The Community of RuneScape broadly refers to the collective group of people who have an account. These are divided into members (those who pay a monthly fee and have full access to game content) and non-members (those who play for free with no time limit, but have limitations on skills, items and other content).
Members and high-level free players may also contribute to the RuneScape Forums, where the community can discuss various aspects of the game and website, speculate about future updates, and make suggestions for new content. The forums also include a section called "Community - Plan events and interact with other players". Jagex has described the forum community of RuneScape as "the second largest in the world".
The community is composed of players of both the male and female genders, though there is a skew towards male players. In February 2008, Geoff Iddison (the CEO of Jagex at the time) claimed in an interview that the player base was "over 60 percent male", though the interviewer speculated that the true figure was likely to be higher than this comment would suggest. Indeed, a poll conducted just one month later showed that 90% of respondents claimed to be male.
Three months after that, in June 2008, Jagex CEO Geoff Iddison said in an interview: "we’ve got some plans there" to redress the imbalance. Evidence of this appeared around the beginning of September, when the RuneScape banner across the top of the homepage was changed to feature two female warriors prominently.
The gender ratio of runescape players is very disputable, as the player is represented by an avatar who could choose a character of the opposite gender. Also, the in-game Makeover Mage is able to change the gender of any player at any time. Recruitment Drive even requires all male players to change their gender. This helps to explain the dispute in the player base and poll.
There are no publicly-available official figures on the distribution of players' ages, even in aggregate form. However, in June 2008, Geoff Iddison (the CEO of Jagex at the time) indicated in an interview that most players are in the range 8 to 18 years old, and the trend is towards younger players.
Iddison's successor, Mark Gerhard, said in an interview in May 2009 that the average age is 16. There are two major "spikes" (sharp peaks in the graph) at ages 14 and 18, with secondary spikes at ages 19 and 28. Only four percent of players are under 13, despite the fact that the rules have been relaxed to allow under-13s to play.
|“||Like, less than 4% of our players are under 13, and the average age is 16. There are two major spikes; one at 14, and one at 18. And then obviously secondarily one at 19 and weirdly one at 28. I guess that's all of us logging in ... But the real average age is 16. And there's this perception that there's 8 year old boys playing the game and it's mad.||”|
— Mark Gerhard 
However, Jagex's measurements of players' ages may be inaccurate, since they are presumably deduced from their dates of birth (which players enter when they create their accounts). For a number of years, people under the age of 13 were not allowed to play. If someone attempted to create an account and their date of birth showed they were under 13, they would automatically be prevented from creating an account. The website would also leave a cookie on the user's computer to show that they had been refused an account based on their age, and this would prevent the user from trying again and lying about their date of birth.
However, if the user deleted the cookie and lied about their date of birth, they would be able to create an account and play. This is strictly against Jagex's terms and conditions, especially since the company has legal responsibilities regarding under-13s, but it was technically possible. Under-13s are now allowed to play, but cannot use chat facilities except Quick Chat.
The effect of players lying about their dates of birth in this way is that the official figures will show ages artificially skewed towards higher numbers, and make the player base appear older than it actually is. It is also possible that some players may lie about their dates of birth to make themselves appear younger than they really are. It is unknown as to what extent these two effect counteract each other.
Nationalities and languages
Players represent a wide range of nationalities, with local servers already available in four continents, namely the Americas (the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina), Europe (the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Poland, Ireland, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden), Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), and Asia (India).
Former Jagex CEO Geoff Iddison had stated in an interview in May 2008 that he intended to expand the RuneScape player base into parts of Asia (specifically Malaysia and India) and Eastern Europe, but ruled out Japan. After Iddison's resignation, his successor, Mark Gerhard, confirmed in February 2009 that this was still the plan, but added "the time frame is not absolutely certain yet." RuneScape was launched in India in October 2009, with Zapak being the exclusive marketing and distribution partner. Present at the launch were Rob Smith (Jagex's COO), Rohit Sharma (Zapak COO), and Bollywood actor Aftab Shivdasani.
|“||RuneScape is amongst the top online games in the world. With over 6 million users a month it is the worlds second largest MMOG (Massively Multiplayer online game). We are very excited to exclusively launch this game in India.||”|
The game itself is currently available in five languages: English, German (beta launched on 14 February 2007), French (launched on 11 December 2008), Brazilian Portuguese (released 24 July 2009) and Latinamerican Spanish (launched on 24 April 2013). Additionally, Mod Jon H (a Jagex moderator) announced on the 15 October 2008 that a splash screen in the Dutch language is now available at www.RuneScape.nl. In 24 April 2013 a Spanish version of the game was launched, despite the fact that a poll in August 2008 showed that more players wanted Spanish than wanted French. A year later, in August 2009, Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard admitted that there still was not "a specific timeframe" for a Spanish version.
Players who speak languages other than English tend to gravitate to worlds that are populated by other players who speak the same language. For example, some worlds have a significant percentage of players who speak French, Lithuanian, Dutch, or Spanish (in the last case, Worlds 135 for F2P and 78 for P2P).
Impact of The Player Community
The community as a whole has a large influence on the nature of the game. Whether it is on the forums or through special polls, Jagex have managed to integrate many of the players ideas into the game itself. In-game, the community is mixed due to it being widely available to so many people. There is subsequently a variance in player behaviour throughout the game. Newer players tend to be unfamiliar with the rules, therefore they are more likely to be in breach of some without being aware of the consequences. In the past, there was a substantial amount of players who exploited Runescape's free-trade system for personal benefit. These included bots and scammers which were rife in the community before Jagex made the controversial decision to remove these, at the cost of eliminating free-trade between all players. In response to previous decisions, players have organised riots and even quit playing.
Due to the immense size and diversity of RuneScape's community, some established, experienced players may go on to achieve popularity and "celebrity status" among their peers. This phenomenon is often the result of intense dedication to the game; having high skill levels and vast amounts of wealth may allow a player to obtain the attention and approval of the rest of the active community. More recently, due to the increased usage of social media, a number of players have become famous by uploading gameplay footage and commentary onto YouTube and other social networking platforms.
A moderator is a player who has been entrusted by Jagex with extra capabilities, such as the ability to punish rule-breakers. This might include the ability to mute or ban offenders. They are divided into three types - Jagex moderators (Jagex staff members), player moderators (ordinary players that Jagex has hand-picked and entrusted with extra capabilities), and forum moderators (ordinary players who have the ability to perform administrative functions in the RuneScape Forums).
Jagex moderators ("J-mods") are employees of Jagex, and occasionally log into the game to talk to players. All Jagex moderators with the exceptions of Paul, Andrew, and Ian, have "Mod" as a prefix in their names. In RuneScape, they are identified by a gold crown beside their names, visible during public and private chat. On RuneScape's official forums, the gold crowns are shown beside their name, and their posts appear highlighted in gold. They have the ability to alter their skill levels at whim and may generate items within their inventory to assist in testing content before it appears in the publicly in the RuneScape game. They can not trade with regular players. Jagex moderators also have the ability to appear at any location in the RuneScape world. They do not appear in the high-scores tables.
Player moderators ("p-mods") are regular players who have been invited by Jagex to help maintain the order of the RuneScape environment, keeping it safe and free from rule-breaking. Player moderators are identified by a silver crown beside their names when they send any sort of message in the RuneScape game. They are given the ability to mute players for a period of 48 hours and send priority abuse reports that are directly sent to a member of the Jagex team. Player moderators have access to the Player Moderator Centre, an area on the RuneScape website that allows them to perform their role more effectively. P-mods are not expected to spend greater periods of time playing RuneScape than normal players, and are not even obliged to make use of their special abilities.
Forum moderators ("f-mods") are normal players who work to carry out the tasks of managing the RuneScape Forums. Forum moderators were picked from a group of players by Jagex staff because of their ability to help monitor fairness and rule breakers in the forums. They are given the ability to move and lock threads, hide posts or entire threads, edit titles, and temporarily ban players from posting. Like player moderators, they are given a private set of forums that are primarily used to help perform their role more effectively. Forum moderators have a green crown beside their name, as well as a green background when they post on the forums. They are not identified by a crown beside their name when they send a message in the RuneScape game.
As with Player Moderators, Fmod get no benefits from Jagex for their role, which is entirely voluntary.
Jagex's community involvement
The early days
When RuneScape was relatively new, Jagex was often involved in community affairs. Examples of activities that Jagex used to participate in include:
- Player achievements: Jagex used to use system messages to announce achievements and player events, such as the wedding of Ladymedusa and M_Oldfield in February 2002, where Paul Gower performed the service.
- Jagex used to publicly welcome new staff (see Update:New kids on the block), but no longer does so.
- The news list used to include a "Community" section[source needed], but this has since been removed.
- Other affairs: in January 2003, Jagex announced the real life wedding of Lady Pooh and Topcat0711, the in-game and real-life weddings of Pugxsi and Jenstarr, and the death of Siw39. However, these announcements have all been removed, presumably because it conflicts with Jagex's rules against solicitation and giving out personal information. With so many millions of players now active, it would be impractical to list weddings and marriages for all players, and it would be unfair to list some and not others.
Detachment from the player community
For a time, Jagex became more detached from the community. For example, the company stopped listing fan sites for security reasons, although some saw this as a move to depart from the community. Jagex staff members no longer post on fan forums, or at least not using their Jagex names.
There used to be a messaging system on the website where you could directly send a message to Jagex, and most of the time receive a response. After what was probably abuse and spam of the system, it was silently removed.
Re-involvement with the community
In more recent times, Jagex has been taking steps to try to become closer to the player community. They created a Twitter account in December 2008 to keep players up-to-date.
When Mark Gerhard took over as Jagex CEO in February 2009, he started by stating that the company will be more open, and its staff will participate more in the community with other players. In March 2009, Jagex created their own Facebook account and a LiveJournal account.
A poll in April showed that early interest for these accounts was poor, with 68 percent of respondents saying they had not visited any of them or had not heard of them, and only 12 percent having visited at least one.
Jagex also began creating in-game events, such as international castle wars tournaments, which Jagex mods are reported to be seen at. They also began holding machinima contests, which Jagex members would judge, and then arranging the winner to meet Jagex and their headquarters in real life.
The company also now announces certain player affairs, just not on the official website. For example, it congratulated Telmomarques on reaching level 120 Dungeoneering via Facebook.
Also, the zombie outbreak event required players to protect J-Mods from being zombified, and allowed them to kill J-Mods that had been zombified.
- ^ Mod Kelvin. Q&A: Community Management's Answers. RuneScape Developer Blogs. Jagex Games Studio. Archived from the original on 2009-09-17. “We’re fiercely proud of our forum community - it’s the second largest in the world and we created them ourselves!”
- ^ Sabbagh, Dan. Online games group aims for growth the Nintendo way. Times Online. “profits depend on spotty boys. “I'd estimate the audience is over 60 per cent male, aged between 13 and 18,” says Mr Iddison, probably overemphasising the female contingent.”
- ^ A Friend Indeed. Jagex (March 2008). “Question 1 - Are you male or female? Male: 90%; Female: 10%”
- ^ a b French, Michael. Runescape Developer Jagex Working On New MMO. Develop magazine. “Runescape’s fantasy world has mostly male players ages eight to 18 which are getting younger as time goes on, admitted Iddison, saying the firm’s strategy currently excluded female players but that 'we’ve got some plans there' to redress the imbalance.”
- ^ a b Gerhard, Mark; Brendon Lindsey. Interview with Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard: Part 2 of 3, 'RuneScape' Past, Present, and Future. News. MMOhub.org (MMO Life BV). Archived from the original on 2009-09-08. “Like, less than 4% of our players are under 13, and the average age is 16. There are two major spikes; one at 14, and one at 18. And then obviously secondarily one at 19 and weirdly one at 28. I guess that's all of us logging in ... But the real average age is 16. And there's this perception that there's 8 year old boys playing the game and it's mad.”
- ^ Martin, Matt. MMO Week: Iddison confirms global expansion for Jagex. GamesIndustry.biz (Eurogamer Network). “Iddison has pinpointed markets such as Malaysia and India as ideal for RuneScape, but he's aware that each market will need individual localisation and attention if expansion is the be successful. 'There are markets in Asia that are more relevant to RuneScape than others. RuneScape is not for Japan, but it could work well in Malaysia for example.'”
- ^ Gerhard, Mark. Even more answers....... RuneScape Forums, News & Announcements pp. 1. Jagex. Question: "Geoff Iddison said he was expanding into the Asian/European markets is this something that you will pursue?" Answer: "Yes, but the time frame is not absolutely certain yet."
- ^ a b Zapak and Jagex Launch RuneScape in India. Events. GameGuru.in. “Zapak Digital Entertainment has tied up with English-based developer Jagex Games Studio to bring the world’s largest free MMO game, RuneScape, to India. Zapak will be the exclusive marketing and distribution partner for the game in India. Present at the launch event were COO of Jagex, Rob Smith, COO of Zapak, Rohit Sharma, and Bollywood actor, Aftab Shivdasani. ... Rohit Sharma, COO, Zapak Digital Entertainment added, “RuneScape is amongst the top online games in the world. With over 6 million users a month it is the worlds second largest MMOG (Massively Multiplayer online game). We are very excited to exclusively launch this game in India. This is line with Zapak’s continuous endeavour to provide the Indian consumer with world class gaming content.””
- ^ German Language Beta Launch – Some Information. RuneScape News List. Jagex. “As you might have noticed, we've just added a German language option to the sidebar on the front page of our website. This goes to a section of this website where all the text in the game and on the website has been translated into German. At the moment our German section is online for testing only, which means not all areas are available to everyone yet. Anyone can view the open areas, but the areas which need a login (including the game itself) are currently running in "closed beta" mode, which means you will only be able to visit them if we have specifically invited you to take part.”
- ^ RuneScape France. RuneScape News List. Jagex. “Bonjour! We're pleased to announce that we have just released the RuneScape game and website in its third language: French.”
- ^ RuneScape: Brazil. RuneScape Website Updates. Jagex Ltd. Archived from the original on 2009-09-09. “Olá! We’re pleased to announce that we have just released the RuneScape game and website in its fourth language: Brazilian Portuguese.”
- ^ Runescape Latin American Spanish: Now Live. RuneScape Website Updates. Jagex Ltd. “Today sees the release of RuneScape Latin American Spanish: our fifth localised version of the game. Spanish-speaking players can now enjoy RuneScape in dedicated game worlds with all in-game text translated, as well as a Latin American Spanish-language website and wiki. We'll be supporting this alongside the English, German, French and Brazilian Portuguese versions of the game for all future content.”
- ^ Mod Jon H. www.RuneScape.nl. Website Feedback, RuneScape Forums. Jagex. “Jagex's affiliate in the Netherlands has recently unveiled a new webpage: http://www.RuneScape.nl/ If you visit this page, you'll see a splash screen in the Dutch language. This contains links to the 'Create an Account', 'Play Now' and 'Become a Member' areas of the main RuneScape homepage.”
- ^ Now Playing. Poll Results. Jagex. “Which of the following languages would you like RuneScape to be available in? Spanish: 19%. French: 12%.”
- ^ Gerhard, Mark. Answers from MMG - Live Q&A!. News & Announcements, RuneScape Forums pp. 13. Jagex Games Studio. Archived from the original on 2009-09-17. “Q) Camilo101480 Greetings Mod Mmg :D i have 3 questions: 1. when will be rs in spanish coming out? ... A) Hi Camilo101480 1. There isn't a specific timeframe for that.”
- ^ Wedding of M Oldfield and Ladymedusa. “February 14, 2002 ... Wedding of M Oldfield and Ladymedusa ... Ceremony performed by Paul Gower”
- ^ Inappropriate language or behaviour. Rules of RuneScape. Jagex Ltd. Archived from the original on 2009-09-08. “Is it okay to ask for a boyfriend or girlfriend in the games? No, that is solicitation and is not allowed at all. This is to ensure the safety of all our players.”
- ^ Gerhard, Mark. The Future of RuneScape. Behind the Scenes. Jagex Ltd. Archived from the original on 2009-08-14. “To start off with, we want to be more open and listen to our players. Some of you may consider Jagex a secretive and closed-off company which isn't how we want to be perceived moving forward. ... We are also committed to working with our fans in the RuneScape community to make the game a more enjoyable place to be. We will be running community events, tournaments and JMod participation in-game to provide more support to you and make RuneScape an even better place to be.”
- ^ Mod Stevew. RuneScape on Facebook. News & Announcements, RuneScape Forums pp. 1. Jagex Ltd. Archived from the original on 2009-09-09. “Hi everyone, We recently joined Facebook and would like to invite you to become an official fan of RuneScape on Facebook!”
- ^ Page Under Construction. The Official Jagex LiveJournal Community. LiveJournal.com. Archived from the original on 2009-09-09. “Hi to all our RuneScape and FunOrb players on LiveJournal. This page is currently under construction. Once it is up we hope it will help provide a useful news source, and contact to Jagex, for all of our Livejournal using players.”
- ^ Social Networking #2. Poll Results. Jagex Ltd. Archived from the original on 2009-09-09. “Question 1 - We recently created official Jagex accounts on Twitter, Facebook and LiveJournal. Have you visited any of them? ... No, I have not visited any of them: 47%; I do not know what they are: 21%; Yes, I have visited one or more of them: 9%; Yes, and I check one or more of them regularly: 3%”