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Trying Out Old School RuneScape in 2023

Trying Out Old School RuneScape in 2023

If you spend enough time online — especially with MMORPG fans — it's inevitable that you will eventually hear of RuneScape. And whilst I did peek at it once many years ago during one of my "I need to find something to curb my World of Warcraft starvation" phases, I didn't quite think it was for me. It looked too old, confusing, and overall not what I was looking for (hint: I wanted only WoW; I was just lying to myself). 

Now that I'm a much more seasoned gamer and can see the worth and value in games for more than just their graphics, I was slowly tempted to go sneak another glimpse at this fabled amazing title. Particularly after trying out SMITE's RuneScape crossover Cerberus skin!

As I said before, somehow, someone, somewhere, will tell you about RuneScape eventually. And whilst I did meet a few someones who played it, I never quite understood what it was (minus my noob and narrow-minded assumption that it was a "bad WoW-style game"). So I decided to go in blindly and find out: how does it feel to be a complete newbie at Old School RuneScape in 2023?

1 Old school RuneScape set display name beginning

Equipped with all my hope and staving off expectations, I jumped into Tutorial Island and began my journey. I created my character (quite pleased with how it turned out!) and then went on my merry way to learn how to chop trees, fish, and cook. Once I had all the basics down, I was teleported to the main island, and the real adventure began! 

The first thing I did was talk to the man who explained one of my favourite features of RuneScape — the Path System. It all boils down to you doing tasks such as gathering wood, increasing your cooking skill, getting stronger, etc. Each time you complete a milestone, you get a reward, and what you get depends on what task you choose to focus on. It's an easy and rewarding way to get used to the basics and learn to control the clunky mouse-only layout!

I decided I'd stick to completing the tasks first because I didn't want to search online for any answers: I wanted to play it like back in the day. I also thought it might be a good way for me to stop accidentally trying to move with the keyboard or clicking stuff I didn't want to whilst attempting to move from place to place.

2 old school runescape tutorial rats

At this point, I was beginning to understand RuneScape's essence — it's simple and slow, but it has a lot of charm. I grew especially fond of it the more I let go of my expectations for what I knew as a "classic MMORPG" and just appreciated it for the relaxing experience it is. 

At first, it was jarring that the combat was just clicking an enemy and then sitting there watching my character fight it out one whack at a time; no input from me except maybe when to start shovelling shrimp like it's a buffet to survive. Whilst this might sound incredibly dull, the charm isn't the conquering of the battle, but the experience that you earn, which gets you that much closer to completing your next milestone or gaining more skills. 

While the normal gameplay loop of going out to missions, exploring new areas, and getting stronger is already pretty great, that extra kick from the Path System was phenomenal — it felt like I was accomplishing something, whether I was doing quests or fighting the 500th goblin in a row. 

3 old school runescape sitting down relaxing

I've already managed to play for whopping eight hours, and although that may not sound like much in the grand scheme of things (particularly with people sinking thousands of hours), it's much more than I had expected for a classic version of a game. Especially when most of it is spent walking painfully slowly from area to area because you have a limited amount of running energy and — to top it off — your inventory's criminally small.

Old School RuneScape has a ton of flaws — walking is uncomfortable, you can't sell at vendors, a lot of the gameplay is repetitive, etc... — but now that I've experienced it, it's no wonder that it's still such a beloved game; what it does well, it does excellently. It's hard to fathom how much fun I've had for nearly 10 hours whilst I cut trees down for minutes on end, eagerly checking my progress so I could get my next milestone reward or even just killing random enemies to bury their bones for some prayer XP. 

I don't think I will stick with the game forever — I know myself at this point, and that's a tall order for my attention span. So I hope to stay around for a while more, maybe even complete all the free content. But for a game that took me six hours to complete my first quest, I think it's safe to say I'll remember it fondly forever, even if it doesn't stick around for good.

If you've ever wanted to try out the hype behind Old School RuneScape, I couldn't suggest it more. The download is insanely quick, and you've got quite a bit of free content to try out. You won't lose anything — especially if you're a big fan of relaxing games or retro adventures — but you might gain 10 hours of experiencing a classic title.

Violet Plata

Violet Plata

Staff Writer

Liable to jump at her own shadow.

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