Hotcakes: OSRS Reminds Us RS3 Holidays Suck

It’s sad, but true.

RuneScape holidays suck and nothing serves as a striking reminder quite like Old School RuneScape’s holiday events. They’ve been awful for a few years now, but given various comments by Jagex staff it doesn’t seem like they’re going to get any better going forward. Just the opposite, they’re going to get worse. Much worse.

Holiday events in RuneScape have always been a fun retreat from the normal game. Up until maybe 2018-ish, the holiday events were a distraction that usually took upwards of an hour (at most) of the player’s time to complete and gave little doodads and tchotchkes for participating. The expanded the game’s lore, introduced fun characters that would come around once a year, and had their own flair. Short events that respected the player’s time and in the case of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, acknowledged that players might not have a huge amount of time to devote to gaming.

Unfortunately one aspect of Jagex being sold between holding groups and venture capitalists is that development has often gone head to head with the demand to make more money. As such, holiday events in RuneScape have been mostly stripped of their creative value and turned into money-making grinds. No longer are events not tied to microtransactions. No longer can a player log in for an hour and complete the even to get the toy. No longer does it respect the player’s time and personal life over the holidays.

This year Jagex ran multiple Christmas events for RuneScape 3. The first is the cheap, cynical “Presents from the Sledge.” In this event players receive wrapping paper at regular intervals while playing that is turned in for presents that can be opened to receive stuff like cosmetic overrides and most rarely of all a green Santa hat. One of two tradeable rares Jagex is injecting into the economy. Who is getting the hat? Spoilers; not you. Of course you get a bunch of bonus wrapping paper for using treasure hunter, meaning there’s an incentive to spend money in the hopes of getting the hat.

The sad part is that the cosmetics tied to the event aren’t bad, but they’re hidden behind RNG and most users likely won’t receive many of them. I suppose the positive side of the cosmetic tokens being tradeable is that they’re just about worthless on the Grand Exchange. Nobody is buying them, and I’ve put a few duplicates up at a 90% cut from their recommended price. So if you’re looking for something specific, you might be able to get it cheap.

But it’s endemic of RuneScape’s current philosophy for holiday events that says “this is going to be a big investment, and you can either choose to spend your time or your money.” Jagex deliberately neutered its holiday events into mindless token grinding so they could sell players currency. They haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving in five years, and the company has ditched many of its other less-exploitable holidays like Cryptic Clue Fest.

And you know where the old RuneScape spirit is still in effect? Old School RuneScape. I logged in this week to complete the Christmas event and it took me roughly a half hour. At the end of the event, I received a few goodies including party hats because Jagex hands out all the old tradeable rares every holiday in OSRS. It’s nice to have a version of RuneScape not saddled with predatory microtransactions, whale milking machines, or one that demands its users play the limited events like they’re a second part time job.

I do still enjoy RuneScape, as well as Old School RuneScape, which is why I regularly play and write about both. But RuneScape 3 is constantly fighting and regularly losing its battle with the demands of whoever owns it at that period to be relentlessly greedy. And it’s a battle that’s turning out to be very lucrative, as we learn pretty much every year that RuneScape’s revenue stream increases continuously.

%d bloggers like this: