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''[=RuneScape=]'' is a browser-based MedievalEuropeanFantasy {{MMORPG}} by the UK-based developer Creator/JagexGamesStudio that runs on a {{Freemium}} subscription model. The free version of the game is self-contained and can be played on its own, but subscribers gain access to separate Member servers with more content in exchange for a monthly fee. The game holds the official Guinness world record for largest free MMORPG, with over 250 million registered accounts since its initial release.

Gameplay primarily involves quests, combat (both PlayerVersusPlayer and PlayerVersusEnvironment), and LevelGrinding, along with a variety of side activities like CaptureTheFlag. ''[=RuneScape=]'' is somewhat uncommon among [=MMORPGs=] in that its quests are more elaborate than your basic TwentyBearAsses {{Fetch Quest}}s, instead focusing more on plot, puzzles, problem-solving, and {{Boss Battle}}s. New content, usually (but not always) members-only, is released on a weekly basis.

The game was originally released in January 2001 (and is now referred to as ''[=RuneScape=] Classic'') in what would now be considered a very primitive form. The full world was ''much'' smaller, containing only a few small cities. There were only six quests, one server, and two developers. ''Classic'' is still playable today, although access is restricted to subscribing members who had logged in during its limited re-opening periods. It gradually expanded until 2004, when the whole game was overhauled completely: changes were made to the game engine, the graphics, the basic game mechanics, and the content and was released as ''[=RuneScape=] 2''. Then, in July of 2013, Jagex released ''[=RuneScape=] 3'', with improved audio and a new, customizable interface and kicking off the first in a series of game-wide World Events. Jagex later rereleased ''[=RuneScape=] 2'', circa 2007, as ''Old School [=RuneScape=]'', with its own small dev team and player polled updates.

''[=RuneScape=] 3'' and ''Old School'', colloquially referred to as ''[=RS3=]'' and ''OSRS'' by players, are the two "main" versions of the game (if you were to simply say "''[=RuneScape=]''" you'd be assumed to be referring to one of these) as they both receive regular updates and, thus, have their own dedicated playerbases.

It has a series of ExpandedUniverse novels: ''Betrayal at Falador'' (2008), ''Return to Canifis'' (2011) and ''Legacy of Blood'' (2012), all written by T.S. Church. It has also spawned three [[GaidenGame spin-off games]]: "Armies of Gielinor", a multiplayer TurnBasedTactics game set during the God Wars, released through Website/FunOrb, "Chronicle: [=RuneScape=] Legends" a CollectibleCardGame, and "[=RuneScape=] Idle Adventures", an IdleGame.

''[=RuneScape=]'''s official site can be found at http://www.runescape.com/

It has spawned its own annual FanConvention known as [=RuneFest=], which has run since 2010.

A documentary about the history of ''[=RuneScape=]'' made to celebrate the game's 15th anniversary can be seen [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RNK0YBdwko here.]]

Note that trope examples are assumed to refer to ''[=RuneScape=] 3'' unless otherwise stated.

!!Tropes used in ''[=RuneScape=]'' include:

* RuneScape/TropesAToG
* RuneScape/TropesHToP
* RuneScape/TropesQToZ