Runescape has really become the game with many different playstyles in the past few years. There are multiple ways of playing combat, through legacy mode, which would be the classic combat method from before the Evolution of Combat update. Revolution, the happy medium mode that allows the player to use abilities at will but auto runs through a selection of basics and so the player can fire off the thresholds or just ultimate abilities. There is the full Manual method that gives the player not crutch and makes every ability only accessed by the hot key or click on the action bar. Even if all of those methods don't suit a player's fancy there is a whole other version of the game that is from 2007, warped into a nostalgia bomb with glitter and fresh breath with unique new content designed to fit the era style of the game as well as the players desires. Jagex has truly given the players a grab bag of ways to player and I only mentioned combat. So at what point does all these versions of the game become a bad thing for everyone? And would even more options and diversity grow the company and by relation the games?
The player base has seen several examples of this now. The most notable example of a failed attempt in my mind was DarkScape. This high fantasy everyone is at risk of dying at all times version of the game was really interesting to me. I spent many hours playing the version of the game that showed new and cool features and mechanics that I wish RuneScape 3 would implement. The reason many players liked this version of RuneScape was that it took such a different approach to what anyone who had played for many years could only imagine. Whole world pvp, less attention to skill leveling and more concerned on things that would help a player survive was this games bread and butter.
Anyone who followed RuneScape in the last two years will know that DarkScape is no more. The declining popularity and the lack of handling of the game lead to it's inevitable end. I would argue that if Jagex did something like this again, that they would remove many items that would be deemed overpowered and simply re-implement over time as a form of update filler. The less effort could be moved to other areas that were lacking such as marketing.
What is an area that was done right? 2007 or Old School RuneScape did everything right and continues to be a very successful version of RuneScape that is withstanding the test of time. It has lived long enough now to take a good amount of worry away from the game. The success of this version so be looked at very carefully. As mentioned above, withholding and re-implementing content was Old School RuneScapes bread and butter and if DarkScape followed this, it would most likely would have added to the game's lifespan.
An area that I can list a few people would disagree with, would be the community driven content. The game has been very successful and that's thanks to in part of the community backing ideas and updates that are proposed and voted on. This is a brilliant idea that RuneScape 3 has attempted itself with less luck. This proves that the development driven by a combination if the players general desires and the vision of Jagex can lead and do lead to good things.
Does anyone remember FunOrb? Me either... This is an example of an area of Jagex that attempted to do things the Nintendo way and make their own environment for their own games. If FunOrb existed today it would be as individual mobile apps that I could see being insanely successful and really push the envelope on development for all content and potentially fixing some of the lacking areas of their own company.
There have been many attempts and many failures by Jagex and I would like to stop and say thank you for the attempts. The information received from these failures have lead to some really amazing things for the versions of the games so many people love. With Idle Adventures around the corner I can only expect a new effort in different areas of the game that can work off each other and grow and solidify a fragmented community, because the community right now is dangerously fragmented.
What can be done to link properties of Jagex and reduce the sodium intake of the community? I would for one build a strong infrastructure where one account can have multiple accounts per game attached. I would like the clan system through mobile and old school as well as RuneScape 3. I would rework the clan system to be more intuitive and user friendly. I would put a lot of effort into the existing companion app for communication and use those features across all versions and games. Simple, micro service that plugs into everything they create. So many companies do this already. I cannot imagine the effort and cost would be a loss here.
Market each game individually and meaningfully. The marketing for Jagex is horrendous at best. This is an area that if improved would breath new life into any of the platforms they are now developing. This would also help fix the low end of the game for any new players that come in as the game is top heavy to the point of collapse.
These are just some ideas that I had floating in my head as I am sure that in the next year or two the community will be seeing many branches games released that may not even be RuneScape related at all. Only time will tell as always. I have faith in the new stakeholders in Jagex and I am sure that they are pushing the game back into a successful pattern that has worked in the past with their recent failures in mind.
Happy gaming everyone, let me know what you think!