Steam Isn’t The Best Way To Play Old School RuneScape

Jagex recently announced that its beloved MMO, Old School RuneScape, will be making its way to Steam on February 24. While it’ll no doubt introduce the nostalgic world of Gielinor to a whole new audience, Steam is probably one of the least enticing ways to experience the magic of Old School.

Despite its name, Old School RuneScape is actually the younger sibling of Jagex’s other MMO – RuneScape. That game is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and launched on Steam last year to rave reviews. In fact, it’s currently sitting with a “Very Positive” score with over 10,000 user reviews.

Old School RuneScape is a different beast entirely. Launched around eight years ago, OSRS is based on a 2007 build of RuneScape, meaning it lacks many of the conveniences of other modern MMOs and can be a challenging game to break into.

Because of this, most OSRS players choose to launch the game through third-party clients. These offer additional benefits to the game that are compliant with Jagex’s rules, but aren’t available in the official version. Playing RuneScape through Jagex’s base client offers a wildly different experience to playing via RuneLite, a third-party platform that brings hundreds of beneficial features – and is arguably the best way to play Old School RuneScape.

Improved animations, action tooltips, attack-style indicators, Prayer-flicking assist, XP trackers – the list of improvements made to OSRS in RuneLite is staggering. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the client launching on Steam this February – instead, you’ll be getting the overly simplistic one from Jagex.

To be fair, playing the game through its official client isn’t a bad experience. In fact, some people enjoy the purity of it, along with the added sense of nostalgia. If you’re not interested in enhanced stat tracking or modern conveniences – and want to experience Gielinor in its most pure form – Steam might be the best way for you to play it. While you’re still stuck using the base client, Steam will bring you the added benefit of Badges, Stickers, Emoticons, and Achievements.

However, after you clock 20 hours in the game and you start figuring out its myriad systems, the benefits of a third-party client such as RuneLite can’t be understated. Not only does the game look better – thanks to increased draw distances and smoothed animations – but the time-saving features are an absolute blessing. I couldn’t imagine slogging through the Arceuus Library without RuneLite’s book finder, playing semi-AFK without its audible idle indicator, or trying to effectively grind without its XP tracker.

Old School RuneScape is already a grind-heavy game – maxing out a single skill will likely take you over 100 hours. And while there’s a lot of fun to be had in the grind, there’s no doubt that several portions of the game are stuck in the past. RuneLite keeps the heart and soul of Old School intact, while simultaneously modernizing the tedious, iconic grind. Unless Jagex decides to bring these improvements to Steam, don’t expect to see many veteran players lining up to download the game on Valve’s client. They’re too old school for that.

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Jon Bitner is an Associate Editor for TheGamer. His passion for gaming started with his first console (Sega Genesis) and he hasn’t stopped playing since. His favorite titles include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Team Fortress 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Pokémon Sword & Shield, Old School Runescape, Skyrim, and Breath of the Wild. He can usually be found playing the latest RPG, FPS, or some obscure mobile game. Before working as Associate News Editor, Jon earned a Biology degree and worked in the Biotechnology sector — experiences that taught him how to put words together and make sentences. When not playing or writing about the gaming industry, he enjoys sleeping, eating, and staring at birds.

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