In the days of Runescape Classic, the only way to get high level runes like law runes and death runes were from monster drops. That's it. You valued Law Runes like treasures, using them only when you had to either escape death or travel to the opposite end of the map. There was no Runecrafting, nor were there any convenient magic stores that sold high-level runes. At least, not until the mage guild and Kolodion's battle arena came out (hah, have fun training for that...). Even then, blood runes weren't sold. If you wanted to unlock your Saradomin Strike, you had to get blood runes two at a time from the chest in the chaos druid tower near Ardougne. This was perhaps one of the best ways to do it.
Runescape 2 introduced Runecrafting, which helped to encourage training magic and lower the prices on runes. Law and nature runes became plentiful enough to sell by the thousands in the market, and training magic became so much easier. But still, it was a difficult skill to fund; by far the most expensive style of combat, if not perhaps the most powerful. If you used ancient magics in Castle Wars, you were feared and respected. You were the hero of the team.
Now with Runescape 3, we've got a completely reworked magic spellbook and magic abilities. You hardly ever use runes for spells now, and if you do, it's only a few elemental runes. Death and blood runes became purely for ancient magics, and even then were hardly used thanks to magic abilities like Asphyxiate. It's now tremendously easy to get runes thanks to Ankous, the barrows, buying in bulk, and many more, as well as cast any number of spells. Magic is now pretty much on par and balanced with melee and ranged.
I suppose it should be like that, though. Rather that fighting with weak and cheap versus strong and expensive, with the evolution of combat and the different types of styles like dual-wielding or two-hander, one can prepare for a fight in many different ways now rather than simply raising money. This way, anybody can become powerful and focused in magic.
But still, this change happened almost too quickly and radically. I, perhaps among many other players, took great pride and effort in saving up runes for use and training. It was difficult and tedious. I wanted my magic level as high as I could make it so I could cast spells like vengeance and spellbook swap because it was difficult.
Yeah, I'm going right back into that "feeling special because I got something you don't" spiel of things, I know. But that was what magic was. It was the "difficult" skill. The expensive one. The skill used only by those truly dedicated to the game. Fighting in Runescape is almost the entire basis of gameplay, so magic was kind of a really big deal in this regard.
So in regards to their latest update, which introduced the "Rune Goldberg" machine, as well as lowered the frequency of rune drops and made them more expensive in shops, I... actually, I remain somewhat indifferent. They did this update with the intent that runes will have a greater value and Runecrafting runes will be more encouraged for profit, and I totally understand that and all, but they're drilling a pinhole in the top of an overflowing cup here. People are still going to train Runecrafting in the Runespan because it's much better and less tedious experience, and once they get level 99, goodness knows there's a lot better means of profit out there. Also, magic is still considerably powerful compared to the other stats, but it's still nowhere near its famous potency from Runescape 2.
With the new elven city and future related updates, here's hoping for the introduction of a new spellbook that takes up a hefty amount of runes. Then, once runes become less abundant and magic's potency returns, we can return to the old style of things.
Or, we can play Runescape 2 for that and leave magic as it was intended for the evolution of combat. Either or, it really doesn't matter. But, I'm at least glad that my epic stockpile of runes are going to see some use at last. They get depleted much slower when you're already level 99 magic.
Until next time,
This was originally posted as an Informer Runescape