Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Video Game's Life After Java

Runescape, the free to play MMORPG that has hit the 15 year mark, is finally getting a graphics upgrade by moving away from Java and into NXT. No, not the Wrestling group. NXT is the client used to run Runescape, that was programed with C++ and was originally based off of HTML 5 coding. I could go into the details about what the new features are, such as increased draw distance, zooming out of the mini map, fog, water mapping, shading, full screen mode, but I think the image used in today's post speaks for itself.

It looks like Runescape got a really fantastic face lift.

The update was initially teased at Runefest 2014, with plans to work on a new client to bring the game into this decade. It looks like a brand new game. It's not, but it looks like it. Why am I talking about Runescape? A game I don't play or have affiliation with?

The upgrades to the game came to be after years of working with the player base and determining their needs, along with the needs of the game world, to improve the product. The developers understand the value of their players and want to provide them with a game that would last. Instead of sticking to what they know and letting Runescape die out over time, they looked to the future and how to enhance it now to ensure players will continue to experience the game for years to come.

And that's kind of awesome. I look back at the loads of MMO's I have played over the years and find so many of them lacked communication between the development group and the community. City of Heroes, APB, Conan - these games faltered by not providing flexibility to work outside of their box and listen to their players. Star Wars: The Old Republic is not far behind on the death list, though it has made a valiant attempt at being active with their community. Finally.

World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy 11and 14, and Runescape have lasted for so long because they work with their players to make a game fun for them, and fun for the developers. They found a balance to give players things they want that work with the game world, but not everything they think they need (otherwise AssCreed would have dragons). The games still provide fun, challenge, and fresh content. MMO developers, take note. Your audience matters. Listen to them! You don't have to add in dragons, but make note of your players' concerns.

Slight tangent there, but look! Runescape! It's pretty!


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