Happy Holidays 'Scapers!
I hope you've all been well through what has been a tough year for many of us, and that RuneScape played a part (however small!) in making your year more enjoyable.
I'd like to extend a personal thank you to everyone who has reached out to, supported, or been kind to other players during a year that has been scary, isolating and unpredictable for many. Our whole team wishes you and your loved ones well this festive period. Be excellent to each other - fill it with good times and good people!
A Look Back At This Year
As we close out 2020, I have some really, really great news to share. The game and community we all love is in a significant state of growth.
This year, the number of daily players and active members has peaked at the highest levels we've seen in over five years. The member population is growing, thanks to a continual stream of returning players and brand new adventurers. And best of all, the new players that are joining RuneScape are sticking around more than ever and giving us great, positive feedback.
This is an amazing thing for a game heading into its 20th year, and is testament to how we've all banded together to welcome new faces from far and wide.
I am really proud of what the team delivered and achieved under difficult conditions this year, and for launching on a brand new platform like Steam. When I think of the incredible quality bar we hit with the release of Archaeology, the switch to a monthly release schedule that featured quests, skilling content, DnDs, combat content, the community focused Ninja Strikes and continual improvement of our time limited events... it blows me away.
Our team delivers over 50 weekly releases a year and run an incredibly stable game operation. They adapted, executed to plan and honored their commitments to a new monthly schedule. We found new ways to build awareness for the game and community we love, and stepped up our engagement and support. There's always things to improve or learn from, but I believe it's been a really great year for RuneScape. I hope you feel the same way.
Then there is you, the citizens of Gielinor, who continue to bring the world to life and light up the internet with your tales, feedback and creations. There were so many highlights this year, but my favourite is how you turned out for the Steam launch. The passion for the game you poured into thousands of reviews (94% positive in the last 30 days!), the incredible content you showcased in the Community Hub and the way you offered help to new players in-game said so much about this passionate community that we are lucky to have. I have no doubt your efforts and spirit have played a huge part in players joining - and staying - in RuneScape over 2020. Thank you.
Speaking of community togetherness - no better way was that shown than with our friends at Old School RuneScape during the global Play Apart Together initiative earlier this year. This was designed to help those struggling to adapt to a changing world through socialising whilst playing games (like RuneScape!). Thanks to your help getting involved with The Drop (and loads of other events), we were able to donate over £100,000 to our mental health charity partners You Are RAD, The Prince's Trust, and CPSL Mind.
Combine that with our Gielinorian Giving events for Mental Health Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day this year, together we've been able to donate over £330,000 to this increasingly-important mental health support network for vulnerable people across the globe - as well as a cool £26,000 for our friends at Special Effect for their One Special Day event earlier this year! As a company, we've been able to donate more than ever before - and at a time when our charity partners needed it the most, with reduced access to funding during lockdown and a corresponding increase in demand on mental health support. Give yourselves a well-deserved pat on the back - it's the season of giving, after all.
But now, to the future. I have a few updates I want to share that I hope will whet your appetite over the holiday break. As we go into 2021, we will build on this significant momentum and stack our efforts to grow RuneScape, all while delivering even more awesome updates into your hands.
Firstly, we're substantially growing the RuneScape Team over the coming months to up our capabilities and continue delivering a fantastic mix of monthly headline content drops, great holiday events, Yak Tracks and bi-monthly Ninja Strikes.
The impact of this team growth is going to be most evident in how we approach Elder God Wars. Instead of just one moment to experience EGW content, we've found several ways for it to be a dominant story arc throughout the year. This will stretch across a variety of content types, including the release of the Dungeon itself. This is an epic war years in the making and it will all come to a head next year!
We'll also continue on our mission to modernise RuneScape, including a project that I'm particularly excited about – improving your player avatar! Over the next year, we will start a journey to deliver an evolving series of improvements to how the World Guardian is represented in-game. This is a very complex project with many steps, and we'll be involving you regularly throughout development as we work to get the look of the avatar just right. You can expect to hear more early next year... but as it's Christmas, here's a very sneaky look at our visual target for the new quality bar we want to set.
Growing RuneScape continues to be a major goal for us, and next year we'll bring in even more new players and become a true cross-platform MMO with the launch of RuneScape Mobile. Our team have been hard at work working on improvements to the early game experience, onboarding and the optimisation of our UI that will enable us to provide a great experience to all our new mobile adventurers!
And of course, last but by no means least, the headline for 2021 is undeniably RuneScape's massive 20th Anniversary! This incredible milestone is a huge testament to the strength of the world we all love, and we're going all in on celebrations.
The party will start on January 4th (RuneScape's actual birthday!) as part of a month-long event, with even more Anniversary content to sink your teeth into coming throughout the year. All will be revealed next month, starting with those invitations you received last week.
There will be many more surprises to come, but you know me... I keep these cards close until it is the right time to share!
See You In 2021!
And with that, it's time I sign off for the last time this year. We can't wait to celebrate across Gielinor with you this January and kick start what I'm sure will be an even better year in 2021. On behalf of the entire RuneScape team, we wish you all the best this Christmas and Holiday in whatever way you can celebrate it.
Just make sure you keep hold of those party hats - you never know when they may be worth something! We'll see each other again very soon.