Games evolve. They need to in order to survive, but a huge majority of gamers don’t seem to understand this, let’s use the Final Fantasy series & the popular free-to-play MMORPG Runescape as examples.

So I’ve been a fan of the Final Fantasy games and the JRPG genre for many many years, and seeing them change and evolve has always been fantastic and interesting to me, but what’s even more interesting is the way people react to these changes. Final Fantasy’s I through VIII are what a lot of fans class as the ‘good’ games with Square Enix beginning it’s FF decline with IX, now IX is my favourite FF of them all because it encompasses all that made it’s predecessors so great.

In my opinion Square Enix realised they needed to change their games to keep up with  the new generation of gamers, and with the new PlayStation 2 coming out why not do it now? So they started changing their games little by little trying to find something that could keep the games true to themselves but also invite this new generation, have you ever tried to keep two different people with completely different views happy? It’s not easy.

So fans started calling out Square, saying they were ruining the series and that it’s all over, but we all have to realise Square Enix is a COMPANY, they need to make PROFIT, they’re not making games just for you, they’re making them for people worldwide, and frankly I still love the series, including the new games, hell I’m playing through Final Fantasy XIII right now. Why do people not want games to evolve and change for new audiences? Because of the nostalgia effect, which leads in nicely to my views on Runescape.

So Runescape… back in my school days I used to love coming home after school and playing on Runescape with my friends, getting the quests done, the storylines were amazing, the way the game played was fantastic and when the ‘war’ between WoW and RS started I was firmly fighting for Runescape on the front lines. I can’t play Runescape now, not since it became Runescape 3, because of how the game plays… let me explain.

When I first started playing RS it was what we call now: Runescape Classic, the first version of the game, with the bad graphics and horribly drawn faces, but I loved it. Then we moved into Runescape 2 or what we call now 07’Scape, this was perfect, they’d taken the game I loved and improved everything about it, the game had evolved to match the times and the new audiences who were seeking out games to try. Runescape then evolved again, introducing EoC (Evolution of Combat) they added updated graphics (great!), a truck load of new quests (brilliant!), a hotbar for skills (fantas– wait what?) and a whole new play style that mirrored WoW a LOT.

I didn’t like this EoC Runescape, I struggled to keep interest until eventually it died away, I was mad and upset that my favourite game had gone but I understood, games need to evolve to match the times! It had become like WoW because that’s what people wanted! I hated it but like I said, I understood. Now this is where Jagex got it right, they released Runescape 3, with a boat load of new content but they also released a way to turn off EoC, I tried to get back into it but the game had changed, I couldn’t become excited about it anymore, then they released 07’Scape. I finally had my Runescape back, the way it was back in 2007, see they knew they had to evolve but they realised they were leaving other fans and customers in the dust behind them, so they tried to make us happy too.

So finally, what I’d like to leave you with is this:

Games will change, and you will be upset when your favourite MMO or favourite series changes what they are to suit the new times, but just remember this is so they can survive in this dog eat dog world, and think of how many other gamers are gonna get to experience the feelings you had when you first played it, why would you rob them of that? The next generation of gamers are not gonna enjoy the games we enjoy most likely but  if the games we love can change, there’s a chance they will.

I’ve always got Final Fantasy’s I through IX to go back and play if I ever want that nostalgic feel, but I’ve got X through to the new XV when I want to experience the new generation of games. And I’ll always have 07’Scape… And the numerous Private Servers out there… Sorry Jagex.

  • Aaron

    You make a good point about it always being a two-way battle. The majority of gamers want improvements and new elements, but also don’t react well when the game they love changes. I think it would’ve been great if you could have got some snippets from gamers and even maybe something from Square Enix but I don’t know how possible any of that was. Games with heavily storied characters or the RPG’s that occupy more of a gamer’s time than their ‘real life’ are always going to be especially sensitive to change in my opinion. I play a lot of Grand Theft Auto which has some back-storied characters but even when you play as these characters, you don’t embody them in the same way as in an RPG. I think that is why GTA is able to change characters and some aspects of gameplay without ‘rocking the boat’. Just my thoughts though.

    I used to play an MMORPG called Tibia which I poured an ungodly amount of hours into. The game remained very much the same over several years, with just basic changes – in one way this was good: it was easy to adapt to those changes and not be upset by them… but it was also bad because it made the game very stale. I still want to play it sometimes but I know there would be weeks of skill grinding and collecting the poultry loot to sell and then I’d still experience the same idiots on the servers… it doesn’t offer me anything new nor is the romance of what it used to be, enough to attract me back.

    Nice article anyway 🙂 I know you have a lot of passion for games development and you understand both sides of the situation.

  • Pliskin

    This is why I like Runescape HD more than OSRS and RS3. It was the bridge between the two. It had the better graphics and more quests of RS3, but the original combat of OSRS. (Although the wilderness was removed during that time. I didn’t care because I didn’t PK)

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