Opinion: RuneScape Needs A New Engine


RuneScape’s combat system has never been the highlight of the game for me, not when I joined in 2004 and not when I’m still playing today in 2014. Before the addition of Evolution of Combat, fighting monsters was a boring system of clicking and watching your fighters trade blows, occasionally eating food or drinking potions along the way. Combat was simple, mostly because the engine couldn’t handle anything more complex, and the excitement came from receiving rare drops or finally out-damaging a high level boss.

The addition of Evolution of Combat simply took the elephant in the room and painted him neon pink, making him now impossible to avoid: The RuneScape engine is substandard at best, at worst it is incapable of supporting the game that Jagex wants it to be. Evolution of Combat added complexity to RuneScape, but is severely hampered by the fact that the game doesn’t operate on a level fast enough to support such a system.

The culprit is obvious: RuneScape runs on a 600ms tick, meaning the game only processes actions every 600 milliseconds. The result is a game that is unnecessarily clunky and unresponsive, and one that makes it blatantly obvious how poorly RuneScape has aged.

Jagex has stated previously that they are unwilling to commit to reducing RuneScape’s tick rate because it would be a costly venture that would take well over a year to create, not unlike the costly venture and multi-year project that was developing a real time combat system in an environment that doesn’t support real time actions, and then being forced to implement a version of your old combat system because player activity dropped through the floor.

The longer Jagex wait to address the problem of old code holding the game back, the more time-consuming and expensive the process will be. More so, the longer Jagex wait, the further behind RuneScape falls to its competition, and the less the game will be capable of bringing in new players.

But that’s just my opinion on th ematter.

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