RuneScape is a fantasy MMORPG that was around since 2001 and is still being developed – its rereleased version from 2013 known as Old School RuneScape receives regular updates to keep players engaged and it does a pretty good job at this.
However, for a variety of reasons the development team occasionally decides to make a new version of the game to meet modern standards – the most recent version, currently known as RuneScape 3, is being developed alongside the Old School one, although it’s a separate title.
Naturally, having two different RuneScape games raises some questions – which one you should play? Which is the better game? What are the differences between the two?
Today, we’ll try to briefly go through the most important differences you should know before diving into the fantasy world of RuneScape. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what makes each of the two games stand out when compared to the other.
Let’s start with what you see when you enter the game. The difference in visual styles is clear and instantly noticeable and there’s no room for arguments – RuneScape 3 has more advanced graphics and is more polished. It has more details, better lighting, and visible shadows. The textures have higher resolution and the world is also rendered at a larger distance which creates a more immersive experience.
With that being said, some people may still prefer the look of the original, but that’s a matter of personal preferences.
There is also a small catch. Although RuneScape 3 looks more polished in general, it’s sometimes inconsistent – different parts of the world are updated to the new visual style at different rates. What that means is that the areas that are less popular are often given lower priority which results in them being updated much later – if at all. So, you have some areas that look fresh and exciting, and then you have some areas that don’t look too much different from the original RuneScape. Old School RuneScape, on the other hand, looks more outdated, but it looks more or less the same everywhere. It’s more consistent, which, ironically, may result in a more pleasant experience.
The difference in visual styles makes Old School RuneScape a potentially better game to play if you’re on a low-end system, but due to poor optimization, you’ll need a quite powerful PC to run the games at stable 60 FPS anyway. It’s also an important factor to consider for mobile players – RuneScape 3 requires much more storage space.
When comparing the available content in OSRS vs RS3, there’s not much to say – RuneScape 3 is far ahead and it’s not even close. Although both games are updated regularly, the updates for Old School RuneScape are polled, which means that the update must be approved by the majority of the players before it goes live – and that slows things down quite a bit.
RS3 is clearly the more loved child of the two in that regard, so if you’re looking for a game that will offer you more stuff to experience throughout your journey, you should definitely go for RS3.
Most of the Old School RuneScape quests are available in RuneScape 3, although some were changed to make things more exciting for the players. With that being said, RS3 has a lot more quests than OSRS and they’re of very high quality – for some players, quests are the best part of RS3. Because players can get more RS3 Gold in Runescape 3.
To add to that, a lot of RS3 quests are voiced, which adds an extra layer of immersion to the game.
Combat is most likely one of the biggest differences between RuneScape 3 and Old School Runescape – the latter is much simpler in that regard. RuneScape 3 has more interactive combat where you actually need to press a lot of different buttons to perform skills and other actions. You need to pay attention to what’s going on on the screen and act accordingly while in Old School everything is more or less automated and doesn’t leave too much room for executing more advanced strategies.
Choosing the best RuneScape game based on the combat system alone wouldn’t be fair as both approaches have their pros and cons – it’s up to you to choose between a more simplified style or the one that gives more freedom and customization.
PvP and PvM
RuneScape 3 does Player vs Monsters much better than Old School RuneScape. There’s more content and more variety, and the improved combat also plays a huge role in that. There’s more to do and more to experience. It’s less grindy and generally speaking more enjoyable.
PvP, on the other hand, is a completely different story – here OSRS is the clear winner. Old School RuneScape has a much more active PvP community which makes it easier to pick fights. More importantly, however, the reason why PvP here is considered better is, ironically, what makes PvM better in RS3 – the new combat system. It’s just not suited for PvP play, so OSRS with its simpler combat has the upper hand here.
Leveling and skilling are much faster in RuneScape 3 which makes it a more casual-friendly title. Old School Runescape requires much more time and patience to play and achieve satisfying results. OSRS is not called old school for no reason, because that’s how most of the old MMORPGs were back in the day – grindy to the point of being sometimes considered a second job. It’s a much slower game that requires players to be more careful and considerate when making choices as they may affect their gameplay. A bad choice may directly translate to having a much more difficult time when compared to the rest of the players, and it will stay that way for a while until you fix your mistakes.
With that being said, if you have a lot of time to spare on a video game, you’ll probably enjoy Old School RuneScape more, as everything you achieve there feels much more meaningful. On the other hand, if you’re more of a casual gamer, RS3 will probably suit your needs better.
This one’s quite interesting. One would’ve thought that a newer game should have more players because it’s fresh and makes everything exciting again, so more players should be interested in starting to play. However, it’s not the case – Old School RuneScape easily beats RS3 in this department.
This could probably be explained by the fact that people aren’t eager to switch – they already invested hundreds if not thousands of hours into their Old School RuneScape accounts so why would they want to scrap all of that and start over? On top of that, RuneScape is quite an old game and looks outdated, even in the RS3 version, so it’s extremely difficult for the company to grab the attention of new players. Both games rely mostly on the well-established community of veterans who were playing RS for years which could explain why Old School RuneScape boasts a bigger playerbase.
Microtransactions also set the two games apart from one another. While microtransactions are present in both games, they are much more common in RS3. Old School RuneScape’s microtransactions are limited to the so-called bonds that can be used to extend your premium membership. Bonds can be traded with other players like normal items, which means you can buy them for the in-game currency, which is called OSRS Gold, so it’s hardly considered pay-to-win.
RuneScape 3, on the other hand, has a variety of microtransactions available. While people argue if the game is pay-to-win or not, it undoubtedly falls into the pay-to-progress-faster category, which is not something everyone’s happy about. Most importantly, some convenience options are locked behind microtransactions, namely storage space, presets, or action bars. You don’t need those to enjoy the game, but after a while, it becomes comparable to eating soup with a fork – you can do that, but why would you?
To add to that, there are numerous costume options available as microtransactions in RuneScape 3 and some people consider them to be distractive and immersion-breaking, but on the other hand, they allow you to customize your character to a degree that’s not achievable in OSRS.
RuneScape 3 and Old School RuneScape became so different that it’s hard to recommend one game over the other. They share some commonalities but the differences are apparent and set the two games apart from one another, which makes the final choice more of a personal preference rather than the objective truth.
Both games have their own unique features that people may find essential to be able to enjoy the experience. RS3 is a more casual-friendly modern take on the classic MMORPG, while OSRS provides players with a more challenging game that stays true to the old-school MMO formula.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of what are the differences between RuneScape 3 and Old School RuneScape, which should make the choice easier. Pick the one you think suits your needs best and enjoy your time.