Free-to-play, also known as F2P, is the free version of RuneScape. Players who play the free version are known as "free players", "F2Ps", or "non-members".
The free part of RuneScape is described by Jagex as being a sample version of the game, while members is considered the full version. There is no limit to the amount of time players are able to continue playing for free, although free players are only able to enjoy about 10% of everything RuneScape has to offer. Free players can upgrade and become a member at any time by paying a monthly fee, granting access to more skills, locations, items, etc. Free-to-play is recommended if one rarely plays RuneScape (less than two days a week). Formerly, the free-to-play version of RuneScape was its only form, prior to the introduction of members and the subsequent creation of RuneScape 2. The pay-to-play servers were intended by Jagex to benefit all of the RuneScape community.
With respect to gameplay, the majority of new updates within RuneScape are restricted to pay-to-play members with the exception of updates concerning graphics or the addition of new servers. The free version of RuneScape has remained essentially unchanged since the introduction of members' servers and the 3-D RuneScape 2. The free-to-play community has received a small number of gameplay additions that fall outside of those areas, however, including (but not limited to):
- 2 new new quests (Rune Mysteries and Learning the Ropes)
- A new skill as a direct result of said quest (Runecrafting), albeit in a more limited form than members
- The Tutorial Island (not available anymore)
- The Stronghold of Security
- The Duel Arena
- The Bounty Hunter arena
- The Clan Wars arena
- The Grand Exchange
- The dual update of the Misthalin Training Centre of Excellence and Stronghold of Player Safety
- The Fist of Guthix minigame and related items.
- RuneScape High Detail
- The Runecrafting Guild and related items.
This is in contrast with the near-weekly updates given to members, however.
In more recent months with the removal of full PvP in the wilderness there has been a boost in F2P updates including: Duel Arena (Al Kharid), Bounty Hunter (Wild - PK replacement), Clan Wars (Wild - PK replacement), and Fist of Guthix. This boost is a reaction due to the drop in the number of players leaving due to the removal of full PvP in the wilderness. In addition to the differences described above, the majority of outside-of-game features (such as the official RuneScape forums) are open to members only. More recently, Jagex has changed access to RuneScape Classic, making it members-only.
Listed below are some of the advantages non-members have over members.
No cost (only in time)Edit
Players are not required to pay, nor is there a cut-off period. Free-to-play now acts as a demo to most players: some may find they do not enjoy the game, and are able to leave without losing money. In addition, F2P players are not pressured by the fact that they will lose all of their member-only skills and items if they fail to make the monthly payment. Also others may use the free-to-play version to learn the basic skills of the game before launching themselves into membership or may even play as a free player without ever getting membership.
As restricted as the play is, players are able to devote more time to social or fun activities. That is, free players can relax, not feeling as if they are wasting in-game time (and the money spent in order to get this time) they could use to train, make money, or do quests. In addition, most quests or monsters in free-to-play are more moderate compared to exigent members-only monsters and quests, allowing new players to easily and gradually get a handle on the game.
Greater sense of achievementEdit
Because skills are generally easier to train on members, some players consider getting a certain goal on the free version to be a more prominent achievement than getting it on members.
Less chance of deathEdit
Monsters in the free-to-play world are generally not as powerful as monsters found in member worlds. An example being dragons, of which only one (Elvarg) appears anywhere in the free-to-play world, while powerful and deadly dragons can be found throughout the wilderness and other areas in member worlds. Additionally, free players do not have to worry about taking poison or disease, which can occasionally weaken or even kill high-levelled members without them realising.
Starting 10 December, 2007, Jagex has released some mini-games to the Free-to-play environment. These games include;
- Duel arena (Al Kharid)
- Bounty Hunter (Wild - PK replacement)
- Clan Wars (Wild - PK replacement)
- Fist of Guthix
- The Great Orb Project
These games, replacing old installations in basic gameplay, or extending the free-to-play reach into the members world, have been released to free players as another insight to the world of members. The duel arena, previously a key focal point for the members community, was decreased in its outputting abilities as stake limits were put in place. After the opening of the new duel arena beneath this establishment, the arena's gates were released to the free-to-play environment.
Despite the advantages of free play, there are numerous disadvantages, which Jagex has no intention of addressing.
Smaller world areaEdit
The world which free players have access to is very small compared to what members maintain. Free players have access to 30% of RuneScape, whereas members have access to the entire world, including areas developed throughout their membership.
No Capes of AccomplishmentEdit
Free players can train skills to 99, but cannot buy any Capes of Accomplishment. These capes were made for members to display their mastering of a skill, thus their accomplishments go unseen.
Limited access to skillsEdit
Free players have access to 15 skills whereas members have access to 24 skills in total. Free players also have limited access to the few skills available to them. For example, free players cannot cut maple trees, (before the addition of Woodcutting Island) whereas members can (although maple logs can be still be bought and burned in free-to-play servers). This limits the ability of free players to increase their level, thus inhibiting their enjoyment of the game through repetitive tasks of the same item, quickly losing the interest of potential skill trainers.
Free players have access to less than 1,000 items, where as members have access to over 8,000. In addition, many of the items members can access are more powerful, have unique abilities, are more valuable, or a combination of all three. Members items in free worlds are shown as Members objects and cannot be traded or wielded until moved to a member’s server.
Free players cannot use as many weapons or as much armour as members can. For example, the highest armour free players can wear is Rune armour, while members have access to more advanced equipment, such as Dragon armour and Barrows equipment. This dramatically changes the battlefields for free players as they have less access to quick kills (poison and ancient spells) and weaker supplies for skill training.
To unlock some emotes you need to have unlocked an amount of music that is only available to members.
Free players do not have access to as many locations which allow for fast levelling of skills/combat. In addition, the free worlds are often crowded, and players often have more competition for monster and item respawns. Also, for most skills, there are fewer methods that allow training. For example, training prayer on members is about 20 times faster (given the right resources).
Lower maximum combat levelEdit
When Summoning was released in January 2008, free-to-play players continued to have a maximum combat level of 126, whereas members can train up to level 138 combat. This is because Summoning is members only (As of January 12 2008) and adds to combat as well, calculated similarly to the prayer skill. However, the raised combat level due to Summoning will not appear in free-to-play worlds.
Less equality in the battlefieldEdit
Members' servers allow much variation between each combat class. F2P is greatly warrior-based. Rangers do not have access to rune ammunition nor crossbows above the style of bronze, and magicians have very little damage potential and the only other non-damage spell used in combat is "Bind" and limited curse spells. This allows less variation in the battlefield and gives F2P players a better option of picking Melee rather than the others.
Less item storage spaceEdit
Free players have a 88-item maximum in their banks, which is far less than the bank space that members receive. Additionally, members can store numerous items in their player owned homes, releasing tension on their bank load and making a nice retreat from normal game play.
The free game is rarely updated. There have been very few new free-to-play quests or areas released since the launch of the pay-to-play version of RuneScape (the exceptions listed above). Generally, the only updates which affect non-members are interface, music, graphics updates, and consistent additions of Free-to-play servers. Usually, the only other updates involve the security and safety of players' accounts. Holiday items and other items are released after updates during Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and April Fool's day for free players. Free players have access to all of these items with the exception being the wintumber tree that was released in conjunction with the reindeer hat during Christmas '06.
The free game also has large advertisements across the top of the page above the java player. While the majority of these are not exceedingly irritating, some of the ads flash and have annoying sounds that cannot be turned off. The ads can also cause a problem as far as spyware is concerned and some anti-spyware programs often flag the RuneScape ad cookies for deletion, sometimes trying to block the RuneScape ad server, which is a violation of the rule that forbids ad blockers. To prevent crazy overrides with these ads and their capability of lagging the player’s game play, you can right-click the ad, turning the repetitive actions off.
Due in part to the larger crowds, Free-to-Play is prone to contain more scammers and general rule-breakers. Most notable of these are the macro users: players using programs to repeat specific tasks. This is especially common at areas containing Yew Trees. Most scammers make accounts with long or hard to remember user names (example: aoq93km1pka7g) This username requires letters from different parts of the keyboard. So that if he/she ever scams the scammed player would not remember the username to report. Care should be taken around suspicious players in free worlds, for this reason. (However, Due to the Update:Trade and Drop Changes update, Macroer numbers have been severely cut and don't pose as much a threat and with trade restrictions Scammers have become much less common.)
Although the same set of rules apply to members and non members alike, recent evidence including an announcement by Jagex have indicated that they are focusing their resources to catch rule-breakers in pay-to-play worlds. This means that while free-to-play scammers are not immune to prosecution, they are less likely to come under Jagex's eye.
Despite these substratum assumptions as to Jagex's real intentions on fighting in-game crime, there are no real cases to prove Jagex ignores free players in their reviews. Jagex has revealed many times the thousands of accounts banned, free-to-play and pay-to-play alike, thus free players should always take caution while playing and should often refresh themselves on the rules of conduct (as they're due to change).
No more questsEdit
Although there are 19 free quests, there will be no more updates for anymore free quests, as members get and average of 1-2 quests every 2 months.
- Free-to-play friend and ignore lists can hold 200 people. Pay-to-play friend lists can hold 200 people, but the ignore list still can hold 100 people.
- Free players cannot post in the Jagex official forums, unless they have a total XP of over 5,000,000
- Free players can only vote in some polls.