Last week, Mod Mark posted a thread on our forums highlighting some of the nostalgic and often passionate discussions within the community around a desired return of an ‘old school’ version of RuneScape. Specifically, the fine vintages of 2006 & 2007 appeared to be the high point of collective interest. Our team then set out to see if we had a backup that went that far back; if restoring the backup was even technically possible; and what specific content these potential old RuneScape backups might contain.
The team has spent many late nights and the past weekend digging through dusty old backups and restoring them, in the hope of finding more than just the old IT manager's MP3 collection of 80s rock power ballads! ☺
Finally, I’m very happy to report that we have indeed managed to recover a full RuneScape backup from August 2007. This is a complete snapshot of the game, which we have been able to verify would work, with some time and effort invested in it. Ironically, in October 2007 we actually changed our backup systems, so we have no complete content versions from August onwards that are viable for this purpose.
As I said at the start of the year, we’re all very focused on making this year fun, memorable and special to you, and a significant part of realising this mission is giving you a big say in what we focus on. That said, a huge amount has either changed or been improved since the heady days of 2007. The game has evolved, as have our tech, systems, and infrastructure. There will be a substantial amount of work involved to get these ‘old school’ servers back up and running again. However, if enough people support this project, this will be neither unachievable, nor a hindrance to the main game.
So, just like the poll for the return of the Wildy & Free Trade, which saw a jaw dropping 1.4 million votes , we will be running a similar poll and letting you - our valued members - decide the fate of ‘Old School RuneScape', given that you directly fund the game's ongoing development and supporting services. This decision - along with the level of service, investment and potentially any additional fee for the service - is truly up to you to determine.
However, before we invest any further resource into this project, we need to accurately gauge your level of support by understanding how many of you are really behind ‘Old School RuneScape’ as it was in August 2007. As such, we will set up a poll this week for players to show their interest in the 2007 service.
But before I get into the specifics, there is one thing that is very important to note. If this idea gathers sufficient support, then we will not need to take our current talent away from all of the exciting updates to be implemented into the current version of the game, as we will be able to hire a new dedicated team to work specifically on this project.
By giving you the choice to play either version of the game, we are demonstrating our commitment to listen and - wherever possible - incorporate your feedback. In the long term, we hope that this project will bring back many veteran players, as well as possibly encourage new players to join. They will be able to relive their old game experience to their heart's content, and - if they so choose - perhaps even join the main game. Over the next couple of months and subsequent years, we have an ever-growing plethora of exciting content waiting to be deployed into the Evolution of Combat, regardless of the reinstatement of old servers.
That being said, we have set out the following targets to help us figure out how much focus and resource we should put into this project:
Level 1 - 50,000 or more votes:
2007 servers will come back as a separate entity to the current Runescape game, with an additional membership fee of around $15. These servers will receive no content updates and only critical maintenance.
Level 2 - 250,000 or more votes:
2007 servers will come back as a separate entity to the main Runescape game, supported by a small development team, with a smaller additional membership fee of around $5 extra. These servers will receive basic maintenance for bug fixes and little improvements, with the possibility of integrating our modern anti-bot technology over time, if it becomes necessary.
Level 3 - 500,000 or more votes:
2007 servers will come back as a separate entity to the main RuneScape game, with a dedicated development team, with no extra membership fee. These servers will receive regular maintenance, some content updates and integration of anti-bot technology if necessary.
Level 4 - 750,000 or more votes:
2007 Servers will come back as a separate entity to the main RuneScape game, with a larger dedicated development team with no extra membership fee and the free portion of the game available to all. These servers will receive continuous maintenance, modern anti-bot technology if necessary and - crucially - regular members' polls to determine which updates you want to see prioritised.
These servers, at any of the above levels, would be the exact version from back in 2007 and would maintain the ‘old school’ vibe and rules. The old graphics, hiscores, log-in, are all part of the same archived build and would be retained. We wouldn’t ever add any micropayment updates.
This will be a members-only vote. While all types of players have invested time in the game, it is our members that ultimately fund the initiatives and therefore get to set the priorities. Your support allows us to continue to evolve this amazing game that we all care deeply about. Making the vote members-only has the benefit of ensuring the votes cannot be rigged, and is a reliable, secure way to calibrate interest from dedicated players.
If you are against the idea, then you should - naturally - abstain from voting. However,if you are supportive, or would simply like to do a cool thing for your fellow Runescape friends (both retired and active) by making it a no-charge service as well as a benefit for free players (which is very much our aspiration), then please do register your vote and encourage all your friends to do the same!
If you choose to abstain from voting, before you do so, please understand: the Evolution of Combat will not be removed from the main game in any event. Although some of our resources and time would be reallocated initially to the reinstatement of the 2007 servers, the main game would still continue to receive its regular updates, as well as the massive updates promised for 2013.
The poll will be live on the website this Friday 15th February for two weeks. We will also be uploading a video on YouTube expressing these ideas, and opening a thread on the members-only forums to discuss this topic. In light of the poll, we will be moving our next Q&A session - Around the Campfire with Mark Ogilvie - to next week, where we will be focusing on discussions around the ongoing poll.
On a side note, I want to remark that we truly appreciate how passionate and devoted our players are to the future success of the game. I’ve never seen any other community as active and passionate about shaping the future of their game experience. It’s truly an honour to be part of this community and I very much hope this initiative positively engages the current - as well as the lapsed - community.
Thanks for reading, the team and I are really looking forward to seeing what you decide!
Have (old school?) fun! ☺
Discuss this here.