his week, I am going to do some research on RuneScape 3. The long awaited, mysterious, total renewing of RuneScape. What will it be like? Will there still be a free version? Do we have to download anything. And the most important question of all, with an answer we can only find out when it is there: "Will there be noobs trying to perform RuneScape 4 scams?"
All questions, especially the last one, are important, and we can not be sure until RuneScape 3 is there. However, we can make certain predictions about the game by doing historical research. Of course it is impossible to find out about details in gameplay, new items, new quests and such. But it is possible to look back in the history of RuneScape, especially at the release of RuneScape 2. Also, you will be able to read some of my theories about things around RuneScape 3, especially: who will the game be accessible to? And how does it all work with downloads and slow connections?
Disclaimer: ALL of the following information about RuneScape 3 is strictly theoretical, and should NOT be mistaken as information I got from any official source. These are just my ideas, and nobody knows what RuneScape 3 is going to be like, and if the actually is going to be a RuneScape 3.
Good, I hope you have read the disclaimer. If not, read it, and continue with the next line. Have you read the disclaimer yet? No? Ah well, like I care anyways. One of the big questions on RuneScape 3 is the release date. This is something we can of course only guess, but it is possible to guess when. Therefor, let's look at the news archives on the official site, www.runescape.com. RuneScape 2 (the current RuneScape) was launched at the 29th of march 2004, after a long time of beta testing. A year later, in 2005, Jagex started updating the graphics of the game, at first Lumbridge, then Port Sarim, Falador, the Wilderness, various monsters, and the graphical update for Varrock is planned for this month. After that, there are only some dungeons and Al Kharid left, and the entire free game will be updated to the level of the new members parts of the game.
All these updates show that RuneScape 3 is not going to be there for a couple of years. To me it seems very unlikely to update the game while it is going to gyewbe replaced soon anyways. I expect that Jagex will start updating a few popular members' areas by the end of the year. So maybe in 2009 RuneScape will completely meet the new standards of the game. After that, Jagex will probably start developing RuneScape 3. But that will take a long time, as RuneScape is now a lot bigger than RuneScape 1 was when RuneScape 2 was introduced.
There is another reason why it will take a long time. RuneScape 3 will need a new engine. With the newest updates of RuneScape, the limits of Java (the engine on which RuneScape is based) are reached. So if Jagex wants another huge graphical update like RuneScape 2 was, they will either need to find a new engine to run the game, or develop one themselves. Also because Java is getting outdated. According to Vincent, my friend who is pretty much into computers "Java will be over in ten years or so."
Yup, if RuneScape has to get even bigger (to be honest, I think it's already a little bit too big), it has to expand to a new engine. Now that could be a problem, Java has very limited options, but it is also very common. You can play RuneScape on any computer with an internet connection. There, Jagex has to make a choice: starting from scratch with a new engine that has to be downloaded, or sticking with Java. Both ways are probably going to cost customers. If Jagex will work with a downloadable engine, it will be harder to reach for many of the current free players (children of 12 years or something), but it seems likely to me that many paying members will take the efford to download the new engine so they can keep playing. On the other hand, sticking with Java would mean the game will still be easy accessible, but paying members could get bored and leave. Another possibility is to take the engine which is going to replace Java as standard for internet, don't ask me which it is, but I am sure a commonly used thing as Java will be replaced with something better once Java is outdated.
I have mentioned it before, members and free players, is there still going to be a free version of the game? Probably yes, that is one of the strong points RuneScape has. It has horrible graphics compared to other games, very limited options, it is small, but it is free :-) Or you can pay five dollars a month for the premium members' version. RuneScape accidentally is a great commercial success. People are looking for a cool online game to play, they find RuneScape. You can try it as long as you want, just with limited options. And it appears to be very addicting. After a year or so you either find it boring, or you want more. Then you take a membership, and you are in for a long time.
That is the secret, as far as you can call it a secret, a huge and nearly unlimited trial version of the game which never expires. It has made RuneScape succesfull. It would be a bad idea to make an end to that concept. So, free players, rest assured, you will probably be able to keep playing RuneScape for a long time... Unless you get scammed of course. I'd like to send a little message to everyone who tries to do the RuneScape 3 scam: find something better to make money go merchanting or something. Such a scam will hardly ever work. People either don't know anything about the history of RuneScape, or they know enough to know you're trying to scam them. Best thing to do for money, according to pig9090 "Fish those lobsters! Mine that coal! Cut that yew tree!"
Thanks to Vincent for his statement about Java. Thanks to pig9090 for his great ideas about making money.