OSRS Pulled Offline After Players Discover a Game-Breaking Bug
What happened with Jagex’s servers on July 18?
OSRS went offline on July 19th after players discovered a game-breaking bug. While the community was not as upset about the bug and had a rather agreeable attitude towards the fact that an almost 20 years old game can experience bugs that take time to fix, the situation brought up an underlying issue: how Jagex communicates that the game servers are offline.
Old School RuneScape relies on third-party social media and its website to inform players about game status, updates, and events. While this approach has its benefits, it has also faced significant criticisms. The main place where Jagex posts such updates is Twitter, Reddit, and their website.
This situation has been going on for years and has led to more and more players asking why not the official game client. Especially since Jagex is now trying to push the Jagex accounts on top of the Jagex Launcher as the only way to play Old School RuneScape, players are demanding that such a simple chunk of information (the game status) should be included with Jagex Launcher instead of relying on third party sources.
A significant concern is the accessibility of information for all players. Not all players use social media or the specific platforms the developers chose, leading to potential exclusion from important updates and discussions. Some may even avoid social media on principle or due to privacy concerns. Some may be afraid they will find offers they can’t decline on OSRS accounts for sale. Some might just want it a bit more convenient. Many players argue that all necessary information should be accessible directly within the game. This unified approach would allow players to stay updated without navigating multiple platforms, making the information more convenient and intuitive.
Another criticism revolves around the fragmentation of information across different platforms. Different channels may contain varying information, leading to confusion and misunderstandings. For instance, an update may be discussed in depth on Reddit, summarized on Twitter, and detailed on the official website. This inconsistency can create confusion. Moreover, the scattering of information may lead players to overlook important updates or discussions, making it harder to track historical changes and stay current.
Relying on third-party platforms also presents challenges. Developers inherently lack full control over these channels, meaning changes in the platforms’ policies, features, or algorithms can affect communication. If a platform experiences technical issues, maintenance or security breaches could disrupt the game’s communication, causing delays, misunderstandings, or potential data leaks. This dependency on platforms outside the developers’ control adds an element of vulnerability to the communication strategy.
The strategy of using external platforms may also create feelings of alienation among players who prefer traditional in-game updates. These players might feel left out of community events and discussions, decreasing satisfaction and engagement. Ensuring inclusivity and catering to the varied preferences of the player base presents a complex challenge but is essential for maintaining a cohesive and satisfied community.
Privacy considerations also weigh into the criticisms. Linking gaming accounts with social media accounts opens avenues for potential data breaches, causing concerns about personal information exposure or account hacking. Some players may also object to their gaming activities being linked with their real-life identities or social media presence. They may prefer to keep these aspects separate and feel uncomfortable or pressured by the game’s reliance on social media for communication.
When the community asked on Reddit whether implementing the game status and official responses from Reddit and Twitter into the Jagex Launcher, Mod Ayiza confirmed that this is something they are currently looking into:
“It’s possible and something we’re actively looking into, but the focus right now with the Launcher is to ensure it’s functional and meets player needs. It would be a huge improvement, though, for sure. I love how RuneLite includes important information when you start the client. That has saved a bunch of questions in the past, and I imagine news in the Launcher would be just as beneficial.”
How the Problem Surfaced
The game-breaking bug that players discovered and reported on July 19th was that whenever someone sent a rainbow-colored text over the public chat, both the player sending and the players seeing the text would experience a game crash.
Even though Jagex prepared the players for a potential rollback of the servers by stating that at that moment, there was none scheduled and that they would keep the players informed via the third parties if a rollback was bound to happen. Luckily, even though the fix took a few hours to deploy, no rollback was needed. According to the J-mods updates, the team tested the potential fix for almost an hour before deploying it.
After Jagex fixed the issues and re-started the servers, they advised the players to restart their game clients and even reinstall had players experienced issues with picking up their loot. No one reported losing any considerable amount of OSRS GP because of this.
They also advised mobile players to visit the play store and force update the game before playing it and promised they would directly contact players negatively impacted by the game bug.