Ten to fifteen year olds all over are leaving their home this summer and running off the world of Gielinor, perhaps ending up in the Kingdoms of Misthalin, Asgarnia, and Kandarin or the tropical Karamja island, the Kharidian Desert region, and the lawless Wilderness among other places. However, their parents are not worried-this magical place isn’t far from home. In fact it isn’t out of the home at all; it’s right at their computers.
RuneScape is the latest in the online adventure game craze that is taking hold of teens and pre-teens across America. This magical place holds two million players across 132 international servers. Players can design their own character and then will be set loose on a virtual world of magic and monsters. Fishing, mining, combat and casting spells are only a few of the many skills that can be acquired. Novice, intermediate, experienced and master levels are available deepening on a player’s skills. The game allows you to not only search a world of unknown in cyberspace, but also encounter other players on your journey. Other players may offer alliances or new items through trade, but are mostly used as a guide to help players that are not familiar with the game. The site’s forum even suggests that those who find themselves bored could give a new player a tour of the virtual world.
RuneScape is not the first of its kind; Guild Wars, Everquest and Final Fantasy, to name a few, have preceded this online adventure. Such games have offered Player versus Player (PvP) or Player versus Environment (PvE) options, but RuneScape gives no such choices. EverQuest allowed parts of the game to be individual, but it too took a “group-centric” approach. Final Fantasy began without the ability to “play with others”, but now having version XIII it can be used with others not only on the computer but also PlayStation 2 and 3 and Xbox 360.
Although not offered anywhere but online, RuneScape offers Free to play (F2P) or Pay to Play (P2P) options, with paying customers having access to quests, items, map area, skills, shortcuts, and mini-games that are not available to F2P players. Created by the British company Jagex, RuneScape went live on January 4, 2001. This 5th version of the game is updated weekly, bringing new areas to explore, new items to collect, new skills to train, and new monsters to fight. Tip forums are spread throughout the web to aid new and even experienced players in maneuvering through the cyber world.
Many parents may squirm at the thought of their pre-teens interacting with potentially millions of strangers, but RuneScape tries to keep its virtual space safe. Offensive language and personal information requests are prohibited both within the game and on the help forum. Players are only known by their user name and are not allowed to discuss any other information within the site. Spam is also prohibited within forums and the game and users are expected to alert the webmaster of any problems. These precautions help to keep those online safer and parents happier.
Now all they have to worry about are eye problems.