Hi everyone. I’m Mark Gerhard, Jagex’s CEO.
I wanted to respond briefly to a topic that’s had quite a lot of discussion inside the RuneScape community recently – micro payments.
Micro payment-based services, such as items on Solomon’s General Store or Treasure Hunter, are an essential part of helping keep RuneScape as a healthy business. If we didn’t offer micro payments we would either need to more than double the cost of monthly membership for everyone or halve the size of the RuneScape team or otherwise make other rather unpalatable choices which we’d rather not contemplate.
And with a healthy business we can and will continue to pour our love into RuneScape at an enviable scale - RuneScape employs a full-time development team of around 160 dedicated professionals and totals well over 200 when you include community, infrastructure and customer support.
This allows us to release weekly game updates, run community events, run charity events, run Old School, make videos, run live streams, invest in content and marketing for new players, run entirely free game worlds, create a burgeoning mobile app, perform extensive R&D into new technologies to guarantee RuneScape’s future and continue to hire more great talent from the RuneScape community.
It also means we can offer features like Bonds which allows players to pay simply through play, and close to my heart have much of a packed release schedule now decided entirely by the community.
Our sole intent with micro payments is to provide interesting but optional services for RuneScape players – fun items, new visuals or greater convenience for those that may want it. It’s NEVER our intention to undermine the games core content.
We’re human and we occasionally make mistakes. This undoubtedly happened with the Silverhawk Boots item which was added to Treasure Hunter recently.
At release, this item was evidently overpowered and understandably frustrated many players, including both the team and I. I want to sincerely apologise for this error of judgement and process on behalf of everyone.
Mistakes are only OK if they’re acknowledged, rectified and learned from…
In this case we’ve already patched the item in question so it does not allow for skill training faster than existing content.
Just as important, we’re going to put additional safety checks in place to make sure the balancing of any promotional item or micro payment service gets double and triple checked by us.
As with the rest of the game, micro payments evolve as we try out new ideas and make ongoing improvements. While they’re essential for RuneScape, they are not essential for players to enjoy the game, for those that may want a specific promotional item we also try to make them as accessible as possible to everyone, so everyone can take part if they should they wish.
Bonds were a major step in this direction, giving access to all of our premium services without the need to pay real money. Loyalty points reward our long-standing members.
And recently, we’ve also added more methods to get RuneCoins without paying through supersonic ads – you can find the new ‘Earn’ button in Solomon's General Store to take part in this, and also soon we’ll be adding the ability to earn Keys to play Treasure Hunter as well.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter and please keep the constructive feedback coming! I hope you can see how much we all care about RuneScape, as a business, a game and a community – and one we want to see thrive for many decades more to come.
Take care, God bless and have fun!