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What it is like to come back to Runescape following a decade apart
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When I first played Runescape I had been a snivelling preteen with too much time on his hands. It was the only game of its own size and scale I had access to - all it took was a dial-up online connection and a browser window. As an added bonus, that meant I could play with it both at home and in school. Ten years on, despite cataclysmic changes and additions, its own distinctive brand of overall accessibility is still going strong at a world where free MMOs are commonplace, and you don't need to await your parents to get off the phone to log in.

Related: talking of free MMOs, here are some to test out in case your Steam pocket is empty. I recently attempted to log into to a very old email accounts, which I can only do by hunting down an even older login for Runescape. A username can bring back a lot of memories as it occurs, especially one such as g0ds1ayer94. This saga got me thinking: what's ol' Runie like nowadays? Fuelled by nostalgia, I created a new account and started exploring the dream world of Gielinor once again.

In the ten years I've been away, Runescape has gone from a fantasy-themed chatroom into a fully fledged MMO, complete with its own annual festival, a card game twist off and sufficient content to produce 12-year-old me weak at the knees. If you can think it, you have to really download the most recent version of the game.

It is a game that's preserved many of its own players via constant updates and unrivalled audience interaction; log off for a month and you may have missed something the community will be referencing for the upcoming few decades.

I logged off for ten years.In that time, Jagex have canned their old tutorial island, included a totally new combat system, overhauled the entire game engine five times and filled the game universe with approximately 200 new quests. And those are only the largest changes: Runescape has also received around 650 other attribute updates in that time, not to mention countless patches and fixes that have also been deployed. The fact that Jagex eliminated the Wilderness for 3 decades still feels like an insult into some previous self - even though I was not playing at the moment.

Returning after so much has changed is uncanny, since basically it is exactly how I remembered it in 2006. Ten years has done nothing to weather this beast.

In spite of all of the upgrades, slipping back into the same old regime of milling resources and sprinting to the nearest bank to market them is seamless.

My experience of Runescape at 2006 was predominantly this: grind for hours, purchase some shiny new equipment, smash keyboard upon realising my battle level wasn't high enough to equip it, grind combat levels, equip gear, get murdered in the Wilderness, lose shiny new equipment, repeat. Every few months I'd decide it was time to initiate a new account, inspired by a few expert build I had seen or a inexplicable desire to live an easy life and become some sort of fabled hermit. Frankly, 12-year-old me thought that would be an enjoyable thing to do.

Initially you might sulk and long to get your dog that was, but soon enough you begin to notice the new dog is gorgeous when compared with its haggard predecessor. It will all kinds of new tricks, it has charm and character, heaps of endgame content and does not have to be fed or walked often.
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