Runescape: Waste of time or personal development?

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On Runescape.com millions gather daily around a single target: to develop their character and meet new friends. But what makes this game so popular? What makes millions of children and adults use hours and hours of their life in this fictional world?

Computer games have been called a time consuming and idiotic occupation that seems to have gotten the power over many.

Others look at the positive aspects and embrace that their children are front runners in our technological evolution. We do live in the digital millennia.

On the Internet you find hundreds of online games that children and adults spend their time on every day. One of these is the MMORPG (Massive Multyplayer Online Role-Playing Game) Runescape; a 3D-game that takes place in a world that looks like the Middleages. But what is it all about?

The social center

When you play Runescape the social element is a big part of it. You chat and communicate through the different related forums. You co-orporate on missions and mutual interests. So people do not miss their socializing skills in this game, they are more likely to evolve them through these new features. Reading and writing are trained almost to perfection, while the physical challenges lack.

Through clans, groups and simply by walking around yourself in the huge Runescape-world you learn things that can later be applied in the corporate life – such as speaking to an international crowd, since the Runescape players are from all over the world.

Runescape background

Runescape has been online since 1999 where the gaming company Jagex Ltd. was founded by the Gower brothers Andrew and Paul. “Runescape is designed to as wide an audience as possible,” Andrew writes on Runescape’s website. “We first and foremost developed the game in a way we thought our friends would find funny, which we still do.” he finishes. Today Runescape has more than 6 million players, where 1 million of them pays to play on the so-called member-world that are available in english and german.

As a paying player you can train your character in 24 different abilities; you can amongst others build your own house, train special animals, learn magical formulas and compete against other players. One of the main subject in the game is economics, which you need to master to survive in this virtual world.

More than 350 developers and testers are currently employed by Jagex Ltd. in Cambridge and London, England.

Our target for 2008 was to continue to develop and improve Runescape, as well as to translate it into more non-english languages,” a Jagex-representative tells. “We wish furthermore to continue as one of the world’s leading gaming companies and are proud to have been awarded the best company to work for in Britain the last two years.”

As an employee at Jagex Ltd. banquets, paintball-competitions and free fresh fruit everyday just a few of the perks – and who knows maybe that is the reason for the positive mood in the game?

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