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Runescape Review

Runescape is your typical MMORPG. Players explore the world, playing as their characters, killing enemies, collecting resources, crafting items, etc. It's good for older computers and netbooks because there's no download and the graphics are simple.

Pros: Broswer based - no download, large playerbase, good economic system (Grand Exchange), no classes

Cons: Small game world for non-members (free-to-play users)

Runescape is a fantasy MMORPG. You know, with the elves and orcs and goblins and all. At the higher levels there are dragons, much like every other MMORPG. But one unique feature of Runescape is that you're not limited to being just a mage, or just a warrior. There are no "classes" in Runescape - you can train in any skill you want, and switch to an entirely different way of fighting at any time, even in the middle of combat.

Despite being criticized for its low-end graphics, it's actually pretty good for a browser game. It lacks the beautiful landscapes and large worlds of its client-based counterparts, but considering it doesn't require a download and it works on even the slowest computers, that's acceptable.

Runescape is a lot more popular than many of the browser games on the market, and it's even developed a realistic economic system called the Grand Exchange. Any player can make an offer for any of their items on the Grand Exchange. They choose the item and the price (defaulting to the Market Value), and it is pooled with all the other identical items of that price. Any player on any server can search for any item and a desired price, and if there are any players selling what they want, the transaction will be made, automatically transferring the item and the in-game money. Purchases and offers can be made in bulk, and players have been known to make millions of gp (gold pieces) off of it.

The problem with Runescape, though, is that the game world is very small compared to the worlds of other MMORPGs. That is, the game world for non-members, those who don't pay a monthly fee. The world for members is huge and always expanding, with even more than what you see below in dungeons. The free-to-play world is very small compared to the world including the pay-to-play expansions. They try to convince everyone that the "members" world is just an expansion of the free-to-play one, but the free-to-play world is puny. I mean, it's pretty decent for a browser game, but it just doesn't reach the standard set by other MMORPGs.

Runescape's free-to-play world is highlighted in red. Click for larger image.


Score: 8/10


With the growth of the free-to-play MMO market quickly accelerating, Runescape is starting to blend in with other MMORPGs. It just doesn't have enough unique features, and its game world is far too small for its free-to-play users. But, looking past cheesy graphics and a small world, there's definitely some fun to be had on Runescape with an excellent economic system and a unique class-free leveling system. It's worth playing, and you don't need to sacrifice disk space to play it, either.
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