Jagex unveils new website and identity for RuneScape
|NEWS - VIDEOGAME NEWS|
WoW. Runescape's leading the way these days...
RuneScape, developed by Cambridge based Jagex Games Studio, is currently one of the fastest growing MMORPG communities providing a non-stop service to over 180 million customers.So far, Jagex seems to have shown that the free-to-play model can rival and beat other large paid subscription sites such as earlier World of Warcraft games developed by Blizzard.
However, despite their success one wonders whether their free model will be able to compete with the might of new services such as Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR); currently in its invitational beta testing trials, but due for mass launch soon?
The UK online games studio seems ready with a response to capitalise on the demand by investing heavily in all areas of service and product development. Jagex has rapidly expanding customer services to meet the demand, through to recruiting teams of coders, artist modellers, web developers and of course interaction designers, writers and other forms of content developers.
As part of the continued push for RuneScape the new website provides a much more engaging experience; with rich animation throughout, which, in parts, are comparable to projects to come from the larger players such as Blizzard or Lucasarts.
Along with a new look, the website also contains better access to the main user features and delivers access to the community manual and content Wiki. The RuneScape Wiki manual has now been moved over to the new community-editable wiki service allowing members to easily contribute.
Furthermore, the Events Section now provides an entirely new section devoted to the organisation and promotion of featured events. Jagex’s Community Engagement Team, clans and individual members will now be able to post details on the events feed, before placing locative pins throughout the events map - so as to direct prospective attendees.
Jagex is also fully embracing social networking with RuneScape, with Facebook at the heart of its registration process. By providing a quick and easy setup method RuneScape provides a competitive model to all 500 million of Facebook's perceived database, giving ‘traditional’ Facebook games developers such as Zynga something to think about. After all, Facebook has become the biggest battle grounds for all manner of companies to fight for the sale of their virtual goods. According to a CNET report, in 2010 worldwide sales of virtual goods topped $7.3 billion USD. So there’s more than good reason to provide solid integration with Zuckerberg’s social monster.
For those players/fans who just can’t be without knowing what’s hot in RuneScape, Jagex has given prominence to news, media and other social networking activity feeds on the homepage.
However, trying to access the website from the likes of an Apple iPad or iPhone will only result in disappointment. The sites eye-catching animation - especially that of the homepage - relies on Adobe’s could-be-days-are-numbered Flash browser plugin, as opposed to the HTML5 format that so many sites are now opting for. But silver linings are present - the game itself runs effectively on Windows or Mac OSX.
Being a new website as of writing this, users may find that some pages are conspicuous by their absence such as the system requirements page. But those are the joys of running a massive website infrastructure.
The new website will certainly provide a heady brew of content for existing subscribers and attract many more to one of the world’s most popular MMOs. If you have ever seen the WoW spoof by the irreverent Southpark team, I’m sure your thinking that there’s a lot of very lonely people going to be spending even more time on their own playing with themselves. Well, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
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