Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
RuneScape is a 3D Java based massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), launched by Jagex Ltd. in January 2001 as a free-to-play game, and after February 2002 as both a free and pay game. In March 2004 RuneScape 2 was released with both free and pay versions. The original RuneScape was renamed RuneScape Classic. The game itself has a uniquely done medieval fantasy theme probably most similar to games such as Warcraft III or EverQuest but often with a less serious tone and extensive original content ideas. One of the more unique aspects of the game is to do more mundane and non-violent tasks, such as being able to cook a variety of types of pizzas.
Runescape is one of the largest online games, rivaling games such as CounterStrike in terms of the number of people playing at given moment. There are often over eighty thousand players online at once, and on busy weekends, over a hundred thousand players, spread across its 70+ servers (new servers are added regularly). These servers are located in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and The Netherlands, making it one of the largest online Java games in the world. There are also a few servers running the "classic" version of the game (split between free and pay servers). Players represent a wide range of nationalities, genders and ages.
The game is set in a fantasy world, where players control their own avatars representing one's self. There is no overall objective or end to the game, aside from a general goal of increasing the character's abilities and passing benchmarks. However, there are plenty of tasks that people can perform in the game. For example, players can interact with each other by talking, trading, and even fighting (though fighting is restricted to the wilderness, and in the members version the duel and castlewars arenas). There are several instances in which a player finds his/her soulmate in the game. Quests can also be undertaken, such as the Dragon slayer quest. However, quests are not compulsory and players have the option of not completing any of the in-game quests if they so desire. There are many other activities such as fishing, crafting, mining, woodcutting, and smithing. As these activities are performed, a character will become more skilled at the activity. It is not uncommon for a dedicated player to spend in excess of four hours a day training his character; there are even a few rare cases of players regularly spending over ten hours a day online.
Playing the game
A player new to Runescape starts out on Tutorial Island. Although it may seem boring to some, Jagex has determined this to be imperative to understanding future gameplay. While on Tutorial Island, players learn about gameplay, controls, combat, communication, cooking, banking, completing quests, and other skills. Once a player has completed the tasks on Tutorial Island, they are teleported to the city of Lumbridge. From then on, players can upgrade their characters in the fashion they desire. They could travel around the character's world between cities such as Varrock, Falador, Port Sarim, etc. Players can also travel around by raising their magic level to a level high enough to perform a teleport to some of these major cities. In Runescape, your goal is to become the best you can by raising skills, fighting monsters, ect. Runescape also has a highscores list, where you can veiw the best 500,000 players in the game and what their skills/totals are. Dutt33 currently has the highest total in the game.
In Runescape the most direct way of gaining wealth and strength is killing non-player characters (NPC's). The combat system is composed of seven different skills: Attack, Strength, Defense, Magic, Range, Hitpoints and Prayer. Your attack level determines the odds of a successful attack, strength determines just how much damage you will do, and defense determines the chance of stopping the enemy's attack.
There is no calculated formula as to what determines the ability to hit something in regards to attack vs. defense, but the update to Runescape 2 gave defense an enormous boost from Runescape Classic.
When in the wilderness, players have 3 options of fighting styles: melee, ranged and magic.
- Those who choose melee train their attack, defense and strength.
- Those who choose magic train their defense and magic.
- The remaining rangers train their defense and range.
Hitpoints are increased as you combat creatures. A quarter of all the combat experience you earn is filtered into your hitpoints. Many people choose to have high melee and range so that their hitpoints are significantly higher. In Classic Runescape, hitpoints were not obtained through use of magic or ranged.
Prayer is a unique combat ability. While seeming subtle at first, it can turn the tide in a fight. Prayers such as the protection spells can render a person invulnerable to enemy attack, and they provide numerous protections. Many players consider prayer to be a nuisance while in the wilderness as its "protect" prayers often give quarry the extra time it needs to escape. However, others believe that there should be more of a reward for getting a high prayer level, and think that a large overhaul of the entire skill is long overdue.
As you raise these skills, your combat increases. In Classic Runescape, combat was calculated with the following formula:
Range affected combat under the following condition: (Ranged level)*1.5>attack+strength.
Today, the combat level calculation is not known by many, but is still based off of the attack, strength, defense, hit points, magic, prayer, and ranging attributes of the player's avatar. However, in Runescape 2 the combat system no longer gives pures an advantage, enabling these people to raise other combat skills without worrying about raising their combat level. Some large websites such as http://www.runehq.com/ have created calculators which can plan out how many things you need to do, such as how many creatures need to be killed, to gain a new level.
The maximum combat in Runescape Classic is 123, and the maximum in Runescape 2 is 126.
- Main article: RuneScape skills
RuneScape Skills are abilities that enable players do things in the RuneScape game. Some skills are members-only and some skills are only in newer versions of the game. Many of the higher level abilities in each skill are reserved for members only. Players gain experience in a skill when they use abilities which utilize that skill. A player's amount of experience determines the level of that skill. New abilities are given to the player when they reach certain levels. Higher level abilities in turn give more experience to compensate for the roughly exponential increase in experience points needed to reach each new level.
- See main arcticle: RuneScape economy
Communities, Wilderness and Kalphite Queen
RuneScape has many communities within it. Many players have grouped together to form groups known as 'clans'. These clans often have alliances, and occasionally go to war with each other; often meeting in bloody clashes with many participants. Sometimes players enter the war zone to pick up leftover items, such as enchanted amulets and armor. One of the best clans is called Followers of Malkav, commonly known as FOM. They are a growing clan and have lots of trustworthy members. A link to their main webpage is http://www.klimp.dk/fom/
This takes place in the Wilderness area, located in northern RuneScape. The Wilderness has great rewards, but also great risks. This is also where player characters can fight and kill each other, known throughout the game as PKing (Player Killing). As one gets deeper into the Wilderness, they can fight with other players further and further away from their combat level. So a Lvl 60 player in the Lvl 30 wilderness area can attack players Lvl 30-90. When a player attacks another player in the wilderness, that player is given a skull over his head. If a player with a skull over his head dies, then he loses all of his items (Normally a dead person would lose all of his items except for his three most expensive items, but if he has the prayer power "protect items" and uses it, that person will keep his most expensive item). Half of the wilderness only allows 1-on-1 battles, whilst the other half allows multiway combat and the potentially huge team based wars mentioned above. There are many different weapons, spells, and potions available to assist fighting in the wilderness.
Communities which help out in this "player killing" are also known as CLANS. Clans are a group of runescapers interested in "PKing" (short for player killing).
However, the Wilderness isn't only for Player Killing. There are some other activities such as killing monsters and collecting items. There are places to mine, smith, cook, train, fish, collect items, and more. The wilderness is abundant with monsters, most of which are more dangerous than monsters outside of the Wilderness. And the deep members-only Wilderness contains the dangerous Mage Arena. Also lurking in the Wilderness is a lever that teleports a character to the King Black Dragon (often known as the "KBD"), the fourth most powerful monster in RuneScape. The most powerful is the second form of the Kalphite Queen, an enourmous wasp, the second most powerful is the Kalphite Queen's first form, an enourmous beetle. This "Kalphite Queen" is so poweful you need a team of players to kill it. When you kill the first form, it splits open and the second form flies out, which you then have to kill to get its treasure. And the third most powerful is Hazeel, an evil demon from a quest. You cannot attack him, but his combat level makes him the third most powerful. Even deeper in the member's wilderness is a quick route to a members town, where a person can teleport to Ardougne by pulling a lever. In the northeastern area of the wilderness lurks some of the fabled greater demons. These massive beasts are very strong (according to some) and extremely difficult to train upon if many PKers are present.
When Runescape was starting, in the early days, the entire map was player versus player, and it was unsafe to go anywhere without armor and a weapon, for gangs of PKers roamed the land looking for unwary players.
History and Development
On February 27, 2002, Jagex launched a new optional 'members service'. This allows players to pay $5 USD a month to obtain access to new quests, features and skills. Paying members have a far greater choice of things to do, but it is still possible to play the game for free, and there is in fact still more free content available than ever before.
On December 1, 2003, Jagex released a beta version of an improved version of the game, which had been rewitten nearly from scratch (temporarily called "Runescape 2 Beta"). Featuring a new 3D-engine and revisions to gameplay, this beta was initially only available to paying members. Jagex claimed that this will make RuneScape the most advanced java-based game in the world. On March 17, 2004, Jagex released the beta to non-paying players.
- Original RuneScape - Renamed RuneScape Classic with the release of RuneScape 2.
- RuneScape Internal Beta - a non-public development version. No longer running, ended with public beta of runescape in 2001.
- RuneScape Beta - first a non-public development version, then the original public release. Free until early 2002 when an optional membership service became available. The "beta test" notice was removed from the site around the end of 2001.
- RuneScape - original game ran as Free (2001) and Pay (2002). No longer running under that name.
- RuneScape Classic - upon the release of RuneScape 2, the original RuneScape was archived and renamed. No longer updated.
- Free and Members-only version running as of 2005. (6 servers)
- RuneScape 2 - At major overhaul with redone graphics engine and new features.
- RuneScape 2 Beta - an internal beta version, then Members-only version that ran prior to public release. No longer running.
- Runescape - the latest version. When it was released, the old RuneScape was renamed RuneScape Classic and the new RuneScape 2 became simply RuneScape.
- Free and Members-only versions still running as of 2005.(80+ servers)
In March of 2004 a poll of the age and gender was done on the official website. The poll was only open to members, so it is potenially not as indicative of the total player base. Also, since it was not controlled in any way, people could put false answers. People who are unable to become members would be under-represented and the potential making up an answer does exist. Either way it is one of sources of information on the player base, whether it is correct or not.
The poll results:
- The poll question: "Which of the following Age/Gender group do you belong to?", and the results
- Male under 15 years of age : 5492 votes / 48%
- Male between 15 and 25 : 3918 votes / 34%
- Male between 26 and 40 : 533 votes / 4%
- Male over 40 : 264 votes / 2%
- Female under 15 years of age : 237 votes / 2%
- Female between 15 and 25 : 357 votes / 3%
- Female between 26 and 40 : 302 votes / 2%
- Female over 40 : 270 votes / 2%
In January of 2005 another similar poll was conducted. The same flaws existing in the last poll were also present here. It is to be noted that the overall number of players had risen dramatically, and there is no decline in any particular group's numbers in the game(at least not among the paying members), even though the percentages have shifted.
The poll results:
- The poll question: "Which of the following demographic groups do you belong to?"
- Male under 16 years of age : 42170 votes / 66%
- Male between 16 and 25 : 12463 votes / 19%
- Male between 26 and 40 : 2382 votes / 3%
- Male over 40 : 1067 votes / 1%
- Female under 16 years of age : 1769 votes / 2%
- Female between 16 and 25 : 1305 votes / 2%
- Female between 26 and 40 : 946 votes / 1%
- Female over 40 : 844 votes / 1%
Quests in RuneScape are one time adventures which serve a variety of purposes. The novice quests act as tutorials to get new users acquainted with the various skills and abilities as well as giving them some extra money. More difficult quests serve as a rite of passage which tests the player's and their character's abilities. All quests include some kind of reward such as money, rare/valuable items, and increases in abilities. Some quests are part of an overlapping storyline. Each quest also awards a certain number of quest points. 32 quest points will grant access to the Champions' Guild. The members-only Heros' and Legends' quests grant access to their respective guilds upon completion. Quests can be found all over the map, in the game's three kingdoms of Misthalin, Asgarnia and Kandarin, as well as some even more distant lands.
For a list of the quests in RuneScape, see RuneScape quests.
RuneScape 2 overview
RuneScape 2 includes a whole new player interface, which separates the main-view, game-options, minimap, and chat into four different screen areas, allowing tasks to be performed more efficiently and conveniently. These areas are:
- A game-options area - A new panel on the side which combines all the gaming functions into one space (Level Status, Attack Style, Prayer, Magic, Quests, Armour page, Inventory page, Friends list, Ignore list, Music player, Player controls, and log out function)
- The minimap - Now permanently visible in its own area and has extra icons indicating the location of important locations such as: shops, dungeons, and quest points. Also, when a player clicks on it, a small red flag will appear and the character will walk in that direction until it reaches the point or the player changes destinations.
The graphics of Runescape 2, while not revolutionary on the whole, are a major improvement over those of Runescape Classic, and while they are largely inferior to most MMORPGs available, they are of good quality for a freely-available, Java game. The world is rendered in complete 3D as opposed to the 2D on 3D images of Classic. Similar but different types of weapons, such as longswords and shortswords now have different images. Players are also given much more choice in creating character models, from hairstyle to facial features. Magic, prayer, and ranging, the three possible modes of combat, now include improved, unique animations for each. The game can be run on high or low detail level. The advisory for high detail level is 128Mb of ram and 500mhz processor and for low detail, 64Mb and 300mhz. While high detail gives different things more texture or design, low detail gives every thing a cleaner cut look, and reduces in-game latency. Andrew Gower has said, though, that as their graphic artists improve, they will begin making changes around the world of Runescape.
A variety of random events can take place in the game. Jagex maintains that this is to help prevent macro programs. They can also add variety to some of the more repetitive activities in the game.
Players must respond to most of these in the correct manner or will receive a negative effect (such as being teleported across the map) Some of these negative effects can be quite annoying, but most can be easily avoided if players are paying attention. Some random events will also give players a reward if they react appropriately. The random events which give rewards are generally far more popular. Some players dislike random events which can give penalties but no rewards and consider them annoying hindrances.
The following is a list of the different random events in the game at the time of writing.
- Guardians: Being quite dangerous and annoying, they include River Troll, Rock Golem, Watchman, Zombie, Tree Spirit, and Shade. River Trolls generally attack you when you have been fishing in the same place for a long time. Tree spirits and Rock Golems may rise when woodcutting or mining, you may even be hit 3 times in a day by a rock golem if you are unlucky. You can also be attacked by a Tree Spirit even if you are not cutting wood but you happen to click on the tree. Zombies and Shades may rise when you have buried a lot of bones. Guardian monsters are always considerably tougher compared to player they are attacking, but their loot might be worth fighting for.
- Annoying: Swarm of Insects (only escapable by running away; otherwise it keeps attacking until the player dies), tree changing into an Ent (causes hatchet to break), Whirlpool in water (only high levelers can fish in these), Smoking Rock (mining will cause an explosion which makes your character lose hp and breaks your pickaxe, which may be fixed in dwarvian mine), Poison Gas, Moving Fishing Spots, Big fish (steal your fishing equipment).
- Inconveniences: random breakage of equipment such as pickaxes when mining and hatchets when woodcutting. You can generally avoid these by not mining a smoking rock, not trying to cut down an Ent, or not fishing where there is a Whirlpool or Big Fish. Damaged equipment is easily repaired though, either by player himself or by visiting certain NPCs with required skill. Pickaxes can be fixed by "Nurmof" in dwarvian mines, and "Bob" at Bob's axes can repair your hatchet that was broken by trying to chop down an Ent. A small cost is incurred (usually 30gp) when fixing broken items. Split hatchet and pickaxe heads can be fixed by using the shaft with the head.
- Teleporting: Mysterious Old Man will sometimes appear, and teleport a player to a special location. In order to return, a player must accomplish a given task, such as mimicking a mime or navigating through a maze as fast as possible. A generous gift or special ability is granted for the accomplishment.
- Gift Givers: Drunk Dwarf with beer and kebab, Genie with magic lamp, Mysterious Old Man with a strange box, and Strange Plant. If ignored, even gift givers can hurt a player (Dwarves and Plants), or teleport him to a random location on a map (Genies and Mysterious Men). When a lamp is rubbed, you can choose what skill you want to gain experience on (ex. you want to gain experience on mining, you click the mining icon on the box that pops up). Strange box is a special item, since it can multiply when unattended. Unless a player opens the box and solves the riddle inside, their entire inventory might fill up with boxes. Once all the boxes have been cleared, a small gift is given, usually an uncut gem, an uncut diamond if lucky but only a small sum of money when unlucky.
- Official Runescape Links
- Runescape Fansites
- Runescape Tips (fan site, guides, forums)
- RuneVillage (fan site, guides, forums)
- Rune Headquarters (fan site, guides, forums)
- Runescape Community (forum only, UnOfficial Runescape Encylopedia)
- RuneScape Faces (player photos)
- Runescape Tavern (Forums)
- RS Inn forum (fan site)
- Help site (Fan site, forums)
- ARENAscape (fan site, text-browser based MMORPG)
- Sal's Realm of RuneScape (fan site, guides, forum)
- Fields of RuneScape (fan site, guides, forums. Fields of Rune no longer exists, it is now a free domain name.)
- Runescape Source (fan site, guides, forums)
- Runeweb (fan site, complete item database, guides with pictures, Replacing RuneNews)
- Rune Universe (fansite, guides)
- Runescape Clan Websites
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