old school runescape

PC - jagex, 2001+

november 16, 2023

last year was a real bad one for me. i was extremely depressed for many months and all i got out of it was this lousy RuneScape account with a full month of playtime on it. one time i did the math - i logged into every RuneScape account i'd had since i was 8 and added up all the playtime, and i think it was almost a year. that would be maybe 3-4% of my life logged into a medieval point-and-click. granted it's essentially an idle game a great deal of the time so i was often doing other stuff on the side, but still. that's almost, on average, an hour of every day of my life. yowza

Leagues is a temporary gamemode running for eight weeks, a fresh start for everyone with a bunch of gameplay modifiers. this was the only way i was going to allow myself to play this game again - if it was majorly beefed-up from the game i was already exhaustingly familiar with, and knowing my progress was going to be forcibly wiped after a while. also the opportunity to journal it from the get-go. without that i probably would've gone in the opposite direction: what's the point? the "point" would be cosmetic rewards in the main game after the league is over, the main game i can't stomach playing anymore

was kind of hoping to be able to get into it without having to stare my past remorse in the hideously low-poly face. i want to point out here that i played on a Hardcore Ironman account, not to brag (i couldn't imagine bragging about anything relating to this game) but to explain that from the very start, when i made this account while super drunk, i wanted to give myself an out. that if i died, that's it, and i would be free. but after 800+ hours i was never freed. if i don't die in the game i die in real life

also this is going to sound crazy and like i really had a problem (moreso than i did). when i played on this account, i had frequent dreams about finally dying. one time i searched "osrs hardcore death nightmare" and saw TONS of other people saying, "what the hell me too i thought i was crazy!!! it's so weird!!!!" SOMETHING about this game, and the constant low-level anxiety that playing Hardcore causes really seeps in somehow. this gamemode is a mass psychological experiment conducted by Jagex Ltd.

i did almost no research on what this league involved. over the past twenty years, RuneScape's community has completely devolved to adopting a min-maxing mentality when it comes to every aspect of the game (forgive my journaling as it might seem like "XP waste"). i decided that just for once, i'd like to have fun, and wing it. i could absolutely permanently shoot myself in the foot by unlocking an area or a relic that isn't "optimal", but i'm already playing suboptimally by choosing not to spend every waking hour playing, like an extreme amount of people likely will be

i would go so far as to say RuneScape is the main culprit of me having ADHD into my adult life. there's another game Jagex publishes called Melvor Idle which basically strips RuneScape down to a pure numbers game, and pushes it to the nth degree. trying out that game was a little eye-opening for me. at first Leagues just felt like it pushed the game closer to that, increasing the doling out of dopamine hits in little ways, which i guess puts it more in-line with every other online game nowadays now that i think about it

floated around for a while doing a little bit of everything to see what would trigger a task. a big thing that made me feel like checking this out was the boosted XP rates, since i wanted to actually play a video game. the 5x multiplier (i think it increases) was not enough, as i quickly realized as soon as i did a single agility lap, and as the multitudes of existential thoughts i've had while grinding on this game came rushing back to me. there's infinite run energy though which is nice, even if it makes agility feel even more soul-dampeningly pointless than before

in my desire to have a very XP-wasteful plain good time on this game for once, i used the vanilla client instead of RuneLite. turns out the vanilla client has gotten pretty RuneLite-y over time, as all its bells and whistles have become so integral to what the game is for people that without them they will cry "unplayable". it's pretty ugly! but i guess it shows they know what their game is nowadays, and the people who play it

i won't complain about the overlay that solves clue scrolls for you though, i don't know who has ever sat there trying to figure out anagrams instead of looking them up online. hmm maybe "CLASH ION" means "Nicholas" ok. now to search the entire world for an NPC named Nicholas

"oh there's a new woodcutting system" i say, upon clicking a tree. then immediately any semblance of something other than what i'd already played for thousands of hours slips away, and i'm back to sitting and listening to my character hit their axe against a tree as i had done for many of those hours. "oh i got my fill" i say, upon clicking logout. also helped me in breaking away that for some reason my GPU just could not handle the graphic intensity of the Draynor willows area, and i didn't feel like figuring out what that was all about

i was pretty worried to start playing this again. now i'm glad i went for Leagues right away instead of dipping back into the main game, because i might not have felt the existentialism set in as quickly or strongly if not for the impermanence of everything i was doing. i don't know if i can do RuneScape anymore! at least not a temporary version of it. i thought it would be the other way around and i could trick myself into thinking that getting wrapped up in the league was in any way different from getting wrapped up in RuneScape in general again

i did a whole heap of personal journaling last year about what goes through my head when i feel myself getting trapped in this game, that i don't think i could sum up here. it really was just the default thing for me to do in general for a time; if i needed any kind of stimulation at all i would habitually go try getting it from RuneScape. now i think as a result this game will always be associated with my worst depressive states, and that should do well at keeping me off it. that and the fact the composer is a convicted pedophile

the account i had before creating a new one last year, i once tried selling it. it was another Ironman that i figured i could get $150-200 for. someone did buy it but then reversed the charge and i recovered the account through customer support (but not before they'd renamed it to Daddyhurt). if i could sell this one without that kind of hassle i think i would try to, which is why i don't want to purposely die on it. but in the meantime i'm being totally honest with myself and labeling this journal "shelved" instead of "dropped"

in the end i'm glad i went back to this game just for a couple hours so i could write about it, since it was such a major part of my life so i feel like it should at least be covered here in some capacity. it got me thinking, in a better light than i could achieve last year, about myself and my attitude towards playing games. i'll probably play RuneScape again. i'm gonna go learn to play guitar now

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