RuneScape: Seventh anniversary retrospective

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Although RuneScape officially launched in 2001, today marks the seventh anniversary of the end of the RuneScape 2 beta. This was a complete gameplay and graphics overhaul that signaled the rebirth of the game, and it's a date well worth celebrating. The past year has been filled with massive content updates that added clan support, upgradeable clan citadels, a new website, and countless new quests. Player-made battlefields put game design in the hands of players, who have used the system to produce ton of content.
Understandably, most people will likely remember this year for one thing: This was the year that RuneScape beat the bots. Following the momentous Bot Nuking Day, players logged in to find a distinctly emptier world but one filled with real people. RuneFest 2011 was a success, with presentations from the game's developers and a special focus on breaking the bots. This year also saw the interesting story that the Dutch Supreme Court ruling that stealing RuneScape items is the same as theft of real life goods.
In this anniversary retrospective, I look back at some of RuneScape's top news stories and game additions of the year.
Breaking the bots
In October of last year, we heard the unfortunate news that RuneScape was losing the war on bots. Servers were being overrun with botters, and illicit RMT markets had exploded with RuneScape stock. Developers would spend days making changes to break the bots, only to have each patch countered within hours. Just as all seemed lost, developers unveiled an unholy deathstar of a weapon: The Cluster Flutterer. In a single day celebrated across RuneScape as Bot-Nuking Day, over 1,350,000 free accounts and 150,000 paying members were banned for botting. The company did this despite losing $750,000 per month in revenue from banned member account bots.
Player activity on the servers dropped by 60%, and an estimated 98% of all bots were rendered ineffective, but Jagex didn't stop there. The company took the fight to the legal stage and threatened to file a class-action lawsuit against botters. Jagex showed that botting software violated the company's copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the studio released a letter to all players suspected of botting offering a one-time amnesty. "If you ignore our offer and instead continue use botting software," the letter warned, "we reserve our rights to pursue statutory damages against you for between $200 to $2,500 per act of past, present, and/or future botting." This year will forever be remembered as the year Jagex beat the bots.
Clan Citadels
Clans have always been a huge unofficial part of RuneScape, originally formed by players back in the game's first incarnation as a way to team up against people in the wilderness. Clans were officially implemented in April with a massive clan patch that introduced clan chat channels, mottos, motifs, and cape colors. New clan-only features were introduced, including rated clan wars, private clan forums, and a full stats page for tracking membership. The patch caused a horde of new clans to appear, but it was just the start of what would be one of RuneScape's biggest and most exciting sandbox features to date.
With the Clan Citadels expansion, every clan got its very own castle on a floating island. While many other MMOs were getting updates with new dungeons or a slightly higher maximum levels, RuneScape got flying castles! Clans work together to build and maintain their citadels and use special rooms like drop party halls, auditoriums and dance floors.
Although RuneScape officially launched in 2001, today marks the seventh anniversary of the end of the RuneScape 2 beta. This was a complete gameplay and graphics overhaul that signaled the rebirth of the game, and it's a date well worth celebrating. The past year has been filled with massive content updates that added clan support, upgradeable clan citadels, a new website, and countless new quests. Player-made battlefields put game design in the hands of players, who have used the system to produce ton of content.
Understandably, most people will likely remember this year for one thing: This was the year that RuneScape beat the bots. Following the momentous Bot Nuking Day, players logged in to find a distinctly emptier world but one filled with real people. RuneFest 2011 was a success, with presentations from the game's developers and a special focus on breaking the bots. This year also saw the interesting story that the Dutch Supreme Court ruling that stealing RuneScape items is the same as theft of real life goods.
In this anniversary retrospective, I look back at some of RuneScape's top news stories and game additions of the year.
Breaking the bots
In October of last year, we heard the unfortunate news that RuneScape was losing the war on bots. Servers were being overrun with botters, and illicit RMT markets had exploded with RuneScape stock. Developers would spend days making changes to break the bots, only to have each patch countered within hours. Just as all seemed lost, developers unveiled an unholy deathstar of a weapon: The Cluster Flutterer. In a single day celebrated across RuneScape as Bot-Nuking Day, over 1,350,000 free accounts and 150,000 paying members were banned for botting. The company did this despite losing $750,000 per month in revenue from banned member account bots.
Player activity on the servers dropped by 60%, and an estimated 98% of all bots were rendered ineffective, but Jagex didn't stop there. The company took the fight to the legal stage and threatened to file a class-action lawsuit against botters. Jagex showed that botting software violated the company's copyright under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the studio released a letter to all players suspected of botting offering a one-time amnesty. "If you ignore our offer and instead continue use botting software," the letter warned, "we reserve our rights to pursue statutory damages against you for between $200 to $2,500 per act of past, present, and/or future botting." This year will forever be remembered as the year Jagex beat the bots.
Clan Citadels
Clans have always been a huge unofficial part of RuneScape, originally formed by players back in the game's first incarnation as a way to team up against people in the wilderness. Clans were officially implemented in April with a massive clan patch that introduced clan chat channels, mottos, motifs, and cape colors. New clan-only features were introduced, including rated clan wars, private clan forums, and a full stats page for tracking membership. The patch caused a horde of new clans to appear, but it was just the start of what would be one of RuneScape's biggest and most exciting sandbox features to date.
With the Clan Citadels expansion, every clan got its very own castle on a floating island. While many other MMOs were getting updates with new dungeons or a slightly higher maximum levels, RuneScape got flying castles! Clans work together to build and maintain their citadels and use special rooms like drop party halls, auditoriums and dance floors.