Old School Runescape is one of my most played games, and I’ve been an absolute fan of the title for as long as I can remember. However, as RPG games have evolved over time, OSRS has remained relatively stagnant in terms of its gameplay. This begs the question, is Old School Runescape worth playing in 2023?
What Exactly is OSRS?
Old School Runescape is a sandbox MMO originally released in January 2001. The game primarily focuses on questing, endless PvP battles, and a thriving in-game economy filled with various opportunities to make lucrative trades alongside 23 different skills that you can grind through.
The game features end-game raids and bosses, which can be completed either Solo or with a party of friends. In either case, there’s no real sense of progression to the game, especially in terms of questing which leads to you needing to set your own goals throughout the playthrough.
Old School Runescape: What Makes It Special?
OSRS has stood the test of time when it comes to cultural relevancy. With a healthy player base to this date, it is clear that there are a few reasons why players keep coming back for more. Here’s a quick look at some of them:
OSRS has one of the most unique Skill systems you’ll ever come across in an MMO, let alone one made a decade ago. Instead of picking a class, you’ll be able to access 23 skills that are completely independent of each other.
Now, while these skills include your typical combat skills, such as Magic, they also include other skills like Mining and Fletching that do not require you to interact with any other players whatsoever. I’ve had my fair share of playthroughs where I’ve just focused on leveling up certain skills and have still managed to have a great time with the game due to the depth the Skill system provides.
Trading and Community
Ah, the bread and butter of OSRS, trading. If you aren’t playing Iron Man, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that the community of Old School Runescape remains alive and well with lucrative trades available at your behest given that you have OSRS Gold available, of course.
Jagex, OSRS’s developers, have successfully created one of the only few instances wherein a developer has been able to establish a tight-knit, integrated community. For instance, when an update is proposed, 70% of players must be in its favor for it to go through. Otherwise, it simply doesn’t happen.
Besides that, unlike most other MMORPGs (cough, New World, cough), their servers are actually stable. While this may be attributed to the significant improvement in server architecture and OSRS’s lightweight resource cost, credit must be given where due when it comes to ensuring the servers run as smoothly as possible.
Combat has always been considered as a weak point in OSRS, especially with the development of more intricate combat mechanics in MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. Essentially, combat in this game can be best summarized as click and wait for most of your playthrough.
As you progress further towards the end-game, combat gets more intricate, with you needing to dodge certain traps, switch gear sets mid-combat to deal with a certain boss, and weave away from attacks as they come towards you.
Essentially, combat in OSRS remains fairly simple unless you move to the penultimate stages of the game. And, even there, if you are used to jittery Frost Mage WoW combat, you might not be completely stimulated.
MMOs nowadays have been struck into the Battle Pass model that has been plaguing the gaming industry at large. In essence, if you play an MMORPG like WoW and grind your way to a particular gear set, an update may be released at any given point that’ll render your entire progress obsolete.
Now, you’ll have to start back from zero to try and get the new gear set with slightly better stats. In OSRS, this simply does not happen. In essence, the game respects your time and commitment. And, while it definitely offers relatively slower progression, your best-in-slot items won’t be going away anytime soon.
So, is OSRS worth playing in 2023? Yes, OSRS is worth playing, especially if you are looking for a Sandbox MMO game. Needless to say, Runescape doesn’t really hold your hand at any point. It isn’t easy, and, it certainly will require more than 2 hours of playtime a week if you wish to get to an end-game raid before the game is three decades old.
Just like any other MMORPG, it has its drawbacks. But, OSRS more than makes up for it with its tight-knit community, excellent Skills system, and absolutely stellar developers that actually care about the game and show it some love.