Seasonal events in RuneScape have always been something that players look forward to and enjoy. It can be a nice break from the daily RuneScape grind and provides some fun cosmetic items. This year, however, both RuneScape’s and Old School RuneScape’s Halloween events have been a letdown, and both game communities are unhappy and dissatisfied with both events.
For RuneScape, it boils down to back-to-back disappointments from Jagex. The Hero Pass and the controversy surrounding it was exhausting, and the final result with Jagex completely removing it from the game made it seem that they at least understood the widespread disapproval of the microtransactions, pay-to-win mechanics, and preying on the real sense of permanently missing out on an item.
Shortly after, RuneScape released Pumpkin Pete’s Halloween Event which has turned out to be a complete mess and a step backwards. The item rewards from the event are desirable, but the chances of actually obtaining them through gameplay, even if you’re spending a significant portion of your time doing Pumpkin Parties, are very low. There’s also an option to obtain the items via a concurrent microtransactional promotion, showing that Jagex hasn’t learned anything and continues to provide content that pushes players towards paying additional money for items, as opposed to providing an enjoyable experience for the community themselves; it’s tone deaf and almost laughable if it wasn’t for the fact that the company seems to be milking the game that many players have loved since childhood, for all its worth.
There’s also no story element or quest component to the event, rather, it is simply a skilling-based event. Skilling has a chance to spawn a Smashing Pumpkin which can – but probably won’t – reward you with a cool Halloween cosmetic. Of course, you can attend an hourly pumpkin party to get some extra smashes in, but after a few of those, there’s a strong chance that you would rather smash your head against the keyboard.
Gone are the days of a fun little story or quest that would award the player the event items for participating alone or continuing a slight amount post-completion. Players who have been around for a long time likely remember holiday events fondly, but now it seems the spirit of RuneScape has been destroyed in favor of microtransactions.
It is a common response when someone complains about RuneScape online for Old School RuneScape players to rush in, stating that they don’t have these problems and that RS3 players should play OSRS instead. Of course, there are good reasons for this, and it is no surprise that Old School RuneScape has a larger, more active player base. Sadly though, this year they’ve also messed up their Halloween event. This is out of character for Old School RuneScape, and it’s been a hit to the community which often seemed to base themselves on being the better version of RuneScape with the better team.
This year, Old School RuneScape’s Halloween event is a rehash of the previous event in 2022. The team knew that this would be an unpopular choice, so they began the news piece with the information below.
We want to be upfront here, this year’s event is largely the same as last year’s well-received trick-or-treating community event. We know that’s going to disappoint a lot of you who look forward to these small slices of silly seasonal spookiness.
The reason is simple: Varlamore is shaping up to be Old School’s biggest launch to date and with Leagues IV on the horizon, plus other upcoming QOL changes to content like the Chambers of Xeric, we’ve made the decision to prioritise development of these bigger projects. Whilst you’ll be replaying last year’s event, we hope you understand our reasoning (even if you may disagree with the decision) and we hope that you’ll appreciate the tweaks to the community goal and enjoy the new cosmetic rewards!
Rest assured our long-term plan is to continue with the short story-driven holiday events that are so core to Old School.Jagex, October 18, 2023
This announcement left the community divided as the Old School RuneScape team has a lot of goodwill due to the way that they handle the game and respect the player base. So, in return, the player base can at least attempt to empathize with the developers lacking the time to dedicate towards a new Halloween event. Of course, in an ideal world, this should not be something that ever happens.
But many people are sad to see that it’s just a copy of the previous years. One cannot overstate how much the RuneScape community looks forward to these events, so having the same event repeated is a blow. It also seems a little out of touch to say that the previous year’s event was well-received when a large portion of the community didn’t enjoy the trick-or-treat mechanic. It’s not something that many people were looking forward to repeating.
It’s even more upsetting for players upset about RuneScape’s microtransaction-riddled Halloween event who jumped into Old School RuneScape to experience Halloween there, only to be left with a rehashed event from the previous years. It’s not a good year for Halloween in RuneScape.
So, where does Jagex go from here? For Old School RuneScape at least, the feedback will be received and next year will undoubtedly be an improvement. They stated that it was not an easy decision, and community feedback indicates that it was not the correct decision. A reminder that seasonal events are part of the core community experience in RuneScape should be enough to make sure that the next Halloween event will be better. I wouldn’t doubt that.
There was a possibility that Jagex would reuse a much older Christmas event for Old School RuneScape this year, and they have asked for community thoughts. After the reception to Halloween though, plans may be adjusted. In the end, the Old School RuneScape team has the game’s best interests at heart, and we can trust that they will take the feedback on board and improve in all available capacities.
RuneScape is a completely different story, and it’s hard to have the same optimism for Jagex changing the way that they handle the game. For many years now, Jagex has implemented changes that the community has openly complained about, resulting in them being back slightly. So, it’s a slight improvement but something that still exists. There’s been a steep decline in the game that has been monetized beyond all recognition, and for many, Hero Pass was the point of no return. It may have been removed, but the reasoning behind it has not. Hero Pass’s frustrating introduction into the game and the rushed removal is still hot on everyone’s minds, and to release an event filled with microtransactions so soon after the recent controversy feels like a kick in the teeth. The same elements are all here, and it prays on the same feelings of ‘FOMO’ and allows players to pay instead. I have to give credit where credit is due and say that Jagex did listen to feedback and adjust the H’oddment rate.
After looking at the data and your feedback, we’re going to be buffing the amount of H’oddments players receive from smashing pumpkins today. Every pumpkin smashed will now provide 25 H’oddments, alongside any other rewards stashed within. This should help Regular and Irons pick up some items from the H’oddments store.Jagex, October 18, 2023
But this should have been thought about at launch. The community shouldn’t have to state that the rates are unfair and that players will literally have to play an unhealthy amount every single day for a chance at obtaining all of the items.
It’s hard to say if RuneScape will take on this feedback and adjust how they run the game accordingly. Is it possible that Jagex will listen and that the next seasonal event in RuneScape will have a story or quest element? Sure! I can truly see that happening, and it would be great to see. It would do wonders to help mend some of the damage. But can I see RuneScape lighten up on the obnoxious microtransaction push that drowns players from the moment they log into the game? No. I cannot see that changing.
As long as it stays the same, Jagex is going to continue this same cycle between players and company in a crocodile death roll of sorts, until one of them eventually drowns. And it won’t be the players, as even if RuneScape shuts down, there are plenty of other games out there. It makes you wonder why Jagex isn’t nurturing their successful game rather than seemingly running it into the dirt. As someone who started their account back in RuneScape Classic, it is sad to see it come to this.