Runescape: How To Make Grinding Fun


What’s up guys it’s me Jeremy. We’re doing something a bit different today,
with a video that is not going to be about League of Legends. Out of all of the games that has stood the
test of time, probably the most iconic of them all is Runescape. Created in 2001 this Legenday MMO by Jagex
has had over 250 million accounts created since its release, and to this day, still
has an active, healthy and growing playerbase. And throughout time the developers have done
a lot of things right and some not so much, but there’s one thing the game truly succeeds
at from a game design perspective, that has allowed it, at least in my mind, to truly
stand the test of time. Runescape as a game succeeds at making grinding
fun. Whether you are playing the modernized Runescape
3 or the classic OG Old School Runescape, we’ll be referring to both games in this
video together hand-in-hand as simply Runescape, since pretty much all of our talking points
apply to both games equally. Hundreds of Massively Multiplayer Online Games
have come and gone, and the biggest fault that these forgotten and unplayed games typically
have, is that they fail to make their long-form gameplay interesting. The gameplay consists of killing 6 wolves
to level up so that you can go on to kill 6 move wolves in a new area, gain some more
levels, and kill some more wolves, until you get bored and uninstall. Grinding is and always will be a pretty big
part of the MMO genre as a whole, and so that aspect is typically what defines the gameplay
of an MMO. And making grinding fun is, at least on the
game design side of things, is the number one thing that has contributed to the long
term success of the game as a whole. Sure, Jagex has done a ton of other things
that also contributed heavily to Runescape’s long term success, but from specifically a
gameplay perspective, making their grinding elements fun is what allowed the game to last
longer than the lifetime of some of the people watching this video. There’s quite a few ways that Runescape
accomplishes this incredible feat, and it’s the culmination of all of these things together
that has made the game design massively successful. In runescape, you as a player are given complete
control over what to do. Because things are based on individual skills
and definied quests and such, a player has infinitely more opportunities and choices
than you would expect in a more traditional MMO where you start at level 1 in the zone
that you stay in from level 1-10, and then moving onto the next zone from level 10-20
and so on. In Runescape, there is no set path, no strict
levelling zones or areas, the entire world and every part of it is open to you in some
way shape or form. Right off the bat you get to choose what you
want to grind at, and that level of control gives a lot more interest to the repetive
elements, since you never feel like you are forced to do something. The introduction of choice already does a
ton to make grinding feel less like a chore, and much moreso like you are working towards
your own set goal. Although repetitive grinding is a massive
part of runescape for sure, it never really feels like it is forced on you the way the
levelling grind might be in a more traditional MMO where you gain experience, level up, and
eventually hit the overall level cap. As well, Runescape does an absolutely fantastic
job at giving you meaningful, significant rewards at the end of your grind. Although the grinding aspects definitely do
get tedious, you are always met at the end with an extremely satisfying payoff. It leaves you feeling like you worked hard
on a project and ended up with something awesome, which is a feeling that can be quite hard
to come by, and not only just in gaming. It does an amazing job of giving incredible
satisfaction upon accomplishing a goal, be it by giving you an epic item, unlocking a
new and exlusive zone, or gaining access to a new piece of gameplay, very rarely does
a grind in runescape to obtain something feel like a waste when you finish it, and by giving
you a good feeling of accomplishment, you are always left at the end feeling like the
grind was worth it, and you’re excited to start on the next one. Another aspect that Runescape introduces as
well, is that they typically add in some amount of randomness to the repetitive and boring
elements. There’s loads of random stuff in the game
setup to where you might be grinding for an hour or so, and hey here’s this random extra
bonus reward for no reason, or maybe you randomly get some extra XP, a nice free item, a rare
drop, or if you’re extremely lucky, one of the coveted rare pets. By introducing these random rewards to respective
aspects of gameplay, things are kept a little bit more interesting. Along the way to your epic reward at the end,
you’re bound to stumble upon some nice little bonuses, and there’s also a slim chance
of getting something that is super rare and awesome too. This randomness allows the repetitive gameplay
to actually have moments that are different, and allow the entire process to feel just
a bit less repetitive overall to be enough to not get bored along the way to reaching
your goal. The cycle of pacing between repetitive grind
session to a meaningful reward, mixed in with random elements, all while keeping the grind
under the control of the player, allows you to always be reaching for the next goal, and
for things to not get too dull along the way. Although Jagex is often praised for their
heavy community involvement, consistent updates, and constant improvements to Runescape, the
game design is an aspect that goes quite underappreciated, and overall has contributed a lot more than
you might think to its long term success, and is a great game to take inspiration from
for MMO game design. I know it wasn’t a league of legends video
today, but I want to try and make more of theses video essay type things about design
for video games as a whole, and Runescape is a game I’ve played since elementary school,
and still do to this day, so I felt it was a great place to start with this type of content. So let me know what you thought of this video,
and I’ll see you guys next time!

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