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Runescape Adventures

2009 April 13
by ppais

I’m not really much of a gamer. I used to play Super Mario Bros. and Galaxian / Space Invaders on a game console that you connected to your television set when I was younger (which I enjoyed to death by the way). Later on, I played computer games like A Bug’s Life and Prince of Persia but not that often – I didn’t actually get into the whole video-game thing like some of my friends did. So this weekend I tried Runescape, an MMORPG, at the suggestion of The Doctor. The avatar I created was a brown / dark woman dressed in blue and black – nothing too fancy or too off the mark from what I look like (except maybe the hairstyle). I chose a woman because that’s what I am, it’s what I know to be. I wanted something ‘safe’ to start out with. It is interesting to me that I need to explain my choice or that I now find it strange that you have to select being male or female and you don’t have other options because prior to this class, I wouldn’t have thought about it.

Anyways, on creating my avatar, I was given a basic tutorial on acquiring skills, what to keep an eye out for, where I could go for help – just getting a handle on the world of Runescape. It is a medieval setting so there are castles, caves, dragons and goblins. It struck me as funny how quickly one could learn to mine, chop trees and make a fire, fish etc. I didn’t like using the mouse to move around though. I’m more used to using the arrow keys – it gives me a better control over my avatar’s movements. When I finished the tutorial, I teleported off Tutorial Island to the land of Lumbridge. It took me a while to figure things out since I didn’t have anyone telling me what to do. I was ultimately sent out on a quest for the cook of the Duke’s castle but I didn’t finish getting everything before I had to log off (I hope the Duke didn’t kill him for not making his birthday cake – that would be sad :().

A few other things I noticed: one of the first things I learnt in the tutorial was that you need to talk to people in order to succeed. There were plenty of other users online when I started my quest but I didn’t talk to anyone. Why? Because I have a warning bell in the back of my head saying that this could potentially be a stalker and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I know, I know, not everyone is like that, it’s not right to generalize to the entire populace of video gamers but in my defense, I’m still new to this. I need some time to try things out.
As it turns out, I was followed. Twice. By two knights. I’m not sure if they were users or not but the first time, I was followed for a good three minutes. I was actually very amused by that. I tried clicking on the knight to see if I could start a conversation with him to ask him why he was following me but unfortunately, no such luck. I wonder if he was trying to keep me off some property or debating on killing me to get the items in my backpack. I don’t know what his motive was – he eventually ran away for some reason when I was inside the castle.

Another point that struck me was the reality check – the small pieces of conversation here and there that remind you that you’re playing a game and that you’re not actually in medieval times. For example, in the tutorial, you were asked to refer to the Runescape website to see the rules on in-game behavior so that you wouldn’t get in the other players’ way or offend them (Side note: behavior was spelled ‘behaviour’, which made me really happy since I learnt British English when in school). Also, the first piece of advice I received in Lumbridge was to keep my password and pin safe and not give that information to anyone else.

On the whole, I’m not sure how I feel about it – the game had its good and bad parts. Maybe I need to keep playing to figure out if I like it or not :).

And here are some pictures from my adventures:

My first guide in the tutorial

My first guide in the tutorial

In Lumbridge

In Lumbridge



Milking a cow

Milking a cow

3 Responses
  1. aaclh permalink
    April 13, 2009

    Prp – I also played this game. What I found really frustrating was the flat feel of the game. The character choices one could pick seemed very limited. I guess I had imagined that with an online game one would be able to pick any creature to represent you online. The choices were certainly all human, marked male or (but not both) female, and at least to my eyes, looked like the same person with different colorations. eg everyone had the same height.

    I was very much aware that someone (or some people) had created this game and I had to play with their choices of what was interesting. Perhaps this is because I only played one game – maybe if I looked I could find a game where what I wanted for a representation I could find (I wanted a green blob named x). I think it was interesting that little was said in class about the “created” aspect of these games whereas not created in real life.

    I also found the mouse control frustrating – another thing I attributed to the game being created with different interests than mine.

    One thing I noticed was that even though I disapprove of online games, I still felt slightly addicted to the game. It was more fun than I thought it would be.

  2. prp permalink
    April 13, 2009

    What you said about the character choices is true. I noticed that when I created my avatar last week on the Marvel Comics website, the body types and heights were almost the same but you had a much larger variety of facial features to choose from i.e. eyes, nose, ears, hair etc. I did enjoy the emotes available on Runescape even though they were exaggerated actions.
    I agree that the creators of the game should expand on their avatar choices a bit but at the same time, from their point of view, I feel it can be difficult to produce a wide enough range of choices to satisfy everyone. There is such a thing as having too many choices and not knowing what to do – I frequently suffer from indecision then.

  3. aaclh permalink
    April 19, 2009

    I had a similar thought – how could anyone program something this complicated!? One of the articles on the blog – Gaming Feeds Egos – talks about the balance between making a game customizable but not making it too complicated. When I think about it this is what every game tries to accomplish – online or not.

    I am still thinking about online games as an extension of the fantasy already existing – be it books, or board games or what have you. I guess in some sense they’re different because they allow you to play with people you’ve never met and possible never will meet. But – that is why I said extension, not the same as. Okay – I’m don’t think that was very related to what you said, but something I’m thinking about.

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