Granted, it bears mention before we dive too deeply into this piece: this is RuneScape 3 that is actually making it’s transfer over to the quintessential PC platform, Steam.
This means that the economy is a bit haywire, and the version of RuneScape that will be playable is chock-full of the standard MMO-tropes that once helped the title from Jagex have now been fully incorporated into the title that some note has helped it lose it’s once unique flavor, although the quests are far more flavorful than they once were.
Hopes that OSRS (a common abbreviation for Old-School RuneScape within forums) will be making the shift over to Steam in the future have not yet been verified by Jagex.
With this firmly in mind, yes, RuneScape is coming to Steam in a maneuver that will likely see a massive resurgence (yet again) for the now-ancient MMO that has captivated minds since we learned in the early ’00s that it wasn’t blocked from school networks.
Now, the title has grown massively in the two decades since its original official launch on January 4, 2001 as the storyline explores into the sixth age of Gielinor with visuals that have also grown impressively over the years.
We are proud to announce that we are bringing @RuneScape, one of the world’s largest MMORPGs, to one of the world’s ultimate gaming destinations.
— Jagex (@Jagex) September 24, 2020
Granted, it’s below other current MMO’s such as Final Fantasy 14 or even Tera, but it’s a far cry from the fondly remembered blocky bodies and pixelized monsters that the vast majority of us have spent months hunting in our younger years.
The population has remained relatively strong throughout the years as well, although it admittedly does pale in comparison to legendary MMOs such as World of Warcraft: roughly 40,000 players were logged in to RS3 yesterday, and that number will likely grow rapidly on October 14 once the title is available to play on Steam.
If you’re unfamiliar with RuneScape, note that it is free to play, and with that comes all of the standard trappings and bait that F2P games offer, complete with a massive slew of microtransactions that ranges from a membership subscription to keys and RuneCoins; you can avoid a wealth of these by playing in Iron-Man mode that blocks users from trading, meaning everything must be personally earned to use, but you will inevitably be requested to drop money into the title.
It also comes with an extremely fervent (and opinionated) fanbase that many classic titles do: while the vast majority are friendly and looking for a good time, scammers and toxic individuals can easily be found through all walks of the title.
The good news is that it’s completely free to explore and see if this MMO is a good fit for you, costing nothing more than a few hours of your time while you poke around. Be warned, however, that you can easily drop tens of thousands of hours into the title.