A System update is when Jagex launches one or more of their updates to the main game engine. Updates are typically content-related; e.g. a new quest, a tweak/improvement to a recently released quest, or a rework of an existing section of game code.
Players are given a warning in the form of a thirty minute countdown. This countdown was previously three minutes. When this reaches zero, all players logged in are automatically logged out and the login server for that particular world is offline until the update is uploaded. The time needed for the update to upload varies with each update, although they usually take from 2 minutes to a 20 minute wait. Extremely large updates, such as the Bot Nuke have been known to take over an hour to implement.
Players will have to reload the game window in order to log back in once the update takes effect. In addition to that, all NPCs (Shooting Star / Evil Tree / Penguins / Etc) and Game Objects (Rocks / Trees / Etc ) will respawn. This makes for a good time to train.
Keep in mind that system updates might update just system code and therefore no content-related updates will be made.
- During the Countdown to the Halloween 2008 update if you right clicked the timer it would come up as the Report abuse Option, which acted as the report abuse system. This bug has now been fixed.
- After the System update following the release of improved rewards from Barbarian Assault, there were fishing spots in Shilo Village appearing in places where they had never appeared before. One such spot was directly north of the furnace. This happened in the Fishing guild too, but not after the same update.
- If the player is in the Lobby when the System update message is in effect in-game, the message will appear in the lobby below the "Click here to play" button.
- The system warns the players 60 minutes, 40 minutes, 30 minutes, 20 minutes then 10 minutes before the system update begins.
- After the Christmas Event update on 20 December 2011, the game was updated 4 times in a row to fix several bugs. At the fourth update, the countdown timer started at 1:47 and not the usual 9:59. They also apologised for this by adding (sorry) at the end of the system update timer.