There is a common misconception about adult RuneScape players: Many fans of this massive multiplayer online role-playing game (mmorpg) think they simply don’t exist. However, adult players are more abundant than you may think, and many online communities, e-groups and in-game “clans” revolve around RuneScape players who are well into adulthood. As someone who has been a member of this percentage of the RuneScape community for almost ten years, I think it is time players-and potential players-took a closer look at the adult portion of the RuneScape community.
How many adult RuneScape players exist, and where do they network?
Previous player age polls conducted by Jagex Ltd, the company behind RuneScape, are no longer available on the site. However, Quantcast offers an estimated age demographic for RuneScape as 43% of players being over 18. It is a percentage which may seem very high, considering that many RuneScape players are under the impression that adults make up only 5-10% of the population. Alternatively, the RuneScape Wiki fan site demographic poll, which now has over 5,000 responses since 2009, has a staggering 81.09% of players reporting to be less than 18 years old. Of course, this only reflects the population of RuneScape players who visit the fan site, and not the RuneScape membership base itself.
Due to the widespread assumption within the mmorpg enthusiast community that only children and teenagers play the game, many adult RuneScape players opt to keep their continued affiliation with the game a secret. Many of them regularly play without advertising their over-18 age bracket, even if friends or members of their clan happen to inquire. However, there is a somewhat private and often overlooked network of these mature players who are proud of their connection to the java-based game. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace have a variety of groups dedicated to the elusive adult RuneScape player, with plenty of fans ready and willing to share tips, team-up to conquer in-game challenges and boast about their latest skill level or quest completion.
The RuneScape Adults Society is a Facebook group with over 250 members, who discuss quests, skills and game updates. Membership is open to anyone who is over 18 and playing RuneScape, with a group discussion board full of information, clan recruitment advertisements, and threads for reminiscing about the early days of RuneScape. A variety of websites for adult-only clans, such as the “Kingdom of Asgarnia,” can easily be found via search engine if you happen to be looking for an 18+ clan of companions.
Does RuneScape offer enough features to make it a worthwhile choice for adult players?
RuneScape offers free accounts, plus bonus content available exclusively to subscribing members. Since many minors are unable to pay for a monthly subscription, the members-only servers typically enjoy a smaller population, friendlier community and quite possibly a higher percentage of adult players. Membership enables player to access a tremendous amount of bonus content, from new regions of the RuneScape world, to additional skills and better equipment. The subscription fees are $5.95 per month (in US dollars), which is lower than most of the popular mmorpg options currently available.
Since most adult RuneScape players accept the fact that they are in the minority, many of them make additional effort to network with other adult players. This has created a somewhat underground, but highly supportive, community for gamers over 18 who enjoy the game. Jagex continues to offer guaranteed content polls, and the game developers frequently incorporate new game elements which the general player-base has requested the most. In February of 2011, a guaranteed content poll hosted on the site had an overwhelming response in favor of the game reverting to the original trade system and player-versus-player zones-and Jagex followed through with the changes. Very few mmorpgs offer their players such a powerful voice in the direction of the game, which is an element of RuneScape that appeals to many adult players.
Ultimately, anyone who samples RuneScape must decide for themselves if it is a game which suits their play style, interests and budget. Jagex continues to try and remove the stigma that the game is populated only by minors, and perhaps one day the adult RuneScape players-whether they make up 5% or 50% of the population-will not be an overlooked, occasionally belittled portion of the community for playing a “kid’s game.” In the meantime, players over 18 should rest assured that they are far from being alone in the RuneScape world, and enjoy the highly supportive network of adult players which has developed thanks to their limited numbers.
Quantcast, “Runescape.com – Quantcast Audience Profile”
The RuneScape Wiki, Template Poll