The just-introduced RuneScape battle pass has nowhere near the longevity of the 22-year-old game to which it belongs: after debuting the pass on September 4, developer Jagex plans to terminate it on December 3, it wrote in an October 6 update post.
RuneScape fans have won the war. They initiated it immediately after Jagex debuted the Hero Pass, which tacks onto the $80, 12-month, premier membership tier that unlocks every RuneScape area and gameplay mechanic. The Hero Pass was meant to give players a new event every three months in which they would do things like earn points for cosmetics—so, your typical battle pass, but players already couldn’t stand RuneScape’s increased reliance on microtransactions in its Treasure Hunter loot boxes.
Their anger erupted with Hero Pass’s debut in September, and, according to recent negative Steam reviews, people who have been playing RuneScape for 15, 16, or even 20 years decided to give it up.
“Jagex have always been controversial in their updates, mostly due to their cash grabs through microtransactions, and the latest [battle pass] update takes the cake,” a negative review with 160 “helpful” ratings as of this writing says. “[Microtransactions] have killed this game. As a player of 16yrs of grinding, I am out. Time to find other alternatives.”
Jagex tried pacifying fans on September 6, writing in a blog that it was “looking to work towards areas where we can make this [battle pass] system better for everyone,” but players maintained they were disturbed by a battle pass in any form. It didn’t help that this one was so lackluster, though.
“I’m a whale and I hate battle pass,” said one Reddit post on the Runescape board with over 1,000 upvotes. “The constant in-game pop ups are intrusive, most of the cosmetics are lackluster at best, […] who is this battle pass even for?”
The feedback stacked until Jagex got the message.
“Every single player of RuneScape—whether currently active or taking a break—matters,” it decided in its October blog. “RuneScape has a long future ahead of it, and we intend to make that an ever-better experience where players have more influence on how the game evolves.”
And so, “we will not be releasing another Hero Pass after [current season] Underworld ends on December 3rd,” “we have done this to recognize questions it raised that do not reflect our direction for the game,” and “if we pursue a new reward-system, it will be built with players and not involve Content Buffs with Membership/paid disparity.” Power to the people.