How "RuneScape" Forged My Love For History
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How "RuneScape" Forged My Love For History

At the tender age of 10, the fantasy game by Jagex captivated me beyond imagination.

How "RuneScape" Forged My Love For History

Wikipedia describes it as a "fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game." From a technical standpoint, that is an accurate description. But from an emotional and social aspect, Jagex's RuneScape is a game that acts as a gateway for players to enter a wondrous fantasy medieval world where things such as goblins, magic, and dragons are no longer considered myth or legend, but real. Lacking a linear story and set in an open world that is easy to traverse, the world of RuneScape encourages its players to do whatever their heart may desire—from nonchalant slice-of-life activities like fishing to bombastic and adrenaline-pumped quests like dragon-slaying, the amount of freedom the player is given is tremendous. And in the hands of an impressionable 10-year-old boy, it did wonders.

I first discovered RuneScape when I was 5th grade. Overhearing some friends talking about it, I went home that day to see what all the fuss was about. After designing my character, giving him a name (psydragon22), and completing the tutorial, my character was then teleported into the real world of RuneScape.

Beginning in the city of Lumbridge, one of the first things I noticed was the city's massive structure. With NPC (non-playable-character) townspeople and guards venturing around, I felt like I was in the middle of what seemed to be an authentic medieval city.

Venturing out shortly afterward without much idea of what to do, I discovered a nearby hut that was the home of a never-ending supply of low-level goblins. Seeing other players attack them to gain gold coins, I quickly decided to attack them as well. But, lacking a weapon and armor, I barely defeated a single goblin while a few hitpoints away from death. After that moment, I soon realized that in order to have a positive gaming experience, I needed to utilize the skills that I was given, and to hone them. With mining, smithing, woodcutting, cooking, and fletching to name a few of these skills, I continued my journey in the world of RuneScape with a better idea in mind of how to survive and prosper.

Over the course of the next few years, I explored many regions, became a player capable of slaying powerful monsters such as dragons, and trained many of my skills to very high levels. Along the way, I learned new words, new concepts, and new facets of medieval culture and history that I didn't know before my time playing RuneScape. And although there was a great deal of learning outside of the game as what I learned in-game led to me wanting to know more and pursuing further research elsewhere, I probably would not have been set on that path hadn't it been for RuneScape sparking my interest in medieval history and history in general.

From the day I joined to the day I quit in order to allocate more of my time on school and extracurricular activities such as theater and marching band, I loved RuneScape and I still do to this very day. After throwing me into a fantasy world with many aspects and elements that existed in the real middle ages such as castles, knights, chivalry, guilds, and religion, to say I was enraptured was an understatement. I learned more about medieval history in a year of playing than I did in all six years of elementary school. Granted, RuneScape's purpose was not to educate, but in their best efforts to create a world that was the most immersive and authentic it could be for its players, it ended up being something that was in fact, both entertaining and educational.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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