It doesn’t have the best graphics, and the pace may be too slow for some, but now in its fifteenth year, RuneScape has become one of the most popular role-playing games in history.

Since its release in 2001, the game has built a global community of players which regularly exceeds 60,000 daily online users.

What is RuneScape?

The game is known as MMORPG or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. In it, players can work individually or as part of a ‘clan’, to complete quests, fight in battles and smite enemies, which include various beasts and monsters.

The game takes place in a large, shared world, where users can interact with each other via the game’s built-in chat. RuneScape is available on OS X, Windows and Linux platforms, and is celebrated for its relatively low spec requirements, compared to other popular games.

Imagine taking your buddies on a days-long quest to battle a dragon, and having a good laugh along the way, without the real fear of being eaten alive, and you’ve got a reasonable summary of the RuneScape experience.

RuneScape also allows players to set their own goals and tasks, rather than follow a completely linear timeline.

Developing RuneScape

Now based at Jagex in the north of Cambridge, RuneScape began as a bedroom project by brothers Andrew and Paul Gower. The game was first introduced in 2001 in beta, and by 2002, monthly memberships were being offered. RuneScape was an instant hit, and soon, fuelled by a growing online community, Jagex began to update the game with better graphics and various add-ons.

Between 2007 and 2013, the game would be translated into French, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish.

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How many people play RuneScape?

Every person who plays the game needs to log-in to a server. There are over 140 servers - referred to by Jagex and players as worlds - worldwide, each capable of hosting up to 2,000 players. That means upwards of 280,000 potential players. That’s not quite the 5.5 million subscribed to World of Warcraft, but RuneScape still enjoys a cult following to rival even the most popular games in history.

From a bedroom project to a net worth of over £130 million for its founders, RuneScape is one of Cambridge’s most enduring success stories.

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