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How Jagex Took RuneScape back to its Old School Roots

Let’s be honest: in most cases retro games are best confined to memory. Rare is the vintage title that retains its lustre in the harsh light of modern standards.

RuneScape is one of them, which is why were thrilled when Jagex announced Old School RuneScape (OSRS), and even more thrilled when it made the leap to mobile. 

For those not in the know, RuneScape is an isometric online RPG released all the way back in 2001. Even at the time it looked quaintly old-fashioned, with basic isometric 3D visuals that could be mistaken at a glance for those of 1991 Amiga game The Adventures of Robin Hood. 

Released just a couple of years before World of Warcraft, RuneScape was one of the first big MMORPGs, and still holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest and most frequently updated online game. 

Glory days

As befits a fantasy epic, RuneScape takes place in a medieval fantasy realm called Gielinor, which is divided up into different kingdoms, regions, and cities. It’s so huge that you need to travel between them on ships or using magical spells.

The goal is to just wander around taking on quests, killing NPCs, trading, and amassing OSRS gold. There’s no story other than the one you make up yourself, or along with the supportive community members you meet along the way.

Over the years RuneScape has gradually been updated with slicker, more modern 3D visuals, but this hasn’t been to everyone’s tastes. That’s why Jagex ran a poll in 2013 asking players whether it would be a good idea to take RuneScape back to its old school roots. The response was a resounding yes.

So we have those survey respondents – and of course Jagex – to thank for Old School RuneScape, a glorious nostalgic return to the game’s simpler, cleaner, 2007 form. 

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