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RuneScape's sub fee hike goes into effect March 1st

Fantasy, Video, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Sandbox

Jagex announced a sub rate hike for long-running sandbox RuneScape back in November, and this week, the studio has declared that the new fees will go into effect beginning March 1st. While the game is still free-to-play, the optional sub will increase from $8 US to $9.49 US; the official site includes a conversion chart for the international community and multi-month subbers. For existing Premier Club customers, Jagex posted a reminder about grandfathering in the old rates as long as the sub is maintained:
Don't forget - as long as you're a member and don't lapse out for more than 14 days, you're eligible to keep your current rate of membership. Subscribe now to secure access to all of RuneScape's members' content at current prices.
The studio is also talking up its inbound ports expansion; there's a fresh trailer on the mechanic after the cut.

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RuneScape opens RuneLabs for player suggestions

Fantasy, Video, Culture, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Sandbox

If you have a terrific idea that you'd like to get implemented into an MMO, then RuneScape's your best bet these days. The ever-creative MMO recently launched RuneLabs as a formal structured suggestion process that will take the best player ideas and make them an in-game feature.

RuneLabs works like this: Players will make a pitch to that month's studio-assigned criteria. If it gets enough community support, it will be reviewed by Jagex and (barring a studio veto) voted on by fellow players. The winner of the poll will go from concept to reality.

You can watch an amusing video explaining RuneLabs after the break!

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RuneScape debates auction halls on retro servers

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

Doing it like it used to be, but it's not.
The old school servers for RuneScape are something of a community experiment. Yes, the servers are meant to keep a classic feeling alive alongside the modern game, but they're also meant to be fun for the players. This is why the developers have opened up a thread for discussing whether or not to bring the Grand Exchange on to the old school servers, with a detailed explanation of the potential benefits and drawbacks.

Some of the features available in the Grand Exchange on the "main" version of the game would not necessarily be available on the old school site due to technical limitations. It would, however, replace the Trading Post while still leaving the game's normal trade interface untouched. If you're an old school gamer who wants to sound off on the matter, take a look at the thread and figure out what would best serve the community. That's why it's up for discussion, after all.

RuneScape player raises over $1200 for a pizza delivery tip

Fantasy, Culture, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

Hey, good news is good news.
Charlie McCormick wasn't having a particularly good holiday season. For starters, he was a pizza delivery driver, which isn't a grand ball of fun at any point of the year. His mother had also recently passed away after a prolonged illness, meaning that even if he had somehow felt festive, there wasn't money to be festive with. At least, not until he made a delivery to Joey DeGrandis and was given a $1,230 tip for his service.

DeGrandis is an avid RuneScape streamer who wanted to do something nice for a deserving delivery driver, as he feels the job isn't particularly respected for its hard work. Over the course of an 18-hour streaming marathon, his viewers raised the money for McCormick's tip while DeGrandis played, with more donations coming in even after McCormick got his initial tip. Sure, it plays into the stereotype that MMO players all sit at home and eat delivered pizza constantly, but if that stereotype includes being exceptionally charitable tippers, we can probably live with it.

RuneScape delivers its 2015 manifesto

Fantasy, Previews, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Humor

We don't know what's better: the above teaser art or the fact that it represents RuneScape's upcoming 200th quest in which players will go to "a parallel universe where you, the hero, never existed and the bad guys won."

This is just part of RuneScape's 2015 Manifesto, in which Mod Mark gives a brief overview of the game's next 12 months. He says that players will guide the game's development via suggestions from its RuneLabs site as well as additional polls. "You can be sure that next year will be a fantastic cocktail of your best ideas mixed with the best of ours!" Mark gushes.

Other events in store include several updates to skills, new combat tactics, an Ocean's Eleven-style heist, a purpose for in-game shops, and a tussle with Tuska the World Devourer.

RuneScape kicks off Christmas events early

Fantasy, Events (In-Game), RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Promotions

It's only the first of December, but RuneScape is already cranking up its Christmas event machine with the first batch of activities for players to enjoy.

Starting today, players can deliver presents for Santa (and get points to spend on rewards for doing so), work with others to open a giant cracker full of goodies, and go on a tinsel snake hunt. RuneScape is also triggering a 50% XP bump for a half-hour each day to those who use free festive auras.

On another topic, Jagex announced that it's bringing back the Premier Club for the MMO, allowing players to sign up for a multi-month subscription to secure a discount and other rewards. This might be a good strategy to offset the looming increase in sub prices in 2015. If players choose to pay through PayPal, they will receive a samurai outfit and kirin pet in addition to the other bonuses.

Perfect Ten: Mobile apps to enhance your MMO lifestyle

World of Warcraft, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Fallen Earth, Opinion, RuneScape, Mobile, Wizard101, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, DUST 514, Guides, EverQuest Next, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Landmark

We're living in the age of smart phones, when there are more cell phones than there are people on this planet. I can't go anywhere without seeing people constantly whipping out their little rectangular companions for the constant stream of information, social connection, and Candy Crush interludes.

While MMOs aren't making great headway on these devices, in part due to the limited input scheme, several wise studios have made good use of the mobile market to give players a way to keep in touch with their games even while AFK. Today we're going to count down, count up, and count sideways 10 official mobile apps that will enhance your MMO lifestyle.

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RuneScape sub price to increase in 2015

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, RuneScape, Subscription

RuneScape's subscription fee is going up in 2015, but Jagex hasn't said exactly when or by how much. A posting on the fantasy title's official website pegs the timeframe as Q1 2015 and says that the hike will affect new members as well as members who have been unsubscribed for more than 14 days.

"If you're a member when the price rise happens, you'll see no change," Jagex explains. "You'll stay at your price as long as your active membership started before the date of the price rise. This applies for all previous grandfather rates, for those of you who've been subscribed for a long time. Should your membership end, you'll keep any lower price you're eligible for, as long as you resubscribe within 14 days. After that, though, you'll be moved to the new price."

RuneScape's Lost City of the Elves expands further

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Patches, RuneScape, Free-to-Play

RuneScape's been going gaga over the unveiling of its Lost City of the Elves since it opened its doors for business back in September. However, that release was only part of the Lost City, since Jagex "found" more of it to put out the door today.

After much anticipation, the second half of Prifddinas is now live in RuneScape. The city was "designed for and by the high-level community" and now includes four new clans with specialized offerings. Jagex said that there are eight additional skills for players to learn and plenty of secrets tucked away in nooks and crannies.

We've got a video of the Lost City that you can check out after the break!

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RuneScape announces Hearthstone-like card game

Betas, Fantasy, New Titles, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Mobile, Trading Card Games

Hearthstone's success is hard to ignore in the industry, and it doesn't take much effort to connect the dots between that title's growth and Jagex's decision to develop an in-game card battler for RuneScape. The UK-based studio announced that it's making Chronicle: RuneScape Legends to be played inside of its popular MMO.

Chronicle takes place inside a "magical book" that challenges players to use deck-building to create quests that can be completed through PvE and PvP card battles. "Your opponent will be creating quests in parallel with you, but watch out as they might try to steal your weapons or gold," the website states. "At the end of your quests you do battle, with the last person standing the victor!"

According to Eurogamer, Jagex has been working on Chronicle since the beginning of the year to be released sometime in 2015 for the PC, Mac, and mobile devices. Chronicle is currently accepting beta sign-ups.

RuneScape customer service helps 500K players in a year

Fantasy, MMO Industry, RuneScape, Free-to-Play

To coincide with National Customer Service Week in the United Kingdom, RuneScape is preparing a series of posts and meetups about and with the customer service team. To kick it off, the team put together an infographic about its previous year's efforts with players.

Probably the most stunning figure is that the 28-member team assisted 500,000 players over the course of a year. A majority of those service requests were for account issues. Response time was decent but not astounding, with 25% of calls answered within an hour and a "vast majority" addressed within 24 hours. The team was happy that 75% of those helped rated the help as eight or above out of 10.

You can view the full infographic after the break.

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RuneScape's Lost City of the Elves is open to players

Fantasy, Video, Patches, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

Herein lies our ancient lost city, which we call 'Ancient Lost City.'  We aren't very good at names.
It's been a decade of waiting, but RuneScape players are finally able to enter Prifddinas, the capital of the elves and the culmination of a storyline that's been going for a very long time. Players can jump into the zone right now and start exploring the districts of the long-locked city, taking on various clan challenges in an area designed to reward high-level play.

Challenges include defeating 10 sequential bosses with stacking debuffs after each match, maximizing one's skills, or proving one's familiarity with trades like mining and farming. There's also more content throughout the city, with plans to roll out even more parts of the city before the year is out. Click past the jump for the trailer, and jump on into the game if you just can't wait to get your elvish exploration going.

[Source: Jagex press release]

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Jagex CEO resigning in December

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play

Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard is leaving his post in December according to an open letter on the RuneScape website. Gerhard writes passionately about the game's community and his efforts to combat gold-farming during his five-year stint as CEO.

Gerhard, who has been with Jagex a total of seven years, did not specify the reasons for his departure nor who will take his place.

Perfect Ten: MMOs that deserve another chance

Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Opinion, Star Trek Online, RuneScape, Marvel Heroes, The Secret World, DC Universe Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter

First impressions matter. First impressions count. First impressions are lasting. These commonly cited maxims are true, but I would like to add one more: "First impressions can be deceiving." Due to our nature of making snap judgments, experiencing something at the wrong time or being impatient, we can rush to a conclusion that could rob us of something we could truly love.

There are few things that frustrate me more than seeing MMO gamers adopt the gospel of the first impressions and refuse to ever return to a game afterward. We keep treating MMOs as disposable, one-shot entertainment that must be plundered quickly right out of the gate instead of seeing them as reusable fun that gets better with time.

So the next time you feel bored waiting for the next MMO to launch so that you can make a two-month first impression and then leave forever, why not give an older title a second try? In this week's countdown, I'm going to make a case for 10 MMOs that deserve another chance even if you wrote them off long ago.

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How RMT is changing RuneScape's economy for the better

Fantasy, Business Models, Economy, Game Mechanics, News Items, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser

RMT has a bad reputation for promoting the seedy underbelly of online gaming, but some MMOs are trying to turn that effect around, like RuneScape. According to developer Jagex, a pair of RuneScape players recently took advantage of their game's Bond system (akin to PLEX or CREDD) to fund their trip to the RuneFest fan convention in October. The studio detailed other positive effects of the Bond system in a press release this morning, explaining that the system has improved the game's economy:
Since their September 2013 debut, around 2.3 million Bonds have been purchased; more than 80 percent of those Bonds have been redeemed for membership, with 27.6 million membership days obtained to date. The introduction of Bonds also had a swift and dramatic effect on the levels of gold-farming in the game, which plummeted by 81 percent within weeks, and also helped bring a more stable in-game economy for players. Over the past year, more than 316.5 billion in-game gold pieces have been sunk into Bond trades by the community.
RuneScape VP Phil Mansell said that over the last year, "nearly 20% of RuneScape players [paid] for their membership subscription through their in-game efforts and half of the premium RuneCoin currency comes from bond redemptions."

[Source: Jagex press release]

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