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RuneScape is a Java-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game (mmorpg) which is operated by British developer Jagex Ltd. There is about currently over 15 Million free player accounts and more than 3 million people paying for membership. All you need to play RuneScape is connection to the internet and you can play anywhere around the world but only if the certain place has connection to the internet.

As of December 2003, RuneScape was one of the fastest growing out of all of the MMORPGs, having a userbase fifty percent larger than that of EverQuest. The game is praised for its free play abilities. JustRPG gave it a score of 83%, and summarised the game with: "In short, the game of Runescape is a fun, addictive game, and while the graphics may not be perfect [this review was done before the RuneScape HD update], for a game written in Java, they aren't bad. The skills are varied, the community is alright, and it'll eat up your time if you aren't careful."

PC Gamer UK in December 2003 states that while the "traditional RPG values of questing, slaying monsters and developing your character in a familiar medieval setting" won't "have the big boys trembling in their +2 Boots of Subscriber Gathering," this is offset by the game's accessibility through a web browser, "compounded by a version of the game that allows free adventuring before players upgrade to a members account," describing the game as "an unsurprising success."

A three-year study published by Brunel University in March 2006 claims that playing RuneScape can be beneficial to players. The study concluded that the nature of games like RuneScape can teach teenagers vital skills that they will need as they enter the labour market, including working hard to achieve goals. An article on Twitchguru in March 2007 claims the opposite, that the skills and lessons learned in RuneScape are not suitable for children.

The Yahoo! Buzz Log stated in May 2006 that, "while it may not be as easy on the eyes as some other popular online RPG games, like World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, or EverQuest, RuneScape is still a lot better way to kill time than pushing around cells in a spreadsheet."

In June 2009, RuneScape was named Best Desktop Game at the Seventh Annual Duke's Choice Awards, which recognise "the year's most influential Java technology-based applications" and "highlight the efforts of the Java developer community and the innovative applications they create".

A reasonable portion of the gaming community mocks or makes fun of RuneScape due to its outdated graphics, which are not state of the art for most contemporary online games today. However, a noticeable effect has been observed in that much of the jeering has quelled significantly after the release of Runescape in HD.

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