If you have heard the news about RuneScape 3, you fall into one of two camps. You’re either really excited and cannot wait for this new version of one of your favorite games or you really don’t see what the fuss is all about. Runescape 3 is coming this summer to web browsers and represents a huge update in the popular massively multiplayer role-playing game series.It’s possible there is a third category for those who are interested but have played the game only once or twice. I easily fall into the first category, and I think the announcement of RuneScape 3 isn’t important because it represents a new version of a long-running and very successful browser-based title; it’s important because it will represent a massive shift in mobile technology and in how people perceive MMO gaming on a mobile device.But the most significant change is that it is moving from running in Java to HTML5, something that potentially allows developer Jagex to look beyond desktop and laptop PCs to smartphones and tablets.
Indeed, when Runescape 3 goes live over the coming weeks it will work on some Android devices already. It won’t be suitable for iPad or iPhone, however. Even though the technology is potentially compatible with iOS browsers, the user interface will need work to provide an experience worth having.
First, what is RuneScape 3? Essentially, it’s a relaunch or re-do of the current game, concentrating on better graphics, sound, and experience customization. Jagex will achieve this (if it works, of course) by utilizing HTML5 and WebGL, which will not only help improve performance but allow the game to be enjoyed on tablets.
RuneScape 3 will be fantastic for the desktop browser experience; this much I know. ‘Scapers have seen just how many improvements have been made to the game in just the last few years while performance has generally gone up. The current RuneScape version utilizes Java, however, something that has set more than a few gamers’ teeth on edge. Java is known for having security issues, even prompting Homeland Security to warn us to delete the installation!
Having said that, I think there is one main reason that RuneScape 3 — running on a tablet — is going to be monumental. If Jagex pulls this off, mobile fanatics like yours truly will finally have a major, known AAA MMO to show to those who just don’t believe that mobile gaming is that powerful. As it is now, I come across opposition to the idea of mobile gaming based simply on the fact that mobile gaming is not standard PC gaming. Ask a console player about mobile and the reaction is usually more confused. “Oh, you mean like an iPhone?” is a typical response.