Is Runescape being review-bombed on Steam or are the negative reviews justified?


The distinction between love and hate for massively multiplayer online games, or MMOs, is as hazy as the edge of a blade. Every day, as if on cue, there’s news about some game that’s causing controversy among players, and in this particular cycle, RuneScape is the target.

A popular MMORPG that has been around since some of us were in diapers is the buzz of the town these days because of microtransactions, the antithesis of everything that makes gaming enjoyable. The Hero Pass, which is effectively RuneScape’s take on the battle pass system, was released by the game earlier this week. A week or so later, RuneScape’s rating dropped to ‘Mostly Negative’ on Steam due to a plethora of unfavorable reviews.

Let’s now consider this in context. This isn’t just a group of inexperienced people acting out. The most of the unfavorable reviewsers have played the game for hundreds of hours. You’ve hit a landmine when your most devoted players are this angry.

The main point of disagreement has been the belief that developer Jagex puts money before the enjoyment of the gamer. Who can really blame players for believing that Jagex’s incessant push for microtransactions is ruining the game? The Hero Pass feels like the straw that broke the camel’s back, especially when the game is already overflowing with microtransactions.

To exacerbate the situation, there are rumors afoot that Jagex is about to be acquired again. If these claims are accurate, this will be the game developer’s eighth internal move within its parent firm in the past ten years.

When Insight Venture Partners took over in 2012, this peculiar transaction officially started. Four years later, Hongtou took over. Subsequently, Macarthur Fortune Holding briefly came into the scene before The Carlyle Group, the company’s current parent, took over.

While the Hero Pass is free for all players, the more lucrative benefits are accessible only through a paywall, which is what has made it so divisive. Many players feel like they’re being taken advantage of because of this, especially when they already pay for membership memberships.

This choice has drawn criticism from other quarters outside the gaming community. Even John Pi, a former developer at Jagex, expressed his dissatisfaction with the game’s present direction on Twitter, saying:

It’s very disappointing to see this go through.

End-game combat was deliberately ringfenced away from MTX during my time at Jagex, including DTD’s not working.

Seeing it added to a battle pass (which should be cosmetic only IMO) makes me a very sad Pi

After receiving a lot of negative feedback, Jagex acknowledged it and promised to make modifications to the Hero Pass. The UK-based developer also thanked the players for their insightful feedback, highlighting the significance of community participation in determining the direction of the game.

RuneScape is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the largest and most-updated free MMORPG.

Being a proud part of the gaming community, I can honestly say that I’m happy with the response that fans have given the ridiculous Hero Pass. The RuneScape community has made it apparent that unscrupulous monetization methods will not be tolerated. This ought to teach all game creators to pay attention to their players or else suffer the repercussions.

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