On paper the Hero Pass sounded like a solid concept to get players more involved with specific in-game content that may need a boost to engagement. This isn’t a new idea, of course; when a game, particularly an MMORPG, needs a certain number of participants to run content, there must be a way to encourage players to return to it once they’ve completed it.
For instance, take Final Fantasy XIV’s Wondrous Tales as an example of this. However, the implementation of RuneScape’s Hero Pass has been disastrous. In fact, if online posts are taken at face value, players are canceling their membership en masse due to the Hero Pass update specifically.
Upon and ever since the release, RuneScape’s various social media platforms have been flooded with people upset at the update, disappointed that it is not what it was made out to be, and stating that they’ve canceled their membership. Even players of ten years or more are leaving the game. The official news post on Reddit regarding Hero Pass is full of disappointed players.
This is due to the fact that lately, many updates have been designed to produce a feeling of ‘FOMO’ (also known as Fear of Missing Out) in players. If you do not participate now, you will never get the item/ You’ll need to spend money during this microtransaction-riddled promotion, or miss out forever, and even the latest skill, Necromancy suffered this fate with the announcement that its best XP method was to receive a significant nerf.
Hero Pass was promised to be an update that wouldn’t be yet another ‘FOMO‘ method to force players to play. In fact, during the announcement stream Mod Jack repeatedly claimed that the introduction of Hero Pass and removal of Daily Challenges would decrease players’ feelings of ‘FOMO.’ Only to have a direct quote from Jagex stating the opposite is true.
“We currently do not have firm plans on making all Hero Pass rewards available in the future, so if you have a particular reward you’re looking for, you may want to ensure you earn it during the Hero Pass before it ends.”Jagex, September 4, 2023
On top of the fact that Jagex misled the community, various elements of Hero Pass seem like the implementation was ill-thought-out and make it feel like a cash grab.
Here are some of the current issues players are experiencing with Hero Pass as of the time of writing.
- Can not open the interface whilst interacting with the game world during combat. Skilling has been hotfixed.
- Frequent popups that distract from gameplay.
- Inability to block 99/120 level Skills.
- Financially profiting off players feelings of ‘FOMO‘.
- Inability to hide or turn off elements of the Hero Pass, such as audio alerts and interuptions.
- Inability to choose specific tasks.
- Consistently takes longer to complete Hero Pass tasks than it did Daily Challenges.
- Players have the option to pay real-world money to skip to the end of the challenges which makes the whole Hero Pass feel like a cash grab.
One Reddit user, TheRossUK, summarizes what many players are feeling in a succinct manner.
Jagex mods have been replying to the complaints of the player base and do seem willing to listen. This shows that the communication and transparency illustrated from the road to Necromancy and beyond still exists. However, whether or not the actual developers were the ones behind the idea or just the ones in charge of its implementation, the goodwill between player and mod has degraded faster than Sirenic armour and may be just as permanent. It remains to be seen how Hero Pass will be adjusted to better meet the needs of the players, as opposed to company profits, but for now, with the Hero Pass update and the Necromancy XP nerf going live, it has not been a good week for the RuneScape community.
Prima Games reached out to Jagex for comment, but, at the time of publication, has yet to receive a response.