.

That's basically what an old mate of mine did. Me, I'm still the same old scrounger that I've always been. I still begin articles with conjunctions, refuse to eat my leafy greens, and the jarring noises I fiddle out with the violin never fail to make babies cry. And although my preferred method of self-promotion has gone from shameless narcissism to underbragging, I can say with some certainty that I'm essentially the same person. Sure, the world around us has manifestly changed; if you had tried to talk to me about smartphones as I was scraping through my GCSEs, I'm sure you would have been met with a "Hoh, you tok siri," or something to that effect. But now, not a single day goes by that I don't see someone whip out these curious little things from their pockets.

But I guess insipid egotism never helped anyone, and I'd hate to veer off-topic and make lewd jokes. What I wanted to relate today was Global RuneScape's comeback.

How the fansite's comeback, well, came about, would be of no interest to anyone. It would have happened on a day like any other, with Alienvortex the Overlord on his computer, minding his own business, when an old friend poked him on MSN. No great story in that anywhere, and I'm more concerned with what happens afterwards.

The Same Community

We are still who we used to be - or I am who I used to be - but in a world that doesn't quite work the way it did before. And in this case, the meatspace analogy really works with the internet, with the advent of Web 2.0. Now, you'd be right in pointing out that Web 2.0 has been around forever - and I am sort of dishing out the first fancy concept that came to mind - but hear me out, because as far as RuneScape is concerned, wikis and all those nice things are a relatively recent phenomenon. Back when I said my farewells to the game and its community, fansites were still the first stops for guides, calculators and the like. In those days, you didn't google for a quest guide, but endearingly typed in a URL and browsed to find that one guide you needed.

That rustic feeling's definitely lost to time now, and it's nobody's business to try and bring it back. No matter how you look at it, a quick google search is faster than the old way, even if it feels slightly impersonal. Assuming you're pressed for time, as gamers usually are, there is no way you would opt to use a guide written by a single person, in the age of democratised knowledge on the web. Gone are the days of full-course dinners, and in their place are fast-foods, saturated with information loosely strung together. We can, of course, provide posh French cuisine with verbiage on the side in order to give players a decent read, and one can only hope that that approach proves successful.

The Future of Fansites

I am in no way suggesting that fansites are vestiges of the past that should be done away with - no, far from it. That would involve leaving a humungous, gaping crack in the community of an MMO, especially for one such as RuneScape, of which the community is so large to the extent that it's nigh impossible to recognise someone you know on the official forums. For those of you who've dabbled in World of Warcraft, fansites would function like realm forums, a sort of a happy place filled with people you've come to know and love.

Although fansites have become somewhat antiquated in ways, people will always be people, and that means human interaction fundamentally stays the way it is. That's one thing that's for sure - fansites are places where you can cyber with other people. So if you've just stumbled onto the site by chance, and are in need of a (slightly dysfunctional) family to compliment your gaming experience, then by all means, come on the forums and say hello - we won't bite*.

* Obviously, this is the internet, so some obnoxious people (e.g. moi truly) may make some cynical remarks, but you can be sure some nice mod will come along and get rid of them.

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Last update: 19-Aug-2012
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