There is a total of 26 skills in RuneScape

To begin with, the free player map is actually quite large and includes several different areas such as cities, desert regions, swamps, forests, mountains and the wilderness. There are mines and underground dungeons to also explore and train in. The graphics are good, considering it’s all in a browser based Java system and what’s better is that the Jagex team are constantly upgrading parts of the game to make it look even better. There is currently the intention to move the game to HTML5 so the game will run smoother and with additional capacity for graphical improvements. The primary means of travel in the game is running about but as your magic level increases you’ll be able to teleport using runes, alternatively, if you visit and unlock them you can get access to ‘lodestones’ that allow you free travel to major areas.

Canoes have also become available for free players where you can travel up one large river to various points, though you have to make the canoe yourself. The free player map does not have too many high leveled creatures out to kill you so everything’s quite safe; you need to travel to specific places to find the assortment of high leveled monsters but, especially at lower leveled, several creatures will still attack you. Rather than force new players to muddle through an elaborate and text-heavy tutorial island as in past versions, RuneScape starts off with a voiced cutscene. Players are given a quick demo of one chosen combat style (Melee, Magic, or Ranged) before being dropped into Burthorpe, which has been redesigned as a training area for new characters. NPCs here will explain how each of the game’s skills works and set you tasks to get you started. Existing players logging in for the first time since the update will see a cutscene introducing the story behind the Sixth age of RuneScape gold, with the gods Zamorak and Saradomin returning to raise armies and do battle.

Every week, players will be asked to respond to some new disaster or event. The way in which they respond – the tasks they complete, the gods they favour, and the votes they cast on the game’s community site – will then be pored over by Jagex, who will update the game in the following weeks to reflect the actions of players. The structure of the game’s narrative will focus on this war between the gods. “We’re allowing ourselves to use it to tell more episodic stories,” Mansell says. “We’re going to have one central storyline, and every piece of content we do will relate to that story thread.” “It means that narrative isn’t something that’s just associated with quests,” Mark Ogilvie continues. “It’s associated with everything you do. That’s exciting. I’m not aware of a game that has given players that level of power.”

Runescape is the grandaddy of browser-based MMORPGs. First released in 2001, this game is one of the oldest MMO games around and for a 14-year-old title, it still has a lot to offer. Although the graphics are pretty bad, the game itself is very interesting and fun. The fact that Runescape (RS) has been going strong for such a long time is a testament to its highly addictive quality. If you can stomach the graphics, Runescape is well worth playing. This adds a welcome complexity to the game for those who enjoy making money without grinding. In most MMOs you have skills – things you can do in the game to level up your character and advance your skills. In some games they are called professions (WoW) where you can mine, cook, make items, smith items and produce other items.

Skills in RuneScape include: Attack, Strength, Mining, Dungeonneering, Smithing, Cooking, Woodcutting and Summoning. There is a total of 26 skills in RuneScape and all can be leveled up to 99 (dungeonnering can go to 120) and with each level, you unlock something new – be it new food, weapons, armours, axes, pets and more. With the amount of skills, there is years and years of content that you can delve into and it feels more fleshed out and detailed compared to some skills – such as the skills in WoW

While Runescape may lack the impressive, cutting-edge graphics which appeal so strongly to the gaming community, it remains the only MMORPG I have experienced which tries to continually allow players to influence the game around them, keeping them further in the loop with the ‘Dev Diaries’ and update archives.

Where RuneScape shines is simple accessibility

On the surface, RuneScape doesn’t appear to offer much more than a hundred other fantasy-themed RPGs. Beyond its pleasant visuals and orchestral music (newly recorded for RuneScape 3), there’s nothing to shout about narratively, with a generic “monsters invading” set-up. Nor does the questing system, with its familiar list of kill/craft/collect objectives, even attempt to break the mould. Where RuneScape shines is simple accessibility, allowing players to continue their adventure through web browsers. The brevity of solo missions helps, forgiving some of the repetition, and a robust, friendly player community makes exploring the world a joy. It’s easy to see why devoted users invest so much in it. However, for RuneScape neophytes such as myself, a lot of it will feel stilted. Mouse-clicking to move anywhere is slow, and combat feels restrained and boring.

The original RuneScape was crude even for its day, with a world that barely qualified as 3-D, no sound effects, and very little to do but grind skills for months on end. Writing the game in Java presented some pretty serious graphical limitations but was ultimately a huge boon for developer Jagex as accessibility through a web browser helped the game’s initial explosion in popularity. The first major engine overhaul came with 2004’s RuneScape 2 beta, which replaced the 2-D monster sprites, and characters with basic animated 3-D models and produced new graphics for practically every object in the game. RuneScape Gold online for sale still looked a generation behind the big industry players, but for the first time it was a fully 3-D MMO.

“On one level, it’s been great,” says Jagex CEO Mark Gerhard, who has been with the company since 2009. “When your friend told you [about RuneScape] it was like ‘wow, I’ve just discovered something’. Perhaps that was a better moment than if you’d approached it cynically because it had been advertised to you – I don’t know. But I think we missed out a bit, as an organization, to get players to understand what we’re passionate about and the kind of experiences we want to give them.” In truth, there are as many RuneScapes as there are people who have played it. For many, it was the free MMO that they played on the lunchroom computers at school; for others, it is one of the most hardcore levelling challenges out there. Ultimately, the return from RuneScape reflects the effort players put in. A casual half-hour is a satisfying distraction, while hardcore commitment will reveal hidden depths beyond clicking enemies to death.

If its charms fail to grab you though, you’ll be wondering what the fuss was about. At the center and focus of last Summer’s changes (and subsequently the first to be made) was the shift to an HTML5 game client. With the new client, Runescape’s performance and aesthetic are massively improved and appear pristine. Environment textures are now more complex and object-specific. Lighting and shadows are now dynamic, meaning that they play off-of the environment and move, relative to the player’s position, in a more realistic manner than before. Weather effects (in relevant regions such as Draynor Village) have been intensified and made more complex and realistic. So, how did it go?

Now that I’ve gone and made this event sound cool, time to bring you out of the cave. They somehow made it boring as hell. The event boils down to woodcutting, mining and fishing for hours and hours. You just click on a resource, wait for it to deplete, then move to the next one. Repeat for hours. And hours. It is boring and tedious, just like Runescape has always been.

Overall the update improves the graphics to late PlayStation 1 graphical standards, and earlier updates brought the gameplay up to the standards of decade-old games. The Runescape 3 update offers little to no reason to play the game and I suggest avoiding it unless you have a nostalgia kick.

The experience of playing FIFA 16 Ultimate Team feels much like it did last year

When the generally super-positive reviews of Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 started hitting the net, it was hard to see – given the relatively limited list of improvements that EA were touting – quite how Buy FIFA 16 Coins had any real chance of defeating Konami’s franchise this time around. Despite impressing in some areas though, PES contained some pretty large flaws – our review can be seen here – and for our money, that’s left the door ajar somewhat for FIFA to try to stay ahead. Surprisingly for EA though, they haven’t really made a great deal of noise about the biggest improvements that this year’s game contains. They’ve shouted from the rooftops about the limited and somewhat disappointing Draft Mode in Ultimate Team and they’ve caused a million misogynists to gnash their teeth and throw inexcusable insults (although it doesn’t take much with idiots like that) by including a limited selection of women’s teams.

They’ve also mentioned changes to the way things work when you’re on the back foot and defending your goal, but they’ve only really talked about “confidence in defending” as an afterthought. Offline from the AI particularly the game plays extremely nicely at times. It is not faster, fits flow and assaulting needs a lot more believed to open up a defence, rather than a mindless lofted through ball. FIFA 16 feels positionally sound, more considered and more balanced. AI covering and marking has been a string weakness, so to find it working so easily with only a years is quite satisfying. Defensemen they intercept mark space, plus they monitor back much more rapid when possession turns over.

“How would EA Sports come up with the capital to invest in these advancements,” you ask? Well, you can sink your annual salary into FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) in even more ways this year. You know the deal here. You can earn in-game currency to purchase card packs and enhance your team with better players and upgrades. For most people, using the in-game currency is perfectly fine. Personally, I find Ultimate Team to be more rewarding than Career Mode (though the addition of Player Training is nice) and am happy to spend the majority of my time chipping away at my club. Or, you can toss a few bucks (or pounds) to get those precious packs instantly. I’m not going to denounce this tradeoff, clearly there are plenty of players who see value in this. FIFA Ultimate Team is the best part of the game so it’s nice that players have the ability to invest as much or as little of themselves and their earnings as they like.

The 12 women’s national teams are a big addition to the game. EA Sports has been a pioneer on this front, as they also featured women in EA Sports UFC. You can play with your women’s team of choice online or offline, but you can’t take one of them into career mode. That would have been interesting. Still, the ability to play with female teams in FIFA 16 is unprecedented in terms of team selection. The other huge addition to this year’s game is FIFA Ultimate Team Draft (FUT Draft). Much like Madden 16’s Draft Champions mode, FUT Draft adds another layer to the game’s options and features. Unlike Madden, FIFA already had a boatload of options to choose from. FUT Draft just makes the game an even deeper experience.

Overall, though, the experience of playing soccer in FIFA 16 Ultimate Team feels much like it did last year. The addition of online seasons is also guaranteed to be a popular one, and the head-to-head matches are smooth, presuming you have enough of a stable internet connection to handle them. Some people have griped about the new Player Exchange system, where you can swap unwanted players or items for the chance at better ones in the kind of gambling that is so popular in all kinds of mobile games right now, but since the auction house is still around, I don’t see an issue with it.

The inclusion of women’s soccer is a defining achievement for FIFA 16. And we should celebrate it. But, I don’t understand how EA thinks a half-baked Trainer mechanic, no-touch dribbling, some Ultimate Team additions, fog (yes, fog), German Bundesliga graphics, and a few other gameplay tweaks are enough to counter what Konami is doing. Without a doubt, FIFA 16 provides countless hours of fun football. Any soccer fan will find tons to enjoy here. After all, this game is your mom’s mac and cheese. It’s familiar. It’s comfortable.