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RuneScape Exposed Part 1: An Education Kids Don't Need

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March 26, 2007 2:08:13 PM

Jagex' MMORPG RuneScape has more players than World of WarCraft - nine million - and is one of the most successful PC games. It is claimed to be educational, but the children who comprise the bulk of RuneScape's players end up learning far more than they -- or their parents-ever bargained for.
March 26, 2007 4:08:23 PM

I read the first page, and the table of contents, sounds like life in every mmorpg i've played, especially guild wars, look on guildwarsguru.com's forums, you will see people (not many, like 5%) will say, stfu noob kthxbai, or you deserve to get scammed, and these are people of all ages doing this, from 10 to 50 years old, maturity isn't a word for some. In game, it gets worse, gwg's forums are usually free of certain low levels of maturity.

Atleast in shooters, like, CSS, UT or BF, rarely do people chat, and when someone's screaming voice irritates me, voip off or mute that annoying individual.


PS. As a Guild Wars player, I am inclined to say RS SUCKS.
March 26, 2007 7:46:20 PM

Former GWer here (Hav bought NS but have not worked up to playing more than a few hours).

I saw this kind of thing develop on GW. It was not as bad when it first came out, and peopel were generally helpful.

One thing though. I noticed that in GW, unlike other games, there is a limit to what you can get or buy. You also cannot really steal from another. So after you play a while and realize that "XXX Scalps" are really not that valuable and can be found later, you stop listening to the "n00b" that is trying to sell a lot of stuff for XXX gold.

I usually just would talk to friends I knew and give them items, trade if I could. The trade system seems to be a bit better in GW than other games....


I think the whole thing with online gaming is that you are anonymous, and have very little structure or control. It is a shock to be playing R6-LV and hear that one of my teammates is 10 years old! That kind of stiemies your outburst of "WTF" when you get sniped!

I think parents should be more aware of what their kids are doing, but at the same time for a game like RS to be PUSHING things like wagers and bets ona game that is targeted at a younger audience is shameful. They should really be forced to come to terms with this kind of thing and try to eliminate some of this crap.

Thing is, I think if they eliminated some of this, less people would play and they would get less money...

So... What is there to do? Besides simply keep track of your kids and delete any game accounts like this?
Related resources
March 26, 2007 8:32:08 PM

Yea, in GW they made improvements to the trade system, just like Diablo 2, they're are still ignorant and immature people playing, many of the snobs seem younger, but there's alot of older people as well that act the same way, there's alot of drama that goes on in guilds, as with any other MMO, RS is no different, although making it free, you will get alot younger crowd.

I haven't been playing GW at all for months, too busy playing too many other PC games, i'm sure things haven't changed.
March 27, 2007 12:43:30 AM

After reading the whole article, I have to say it was really well written. But all MMO's are like that. It is a game and parents need to stress to their kids what a game is. It's like movies and cartoons. Personally parents should never let young kids play an online game alone. Old kids and immature adults will always use bad language and sexual commentary, a game can not do anything to stop it.

So many of the things in this article that are being complained about are pointless or not possible to fix.
March 27, 2007 1:35:32 AM

So many people hide behind the stance "it’s just a game" as the writer stated, so is football. Does that make it above the rules? Does that mean the players are above reproach? Above being held responsible for their actions? No, it does not.

I said a long time ago (in an RS thread that was quickly hidden) that Jagex has created a monster that they cannot and choose not to control. They have the power to clean up this community, yet they choose not to.

The community within Runescape is steadily going downhill and very few seem to care. What I fail to understand is why people seem to think that this is ok. Everyone states that’s it’s a game, that’s its not real. Well I’m real and I play this game. The community within Runescape is very real and to hide behind weak excuses is shameful.

Apparently many MMORPG's are like this, well I want to know who will be the first to step up to the plate. Who will acknowledge that these places are more than simply games, because of the communities that have been created within them and therefore a responsible stance must be taken.

I don't feel that the whole game needs to be rewritten to make it completely educational. That’s taking a little too far. Thieving, killing people and monsters can all be put into context for a child. However fixing the lax reporting system, the disgusting talk in popular places, scamming, cheating, disregard for the rules and so much more could bring this game to a respectable level.

I fully believe Jagex needs to stop with the god complex. I really feel they are currently to full of themselves to see beyond the next update. They offer me no reason to think otherwise. Open the game let the honest players help them. Increase the level of Gold and Silver Moderators to levels never seen before. From 9 million players surely they are at least a few hundred thousand genuine people.

Will Jagex be the first to really open their eyes, to take a walk through this virtual world, completely open to what they are seeing? To make honest judgments about this ever changing world they have created. Do they have what it takes to become not only the biggest MMORPG in the world, but the best?

As use of the Internet grows, games like this are going to become alot more popular, for children and adults alike. With popularity, comes scrutiny, they cannot hide forever.
March 27, 2007 1:45:33 AM

hello,
i am 16 years old and read the whole article and it is all true and i see why you would write this finally someone has done this i have been scammed lured everything possible and ddint know what hit me and its time the newer players find out about these things.
March 27, 2007 4:40:09 AM

After being a serious player for two years, I have to admit that a lot of what is said here is true. At the same time Runescape is both a good thing but also a bad thing. In terms of redness, immaturity, scamming, rudeness, and respectfulnesses a lot of it is true. There are too few moderators on Runescape and too many hackers, scammers, liars, and thieves on the game.

In terms of addiction, I admit myself I was addicted to the game and almost got in trouble with school for being so addicted to it. I found out I was more about making money, investing all this time into a virtual world that would have no real payout in the real world. I decided to go cold turkey and have stopped playing it for over a year in a half. Ever since then I haven't touched runescape. 8)
March 27, 2007 7:50:48 AM

I think the best thing you can do is play with your own kids, and discuss the bad areas and the bad things that can happen in them.

In real life, we teach our kids to be careful of strangers and here is no different. We don't let them go into the bad neighborhoods either (why we move to the suburbs...) so warn them about the wildy. Very simple.

I absolutely love the fact that this game has real dangers for the characters (hey, I have been killed more by NPC's than "mean" PKers!). My kids and I have been attacked in the wildy at least one time each -- and lost valuable items. Ouch. We stay out mostly now. Lesson learned.

I like telling my kids how to avoid being scammed. I then tell them about stuff like that that happened to me on the streets of Chicago and how to be wary of muggers, etc. Teaches them to pay attention. A lot of what the kids I play with think is "scamming" is simply them not knowing the prices of things. Thats not scamming, and it teaches them to be smart shoppers.

I know Jagex blocks all kinds of words -- even pretty innocuous ones that you would regularly see in PG movies like "negro" for example... so there is little in the way of bad language. It makes it hard to communicate sometimes though.

I have made lots of great friends in the game, and playing Runescape brings our whole neighborhood together. It is a healthy game which I can use to ground the kids off of if they don't do well in school or have good grades (lol). It actually helps their school grades.

I am really suprised that people find it in any way negative. Most bad situations or experiences can be avoided with just a little thought and paying attention. Thats how we get experience and quit being noobs! I think Jagex has gone WAYYYY overboard to create an almost nursery-like atmosphere with language controls, moderators, and abuse reporting.

I am a real player -- my screen name is spiralsun1 -- and I love RUNESCAPE!!! I play a lot of games, and this is one of my favorite of all times. I was waiting for an article about the wonders of Runescape, not the dangers. I excitedly clicked on this and was genuinely suprised. Lighten up people!
March 27, 2007 7:58:39 AM

Nice reading. While some points do raise an eyebrow, as a parent I wouldn't mind my kids learning what sleazeballs there are in the world through an online game. Better online than getting bullied in real life.

The most important thing is that the parents go through the game carefully b4 letting junior at it and then observe junior to see if there are any negative behavioral changes.
March 27, 2007 8:51:35 AM

i'd have to agree whole hearted, this game is exactly, or worse than described, i have played it and been addicted to it, i lost a girlfriend over it (not in game, a a real life one because at the time it meant more to me), and i have to say, addiction is pretty bad, when i first started playing it was good, the makers and staff used to always be in game and talk to you, but now they are too busy doing other stuff, i quit runescape when i was 500kexp off level 126, all i needed was that exp on ranged... i have only gotten better as a person since, i am now in a long term relationship, have a good job and completed school with flying colors.
March 27, 2007 8:56:08 AM

Quote:
i quit runescape when i was 500kexp off level 126, all i needed was that exp on ranged... i
8O 8O 8O

and that's why I don't play most online rpgs. Just a race to reach a higher level. Give me online NWN anyday :)  (max level 40)
March 27, 2007 11:26:07 AM

Quote:
i quit runescape when i was 500kexp off level 126, all i needed was that exp on ranged... i
8O 8O 8O

and that's why I don't play most online rpgs. Just a race to reach a higher level. Give me online NWN anyday :)  (max level 40)

Guild Wars max level is 20, beat that!

They might change that for GW2, to either, no levels, hundreds of levels, or infinite levels, not sure yet, but anet is a pretty good company and they listen to the players, most of the time.. :p 
March 27, 2007 11:38:08 AM

From what I have read guild wars seems to be the best of the bunch. There are a lot of unique features:

The fact that it's one world and not separate shards, free play etc set them apart from the competition.

My personal preference of NWN is due to smaller groups which leads to better policing by the server owners (no annoying leet talk) etc. and better RPing. The closest thing to pnp through a computer.
March 27, 2007 2:32:33 PM

Both my 12 and 13 year old play this game. I have watched them play and we have talked about the game. I fugured some of this stuff would happen but not to the extent you have pointed out. I have played WoW for a while before getting tired of paying for it so I am not a complete noob.

I am going to set up an account and start playing the game with my kids. I am looking forward to your TruthScape.com site being up in April.
March 27, 2007 2:37:02 PM

I'd be inclined to say "It's an MMO." I've never played a single online game that doesn't have some element of griefing going on or another. Similarly, I've never been on a debate forum that didn't mention the Nazi's. It's life.

I think there are a number of things for players and parents to be aware of:

1. Online life can be really quite playgroundish in the way people go on

2. If you're a parent, you should know this already if you're letting your 13 or 14 year old play an online game in particular

3. If you're a player, the best way to avoid many of the pitfalls is to game with a group of people you know, or have got to know. Eg a clan. It allows you to control a lot more of the experience.

Ultimately for kids I think their parents need to take a good look at what they're playing. After that, the online world (and the real one, incidentally) is a school of hard knocks. Maybe that'll be good for the kids to learn, in a way. Either way, the above advice I think is sound.
March 27, 2007 2:59:05 PM

You have to be over the age of 12 to play, but when you do select your age group a 12 year old could easily select one over their actual age. But if you ask me most players are over the age of 12 (i would say around 95% of them are). To the person who said they were almost level 126, thats a lie because you don't need to have 99 range to be the highest level in the game, not sure why you said that. :? This game is fun, i'm 15 years old and i've been playing for nearly 2 years now and is still fun to me.. if you ask me the funnest thing about the game is getting money and then buying nice items to get and go kill other players... not sure why it's so fun but it is to me
March 27, 2007 3:59:14 PM

Runescape claims to be educational, but isn't.

Tom's Hardware Guide claims to write high quality articles about computer hardware (and occassionally software), but sometimes comes up with moralistic rants about the evils of technology usage.

The moral of the story is, people lie. Better to learn that as early as possible.
March 27, 2007 4:23:34 PM

Ouch!!! That was hard wasn't it. And I think it was a twitch guru article not the main site. (Too lazy to check)
March 27, 2007 4:43:56 PM

Your article disappointed me, as by the third page it was already showing signs of propaganda inspired hysteria and fantastical statements. I've played this game for a large amount of time, over many years, and I've yet to experience the extreme hatred, abuse and all round bad sportsmanship that you claim exists.

Quote:
Not all players are rude and nasty but a large percentage is, especially in the free version of the game where most kids play. The incidence of abuse has risen so much that it is now hard to ignore, and new players are the most common targets.


- Ok, Runescape is an game, and as such, players will use the escape provided to do that which they could otherwise not in real life. There are filters in place to clear out the worst language, but you cannot blame Jagex for not doing enough, filters will always be sidestepped eventually.

Quote:
Female players in RuneScape are subjected to nearly continuous harassment by the testosterone-overloaded teenaged hornballs who comprise the bulk of the game's players. This includes lewd comments, and being constantly asked if they "want a boyfriend." Many girls resort to playing as male characters just to keep their sanity.


- I don't know how you could possibly know this, but if you were a player of many online games, you would know female characters are more often chosen by players who know that it is easier to trade/beg etc with a female avatar, than to match their own gender. Again, i have seen very little abuse towards the female characters of which you speak.

Quote:
...no differentiation between evil monsters and good monsters, or even monsters and humans. There are no consequences for walking into a town, for example, and just slaughtering every townsperson you find...


- I can understand your point, in that the lack of showing right and wrong might rub off on an impressionable mind, but without a way of bettering yourself (slaying monsters etc) the game would be pointless. Although there is no consequence to killing the townsfolk in your example, there is also little reward (they drop little or no useful items) and thus, you will rarely find any player attacking townsfolk.

Unfortunately, some of your comments on immorality: thieving, trapping, etc are direct skills in the game, and although they are encouraged in-game, only TV can make you think these acts in-game will influence your child in the real world. The definition is exceptionally clear, and few 'links' have ever been proven, despite the excessive contradictory media attention.

Quote:
PKing is considered a valid part of the game, with all the lying and negativity that comes with it.


- Your entire page on PKing seems rather pointless to me, if i might be so blunt. Player versus player combat is apparent in almost every online game. How you can state that it would have an impact onto a player other than ingame, i do not understand. Players that win a battle will always taunt the loser, you can see this in real life if you would disagree. Players killed are not rendered 'useless' and unable to continue playing, as items are easily replaced, especially at lower levels. Death must entail some punishment otherwise game structure is compromised.
The fact that some players are tricked into being killed is not a sign of a failing system, there are even on screen warnings to show you are entering dangerous pvp areas. All players will be scammed once, you learn from it and it never happens again.

Quote:
..Jagex ensures that PKers have easy prey, at the expense of decent players who just want to have fun and have no idea what they are getting themselves into.


- I find it very difficult to believe that the game developers, who earn their living from this game, would compromise their player base 'allying' themselves with so called 'PKers' for some pointless fun. You are making out the developers as some kind of evil overlords, and they simply aren't.

Quote:
500 Million For A Hat


- Your page on this problem (incredible prices for rare items) is flawed in many ways. Prices are not set by Jagex, they are set by players. Players do not need these items, and so most will simply ignore them.

Quote:
Some players can't make money fast enough playing the game, so they turn to "merchanting," which is the RuneScape term for buying and selling items to try to make a profit. Imagine that instead of killing monsters and doing other fun activities, kids are standing around in trading areas engaging in arbitrage of imaginary items. Many young players get exasperated trying to earn the money they "need" for one of these rares, and end up quitting the game - or more often, resorting to scamming or cheating.


- I do not understand why you are scaremongering with this page of your article, it is impressively fictional. Players' main source of income is 'merchanting' - selling items they have found or made to non-player merchants. If they have a well made/ more expensive item they can attempt to sell it to players for a greater profit. There is no underlying addiction, no subtle evil here, it is simple gameplay mechanics.
Secondly, players do not turn to scamming or cheating (i urge you to show some proofs for this), as the items they may require will never be that difficult to acquire.

Your section on the dangers of internet game addiction (with fine examples), again, proves nothing. A family member and someone you found on a discussion forum does not, in any way, describe the player base as a whole. It is true that many players play too long, i myself have on many occasions. Parents must make sure their children do not play games for too long as they are designed to be fun and immerse the player. This is not the fault of the developer.

Quote:
...In essence, players are gambling that the time and gold they spend will pay off with a handsome payout.


- How you can compare a random reward (of all the same worth) to gambling, i cannot comprehend. By varying rewards, the developers ensure players do not bore so quickly, and can increase or decrease the importance of quests/enemies etc.

Your section on cheating : "autotypers","bot armies" etc have little effect on normal players, as they can simply ignore the offending party. Players can even be blocked if their words become too tiresome. I have never had to use the 'report offence' function, so i cannot comment.

Quote:
Literally dozens of different scams have been developed over the years by the "RuneScape underworld." The problem gets worse and worse, due to the growth of the game, the poor reporting feature and Jagex' lack of action to make game changes that would eliminate the frauds.


I can only reason that you are creating constructs to back up your articles point 'Runescape Underworld', 'lack of action' and the best one 'changes that would eliminate frauds'. Of course! The developers have the secret plans, but wish to cause pain and suffering to its player-base for reasons unknown.

Your demonization of Jagex has become laughable by this point, and i feel my post has become too long. It is of my belief that your opinion has been influenced by TV hysteria about the 'gaming menace' and it has clouded your judgment. From much of your article, i can see you are a defensive parental figure, but games like this are important social interaction for children, if they have trouble fitting it in public, or simply prefer the escapism. Runescape is an online game, and as such will never be perfectly child friendly. It's developers go to extreme lengths to ensure it's players are happy and safe in their environment, whilst still promoting varied play. I hope you can accept at least some of my points, and that you will rethink your 'evil empire' viewpoint of developers like Jagex.
March 27, 2007 5:22:09 PM

1) Kids are cruel. Anyone who believes otherwise is ignorant.

2) Parents are the ones at fault for not stopping their 10 year old from playing the game. Don't blame it on the game. If you're older than 18, you're at fault for your "addiction".
March 27, 2007 5:58:19 PM

Quote:
1) Kids are cruel. Anyone who believes otherwise is ignorant.


But parents and teachers just do not ignore the schoolyard bully, they do something about it. There should be more culpability to those that break the rules that were written.

Quote:
2) Parents are the ones at fault for not stopping their 10 year old from playing the game. Don't blame it on the game. If you're older than 18, you're at fault for your "addiction".


Um, yes and no.

You do not make something so easily available and then swear off any responsibility to those that use it. "Hey, just because I am handing out handguns does not mean I should keep track of them!!"

OK, that is a little extreme, but you know what I am saying?

And to the 1st post anti-ranter, if you have not seen any kind of bad behavior in the long hours that you have been playing then you have been extremely lucky. Either that, or your definition of unacceptable is quite a bit more lax than others.

I have heard crap talk on every single online game I have ever played. RTS, FPS, RPG, everything. Some more than others, and some servers more than others. The question is, what responsibility does the game maker have for these things?

It depends on the usage online. An FPS that has no official hosted servers may be less obligated to prevent these kinds of things, but still should enable simple things like parental locks and language filters. Aside from that, it is all up to the Server host.

But games like MMORPG's, especially ones that take income from either ad revenue or actual subscriptions bears a responsibility to make sure that the content that it is making available is more under their control than a 3rd party server.

They do not need to go crazy, but eliminating gambling for a game targeted at the 12-18 crowd would be a start. Limiting online hours from certain IP addresses would be another (Say max at 40/wk otherwise demand some form of proof of age). Also, increased participation from mods would be nice as well.

But it looks like this little thing has balooned to something they cannot quite control, and they do not want to pop the balloon in the process.

As for education, that is a cry of BS here. I woudl not throw my kid (if I had one) alone into downtown Detroit at dusk and tell him I will pick him up in the morning, and the online world should not be the same either.

I do not want my kid to learn to be a shyster or shill. Although learning how not to be a mark is good as well.

As an aside....

They want education? Why don't they include questions in game that would require some knowledge of science or math? Silly little things like three spots in a wall that you need to put an O and two H's in to get the waterfall to start (Duh, H2O...). Desiging of ramparts, blocades and bridges that actually demand the basic knowledge of truss building (not just a lump of rocks! Make a wall that will not fall over!). So many games profess to be puzzel games or something similar. But most turn out to be annoying Laura Croft games, or sign-language games like Myst. Very few turn out to be a Fools Quest, and even less demand any knowledge that you could use in the real world.

Maybe it is time that game makers took all these things into account when making something for that age bracket rather than mindless combat, useless skill, or super-droll 'educational' titles that noone plays.
March 27, 2007 6:08:01 PM

Hi everyone..

Thanks for all the replies so far. (Well, most of them anyway. :D )

I realize this is a controversial article, and opinions on it will run the gamut. Part 2 will be even more controversial.

I am going to reply in detail to "snik" in a little while, since he seems to have the most specific criticisms of the piece, and I believe is also making some invalid assumptions on where and how I came to my views.


Charles
March 27, 2007 7:33:25 PM

I have to say, I disagree with a lot of what you have said. There is a lot of truth in there, but it doesn't all have to be negative.

Having only reached level 95 yourself you have still yet to experience a lot of the game.

I see the main down point in RuneScape being the players themselves, as you quite clearly stated. Ways around this needs to be solved, however I don't like the way you described almost every RuneScape player as being 'bad' and 'dishonest'. But wait... Are not a large amount of people abusive like this anyway. Still being in school, I see this everyday, I fully believe that what I see on RuneScape is almost nothing compared to things that happen in everyday life.

(And I'm also pretty sure you can't get 126 combat from getting 99 range rammedstein, if you play your the kind of people that sink the game into the hole deeper than it already is, lying to gain acceptance the easy way).
March 27, 2007 7:34:01 PM

I know several people who work for Jagex here in cambridge, and although they generaly all love their job with them they just don't have enough time to deal with all the players who need help.

Some may call this a foolish measure considering the young age of the majority of players, and I would probably have to agree. When a company makes as much money as they do (it's a lot) they should have a little more time and respect for the people who are paying them to do what they do every day even if a lot of the stuff they probably just don't want to here as it would take a team of thousands to sort all th probelms out.

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to your own faults.
March 27, 2007 8:11:15 PM

Quote:

There are filters in place to clear out the worst language, but you cannot blame Jagex for not doing enough, filters will always be sidestepped eventually.

I don’t expect them to be able to make foolproof filters. My problem with Jagex here, as in most other areas, is that they portray their filters as being far more effective than they actually are. They present a one-sided picture of the efficacy of these measures.

Quote:

Many girls resort to playing as male characters just to keep their sanity.


- I don't know how you could possibly know this

From experience and talking to others:
- My wife plays Runescape;
- I have female friends who play, and so does she;
- I’ve played as a female character;
- I’ve observed how female characters are treated in-game;
- I’ve seen the many complaints about harrassment in the Runescape forums.

Ironically, the very day I was prepping this article for publication, I met a female acquaintance in Runescape to do a trade, and found her looking very male. She told me that she was, and I quote, “tired of being hit on”, and had her sex changed.
Quote:

Although there is no consequence to killing the townsfolk in your example, there is also little reward (they drop little or no useful items) and thus, you will rarely find any player attacking townsfolk.

Sorry, but that’s not true. For example, guards in Falador are often used for training by lower-level characters. Jagex even made them drop clues to enhance their desirability, and put them in a multi-combat area so people could use cannons on them. Jagex even made a quest with two guards joking about how they would soon be killed.
Quote:

Player versus player combat is apparent in almost every online game. How you can state that it would have an impact onto a player other than ingame, i do not understand.

Because I’ve seen it first hand.

Yes, PvP occurs in most (not all) online games, but in Runescape, the problem here is the same as in elsewhere: the game is aimed at kids, and there is virtually no supervision or management of the problems associated with PvP. In fact, Jagex is directly responsible for much of the conflict.
Quote:

Players killed are not rendered 'useless' and unable to continue playing, as items are easily replaced, especially at lower levels.

Many players quit the game when they experince a significant loss. Others just get extremely angry and lash out at others, contributing to the negativity of the community as a whole.
Quote:

The fact that some players are tricked into being killed is not a sign of a failing system, there are even on screen warnings to show you are entering dangerous pvp areas.

Except that the warnings don’t always work, and there are flaws in the game that can make people go into the wild without their choosing to do so.

Beyond that: it is wrong for a company to legalize a scam just because people are warned about its possibility. That goes doubly when the company refuses to educate potential victims about the nature of the scam.
Quote:

- I find it very difficult to believe that the game developers, who earn their living from this game, would compromise their player base 'allying' themselves with so called 'PKers' for some pointless fun. You are making out the developers as some kind of evil overlords, and they simply aren't.

And yet they have done exactly that. You certainly haven’t rebutted any specific factual ponts I have made here. “Evil overlords” is hyperbole – I never called anyone “evil”, but the facts are what they are, and Jagex has made a concerted effort to find ways to force people who do not want to PK to go into Pking areas.
Quote:

Prices are not set by Jagex, they are set by players.

Laughing.. you’re repeating one of Jagex’s mantras. They say this over and over and over again, and players start to believe it. It’s a myth that’s very convenient for Jagex.

Prices of items are dictated by supply and demand, and Jagex is in charge of both. By artificially limiting the supply of rare items like party hats, Jagex has made them very hard to get. This scarcity has made the items “famous” and hence also increased demand on the items.

Jagex is 100% responsible for the existence of these items and the negative impact they have on the game, because they alone can change their value at a whim. Nobody else can.
Quote:

Secondly, players do not turn to scamming or cheating (i urge you to show some proofs for this), as the items they may require will never be that difficult to acquire.

I know of many players who have done exactly that. There are whole websites dedicated to the activity.
Quote:

Your section on the dangers of internet game addiction (with fine examples), again, proves nothing. A family member and someone you found on a discussion forum does not, in any way, describe the player base as a whole.

My many hundreds of hours of experience in the game and on the Runescape forums and other community forums have shown me that addiction is a serious problem in Runescape.
Quote:

Your section on cheating : "autotypers","bot armies" etc have little effect on normal players, as they can simply ignore the offending party.

I’m sorry, but you are entirely incorrect. I explained some of the impact in the article, but the presence of these cheats has the effect of cheapening the game and encouraging others to cheat as well. Drop-trading is against the rules but now done by the majority of Runescape players with more than one account, for example.

The bot armies drive down the prices of resources, which means real players work harder for less return. It also frustrates legitimate players.

As for it having “little effect”, the bots – and Jagex’s refusal to do anything about them – are among the most common complaints posted in Runescape’s forums. The reason is simple: nobody likes cheaters. Jagex, rather than combatting the bots, has the threads locked.
Quote:

I can only reason that you are creating constructs to back up your articles point 'Runescape Underworld', 'lack of action' and the best one 'changes that would eliminate frauds'. Of course! The developers have the secret plans, but wish to cause pain and suffering to its player-base for reasons unknown.

On the contrary, everything I said is completely accurate.

The Runescape underworld does exist, in various forms. There are the Pking clans that share ideas for luring victims and then post their victory videos on YouTube; the websites where players trade gold for real world currency; the sites where playes pawn stolen accounts; and more. The networks of scammers share ideas while Jagex keeps victims in the dark.

I’ve catalogued the scams, for example, and there are dozens of them. And yes, many, if not most of them, could be stopped by Jagex if the company only made stopping these scams a priority. For example, remember the Guthan warspear / leaf-bladed spear scam? I and a few others spend over a YEAR trying to get that fixed. When I finally got the attention of one of the lead developers, it was corrected on the very next update. There are many others that qualify similarly. For example, with 5 minutes’ work nobody would ever confuse a magic log and a willow log again. This scam is what, 2 years old? And it sits unfixed month after month. Why?
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Your demonization of Jagex has become laughable by this point, and i feel my post has become too long. It is of my belief that your opinion has been influenced by TV hysteria about the 'gaming menace' and it has clouded your judgment.

Sorry, but you won’t have much luck lumping me in with the anti-gaming bogeymen, because I’m not anti-gaming. :)  All of my writing is based on personal experience, as a high-level Runescape player (top 10,000 rank), as a parent of two kids who play, and as someone who is very active in the community.

I don’t think Jagex are “demons” – they are simply a company that has fallen into the same trap as other companies that become successful quickly: they’ve gotten too big for their britches. They’ve put quantity ahead of quality, making expansion their priority while allowing the community and the integrity of the game to sink into disrepair. They need to change that.
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It's developers go to extreme lengths to ensure it's players are happy and safe in their environment, whilst still promoting varied play.

The problem is that they don’t go to extreme lengths to ensure the safety of players. If they did, I would never have written the article.

Consider that this company takes in something on the order of $5 million a month in membership fees. And despite that, they allow bugs that have been known for years to sit unfixed; they refuse to tell people how to avoid scams; they make trivial updates while not revamping their woeful trade interface and reporting system; they make a Parents’ Guide that contains no useful information and a number of blatant falsehoods; and they legalize item luring and then bury the announcement where nobody can find it.

Why are they doing these things if they really care? I can only pose the questions.

Charles
March 27, 2007 8:15:29 PM


I have to say, I disagree with a lot of what you have said. There is a lot of truth in there, but it doesn't all have to be negative.

Well, Jagex does enough to push the good parts of the game. I'm presenting the other side.

Having only reached level 95 yourself you have still yet to experience a lot of the game.

I'm actually level 117.

I see the main down point in RuneScape being the players themselves, as you quite clearly stated. Ways around this needs to be solved, however I don't like the way you described almost every RuneScape player as being 'bad' and 'dishonest'.

Well, sorry if it came across that way. I don't think "every" Runescape player is bad or dishonest. But a lot of them are, and I think people need to know that.

Charles
March 27, 2007 9:29:10 PM

Well I think I just have to chime in here on this discussion.
On one hand I can feel for you and your concern for the children (especially if the company claims the game "educational"), at the same time I can't help seconding a lot that was said by Snik and others.

When it really comes down to it, it is the parents responsibility to control what is presented to their children. If you do not like the aspects of the game (such as gambling) then you can choose not to play the game or allow your children to play. If you feel that you cannot trust that your children will respect your decision then you can control their access to the computer, or you can just block the site.

As far as your gripe goes with the party-hats, I have to say you might as well stop playing games all together. Prestige has always been part of video games, as far back as I can remember. "Ha, Ha, I got an unbeatable score in Missile Command"... "Bet you didn't know Samus is a girl!"...
I happen to play City of Heroes and am quite proud of the fact that I have been playing long enough to earn 'Wings' as a 'Veteran Reward'. Seems to me that this is essentially what these 'Party-hats' are. The fact that some people wish to sell them is moot. You expect the developers to take away these items simply because some players are obsessing over them. Again I stress why are you playing a game if not for some form of prestige?!!

And finally in regards to the 'PKing'. This I certainly can sympathize over, I played Diablo starting shortly after release, and was playing during a time when cheating was really bad, and I can remember downloading Raymonds Trainer just so I could use the 'Anti-PK' function. I never considered myself a cheater, especially for online games where your actions affect other players, however this is the reason you have freedom of choice. I liked the game but disliked PvP, to this day I shy away from PvP in RPG's most of the time. But Blizzard saw this as a problem and put some work into the design of Diablo 2 to avoid the same problems. If you still didn't like it no one says you have to play.
March 27, 2007 9:59:27 PM

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On the contrary, everything I said is completely accurate.


This basically sums up my problem with the article. It tries to pass off personal opinions as "facts", which I find rather deceitful. All I can guess is that the writer felt cheated by the game teaching his child a few "naughty" words ("noob" is ... not naughty, to be blunt), and so decided to retaliate with a rant. Despite the initial disclaimer, the fact the piece was attached to THG, rather than a personal blog where it might belong, is highly disappointing. After all, every article contains the opinion of the writer, but the site should uphold some standards for quality, objectivity etc.
March 27, 2007 11:41:03 PM

As someone who has played Runescape and successfully quit the game (hard as hell) I thought I'd comment on the article somewhat. believe me, if I was to go back to before I started playing the game, I wouldn't have started at all.

For general information, I quit at combat level 115, and total level 1750. I was a Player Mod, bank full of rares, and knew a lot about the game at the time. I'm not just some guy who played for a month. Search me in the high scores if you please.

I've read the article and must agree with almost everything the columnist writes about. Thought he does take an over exaggerated approach on skills like thieving (Pick-pocket a guard and, if he notices, kill him. Nice eh?).

Everything in that article is why the f2p version of RS should be nuked. Most of the problems that he listed are only found in f2p, and the other are rarely seen in members. Players can easily make extra accounts to use to scam, and cheat, without any effect on their main account. Such other problems are not seen in other games because dishonest players are CD-Key banned meaning all account under that CD-Key are banned, and they'd have to buy a new copy of the game (40 or 50 dollars) to play again.

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With these actions, Jagex ensures that PKers have easy prey, at the expense of decent players who just want to have fun and have no idea what they are getting themselves into.


here I have to disagree and say that the writer is going a bit over the top. Name one main-line quest or skill that requires severely endangering yourself in the wilderness (Not Runecrafting because you have to be a retard to get killed doing that. Aim the cam north when you run, stop and right click the white dots before going by. I've never been pked.). Most other games have it so it is P2P throughout the map (Anarchy Online, World of Warcraft), others have aggressive NPCs flooding the narrow corridors (Guild Wars). He also makes PKing out to be a terrible, un-nobel, dishonest practice. Perhaps true in f2p, in p2p it's full of honest, respectful fighters.

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Pursuit of these [rare] items has led to incredible levels of greed and envy in the game. Many players aren't on RuneScape to grow their characters or make friends - they are there to get a party hat to show off with. Many of them get truly obsessed with accumulating wealth to obtain these [rare] items, and since the price always goes up, it's a moving target that some can never achieve.


#1 problem in Runescape. Other MMOs have similar concept for holiday items, but the members seem to be less obsessed with the items, some even giving extras away to new members lacking the items. Why such the obsession in Runescape? I'm not sure.

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"I have been desensitized by this game, and had to quit due to my addiction. In order to pass school I actually got myself banned on my level 95. It set me free: grades went up, happiness went up, weight went down (the only good thing going down lol)."


I noticed the same thing after I quit. Grades nearly doubled, and I am extremely cheerful lately =). Before I quit I was always miserable. I've never had a problem with weight though.

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I educated him about the dangers of gambling, and reminded him that RuneScape was supposed to be for fun - if he wasn't enjoying dueling, he should do something else.


Couldn't have said it better. I hate hearing people say "I'm so bored training slayer". Why the hell are you doing it then? "I need the level" A game is supposed to be fun, I'm sorry. If you're getting stressed out over some fake level, and think that you absolutely need it, there's an addiction right there. I had the same problem, which helped me realise my addiction.
March 27, 2007 11:51:36 PM

i know but my other skills were lacking... i had quite low prayer and mage, i had 99 att, 99str, 98def, 87mage, 84 prayer, 98 ranged, now if i had gotten that one ranged level i would have gone from level 125 to 126, please, i played that game for a long time, don't tell me i don't know what im talking about
March 27, 2007 11:57:12 PM

Quote:
i know but my other skills were lacking... i had quite low prayer and mage, i had 99 att, 99str, 98def, 87mage, 84 prayer, 98 ranged, now if i had gotten that one ranged level i would have gone from level 125 to 126, please, i played that game for a long time, don't tell me i don't know what im talking about


you need 99 att 99 str 99 def and 98 prayer to get 126 combat. =\

I'm not sure who you're talking to though.
March 28, 2007 12:15:27 AM

I wanted to leave this discussion to Charles, since he is the author and I've never played RuneScape. But I feel I need to weigh in on the subject of bias and objectivity.

Quote:
This basically sums up my problem with the article. It tries to pass off personal opinions as "facts", which I find rather deceitful. All I can guess is that the writer felt cheated by the game teaching his child a few "naughty" words ("noob" is ... not naughty, to be blunt), and so decided to retaliate with a rant. Despite the initial disclaimer, the fact the piece was attached to THG, rather than a personal blog where it might belong, is highly disappointing. After all, every article contains the opinion of the writer, but the site should uphold some standards for quality, objectivity etc.


Synergy, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. However, I do not understand what your primary issue is with this piece. Charles has written an opinion/editorial column (which appear in newspapers and magazines all the time, not just personal blogs) on his first-hand experiences with RuneScape. And from the looks of this discussion forum, it sure seems like a lot of people are backing up the claims in the piece. It isn't an ill-informed rant; it's a lengthy, detailed account of his experiences with this game and his beliefs regarding the content.

Reasonable people may disagree about where resposibility ultimately lies with something like RuneScape: the parent, player or developer. Yet you suggest that somehow Charles is lying and that THG and TwitchGuru are lacking in objectivity. I find this upsetting that you question our objectivity based on this one column. Do you really think that a technology site like THG or a gaming site like Twitch has soem type of agenda and aims to smear gaming with anti-technology rants, as you called them? A technology site with an anti-technology agena? Doesn't really make sense when you think about it.

In fact, we go out of our way to address issues that show the negative side of gaming because we are, in fact, trying to be objective rather than just a cheerleader for the gaming industry that believes it can do no wrong. We know this will upset some people, but that's the price you pay for being....(drum roll)...objective.

I don't mean to pick on you, Synergy. It's just that I don't understand why, instead of debating the content within the piece, you chose to debate the motive and objectivity of the author and its publisher. We do our absolute very best at THG and Twitch to uphoald a standard of quality and objectivity, and I just wish you would give us a little more credit before dismissing us after reading a column that you don't agree with.
March 28, 2007 12:48:31 AM

actually, you can substitute the level 98/99 stats with any combat stat, say if i had 99def, 99 ranged, 99mage and 98 prayer or 99 att, 99def, 99str 98ranged, or 99 ranged 99 mage 99att and 98str you would still be level 126, try it, lol, if you have that much spare time.
March 28, 2007 1:37:48 AM

You'll have to forgive the delay in my reply, and the absurd hour at which it is posted 8)

I had you down as a 'Daily mail mother' charlsek, and i'm glad you show some promise yet. I'll hold back on the 'take the post apart with quotes' nonsense also, as i've noticed it looks impressively aggressive.

I have to disagree with your point on the filters being ineffective (as to whether they are wrongly hyped, I leave to opinion). I do not curse in-game unless lan'd with friends, or otherwise separated from pubic channels (half out of fear of retribution). So when i tried to type 'damn' and it was starred out, i was pretty impressed. There are few filters i've ever known as annoying as RuneScapes, those who wish to curse must go to great lengths, as I'm sure you've seen.

Your argument on female players is opinion based, and i wont trade point-of-view blows on that one.

I still feel your outlook on PvPing is very negative. Without it, player interaction degrades to trade and joining teams. The very nature of competition entails a loser, but i accept your point that in a child-oriented game such as this, perhaps more could be done to lessen the 'pain' felt.

I must completely disagree with your viewpoint on the consequences of PvP losers. 'Turning to the dark side', ie resorting to cheating and scamming, "lashing out at others" etc are not common occurence in any game, no matter what the punishment. Consequences of death are publicly known, and so are anticipated and when it happens, even if it is multiple times, players are simply angered (possibly to a great degree) but saying that they would turn to cheating seems a little fantastical.

I cannot comment on your viewpoint that Jagex purposefully withholds information on scams etc, as i take it as general knowledge and would as such disregard any warnings as i expect them already.

On your supply and demand reply, i must assure you that players set prices, and it is only them to blame for the stupid prices of useless items. However, this is apparent in many online games, and is (almost always) not a cause for concern in any others. Although it is true the developer sets the supply, demand is still fully in the idiots hands.

The cheater problem, although i am sure apparent, has never affected me in any way that i have noticed (admittedly i do not play high level characters). I concede that bot farming etc that flooded the market would affect commerce, but again cheaters will always be in games. The fact that Jagex do not seem to do enough does not make them in league with the bad guys.

Forgive one quote.
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There are the Pking clans that share ideas for luring victims and then post their victory videos on YouTube; the websites where players trade gold for real world currency; the sites where playes pawn stolen accounts; and more. The networks of scammers share ideas while Jagex keeps victims in the dark.


In all honesty i see nothing wrong with pvp clans. Pvp is a legal and useful method of advancement in game, and clans increase efficiency. Gold trading will always be done (as a gamer, I'm sure you'll agree) but this does not prove your point of a 'RuneScape underground'. Although account stealing does occur, this with the 'sharing of ideas' with scammers cannot possibly be seen as a thriving evil-underground community.

You said that you are a gamer, and i don't mean to sound cocky, but your article does smack of 'anti-gaming', albeit misinterpreted anger toward a developer. I agree that developers can 'fall into the trap' as you put it, and forget about the little guy, and perhaps this has happened here (mostly in the areas of bug/scam-fixing, and information communication). However you are blowing things greatly out of proportion and i believe you are paranoid that the developers are against you personally.

I love Runescape for the simple reason that i can make pie. The complexity to practicality ratio is way off, so you get a real sense of achievement when it all goes right. Wearing a silly chefs hat and chatting to other bakers is more rewarding than many good games i've played, and plenty more relaxing. This is how i see Runescape, this is how it's meant to be played. No grinding for level x, no camping this position for another drop. It's simplicity even a child can respect, yet few play it this way. Perhaps the goals are too skewed from fun and that is what trips people up.
March 28, 2007 1:38:58 AM

I agree that the developer's claims should be adjusted. But in reality, I doubt that would discourage kids from playing it (probably the opposite).

I disagree on pretty much every other point in this article. The core of this issue is antisocial behaviour of children. Well raised, well-adjusted kids will play, enjoy (or not) games such as Runescape and grow from their experiences. Poorly raised kids will be effected badly and may very well become bad or worse as a result to exposure to such an environment. The exact same thing applies to school where bullies team up and beat on weaker kids, steal their money, scam and many other such activities. To believe that this behaviour is effectively policed by teachers and school staff is naive .

This online environment is simply a mirror of the real world (perhaps exaggerated due to anonymity). Kids will need to learn and understand that there are bad bad bad people out there. They do outnumber good ones, and they will need to exercise caution and discretion in choosing who they deal and associate with. They will need to learn how to deal with being duped, scammed, conned (or with avoidance of such). All of these lessons should be taught by a child's parents, family, mentors and such.

A kid's reaction to such an environment as runescape will be a reflection of the characted built by his or her parents. Not a reflection of the environment itself.
March 28, 2007 2:05:43 AM

Quote:

When it really comes down to it, it is the parents responsibility to control what is presented to their children. If you do not like the aspects of the game (such as gambling) then you can choose not to play the game or allow your children to play. If you feel that you cannot trust that your children will respect your decision then you can control their access to the computer, or you can just block the site.

Okay.. I agree to a certain extent. I certainly take on that responsibility myself for my own kids.

But what is Jagex's responsibility here? They are running a game that is geared to kids. They provide virtually NO objective information whatsoever to the parents in oder for them to decide "what is presented to their children".

Why? That's the issue I am raising.

Quote:

I happen to play City of Heroes and am quite proud of the fact that I have been playing long enough to earn 'Wings' as a 'Veteran Reward'. Seems to me that this is essentially what these 'Party-hats' are.

If Jagex had been smart and had made these items untradeable several years ago, then they would in fact be prestige items, as you say. But they didn't. Now, they are not indicators of longevity in the game, only of the ability of people to amass gold pieces by any means possible.

Many party hats are obtained strictly by scamming, for example. They serve as a powerful incentive for cheaters and scammers.

c
March 28, 2007 2:06:09 AM

I am so enraged that someone wrote this article. So enraged, in fact, that I created a new account here to to rant about it. So enraged that I had to re-activate one of my old emails just to activate my account. So enraged that I will type it out right now.


To the writer:


First of all, you have no idea what you are talking about. No idea. Have you ever tried this game? You can't just assume something about it if you haven't even tried it. Don't give me that "oh yes I went around runescape for 5 minutes on a level 3 character and saw abuse towards other players". All players start out as f2p(free to play) characters. Even though there are some very intelligent people there, I am sad to say the majority of the f2p community is very... how would I say this correctly? Stupid. The majority of free players don't take the game seriously(obviously because they do not pay), and take it as "any other game", fooling around thinking abusing other players is fun. Members, however, pay to play(p2p). You will find most members of the game care much for the game and jagex and take it seriously. I am not going to sterotype, but it is a fact. If you want proof I suggest you visit runescape's first fan site, which has phpBB forums just like these with over 100,000 registered users. On this forum you will find very intelligent players, ranging from 10 years old to 80. I have over 1600 posts and am an active CTET leader. Tip.it's forums.

I am proud to say I am a very intelligent runescape player and have been playing since January 2005. I am quite wealthy, have a high skill total, and have many, many friends ingame. I do well in school and I am proud to say I have not yet recieved one "referal"(bad behavior slip) all 10 years. Now I would like to point out some issues in your article.

Quote:
The owners of RuneScape, Jagex Limited, portray the popular massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) as a fun pastime for gamers - more than that, they claim that it is "educational." It does have some positive learning aspects, but players also get a broad education in the negative aspects of online gaming, including cheating, scamming, lying, taunting, bullying, gambling and addiction.


A fun pastime for gamers- that was the first part that caught my attention. What you failed to realized on your assumption of the runescape community is that some players view this world as a "second reality". Something that is not just a pastime, but another life for them. They can be whoever they want- maybe they can be a jerk at school but have the chance to start a new life and be kind(or vice versa). At my school, for example, I am viewed as a shy, average thinking person, but on tif(tip.it forums) and runescape I want to be viewed as a very intelligent wanting-to-go-out person(this could explain my full friend's list!).

Now to the second point of your paragraph, I couldn't help notice your last sentence. I am seriously laughing at this sentence right now as I type mine. "Gambling", my god. Once again you assume way too much. Addiction? I suppose you just assume all players who play this fun online game are addicted? Oh now here's the real laugh- lying. Everyone lies, rs player or not. Get use to it.


Quote:
Sure, some of these activities happen to one extent or another in all online games. But RuneScape is child-oriented, with some players as young as five online. The reputation of the game is that it is safe for kids, but they are in fact exposed to all sorts of very negative influences without them, or their parents, realizing it. So what are our children learning on RuneScape? And what is Jagex doing - or not doing - about it?


Yes here is something that first caught my attention "child oriented". Simply put, jagex cannot control the age limit on their game. They want you to be 13+ but they cannot force it, they don't have a camera set up to tell how old you are- they just expect you to tell the truth. Honestly though, there aren't that many 10- year olds. In fact I do believe the 18+ population is growing. There is also a second something that just makes me... tick. "What is jagex doing - or not doing - about it?". Must I repeat myself? You are assuming way too much. You probably don't even know how much jagex works their butts off(excuse me for the offensive language, but I felt that it calls for this situation) to get weekly updates. That's right, weekly. Most online games like WoW may not even get any in a month. Jagex works hard and sometimes they just don't have time to deal with stuff like age control. And what do you suggest they do with it? I don't see you coming up with any good suggestions.


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In the first part of this two-part series, I take a look at the game and describe what its community is really like. Starting with a brief overview of RuneScape, I concentrate mainly on discussing what players experience, the many dangers for children who play and the impact that this can have on young minds. I write as both an avid player and the parent of two children who play - and as one of many active, involved adults who has tried to little avail to get Jagex to clean RuneScape up.


Please refer to my earlier column concerning the child influence. But now to the main point. I think your too stubborn to blame it on yourself. That's right- I think your the problem, not Runescape. If you really don't want your kids playing the game then get the off the damn computer for god's sake. It's not jagex's problem and I don't think it ever will be. Again I am going back to my point, jagex doesn't have time to see to everyone's need, they only try to see to the majority's needs. You obviously have no understanding on how a big company like Jagex works.


The second to last and last paragraph just basically goes over everything else mentioned earlier, so I will not quote it.


Now for my summary. This article is overall a postulation. You neglected to focus on member's servers, and you blame jagex too much. Now I challenge you sir, respond to my post.
March 28, 2007 2:08:20 AM

Quote:

Well raised, well-adjusted kids will play, enjoy (or not) games such as Runescape and grow from their experiences. Poorly raised kids will be effected badly and may very well become bad or worse as a result to exposure to such an environment.

Children learn from their environment. Even good kids who are raised well behave differently when surrounded by negative behavior, and I have witnessed this personally.
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This online environment is simply a mirror of the real world (perhaps exaggerated due to anonymity).

Vastly exaggerated, which is much of the point.
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Kids will need to learn and understand that there are bad bad bad people out there. They do outnumber good ones, and they will need to exercise caution and discretion in choosing who they deal and associate with. They will need to learn how to deal with being duped, scammed, conned (or with avoidance of such). All of these lessons should be taught by a child's parents, family, mentors and such.

And how is this supposed to happen when Jagex not only doesn't provide this information, the company actively suppresses the efforts of others to provide it?

c
March 28, 2007 2:13:28 AM

Ah, busted Mario_sunny, you need to read the whole thread before posting. Funnily enough, that article was the same one that made me register 8)

Charlesk, in reply to mandrake, you seem to imply that Jagex deny players knowledge that would leave them entirely at the mercy of scammers, and although perhaps some might have fallen to them because of poor communication, i doubt it is the main problem.

[edit] I can't spell 'thread'.
March 28, 2007 2:19:11 AM

Quote:
Ah, busted Mario_sunny, you need to read the whole thread before posting. Funnily enough, that article was the same one that made me register 8)

Charlesk, in reply to mandrake, you seem to imply that Jagex deny players knowledge that would leave them entirely at the mercy of scammers, and although perhaps some might have fallen to them because of poor communication, i doubt it is the main problem.

[edit] I can't spell 'thread'.


I did in fact. I scimmed over all the topics, if you read mine I stated some new points.

On the topic of scammers. In my opinion, people who get scammed should not entirely blame it on the scammers, for it was actually their fault for not checking the second trade window. Scammers, of course, should be punished for their wrongful acts and attempts. But I am sorry to say that item scamming is one of the easiest scams to avoid(well right next to luring perhaps).


I await part 2 by the way.
March 28, 2007 2:23:20 AM

Quote:
1) Kids are cruel. Anyone who believes otherwise is ignorant.

2) Parents are the ones at fault for not stopping their 10 year old from playing the game. Don't blame it on the game. If you're older than 18, you're at fault for your "addiction".



I second this - it's exactly right.

What you see in game is nothing more than a microcosm of the real world, and it's not really all that exaggerated than what you will find in every grade school playground in the country. There are kids that get cussed at, spat on, and ridiculed every single day of their existence in our schools. If you think otherwise, you are the one living in a virtual world.

And to be perfectly blunt, I think the only reason many adults don't do this kind of thing is that they would go to jail for it.
March 28, 2007 2:23:56 AM

Mario_sunny:
Quote:
Have you ever tried this game? You can't just assume something about it if you haven't even tried it. Don't give me that "oh yes I went around runescape for 5 minutes on a level 3 character and saw abuse towards other players".


If you had, you'd know that charlsek has played for a very long time..

[edit] I'll just quote posters without their names attached. 3:30am, so sue me.
March 28, 2007 2:28:57 AM

Quote:

First of all, you have no idea what you are talking about. No idea. Have you ever tried this game? You can't just assume something about it if you haven't even tried it. Don't give me that "oh yes I went around runescape for 5 minutes on a level 3 character and saw abuse towards other players".

Level 117 combat, 1838 total levels, 73 million XP. How about you?
Quote:

All players start out as f2p(free to play) characters. Even though there are some very intelligent people there, I am sad to say the f2p community is very... how would I say this correctly? Stupid. The majority of free players don't take the game seriously(obviously because they do not pay), and take it as "any other game", fooling around thinking abusing other players is fun. Members, however, pay to play(p2p). You will find most members of the game care much for the game and jagex and take it seriously. I am not going to sterotype, but it is a fact.

Is that so. Well, I spend 99% of my time on P2P, and my observations are based upon the members' version of the game. It is overrun with abuse, scamming, luring, hacking, and everything else I described.

F2P is simply that much worse. So much worse, in fact, that I never go there unless I must.

And yet, guess what? That's where most of the kids are, because they have no money. And Jagex, as much as they have refused to clean up P2P, have let F2P degrade far worse. In fact, some have theorized that they let F2P get so bad to encourage people to pony up for members.
Quote:

If you want proof I suggest you visit runescape's first fan site, which has phpBB forums just like these with over 100,000 registered users. On this forum you will find very intelligent players, ranging from 10 years old to 80. I have over 1600 posts and am an active CTET leader. Tip.it's forums.

There's a thread about this article right now on the Tip.it forums. :)  And I agree that the Tip.it community is overall of higher quality than Runescape as a whole... but that's not a very high bar to clear, is it?
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What you failed to realized on your assumption of the runescape community is that some players view this world as a "second reality". Something that is not just a pastime, but another life for them.

Actually, I made this very point myself right on the first page of the article. Perhaps you missed it? :) 
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Now to the second point of your paragraph, I couldn't help notice your last sentence. I am seriously laughing at this sentence right now as I type mine. "Gambling", my god. Once again you assume way too much.

Do I? Go to world 22, and see the people staking items worth tens of millions on a single duel. For many players even one such item represents months' worth of work. Also worth several hundred dollars on the black market.
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Addiction? I suppose you just assume all players who play this fun online game are addicted?

No, when I talk to people who say they want to stop playing but can't, or that their grades are slipping but they are still online, or that they have a project due the next day but they are still on RS -- they are addicted.
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Yes here is something that first caught my attention "child oriented". Simply put, jagex cannot control the age limit on their game. They want you to be 13+ but they cannot force it, they don't have a camera set up to tell how old you are- they just expect you to tell the truth.

If they don't want kids under 13, why do they market the game towards that age bracket? They advertise on sites that cater to that age group. The game has a widespread reputation as being for kids, which Jagex does nothing to counter.
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Honestly though, there aren't that many 10- year olds. In fact I do believe the 18+ population is growing.

Heh... the oldtimers and adults are leaving the game in droves, specifically because of the invasion of kids.
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There is also a second something that just makes me... tick. "What is jagex doing - or not doing - about it?". Must I repeat myself? You are assuming way too much. You probably don't even know how much jagex works their butts off(excuse me for the offensive language, but I felt that it calls for this situation) to get weekly updates.

Yes, but weekly updates of what?

For example, there is a serious flaw in player-owned houses. You can die in one and lose all of your items. Jagex says that they are 'safe' and you cannot lose your items.

This situation has been going on for months. Does Jagex announce that there's an issue they are working to resolve? Do they put out a warning to people not to take pricy items into houses?

Nope.. they give us a low-level quest.

Last week, while people were falling for this scam, they announced their graphic redesign of cows and chickens. Meanwhile, people have been complaining about the abysmal reporting feature and flaws in the trade interface, scams at the Duel Arena and any number of other serious matters.

Seem like, perhaps, misplaced priorities?
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Jagex works hard and sometimes they just don't have time to deal with stuff like age control.

They seem to have lots of time for finding ways to expand their membership to get more paying customers. How many hundreds of hours did they say it took to translate the entire game to German? It would take 5 minutes to eliminate many of the common scams. So why isn't it done?
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If you really don't want your kids playing the game then get the off the damn computer for god's sake. It's not jagex's problem and I don't think it ever will be.

This isn't about my kids. They are lucky enough to have two very computer-literate parents who play the game.

It's about all the parents whose kids play because they've heard that Runescape is "safe for kids", in large part because Jagex claims it is and provides no warnings about many of the negative aspects. And that's my beef.

c
March 28, 2007 2:31:52 AM

I myself have to totally disagree with this whole article. you say these kids are getting scammed, cheated etc. but they know what they're getting into before they sign up. its not like its something totally brand new to them, they're friends are playing. If you dont think these games are appropriate then just dont play them, or dont let your kids play them. You can't possibly blame this on the game.


A much better game is www.phantasyrpg.com (people only over the age of 13 are allowed to play, there is almost always staff online monitering the chat, and words like noob etc. are censored.
March 28, 2007 2:34:34 AM


Charlesk, in reply to mandrake, you seem to imply that Jagex deny players knowledge that would leave them entirely at the mercy of scammers, and although perhaps some might have fallen to them because of poor communication, i doubt it is the main problem.

How is a new player supposed to learn about scams and how to avoid them when Jagex refuses to describe them, refuses to eliminate them, and hides any mention of them in the Runescape forums?
March 28, 2007 2:39:56 AM

Charlesk, despite the fact that they are obvious and not as commonplace as you would suggest (speaking on the free servers, as you indicate that is where most new kids would play), scams are very difficult to remove. Trade is a core element of the game and as such it would be very difficult to fundamentally change the way it worked to be more resistant to scamming. If the player is as new and young as you seems to be implying, and would not think to be wary in such environments, they would not heed warnings of such 'boring' things as anti-scamming measures. I know at that age i would not have.
March 28, 2007 3:22:13 AM

I've been a MMORPG gamer for almost 10 years. I've played many of them. I srill have an Ultima Online account that I only keep because of friends who play occassionally. I'd like to say what you found on Runescape is average or maybe not as bad as other games.

Ultima Online is by far the worst, most vile thing you could let a kid do yet most are young kids or teens who play. Talk about scamming, murder, and stealing? UO has them all beat. A Thief is a recognized professon. They stand around all the gates and places were rare items are found stealing you blind for all your hard work. What kind of game would make stealing a legitimate playstyle? Murder too. UO has a whole world for killers and the game owners are constantly making lures for the innocent to go there and get killed, looted and betrayed. It's sanctioned and encouraged by UO. For instance they give you double resources like crafting material if you go there. There are things you can only get there that are absolutly needed for the game. UO did it that way so keep plenty of people to be murdered.

UO encourages people to sell in-game items off line and does it themselves. You can go to the UO store and pay real money for game armor and weapons. UO also sells prefab characters that are high level. You can buy whole accounts on ebay and it's fine with them.

UO has done everything possible to maximize their own profit at the players expense. It's amazing how they hold everyone in contempt.

What you are seeing on Runescape is normal human nature when the threat of punishment is removed. People revert to the most vile things you can imagine. No online I've ever seen is a fit place for kids. Adults either for that matter.
March 28, 2007 3:26:22 AM

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Charlesk, despite the fact that they are obvious and not as commonplace as you would suggest (speaking on the free servers, as you indicate that is where most new kids would play), scams are very difficult to remove. Trade is a core element of the game and as such it would be very difficult to fundamentally change the way it worked to be more resistant to scamming. If the player is as new and young as you seems to be implying, and would not think to be wary in such environments, they would not heed warnings of such 'boring' things as anti-scamming measures. I know at that age i would not have.


Scams would not be difficult to remove if they IP banned, or required a purchased pin number per account. This would even reduce the number of looters at pking wars, or people just making an account to scam. The 10 dollar pin number, or however much they'd charge, would come with a month's membership, and the ability to create 2 account in the game (for example). It would make people think twice about scamming if they would lose their Pin account.

A simply solution, quite easy to implement.

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I myself have to totally disagree with this whole article. you say these kids are getting scammed, cheated etc. but they know what they're getting into before they sign up. its not like its something totally brand new to them, they're friends are playing. If you dont think these games are appropriate then just dont play them, or dont let your kids play them. You can't possibly blame this on the game.


A much better game is www.phantasyrpg.com (people only over the age of 13 are allowed to play, there is almost always staff online monitering the chat, and words like noob etc. are censored.


I'm sorry, but no. An ad for a cool game on Mini clip does not describe what the kid is about to get into, nor does it provide a warning that they may become addicted. I'm not sure how a stronger word filter help a game either. Guild Wars, for example, has no filter. Its the most mature and socially friendly MMO I've ever played. you rarely see swearing. Only when someone is extremely angry. There's no relationship between mature gaming and word filters imho.

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Honestly though, there aren't that many 10- year olds. In fact I do believe the 18+ population is growing.

Heh... the oldtimers and adults are leaving the game in droves, specifically because of the invasion of kids.

it is one of the reasons I left the game.

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There is also a second something that just makes me... tick. "What is jagex doing - or not doing - about it?". Must I repeat myself? You are assuming way too much. You probably don't even know how much jagex works their butts off(excuse me for the offensive language, but I felt that it calls for this situation) to get weekly updates.


The updates are kind of lame in my opinion. Some quest that takes 5 mins is usually the update. Or some new weapon that requires level 5 to wield. I'd rather get a new patch every month with some real content. The once a week update argument is rather lame as they're Good for new players, not good for experienced Runescapians.
March 28, 2007 3:29:47 AM

Was this one game really worth dedicating an entire (two-part) article to? I would understand if it was an actual review, but that isn't the case. It reads more like a Geraldo-esque "expose" of some game company's plot to destroy our children.

In my opinion a better article would have been about free to play games in general, comparing and contrasting the games and communities out there. As many people have pointed out, the horrible behavior by the players described is hardly unique. Pointing out major flaws, like a developer encouraging and covering up scamming, would be an excellent point in this context.

The way it is, the article reads like an extended version of a forum rant.
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