Update: Runescape 3 was launched on Steam last month and was recently made available on Nvidia GeForce NOW. Simply visit GeForce with the button at the bottom of this article and add it to your library to begin playing! Because it’s free to play, there’s no need to first ‘collect’ the game in your Steam library. Playing Runescape via a cloud gaming platform is huge because unlike the mobile version of the game, it’s perfectly optimized for mouse and keyboard! It’s also one of the most content-rich and engaging games that casual players can participate in, making it a great fit for many Chromebook owners!
My next biggest hope is that the game makes its way to Stadia one day, but Google’s platform is big on having full controller support in addition to mouse and keyboard for all of their games and Runescape is very much a game for mouse and keyboard only. Jagex has stated many times that they hope to bring the game to consoles one day, so gamepad controls would need to be added, which means it’s not out of the realm of possibility!
For the uninitiated, Runescape was the most popular browser-based MMORPG of the early 2000s. It made its way to a downloadable client as the game had become too high quality and content-rich to run in the browser at that time. Heck, I still remember playing in Netscape before Internet Explorer was popular and yes, I’m showing my age. Well, the browser has obviously become much more capable of running high fidelity games, but Runescape still runs much faster and is compatible with more hardware as a downloadable client. That’s why it’s been ported to mobile!
While many thought the game to be on its dying leg, it seems to have found a more appropriate home on mobile devices and has been injected with new life and a growing user base for its continued success in the modern gaming society.
In Runescape, you build your adventuring avatar’s combat and non-combat oriented skills. You’ll complete rich and quirky story-based quests for gold and items and slay ferocious and mysterious monsters in a large scale, unique world. You can cook, fish, craft, go mining, hunting, become a spell caster, archer, warrior, archaeologist and so much more. There are tons of skills that can be leveled up to 99 without a membership and even a handful of skills withheld for paying members too. Like I said, loads of content. What I love about Runescape is that it’s very much a medieval-style MMORPG. It lacks any hint of Korean RPG elements. While there’s nothing wrong with those, I personally find it more refreshing and interesting to play a game that’s based on medieval fantastical Western elements than Eastern ones.
With 18 years of content, Runescape is one of the very few tried and true traditional MMORPGs that you can enjoy for long hours or short sessions without paying in a marketplace full of gatcha and pay to win mechanics. This game prides itself on giving you years of fun without forcing you to pay for microtransactions to make progress. Sure, the modern version of the game, simply called Runescape (or Runescape 3), has microtransactions (MTX), but as a player since year one, I’ll be the first to tell you that there’s plenty of content to indulge in for free. You could play almost endlessly on mobile without paying a cent. In fact, that’s exactly what I did for most of my time in Gielinor, the game’s sprawling, massive continent full of eccentric characters and exotic locations. You see, mobile’s very approach is meant to give gamers small bursts of play without too much commitment and that’s why Runescape is the perfect game for the format.
Being that the game has a surprisingly enjoyable and grindy nature – which admittedly is not for everyone – it’s best played AFK. This just means that you do tedious, passive tasks casually in between other more important things in your life. Gaining a new life on Chrome OS and Android has made this game a perfect fit for our modern computing lives of multitasking and short attention spans.
If the modern version of Runescape with all of its microtransactions is not for you, you can also pick up the original game on mobile too! OSRS or Old School Runescape has none of that, though you do miss out on the amazing upgraded graphics, soundtrack, user interface, and more. Whether you’re a returning player or you have never played Old School Runescape before, I highly recommend Colonello’s Beginner’s Guide to the game.
For many of us, especially mobile gamers, computing habits no longer truly reflect sitting down for hours on end to play an MMORPG. I’ve found that you can get the most value out of Runescape in 2020 and beyond by making small goals and sticking to them or following your quest guide. If you don’t, you may find yourself logging in, being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content and freedom, and logging right back out again.
Some Great Content You’ve Missed
In recent years, Runescape has done a lot to get people interested in it again. As you can see from the video below, many of the game’s core systems have been completely reworked and they’ve even added several new skills, including Archaeology. I’ve been having a lot of fun with this one and I recommend you try it out! They’ve also added entirely new islands with unique content like dinosaurs and more stories too, like Darkmeyer: The Bloodstained Path which focuses on the Vampire city of Morytania.
Many of you reading this are thinking to yourself, “I remember that game! I made a character back in middle school and played non-stop, even during classes, but it’s basically a joke nowadays, right?” Well, I think you’ll be surprised to see that if you give it a chance it could offer you a greater value proposition on the go than it would on your desktop. So try it! Heck, your old character may still be accessible. Simply head on over and install the game and try signing in.
Membership is $12.99 per month if you get sucked in and want to explore the deeper content, but I don’t think you’ll need to for many years. Old School Runescape has been available on Google Play for some time now and Runescape Mobile (the newer version of the game) recently became available to all Android and Chromebook owners with no membership requirements.
As for me, I’ll be playing the game on max graphic settings on my Lenovo Duet. I won’t be buying any microtransactions, and for all of its flaws, I think the modern version of the game is more well suited for mobile than the classic. Its ‘hand-holdy’ nature and step by step guides in the UI for quests and challenges and the music, story, and graphics all appeal to a busy dad like me who is more than willing to put away nostalgia for a polished experience in between the busy parts of my day.
Runescape reminds me of movie critics and reviews. For most movies that they speak negatively about, I end up thoroughly enjoying. It just goes to show that personal taste and opinion are just that. – taste and opinion. Besides, ‘movie critics’ are not picked for their excellent judgment and expertise in movie watching, but rather for their diversity in taste and demographic – just like gamers. While this game is not for everyone, many will find it refreshing and many others, maybe, just maybe including yourself, will be surprised by what it has to offer.
This article has been modified to remove references to the iOS release of the game due to the transition of this content from Gaming Unboxed to Chrome Unboxed.