With all this hype about Jagex's newest large update to Runescape I thought it would be good to set some things straight.
Runescape 3 has come and gone.
Yea, totally rad man, right?
You see, a new version of Runescape has been released every few years since Classic, only they weren't touted as such. I'll go over each version and shed a little more light on what I mean.
I should start by noting that at its core, Runescape has always remained the same: Train skills, fight monsters, make friends, have fun. Right? Every version of Runescape adheres to this, so what do does version each do differently? Each one changes, for the most part, the UI (Use Interface), the graphics, and the music, as well as a few smaller things unique to each version.
RuneScape 1: Classic (January 4th, 2001)
I know there are still a few BnBers here who remember and can even log into RSC, or RuneScape Classic. I, unfortunately, was not around when RuneScape Classic was the only version so I cannot fully appreciate it.
RuneScape Classic had 3D graphics, albeit semi-crude compared to modern ones. Combat was rough, no eating while fighting, every weapon attacked at the same speed. Skilling required clicking for each action. Chopping a tree took multiple clicks as did smithing, cooking, etc.
This probably sounds like a nightmare to some of you, but at the time people enjoyed it.
RuneScape 2: RuneScape 2! (March 29th, 2004)
Ahh, RuneScape 2. I joined shortly after the full launch of RuneScape 2. RS2 was a marked improvement in ease and playability over Classic. Fighting was easy, just click and your character would fight until one of you dies. If your hitpoints got low you could eat during combat. Special attacks on powerful 'Dragon' weapons were added. The ability to run instead of just walk was added, making it a lot easier to get around.
Area music and more action sounds were added. Much of this music fit very well with the areas, however many players still preferred to play their own music.
The graphics in RS2 were also noticeably changed. Players were able to rotate the camera a full 360 degrees (this was also possible in Classic) as well as moving it up and down. Terrain, objects, NPCs, and characters also had much more detailed textures and models.
The inventory and UI system was also changed dramatically. Previously when an item was equipped, it would stay in your backpack taking up valuable space. Now, it would go into a special slot for that item type and your inventory would be open. This made doing things which required gear (such as killing monsters) much easier because you could carry more food and supplies.
You could also now usually only click once to do an action, such as fishing or chopping a tree. The character would do so until their inventory was full.
Something worth noting: The 'Old School RuneScape' added recently most closely aligns with RuneScape 2, although many things resemble RSHD because the new Old School Servers are based off of an August 10th, 2007 backup. RSOS is not a new or separate version, merely an older one re-released.
RuneScape 3: RuneScape HD (July 1st, 2008)
RuneScape HD, or RuneScape High Detail, did not drastically change the inventory and skilling systems like RS2 did, however it did add many minor convenience updates such as cook-X, fletch-X, and other action-X things.
RSHD though, primarily changed the graphics to high detail models and higher resolution textures. It also added the ability to re-size the game window. In RS2 there were two generic detail settings running two different game engines, low detail and high detail. RSHD combined those into one hybrid that allowed the player to choose which details he wanted to see at what quality while playing the game. The downside to this was that the low detail features were lost entirely and the new 'low' settings were about the same as the old 'high' ones. This may sound good, but it actually wasn't because it denied many computer systems from playing the game satisfactorily. A fair number of players were forced to quit until they could get a new computer or upgrade there specifications.
Over time a plethora of small changes were done, mostly for the better. There were too many for me to list here but you likely enjoy their unsung benefit daily, perhaps even as you read this article.
RuneScape 4: RuneScape Evolution of Combat (November 20th, 2012)
RuneScape Evolution of Combat, or EOC, RSEOC, EOCScape, FailScape, CurrentScape, or NoobScape, is the most recent and current version. Before you ask, no, I did not make up any of those names, they are things I've heard people call the current game and I do not necessarily agree with them. RSEOC, like the previous versions, does not change RuneScape at its heart, merely how we see it (and to some extent, play it).
RSEOC had a fairly significant change to player models and textures, giving them fingers, eyes, and a definitive face. The textures and models were updated to minutely detailed hard-pixel types that often had marked changes in color tone, much more noticeable than previous versions.
More combat sounds were also added, though this was a more minor part of the version.
The largest part of RSEOC was the total and complete revamp of how Combat works. Previously (as mentioned) you would only have to click a monster and periodically check your health and activate a special attack during combat. RSEOC removed all special attacks (unfortunately making some previously powerful weapons useless) and instead added many generic abilities based on the style of combat you were using; melee, ranged, or magic. Some of these abilities generate adrenaline while others use it. Adrenaline is a new combat-only temporary resource that is generated and used by different abilities while in combat. Out of combat it is unused.
RSEOC drastically changed the game's atmosphere, playability, economy, and playstyle. Many previously challenging monsters are now extremely easy to kill - many only requiring a few hits.
RuneScape 5: RuneScape Next Gen
RuneScape Next Gen, or RS3, is the version in the works currently set for a fall 2013 release. It is planned to drastically change the UI into a style that players are more accustomed with - moveable and customizable windows. It will also see additional updates to the graphics of the game.
One of the more interesting aspects (at least to me) is their plan to add orchestral music and sounds instead of the MIDI versions they have had since RS2. So far I haven't heard any terribly great tracks, but I look forward to seeing (or rather hearing) what they make in the future.
One last thing before I close
Of certain note should be the operational efficiencies of each version. Some may not know nor even care about this but I think it is important.
RS1: RSC, ran well on computers of its time and still does so today (as one would expect).
RS2: RS2, always ran smoothly (except occasionally after updates, as one would expect). It operated well on older computers as well as new ones.
RS3: RSHD, ran rather rough on some machines and was largely unplayable on anything more than a few years old. On computers current to its time it usually ran alright, though certain places were laggy even on gaming machines.
RS4: RSEOC, runs smooth on some and rough on others.
RS5: RSNG, since it has not been released yet I cannot say how well it performs. I hope that Jagex has made drastic advances in their engine. We will know when they release it.
And now I close
So you see, RS3 has come and gone. RS4 is here currently but will soon be replaced with RS5. What will RuneScape Next Gen bring? No one really knows until they set foot in it after release. We all hope it will meet and exceed everyone's expectation.
This was originally posted as an Informer Runescape