RuneScape 3 Player Count on the Rocks?
Is it time for this MMO giant to fall?
Runescape 3 is an MMO behemoth that has been around since 2001. It has had two other iterations before this current one. The game offers players a sandbox experience that caters to many kinds of players. They might like farming RS gold, crafting with various skills, or doing more than a hundred quests.
With Jagex’s continued support, it has lasted for two decades and counting. However, if you look at the player count, something a little worrying can be found.
RuneScape 3 Player Counts
According to mmo-population.com, last February, the daily player count fluctuated from a high of 450k to a low of 300k. Then on the 20th of the month, the player count remained steady at 300k, before dropping sharply to about 150k on March 2.
The site’s yearly population chart also plots the number of active players throughout the years. From 1M active players last April 2021, it has dropped to 300k in about a year. There’s no clear reason for this sudden drop, and the player count has been consistent this past week.
Criticisms and Possible Reasons
One big criticism of the game is the heavy promotion of microtransactions. While the game has a wide variety of content for F2P players, it still offers comparatively more for paid members. Aside from membership, there are various microtransactions (shortened to MTX by the fandom) in the game.
These MTX offers to speed up the leveling experience of players. Through the years it has gone through multiple changes, but the fact that it exists in the game and its nature to boost leveling makes it P2W. After all, by buying keys and RuneCoins leveling all the skills to 99 (and beyond) is a breeze.
That’s a big chunk of the game already taken away. It’s almost no different from buying a RuneScape account for saleand getting all the equipment and levels the buyer wants. With a few purchases, they can level skills to the max in just a few minutes into the game.
As a game that has leaderboards for skilling and other things, these MTX render one’s skill or dedication moot. Someone who bought the boosts doesn’t have to go through all the processes to level up skills manually. While there isn’t really a prize to get for being the fastest at leveling, the sentiment is there.
More than that, it’s an advantage to those players who don’t have the hours to sink into the game. With enough skill levels, they can do the quests and activities they want, and they don’t have to spend so much time grinding.
For other players though, it’s a redundant feature as the game is already subscription-based with the bonds for membership. Then again, MTX is optional anyway, and the player has the choice of whether to take advantage of it or not.
Is It Worth Playing Runescape 3 or No?
Despite the dwindled player count and MTX, RuneScape 3 offers a robust MMO experience to those willing to take the chance. There’s a ton of content to go through, hundreds of quests, bosses to defeat, and RS gold to farm to collect all equipment. If all else fails, as a sandbox game, you can set your own goals to achieve.
In that perspective, RuneScape 3 is worth playing. It’s been running for two decades, and players still find something to enjoy about the game. That means there’s something there to keep it going. Whether that’s support from the players or the developers’ love for the game, it still has life to go on.
Unless a great shift requires it, RuneScape will continue as it is, steadily chugging along. It’ll have to adapt to future gaming trends. Though, judging from what happened to WoW, it can be a mixed bag to adapt to the times.
It has been using the old tap for every action gameplay (though it does allow for hotkeys). Some players think it might be time to have a gameplay update for a more modern experience. At least have movement be controlled by WASD or be in third or first-person perspective.
That will make it shift from a top-down RPG into something more action-oriented and give way to other button inputs. This shift can make the game more engaging, though it will focus more on combat than the other possible activities.
Well, that’s up to the developers, and there aren’t any current plans to move forward with a RuneScape 4 or change up its gameplay. Even then, players still find something to enjoy about the game, and that lets it live on for some time.
The player count may be worrying, but it’s not as critical as the player count of another sinking MMO. RuneScape 3 is still alive and kicking. It’s time to try it out and enjoy it!